President Faure sends condolences to President of Kenya following terrorist attacks in Nairobi

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles
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President Danny Faure has sent a message of condolence to the President of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday following the terrorist attacks in Nairobi on Tuesday which claimed a number of lives and injuring many more. In a letter to President Kenyatta he said, “On behalf of the government and people of Seychelles, I wish to extend our most heartfelt condolences to you personally, to the families of the victims, those recuperating from this painful ordeal and to the Kenyan people”.

As well as sharing the grief with his Kenyan counterpart, President Faure denounced the attacks as, “callous acts serving nothing more than cowardly attempts to cripple the firm foundation of unity, peace and determination that Kenya is built upon”.

President Faure described Seychelles and Kenya as “brothers in arms” as the two countries enjoy strong diplomatic, economic and cultural ties.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.
Source: Apo-Opa

UNHCR deplores forced refugee returns from Cameroon

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extremely alarmed by reports of the forced return by Cameroon this week of several thousand refugees into violence-affected Borno State in northeast Nigeria. This follows the forced return of 267 Nigerian refugees on 16 January. They had crossed into Cameroon in 2014. We are gravely concerned for the safety and well-being of all these people.

An estimated 9,000 Nigerians fled across the border into Cameroon earlier in the week after militants attacked and ransacked the small border town of Rann in Nigeria’s Borno State. The militants went on a rampage by targeting military installations, civilians and humanitarian facilities. At least 14 people are reported killed.

“This action was totally unexpected and puts lives of thousands of refugees at risk,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “I am appealing to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy and practices and halt immediately any more returns and to ensure full compliance with its refugee protection obligations under its own national legislation, as well as international law.”

Cameroon is currently home to more than 370,000 refugees, including some 100,000 from Nigeria.

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

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Source: Apo-Opa

President, VP, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed send condolences to Mauritania's President

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Coperation
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President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has sent a message of condolences to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, on the death of Mrs. Bint Moulay A'ala.

In the cable, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed expressed his sincerest condolences, and prayed to Allah the Almighty to rest the soul of the deceased in Paradise.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also sent similar messages to the Mauritanian President.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Coperation.
Source: Apo-Opa

UNHCR welcomes Ethiopia law granting more rights to refugees

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Ethiopia’s historic new refugee law which will now allow refugees to obtain work permits, access primary education, obtain drivers’ licenses, legally register life events such as births and marriages and open up access to national financial services, such as banking.

Ethiopia’s parliament adopted revisions in its existing refugee law on Thursday (17 January 2019), making it one of the most progressive refugee policies in Africa.

“The passage of this historic law represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s long history of welcoming and hosting refugees from across the region for decades,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “By allowing refugees the opportunity to be better integrated into society, Ethiopia is not only upholding its international refugee law obligations, but is serving as a model for other refugee hosting nations around the world.”

Ethiopia’s revision of its refugee law comes just weeks after the UN General Assembly agreed to the Global Compact on Refugees on 17 December 2018. At the heart of this innovative new framework is a more comprehensive response to displacement in which refugees are included in national services like health and education, rather than setting up parallel systems. It also focuses on ensuring refugees have the opportunity to be self-reliant and can contribute to local economies in a way that also benefits their hosts.

UNHCR was involved in the drafting process of the refugee law revision, which was led by Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, ARRA. It replaces the 2004 Refugee Proclamation which also upheld the key principles of the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the 1969 OAU Convention, which restricted some refugee rights, like freedom of movement and access to education, and made no mention of integration.

Ethiopia currently hosts over 900,000 refugees, primarily from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as smaller numbers of refugees from Yemen and Syria.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Source: Apo-Opa

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria gravely concerned over Interruption of Aid delivery to thousands following deadly attack in Borno State

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations (UN)
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The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has expressed grave concern over the interruption of aid delivery to tens of thousands of internally displaced people in Rann, a town in eastern Borno State about 10 kilometers from the border with Cameroon, following a deadly attack by a non-state armed group. 

The interruption in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Rann is the direct result of an attack that started at dusk on 14 January 2019 on the military base, and continued into the next day. At the time of the attack an estimated 76,000 internally displaced people were living in Rann.

A medical clinic, warehouses with humanitarian supplies and accommodation for aid workers were looted and/or destroyed in the attack, and the market and shelters in the camp were burned down by the attackers. Several civilian fatalities have also been reported, although the total number is not yet known, and thousands are reported to have fled to Cameroon. In addition, 14 aid workers, who were in Rann during the attack and able to hide, were withdrawn the day after by helicopter. At present Rann is inaccessible to international humanitarian organisations both by road and by air.

