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“Africa’s time is now”: Canadian Government and Businesses Urged to Invest in an Emerging Continent
June 20, 2016 | 0 Comments
Photo: AfDB African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina brought Africa to the Americas, and the AfDB to Canada, as the co-chair of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas - Conference of Montreal.

Photo: AfDB
African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina brought Africa to the Americas, and the AfDB to Canada, as the co-chair of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas – Conference of Montreal.

The time is ripe to invest in Africa and Canadian investors should look for long-term opportunities on the continent. This was the resounding message emerging from a VIP breakfast meeting attended by African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the sidelines of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas – Conference of Montreal.

“Africa is a very resilient continent. We are looking at some of the fastest-growing economies in the world: Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire,” Adesina told the 30 or so invités gathered Wednesday morning at the downtown Montreal law offices of the global firm Dentons.

“Africa is growing at 3.6%, the global economic growth is 3.2%. The United States is growing at 1.9%, Europe is growing at 1.5%, Japan is growing at 0.5%. Africa is doing reasonably well in a really tough environment.”

Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien echoed Adesina’s optimism for the continent. “The figures that Dr. Adesina revealed show that Africa is a place where growth will come. You have a continent of 800 million people. It’s a huge continent that is extremely rich in resources.”

Chretien said on his travels in Africa, he was struck by the enormous energy potential in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The Congo River and the potential for electricity that they have in that country is greater than all the electricity produced in Quebec. And there is enough power potential there to provide electricity to the 800 million people of the African continent. The potential is fantastic.”

“Africa is doing well. It is resilient,” Adesina said. “Times are tough, but it’s tough for everybody. I think the forecast remains very strong; however, we have to make sure it’s shared growth, that it’s a more inclusive growth process.”

 The greatest challenge facing Africa today is youth unemployment, Adesina continued. Between 10 and 12 million young Africans enter the workforce each year, yet only three million formal jobs are created annually. At the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings in May, the Bank launched Jobs for Youth in Africa, an initiative that aims to create 25 million jobs for young people over the next 10 years.

“Africa will be the continent of tomorrow. In my view, it’s a good place to invest,” said Chretien, adding that Canadians have historically worked well with African countries.

Chretien said that, sadly, for a decade, Canada was much less engaged with Africa. Those years are lost, he said. However, he said the Canadian Government must now work very hard to re-engage with African countries. “We had built a good reputation in Africa. It will come back. Now we have to go back and be more present in Africa. We should not look at Africa like it needs help; we should look at opportunities for investment.”

“Whether you are investing in energy, renewable energy, real estate, or infrastructure, we are waiting for you in Africa,” Adesina said. “The African Development Bank stands ready to work with the private sector. I’d like to talk to Canadians about energy and what we can do to work together.”

The breakfast, which was hosted by Dentons Canada Chair Michel Brunet, was also attended by Francis Gatare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board; Peter Gerber, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo; the AfDB Executive Director for Canada, Hau Sing Tse; representatives from the diplomatic corps, charitable organizations and the private sector.

*Allafrica

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Africa: Tedros Campaign to Head WHO Launched by African Union in Geneva
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (left), at the Geneva press conference launching his candidacy to head the World Health Organization, with Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.and African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (left), at the Geneva press conference launching his candidacy to head the World Health Organization, with Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.and African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Geneva — On this sunny Tuesday in the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world, Africa took center stage presenting a united front in support of the candidature of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to head the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, who previously served as his country’s health minister from 2005 to 2012, was designated at the January meeting of the African Union summit as the continent’s sole candidate to become the next WHO director general.

 At today’s press conference at the Geneva headquarters of WHO, the candidate was flanked by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who chairs the African Union Commission, and Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.

Foreign Minister Tedros told assembled reporters and observers that a fresh view is needed to efficiently tackle the world health challenges. While noting that Africa has never had the opportunity to lead the UN agency, he emphasized that his candidacy is based on merit as demonstrated by a respected track record both at home and in the international arena.

