Botswana removed from the French Republic’s tax black list

10.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of France in Gaborone, Botswana

In a decree, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, and Gérald Darmanin, Minister of Action and Public Accounts, updated the list of non-cooperative states and territories in tax matters drawn up by France aiming to ensure that our partners effectively implement their tax cooperation commitments made with regard to the exchange of information. Following the signature by Botswana of an amendment to the bilateral tax treaty allowing the exchange of tax information, the country is no longer on the list and is therefore no longer considered as an uncooperative State.

The updating of the list is part of the Government’s efforts to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and evasion.

As a reminder, Botswana was included since 2012 on the list of NCSTs of the French Republic, on the grounds that there was no bilateral instrument for the exchange of tax information at the international standard.

On the 27th of July 2017, Botswana signed an amendment to the bilateral tax treaty of the 15th of April 1999 allowing the exchange of information in accordance with the latest standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This amendment updated and brought the bilateral tax information exchange system up to standard, and now includes all the stipulations recommended by the OECD model tax treaty.

The latter has been ratified by Botswana and is currently being examined by the French Parliament.

Botswana having ratified the amendment by a preferential measure, it was decided to remove Botswana from the French list of NCSTs in anticipation of the ratification of the amendment text by the French Parliament.

The Embassy of France in Botswana commends the efforts of the Botswana’s government and is pleased to hear of this new development, which will enable the further development of the strategic partnership between our two countries, particularly in the economic and financial fields.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of France in Gaborone, Botswana.

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African Development Bank sponsored Off-Grid Energy Access Fund reaches final equity close with partner contributions

10.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)
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The Facility for Energy Inclusion’s Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI OGEF) has reached a final equity close with $59 million in committed equity capital and $36 million debt facilities, to support innovative, off-grid energy access companies.

The final close, reached on 18 November 2019, was made possible through a $15 million equity contribution from the European Union (EU), and a further $17 million from KfW, acting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  Additionally, the EU is providing $2 million to fund a technical assistance facility, to enhance local currency financing. Other OGEF equity investors include the Nordic Development Fund and All On Calvert Impact Capital and the Prudential Insurance Company of America.  

OGEF expects to raise further debt towards its $130 million target over the next 12-18 months.

The African Development Bank (AfDB.org) is the fund’s anchor sponsor with a $30 million contribution, and $8.5 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Welcoming the EU and KfW contributions, Wale Shonibare, the Bank’s acting Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, emphasized the strategic importance of FEI in delivering the Bank’s renewable energy strategy for Africa, and the global SDG7 goal of energy access. “We are pleased to welcome the participation of like-minded partners in our shared ambition to promote access to modern, reliable and sustainable energy in Africa, and to enhance private sector participation in order deliver electricity to underserved communities in Africa,” he said.  

Modern, high-quality off-grid connections can transform lives, Babette Stein von Kamienski, KfW’s Director of Power and Energy in Southern Africa, noted.

“KfW and BMZ have invested in OGEF to support this collaborative effort to advance climate friendly off-grid energy in Africa, demonstrating that off-grid solutions can complement sustained grid electrification to accelerate electricity access to millions of Africans,” she said

Originally supported by a grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), FEI OGEF is currently managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners.

“We are proud to have reached this milestone and excited to play a meaningful role in growing the sector and serve customers who are not currently served by traditional electricity grids. The off-grid market potential is massive and on track to transform electricity access in Africa as we know it,” said Harry Guinness, Fund Manager of OGEF.

FEI OGEF had its first close in November 2018 with committed capital of $58 million and has since closed a number of deals in the energy access space. These include an $8 million local currency loan to BBOXX in Rwanda for the expansion of its solar home systems business and a $2.5 million inventory financing loan to SunCulture in Kenya, for the scaling up of its pay-as-you-go solar irrigation kits business to smallholder farmers.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media Contact:
Amba Mpoke-Bigg
Communication and External Relations Department
African Development Bank
Email: a.mpoke-bigg@afdb.org

Technical Contact:
Joao Duarte Cunha
Manager, Renewable Energy
Email: J.CUNHA@AFDB.ORG

About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

For more information: www.AfDB.org

Source: Apo-Opa

Lakers’ James Takes Overall Lead in Second Fan Returns of National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Voting Presented by Google

10.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

National Basketball Association (NBA)

James Passes Mavericks’ Dončić for Top Spot in West; Bucks’ Antetokounmpo Holds Top Spot in East; Hawks’ Young Leads Nets’ Irving and Celtics’ Walker in Tight Race in East Guard Group 

The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James has surpassed the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Dončić and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead the NBA (https://www.NBA.com) in the second fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting presented by Google.