“The attacks on Rann, that are increasingly frequent, are having a devastating impact on the civilians taking refuge in this isolated town and severely affecting our ability to deliver life-saving aid to women, men and children in need,” said Mr. Kallon. “This attack has spread fear among an already vulnerable population, and humanitarian assets were also targeted. I urge the Government of Nigeria to protect civilians, including aid workers,” Mr. Kallon concluded.

The conflict in north-east Nigeria, now in its tenth year, has triggered massive displacement and caused a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 7 million people in need. In addition to the attack in Rann, clashes in Kukawa and Monguno local government areas in northern Borno State have forced more than 43,000 people to flee their homes since November, with more than 32,000 taking refuge in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.  Many of these people are converging on already congested camps or sites for internally displaced people, forcing hundreds of individuals to sleep in overcrowded shelters or outside.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations (UN).
Source: Apo-Opa

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani on Zimbabwe

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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We are deeply troubled by the socio-economic crisis that is unfolding in Zimbabwe and the repression of large scale protests in the country, following the Government’s decision to increase fuel prices. We call on the Government to find ways of engaging with the population about their legitimate grievances and to stop the crackdown against protestors.

We are concerned about reports of the excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by Zimbabwean security forces during protests which started on Monday this week. People took to the streets to protest against economic austerity measures and the rise of fuel prices, which affect their already impoverished households and businesses, and limit access to basic goods and services.

Reports suggest that protesters burned tyres, used rocks to barricade roads, and blocked buses from taking passengers to work. A number of buildings were also set on fire and there were reports of looting. Police responded with force, apparently including the use of live ammunition.There are credible reports of a number of deaths – including of a police officer – and many more injured, as well as hundreds of arrests in relation to the protests.

There are also worrying allegations of generalised intimidation and harassment by security forces carrying out door-to-door searches. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has also received allegations of police beatings. According to official figures presented by the Minister of National Security, more than 600 people have been arrested countrywide. Among those detained are opposition leaders and prominent civil activists. We are also concerned that Internet services have been severely disrupted in the last few days.

We support the call of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for the Government to set up a national dialogue, with wide participation of all sectors, to find solutions to the economic challenges the country is facing. We urge the Government to work with the support of the international community to ease the current crisis.

We call on the Government ensure that security forces handle protests and exercise their power – especially the use of firearms and live ammunition – strictly in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations and the relevant principles, including legality, necessity, proportionality, precaution and accountability.* State authorities have a duty to ensure people’s rights to freedom of expression, and to facilitate and protect the right to peaceful assembly. It is essential that all sides, including the protestors, refrain from the use of violence and seek to resolve the situation peacefully.

We call on the Government to carry out investigations into all reports of violence, including the alleged excessive use of force by security forces in a prompt, thorough and transparent manner, with a view to accountability.

All those detained for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression should be promptly released.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Source: Apo-Opa

NEM Insurance announces investment by Advanced Finance and Investment Group (“AFIG Funds”), a growth and expansion private equity fund manager

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

NEM Insurance
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NEM Insurance Plc (“NEM” or the “Company”) (www.NEM-Insurance.com), a leading insurance group in Nigeria announced that Advanced Finance and Investment Group (“AFIG Funds”) (www.AFIGFunds.com), a leading African private equity fund manager has, through AFIG Fund II, completed an investment in the Company, by acquiring 29.9% of the Company’s shares from some existing shareholders of the Company (the “Transaction”).

This Transaction now makes AFIG Funds the largest shareholder in NEM, and marks the commencement of a strategic partnership between AFIG Funds and NEM, as the Company embarks on its next growth phase as a top-tier player within the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

NEM Insurance is a top-tier non-life insurance company which has been in operations in Nigeria for over 60 years, and more recently in Ghana. The Company offers all classes of non-life insurance products to individuals and corporates in Nigeria, and has over the years become a household name. NEM has over the last decade built a solid record of service delivery excellence, superior financial performance including consistent profitability and healthy returns to its shareholders.

Mr. Tope Smart, Group Managing Director of NEM Insurance, said of the investment: “We are delighted to welcome AFIG Funds as a significant shareholder in NEM at such an exciting time in the Company’s evolution. This partnership with AFIG Funds is the outcome of several years of constructive engagement, as well as a thorough internal strategic process to identify and engage with the best long-term institutional partner for our Company. We look forward to continue to benefit from AFIG Funds’ extensive experience investing in strong African companies particularly in financial institutions. We believe this partnership will accelerate the realization of our growth ambitions within Nigeria and across the continent. We are confident this will be a fruitful and mutually rewarding partnership.”