A leaflet distributed at the press conference included an hearty endorsement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “Dr Tedros’ signature approach takes innovation, collaboration and community ownership as its core principles. The transformative changes he brought to Ethiopia’s health sector are testimonies to his unique leadership style that gives primacy to county ownership and adaptive home-grown solutions,” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying.

 “Through his leadership of global organizations, he has introduced reforms that helped them live up to the challenges of the day. I am proud to nominate Dr. Tedros, a transformational leader and unrelenting champion of global health, for the WHO Director General post.”

Selection of the next WHO director general takes place in May 2017. In the intervening 12 months, Tedros said he will convey his platform to the world, key elements of which include universal access to basic healthcare, emphasis on policies to improve women and girls health, emergency-response readiness and consolidation of the WHO funding structure.

The press conference was held on the margins of this week’s World Health Assembly, the decision-making body for WHO which includes delegations from all the 194-member states.

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Africa: AfDB to Create 25 Million Jobs in Africa
May 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

Photo: The New Times Jobseekers look for job opportunities on a notice board displayed (file photo).

Photo: The New Times
Jobseekers look for job opportunities on a notice board displayed (file photo).

Kampala — The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is set to unveil strategies of creating 25 million jobs for young people over the 10 years in its member states.

The strategies are contained in the group’s new agenda for the continent’s economic transformation that are to be revealed at this year’s annual meetings scheduled to take place from May 23 to 27 in Lusaka, Zambia.

Unemployment in sub Saharan/African continent as a whole has an estimated 11 million young Africans expected to join the labour market every year for the next decade (World Bank data). Therefore, creating millions of productive, well-paying jobs will be vital to boost economic growth to significantly cut poverty, and create shared prosperity in Africa.

In an annual meetings preview video message, the president AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said participants will examine burning issues in Africa and focus on the bank’s five new priority areas, (High 5s), designed to scale up its operations for the continent’s transformation.

These High 5s are: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

“Each of those is high on the agenda in Lusaka,” Dr Adesina said, noting that three of them will take a major leap forward as the bank unveils new strategies, and a programme to create 25 million jobs for young people over the next decade.

 “All of them need to be debated and owned, as much by governments, as by business, as by civil society, as by the press, as by the people of Africa. The agenda is huge: We want to see nothing less than the social and economic transformation of Africa. We want to unleash massive potential for Africa and for the world,” he said.

During the annual meeting, a central theme of the discussion will be energy, considered to be the continent’s Achilles’ heel and the central theme of the Annual Meetings -‘Energy and Climate Change.’ This topmost priority of the High 5s speaks to the bank’s determination to tackle the severe energy deficit in the continent where 650 million people don’t have access to electricity.

Uganda is among the 54 member states of the AfDB and ADB is one of the multilateral donors financing the country’s development projects through its soft window of the group (AfDB).

In his recent speech at the World Economic Forum Kigali Rwanda, Dr Adesina said “Africa cannot industrialise; it cannot be competitive unless we solve the energy problem, he noted, adding that “Today, 645 million people have no access to electricity in Africa.”

He said lack of affordable and reliable access to lighting and power inhibits businesses from growing, new jobs from being created or provision of critical services and pledged that the Bank would invest $12.5 billion in five years to boost the continent’s energy capacity.

*Source The Monitor,Allafrica

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Alain Ebobissé appointed Chief Executive Officer of Africa50
April 9, 2016 | 0 Comments
Alain Ebobissé

Alain Ebobissé

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, April 7, 2016 – The Board of Directors of Africa50 is pleased to announce the appointment of Alain Ebobissé as Chief Executive Officer of Africa50, the Pan-African infrastructure investment platform capitalized by the African Development Bank and, so far, by 22 African countries with an initial capitalization of US $830 million.

 The Africa50 fund was created at the initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and officially launched in Morocco in September 2014. Its initial capital of US $830 million was provided by the AfDB and contributions from 22 countries.

