Escalation of violence in Birao

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
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The Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Ms. Denise Brown, says the fighting in the northeastern town of Birao, Vakaga province has resulted in a crisis for the local population and is a clear violation of human rights. “Clashes in Birao over the past two weeks have resulted in families fleeing their homes to find refuge from the fighting; homes have reportedly been burned, and there has been looting,” she said.

Following the fighting on 1 September and then again on 14 September, over 13,000 people, mainly women and children, have been forced to flee their homes, seeking protection from the violence.

Despite the prevailing insecurity and access challenges, within 48 hours of the fighting on 1 September, humanitarian partners immediately deployed additional staff and transported by airlift emergency shelter materials, medicine, nutrition support and food. Currently three air bridges are operating each week. “Distributions must continue to ensure that the needs of the displaced population are provided for in the midst of conflict. Violence must stop in order to ensure the unimpeded delivery of aid,” said Ms. Brown.

The Humanitarian Coordinator calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and to protect civilians, civilian infrastructure and humanitarian personnel. She also appeals to donors to scale up urgent funding for humanitarian response in the CAR, as the number of people in dire need is expected to soar.

The 2019 CAR Humanitarian Response plan is less than half funded, with only $207.9 million received against the $430.7 million requested.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Source: Apo-Opa

Democratic Republic of Congo conducts national consultation on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
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By establishing a single market of 1.2 billion individuals representing $ 2.5 trillion of cumulative GDP, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an important lever to increase the production capacity of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and unlock its commercial potential. It also offers the prospect of generating higher value-added processing opportunities for this state of more than 85 million people, which shares borders with nine neighboring countries and faces the challenge of diversifying its economy.

Against this backdrop, a forum is being held in Kinshasa on 17 and 18 September 2019 to provide information to representatives of various government agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia about the expected effects of the AfCFTA, and to shed light on the strategic orientations envisaged by the Congolese government in its implementation.

Organized jointly by ECA and the Congolese Ministry of Foreign Trade, with the support of the European Union, the forum brings together a hundred key economic actors with a three-fold objective: to analyze the opportunities and challenges related to implementing the AfCFTA in the DRC, to discuss the components of the national strategy and to make recommendations to the government.

In addition to a general overview of the legal and technical fundamentals of the AfCFTA Agreement, the forum will discuss the main principles guiding its effective implementation, as well as the provisions that can contribute to building regional and continental value chains, in particular in the sectors where the DRC holds a competitive advantage.

This meeting is a continuation of a broader capacity building programme initiated by ECA to support governments, at their request, in the formulation of national strategies to implement the AfCFTA.

The DRC signed the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA in March 2018 but has not yet deposited its instruments of ratification with the African Union.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Source: Apo-Opa

“SHORRT” drug-resistant Tuberculosis (TB) treatment on cards

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa
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Zimbabwe is set to roll out a Shorter, Highly-effective, Oral Regimen for Rifampicin-resistant Tuberculosis (SHORRT therapy) which reduces the length of treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) from nearly two years, to, nine to 12 months and brings a major improvement in treatment outcomes and quality of life of patients.

The nearly two-year-treatment regimen used to treat people is costly and has significant side effects.

In addition, the length of the regimen makes it hard for patients to adhere to resulting to treatment interruption, as well as for health systems to sustain.

MDR-TB is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin which are the most powerful first line anti-TB medicines. It may result from not completing the first instance of TB treatment as prescribed but may also be spread from a person infected with MDR-TB through the air.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) with support from World Health Organization (WHO), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), The International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union) recently conducted a situation analysis aimed at updating MDR-TB treatment guidelines. The team visited four provinces namely Manicaland, Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South where health workers raised concerns on the current treatment regimen. Side effects that include hearing loss and renal failure were pointed.

Complementing the Health Ministry’s efforts, WHO hired a consultant Dr Jennifer Furin who led the guidelines review mission.

Dr Jennifer Furin, said the new (SHORRT Therapy) will make lives better for people suffering from MDR-TB.

“This initiative will allow us to treat patients with medicines that have fewer side effects which will enable one to go back to normal life after treatment,” said Dr Furin.

She added that data show markedly improved treatment success rates when patients are treated with this (SHORRT) therapy compared to treatment with an injection containing shorter regimens or longer regimens.

