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Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) supports development of Algeria’s energy sector through two loan facilities to Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation worth USD 250 million
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO, APICORP
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO, APICORP

Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint

DAMMAM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2019/ — Loans to be used to carry out maintenance works on Sonatrach’s refinery in Italy, its first overseas investment in Europe, and purchase of Aramco crude; Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/), a multilateral development financial institution, agreed to two loan facilities worth a combined USD 250 million with Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation (SPIC), a subsidiary of Sonatrach International Holding Corporation owned by Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned national oil company.

The first loan, a USD 100 million bilateral pre-financing facility, will be used to fund the maintenance of the Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana complex in Sicily, Italy, which Sonatrach acquired from ExxonMobil in December 2018. The second loan, a USD 150 million unfunded and syndicated letter of credit, is for the purchase Saudi Aramco crude oil by Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana.

Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO of APICORP, said: “APICORP is committed to supporting and financing Sonatrach in its first overseas acquisition. This is part of our mission to continue playing an active role in the development of our member countries’ broader energy sector and contribute to diversification and geographic expansion. As a trusted financial partner to the region’s energy sector, we remain steadfast in our mission to continue exploring opportunities in Algeria and other member states and provide solutions that drive innovation and bolster the sustainability of this vital industry.”

Nordine Bouteldja, Managing Director of SPIC commented, “Our strategic investment in international refining through Sonatrach Raffinera Italiana will contribute to meeting local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies. This is of key importance to our efforts to diversify our energy assets and secure reliable supplies of crude oil, as part of our drive to meet local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies to the domestic market.”

Located in Augusta, Sicily, Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana is Sonatrach’s first overseas acquisition. The integrated refinery complex, which has access to the major global shipping routes through the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a conversion rate of 200,000 bpd and can produce a wide range of downstream products, including gasoline, distillates, fuel oils, lubricants, asphalts and chemicals.

Earlier this year, Sonatrach designated APICORP as one of a select group of financial institutions to provide advisory on project management and financing-related matters.

International legal firm Allen & Ovary’s Paris office was the legal advisor to APICORP on the transactions. 

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/) is a multilateral development financial institution established in 1974 by an international treaty between the ten Arab oil exporting countries. It aims to support and foster the development of the Arab world’s energy sector and petroleum industries. APICORP makes equity investments and provides project finance, trade finance, advisory and research. APICORP is rated ‘Aa2 with a stable outlook’ by Moody’s, and is headquartered in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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African Development Bank commits €20 million to boost private sector competitiveness in Cabo Verde
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a €20 million loan to strengthen the private sector’s role in Cabo Verde’s economic growth. 

Bank funding will support the second phase of the Private Sector Competitiveness and Local Economic Development Programme (PSC-LED-II).  The programme will extend fiscal 2019 budget support to the government of Cabo Verde as it undertakes reforms to boost domestic productivity and the country’s overall economy.

Specific initiatives of PSC-LED-II include promoting the competitiveness environment through the adoption of a revised commercial companies code, key legislation for judicial insolvency as well as a strategy of transition from the informal to the formal sector. The African Development Bank project partners include the World Bank and the European Union, as well as the governments of Luxembourg and Portugal.

The project advances the Bank’s aim to industrialize Africa and to improve the lives of its people, two of its High 5 development priorities.

Approval of the loan by the Bank’s Board of Directors signaled the successful completion of the first phase of the project, which set out a project framework and proposed reform measures. 

“The overall performance of the programme is good and we continue to work closely with authorities and with development partners,” said Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Director of the Bank’s Governance and Public Financial Management Coordination Office.

The planned reforms aim to strengthen Cabo Verde’s private sector by tackling the Atlantic island nation’s score on a number of competitiveness and economic development indicators. These include increasing credit to the private sector from 63% in 2016 to 70% of GDP in 2020; improving Cabo Verde’s score on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business index; and boosting labor contribution to value added growth from 1.1% in 2014-2017 to 2% in 2017-2020.

