Monday, 21 April 2014

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Urgent investigation into shooting of Virunga Park Chief Warden needed

16th April 2014
The shooting of Emmanuel de Merode, the head of Virunga National Park must be urgently investigated, said Global Witness today. De Merode was shot at least twice in an ambush in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday and is in a serious but stable condition.
Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, a World Heritage Site and home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas on the planet. De Merode has been Chief Warden of Virunga since 2008 and a vocal opponent of oil exploration and the lucrative, illegal charcoal trade in the park. An investigation should examine whether there is any link between the exploitation of natural resources and the shooting.
Yesterday Global Witness published Deadly Environment, a report which documented the alarming rise in killings of environmental activists in recent years. It uncovered 147 recorded deaths in 2012, nearly three times as many as a decade earlier, and highlighted how the true number of people killed is likely to be much higher because information is very hard to verify, especially in Africa. The attack on de Merode is a terrible example of the kind of violence facing those working to protect the environment from unsustainable exploitation and abuse.
De Merode’s car was attacked by three men with assault rifles as he returned to his home at the park’s headquarters in Rumangabo from Goma. Despite receiving bullet wounds, he reached the Heal Africa hospital in Goma conscious and was operated on by a UN surgeon. He is due to be airlifted to Nairobi. The identity of his attackers and their motives are not known.
“We are extremely saddened and concerned about this horrific attack on a brave man. De Merode should be lauded for his principled leadership of Virunga National Park and his huge efforts to revive the park,” said Patrick Alley, Director of Global Witness. “Sadly, this is part of a growing international problem, and very little is being done about it. There should be an immediate investigation to bring to justice those behind this incident. Our thoughts at this time are with him, his family and colleagues in Virunga.”
The park is focus of a new feature-length documentary, “Virunga”, which is to premiere at the Tribeca film festival in New York tomorrow. The film is reported to follow “a handful of passionate park rangers and journalists fighting to secure the park’s borders”.
Virunga is in a remote part of unstable eastern Congo, still dotted with rebel groups linked to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and its aftermath. Nearly 200 of the world’s last 880 remaining mountain gorillas live in the park, neighbouring the area in Rwanda made famous by primatologist Dian Fossey and the film Gorillas in the mist. Attacks on park rangers in Virunga are frequent, the most recent being in January 2014 when one ranger was killed and two others injured in an ambush.
Donation from the Government of Turkey to the AU
Addis Ababa, April 2014 - Ambassador Jean-Baptiste Natama, Director of the Office of the African Union Commission’s Chairperson, on the 10th April 2014, met H.E. Osman R. Yavuzalp, Ambassador of Turkey to Ethiopia. The meeting that took place at the African Union Headquarters provided an opportunity for the Turkish ambassador to make a donation to the African Union Commission amounting to USD 1,000,000.00 (United States Dollar One Million).

Description: 10 April 2014 Meeting with the Ambassador of Turkey_1Ambassador Natama stressed that the donation demonstrates the commitment of the Turkish partner to support key priority projects to be carried out in Africa in different fields as stated by the First Ministerial Review Conference of the Africa -Turkey Partnership, held on 19 December 2011, in Istanbul. He recalled that ministers agreed, during their meeting, to some identified key priority projects for immediate implementation.  Ambassador Natama, , on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, Dr, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, expressed gratitude of the AU to the government of Turkey for the donation.

Ambassador Osman R. Yavuzalp reaffirmed the commitment of his country to enhance its cooperation with the African Union and expressed its readiness to continue to support key priority projects to be carried out in Africa in different areas.

He noted that African States and the Commission of the African Union (AU), and the Republic of Turkey jointly developed “the Joint Implementation Plan of the Africa- Turkey Partnership 2010-2014”, in order to broaden the Africa-Turkey strategic partnership in accordance with the Istanbul Declaration of the First Africa-Turkey Partnership Summit of 19 August 2008 and to implement its Framework for Cooperation. The First Ministerial Review Conference of the Africa -Turkey Partnership was held on 19 December 2011, in Istanbul in line with the Follow-up Mechanism of the Istanbul Declaration on “Africa-Turkey Partnership”, adopted during the Senior Officials Meeting in Istanbul on 15 December 2010, which agreed to some identified key priority projects for immediate implementation.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Visiting Kazakhstan Ambassador discusses areas of cooperation with AUC Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture

Description: _DSC0405April  2014, Addis Ababa- The African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace received His Excellency Berik Aryn, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Friday, 11 April 2014 at her office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss areas of cooperation.

