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Latest News May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Surging violence in Central African Republic forces 88,000 to flee

    More funds are urgently needed to aid more than 88,000 people who have been forced to flee an upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic (CAR).

    Since fighting flared in May between rebels more than 68,000 people have fled their homes within CAR, while nearly 20,000 have sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

    To assist those who have been recently forcibly displaced, UNHCR is calling for urgent support to its funding appeal of US$209.2 million for the CAR situation which is only 6 per cent funded.

    Significant rebel activity on towns along the DRC border as well as rumours of possible attacks are pushing people to flee in the Haute Kotto and Mbomou prefectures inside CAR.

    Over the last weeks, attacks of armed groups resulted in displacement within the three prefectures of Bria, Bangassou and Basse-Kotto. In Bria only, more than 41,000 people have been displaced. In addition, hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed. Most of the displaced sleep in the open or in makeshift shelters.

    Humanitarian access in many of these areas remains severely restricted due to the security situation. UNHCR was however able to provide, through an inter-agency response, relief items for the newly displaced in Bria. We intend to distribute further relief, including family tents, mats, and blankets among the vulnerable families.

    With available stocks in Bria, UNHCR will also be sending further relief from Bangui as our team assess the extent of the displacement in Bria and identify needs.

    The recent upsurge in violence is also pushing people to cross the border into the DRC’s Bas Uele and Ubangi provinces. Some 20,575 Central Africans have fled over the past two weeks, according to estimates. UNHCR teams have met some of the arrivals while others were reported by local authorities.

    Central Africans continue to arrive in the DRC, citing fear of new violence. Most of the new arrivals are staying close to the rivers — Mbomou and Ubangi — constituting the border between the two countries, hoping to quickly cross the border again once the situation stabilizes.

    UNHCR is particularly worried about the situation of the asylum seekers in the area near the small town of Ndu, just across the Mbomou River. People there arrived with hardly any belongings and some were wounded and require treatment. However, the area is so remote that UNHCR could not bring assistance by road and we are now assessing alternative options to reach Ndu.

    Other areas, notably in DRC’s North Ubangi province, are easier to reach. The new arrivals are settled along the banks of the river, and most of them have found shelter with local families. UNHCR is working with humanitarian partners to provide further assistance and relief.

    There are 503,600 internally displaced persons in the CAR. Prior to the latest influx, there were 102,600 Central African refugees registered in the DRC.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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  • Top Real Estate Developments to be recognised at the Africa Property Investment Awards

    Africa’s premier real estate competition, the African Property Investment Awards (API Awards) will be launched at this year’s API Summit & Expo 2017 (www.APIsummit.co.za), taking place on the 24th August 2017, at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. The awards will recognise innovation and outstanding achievement across the entire property industry whilst providing distinguished developers, suppliers and owners working in Sub-Saharan Africa (Excl South Africa) with a platform to showcase their best projects and services.

    API Events have proven their commitment to the African property industry, hosting successful and insightful summits for the last 8 years. As an independent organisation offering broad coverage of the African real estate sector, API Events have a reputation for fostering education, discussion and knowledge sharing throughout the industry, making them the ideal hosts for these prestigious awards.

    Looking back on the last decade, there have been notable achievements in the development of real estate on the continent. Growth in the sector has highlighted the important role both local and regional investors and developers play in the industry. With this in mind, API Events has moved to introduce an awards platform that is both reputable and widely respected in order to recognize these achievements, as well as the distinction and quality of these contributions. 

    “With these awards, API Events hopes to not only encourage industry players to continue to achieve these same levels in regard to both industry standards and expectations, but also to raise the development standards across the industry in future. As the market evolves we want to ensure that all stakeholders strive to achieve excellence, and at the same time recognise those who are delivering on pioneering developments in Africa’s often tough development environments,” says Kfir Rusin, API Events Managing Director.

    “As the continent’s pre-eminent property investment summit, it is fitting that API Summit & Expo should recognise excellence by giving awards to the best of the best. The prestige of an API Award will undoubtedly bring an increase in quality in all fields in the property industry in Africa,” adds jury panellist and owner of the W Hospitality Group, Trevor Ward.

    The panel of judges will bring together a number of distinguished industry leaders from across the continent, each member boasting a variety of expertise and experience.

