Latest News May 31, 2017

news From All Africa

  • UN study: Digitization of Kenyan farmer payments helps tackle poverty

    A new case study ( by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance ( shows how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund (, in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance (, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya. This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

    One Acre Fund, supported by Citi, enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

    One Acre Fund can now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs. With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 percent more than peer farmers who do not participate.

    Study findings include:

    • Increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience.
    • Eighty-five percent decreased instances of repayment fraud.
    • Reduced processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days; farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived.
    • Eighty percent decrease in repayment processing costs.
    • Forty-six percent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers improve agricultural practices.
    • Women farmers benefited especially, feeling safer about payment deliveries.

    Mobile repayments have allowed us to increase our efficiency and provide better service to farmers,” said Mike Warmington, the Director of Microfinance Partnerships at One Acre Fund. “We’re excited to be working at the forefront of this technology in the smallholder agriculture lending sector. In our experience, farmers were empowered to thrive in these communities. Clients receive immediate confirmation of payments as they happen, enabling them to better manage their businesses and family finances.

    Citi’s footprint, track record in inclusive finance and transaction banking capabilities enable us to provide global support to leading social enterprises like One Acre Fund,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. Among other benefits, digitization enables efficiency and security, and drives innovative and inclusive business models. Citi is proud to play a part in enabling One Acre Fund and other organizations like them to improve the livelihoods of farming communities.”

    One Acre Fund is an example of the significant benefits and impact that digital payments and inclusive digital financial infrastructure, as developed in Kenya, can bring to agricultural value chains, contributing to a more sustainable and productive agriculture sector, a cornerstone of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These learnings can easily translate to poor farming communities in other countries and One Acre Fund is working on plans to expand in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia in the future.

    For companies and nonprofit organizations who want to work in rural Africa, this success story is a must-read,” said Oswell Kahonde, Africa Regional Lead at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “Digital payments are essential to building sustainable business models and creating long-term impact. By enabling smallholder farmers to make and receive payments digitally, we are creating transparency and accountability which translates to numerous benefits and empowers people to take control of their finances.”  

    *** Please click here ( to download the study. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Better Than Cash.

    For information & media interviews, please contact:  
    • Better Than Cash Alliance: Angela Corbalan, Head of Communications,, (+1) 917 224 9109
    • One Acre Fund: Whitney McFerron, Global Media Relations Lead, 
    • Citi: Patricia Tuma, Corporate Communications,

    About Better Than Cash Alliance:
    The Better Than Cash Alliance is a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. To learn more, visit, follow @BetterThan_Cash. 

  • Argentina-Netherlands-Mozambique triangular cooperation

    On 22-23 May, experts from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), with the Directorate General for International Cooperation and the Argentine Embassy in Mozambique, held working meetings in the city of Maputo with the NGO Technoserve, at which it was agreed to work on the development of no-till farming demonstration plots in the central region of the country.

    The project seeks to show how the implementation of the Argentine production system and its related technologies can raise food production levels while reducing environmental degradation.

    The Argentine Republic thus reaffirms its commitment to cooperate with African countries in the field of agro-industry, through public-private and third sector partnerships. 

    This initiative was made possible by the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foreign Ministers of Argentina and the Netherlands. The document, signed by the Argentine and Dutch Ambassadors (Federico Villegas Beltrán and Pascalle Grotenhuis, respectively) in Mozambique, seeks to promote triangular cooperation in the African country.

    This enables the insertion of the Argentine Republic, through the Argentine Fund for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (FO.AR), into sustainable agriculture projects carried out by Dutch cooperation and the NGO Technoserve in Mozambique since 2013.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.

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  • Hong Kong bans import of poultry meat and products from Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (May 31) that in view of a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about outbreaks of high pathogenic H5 avian influenza in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has banned the import of poultry meat and products (including poultry eggs) from the country with immediate effect to protect public health in Hong Kong.