Ambassador Aryn and Mrs. Tumusiime discussed strategic areas of intervention where Kazakhstan as a partner, could provide support. Ambassador Aryn specifically showed interest in areas within the remit of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture in the context of the 2014 AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security and also the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

He noted that Kazakhstan being an agricultural led country, had extensive experiences to share with Africa. He further noted that the last conference of the Islamic Countries (OIC) a number of which are AU Member States had adopted the creation of an OIC Centre for Food Security and had decided to have it located in Kazakhstan.

The Commissioner welcomed the initiative of Kazakhstan to partner with Africa and support AU flagship programmes including those under the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture. She promised to provide the specific areas under her department for consideration by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Saturday, 19 April 2014



One-size fits all development approach not working for Africa

Mexico City , 2014 –Africa is determined to speak with one voice at the High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation taking place in Mexico on April 15 and 16.

The meeting will review global progress made towards development co-operation and take steps to boost social and economic growth.

For coherence of message, the NEPAD Agency under the auspices of the Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (APDev), and the Government of Ivory Coast, hosted a meeting of senior government officials, business and private sector and other key development players to ensure that the continent speaks and articulates Africa’s priorities with one voice

Dr Albert Mabri, Ivory Coast’s Minister of Planning stressed that “Africa is calling for a binding Global Action Plan, which requires a much stronger commitment by all stakeholders towards making concrete progress in ensuring that aid supports the attainment of development results globally.”

Over 12 African Ministers of Finance at the NEPAD / APDev meeting agreed that the recently adopted African Action Plan on Development Effectiveness will inform continental interventions in Mexico. Critical issues include Domestic Resource Mobilisation and supporting the local private sector. Africa’s position is that the “a one-size fits all” approach has failed to work and will not work.

NEPAD is the African Union’s development arm, mandated to coordinate and implement the continent’s transformation through various development programmes on agriculture, infrastructure, social and gender equity among others.

Over 1500 development leaders will join President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other Heads of State to agree on actions to boost progress; and anchor effective development co-operation in the post-2015 global development agenda. With the The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline of 2015 fast  approaching, the gathering will reaffirm the importance of effective development cooperation in meeting these 8 goals and the new approach for development after 2015.

The AUC Commissioner for Economic Affairs Dr Anthony Maruping, underscored the need for an expanded, more effective and participatory representation on the Global Partnership governance structures. This is because the continent is not currently adequately represented.

The next two days of negotiations will provide a platform for the continent to strongly articulate its priorities to add value to Africa’s renewal agenda.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The 4th Joint Retreat between the PRC and AUC: Two Institutions, One Agenda

Hawassa, Ethiopia April 2014 – “To achieve the vision of AU Agenda 2063, we will have to work together spurred by the values of solidarity, self-reliance and united in our diversity”, says African Union Commission’s Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

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Addressing Ambassadors of AU member states accredited to the African Union at the opening session of the 4th Joint Retreat between the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) and the African Union Commission (AUC), held in Hawassa, Ethiopia on the 14 and 15 April 2014, within the context of working together towards continental integration, the AUC Chairperson highlighted that Africans are all bound by the abiding commitment to the pan African vision of building “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.

“We are gathered here as the African Union Commission and the Permanent Representative Committee of Ambassadors accredited to the African Union to jointly take stock of how far the continent has progressed on its integration and development agenda”, said Dr. Dlamini Zuma, stressing that participants to the retreat will collectively identify strengths, and challenges, and consider ways to move the process forward.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma recalled that the very reason for the establishment of the Organisation Description: _DSC0241of African Unity (OAU), 50 years ago on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, was to liberate Africa from the dehumanizing yoke of slavery, dispossession, colonialism and apartheid. “The vision, solidarity, commitment and bravery of our forebears triumphed and because of them we are here today”, she stressed, explaining that African forebears also strived for continental unity based on the full political, social and economic integration and development of Africa. “Although Africa has made strides towards the fulfillment of its integration, much more still remains to be done, said the AUC Chairperson.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma underscored that “Our interdependency and diversity means we need to invest in all our people, empower all the women; ensure that all girls and boys attend schools, and that we develop our young people”. “It also requires dependable infrastructure to build our economies” said the AUC Chairperson, adding that integrated infrastructure development is one of the most important investments for economic transformation, the promotion of intra-African trade and for investment and integration.

