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Latest News June 1, 2017

June 1, 2017

news From All Africa

  • iflix Extends Global Footprint to 23 Territories with iflix Africa

    iflix (www.iflix.com), the world’s leading Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets, today announced the establishment of iflix Africa to bring its world class service to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). iflix Africa will be headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and trade commercially as ‘iflix’. With launches planned in Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, iflix Africa will increase iflix’s global footprint to 23 territories worldwide, with additional regional markets to be added over the coming months.

    The commercial launch of iflix’s SVoD service across SSA is planned over the second and third quarter of 2017, and will make iflix’s vast range of thousands of TV shows, movies and more, including many first run exclusives and award winning programs available to hundreds of millions of consumers across the region. In addition to having the best of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other regional and local programming, the service will additionally offer an extensive collection of highly acclaimed African shows and movies with iflix Africa planning to introduce exclusive African content series.

    Having first launched its service in May 2015, iflix quickly established its dominance in the Asian region, rolling out its world class service to 18 markets across Asia and MENA in less than two years, acquiring over 5 million members over the period. iflix Africa will capitalize on SSA’s large youth population, rapidly growing internet and smartphone penetration, and huge appetite for digital content and entertainment.

    In March 2017, iflix announced the completion of a US$90+ million round of funding to support its international expansion. The round added new investors Liberty Global Group and Zain Group to the company’s formidable shareholder registry which also includes global heavyweights Sky plc, Catcha Group and Evolution Media.

    Mark Britt, iflix Co-founder and CEO said: “The establishment of iflix Africa represents an incredibly exciting step in iflix’s growth story. As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, there is a unique, ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to fundamentally shift the way a billion people consume and enjoy content. By 2020, Africa will have 720 million smartphone users. We aim to meet the entertainment needs of those growingly connected viewers.”

    “As the fastest-growing mobile market on earth, Africa is without question one of the world’s most dynamic regions. We are thrilled to introduce our first-of-its-kind SVoD service here. We are passionately focused on providing the broadest selection of premium content at a price everyone can afford. We can’t wait to tackle both the enormous opportunities and challenges ahead, in serving this incredibly diverse and exciting region,” added Andre de Wet, iflix Head of Africa.

    Currently available to over one billion consumers in 18 markets across Asia and MENA, iflix will soon roll-out its world class service across sub-Saharan Africa with initial launches in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Each subscription will allow users to access the service on up to five devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, and television sets, for viewing wherever, whenever. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of iflix.

    For media enquiries, please contact:
    Peggy Lee
    Global Director of PR & Communications
    Peggy@iflix.com 
    +60 12 217 8345

    Kathryn Mechie
    Regional Manager of PR & Communications
    Kathryn@iflix.com
    +27 71 138 2253

    About iflix:
    iflix (www.iflix.com) is the world’s leading Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service, offering users unlimited access to thousands of TV shows and movies from all over the world. With a huge selection of your favorite comedies, drama, K-drama, Turkish drama, Bollywood, Nollywood, cartoons, movies and more from Hollywood, The UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. iflix places the entertainment you want at your fingertips. For one low monthly fee, iflix subscribers can watch on their mobile phone, laptop, tablet, TV… wherever, whenever. 
    Let’s play. 

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  • DR Congo: UN Should Investigate Kasai Violence

    The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today. The 35th session of the Human Rights Council begins June 6, 2017, in Geneva.
     

    “The violence in the Kasai region has caused immense suffering, with Congolese authorities unable or unwilling to stop the carnage or hold those responsible for the abuses to account,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “An independent, international investigation is needed to document the abuses, identify those responsible, and help ensure justice for the victims.”

    Between 500 and 1,000 people have been killed in the Kasai region since large-scale violence between the Congolese army and the Kamuina Nsapu movement broke out in August 2016, according to the UN. Human rights activists and UN monitors have had difficulties reaching parts of the region, so the actual number of dead may be significantly higher.

    Congolese army soldiers have used excessive force in violation of international law, killing scores of suspected Kamuina Nsapu members and sympathizers, including large numbers of women and children. Members of the group, armed largely with sticks and other crude weapons, have recruited children and carried out targeted attacks on the government, killing police officers, soldiers, and local officials.