“Success rates of over 8 in 10 people have been observed in use of these novel regimens in other countries,” she added.

Deputy Director for AIDS and TB Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Charles Sandy said country is making frantic efforts to ensure that patients benefit from the new regimen.

“An important change is a fully oral treatment regimen with injections proposed to be replaced by more potent alternatives such as (bedaquiline) an all oral medicine,” said Dr Sandy.

Dr Sandy added that in reducing the length of treatment, patients have a better chance of finishing the entire regimen.

WHO Country Representative to Zimbabwe, Dr Alex Gasasira, commended the Health Ministry for embracing the SHORRT treatment regimen. 

Dr Gasasira noted that such actions for Zimbabwe’s vision to end TB by 2030 is to be realized in line with the Global End TB Strategy and The Sustainable Development Goals.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.
Source: Apo-Opa

Ghana Cocoa Trade Syndication Signing Ceremony

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of Ghana in France
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The Ghana Cocoa Board on Friday 13th September completed the agreement for a 1.3 billion dollar syndicated loan in a signing ceremony held in Paris at La Défense. The loan guarantees the purchase of Ghanaian cocoa beans for the international market and the funds are used to improve cocoa farming in Ghana in the form of infrastructure in agriculture, educational facilities and also ensures that the farmers are promptly paid for their labour. The facility is supported by a consortium of twenty-four banks from Asia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, Ghana and includes banks such as Société Général, NedBank, Ghana International Bank and MUFG Bank.

In a speech given at the event, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo stated that the agreement “contributes to the sustenance of the incomes of over 800,000 farmer families and the empowerment of their livelihoods. Participating banks should see themselves, therefore, as making a contribution towards improving the economy and thereby, supporting the government in its developmental efforts.”

At the ceremony were representatives of the Government of Ghana, COCOBOD, Ghana Embassy in France and the twenty four banks involved in the agreement who signed on behalf of their institutions.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of Ghana in France.
Source: Apo-Opa

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Meets Secretary General of Madagascar Presidency

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The State of Qatar
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HE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi met here on Monday with HE Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar Ramonjavelo Manambahoaka Valery Fitzgerald, who is currently visiting Doha.

The meeting reviewed bilateral cooperation relations between the two countries in addition to topics of mutual interest.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The State of Qatar.
Source: Apo-Opa

International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds in Ethiopia

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, London, UK
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The Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association, in collaboration with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Trade and Industry, is hosting the 9th International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds at Sheraton Addis Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 29 and 30, 2019.

For further information, visit the conference website.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, London, UK.
Source: Apo-Opa

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) visits conflict-ridden Tonj East area to build trust and confidence

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

A team from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has visited the Jalwau County headquarters in Wunlit in the East Tonj region in a bid to put an end to an escalation of violence, including cattle raiding and revenge killings, between the Thiik, Akok and Jalwau communities living in the area.

The latest and particularly vicious wave of attacks has reportedly claimed at least 49 lives, with another 44 persons being wounded and more than 3,000 people having been displaced.

“We, the women, are the most affected by this conflict because our sons and our husbands are the ones that are dying all the time when there is an attack,” local woman Adut Majok told the visiting delegation, which also included East Tonj Governor Matthew Mathiang Magoodit.

An eyewitness told the visiting delegation about horrific scenes of killings of women, children and the elderly by arm-touting youth groups that reportedly invaded their villages in a series of cattle raids. Only the Jalwau county commissioner urging the young men of his community not to avenge the attacks stopped, at least temporarily, the conflict from escalating further.

“I thank the peacekeepers for their support and for bringing our governor here today to talk to our youth and convince them to stop fighting, Commissioner Victor Akucbeny Mading said, amidst applause from the hundreds of citizens that had come to take part in the dialogue initiated by the UN mission’s Field Office in Kuajok.

Speaking on behalf of the peacekeeping mission, Civil Affairs Officer Abimbola Olubukunola Aina, expressed her bewilderment when faced with the continuous vicious circle of intercommunal fighting that has been going on in the area for longer than anyone can remember.

“When South Sudan got independence, it was also to ensure that there would be a peaceful future for the young people in this country. We don’t want the youth to continue to lose their lives. We are appealing to you, young people, to end the violence,” she said. “South Sudanese are one people irrespective of what ethnic group you belong to, and this is the time for peace. This is the time to shake hands and live together.”