    Joining Trevor Ward on the jury panel will be Gerhard Zeelie, Head Real Estate Finance: Rest of Africa at Standard Bank, (RSA), Joao Terlica, Managing Director at Sagaci Research (Nigeria), David Kinyua, Director at Esham Park Group (Kenya), Elizabeth Wangeci Chege, Chief Executive Officer at WEB Limited & Chairperson of the Kenya Green Building Society (Kenya), Godfrey Tapela, Director at IFC (Kenya), Wafula Nabutola, Regional Director of RICS (East Africa), Jenny Luesby, Managing Director of African Laughter (Kenya), Kaisi Kalambo, President for the Architects Association of Tanzania (Tanzania) and Malcolm Horne, Group CEO of The Broll Property Group.

    The judging panel will critically assess all entries in these categories:

    1. Best Retail Development
    2. Best Mixed-Use Development
    3. Best Commercial High-rise Development
    4. Best Architectural Design
    5. Best Green Building in Sub Saharan Africa
    6. Best Hotel Development
    7. Best Housing Development

    Within these categories, jury members will base their final decision on a wide range of criteria with specific focus on project location; infrastructure and transport access; integration into the environment; originality of the concept; technical and architectural quality; services offered; sensitivity to the local community; innovation; sustainability; corporate staff involvement; response to market demands; financial performance; occupancy; and the impact of the project on economic convergence.

    “There hasn’t been a greater opportunity in Africa to transform the construction industry than now. Sharing of information and best practice across the continent is prevalent therefore, the API Awards will provide a platform to honour projects that seek to lead on development standards. Ultimately, what we build today will form the Africa of tomorrow,” says jury member, Elizabeth Wangeci Chege.

    Entries for the API Awards will open on the 30th May 2017 and will close on 15th July 2017.   

    For more information on the competition, and how to enter, please visit www.APIsummit.co.za/api-awards

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo.

    Media Contact:
    For any further enquiries, please contact Elizabeth Haskins on Elizabeth@APIevents.com.

    About API Events: 
    API Events’ conferences provide an essential networking venue for the African real estate investment and development industry and have achieved a reputation for attracting large property investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level real estate focused executives. We offer engaging content and outstanding speakers, the API Events portfolio also includes real estate financial modeling training programmes, reputable African Property Investment awards as well editorial content in the form of our Africa Property Skyline Magazine allowing for an invaluable opportunity to interact with and learn from the best real estate minds in the business across multiple platforms.The API Events team comprises of passionate property professionals with on the-ground African real estate expertise. Our singular mission is to provide a platform that drives growth in African real estate investment whilst assisting the continent in realizing its full potential. Please visit our website for more information: www.APIevents.com. 

  • Tens of thousands of women and children are fleeing from South Sudan to Sudan

    Tens of thousands of South Sudanese women and children have crossed the border into Sudan since the beginning of the year, fleeing violence and the looming threat of famine.

    This represents a dramatic spike in the movement of people across the border. Nearly 137,000 South Sudanese have crossed into Sudan since 1 January – already more than the 131,000 that arrived during 2016, according to UNHCR. Aid workers on the ground report that the vast majority of new arrivals are women and children.

    The people who are arriving are in a desperate state,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Regional Director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “Most are in poor health, exhausted from their journeys, and traumatized by what they have seen and experienced.”

    In all, about 417,000 South Sudanese refugees have entered Sudan since December 2013. More than half are in camps in East and South Darfur and West and South Kordofan. The Sudanese Red Crescent Society is present in these areas and has, in partnership with the UN, been supporting more than 300,000 with food aid, and about 90,000 refugees with clean water, sanitation and health services.

    However, with the increased arrival of refuges, IFRC and SSRC are warning of an elevated risk of diseases such as malaria, as existing healthcare and water and sanitation services come under ever greater strain.

    In response to the growing needs of refugee communities, IFRC and SSRC have launched an international emergency appeal for just under 4.2 million Swiss francs. Through this appeal, Red Crescent volunteers and staff will provide assistance to more than 63,000 people, with a range of life-saving and life-sustaining health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and emergency shelter services.

    The regional consequences of the humanitarian emergency in South Sudan are rapidly worsening,” said Dr Nafo-Traoré. “There is every indication that the number of people crossing into Sudan will continue to climb.

    “These people are the most vulnerable – children and women who are arriving with absolutely nothing, having already endured so much.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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  • Kenya: Threats to Media Ahead of August Polls

    Authorities in Kenya have committed a range of abuses against journalists reporting on sensitive issues, threatening freedom of expression ahead of elections slated for August 8, 2017, Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa said in a report released today. Journalists and bloggers reporting on corruption, disputed land acquisition, counterterrorism operations, and the 2007-2008 post-electoral violence, among other sensitive issues, have faced intimidation, beatings, and job loss.
     