James has taken an 82,001-vote lead over Dončić among all Western Conference players.The NBA All-Star Game captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference. 

Fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine the 10 starters for the 69th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.  All current NBA players and a media panel each account for 25 percent of the vote, with every voter completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference. Voting for fans, players and media will conclude on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

In the second fan returns, James leads all players with 3,359,871 votes to keep the top spot in the Western Conference frontcourt.  The Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3,124,446) and the LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2,210,539) continue to rank second and third, respectively, in the West frontcourt.

Dončić leads the West guards with 3,277,870 votes.  The Houston Rockets’ James Harden remains in second place, receiving 2,167,269 votes.

Antetokounmpo has increased his lead as the top vote-getter among all Eastern Conference players, earning 3,259,383 votes in the frontcourt group.  He continues to be followed by second-place Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers (1,784,211) and third-place Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors (1,730,763) in the East frontcourt.

In the East guard group, the top three players are separated by 58,051 votes.  The Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young (1,389,628) is still in first place, followed by second-place Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets (1,351,997) and third-place Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics (1,331,577).

The NBA All-Star 2020 team rosters will be drafted by the two captains.  They will choose from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference, making their selections regardless of conference affiliation. 

TNT will reveal the NBA All-Star Game starters, including the two team captains, on Thursday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader.  The network will also announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Thursday, Jan. 30 during TNT NBA Tip-Off.  

NBA ALL-STAR VOTING PRESENTED BY GOOGLE: SECOND FAN RETURNS

Western Conference

Frontcourt

Guards

  1. LeBron James (LAL) 3,359,871

1. Luka Dončić (DAL) 3,277,870

  1. Anthony Davis (LAL) 3,124,446

2. James Harden (HOU) 2,167,269

3. Kawhi Leonard (LAC) 2,210,539

3. Damian Lillard (POR) 687,855

4. Paul George (LAC) 845,719

4. Stephen Curry (GSW) 595,913

5. Nikola Jokić (DEN) 559,881

5. Russell Westbrook (HOU) 581,500

6. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 545,385

6. Alex Caruso (LAL) 528,246

7. Kristaps Porzingis (DAL) 540,603

7. Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 449,835

8. Carmelo Anthony (POR) 520,021

8. Devin Booker (PHX) 381,071

9. Brandon Ingram (NOP) 444,522

9. D’Angelo Russell (GSW) 365,730

10. Dwight Howard (LAL) 390,037

10. Ja Morant (MEM) 257,433

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt

Guards

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 3,259,383

1. Trae Young (ATL) 1,389,628

2. Joel Embiid (PHI) 1,784,211

2. Kyrie Irving (BKN) 1,351,997

3. Pascal Siakam (TOR) 1,730,763

3. Kemba Walker (BOS) 1,331,577

4. Jimmy Butler (MIA) 1,400,293

4. Derrick Rose (DET) 918,550

5. Jayson Tatum (BOS) 1,182,663

5. Zach LaVine (CHI) 572,022

6. Tacko Fall (BOS) 543,352

6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 567,896

7. Bam Adebayo (MIA) 349,078

7. Jaylen Brown (BOS) 544,361

8. Gordon Hayward (BOS) 291,608

8. Ben Simmons (PHI) 456,066

9. Domantas Sabonis (IND) 239,639

9. Bradley Beal (WAS) 447,107

10. Andre Drummond (DET) 228,190

10. Fred VanVleet (TOR) 351,391

After all votes are tallied, players will be ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes.  Each player’s score will be calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes.  The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference will be named NBA All-Star Game starters.  Fan voting will serve as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score.

NBA All-Star Voting presented by Google began on Dec. 25 and runs until Monday, Jan. 20.  The third and final fan voting update will be shared on Thursday, Jan. 16. 

During the voting period, five “2-for-1 Days” allow fans to have their votes count twice.  The remaining 2-for-1 Days, which are designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET, take place tomorrow (Jan. 10), Jan. 16 and Jan. 20 through all voting platforms.  The other 2-for-1 Days were held on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.

How Fans Can Vote:

  • NBA.com voting page at vote.NBA.com: Fill out one full ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) on vote.NBA.com from a desktop or mobile browser.   Fans can select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.