    Over 1.3 million people in the region have been displaced from their homes in recent months, including over 23,500 who fled to neighboring Angola.

    Two members of the UN Group of Experts on Congo, Zaida Catalán, a Swede and Chilean, as well as Michael J. Sharp, an American, were killed in March 2017, while investigating widespread human rights abuses in the region. It remains unclear who was responsible. The four Congolese who had accompanied them – their interpreter, Betu Tshintela, and three motorbike drivers – are still missing.

    UN investigators have confirmed the existence of at least 42 mass graves in the greater Kasai region since August 2016.

    On March 8, 2017, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called for the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate violence in the Kasais. Congolese officials then pledged to carry out their own investigation, and on March 22, agreed to support from the UN and African Union (AU). This investigation has not moved forward in a transparent or credible way, and the UN and AU have not been able to effectively collaborate with the Congolese investigators or support the Congolese investigation, the organizations said.

    On April 19, the high commissioner said that meaningful steps by the Congolese government “to ensure that there is a prompt, transparent, independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by all parties, and other abuses of justice” had been “lacking.”

    “Given widespread army violations, alleged involvement by top officials, and past interference in sensitive cases, the Congolese judiciary’s ability to credibly investigate the violence is in serious doubt,” said Georges Kapiamba, president of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ). “An independent, international inquiry is necessary to get to the bottom of what’s really happening in the Kasais and who is responsible.”

    The conflict in the Kasai region is purportedly about customary control over local chieftaincies, but there are also clear ties to national political dynamics, with the Congolese army backing the leadership of people seen to be loyal to President Joseph Kabila and his political coalition, and some of the Kamuina Nsapu groups supporting people seen to be closer to the opposition.

    Violence escalated after state security forces killed Kamuina Nsapu, the apparent heir to the throne of a chieftaincy in the Tshimbulu area, in August 2016. Since his death, the group named after him has grown into more of a popular movement than an organized armed group with clear command structures. Some Kamuina Nsapu members have directed their demands toward the national political crisis, calling for Kabila to step down. His constitutionally mandated two-term limit ended on December 19.

    In recent months, Kamuina Nsapu factions and other armed groups have proliferated, with some of the groups fighting each other. Local politicians have reportedly sought to manipulate ethnic tensions in the region, encouraging militias from certain ethnic groups to attack people from other ethnic groups.

    “The Human Rights Council’s engagement now is critical to help protect civilians from further violence, and to press for accountability for serious violations and abuses both by the Congolese army and armed groups,” said Paul Nsapu, deputy secretary-general of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “A strong message is needed to show that these crimes won’t go unpunished.”

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

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  • The AU-Regions steering committee on SALW and DDR commences its 8th meeting

    The African Union (AU) and Regions Steering Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), concluded its eighth meeting held on 30 and 31st May 2017, at the AU Headquarters.

    The Steering Committee brings together RECs, Regional Bodies with a SALW mandate, and implementing partners and donors to enhance information sharing, coordination, joint prioritization and action review. The 8th meeting is being attended by COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC, UMA, UNREC and the EU.

    The meeting of the Steering Committee is expected to review progress achieved during 2016 and 2017 in the implementation of the relevant aspects of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) Roadmap for the phase 2016-2020 and discuss the gaps and encountered challenges.

    The meeting will also discuss the implementation of the related aspects of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silencing the Guns in Africa by Year 2020, particularly as they pertain to supporting Member States’ efforts in curbing the illicit inflows of weapons into the continent, as well as their illicit trafficking and circulation, within the continent. In this regard, the meeting will develop the scope, priorities and implementation modalities for the Continental Plan of Action on SALW, which will support the Roadmap’s implementation. The Continental Plan of Action is expected to be launched later in the year, following consultations to be undertaken with implementing partners. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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  • Boards still not grasping cyber threats, say IT decision makers

    Key decision makers do not have confidence in their Boards’ ability to manage cyber security threats, according to the latest cyber security analysis from Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com). The global ‘Cyber Security Landscape’ survey of IT and Business decision makers found that almost half of respondents reported they believe their organisation’s board-level executives do not take cyber security as seriously as they should. This is despite 77% of respondents citing the C-suite, rather than the historic owner, the IT department, as being most accountable for cyber security management and decision making in their organisation.