    The 53-page report, “‘Not Worth The Risk’: Threats To Free Expression Ahead of Kenya’s 2017 Elections,” documents abuses by government officials, police, county governors, and other government officials against the media. Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19 examined government attempts to obstruct critical journalists and bloggers with legal, administrative, and informal measures, including threats, intimidation, harassment, online and phone surveillance, and in some cases, physical assaults.

    “We must stem the tide of increased violence and impunity against journalists in Kenya,” said Henry Maina, regional director at ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa. “No policy to address the situation can be successful if measures to prevent aggression against and to protect at-risk journalists are not accompanied with thorough and timely prosecutions of all crimes committed against them.”

    Despite receiving formal complaints from journalists, police have rarely investigated the attacks or threats. Since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in 2013, there is no evidence that any security officer or public official has been held accountable for threatening, intimidating, or physically attacking a member of the media in Kenya.

    Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19 interviewed 92 journalists, human rights activists, bloggers, and government officials throughout Kenya and documented 17 incidents in which 23 journalists and bloggers were physically assaulted between 2013 and 2017 by government officials or individuals believed to be aligned with government officials.

    At least two died under circumstances that may have been related to their work. The groups also documented 16 incidents of direct death threats against journalists and bloggers across the country in recent years, and cases in which police arbitrarily arrested, detained, and later released without charge at least 14 journalists and bloggers.

    For example, on September 7, 2016, unidentified assailants forced themselves into the house of a photojournalist, Denis Otieno, in the town of Kitale, Rift Valley, and demanded photos on his camera, then shot him dead. Otieno had photographed police officers shooting to death a motorcycle taxi rider at a Kitale bus station a few days earlier. A family member said that before his murder, Otieno had expressed alarm about death threats. No one has been arrested in relation to his killing.

    One Nairobi-based editor told the two groups: “Whenever we write articles critical of security agencies or exposing corruption in the government, our reporters receive death threats from security and other government officials. This is usually followed up with withdrawal of government advertising or withholding of revenue from advertising. We now have to assess carefully whether such stories are worth the cost.”

    With the general election set for August, state security agencies have heightened threats and appear to be using ambiguous legal provisions to carry out increased surveillance, without warrants, on journalists reporting on sensitive issues. As one reporter said, “If you have written about security agencies or corruption-related stories, you have to know that you are being followed or your phone is being listened into.”

    “For Kenya’s August elections to be credible and fair, the media needs to be able to report on pressing issues of national interest without fear of reprisals,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “President Kenyatta should publicly underscore the importance of free expression and condemn threats and attacks on journalists and bloggers.

    While Kenyan journalists have borne the brunt of government abuse, the foreign media have also faced reprisals for critical reporting. In 2015, Kenyan authorities threatened to ban two foreign journalists for an international media outlet for reporting on alleged police death squads implicated in extrajudicial killings.

    Despite receiving formal complaints from journalists, police have very rarely investigated attacks or threats to the media, Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19 found. In 2015, an unidentified assailant believed to be a government security officer physically assaulted a human rights and anti-corruption blogger, Florence Wanjeri Nderu, and warned her against continuing with her blog posts on corruption. Despite her detailed report to the police about the attack and the suspect, police have failed to investigate her case. “Police never bothered to visit the scene of my attack or even followed up with me to see how I was doing,” she said. “The matter ended with the report I made.”

    Timely and thorough investigations and prosecutions for these attacks and threats is crucial in ensuring that the media and bloggers report freely on issues ahead of the 2017 elections, Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19 said.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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  • South African Policies aligned to and include actions to address sustainable development and climate change

    South African policies are aligned to and include actions to address sustainable development and climate change. This was said by Acting Deputy Director General of Invest SA at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Yunus Hoosen during the seminar for the promotion of Bankable Sustainable Development Goal Projects in Sandton earlier today. The seminar was hosted jointly by the dti and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

    According to Hoosen, all key South African policies are aligned to and include actions to address sustainable development and climate change. He said that priority for South Africa is to address the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

    “The National Development Plan (NDP), National Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) promote a globally competitive economy that produces and trades with the rest of the world in innovative and value added products and services. Even prior to the official adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, South Africa signed a Green Economy Accord between government, labour and civil society in 2011,” he said.