    A CFS spokesman said that as Hong Kong has not established any protocol with the Democratic Republic of the Congo for imports of poultry meat and eggs, there is no import of such commodities from the country.

    “The CFS has contacted the Congolese authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on avian influenza outbreaks. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation,” the spokesman said.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

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  • Meningitis C – MSF responds to declared outbreaks in Nigeria and Niger

    For yet another year, Nigeria and Niger are facing severe outbreaks of meningitis C. Both countries are part of the ‘meningitis belt’, a region that stretches across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia, and is particularly affected by the disease during the dry season. From 13 December 2016 to 14 May 2017, a total of 13,943 suspected cases and 1,112 deaths of meningitis have been reported from 24 states in Nigeria, according to WHO. In Niger, between 1 January and 7 May, there were 179 deaths from meningitis out of a total of 3,037 recorded cases, mainly in the west of the country, according to the Ministry of Health.

    In response to the largest outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria over the last nine years, MSF worked with two Ministry of Health’s health facilities –one in Sokoto and one in Anka, Zamfara– treating more than 2,400 patients. In addition, MSF teams assisted the Ministry of Health in the vaccination of around 140,600 people in the three most affected areas of Sokoto. Another MSF-supported vaccination campaign was carried out last week to immunise more than 136,000 people in the four worst-hit areas of Yobe.

    In Niger, MSF conducted vaccination campaigns with local authorities for more than 463,800 people –between two and 20 years of age– in 28 health areas that had reached alert or epidemic thresholds in Niamey, Tillabery, Dosso, Tahoua and Maradi. In these regions, MSF also assisted three hospitals and 24 health centres with equipment such as drugs and rapid diagnostic tests, and also reinforced medical staff when it came to rapid case detection and optimal case management. At the same time, the organisation is continuing to monitor the areas at risk and provides support in managing cases.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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  • Internet Society and Commission of the African Union launch Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa

    The Internet Society ( and the African Union Commission unveiled a new set of Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa during the African Internet Summit, taking place in Nairobi 30 May-2 June. The guidelines will help Africa create a more secure Internet infrastructure and are set to change the way African Union States approach cyber security preparedness.

    The guidelines – the first of their kind in Africa – were developed by a multi-stakeholder group of African and global internet infrastructure security experts, and are the first step towards building a more secure Internet in Africa. They will help AU member states strengthen the security of their local Internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organizational level.

    Africa’s cyber security environment faces a unique combination of challenges, including a lack of awareness of the risks involved in using technology. Kenya was ranked the 69th most vulnerable country (out of 127) in the 2015 Deloitte Global Threat Index. Some of the main reasons are: low awareness, underinvestment, talent shortage and overload of data. [1] Deloitte further estimates that Kenya lost $171 million to cybercrime in 2016.

    “Africa has achieved major strides in developing its Internet Infrastructure in the past decade. However, the Internet won’t provide the aspired benefits unless we can trust it. We have seen from recent experiences that Africa is not immune from cyber-attacks and other security threats. These guidelines, developed in collaboration with the African Union Commission, will help African countries put in place the necessary measures to increase the security of their Internet infrastructure,” explained Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society. 

    This document is launched at a time when the world feels the real and urgent need to build and reinforce structures aimed at tackling the growing cyber threat to the global digital economy. Governments, companies, network operators, universities and organizations across African Union member states are encouraged to take action to implement the Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines.

    “This is another timely milestone achievement given the new security challenges in cyberspace,” said Moctar Yeday, Head, Information Society Division, African Union. “The Commission of the African Union will continue its partnership with the Internet Society on a second set of guidelines addressing personal data protection in Africa,” he added.

    According to ITU ICT Facts and Figures 2016, it is estimated that 25.1% of Africans are now online and despite lower Internet access rates vs. other regions in the world, there has been a sustained double-digit growth in Internet penetration over the past 10 years. This is due in large part to an increase of mobile Internet and in more affordable smart phones in the market and Africa’s young, technology-savvy population. However, to continue to improve access and connect the unconnected, people need to trust the Internet.