Mr. Kelechi Okoro, Director of Investments at AFIG Funds, said: “Through our engagement with NEM over the last several years, we have had the opportunity to observe its solid trajectory, and to develop confidence in the management team’s ability to seize growth opportunities in the increasingly competitive landscape”.

Commenting further, Mr. Papa Madiaw Ndiaye, CEO of AFIG Funds, said: “We are excited about our partnership with NEM Insurance and the Company’s strong growth prospects. NEM is one of the fastest-growing, best-capitalized and most consistently profitable underwriters in Nigeria. Our decision to invest in NEM during an election year in Nigeria, which is a time when foreign investors tend to shy away from emerging markets, is testament to our strong belief in the prospects of the Company and in the resilience of the broader economy. We are keen to begin working with management, the Board of Directors and other shareholders to execute on the many promising initiatives to further unlock the Company’s significant potential.”

CardinalStone Partners Limited and Koya Kuti Solicitors acted as Financial and Legal Advisers, respectively to NEM Insurance Plc, while PWC Nigeria and Banwo & Ighodalo were Transaction Advisers to AFIG Funds.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of NEM Insurance.

About NEM Insurance:
NEM Insurance (www.NEM-Insurance.com) is a non-life insurance company which commenced business in Nigeria in 1948, as Edward Turner & Co, and has over the past several decades emerged as a leader in Nigerian insurance industry. The Company became quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1989 following its privatization by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It launched operations in Ghana in 2009, through its affiliate, RegencyNEM.

About AFIG Funds:
Advanced Finance & Investment Group (“AFIG Funds”) (www.AFIGFunds.com) is a leading private equity fund management company with two funds under management, the Atlantic Coast Regional Fund, and AFIG Fund II. AFIG Funds makes growth equity investments across diverse sectors in West, Central and East Africa. AFIG Funds is registered in Mauritius and headquartered in Dakar, Senegal.

Source: Apo-Opa

Statement delivered by HE Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in New York, during the United Nations Security Council briefing on Sudan Sanctions

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
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Statement delivered by HE Ambassador Jerry Matjila

Mr President

We would like to thank you for convening this meeting, and we would also like to thank Ms Wronecka for her briefing and her leadership in this portfolio.

South Africa welcomes the improvements in the security situation in Darfur. The situation has improved dramatically over the last few years and the role of the AU/UN Hybrid Mission (UNAMID) must be commended

Notwithstanding its expected drawdown set out in Resolution 2429, UNAMID must continue to ensure the protection of vulnerable civilians, especially in internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps and in the prevention of gender-based violence.

South Africa also welcomes the gains made in advancing the Darfur Peace Process and the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and calls on all parties to continue their commitment to the negotiations process under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.  

The council had set out through resolution 1591 to put pressure on parties which were impeding the peace process. The council recognized this as constituting a threat to stability in Darfur and the region. Further, it targeted those that committed violations related to international humanitarian or human rights law or other related atrocities, or those who violated measured agreed upon in resolution 1556.

Equally, we should also respond to the progress that is being registered on the ground, with the normalization of the situation in Darfur, which propelled the drawdown of the UNAMID Mission. It is important that as the Council we are able to recognize and acknowledge this progress through the measures imposed in 1591.

This doesn’t mean that there are no longer elements that still require our attention. We remain concerned at the continued violations of the arms embargo including the transfer of weapons to Darfur which destabilizes the situation on the ground. In this regard we urge UNAMID, in accordance with resolution 2429 to continue to provide technical and logistical assistance to the Sudan DDR Commission.

South Africa also remains concerned with the growing presence of Darfuri armed groups in Libya as further violations of the embargo could potentially fuel the conflict in the region. This undermines any progress made towards stability and lasting solutions for peace and sustainable development.

Women and children are the most affected by sexual violence which has also increasingly become a weapon of war and conflict affecting the long-term prospects for peaceful and prosperous communities. In this regard we would like to commend the government of Sudan for its efforts in trying to combat sexual violence in conflict.

I thank you. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Source: Apo-Opa

UN entities support Ethiopia’s quest for policy coherence for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Thursday hosted a day-long workshop aimed at enhancing Ethiopia’s policy coherence for the sustainable development goals through integrated climate, land, energy and water (CLEWS) assessments and institutional strengthening.

The three UN entities are implementing a capacity development project to support the East African country’s coherence in policy formulation in the four areas.