“I am delighted to welcome Mr. Ebobissé to Africa50,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Africa50. “His extensive experience and recognized global leadership in infrastructure development will be critical as we build Africa50 into an effective and successful infrastructure investment house widely recognized as a leader in infrastructure project development and investment in Africa, with an excellent reputation and credibility within the continent and beyond.”

A citizen of Cameroon, Alain Ebobissé is a renowned specialist in the financing and development of infrastructure and knows the African continent well.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead Africa50 and serve Africa and to work with Government partners and private investors to develop and fund a large number of bankable infrastructure projects in the continent on the basis of strong commercial discipline and sound investment principles,” stated Ebobissé. “I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and to building a highly skilled and experienced team of infrastructure investment professionals that will enable us to help transform the African infrastructure landscape,” he added.

 “Mr. Ebobissé is well recognized global leader in the area of infrastructure finance and development. He has an impressive track record of global leadership in successful development of private, and public-private infrastructure development, structuring, financing and equity investment in emerging markets,” said Adesina.

 Prior to joining Africa50, Ebobissé served as the Global Head for the World Bank Group’s Global Infrastructure Project Development Fund (“IFC InfraVentures”) where he oversees a team of highly skilled and experienced infrastructure specialists and leads the development of and investment in several infrastructure projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

 Ebobissé has led the design, structuring and implementation of IFC InfraVentures from its inception. Ebobissé also serves as Chief Investment Officer in the Global Infrastructure and Natural Resources Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, based in Washington. Prior to joining the IFC in 1998, held several positions in the financial services industry in France, including as Deputy Head of Project and Structured Finance at Caisse des Depots et Consignations, based in Paris. Ebobissé holds a Master of Business Administration from the International School for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 In order to finance its infrastructure, it is estimated that Africa would need US $95 billion per year. In 2012, African Heads of State therefore issued a joint declaration on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) calling for the creation of innovative solutions to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of infrastructure in Africa. It was this call that led to the launch of Africa50, a corporation operating on commercial terms with the support of the AfDB and several African countries.

  Africa50 is a specialized international financial institution established by the African Development Bank and African countries to help accelerate infrastructure development in Africa. Africa50 held its Constitutive General Assembly on the 29th of July 2015 in Casablanca, Morocco. The countries who have so far committed funds to Africa50 are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, The Gambia and Togo. While the first closing was available only to African countries, it is anticipated that the second and subsequent closings will be available not only to African countries that are yet to invest in Africa50, but also non-sovereign investors both in Africa and outside Africa with a target to raise US $3 billionover the medium term to invest in commercially viable infrastructure projects across Africa. Africa50 is incorporated in Casablanca, Morocco and enjoys certain privileges and immunities. Africa50 is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical, environment and social responsibility. 

*AFDB

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AfDB scouts for viable energy models for power-starved Africa
April 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

Kenya-wind-energyAbidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, April 1, 2016 – A major preoccupation of the just-concluded visit to Asia by an African Development Bank team led by its President, Akinwumi Adesina, was the search for an efficient energy system that can be easily adapted in some of the most energy-starved African countries.

Energy is at the top of the Bank’s High 5 priorities – Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for Africans. It seeks to tackle one of the most daunting challenges to the continent’s development – energy poverty among its 640 million people. More than half of the continent’s population do not have access to electricity.

To reverse this situation, the Bank unveiled its New Deal on Energy for Africa, and launched a Transformative Partnership on Energy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2016.

In this regard, the Bank has since begun to identify reliable partners and businesses that can help to achieve universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

Two important entities visited during the Bank mission to Asia were the Isogo Power Station in Yokohama, Japan, and Seoul Thermal Power in Korea. Both plants are among the world’s best examples of the use of clean coal technology to produce electricity.

Isogo, for instance, demonstrates that it is possible to build a 600 MW coal-powered electricity plant over a 12-hectare piece of land in four years that can provide almost the same amount of power currently consumed in Nigeria. Such a development would be transformative in those parts of Africa that enjoy only the rare glow of an occasional lightbulb amidst a sea of darkness.