    Symantec, a global leader in cyber security, observed 24 million malware incidents targeting Africa in 2016. As some malware incidents probably go unobserved, the real number of incidents may be much higher. In a 2013 report from Symantec, cybercrime was increasing at a faster rate in Africa than any other region. [2]

    As Internet penetration grows in Africa and more business takes place online, implementing security measures against malware incidents to protect Internet users becomes increasingly important.

    Offering actions that are tailored to the African cyber security environment and solutions for an ever changing online landscape, the recommendations in the document launched today can play a key role in helping Africa respond to the kind of Internet attacks that recently paralyzed critical public and government services.

    A copy of the Africa Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines can be found at:

    [1] See TMT Predictions 2017 final presentation by Deloitte Limited.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Internet Society (ISOC).

    For Media Queries:
    Michelle Anekeya
    Hill+Knowlton Strategies 

    Allesandra de Santillana
    Internet Society

    About the Internet Society:
    Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

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  • UNHCR, IOM pledge increased support for Libya

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM), on Tuesday presented their plans for expanding operations in Libya and enhancing their support to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and Libyans affected by the ongoing conflict.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi joined IOM Director General William Lacy Swing at a senior-level briefing at IOM’s Geneva headquarters where they briefed member states on their recent  missions to Libya and called for support to broader stabilization efforts in the country.

    UNHCR issued today a Supplementary Appeal for US$75.5 million to meet the increased humanitarian and protection needs of people in Libya – including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. The appeal includes protection monitoring and interventions, as well as advocacy on issues related to respect for human rights, access to basic services, asylum procedures and freedom of movement. 

    “We have urgent work to do in Libya and can only do it together,” said UNHCR’s Grandi, adding “We are going the extra mile in trying to make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people.”

    IOM in April launched a three year Action Plan for Libya with two key objectives. The first is to provide evidence based humanitarian assistance and protection to both displaced Libyans and migrants. The second objective is to stabilize Libyan communities, as well as to build Libyan capacities in migration management. That appeal is for in excess of US $180 million, lasting for a total of 36 months.

    While IOM has already started to implement the Action Plan, thanks to funding from some donors, greater financial support is needed in order to urgently assist and protect migrants and conflict affected populations in Libya, Director General Swing said. He emphasized all IOM activities are coordinated and implemented in cooperation with the Libyan authorities and UNHCR.

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

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  • ERA 2017 launched in Addis Ababa with call on Africa to link urban and industrial development

    The Economic Commission for Africa’s flagship, the Economic Report on Africa 2017, was launched in Addis Ababa today with Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanie Biha, calling on African governments to make deliberate efforts to create links between urban and industrial development in the context of their national development plans.

    Ms. Biha, who presided over the launch, said reconnecting urban and industrial development in Africa through deliberate policies, strategies and investments is a priority for the sustainability of both cities and industries.

    “As countries are developing overarching frameworks within which strategic targets for structural transformation are defined, national development plans offer an ideal context within which urbanization and industrialization targets could be linked,” she said.

    “In this way, urban and industrial strategies could be explicitly linked to broader national goals such as poverty reduction and improved well-being in both urban and rural areas.”

    Ms. Biha said available evidence suggests that urban and industrial development in Africa are disconnected, resulting in lost opportunities for job creation and improved well-being.

    “It is therefore not surprising that Africa’s cities are crippled by severe infrastructure and service gaps and are unable to generate employment at the level and scale required to meet increasing demands, especially for the youth,” she added.

    ERA 2017, whose theme is Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa’s Transformation emphasizes that cities require better performing industrialization and industrialization on the other hand needs better functioning cities. Africa is currently faced with the challenge of creating productive cities and efficient urban systems that can support structural transformation, recommending therefore that improving the economic functioning of the largest cities will unleash potential benefits to create agglomeration economies.

