At least 58 migrants dead after boat capsizes near Coast of Mauritania

05.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
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At least 58 people are confirmed dead after a vessel carrying migrants sank as it approached the coast of Mauritania today.

Eighty-three others swam to shore and are receiving assistance from Mauritanian authorities, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.

Survivors told IOM staff in Nouadhibou, the second largest city in northern Mauritania, that at least 150 people including women and children were aboard the vessel, which they said began its journey last Wednesday (27/11) in The Gambia.

They said the vessel was running low on fuel when it approached the northwest African nation.

“The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present in Nouadhibou,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.
“Our common priority is to take care of all those who survived and bring them the support they need.”

The injured have been transferred to the city hospital; IOM is deploying a medical doctor to support the local response. The Mauritanian authorities are coordinating with the Gambian consular services to ensure that the necessary support is provided to the migrants while in Nouadhibou and the Gambian Ambassador will travel to the city.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Source: Apo-Opa

The United States to Elevate Diplomatic Representation with Sudan

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Department of State
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The Department of State warmly welcomes Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on his first visit to Washington.  Today, we are pleased to announce that the United States and Sudan have decided to initiate the process of exchanging ambassadors after a 23-year gap.  This decision is a meaningful step forward in strengthening the U.S.-Sudan bilateral relationship, particularly as the civilian-led transitional government works to implement the vast reforms under the political agreement and constitutional declaration of August 17, 2019.  We look forward to working with the Senate to confirm an ambassador to Sudan.

Since his August 21 appointment, Prime Minister Hamdok has led Sudan’s transitional government, installed a civilian cabinet, and made key personnel changes to break with the policies and practices of the previous regime.  He has demonstrated a commitment to peace negotiations with armed opposition groups, established a commission of inquiry to investigate violence against protestors, and committed to holding democratic elections at the end of the 39-month transition period.

The United States remains a steadfast partner of the Sudanese people and their pursuit of peace, security, prosperity, democracy, and equality.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Department of State.
Source: Apo-Opa

Bring us to the table to unlock youth jobs and power growth, say young African entrepreneurs

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

Young African entrepreneurs urged to make their voices heard in business policy-making across the continent and called on governments to implement friendlier tax policies, improve access to finance and boost support for youth-led businesses to create jobs.

Speaking at the 2019 African Economic Conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday, the young business leaders said their role as engines of growth needed to be taken more seriously.

“Youths running businesses are not taken seriously,” Terence Mathe, Co-Founder of Southern Incineration Services (SISCO) in Zimbabwe.

“Such businesses are seen as part-time; as something young people do while waiting for bigger jobs. We have to take young people more seriously and also revise our tax systems to encourage them,” he told the audience at a youth dialogue on employment challenges and policies.

Young entrepreneurs need to be at the table when policies are formed, the panelists said, highlighting a demand for guarantee trust funds for young people making efforts to start a business.

“We want to see greater involvement in policy making, including the establishment of youth councils at the regional, country and local levels. More attention should be paid to youth participation in decision making at inception, and not just at implementation,” said Juliana Ratovoson, Interim President of the Pan African Youth Union.

“You have to listen to young people and know what their inputs are in critical decision making, especially as it concerns them,” she said.

The recommendations from the youth dialogue were presented to African ministers at a ministerial roundtable later at the AEC, an event jointly organized by African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme.

The panelists called on African governments to develop innovative SME policies that reduce risks faced by young business owners and unlock finance.

One example given was in Egypt, where the country’s central bank has enforced a regulation that required banks to lend at least 20% of their overall portfolio to youth-owned enterprises.

Sobel Aziz Ngom, founder of Social Change Factory in Senegal and a board member of the UN’s Generation Unlimited initiative, urged young people to focus on solution-based policy recommendations.

“Beyond just advocacy, we need to focus on workable solutions. Youths should collaborate and cooperate at all levels,” he said. “Don’t just complain, let your voices be heard by bringing solutions to the table.”

Other recommendations included revamping the continent’s education systems and introducing innovative policies that instill entrepreneurship and business skills from the primary school level.

The founder of the Green Girls social enterprise in Cameroon, Monique Ntumngia, encouraged young female entrepreneurs to “bring your chairs to the table, as nobody will do it for you.”

She added that: “Youths in Africa are the game changers providing the solutions to Africa's problems and thereby changing the stereotype narrative Africa has always had.”

Other discussants included Fahad Awadh, co-founder of YYTZ Agro-Processing, a Tanzania-based cashew production company, and Ifeoluwa Adebayo, Special Assistant on Innovation to the Vice President of Nigeria.