A few hours after the approval of the project by the Board of Directors, an agreement was signed at the Bank’s headquarters between Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank’s Director General for West Africa and the Ambassador of Cabo Verde in Senegal, Felino de Carvalho.

“The signing of this loan agreement affirms the Bank’s commitment to supporting Cabo Verde’s economic advancement.  We have every confidence the government will continue the vital reforms needed to strengthen the private sector and decentralization.” Akin-Olugbade noted.

*AFDB

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Commonwealth and United Nations sign new agreement
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammedhave formally committed their organisations to work more closely together.

The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding today at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in Marlborough House, London. The document outlines how the two organisations will work together on pressing global issues such as governance and peace, sustainable development, inclusive growth, climate change, ending violence against women and girls and sports for development and peace.

In a joint statement, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said:

“The United Nations and Commonwealth have long shared a genuine relationship based on shared goals and values.

“We are today proud to enhance this friendship and take it to a new level which the delivery of the 2030 Agenda demands. 

“As we turn to a new decade of action, the challenges we face in order to deliver on the world that we want by 2030 demand we address sustainable development, climate change, improving governance and promoting peace.”

The Commonwealth is committed to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and has made particular progress on the goals of gender equality and tackling climate change.

Across the Commonwealth, gender parity is close to being achieved in primary schools. According to research undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2018/2019, a girl is as likely to attend primary school as a boy, and in some Commonwealth countries, more likely to.

Working on tackling climate change and ocean conservation is also an area where the Commonwealth has had a significant influence. Last year, all 53 nations in the Commonwealth, covering one third of the world’s oceans, signed the Blue Charter a landmark agreement to actively co-operate on ocean governance. So far 12 nations have stepped up to lead action groups on areas such as marine pollution, ocean acidification and coral reef protection.

The agreement stresses that ‘prevention’ will underpin each of the collaborative areas and leaves the door open for additional areas of co-operation at a later date.

*Commonwealth

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COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

There was standing room only as ministers, diplomats, activists and journalists gathered at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid to mark Africa Day at the COP 25 climate meeting.

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of climate change in Africa.

In the opening statement for Africa Day on Tuesday, Yasmin Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, on behalf of the African Union, said: “We have, and will continue to engage and to seek landing grounds on the outstanding issues. But we must flag our concern at the apparent reluctance by our interlocutors to engage on issues of priority to developing countries, as evidenced by the large number of such issues which have simply been pushed from session to session without any progress.”

Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by devastating natural disasters recently. Africa Day has been held at the conference every year since COP 17 in 2011 to rally support for the continent’s cause.

“The climate disaster issues confronting the continent demand a predictable and unified response,” said UN ASG Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of African Risk Capacity, an agency of the African Union that helps governments respond to natural disasters.

“Africa needs to move towards market-based innovative financing models to achieve a strong, united, resilient and globally influential continent. The future of Africa depends on solidarity.”

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the ECA would support African countries to revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to attract private sector investments in clean energy.

“The lack of concerted and meaningful global ambition and action to tackle climate change poses an existential threat to African populations,” Songwe said.

The Paris Agreement is the guiding force of current climate negotiations. It calls on nations to curb temperature increases at 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain rises within 1.5°C. The next step is to implement NDCs, which set out national targets under the Paris Agreement.

While African countries outlined bold aspirations to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their NDCs, the continent’s position is that it should not be treated the same as developed nations as its carbon emissions constitute a fraction of the world’s big economies.

“The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) remains committed to partnering with other institutions in providing the requisite support to AU member states in reviewing and updating their NDCs,” said Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programmes at AUDA-NEPAD.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Environment Minister and current chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, said the Africa Day event should come up with new ideas to enhance the implementation of NDCs in Africa.

Africa is already responding positively to the challenge of climate change, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, citing huge investment interest in renewables at the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

“Clearly, we are a continent that has what it takes to create the Africa that we want to see happen. I believe what has been the missing link is the ability to brand right and to act on the market signals,” Nyong said. “We continue to present Africa as a vulnerable case and not as a business case with opportunities. In fact, where we have attempted the latter, the results have been spot-on.”