    He added that the sole purpose of signing the Green Economy Accord was to empower South Africans to implement the wide-ranging commitments that are contained in the Accord and mobilise the private sector, organised labour, communities and government in a strong partnership to promote the Green Economy in the country as a platform for creating five million new jobs by 2020.

    “Facilitating and supporting the planning and growth of economic activity in new and existing green sectors and greening less sustainable sectors, which in turn leads to greater investment, creates jobs, and enhances international economic competitiveness. As government, we have to provide an enhanced, coherent, efficient and effective legislative and regulatory system to facilitate the shift towards sustainable production and consumption patterns in our economy and society,” said Hoosen.

    He mentioned that to facilitate economic transformation and promote a more inclusive and prosperous South African society, government must provide the support and services for “on the ground” implementation to facilitate and promote scaled-up economy-wide investment in order to realise objectives.

    “SA remains a carbon intensive economy yet has made strong commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change and ratified the Paris agreement in November 2016. In order to achieve sustainable economic transformation and growth, employment and decent work for all, we have to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation, foster innovation and support for new green industries,” added Hoosen.

    Furthermore, Hoosen said that over the last five years, investment pipeline by the investment unit of the dti has been dominated by projects in the green economy with a combined contribution in excess of R100bn.

    Mr Paul Wessendorp, Chief of Investment Promotion at UNCTAD said that it has been estimated that investment needs to meet SDG targets in developing countries alone are in the order of US$2.5 trillion annually.

    “Achieving the SDGs will require a quantum leap in investment by both public and private sectors. Public sector funding alone will be insufficient to meet demand. The private sector’s role can be in the form of both good governance and investment in suitable development. A precondition for successful inward investment is the existence of a favourable and enabling investment policy climate. Regarding attracting investment in SDG areas, it is important to ensure that all sectors identified are open to foreign direct investments,” said Wessendorp. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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  • The Status of Free Movement of People in Africa

    The African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum has launched the second edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index.

    The Index analyses the visa regime in Africa and how open countries are in terms of relaxation or elimination of visa requirements for citizens from other African countries traveling to their countries. The report examines which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and whether they allow people to travel to their country without a visa, with the provision of visa-on-arrival or whether  visitors need to get a visa before travel.

    A pdf vision of the report is attached and can be downloaded from https://au.int/africa-visa-openness-report-2017.

    For more information, visit the website of the Visa Openness Index www.visaopenness.org.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the Councilor of the President of the Republic of Djibouti

    On May 29, 2017 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, met with the Councilor of the President of the Republic of Djibouti, Abdourahman Ali Abdillahi.

    During the meeting, the sides discussed current state and prospects for development of political contacts and economic cooperation between Belarus and Djibouti.

    The parties confirmed their willingness to increase bilateral trade, implement joint projects in the field of industry, infrastructure and other areas.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

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  • Gateway Fair: Dangote to spend 10 billion dollars on rice cultivation…gives tools to block makers

    The Dangote Group (www.Dangote.com) shone at the just concluded 2017 Gateway Trade fair which was held in Abeokuta, emerging as the second most patronised exhibitor, just as the Group disclosed that it was investing N10 billion dollars in rice cultivation in five states to boost food self-sufficiency.

    To mark its Day at the Fair, a subsidiary of the Group, Dangote Cement, gave out several tools and implements to the block makers in Ogun State in appreciation of their patronages. Tools such as wheel barrowers, shovels, umbrellas and hand gloves were donated to block makers who assembled from different areas of the state.

    During the 10-day trade fair, Dangote Flour delighted customers and participants with free sampling of its new pasta products. The wet sampling made the Group’s pavilion the center of activities at the Fair as participants trooped in for their daily meal. Customers were rewarded with branded coolers, kitchen aprons, exercise books and customized ladles.

    Commending Dangote Group for its sponsorship and participation at the Fair, President of Ogun State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA) Mrs. Adesola Adebutu said the support given by the Group went a long way in making the staging of the Fair a success.

    She commended the Pan African Conglomerate for its giant strides in economic development of the country through massive investments in several sectors of the economy describing the feat as worthy of emulation by other Nigerians.

    A director of Dangote Group, Tunde Mabogunje who represented the Group at the special day, said that the partnership with OGUNCCIMA is beneficial as Ogun State is the host of the 12 mmtpa Dangote Cement Plant, Ibese, the second largest cement plant in Nigeria.