    The survey equally found that just over 31% also reported they are very or extremely concerned their organisation will suffer a cyber-attack in the next year and a third (34%) say their organisation doesn’t have a cyber crisis management plan in place in the event of a breach. This lack of preparedness is especially striking in the light of the 12th May WannaCry ransom attack, which affected 150 countries in under 12 hours.

    Key findings:

    • Companies are struggling to adopt a risk-based approach: Although companies are now less concerned with merely complying with standards and are focussed on actually reducing the risk of a cyber attack, almost half (45%) agreed that assessing and managing these risks is their biggest challenge.
    • Third-party breaches are a growing concern: Just over a third (35%) of respondents said a third party cyber breach had affected their organisation and despite nine in ten respondents (93%) taking steps to evaluate their third parties’ cyber security measures, 53% said this was confined to  contractual measures.
    • Cyber attacks have major long-term effects: 4 in 10 respondents said a cyber attack has resulted in the misuse of sensitive or confidential information (43%) and a loss of customer information (41%).
       

    George Nicholls, Senior Partner based in Johannesburg at Control Risks commented:

    “The misalignment between treating cyber security as a technological issue or a business risk is not new. Yet, the survey shows that this misalignment remains a considerable and on-going concern for many organisations.”

    He continues:

    “Our advice is to always start with the threat. The way in which cyber threats are assessed and communicated throughout the business is key. This assessment should include the specific cyber threats to the organisation, how they could impact the business and what controls might mitigate them. After assessing the risks and understanding them, the organisation can then deal with these within its overall risk management strategy.”

    Organisations should ensure cyber security becomes a regular item on the board’s agenda that includes reviewing the external cyber threat landscape in conjunction with IT. Organisations also benefit from regular crisis management exercises that involve all relevant parties including the C-suite, IT, legal, communications and any other members of the crisis management team. These exercises ensure that all parties understand their roles and responsibilities and the potential implications of a cyber attack.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd.

    Note to Editors:
    To download the full report, please click here (http://APO.af/9ie260). We have infographics with the global results and with the specific results from African countries available.

    About Control Risks: 
    Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com) helps create organisations that are secure, compliant and resilient. We provide you with the insight to focus resources and ensure you are prepared to resolve issues and crises. 
    We believe that taking risks is essential to our clients’ success, so we go beyond problem-solving and give you the insight and intelligence you need to realise opportunities and grow.
    We have developed an unparalleled ability to bring order to chaos and reassurance to anxiety.

    About the survey:
    An independent global survey of 482 IT and business decision makers from organisations with over 2,000 employees from across private and public sectors in 20 countries. The survey was conducted between January and February 2017.

    For further information please contact: 
    Friederike Lyon, Marketing Director
    Friederike.Lyon@ControlRisks.com 
    +49 173 619 54 66

  • Deputy Minister Magwanishe arrives in Russia for Economic Forum

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Gratitude Bulelani Magwanishe arrived in Russia today where he is attending the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in St Petersburg, Russia from 1-3 June 2017. The SPIEF programme will include the BRICS Business Forum and Russia-Africa Round Table, where Deputy Minister Magwanishe will also be participating tomorrow.

    SPIEF is an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues facing Russia, Africa and BRICS, held with the direct support of the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin.

    Magwanishe says trade between South Africa and Russia has been enhanced recently by the imposed sanctions on Russia by both the European Union and Turkey allowing South Africa to capitalise on trade and Investment opportunities.

    “The last four years we had a trade deficit with Russia, but in 2016 our total trade was valued at R7.9 billion with a slight surplus in favour of South Africa,” he says.

    Magwanishe’s programme will include meetings with the President of St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Yuriy Burchakov, Head of Africa Business Initiative Squire Patton, Ms Nataliya Zaiser, and Chief Executive Office of Marine Express, Mr Andrey Kuzmin.

    SPIEF attracts international participants, including government and business leaders from the emerging economic powers, as well as leading global voices from academia, the media, and civil society.