It also serves as a viable proposition for the use of omnipresent but despised coal that can enable poor nations to deliver affordable energy to millions of people with funding from multilateral development institutions that are averse to funding power generation from fossil fuels.

The Isogo thermal power station comprises two 600-MW plants upgraded in 2002 and 2009, respectively, replacing their predecessors built in the 1960s, and doubling power generation and efficiency.

The plants were built by J-POWER, a wholesale power generator and wire company established by the Japanese government in 1952 and privatized in 2004. Owned by Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (EPDC), J-POWER and distributes wholesale energy from principally hydroelectric and fossil-fueled plants to 10 utilities located across Japan.

Its attractiveness for some African countries derives from the “build, scrap, build” approach, which makes it possible to replace existing plants without disruption of electricity provision; effective territorial space management and efficient delivery of clean energy.

According to J-POWER officials, inside space-saving tower-type boilers, the compact plant burns pulverized coal to heat water flowing through thousands of narrow pipes, which channel the steam to turbines. In the more advanced Unit 2, this generates a main steam pressure of 25 mega pascals at a temperature of 600 °C, after which the steam is then recycled and reheated to 620 °C. (The steam in Unit 1 runs at 600 °C and is recycled and reheated to 610 °C.)

This high-temperature, high-pressure process is called ultra-supercritical (USC) steam generation. The critical point is the temperature and pressure at which water and steam become indistinguishable, and USC steam is well past this point. The higher temperature and pressure make the plant’s operation more efficient at converting heat to electricity.

Thus the plant can achieve a gross thermal efficiency as high as 45%, resulting in 17% reduction in carbon dioxide.

For their part, the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and Korea Midland Power Corporation pride themselves on state-of-the-art power generation and distribution technologies at home and abroad.

For instance, KEPCO’s 1.5% and 2.03% transmission and distribution loss rates, respectively, and 10.26 minutes per year household blackout rate would be a welcome change for those energy impoverished regions in Africa.

*AFDB

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AfDB President rounds up Asian tour in Beijing with firm commitments for support
March 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
AFDB President Adesina

AFDB President Adesina

The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, departed Beijing on Tuesday night at the end of a three-nation Asian tour, which took him and his delegation to  Japan (March 24-26), Korea (March 26-28) and China (March 28-29).

These visits have focused on consultation with influential public and private entities in these three important non-regional members of the Bank Group on the Bank’s mission and future development programmes.

Being his first visit to these countries since he assumed office as the 8th elected President of the Group on September 1, 2015, Adesina used the opportunity to thank the governments for their support to the Bank. He also highlighted the areas where investment of public and private financing would result in win-win situations for both the Bank and its partners while accelerating Africa’s development.

Adesina unveiled the Bank’s High 5 priorities (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the living conditions of the people of Africa), which were unanimously received by the political and business leaders who held discussions with the Bank’s delegation during the visits.

China’s Vice-Premier, Ma Kai said the High 5s provide China and the Bank common ground to work for Africa’s development noting that the two sides have always supported each other in good and bad times.

In the same vein, the President of the Silk Road Fund, Wang Yanzhi said the Fund was focusing on the same domains as the High 5 priorities. He expressed a sense of renewed vigour to work with the AfDB for the good of the continent.

The delegation also had a working lunch with the Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, and interacted with several other development finance entities such as the chief executives of China Eximbank, China Development Bank, China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Company as well as China-Africa Development Fund.

Most of the cooperation commitments discussed at the meetings will be concretized at the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Bank’s staff involved in Japan, Korea and China will be very activate in the coming days refreshing MOUs and writing the terms of new cooperation agreements, a member of the delegation said.

*AFDB

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AfDB President Woos Japanese Private Businesses to Africa
March 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
AfDB President Adesina

AfDB President Adesina

The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday, 24 March 2016 began a two-day visit in Tokyo where he applauded the government’s support to the Bank and underscored the need for more Japanese private investments in Africa.