On this particular occasion, however, a session of intercommunal handshaking was not to be, as representatives of the Thiik and Akok communities could not attend the Wunlit meeting. In fact, for reported security reasons, the three feuding groups are yet to sit together under the same mango tree to discuss their differences.

If local authorities and the peacekeeping mission can have it their way, people from the three ethnic groups will eventually meet for face-to-face talks. Plans for making this happen are under way.

The root causes of the longstanding conflict in this part of the country seem to be unknown, but unconfirmed reports claim that an operation to forcefully disarm civilians have exacerbated the situation as cattle owners want to use guns to protect their animals.

Governor Magoodit, who personally visited the wounded from the recent attacks, called on his people to quit the path of violence and gather where the light of peace and development is shining.

“I want to tell you all to stop killing one another. All of you are one community,” he concluded.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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Source: Apo-Opa

African Leaders converge in Accra for maiden edition of Kofi Annan Peace and Security (KAPS) Forum

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)

The Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (https://www.KAIPTC.org/) has organized the maiden edition of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security (KAPS) Forum in Accra, Ghana, to facilitate discussions on evolving trends in peace and security in Africa. The forum was also organized to honour the sterling achievements of H.E. the late Kofi Annan and to immortalize his memory.

Under the theme, ‘Peace Operations in the Context of Violent Extremism in Africa’, the forum was held under the Distinguished patronage of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and the Chairmanship of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS).

Among the high level delegates were seven former African Heads of State namely; H.E. Pierre Buyoya, Former President of Burundi and AU High Representative to Mali and Sahel (MISAHEL), H.E Catharine Samba-Panza, Former President of Central African Republic, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Former President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone, Professor Amos Claudius Sawyer, Former President of Liberia, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, Former President of Ghana.

Addressing the delegates at the opening ceremony, the Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshall Griffiths S. Evans shared the rationale behind the forum;

“The forum seeks to provide a platform for robust engagement on critical peace and security issues affecting the African continent. Our actions are guided by our mission to foster peace and stability through the provision of a globally-recognized capacity and policy support for all actors on African peace and security issues”, he stated.

In his address, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, identified key interventions which can be implemented to tackle violent extremism.

“It is important that we promote and develop, on the continent, a system and culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, whereby our people are governed in accordance with the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability”, he stressed.

He also threw more light on Ghana’s counter terrorism policy to combat violent extremism.

“Our Counter Terrorism Policy seeks to prevent acts of terrorism in the country. The Counter Terrorism Policy has led to the setting up of a Counter Terrorism Unit, within the National Security Council Secretariat, to lead and co-ordinate our efforts in the fight. Ghana has adopted a well-coordinated Inter Agency Approach, which encourages the timely sharing of information and intelligence, operational coordination and joint strategy formulation, and has proved essential towards ensuring the efficient execution of the country's Counter Terrorism Policy”, he explained.

The Kofi Annan Forum brought together over two hundred high-level delegates and diplomats from governmental and intergovernmental organizations (including the African Union and its Regional Economic Communities, United Nations and European Union). Security professionals and representatives from policy and research think tanks, development partners, training institutions and civil society groups were all present to participate in the dialogues.

The forum also seeks to deepen the collaboration between KAIPTC and international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Governments, development partners, civil society organisations and the business community.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

For further information, please contact the Corporate Affairs Unit of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) on +233302-718200 ext 1104/1203 or +233 550 303030. You can find the KAIPTC on facebook and twitter as: @Kaiptcgh. You can further find out more about the KAIPTC on our website: https://www.KAIPTC.org/.

About the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre:
The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (https://www.KAIPTC.org/) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana's five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa. This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.

The Centre delivers training courses in in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally-recognized institution and has till date trained and tutored over 21, 496 participants and students since its inception.

KAIPTC is a gender sensitive organization and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its Gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes, and integrates same in its focal areas, namely training, research and post-graduate education. The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.

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Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)
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Source: Apo-Opa

Norway to provide NOK 30 million for school meals in Mali

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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Funding from Norway will be used to provide nutritious school meals to some 55 000 children in conflict-torn Mali. ‘Malnourished children have problems learning, no matter how good the teaching is. If children are given school meals, their parents are more likely to send them to school. This in turn helps to promote stability in a part of the world where it is badly needed,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein, who visited Mali this week.

Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries, and is ranked 182nd out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index drawn up by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Half of the country’s population is illiterate, and Mali is the country in the Sahel belt that is most affected by instability. Millions of people have been driven from their homes since 2012 as a result of uprisings and ongoing ethnic conflicts. Developments are moving in the wrong direction, the security situation is even worse than when the rebellion began, and instability has now spread from the northern parts of Mali to the central parts of the country.

The Norwegian funding will be channelled through the school meals programme run by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Mopti.

‘Norway is supporting school meals programmes in several countries, and I am pleased that we can now doing so in Mali. It is the most vulnerable children who tend to get left behind in crisis situations. Providing school meals not only helps to ensure that more children are sent to school, it also improves their health and promotes greater equality between boys and girls. School meals programmes also increase turnover in the local food market, which in turn promotes development at the local level,’ said Mr Ulstein.

Education is one of five main priorities in the Government’s development cooperation policy. Norway is working to ensure that all children have access to a high-quality education. School meals programmes are an important part of the Government’s education efforts, and the importance of these programmes is highlighted in Norway’s action plan on sustainable food systems, which was launched this summer.

While he was in Mali, Mr Ulstein met representatives from a wide range of partners working in the field of education, such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Education Cannot Wait and the Strømme Foundation, as well as WFP.

‘As many as 30 % of children in Mali are stunted as a result of malnutrition among children under the age of five. Stunted children have a low height for their age, and may suffer from impaired cognitive development for the rest of their lives. This situation must be addressed if Mali is to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Promoting stability in countries like Mali and improving people’s lives so that there is less need for them to flee their homes are important policy objectives for the Government. It is particularly meaningful for me to visit Mali and see with my own eyes what our partners are doing in this part of Africa,’ said Mr Ulstein.

Our support for school meals is also important for the transition from acute humanitarian aid to long-term development assistance in Mali. It will also help to make Mali better equipped to tackle humanitarian crises in the future.

Mali has been an important partner country in Norwegian development cooperation since the 1980s, and it is a key partner in Norway’s efforts in the Sahel region.

During the three days he spent in Mali, Mr Ulstein met a number of leading figures, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the Minister of Agriculture, and the Minister of Education. He also met the leaders of the UN stabilisation mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and ended his stay in the country with a visit to the Norwegian contingent serving with MINUSMA.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Source: Apo-Opa

Malawi hosts African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Sensitization Workshops in Lilongwe and Blantyre

17.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
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The Ministry of Trade and Tourism in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC) are organizing an AfCFTA Awareness Workshop in Lilongwe and Blantyre on 17 September and 19 September, respectively. These workshops aim to engage relevant stakeholders on AfCFTA issues to secure a consensus for Malawi to ratify the AfCFTA Agreement. Each workshop is expected to bring together about 150 participants from private sectors, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, academia, and government.

Salim Bagus, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism said 'the AfCFTA marks a new dawn to Africa’s economic transformation and Malawi's economy stands to benefit with the creation of this single market. It is a new hope for boosting intra-Africa trade across 55 African countries with a combined population of more than 1.2 billion people. The AfCFTA will facilitate increased business opportunities in Malawi in terms of unlimited market and economies of scale which will result in reduced cost of doing business and improved efficiency and profitability of our Industries, SMEs and Exporters.'

The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 when the threshold of 22 countries ratified the agreement. The operational phase of the Agreement began on 7 July 2019 at the African Union's Extraordinary Summit, with a transition period up to 1 July 2020 when trading will start under the deal. Malawi signed the AfCFTA on 21 March 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Said Adejumobi, ECA Regional Director for Southern Africa said “the workshops are a major opportunity to raise awareness about the AfCFTA amongst private and public stakeholders, in Malawi. Moreover, to focus on discussing the perceived challenges and making the best of opportunities that the ratification and implementation of the AfCFTA can bring.”

The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area. It has the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, within a $2.5 trillion economic bloc. Ushering in a new era of development. The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization across the continent. The AfCFTA is further expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

This workshop is part of a more comprehensive project aimed at deepening Africa's trade integration through effective implementation of the AfCFTA. Financially supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts to ensure effective AfCFTA implementation strategies.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Source: Apo-Opa