Chief Fortune Charumbira, Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, said robust climate legislation was key.

“The world’s response to the challenge has shown that legislation is imperative to cement efforts employed by various stakeholders; from the Paris Agreement to Nationally Determined Contributions,” he said.

Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said climate change affected sectors key to Africa’s socio-economic development, such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, biodiversity and tourism. She called on African countries to take stock of the Paris Agreement, and its implementation around finance capacity building and technology.

*AFDB

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Turkish President to visit Gambia in 2020
December 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Outgoing Turks Ambassador and Barrow
Outgoing Turks Ambassador and Barrow

The Gambia will be among selected African countries that Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit in 2020, revealed the outgoing Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, Ismail Sifa Yuceer.

The diplomat was at the State House today to bid farewell to President Adama Barrow after completing his tour of duty in the country.  After serving his government in The Gambia for the past three years, Ambassador Yuceer’s tour of duty has come to an end.
President Barrow described Ambassador Yuceer as a “good friend” of The Gambia.

The president said he was satisfied that the ambassador was bequeathing a strong state of ties between the two countries.


“Turkey has been a true brother to The Gambia and I am delighted that our fraternal relations will be further strengthened with the planned visit of the Turkish President to The Gambia in 2020,” President Barrow said, highlighting the various high-level visits he and his government officials undertook to the Republic of Turkey in the past three years.

For Ambassador Yuceer, The Gambia in many respects will have a special place in his career. He witnessed the political change and the transition process that ensued just within weeks of arrival in The Gambia.

“It was very teaching for any person, especially a diplomat to witness this development. The Gambia set a precedent for a peaceful and smooth change of government not only for Africa but also for the rest of the world. This is something that other countries can benefit from as a good example,” he said after an audience with the President.

To the diplomat, Turkish-Gambia relations have always been very productive and have further been solidified, diversified, and more fruitful under the Barrow administration. Currently, the relations cover areas like education, health, logistical support, security, defense, among others.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund signs US$20m loan with Burkina Faso, attends inauguration of health and education facilities
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA) aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso

VIENNA, Austria, December 9, 2019/ — The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa has signed a US$20 million development loan to help finance Burkina Faso’s Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA).

Dr Alkhalifa signed the loan in Ouagadougou with Burkina Faso’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Development, Lassané Kabore. PAPFA aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso. Specifically, the project will help crop and vegetable farmers adopt efficient technologies related to the production, processing and storage of produce, ultimately enabling them to increase sales in local and regional markets.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “This latest OPEC Fund loan demonstrates our continued commitment to a striving country that retains hope, despite the challenges it still faces. It is our way of saying: ‘we are your partners’.”

While on the high-level mission to the West African country, Dr Alkhalifa attended the inauguration ceremonies of two major development projects co-financed by the OPEC Fund – the Hospital of Ziniaré and the University of Ouagadougou. The inaugurations were held under the aegis of the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kaboré.

The University of Ouagadougou project was co-financed by the OPEC Fund in partnership with the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) and the government of Burkina Faso. The new and expanded facilities include dormitories and provide a better academic environment. Approximately 18,500 on-campus students are expected to benefit.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all – and promoting lifelong learning – is a fundamental ingredient to sustainable development. To see such a project come to life is inspiring and I believe this university will enable many people – young and old – to play a role in advancing the development of Burkina Faso, and more generally, in contributing toward a more equal global society.”

At the ceremony, Dr Alkassoum Maïga, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, conferred Dr Alkhalifa with L’ordre National de l’Etalon – a national honor in recognition of the OPEC Fund’s continued support of development in the country. The Minister conferred the honor on behalf of President Kaboré. Dr Alkhalifa said he was proud of the OPEC Fund’s work with Burkina Faso and honored to receive the decoration on behalf of the organization.