Leading a team of senior Bank staff, Adesina met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda; the President of Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka; the Chair of the Sasakawa Group, Jiro Hanyu and the Executive Vice President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Katsumi Hirano, as well as several other business leaders.

He thanked the government for the immense support to the AfDB and to Africa, noting that the Bank will continue to count on the country in the forth-coming replenishment of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group established in 1972.

Japan is the third largest shareholder of the AfDB after Nigeria and the United States in the first and second position respectively; as well as the highest contributor to the ADF.

For instance, JICA, which is Japan’s bilateral agency for official development assistance, has been forthcoming in the Bank’s co-financing programmes contributing US$2 billion to the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) and Official Development Assistance to the tune  of US$ 15 billion in 2014. It provides concession loans and technical cooperation grants through its 92 overseas offices, 26 of which are located in Africa.

Cooperation between Japan and Africa can only grow stronger as the continent continues to demonstrate resilience to internal and external shocks while posting an appreciable 4.5% growth projected to even rise further above global trends despite the fall in commodity prices and other difficulties.

AfDB President said the Japanese private sector stood to gain by investing in quality infrastructure that Africa badly needs at this point, especially in the energy, agriculture and even health sectors, adding that the Bank would play a supporting role by buying down some of the risks associated with the African private sector.

The implementation of the Bank’s High 5s priorities (Light up and power Africa, feed Africa, integrate Africa, industrialize Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa) would certainly open up investment opportunities for companies determined to do business in Africa.

Besides, a recent study conducted by JETRO on Japanese-affiliated firms in the Middle East and Africa, showed that 55.6% of the respondents intend to expand their business in the next one of two years. Another 52.3% produced a surplus.

President Adesina and the team used the opportunity to take a ride on the 15-KM Yurikamome rail Mass Transit System on Tokyo Bay to assess its viability as a possible solution to mass transport and urbanization challenges across Africa.

The team also visited the Bank’s Representation Office for Asia (ASRO) opened in Tokyo in 2012 as a bridge between Africa and the Bank’s four Asian non-regional member countries –   China, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Key members of the team that will also visit South Korea and China include Tomoya Asano, the Executive Director for Japan, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Brazil and Argentina;  Kevin Urama, Senior Adviser to the President; Kapil Kapoor, Acting Vice President, Sector Operations;  Sipho Moyo, Director of Cabinet and Chief of Staff; Desire Vencatachellum, Director, Resource Mobilization and External Finance Department; Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, and Caroline Manlan, Officer in Charge of Asia Desk, among others.

AFDB

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African Union says it will send rights observers and military monitors to violence-plagued Burundi after visit by 5 African presidents
February 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*

South African President Jacob Zuma (R) addresses a news conference next to Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, February 26, 2016, after an Africa Union-sponsored dialogue in an attempt to end months of violence. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

South African President Jacob Zuma (R) addresses a news conference next to Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, February 26, 2016, after an Africa Union-sponsored dialogue in an attempt to end months of violence. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The African Union said on Saturday it will deploy rights observers and military monitors to violence-plagued Burundi following a visit to the country by five African leaders.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza supports the deployment of 100 military monitors and 100 human rights observers, the AU said in a statement. Nkurunziza had previously opposed the AU’s decision to deploy peacekeepers, saying they would be treated as an invading force.

The leaders of Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritania, Senegal and South Africa visited Burundi this week to encourage peace talks between Nkurunziza and his opponents.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who was nominated by a regional bloc last year to mediate the Burundi crisis, is expected to convene all-inclusive talks, the AU statement said.

Burundi has been wracked by violence since April 2015, when Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, which he eventually won despite violent street protests.

More than 400 people have been killed in Burundi, according to the U.N, and a new rebel group has been formed against Nkurunziza.