Co-chairing the 4th PRC/AUC retreat, Mr. Hamadi Meimou, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Chairperson of the PRC, highlighted some requirements and challenges faced, and put the stress on the urgent need to identify the solutions to an accelerated integration agenda. 
The 4th AUC/PRC retreat delegation, including notably the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Erastus Mwencha; AUC Commissioners; AU Ambassadors, Members of the Permanent Representatives Committee; as well as AU senior managers, was warmly welcomed by the Mayor and city authorities of Hawassa and by the President and authorities of the regional state of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Dessie Dalkie.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Agency facilitated the retreat’s sessions that acknowledged    the complementarity roles of the AUC and the PRC in the pursuit of the continental agenda.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Nigerian Military Lied About Rescue Of Abducted School Girls- Borno Government officials And School Principal -PREMIUM TIMES

Major General Chris Olukolade
By Ola' Audu
There is controversy over the rescue of abducted school girls in Borno with the state government and the school principal faulting the military’s claim that most of the pupils have been freed
The claim by military officials in Abuja on Wednesday that 107 abducted girls of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Chibok were freed is a huge lie, Borno  government officials, the management of the school and residents have said.
The Principal of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Asabe Kwambura, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning that the military’s claim was false.
“There is nothing in the military statement that is true about our abducted girls,”  Mrs. Kwambura said. “Up till now we are still waiting and praying for the safe return of the students; all I know is that we have only 14 of them, and the security people especially the Vigilante and the well meaning volunteers of Gwoza are still out searching for them.”
She continued,  ”The military people too are in the bush searching. So we have not received any information that they have gotten the students yet. So let it be clear that all the information passed on the media by the military concerning 107 girls is not true.
“I, as the principal did not tell any body any figure on released students other than what our Governor, His Excellency Kashim Shettima had informed the media.”

The Principal said she was contacted by the military headquarters in Abuja yesterday and some person was asking her to confirm the number of girls released.
”I told them that I don’t want to be seen to be contradicting myself on that because what the governor said was what we know about; and I told them there may be additional rescue of the girls, but up to this moment we have not received any of them apart from what we had before,” the principal said.
” What the governor said is still the true picture of the whole issue and that information given by the military is totally wrong.”
The military spokesperson at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade, had Wednesday issued a statement  claiming that 107 abducted girls were freed; adding that only eight of the girls were still missing and the military was searching for them.
He also claimed that a member of the Boko Haram sect that participated in the abduction was also nabbed by the military.
Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima was also quoted by  the BBC Hausa service this morning faulting the claims of the military.
He  reportedly said, “We have recovered 14 of the girls and we have announced a N50 million reward for any credible information that will help us get our girls released and rejoined with their families.”
PREMIUM TIMES also enquired from a top official of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Maiduguri who ordinarily should know about the rescue of the girls.
“We have no such information apart from the 14 that escaped; if there is anything like that, no one would want to hide it from the media; may be the military have their own intel on that, which we probably are not aware of for now,” he said.
Some relatives and parents of the abducted  girls said they were not happy with the way the military “is misleading the world about the innocent girls”.
A female senior Civil Servant with the Borno state government, who requested not to be named said, “What kind of nonsense is this for God sake? Why are they playing politics with the lives of these innocent girls; I had just called some of my relatives in Chibok and they told me none of the girls had been released apart from the 14 that escaped back to town. We hope the military is not doing some thing funny with this very sensitive issue”.
When contacted late last night, Mr. Olukolade insisted it was the principal of the school who told the military that only eight girls were now missing.