The Hospital of Ziniaré – a modern and fully equipped health center in the town of Ziniaré, 35 km from the capital Ouagadougou – is also co-financed by the OPEC Fund, BADEA and the government of Burkina Faso. The hospital provides access to specialized, high-quality healthcare services and is expected to improve maternal / infant health and fight diseases endemic to the area.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. The OPEC Fund is committed to supporting access to healthcare as a goal in itself, as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our commitment is clear: as of December 31, 2018, our cumulative commitment to development projects in the health sector was well over US$1 billion.”

The OPEC Fund has worked with Burkina Faso for more than four decades. During that time, the organization has approved more than 40 public sector loans amounting to nearly US$300 million to the country. The OPEC Fund has also approved 11 trade finance loans for a total of US$270 million, as well as a number of national grants.

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NDI and the Kofi Annan Foundation Deploy Joint International Delegation to Assess the Pre-Election Environment Ahead of Legislative Elections in Guinea
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ

Conakry, Guinea – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) will send a joint international delegation to Guinea to assess preparations for legislative elections currently scheduled for February 2020. The assessment will take place from December 9-13, 2019. 

The high-level delegation consists of the following members: 

  1. H.E.  Nicéphore Soglo, Former President of Benin;
  2. H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, Former President of Nigeria;
  3. Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of the Mano River Union;
  4. Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  5. Mr. Sébastien F. W. Brack, Head of Elections and Democracy Programme (KAF);
  6. Dr. Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  7. Mr. Paul Komivi Sémeko Amegakpo, Resident Director in Guinea (NDI).

The delegation will meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), ruling and opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders in Conakry to assess preparations for the legislative elections and explore ways of fostering peaceful and credible polls. 

“Guinea’s February 2020 elections will be an important step in strengthening the country’s democracy and giving voice to citizens through their elected representatives. As Guinean citizens prepare to go to the polls, a peaceful and inclusive electoral process is critically important,” said H.E. Nicéphore Soglo, former President of Benin Republic. 

“Successful elections and democratic progress in Guinea would bode well for West Africa and other parts of the continent as Africans gain more confidence in choosing their political leaders through regularly held and meaningful elections,” said H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria. “Our delegation looks forward to meeting with various Guinean electoral stakeholders.”  

Prior to departing Guinea, the mission will present its findings publicly at a press conference in Conakry on December 13, 2019. 

NDI has organized more than 150 international election observation missions around the globe, earning a reputation for impartiality and professionalism. The NDI/KAF mission to Guinea will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct adopted by the United Nations in 2005 and will base its findings and recommendations on Guinean laws and international standards for elections. All activities will be conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.

*Source NDI

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First G20 Sherpa Meeting held in Riyadh
December 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 5 December 2019

G20 Sherpas, the official representatives of G20 Member country Leaders, met for the first time under the Saudi G20 Presidency in Riyadh this week. They were joined by invited guest countries, as well as, international and regional organizations to begin discussions towards “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.

The pivotal role of the G20 Sherpas is to help pave the way to the G20 Leader’s Summit by progressing policy discussions in meetings throughout the year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host a series of Sherpa Meetings during its Presidency culminating in the Leader’s Summit in Riyadh on 21-22 November 2020.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will facilitate the dialogue process to guide the overarching policy discussions. Building on previous G20 achievements and reflecting the spirit of collaboration among our Leaders, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined to build consensus around solutions to address our common challenges.

The first Sherpa meeting focused on the aims of the 2020 G20 Presidency year: 

• Empowering People, by creating the conditions in which people– especially women and youth– can live, work and thrive, with discussions on policies related to access to opportunities for all, sustainable development goals, trade and investment, financial inclusion, employment, women empowerment, health, education, and tourism.

• Safeguarding the Planet, by fostering collective efforts to protect our environment, with discussions on environment, climate, water, food, and energy.

• Shaping New Frontiers, by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement with a strong focus on digital economy.