  • NBA App: Access the ballot and vote through the app, which is available on Android and iOS.  Fans can fill out one full ballot per day by selecting up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters. 
  • Google: Vote on Google.com or on the Google app by searching for “NBA Vote” or “NBA All-Star Vote” or for a player or team.  Fans may submit votes for 10 unique players per day from Dec. 25 – Jan. 20.

The Google Assistant: Vote via any Google Assistant-enabled device by saying, “Hey Google, vote for the NBA All-Star Game.”  Fans may submit votes for up to 10 unique players per day from Dec. 25 – Jan. 20.  The Google Assistant is available on laptops, phones, speakers, tablets and other connected devices (https://bit.ly/2QDjEmZ)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).

About NBA All-Star 2020:
NBA (https://www.NBA.com) All-Star 2020 in Chicago will bring together the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game.  The 69th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the United Center, will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.  TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 18th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 35th year of NBA All-Star coverage.  United Center will also host Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 14 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 15.  The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles on Feb. 14 and the NBA All-Star Practice & Media Day presented by AT&T on Feb. 15 will take place at Wintrust Arena.

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Announcement of Environmental Audit of Oilfields

10.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan has announced a tender for a comprehensive environmental audit of all the country’s producing oilfields.

Download Document: http://bit.ly/2Nb5siQ

The Petroleum Act of 2012, enacted a year after independence, governs the oil sector in South Sudan. The Act is designed to better manage the environmental impact of the sector after years of neglect prior to independence, and the resulting pollution.

Civil war also prevented the proper management of the environment, based on environmentally, socially and economically sustainable principles.

South Sudan is now faced with the challenge of balancing developmental needs with the spirit of environmental protection enshrined in the Petroleum Act. The sector has in the past caused a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas.

President Salva Kiir, writing in the South Sudan First State of Environment and Outlook Report in 2018, explained the country’s desire to become the bread basket and economic powerhouse of East Central Africa.

“The lack of environmental standards and guidelines to safeguard the exploration and exploitation in the extractive industry has led to pollution in the oilfields and in the surrounding areas. This trend needs to be checked through the formulation of environmental policies, standards and guidelines, and enforcement of these instruments.”

Ahead of any new exploration and drilling the government has committed to conducting an environmental audit. Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang, explains that understanding the pollution damage will allow the country to put systems in place to prevent further damage as the country looks to ramp up production.

At a media briefing late in August 2019 in Juba, President Salva Kiir warned that his government would be taking a stronger stance against pollution in oil-producing areas. And while the government is eager to welcome new exploration and production, companies would be held to a high standard. The era of “bad business” was coming to an end.

He warned, “I will not tolerate irresponsible activities in the oil sector.”

An international independent organization will now be appointed to conduct the audit, mandated to suggest best practices for new exploration as well as ways to repair the historical damage in South Sudan.

Tender pre-qualification documents for conducting a Full Environmental Audit will be available during office hours at the Ministry of Petroleum’s headquarters in Juba, and from its website http://bit.ly/2NauFKA. The documentation will be available between 13 and 20 January 2020.

Completed documentation needs to be submitted by 16h00, 20 January 2020 to:

1. Electronic Submissions:
wanyak@mopam.goss.org
audit@mopam.goss.org

2. Hardcopy Submissions to be delivered in a sealed envelope addressed to:
Environmental Audit Tender Committee Secretary
Ministry of Petroleum HQ
Ministries Road, Juba
Republic of South Sudan
PO Box 376

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum.

Media Contact:
Claudia Padayachy
Tel: +27 84 88 44317
Email: claudia@azmediacommunications.commedia@azmediacommunications.com

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Press Release Regarding the Joint Statement Made by Greece, France, Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) and Egypt on the Eastern Mediterranean

10.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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The press statement regarding the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, following the meeting in Cairo on 8 January 2020 with the participation of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, France, Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) and Egypt as well as Italy, is based entirely on factitious arguments and false premises.

The two memoranda of understanding that we signed with the legitimate and the internationally recognized government of Libya, are legitimate and fully compatible with international law.

These memoranda of understanding constitute a response to those aiming to disregard the presence of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean. The press statement dated 8 January, indeed reveals once again that the steps taken by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean are rightful and appropriate.