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

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  • The 687th AU PSC meeting: Briefing by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism

    The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 687th meeting held in Addis Ababa on 23 May 2017, received a briefing by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism and adopted the following decision:

    Council,
    1.    Takes note of the presentations made by the AU Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism and Director of the ACRST, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey Esq, and the Executive Secretary of CISSA, Shemelis Semayat. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal, in their capacity as African Members of the United Nations Security Council (A3), and by the representatives of the European Union and the United Nations;

    2.    Recalls all its previous decisions and pronouncements on terrorism and violent extremism, particularly Communique PSC/PR/COMM. (DCL),adopted at its 650th meeting held on 17 January 2017; Communique PSC/PR/ COMM. 1 (DCXXVIII)  adopted at its 628th meeting held on 28 September 2016; Press Statement PSC/PR/BR (DXCII)  adopted at its 592nd meeting held on 19 April 2016; Communique PSC/ AHG/ COMM.1 (DLXXI)  adopted at its meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 29 January 2017; Press Statement PSC/PR/BR.2 (DLX)  adopted at its 560th meeting held on 26 November 2016 and Communique PSC/AHG/COMM (CDLV) adopted at its 455th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 2 September 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya;

    3.    Notes with serious concern that, in spite of the efforts being deployed by Member States and other stakeholders in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, the scourges continues to pose serious threats to peace, security and stability in some parts of the continent. Also notes with serious concern the growing capacity of terrorist organizations to finance their activities by engaging in smuggling, piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking and people smuggling and other types of transnational organized crime;

    4.    Stresses the importance for Member States to develop national and regional counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism strategies. In this regard, Council commends all Members States which have already developed their national counter-terrorism strategies and urges all those, which have not yet done so, to also do the same. In the same context, Council also commends those Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, which have already developed their own regional counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism  strategies and also urges those, which have not yet done so, to also do the same, including effective regulation of social media to prevent its abuse and criminal misuse by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

    5.    Emphasizes the imperative need, in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, to uphold the highest standards of human rights and International Humanitarian Law, bearing in mind the provisions of Article 3(1k) of the 2004 Protocol which is supplementary to the 1999 OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combatting of Terrorism ;

    6.    Underlines the importance for Member States to develop the necessary legal frameworks, with a view to enhance the effectiveness in their efforts in combatting of terrorism and violent extremism. In this context, Council commends those Member States which have already put in place necessary legal frameworks and urges those Member States, which have not yet done so, to adopt a legal framework to this end. In this respect, Council calls on the ACSRT to continue providing technical support to Member States in their efforts towards developing legal framework against terrorism and violent extremism, in particular through the African Model Law on Terrorism adopted by the 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union Malabo, 30 June – 1 July 2011;

    7.    Reaffirms the AU conviction that terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism can only be effectively addressed through the use of a holistic approach that combine security and military action and, in the longer term, economic and social development. In this respect, Council urges once more Member States to deploy necessary efforts and to effectively address the root causes and the underlying conditions that give rise to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, including poverty, marginalization and youth unemployment,  as well as economic, social and political exclusion;

    8.    Emphasizes, once again, the need for more concerted efforts by Member States to dry up the sources of funding for terrorist and criminal groups and to neutralize their modus operandi. Council reiterates its strong condemnation of all form of financing for terrorism and violent extremism, including payment of ransom to terrorist groups. In this regard, Council calls for the early convening, by the AU Commission, of the High-level meeting of Member States Experts on Financing of Terrorism;

    9.    Underscores the importance for Member States to ensure effective State control over the breath and length of their territories, in order to avoid the creation of ungoverned spaces that are often exploited by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

    10.    Emphasizes the importance of augmenting the Anti-Terrorism Fund, with a view to addressing the issues relating to resource shortfalls in AU institutions, so as to enable them to more effectively discharge their respective mandates;

    11.    Underlines the imperative of religious and cultural tolerance. In this regard, Council reaffirms the need for alternative narratives and effective government regulation, as well as control of all education curricula at all levels, namely, from kindergarten to the highest institutions of learning, with a view to preventing infiltration of these learning institutions by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