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

Media Contact:
Emeka Anuforo
Communication and External Relations Department
African Development Bank 
email: e.anuforo@afdb.org

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Source: Apo-Opa

Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia both Launch National Immunisation Programmes for Human-Papillomavirus (HPV)

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

MSD
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MSD (www.MSD.co.za), known as Merck & Co., Inc., (NYSE: MRK) in the United States and Canada, congratulates both Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia on the successful launch of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) for the Human-Papillomavirus (HPV – the main cause of cervical cancer).[1]

Approximately 530 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer around the world each year.[2]  In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), cervical cancer incidence rates are the highest in the world (the prevalence of HPV in women with normal cytology is at an average of 24% in SSA) and the disease is the most common cause of cancer death among women in the region. [3]a,b  HPV16 and 18 are the most common genotypes in cervical cancer in SSA.3  Although HPV16 and 18 are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancer cases [4], the various HPV genotypes also contribute to penile cancers, anal cancers, vulvar and vaginal cancers as well as genital warts (HPV6 and 11).3 

The launch of HPV programs in both Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire

Cote d’ Ivoire has a population of 6.7 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer and Liberia has a population of 1.4 million women in this risk category.[5],6 Current estimates are that, annually, 1 789 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 1 448 die from the disease in Cote d’ Ivoire.[6]  In Liberia, there are 548 new cervical cancer cases annually and 449 cervical cancer deaths.5  Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15 to 44 years in Cote D’ Ivoire and the first most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age in Liberia. 5,6

“We are excited that Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia have launched their HPV immunisation programmes. MSD is committed to the elimination of preventable HPV related cancers and diseases and a national immunisation programme is a critical step towards that. Well done to both Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia” said Dr Priya Agrawal – MD MSD South Africa and SSA Cluster.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/pdf/cervical_facts.pdf

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877782116301084

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144870/

[4] http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer

[5] https://hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/LBR.pdf

[6] https://hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/CIV.pdf

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of MSD.

Media Contacts:
Neren Rau
+27 11 655 3000
neren.rau@merck.com

Notes to Editors

About HPV and related cancers:
There are over 190 different types of HPV, and 40 of them affect the anogenital area. For most young individuals infected with HPV, the virus goes away on its own. If the virus does not go away it can develop into genital warts, pre-cancerous lesions, or even HPV related cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile cancer, depending on the HPV type. For more information, visit http://HPVvaccine.co.za/the-virus.html

About MSD:
For more than a century, MSD (www.MSD.co.za), a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.

For more information, visit www.MSD.co.za and connect with us on Twitter.

Source: Apo-Opa

Fostering jobs, entrepreneurship, and capacity development for African youth: the time for disruption is now! (by Hanan Morsy)

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

by Hanan Morsy

“There is no greater asset to Africa than its youth,” a statement that has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the continent still has a long way to go. Despite robust economic growth over the past two decades, a 1 percent increase in growth between 2000–14 was associated with only 0.41 percent growth in employment. This figure suggests that employment stood at less than 1.8 percent a year, far below the nearly 3 percent annual growth in the labor force. If this trend continues, 100 million people will join the multitudes of the unemployed in Africa by 2030.

With this in mind, researchers, youth representatives, business leaders, and policymakers have joined over 350 stakeholders in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to significantly move the needle on youth empowerment. 

The annual African Economic Conference (AEC), is jointly organized by the African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org/), the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme, to discuss pertinent issues affecting the continent.

The 2019 AEC is held in Egypt and hosted by the Bank on the theme; “Jobs, entrepreneurship and capacity development for African youth” and runs from 2-4 December.

Turning the youth bulge into opportunities has been the focus of the African Development Bank’s game-changing approach to job creation, entrepreneurship, and capacity development. In recognition of the crucial role that entrepreneurship plays in the creation of high-quality jobs, the Bank developed its Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy (2016-2025). The Strategy aims to create 25 million jobs for African youth over the next decade as well as equipping 50 million youth with a mix of hard and soft skills to increase their employability and their entrepreneurial success rate.

The impact is already being felt. Since its launch in 2016, over $20 billion has been invested by the Bank across 318 projects. These investments are directly making a difference in the African youth skills, entrepreneurship, business development, and job creation.

In parallel and working closely with its partners, the Bank is helping strengthen entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa.  The flagship Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF) program provides interventions that equip the African youth, women-led start-ups, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with skills and financial support to run bankable businesses.