Turkey, with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean has the right to speak on any project concerning the region. In order to transform the Eastern Mediterranean into an area of cooperation rather than of conflict, we would like to take this opportunity to express yet again our readiness for cooperation with all parties, with the exception of GCA.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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Preparing for elections and addressing root causes of conflict in West Africa

09.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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Statement by Ambassador James Roscoe at the Security Council briefing on UNOWAS

May I join others in welcoming you to the chair and welcoming you and your other co-elected members of the Council. We look forward to working with you.

In the context of this briefing, we also welcome particularly the delegation in Niger. We know from last month that you have suffered first hand the consequences of violence in the region. You have our condolences for the losses to your armed forces.

It’s also very good to see SRSG Chambas back in the chamber to brief us. We welcome the very productive role that UNOWAS has played in the region. In particular, we welcome the role that you play, sir, through your good offices. People don’t always see the result of that work because it is, by its very nature, diplomatic and quiet. But we know it goes on and we know it makes a difference, so thank you to you and your team for that.

We’re also very grateful to the Secretariat and Secretary-General for their report on the trends in the region. As others have said, these continue to be of significant concern, particularly on the security side, but also on the humanitarian side. Because the security side is so bleak, the impact on the broader development opportunities in the region are also very affected.

We wanted to cover three areas today. The first is security and to talk about that in a little bit more detail. The second is elections, and we’ve heard a bit about that already today. And the third is to focus on the underlying causes of conflict and what we can do to address those once the security situation is addressed.

On the security and humanitarian side, as I said, we’re continuing to be concerned about the damaging cycles of violence that we’re seeing. And I think, Mr Chambas, you called them “unprecedented” and the spike between the year before last and what we saw last year was exponential. So a real cause for concern, particularly the deterioration in central Mali, an area where we’re separately sees this council, and northern Burkina Faso, since the last report.

The increased violence is exacerbating an already perilous humanitarian situation, particularly in central Mali and Burkina Faso. The UK has just released a further 20 million pounds in additional humanitarian funding in the Sahel on top of the 50 million pounds we’re already spending to help address this situation. I think we all need to think again about whether we’re doing enough in this region to look at the humanitarian situation.

It’s also worth just noting, as others have said, that we also need to ensure and states in the region need to ensure humanitarian access for those who do deliver that humanitarian response. We need to ensure that they’re able to get to the regions they need to and given the protection they need, both legally and in security terms.

I think the main point is that security needs to be this council’s principal focus. We cannot help those who urgently need assistance unless we can help the states that they are in to bring the security situation there under control.

Like many others in this chamber, we heard the African Union talk in the middle of December, when we last touched on this issue, about the variety of regional initiatives that we now have on the security front. And I wonder if one thing that this council might want to consider is whether we can help bring some coherence, to those to look at how we map those, look at whether the current issues we have are addressing the concerns that we have, whether they’re duplicative or complementary. So, I just think that’s something we can consider in due course in line with the African Union advice.

Turning now to elections, again, I think it’s useful to hear that there has been progress in the region and there are some upsides over the last year on the political front and on the election front. We agree with the emphasis, Mr Chambas, you’re placing on helping states deliver credible elections over this next period. And from our perspective, freedom of assembly and expression are essential to that, so we hope in particular you will send that message to states in the region. But in the context of the deteriorating security situation we’ve already touched on, we have to help states avoid these elections becoming flash points of violence or enabling abuses of power, as this will only exacerbate conflicts and violence further. Citizens must be able to exercise their democratic rights to votes without fear of intimidation or retribution. We stand ready to do what we can with your advice to support those.

In terms of the underlying causes, the immediate humanitarian and security efforts to support the elections and the wider region are obviously critical, but we must also do what we can to address the root causes of these conflicts and violence. And I think one of the interesting things that we see in the report is that, in the countries themselves, there is a growing recognition of the need to address those underlying issues, but it’s very difficult to do so in the absence of proper security that states can do something. They can work to address long-term governance issues by reducing abuses by security forces. We can help governments to build their legitimacy by providing inclusive and accountable basic services where they’re able to do so – and that’s something I think we should give more focus on. And it’s good to see the report looking at giving UNOWAS the ability to help the UN in the region to think about the development assistance that it can provide when it can provide it. These kind of interventions will help build the foundations for stability that the region so desperately needs.

So, Mr Chambas, we thank you, we thank your team. This is an incredibly important region and you have a challenging year ahead, but you have our full support.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Source: Apo-Opa

Is waste the future?