    Dangote Cement, he said, “through the plant provides thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the state. As a responsible corporate citizen, we participate fully in all events and activities designed to drive social and economic welfare of the state.”

    He described the theme for this year’s Trade Fair: Promoting Agricultural Value Chain through SMEs for Nigeria Economic Recovery as being apt, given the nation is now paying attention to Agriculture, which has the potential of becoming the major driver of the economy instead of oil, pointing out that in line with the theme the Group is at the forefront of job creation and is the largest employer of labour outside government.

    Mabogunje stated “We have been contributing our quota to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. Towards aiding agriculture, we are building a fertilizer plant in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos State. When completed, farmers will have regular access to fertilizer for their farming activities. The delays and disruptions experienced in waiting for imported fertilizer will cease.”

    “We are investing about $1 billion in rice cultivation. We have an outgrowers scheme where thousands of farmers are empowered with improved seeds and items needed to cultivate rice.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Dangote Group.

    Media Contact:
    Francis Awowole-Browne
    Francis.Awowole@Dangote.com
    +234 806 630 4898

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  • IAEA project maps groundwater in Africa’s Sahel region, shows significant reserves

    An IAEA project shows that significant reserves of good quality water are available in Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region. Pollution is still limited and has not yet become a serious threat to these vital resources. The findings, compiled in five reports published today, are the result of a four-year Agency effort to help 13 countries use isotopic techniques to assess groundwater origin and quality in five shared aquifers and basins, providing the first broad overview of the region’s groundwater supplies.

    Scientists from participating countries – Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo – were trained by the Agency to carry out a detailed examination of groundwater using nuclear-based techniques.

    The project looked at the aquifers and basins that provide the main source of groundwater to the region’s population: the Iullemeden Aquifer System, the Liptako-Gourma-Upper Volta System, and the Senegalo-Mauritanian, Lake Chad and Taoudeni basins.

    “This project is a significant achievement given the vast area studied,” said IAEA project leader Neil Jarvis. “Inadequate water management practices can increase water scarcity. If countries are to manage growing demands for fresh water, they need to have the tools to understand and map the water resources at their disposal.”  

    The Agency promoted collaboration among national experts and provided equipment and training for technical staff to collect water samples and investigate their origin and composition, using hydrochemical analyses and mapping techniques. 

    Partner organizations included the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Niger Basin Authority, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Volta Basin Authority, the Liptako-Gourma Integrated Development Authority, the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.

    Spreading over a 7-million square kilometre area, the Sahel is home to 135 million people across West, Central and North Africa. The area has suffered from extreme drought in recent decades, affecting agriculture and causing widespread hunger. Without many rivers to draw water from, groundwater systems are the region’s main source of fresh water. 

    The data gathered has so far provided valuable information for the participating countries, including origin and flow patterns between the different aquifers and contamination levels in the basins.

    The isotope studies confirmed the existence of large quantities of good quality groundwater suitable for human consumption, in several parts of the project area. In some areas, such as the Lake Chad Basin, the sources of recharge for various aquifers were established for the first time. 

    Areas where groundwater has become contaminated, usually through human activity, appear to be isolated at present. “This is good news, but it is important that governments take prompt measures to protect this vulnerable resource against pollution, as the situation can change very quickly,” said Luis Araguás Araguás, an IAEA isotope hydrologist.

    The project also helped to generate a better understanding of the relationship between surface and shallow groundwater in many areas, as well as the age of groundwater. “This information can offer valuable clues as to how long it would take for the water to be – if at all – replenished,” Araguás Araguás said. In various areas, such as the Liptako-Gourma region, the analyses show that groundwater exists in small independent pockets, which could have implications for managing this finite resource.

    Water molecules carry unique “fingerprints” based on their different proportions of isotopes – variations of an element with a different number of neutrons. Scientists study changes in the proportion of isotopes in water samples to determine its source, age, and quality. These include past and present rainfall conditions, recharge rate of aquifers, interactions between water bodies, as well as the path and fate of contaminants.

    The IAEA, through its Technical Cooperation Fund, and with contributions from the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand and the USA through the Peaceful Uses Initiatives, as well as in-kind contributions from Australia, ensured the effective implementation of the project.

    The project will be showcased at the first International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme: Sixty Years and Beyond – Contributing to Development, taking place 30 May – 1 June in Vienna, Austria. Several heads of state and government, ministers, senior representatives of international organizations and donors will gather at the IAEA to review its efforts to help countries benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in key development areas such as food security, the protection of natural resources, human health, and energy.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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