The program also assists regional member countries (RMCs) in their implementation of economic and social reforms toward job creation.

In just one short year, the Trust Fund’s resources leapfrogged from USD4.4 million (in 2017) to almost USD40 million (in 2018). By providing technical assistance through enterprise support organizations and financial institutions, the Fund is anticipated to reach more than 480 youth-led startups in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

The Bank has also been very active on the education front, supporting higher education institutions to deliver innovative training curricula that are adapted to the changing demand of the labor market and the private sector.  Academic incubators—also known as innovation centers of excellence, have been established.

One great example of success is the  African Institutions of Science and Technology (AIST) Program, whose mission is to deliver quality postgraduate education and build collaborative research capacity in various fields of Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI). With funding from the Bank, a total of 1,477 PhD and MSc students have graduated, out of which 676 are women. Additionally, a total of 35 partnerships have been brokered with the private sector to enhance the quality and relevance of research.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has also been acknowledged by the Bank as one of the main drivers of human capital development alongside enhanced basic education that generates knowledge and skills more broadly. As such, the Bank’s TVET project in Tanzania, has bolstered TVET and teacher education with an investment amounting to $52 million. The expected outputs include expanded infrastructure of 13 institutions targeting about 8,000 trainees, expanded and extensive use of ICT in instruction at 53 institutions, and increased capacity for teaching, policy formulation, planning, and quality assurance.

The insights and thoughts provided by other African stakeholders, youth representatives, and political leaders on the debate on youth jobs, skills, and entrepreneurship capacities during the AEC 2019 are immensely important in helping the continent move forward.

Now, more than ever, we must listen to the voices of the African youth. 

Dr. Hanan Morsy is Director, Macroeconomic Forecasting and Research at the African Development Bank Group

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

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Mozambique: Armed Violence Exacerbates Suffering in Cyclone Aftermath

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
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Armed violence in Mozambique’s northernmost province Cabo Delgado is forcing scores of people from their homes, destroying villages and health centres, and making it difficult for families to recover from Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the area in April 2019.

Attacks on Mozambicans have been recurrent in Cabo Delgado since 2017. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned about the impact of the armed violence on displaced Mozambicans and their host communities, should this pattern continue.

“In the province of Cabo Delgado the population since 2017 has suffered from armed violence and attacks on their villages,” said Patricia Danzi, ICRC’s regional director for Africa. “Many people had to leave their houses, leave their crops behind and most of their goods.”

In the last two years, hundreds of people have been wounded and killed, homes burned down, and property looted. Safe access to affected communities is a challenge for humanitarian organisations like the ICRC, making the real scale of the needs hard to determine.

“The humanitarian community has problems accessing all of the areas in the province,” said Danzi. “Armed violence prevents us and others from going anywhere, anytime. Each time we want to go somewhere we have to make sure we arrive safely and come back safely and if we don’t get the guarantees, we can’t go. The same goes for the people. If they don’t feel safe to move to places where they can access basic services, they will not go. The true scale of the people that are affected is still unknown.”

People are seeking refuge in the relative safety of larger towns such as Macomia, putting a strain on already scarce resources. Most of those displaced by the armed violence are living with local families, who are generously sharing their homes and what resources they have.

“I was a merchant, doing my business at a small shop,” said Maquela Salimane, who fled his village with his wife and four children and is now living with another family in Macomia town. “But as soon as they came in, they burned my shop and all my belongings. The clothes I am wearing are the only ones I have.”

Others are sheltering in whatever open spaces they can find. Catarina Jaime is one of 23 people sleeping on the dirt-floor of a primary school classroom after their village was attacked in recent weeks. “Our biggest concern is that someone helps us find a place [to live] because we’re not safe here,” Catarina said.

The armed violence is also affecting people’s ability to feed their families. People are increasingly turning to charcoal production, a trade that can have long-lasting environmental consequences, because they are afraid they will be attacked if they go to their field outside Macomia town. This comes after losing their previous harvest to Cyclone Kenneth.

“With that money you may have a little to support yourself,” said Musa Alfane, who makes roughly 3 USD for one 50-kg bag of charcoal. “Here there has been a lot of hunger due to armed violence and the cyclone.”

Albertina Clemente lost her home in Cyclone Kenneth and now worries about the impact the armed violence could have on her family. “The attacks are frequent,” she said. “We live in fear. We cannot sleep. Just yesterday we heard gunshots and some of us ran away to sleep in the bush.”