The meeting was chaired by Fahad Almubarak, the Saudi Sherpa, who elaborated: “The G20 has a responsibility to the world to overcome current and emerging issues, to tackle global challenges together, and to make the world a better place for all.”

Further information about the G20, including the Presidency Agenda and full program of events, can be found at www.g20.org

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Gabon pens MoU with Cameroon for fiber-optics interconnection
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Cameroon’s Minister of Telecommunication Minette Libom Li Likeng and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Rigobert Ikambouayat Ndeka.Photo Cedit Gabon Matin

Two strong allies in the CEMAC sub-region, Gabon and Cameroon have penned a Memorandum of Understanding that puts in place a legal framework guiding the implementation fiber-optic interconnection between the two states.

The MoU was signed November 28, in Libreville, Gabon by Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Rigobert Ikambouayat Ndeka of Gabon.

Partners and promoters to the project among them, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and the International Telecommunications Union answered present during the penning ceremony.

The purpose of this memorandum of understanding is to establish the general and legal framework for the interconnection of the two countries’ electronic communications networks and to set up a committee to implement and monitor the memorandum and subsequent agreements.

It also constitutes the materialization of the strengthening of sub-regional cooperation and the mutualization of the two signees’ digital infrastructures.

Once fully operational, the “interconnection system will reduce connectivity costs since there will be direct telecommunications exchanges between the two countries with no international submarine cables required”, experts hold.

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ARIPO hosts sub-regional IP conference on geographical indicators in Zimbabwe
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A two-day subregional IP conference on geographical indicators has opened today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

 The Sub-Regional IP Conference on Geographical Indication is jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to coincide with the Master’s in Intellectual Property (MIP), which takes place at the ARIPO Headquarters in December each year.  Since 2014, the objective of these IP conferences has been to provide a platform for MIP students and participants from ARIPO Member States to be exposed to emerging issues in Intellectual Property and existing opportunities in the strategic use of the IP system.  The 2019 IP Conference will take place under the theme “Geographical Indications in Africa: Territorial Development, Economic Integration and International Trade”

Geographical Indications (GIs) are used to identify products as originating in the territory of a country, region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the products is essentially attributable to that geographical origin.  Similar to trade names and trademarks, GIs are designed to enable consumers to distinguish between products, but more importantly, they enable producers to protect the reputation of those products developed around specific characteristics and often over many years and thanks to great effort.  In addition, GIs are considered as a mean to strengthen the potential of products’ places of origin to attract investors, consumers and tourists as well as to guarantee them local quality products and services specifically linked to local resources.

  It is reported that the Member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) are replete with traditional agricultural and craft products whose quality and origin can be usefully promoted through GIs and other collective quality schemes, thereby contributing to the development of local and rural communities.  In a bid to support such efforts, in 2017, the African Union adopted the Continental Strategy for the Development of Geographical Indications in Africa.  ARIPO is a key actor of its implementation.

The sub-Regional IP Conference is meant to be part of that continental and regional process.  It is intended to be an important step to raise the awareness of policymakers responsible for GIs and students of the need to be empowered with national, regional and international instruments to protect and promote origin products, but also to consider the development and effective implementation of national and regional projects and policies on GIs.

The overall aim of the 2019 IP Conference is to provide a platform for the participants to understand the importance of the strategic use of GIs for socio-economic development and wealth creation in Africa, while deepening their understanding of the IP rights available to protect brands for origin products (geographical indications and trademarks) as well as the exceptions and limitations to that protection (in particular generic terms and prior trademarks).

The specific objectives of the sub-Regional IP Conference are to obtain updated information on current systems of protection of GIs in Africa at national, regional and continental levels, to learn about recent developments in the field of GIs at WIPO and at the international level, to discuss with international experts specific experience and issues related to the development and implementation of GIs with a focus on key factors for a successful GIs and their effects on local development; the role of producers’ associations and the establishment of control and certification schemes bring together institutional representatives from ARIPO and its member States who are responsible for GI protection in their countries or are interested in instituting such procedures, as well as students from ARIPO member States interesting in studying more about the development and implementation of GI schemes in Africa,to serve as a place to share and build knowledge on the issues, benefits and challenges related to the recognition, protection and promotion of GIs.