In opening remarks to the workshop, Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Seleshi Bekele, said Ethiopia’s overall development goals were ambitious, adding the country was determined to make it.

“This requires that we do not do things in the business as usual way. We must optimise our resources, including human, financial and natural resources,” the Minister said.

“For this to happen we must work as a joint-up government where ministries and departments with overlapping mandates capitalise on that overlap to work together based on their respective comparative advantages and efficient use of resources to achieve the country’s development objective.”

He said achieving “our development objective depends very much on how we invest in, and use our land, energy and water resources” which are also very sensitive to climate change.

“Therefore, although all of the SDGs are interlinked, the coupling between climate, land, energy and water is a crucial one that provides a unique opportunity for substantive efficiency and optimal investment planning in support of the SDGs.”

The UN support to the Government of Ethiopia will focus on two interrelated areas; the application of integrated quantitative analysis to address interlinkages between climate, land, energy and water systems; and institutional arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate effective and structural coordination among stakeholders in these areas.

In his welcome remarks, the ECA’s Officer in Charge for the Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources Management Division, Oliver Chinganya said the project will build capacities for integrated assessment methodologies to address interlinkages and tradeoffs among policies, goals and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

“Indeed, all the SDGs are interlinked, but the nexus between land, energy and water is particularly strong, especially against a background of changing climate,” he said.

African countries are experiencing catastrophic climate change and variability impacts in inter-related ways across many sectors yet African economies remain strongly dependent on these climate sensitive sectors for their development.

“Therefore, building sustainable and resilient economies in support of Africa’s transformation does require climate-informed and integrated strategies and approaches with a focus on the climate, land, energy and water sectors nexus,” said Mr. Chinganya.

For his part, Thomas Alfstad, Adviser in UNDESA’s Economic Analysis and Policy Division shared the CLEWs framework with participants who are experts drawn from various Ethiopian ministries.

He said it will provide policy relevant insights, information and quantitative estimates and can help identify interlinkages among sectors; help determine likely quantitative aspects of such interlinkages; identify robust relationships, key risks, explore technology and policy alternatives to mitigate unwanted outcomes.

“It will also help explore technology and policy alternatives to realize co-benefits so we can maximise synergies,” said Mr. Alfstad.

CLEWs is a methodology for integrated assessment of resource systems that provides a means to analyze and assess the interlinkages that exist among energy, water and agricultural systems as well as their impacts on – and vulnerability to – climate change.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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UK invests in restoring Egyptian cultural heritage

18.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

British Embassy Cairo
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A delegation of experts from across Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan are visiting the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo and celebrating the success of restoration work conducted on it as part of UK’s Cultural Protection Fund.

The Cultural Protection Fund is currently investing over GBP £3m in in six projects across Egypt to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development while protecting cultural heritage. These projects bring together international experts including from Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation, University of Oxford, the Institute of Development Studies of University of Sussex, Environmental Quality International (EQI), the British Museum, and the Levantine Foundation.

The £30m Fund is co-funded by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture Media (DCMS) and Sport and is delivered in partnership with the British Council. It supports local initiatives to protect at-risk cultural heritage, including monuments, archaeology, museums and libraries, and also aims to train archaeologists and prevent looting and illegal trafficking. The Fund is currently supporting 51 projects in twelve countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

This week, experts from across the region gathered in Cairo to learn from the success of projects which have so far included restoring Mamluk Minbars in Cairo, and a traditional rock-salt mosque in Siwa.

British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said:

“Tourists across the world come to Egypt to enjoy its rich history and heritage. I am delighted the British government is investing in restoring part of Egypt’s heritage through the Cultural Protection Fund which brings together British, Egyptian and international expertise.”

Director of British Council Elizabeth White said:

“The British Council is proud to work along with DCMS and with our partners in Egypt on projects aimed at protecting and preserving cultural heritage. In every country, this matters; in Egypt, with this country’s incomparable cultural riches, the work is crucial. We are delighted to welcome project partners from across the region this week.”

Abdelhamid Salah, Chairman of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation said:

“The recent thefts of objects of cultural heritage, especially those of Islamic heritage and Mamluk minibars, served as a warning to Egyptian institutions and the international community. The initiative of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation’s to rescue these platforms coincided with British Council’s objectives for awarding grants to cultural heritage preservation projects. Thanks to the efforts of both parties and partners, the Mamluk restoration project is now an important scientific and strategic model for protecting heritage not only to the Egyptian society but also to the international community.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British Embassy Cairo.
Source: Apo-Opa