Others like Sumail Gomes are choosing to move to Macomia town before they are attacked. “I am leaving where I lived because the problem of the armed group is getting much worse,” he said.

The ICRC started to work in Cabo Delgado in 2018 and has since worked with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Mozambique Red Cross to provide seeds, farming tools, and other relief items to families in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth. It also reconstructed the maternity hospital in Macomia town after it was destroyed in the storm and is rehabilitating the local water system. However, this is just skimming the surface of the real needs.

“People have the double impact of the armed violence and the cyclone, which tore through the province at the beginning of the year, destroying many of the assets people had,” said Danzi. “It adds on top of what they have to do. They have to rebuild their lives twice.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Source: Apo-Opa

Roux rings the changes for second SA U19 clash against Georgia

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux – who is guiding the SA U19 team on their tour to Georgia – made wholesale changes to his team for their second and final match against the hosts at the Shevardeni Rugby Stadium on Thursday, with only three players retaining their starting spots.

The trio are Werner Gouws (looseforward), Stravino Jacobs (winger) and Muzi Manyike (fullback). Once again all 29 players in the touring group were named in the match-day squad, and all the players will be allowed to take the field. 

The SA U19s kicked off their two-match tour with a 28-21 victory against Georgia on Monday, and another rewarding result would not only see them return home successful, it would also reaffirm the coaching staff’s faith in the players with an eye on the future.

“We made several changes to ensure that every player gets a chance to play,” said Roux.

“Some of the players will start a match in the green and gold for the first time, so it will be a big occasion for them. We also have expanded bench, so we will make changes through the course of match.”

Roux expected Georgia to stick to the strengths that saw them produce a competitive showing in their opening encounter.

“They will front up physically and produce strong scrums and lineouts once again,” he said.

“What I would like from our team though, is to play more attacking rugby. That said, we have had very little time to prepare, so the players will have to play the situations on the field.

“Once again it is important to note this is an opportunity to assess the players and see where we are in terms of the Under-19 group, who will be U20 next year. We intend sitting down with the players after this tour to discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and the areas they need to work on during the off-season, as we will only see one another again in March.”  

The match kicks off at 09h00 (SA time) and will be streamed live on https://www.facebook.com/RugbyTVGeorgia/ and https://www.facebook.com/GeorgianRugby/.

SA U19 team to face Georgia:

15 – Muzi Manyike (Xerox Golden Lions)

14 – Keenan Twigg (Leopards)

13 – Diego Appollis (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

12 – Rynhardt Jonker (captain – Cell C Sharks)

11 – Stravino Jacobs (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

10 – Ethan Wentzel (Valke)

9 – Thomas Bursey (DHL Western Province)

8 – Werner Gouws (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

7 – Morne Brandon (Xerox Golden Lions)

6 – Thabo Ndimande (Valke)

5 – Dylan de Leeuw (DHL Western Province)

4 – Werner Coetzee (Cell C Sharks)

3 – Siphekahle Dube (Cell C Sharks)

2 – Jason Alexander (DHL Western Province)

1 – Thabiso Mdletshe (Cell C Sharks)

Replacements:

16 – JJ Kotze (DHL Western Province)

17 – Benele Mthenjane (Xerox Golden Lions)

18 – Hanro Jacobs (Cell C Sharks)

19 – Adrian Alberts (Xerox Golden Lions)

20 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks)

21 – Juan Mostert (DHL Western Province)

22 – Lunga Ncube (Cell C Sharks)

23 – Lindo Ncusane (Xerox Golden Lions)

24 – Dewald Donald (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

25 – Willem Steenkamp (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

26 – Dawid Kellerman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

27 – Zwelendaba Mnombo (DHL Western Province)

28 – Cohen Jasper (Toyota Free State)

29 – Bernard van der Linde (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

Media Contact:
rugby@apo-opa.org

Source: Apo-Opa

Nilesat-301 satellite to be built by Thales Alenia Space

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space (ThalesAleniaSpace.com), a Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced today that it has signed a contract with the Egyptian operator Nilesat to build the Nilesat-301 geostationary communications satellite, winning the contract against an international field of competitors.

Positioned at 7° West, Nilesat-301 will work with Nilesat-201 to provide Ku-band services for the Middle East and North Africa. Nilesat-301 will also help extend the company’s provision of Ku-band communications and direct digital broadcasting services in two new large regions of Africa, while also providing broadband Ka-band connectivity over all of Egypt.

As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for satellite design, production, testing and in-orbit acceptance tests. Thales Alenia Space will also provide satellite control system for Nilesat in both Cairo and Alexandria.