09.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ventures Africa

VA BizHive: Ventures Africa releases the second edition of its business series—Is waste the future?

Ventures Africa (VenturesAfrica.com), an online news platform and community that produces stories about an evolving Africa, has released the second edition of its business series, Ventures Africa BizHive. The quarterly digital magazine covers news analysis and discussions around entrepreneurship, evolving business trends and innovations around Africa.

This latest issue titled Is waste the future? (http://bit.ly/2FBaIby) explores waste management and recycling from a unique angle that could shape Africa’s future for the better.

Waste generated in sub-Saharan Africa alone is 62 million tons (http://bit.ly/39TcjXX) a year, with only 4 percent of the waste recycled. Not just that, there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean globally. But even as this is approached using the ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ process, the goal is for everyone to actively participate in getting maximum value and use from raw materials, products and waste in order to save energy. 

“We are one of the top polluters of the ocean in the world and it’s really sad because there is an unexplored opportunity here, going to waste. But we can solve a lot of issues by tapping into this sector. We can be the first to get plastic recycling right in Africa, we can set the pace,” says Bilkiss Adebiyi Abiola, Founder, Wecyclers.

As we approach this using the ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ process, the goal is to get maximum value and use from raw materials, products and waste in order to save energy. 

Ventures Africa spoke with Faith Aweko, Naluyima Shamin and Racheal Mema of Reform Africa Bags. A trio who turn polythene bags into durable backpacks in Uganda. 

Ayodeji Onikute, the CEO and founder of Dechets a l’or also shares some insight on how African governments can tap into the economic potential of waste to create a sustainable waste sector. Dechets a l’or is a social venture that creates new sources of revenue for communities and improves environmental sustainability through an innovative waste management system in Guinea.

The issue also takes a look at the economic and welfare cost of plastic pollution, waste management policies and the role of the government, countries with a ban or restriction on single-use-plastics, and the potential of e-waste in driving economic growth across Africa.

A world where plastics and other harmful waste no longer pose a threat is a future worth fighting for. Join us as we make a case for the future of waste. Read in full here. (http://bit.ly/2FBaIby)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ventures Africa.

Media Contact:
Marketing / Advertising
T: +234-909-328-4213, +234-909-328-4214
E-mail: manager@ventures-africa.com

About Ventures Africa:
Through award-winning journalism, new school video content, and active community engagement, Ventures Africa (VenturesAfrica.com) stands as one of the most viewed sources of news in West Africa. Beyond commanding an organic audience, its team has worked to weave the company’s story into that of its community. As an online hub for discussion, education, and collective action, the platform provides an energetic and interactive experience for its readers, contributors, and partners.

Since 2015, Ventures Africa has published an annual list of innovators who tell us where the continent is going. Its Digital Issues feature unique perspectives on important issues. Previous issues have taken a unique angle on innovation in Africa, the recession, and political cultures of shame.

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Asoko launches Department for International Trade (DIT) DealRoom at the forthcoming UK-Africa Investment Summit

09.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Asoko Insight
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Asoko Insight (AsokoInsight.com), Africa’s leading corporate data provider, is pleased to announce its partnership with the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) to facilitate a digital DealRoom to support the ambition of  the upcoming UK-Africa Investment Summit taking place in London on 20 January 2020, to increase UK investment in Africa.

The Summit will bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa. The Summit will further strengthen the UK’s partnership with African nations and mobilise new and substantial investment, to create jobs and boost mutual prosperity.

The digital DealRoom will take advantage of Asoko’s unique data acquisition model and unrivalled corporate database of over 100,000 private African companies to support the UK’s partnership with Africa to build a secure and prosperous future for all our citizens.

Asoko’s deal origination service brings a curated selection of the continent’s most promising firms directly into contact with the UK’s investor ecosystem, matching pre-qualified, high-growth companies to UK investment firms based on their pre-submitted criteria.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the Department for International Trade, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, said: “The UK-Africa Investment Summit will showcase the UK’s unique offer to Africa and the breadth of exciting investment opportunities that exist across the African continent. We want the UK to have the biggest positive impact of any foreign investor, in terms of creating and sustaining quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth and sustainability.

“The launch of the digital DealRoom platform at the Summit will bring together bankable projects in Africa and the UK investment sector which would not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with each other. Our partnership with Asoko Insight marries the UK’s world-class financial services sector together with tangible African growth opportunities, which will serve as an excellent legacy resource post the Summit.”