The capital, Bujumbura, has descended into “new levels of lawlessness” as Burundian authorities target perceived opponents with increased brutality, Human Right Watch reported this week. Burundi’s security forces have tortured or ill-treated suspected opponents so severely during arrests or in detention that some almost died, the New York-based rights watchdog said, citing beatings using rocks, bricks, gun butts and metal rods.

“Whereas dead bodies on the streets of Bujumbura were a daily occurrence in the second half of 2015, many abuses are now taking place under the radar, with security forces secretly taking people away and refusing to account for them,” it said in a statement Thursday.

*Source AP

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The African Union appoints the High-Level Delegation to Burundi
February 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
New African Union Chair Person Idriss Derby

New African Union Chair Person Idriss Derby

The Chairperson of the African Union (AU), H.E Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad, recalls the decision taken by the 26th Ordinary Session of the  Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held from 30 to 31 January 2016, to dispatch a High-Level delegation to Burundi for consultations with the Burundian Government and other Burundian stakeholders.

The Chairperson of the Union, after consultations, announces the composition of the High- Level delegation as follows, representing the five regions :

– H.E Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (North Africa region);

– H.E Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa (Southern Africa region)

– H.E Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal (West Africa region),

– H.E Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Republic of Gabon (Central Africa region),

– H.E Hailemariam Desalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa Region)

It is to be recalled that the mandate of the High-Level delegation is to consult with the Government, as well as with other Burundian actors, on the inclusive dialogue and the deployment of the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi (MAPROBU), if accepted by the Government of Burundi

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The 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council Positions Agenda 2063 as key element of discussion
January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

19590-28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_councilThe African Union (AU) Executive Council has emphasized the importance of upholding human rights especially women’s rights in Africa for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa under the Agenda 2063 framework.

This came at the opening of the 28th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council today 27 January 2016, at the AU Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”.

The opening ceremony was attended by a high level gathering that included: H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma AUC Chairperson, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez, AU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, AU Commissioners, officials and invited guests.

Addressing the distinguished delegates at the opening ceremony, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma reiterated the AU vision which is to build an Africa that is driven by its citizens and stressed its relevance to the theme of this year, “African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women”. The Chairperson recalled aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 which clearly states the African Union position of achieving “an Africa whose development is people driven , relying on the potential of the African people especially its women, youth and caring for children”.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma emphasized that Agenda 2063 is not only the program of the AU but also for the various diversities of African people from all walks of life, the poets, singers, dancers, youth, women and girls , private sector, farmers, entrepreneurs the children of Africa and all African citizens, men and women, young and old, urban and rural as well as the diaspora.

Dr Dlamini Zuma recognised efforts by the youth in entrepreneurship, innovation, universities, and civil society; tackling Africa’s problems in innovative ways. She however recalled that the report on the critical skills for Agenda 2063 from the just concluded Mekele retreat highlighted a huge skills gap. The AUC Chair called for discussions with Africa’s private sector on industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure development, movement of goods, people and services among others.

In relation to this year’s theme on Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said since the launch of the first African Gender Scorecard, countries have taken steps to do better and that in 2016, the gender score card would focus on indicators related to human rights.

Dr. Dlamini in her closing remarks commended the resilience of the people and governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the continental and global solidarity that put an end to the Ebola epidemic.

Hon. Simbarashe S.  Mumbengegwi Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chair of the Executive Council in his opening remarks called for domestication of Agenda 2063 and continued commitment towards the fulfilment of the African Vision. He further added that the issue of terrorism which has caused loss of lives and property has negatively affected the socio-economic development of some parts of the continent hence the need to unite against all forms of terrorism.

28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_council_2Mr. Mumbengegwi in his conclusion congratulated the AU member states for conducting successful elections in the past year, which he said reflect the collective commitment to democracy and good governance. He also seized the opportunity to inform his colleagues that Zimbabwe’s tenure as Chair of the African Union comes to an end during this 26th AU Summit, and went on to further attribute the successes achieved during the year to the cooperation of the Executive Council, the PRC members, the Commission and other AU institutions (See complete speech of the Zimbabwe Minister of Foreign Affairs on the AU Website: au.int ).