The satellite is based on the Spacebus 4000-B2 platform and will weigh about 4 metric tons at launch, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. It offers a design life exceeding 15 years.

Following Nilesat-201, Nilesat-301 is the second geostationary communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Nilesat. It is also the fourth payload developed by Thales Alenia Space for the Egyptian operator.

“I am delighted that Nilesat, and its Chairman and CEO General Ahmed Anis, continued to place their trust in us,” said Jean-Loïc Galle. President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space. “This achievement proves that our telecommunications offer perfectly replies to the telecom market’s needs and that we are perfectly capable of providing tailored solutions that meet each operator’s specific requirements, to enhance global connectivity and reduce the digital divide.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Thales Alenia Space.

THALES ALENIA SPACE – PRESS CONTACTS:
Sandrine Bielecki
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
Email: sandrine.bielecki@thalesaleniaspace.com

Cinzia Marcanio
Tel: +39 06 41512685
Email: cinzia.marcanio@thalesaleniaspace.com

Tarik Lahlou
Tel : +33 (0)5 34 35 35 67
Email: tarik.lahlou@thalesaleniaspace.com

About Thales Alenia Space:
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space (ThalesAleniaSpace.com) delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of 2.5 billion euros in 2018 and has 8,000 employees in nine countries.

www.ThalesAleniaSpace.com

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British & Irish Lions 2021 tour schedule in South Africa announced

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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The British & Irish Lions could make history on an eight-game tour of South Africa in 2021, with Warren Gatland’s side set to play in front of the largest-ever crowd for a Lions Test since the game turned professional, after the itinerary was jointly announced on Wednesday.

The hotly-anticipated tour will span the length and breadth of South Africa, visiting some of the most impressive stadiums in world sport and culminating in three Test matches against the newly-crowned Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.

FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test on Saturday 24 July and with a capacity of approximately 88,000 spectators, a sell-out crowd would be higher than the 84,188 who witnessed the series decider against the Wallabies in Sydney in 2001.

The second Test follows a week later at the Cape Town Stadium – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 – before the British and Irish tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday 7 August at Emirates Airline Park.

The combined capacity for the three Test venues is just below 205,000, which could make the three Tests on the 2021 tour the best-attended since professionalism, potentially surpassing the 192,972 people who attended the three Tests in Australia in 2013.

The eight-game schedule includes six weekend fixtures; three against Vodacom Super Rugby teams the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers, and two midweek fixtures against an invitational side in Port Elizabeth and South Africa ‘A’ in Nelspruit.

Rassie Erasmus, SA Director of Rugby, said the keenly awaited tour was a once-in-a-lifetime playing opportunity for South African players.

“There are players who have been to three Rugby World Cups and finished their careers with a winner’s medal and yet never got to play against the Lions,” said Erasmus.

“They only come around every 12 years for our players and only a few of them ever have the privilege of wearing the Springbok jersey in a Lions series.

“The Lions have not lost a series since they were last here a decade ago and they will present next-level challenge in 18 months’ time.

“Warren Gatland is a massively experienced and astute coach with a phenomenal record with the Lions and the rugby experience for our players and public will rival that of a Rugby World Cup,” added Erasmus.

“The Lions performed extremely well on their previous two tours (through Australia and New Zealand) and will no doubt relish the opportunity to add the Springboks’ scalp to their belt.”

The Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time recently in Japan, with Erasmus promising that the search would now begin for consistency, especially with the crunch Lions tour due in just under 18 months' time.

“It is now something like 600 days until the British & Irish Lions arrive in South Africa and we have already started with planning for that,” said Erasmus.

“The Lions will operate like a well-oiled machine and we will have to work very hard to match them in every department, on and off the field.”

British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, is delighted with an itinerary he believes will allow his side to be perfectly prepared for the three Test matches which complete the Tour.

“I am absolutely thrilled with how this schedule looks,” said Gatland, whose Lions beat Australia in 2013 and drew the series with New Zealand in 2017.

“Touring South Africa is always a huge challenge, not only from a rugby perspective, but also in terms of the venues and the conditions facing the players.

“We are very comfortable that three of the games, two of which are Test matches, will be played at altitude. Our schedule falls in a way to allow us to start at sea level before building up and acclimatising to the unique environment that playing at altitude presents.

“Ensuring the team are absolutely primed for the Test matches is a critical element of any Lions Tour, and I am confident the quality of opposition we will face in the opening weeks will get us ready to take on the Springboks. The Bulls, Sharks and Stormers are all tough sides and present different challenges, which is exactly what we want.