Description: Description: h- Commissioner Kaloko addressing joint AUC-WHO Ministerial meeting on heal in Luanda 0.jpgLuanda, 16 April 2014 – The first jointly convened conference of African Ministers of Health, opened Wednesday 16 April 2014, in the Epic Sana Hotel, Luanda, Republic of Angola, facilitated by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The opening ceremony was chaired by H.E Manuel Domingos Vincente, Vice President of the Republic of Angola in the Presence of Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko , Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU, Dr. Luis  Gomes Sambo, Regional Director of WHO for Africa, Amb  Olawale I. Maiyegun, Director for Social Affairs of the AUC, the diplomatic corps and invited guests.  
Despite improvements generally across the African health sector, the continent still bears a disproportionate burden of ill health. African countries continue to endure a large proportion of child and maternal mortality in comparison to other nations.

The problem of non-communicable diseases is still present, and indeed it is relevant and stakeholders have the opportunity to convene and comprehensively address this issue, especially if Africa is to continue to reduce incidences of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. Disease eradication, prevention & control are still high on the African agenda. The fight against infectious diseases has been a daunting task. Nevertheless, the continent has made significant progress and this should not be hindered.

Description: Description: h- opening of joint AUC-WHO Ministerial meeting on helath, Luanda 000.jpgHealth is an important driver of, and a key indicator for what sustainable development seeks to achieve. Africa is going through a dynamic transformation as witnessed by a surge in economic investment and vast improvements in infrastructure but for this to lead to sustainable and equitable development the continent needs to make sure this translates into an improved quality of life for its citizens.

Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, Dr. Kaloko on behalf of the AUC Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said; “As we contemplate the post-2015 development agenda, we have to remind ourselves that, more than ever, a human rights approach to the physical and mental health of our people is essential.  We have to see health in the broader social, economic and environmental contexts and as a contributor to sustainable development.  We have to focus on inclusiveness and identify opportunities across sectors in our health promotion goals.  We have to consolidate our gains and take stock of our omissions and rectify it.”
Commissioner Kaloko stressed on the need for a multi-sectoral, equity focussed approach to improving health outcomes, which includes leveraging the comparative advantage of a wide partner base including private sector, civil society, government expertise, and building on successful development models for the post Agenda 2015. (See complete speech of AUC Commissioner of Social Affairs on AU website:

Speaking on behalf of the Director General of WHO, Dr Sambo said, this meeting was an opportunity to work on the attainment of the development Agenda 2015 in the area of health even though he stressed that for this objective to be addressed fully, all African countries must commit to further strengthen the infrastructure in health which he said still remains a challenge. The WHO representative also highlighted the importance of funding health services in order to ensure universal health coverage.

“The rate of maternal mortality has decreased in the last years, yet the continent is witnessing an increasing number of non-communicable diseases,” underlined Dr. Sambo. He added that Africa is preoccupied with the ebola outbreak which has cost the lives of several people. He called on African countries to be vigilant and do substantial laboratory work to observe and control outbreaks while responding to the disease.

Speaking earlier, Angolan Vice President H.E Manuel Domingos Vicente stated that his country is focussing on improving the health condition of the population. “This is why   we need to join efforts to lay the basis of health coverage in Africa,” he noted. He added that human resources need to be addressed through revitalised programs to improve health systems in Africa. Vice President Vicente pointed out that his country has enhanced primary health services in rural areas, embarked on funding of health services at municipal levels to reach out to the local populations, decreased HIV/AIDs transmission from mother to child and invested in polio eradication due to efficient campaign programs among others. 

Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on his part, recalled that African countries during the Abuja +12 Summit on HIV/AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis, have put health at the core of the Post 2015 development agenda. He noted that some progress has been made in this area and underscored the need to set up prevention and accountability mechanisms and promote locally manufactured medicines.

The meeting which closes on Thursday 17 April, is expected to come out with  renewed commitments on how to move forward on existing global commitments in an effort to ensure that Africa addresses universal health coverage in Africa, non-communicable diseases, reduces maternal mortality and puts in place accountability mechanisms to assess the implementation of declarations and other commitments made by African ministers of health, amongst others. The meeting will further provide a space to deliberate, and to propel action on critical health issues that affect populations across Africa. The meeting will also facilitate discussions on issues that political and public health authorities in Africa are requested to efficiently and strategically intervene in.