Asoko’s co-founder and CEO, Rob Withagen, said of the upcoming DealRoom: “Sourcing deal flow in Africa is a challenge, despite the pressing need by private sector companies, especially in the mid-cap space. We’re pleased to be able to help UK investors cut the time and resources they spend searching for prospective deals and speed the pipeline of investment that is at the heart of the Summit and the UK’s ambitions for its relationship with Africa.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Asoko Insight.

For more information please contact:
Email: dealroom@asokoinsight.com

African companies interested in participating in the DealRoom can apply here. (http://bit.ly/2NcgSTL).

More information on how Asoko helps investors in Africa can be found here. (http://bit.ly/2R04Fmf).

Source: Apo-Opa

South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai regrets U.S. Treasury Allegations of Human Rights Violation and reiterates Determination to Peace

09.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Government of the Republic of South Sudan

By Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan

Today, I have been wrongly accused of serious human rights abuses and sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. I deeply regret those baseless and unfounded allegations and wish to assure the international community, and above all the people of South Sudan, that my life has always been dedicated to the building of a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.

As a proud South Sudanese, I have always fought for the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan and the independence of its people from 1983 to 2005 when Sudan and SPLM signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Since 2011 when South Sudan became independent until now in 2020 my commitment towards peace and unity has only grown stronger.

Upon the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan, I have worked tirelessly to forge the necessary alliances to create a path to peace and prosperity, reason why I continue to serve as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan. As a man of peace, my dedication towards my country is above all a commitment to securing a future for all our people. 

As First Vice President, I share a common belief that our country’s strength and future relies in our dedication as a government to fight impunity, promote democracy, and guarantee the rule of law and individual freedoms, along with a life free from human rights violations for our people. As such, I pledge to continue working with the United States and the international community at large to demonstrate such commitment and prove the unfounded nature of the allegations made towards me.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of the Republic of South Sudan.

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Briefing of the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel to the Security Council: “Despite positive political developments, the region continues to witness a devastating surge in terrorist attacks”

09.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)
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Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) briefed, yesterday, the Security Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the activities of UNOWAS.

While the security situation continues to worsen in the region, positive political developments have been achieved in several countries thanks to the mobilization of the governments, and the support of regional and international partners.

Highlighting the impact of the deterioration of the security situation, the Special Representative said “the past months, we have witnessed a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets in the region. And humanitarian consequences are alarming”. He noted that “in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, casualties from terrorist attacks have increased five-fold since 2016 with over 4,000 deaths reported in 2019 as compared to estimated 770 deaths in 2016”. He also informed that “the geographic focus of terrorist attacks has shifted eastwards from Mali to Burkina Faso and is increasingly threatening West African coastal States.”

He also warned that “farmer-herder clashes remain some of the most violent local conflicts in the region,” and that it is important to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders.

Whilst assuring the members of the Security Council that “governments, local actors, regional organizations and the international community are mobilizing across West Africa and the Sahel to respond to terrorism and violent extremism,” SRSG Ibn Chambas stressed that “now is the time for action” and urged regional and sub-regional leaders “to follow through on the pledges made and international partners to lend their full support.”

2020 is another important year for the consolidation of democratic gains in the region as six countries will hold presidential elections. In this regard, SRSG Ibn Chambas urged that “any outstanding pre- and post- electoral grievances be addressed using legal channels.”

 In Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Niger where polls will be also organized this year, the Special Representative cautioned that “unresolved grievances, unfinished national reconciliation, and sentiments of manipulation of institutions and processes carry risks of tensions and manifestations of political violence.”

Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas expressed his satisfaction regarding the positive political developments in many parts of West Africa and the Sahel, especially, national dialogues which are taking place in several countries. He congratulated “the people of Guinea-Bissau and the Electoral Commission for the exemplary conduct of the presidential elections, which marks an important step forward in Guinea Bissau’s democratic development.” He also reiterated his call “for national stakeholders of Guinea to overcome their differences in the spirit of building consensus in order to ensure the holding of legislative elections scheduled for February 2020.”

The  Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel thanked the members of the of the Security Council  for their continuous engagement in West Africa and the Sahel, and their firm commitment to economic development, peace and security.

The full statement of the SRSG Mohamed Ibn Chambas is available on our website: https://unowas.unmissions.org/briefing-security-council-report-secretary-general-activities-united-nations-office-west-africa-7

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
Source: Apo-Opa