“Moreover, the venues we have agreed – some of which will be new to the Lions – open up the matches to a vast audience and will undoubtedly provide an unforgettable experience for the players and travelling supporters alike.

“We are very much looking forward to touring this wonderful country.”

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight and drew one. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

Ben Calveley, managing director of the British & Irish Lions, said: “In partnership with SA Rugby, we have worked hard to deliver a match schedule that will provide a significant challenge for Warren and his squad, as well as showcasing the Lions and rugby union across the world.

“Lions Tours are a truly unique experience, and we are expecting tens of thousands of supporters to travel to South Africa in 2021 – with this schedule, we’re certain that every one of them will come back with amazing memories.”

Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, added: “We are delighted to announce the itinerary in conjunction with the British & Irish Lions, and we will continue progressing our preparations to provide travelling supporters with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Registration for interest in tickets for the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to SA opened on Wednesday, 4 December 2019, at www.lionstour2021.co.za.

Full 2021 tour schedule:

  • Saturday 3 July: British & Irish Lions v DHL Stormers – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Wednesday 7 July: British & Irish Lions v SA ‘Invitational’ – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Saturday 10 July: British & Irish Lions v Cell C Sharks – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
  • Wednesday 14 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Saturday 17 July: British & Irish Lions v Vodacom Bulls – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
  • Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

Media Contact:
rugby@apo-opa.org

Source: Apo-Opa

African Energy Chamber Endorses Energy Ops-Security Agora as Key Platform to Discuss the Physical Security of Africa’s Oil & Energy Sector

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Energy Chamber

In line with the African Energy Chamber’s (https://EnergyChamber.org/) repeated calls on African governments and oil companies to do more to protect the security of energy infrastructure in Africa, the Chamber is endorsing Energy Ops-Security Agora (Agora Nexus).

The closed-door conference already saw two of its editions being organized in Lagos this year, one in April and one last October, held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence. While addressing key security issues of Nigeria’s oil and energy sector, it remains the only such initiative dedicated to the matter.

Oil and gas resources and energy commodities such as petroleum products, crude oil and LNG, along with their related physical infrastructure, are prone to security risks all across the world, and especially in West Africa. Oil producing nations such as Nigeria are regular victims of energy theft, vandalism and piracy, which jeopardize energy security and the entire economy of oil-dependent countries.

In line of the growing interest for addressing the issue of energy infrastructure security, Energy Ops-Security Agora will be coming back for a third edition in Lagos on April 21st-23rd, 2020 (oil & gas-focused), a dedicated power sector security Agora in Abuja and organizing its first edition in Senegal on March 18th, 2020.

The details of the H1 2020 calendar can be found below:

  • Energy-Ops Security Agora Senegal (Oil & Energy focused)– Dakar, Senegal. March 18th 2020 http://bit.ly/34QRcD0
  • Energy-Ops Security Agora Lagos (Oil & Gas Focused) – Lagos, Nigeria. April 21st – 22nd 2020 http://bit.ly/2DVU1qB
  • Power-Ops Security Agora Abuja (Power Focused) – Abuja, Nigeria. April 28th 2020 http://bit.ly/2r4eVB0

The African Energy Chamber highlighted security issues as a major challenge facing the industry in its latest Africa Energy Outlook 2020. As such, it endorses the initiative as being key to bringing together senior players and security heads from the operators, regulators, and service companies to tackle and discuss major challenges like: kidnap for ransom, pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, port security and community collaboration.

“The energy sector is central to the economic stability of the whole continent, and especially West Africa where oil is the pillar of economic growth,” said Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “Security threats can result in major disruption to energy operations across the value-chain, and are very costly for the sector and African economies,” he added.

“It is a fantastic step forward for Agora Nexus to have endorsement from the African Energy Chamber. Our objective as a business is to address real issues the industry is facing and not to be just ‘another industry event’. Security is a massive issue for the Oil & Energy sector and it has been pleasing to see the communities’ reception towards the Agora initiatives throughout 2019. I look forward to 2020 as we grow out in other geographical locations” Phil Manny, Founder & Director – Agora Nexus.

The Chamber equally applauds all initiatives taken to ensure the security of energy assets in the region, including the recent collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and international navies. Such collaboration resulted last month in the launching of the Exercise Grand African NEMO 2019, a five-day exercise during which navies are conducting anti-piracy, anti-crude oil theft, search and rescue and anti-poaching drills operations. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

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Source: Apo-Opa