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Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe now on brink of man-made starvation, UN rights expert warns
November 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire 

Despite the constitutional protection of the right to food and a sophisticated set of human-rights based national laws and policies, man-made starvation is slowly making its way in Zimbabwe, said the UN expert of the right to food after visiting the country from 18 to 28 November 2019.  

“More than 60% of the population of a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa is now considered food-insecure, with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic needs due to hyperinflation,” said Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presenting a preliminary statement at the end of an 11-day visit.  

“In rural areas, a staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns are impacting harvests and livelihoods. In urban areas, an estimated 2.2 million people are food-insecure and lack access to minimum public services, including health and safe water.  

“These are shocking figures and the crisis continues to worsen due to poverty and high unemployment, widespread corruption, severe price instabilities, lack of purchasing power, poor agricultural productivity, natural disasters, recurrent droughts and unilateral economic sanctions.”  

Elver said women and children were bearing the brunt of the crisis.  

“The majority of the children I met were stunted and underweight,” she said. “Child deaths from severe malnutrition have been rising in the past few months. 90 % of Zimbabwean children aged six months to two years are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet.  

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U.S. Commits $430 Million in Insurance to Natural Gas Project in Egypt
November 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC
International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC

CAIRO – Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), today announced a commitment to provide $430 million in insurance to advance energy security in Egypt by rehabilitating a natural gas pipeline and transporting natural gas from fields offshore in Israel. The announcement was made at the Investment for Africa Forum during a signing ceremony that included Boehler and U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen as well as Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr.

The insurance will enable Noble Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas to restore the 90-kilometer EMG Pipeline running from the coastal city of Ashkelon, Israel and under the Mediterranean Sea to its destination in Al-Arish, Egypt. It will also support the transport of 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 15 years. The insurance contracts were signed this week after Noble Energy and its partners achieved financial close for the project.

“Strengthening energy security—which bolsters trade, supports investment, and improves quality of life—is critical to ensuring lasting prosperity and stability in Egypt,” said Boehler. “This project will help the country meet growing demand for reliable, low-cost energy in order to fuel sustained economic growth and create opportunities that have a stabilizing impact in Egypt and across the region.”

“Egypt is a strategic partner to the United States. We are excited to support this critical investment in the country by an American company which will not only spur job creation and economic growth but also help provide reliable and affordable energy for the people of Egypt and others throughout the region,” said Cohen.

“Egypt welcomes this massive private sector investment and looks forward to the economic impact it will have for the Egyptian people,” said Nasr.

“The Dolphinus gas sales contracts and the EMG acquisition underpin delivery of natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan fields in Israel into Egypt and represent a major milestone toward Egypt’s goal of becoming a regional energy hub. Both these transactions and the support from the U.S. Government provide further confidence in the long-term export market and growing cash flow from these premier assets,” said J. Keith Elliott, Noble Energy’s Senior Vice President, Offshore.

Under the terms of the project, the gas will be purchased by Dolphinus Holdings, a gas trading company.

The project will advance energy security in Egypt and support the country’s efforts to grow its economy by exporting gas to parts of Europe and other global markets. The pipeline being restored had initially been used to transport natural gas from Egypt to Israel but ceased operations in 2012.

Boehler is attending the Investment for Africa Forum during a trip to Egypt to highlight U.S. commitment to the region, explore private sector investment opportunities, and strengthen relationships with key regional partners in support of mutual development goals.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Working together with businesses, we invest in projects that create jobs and opportunity in emerging markets, including building critical infrastructure, expanding access to telecommunications, and providing small business financing, notably for women entrepreneurs. DFC helps to advance America’s foreign policy by partnering on projects that create economic stability, protect sovereignty, and ensure transparency. DFC investments adhere to high principles and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

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