The United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez underscored the need for structural transformation to boost Africa’s Economic advancement. Mr. Lopez condemned the genocide in Rwanda.

In his conclusion Mr. Carlos Lopez called on member states to prioritise putting an end to armed conflicts. (See complete speech of Mr. Carlos Lopez on the AU Website: au.int ).

The Executive Council meeting is the second of three statutory meetings to be held under the on-going 26th summit of the African Union, holding from 21 to 31 January 2016. The first meeting was that of the Permanent Representatives Committee which was held from 21 to 23 January. The final meeting of the summit will be that of the Heads of State and Government to take place from 30-31 January.

For two days, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Relations and other ministers or authorities duly designated will convene in closed session to deliberate on the different items on their agenda including the consideration of the report of the Permanent Representatives Committee.

The Executive Council will prepare the agenda of the Heads of State with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Assembly.

*AU

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Dr. Donald Kaberuka, outgoing President of the African Development Bank, appointed as High Representative for the AU Peace Fund
January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
AU Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma with Donald Kaberuka

AU Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma with Donald Kaberuka

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has appointed Dr. Donald Kaberuka, as the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund. It is to be recalled that, at its meeting held on 26 September 2015, in New York, the Peace and Security Council, meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, expressed its support to the initiative of the Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a High Representative for the Peace Fund, whose mandate shall include mobilizing additional resources for AU peace and security-related activities, and requested her to expedite this appointment.

The Chairperson of the Commission, through the appointment of Dr. Kaberuka, is sending a strong signal to the international community on the AU’s commitment to work towards finding sustained, predictable and flexible funding mechanisms to support AU-led peace operations, as expressed in the Common African Position on the Report of UN High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and subsequent Report of the United nations Secretary General entitled the future of UN Peace Operations: implementation of the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.

Donald Kaberuka, a Rwandan economist and former Minister of Finance, is also the outgoing President of the African Development Bank Group, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Kaberuka is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum, the Mandela Institute (Minds) and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He has also joined the Center for Public Leadership Community as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence. Dr. Kaberuka will bring to the AU his globally appreciated knowledge on Development financing, as well as his well-known dedication to Africa.

 

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The AU condemns the terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou and expresses its full solidarity with and support to the Government and the people of Burkina Faso
January 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
Dr Dlamini Zuma

Dr Dlamini Zuma

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, leant with great dismay about the terrorist attacks yesterday, 15 January 2016, in various locations in Burkina Faso, against a military post in Tin Akof and against a hotel and a restaurant in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The Chairperson of the Commission strongly condemns these despicable and cowardly terrorist attacks that caused many casualties and injuries among the civilian population and the Defence and Security Forces. On behalf of the AU, she presents her heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes speedy recovery to the injured and expresses the full solidarity of the AU with the people and the Government of Burkina Faso.

The Chairperson of the Commission stresses that these attacks take place at a time when the new authorities of Burkina Faso, emanating from the elections of 29 November 2015, which put an end to the Transition, initiated in November 2014, usher in a new era of democracy, justice, reconciliation and sustainable development, with the support of the countries of the region and the international community as a whole.

The Chairperson of the Commission stresses, once again, the imperative need for strengthened and always better coordinated collective African and international efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa. She reiterates her call to the Member States to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the relevant African and international instruments. In this respect, she reaffirms the vital importance of establishing, quickly, an Intervention Force to be deployed in northern Mali, to fight against the criminal and terrorist groups operating from that region towards other countries of the Sahel, as envisaged in the Conclusions of the meeting, held in Bamako, on 4 September 2015, by the Defence Ministers of the Member countries of the Nouakchott Process on Enhanced Security Cooperation and Operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region. On this painful occasion, she reiterates the determination of the AU to continue to support Burkina Faso in its efforts towards reconciliation and reform.

*APO

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