    Speaking at the same occasion, ECA’s Social Development Policy Division Director, Takyiwaa Manuh, said with industrialization being a core priority for the continent, there was an urgent need to link urban and industrial development.

    “For ECA, this agenda is not entirely new. As far back as the early 1960s, ECA was explicitly considering the role of the continent’s growing urban centres in industrialization,” she said.

    “Today there is even more urgency for policymakers to harness urbanization for structural transformation, given the speed and scale of the urban transition.”

    The report provides concrete policy entry points for African governments to prioritize industrialization and take advantage of their growing cities and human settlements to support this target. It also calls for a strategic, cross-sectoral and integrated approach to urbanization, which promotes productive, inclusive and sustainable cities as part of national visions for quality growth.

    Ms. Manu said drawings on the findings and recommendations of the report, the ECA was already working on key areas, including how to integrate urbanization in national development planning; how to assess the contribution of cities to national economies; and the data and indicators required to assess the ability of cities to support structural transformation, in particular industrialization.

    Professors Belay File and Yeraswork Admassie of the Institute of Urban Development Studies and the College of Social Sciences at the Addis Ababa University, respectively, led participants in discussing the findings of the report and how they can assist Africa get to the next level of development.

    Ms. Manuh said the discussion directly informs the ECA on what to follow-up on in the next ERA in support of member States’ efforts to take advantage of the current rapid urban transition they are experiencing.

    The launch was attended by high-level participants, including Ambassadors based in Addis Ababa, policymakers, academia, representatives from the Ethiopian government and UN agencies here.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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  • IOM assists more than 4,000 stranded migrants so far in 2017

    So far in 2017, IOM Libya has assisted 4,030 stranded migrants to return home from Libya through its voluntary humanitarian return (VHR) programme.

    The latest return was last Thursday (25 May), when IOM helped 165 stranded migrants – 145 men and 20 women – return home to Nigeria. Among the passengers were three unaccompanied children and two female medical cases.

    Also on 25 May, two stranded Ethiopian migrants were also able to return home on commercial flights.

    Two days earlier, on 23 May, IOM helped 171 stranded migrants – 166 men and five women – return home to The Gambia from Libya. Among the female passengers were an infant and a child; 133 of the migrants had been in Gharyan Al Hamra detention centre. The remaining 38 migrants previously lived in urban areas.

    The charter flights, which departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, were coordinated with the Libyan authorities, the Embassies of The Gambia and Nigeria respectively, as well as IOM colleagues in the receiving countries.

    Recognizing the high demand for assistance to return home among stranded migrants in Libya, IOM has been scaling up its VHR assistance in 2017. So far this year, IOM Libya has facilitated the VHR of 4,030 stranded migrants in Libya. Of that total, 108 of the assisted migrants were unaccompanied children; 56 were victims of trafficking.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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  • Press Conference: Second International Ballet Stars Gala Fundraiser

    On June 7-8, nine world class ballet dancers from five countries; America, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, and Japan will grace the stages of the Ethiopian National Theatre and City Hall for the second time in Addis Ababa, bringing the beauty of ballet and a charitable fundraising gala to Ethiopia.

    The first performance will take place at the National Theatre on June 7, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to ‘Positive Action Community Organization/ Yawenta Children's Center (PACO), ' a charity that feeds nearly 120 impoverished persons living with HIV. A second, limited performance will be held at City Hall on June 8 for an audience of 850, including underprivileged children. 

    The organizers of the program and the ballet dancers will brief journalists on the program.

    You are invited to attend a joint press conference:

    Date: Thursday, June 1, at 9:45 AM
    Venue: America Center, located inside National Archive and Library Agency (NALA) (Womezekir)

    Please RSVP to Zelalem Befekadu (091-150-9522) or Ali Suleiman (091-150-9510).

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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