    12.    Acknowledges that no country can unilaterally confront and defeat terrorism and violent extremism. In this regard, Council underscores the importance of timely and coordinated responses to early warnings.  Council also underscores the importance of intelligence sharing and regional, as well as continental collective security arrangements in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Council commends efforts deployed by Member States, with a view to put in place regional and trans regional security arrangements, such as the Nouakchott Process and the G5 Sahel in the sahelo-saharan region, the Djibouti Process with IGAD Member States and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in the Lake Chad region;

    13.    Commends the ACSRT for deploying efforts aimed at building the capacity of Member States to more effectively prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism. Council also commends CISSA for the continued provision of capacity building support to the Member States’ services.

    14.    Further commends the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali national defence and security forces; the MNJTF against the Boko Haram and the Regional Cooperation Initiative against the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), for the achievements recorded to date in the fight against the scourges of terrorism and violent extremism;

    15.    Expresses sincere gratitude to all AU partners, particularly the United Nations and the EU for the continued counter-terrorism capacity building support being provided to Member States;

    16.    Reiterates the urgent need to fully activate its Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism. Council also reiterates the urgent need to the operationalize the African Union Special Fund on the Prevention and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa, pursuant to Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec.614 (XXVII) adopted during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Kigali, in July 2016;

    17.    Requests the ACSRT to work closely with Member States with a view to reconstitute its Focal Points for liaison and coordination, which must be institutions, rather than individual civil servants, that are invested with the required competence and mandate to access information and decision-makers in the relevant intelligence and security services;

    18.    Also requests the ACSRT, CISSA and the AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) to work with partners and other stakeholders towards developing a 5-year strategic roadmap for the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism;

    19.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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  • World Health Organization response to humanitarian needs in Brak Alshaati, Libya

    The World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Libya delivered on 28 May 2017, 5 (five) Emergency Trauma Kits on 28 June to treat 500 moderate and serious injuries to Brak Alshaati (Alzwaya Center and Bergen Hospital). Recent conflict in Brak Alshaati killed about 140 people and inflicted more than 200 moderate to serious injuries. The World Health Organization confirmed continued humanitarian commitment and support to all over Libya.

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

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  • UNHCR refers Kenya staff to police after internal investigation finds fraud at Kakuma camp

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is implementing a number of measures to strengthen management and oversight of its Kakuma operation in Kenya in light of an internal investigation that found fraud and other serious misconduct.

    UNHCR’s investigation was prompted after allegations were received of fraud, corruption, threats and intimidation at the camp. 

    The investigation confirmed the involvement of five staff, against whom a range of actions have now been taken. These include, in three cases, referral by the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs to the Kenyan police for criminal prosecution – so far resulting in one arrest. Two of the five have resigned, and disciplinary processes are under way against the remaining three. 

    UNHCR has separately launched an independent management review which has made a number of recommendations to accompany the disciplinary actions being taken against those found to have committed malfeasance.

    As further measures to address the situation, and in parallel with the investigation, we immediately suspended normal resettlement submissions from Kakuma and reviewed processes, although no further irregularities have been found. An information campaign is under way, and we are pursuing matters with our partners, including working with them to carry out their own investigations and to deepen anti-fraud awareness and prevention measures.

    “Protecting lives is at the core of UNHCR’s work, which makes the betrayal of trust we have seen in this case so galling,” said UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees George Okoth-Obbo. “The management review has provided us an understanding of what happened and allows us now to enhance a number of preventive, assurance, response and corrective measures in management, oversight and operational delivery.”

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

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  • Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov’s meeting with Head of Sudan’s Presidential Administration Taha Osman Al-Hussein

    On May 30, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov met with Head of Sudan’s Presidential Administration Taha Osman Al-Hussein.

    The officials exchanged views on current regional issues, primarily the situation in Syria and Libya, and confirmed their countries’ resolve to strengthen their foreign policy cooperation in international and regional affairs, including conflict resolution in South Sudan and normalisation in Darfur based on international law.

    They also discussed key issues of Russian-Sudanese relations and focused on the further development of mutually beneficial bilateral trade, and economic and cultural cooperation. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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