Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is pleased to learn that the three people who were stranded in Morocco after an incident in a hotel were able to return to Belgium and join their families.
From the beginning, Belgian Foreign Affairs provided consular assistance and support to those concerned, in particular facilitating access to a lawyer, through the Honorary Consulate in Agadir and the Consulate General in Casablanca. The Minister is pleased to learn that an agreement has been reached to allow the three Belgians to return home in agreement with the authorities and in compliance with local laws.Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today reiterating its call to the international community for urgent additional support for the South Sudan refugee situation and Uganda in particular, where the number of refugees from South Sudan has now reached 1 million.
Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day. In addition to the million there, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.
In Uganda, more than 85 per cent of the refugees who have arrived there are women and children (below 18 years in age). Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription.
With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short. For Uganda, US$674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees this year, but so far only a fifth of this amount (21 per cent) has been received. Elsewhere in the region, the picture is only marginally better – in all US$883.5 million is needed for the South Sudan situation, but only US$250 million has been received.
The funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services. In June, the World Food Programme was forced to cut food rations for refugees. Across settlements in northern Uganda, health clinics are being forced to provide vital medical care with too few doctors, healthcare workers and medicines. Schooling, meanwhile is also being impacted. Class sizes often exceed 200 pupils, with some lessons held in the open air. Many refugee children are dropping out of education as the nearest schools are too far away for them to easily access.
Since December 2013, when South Sudan's crisis erupted in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally displaced.Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant supporting a feasibility study for a 130 MW wind power project in Zambia. The grantee is Access Zambia Wind One Limited, a wind power project developer and subsidiary of Access Power, a Power Africa partner and developer, owner, and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets.
Slated for completion in 2019, the wind farm is anticipated to be the first wind independent power production project in Zambia and will help meet the country's growing demand for electricity.
"USTDA is pleased to support this important project that will help diversify Zambia's energy generation mix," said USTDA's Acting Director Thomas R. Hardy. "The project will create opportunities for U.S. exports in a new and growing sector in Zambia."
Vahid Fotuhi, Managing Director for Access, noted, "By bringing this pioneering project to fruition with the support of USTDA we aim to diversify Zambia's energy mix and tap into its vast clean energy power generation potential in order to help fuel its economic development and satisfy the urgent need for electrification."
Access Zambia will competitively select a U.S. firm to complete the study. Businesses interested in submitting proposals for this USTDA-funded feasibility study should visit the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website at
Opening Remarks by His Excellency The Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, San, Gcon, At The National Economic Council, NEC, National Security Retreat, at the Banquet Hall of The State House, Abuja, 17 August 2017:
I am delighted to welcome you to this special session of the National Economic Council, focusing on Security. As you're all aware, the Buhari administration came into office on a vision that covered three key areas: Security, the Economy and the fight against Corruption.
All three issues are closely linked, of course. Without guaranteeing security, we will struggle to attract the kind of investments, domestic or foreign, needed to create jobs and prosperity for our people. And when those jobs are hard to find and keep, our people will naturally be more susceptible to the lure of criminal activity. Which means that governments that are serious about fighting crime ought to be extremely serious about fighting poverty.
And I take the point that the Chairman of the Governors' forum made about investments in agriculture, although the N23 billion investment is one aspect of agriculture which is the Anchor Borrower's Programme. Our total investment is well over five times that. If you look at all the other areas in which we are investing in agriculture, and that excludes what the States are also investing in agriculture. So I think that substantial effort is being made, still not enough but certainly more than N23 billion.
Corruption and Security are also interconnected. We are all witnesses to how, only a few years ago, much of North Eastern Nigeria was at risk to falling completely into the hands of Boko Haram, largely because widespread corruption in the military had robbed our troops of the resources and morale needed to fight and defeat the terrorists.
Regarding this all-important issue of security in Nigeria, we all know what the issues are. In our lives as politicians and as elites; in our security meetings and confidential briefings, in news reports and editorials in the media, we are all daily confronted by the disturbing reality of Nigeria's security situation.
Now I think is the time to implement our thinking and our talking; to add action to our analysis. And this action must be bold, ambitious, urgent – and, and very importantly – innovative. It was Albert Einstein who said, and I quote, that “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created the problems in the first place.”
This is a challenge to all of us, to confront these matters with utmost seriousness. Because the problems we face as a nation are not static, but instead continue to evolve, our thinking and our solutions for them must also be equally dynamic, to take into account the peculiar realities of the 21st century. I have spoken at a number of recent fora about how technology and the internet have altered the nature of conflict and war in contemporary times, enabling and amplifying the efforts and impact of terrorists, insurgents, warmongers, secessionists, and peddlers of hate speech.
Against this backdrop, the question we should be asking ourselves, as Governments, especially as Chief Security Officers in our States, as Law Enforcement Agents, is: how can we take advantage of these same tools and technology to stay permanently ahead of those who seek to wield them to create mischief, and cause terror, fear and bloodshed?
These are the conversations that we should be having, and at the highest levels of government no less. My expectation is that we will, at this forum, focus on solutions, instead of rehashing the problems.
But let me just reiterate an important fact, one of the reasons why the National Economic Council is so important is because the framers of our Constitution recognise that that the Federal Government alone cannot solve Nigeria's security or economic challenges. Security is a collective enterprise, requiring the harmonization of efforts from all three tiers and branches of Government, and from the private sector, civil society and indeed the general public as well.
Yesterday, we took an important step in incorporating all of our society into this security issue and into the fight against insecurity in our country. Pursuant to our Constitution, I issued a directive to the Inspector General of Police to constitute the Community Policing Programme. As you know the Community Policing Programme is one that the Police itself had developed over the years.
But by this directive, we expect that the community Policing Programme will take root and take effect and all of our Police formations across the country will engage their communities in the very creative ways the Police themselves have prescribed in the Community Policing programme.
We expect that this will be a fundamental change in the way that policing is carried out in our country and that it will yield the kinds of results that we expect.
The Buhari administration has already set a pattern of engagement and collaboration with Governors, and we are committed to maintaining this atmosphere of frank engagement.
You are aware that this was not always the case; and prior to this administration, the National Economic Council had not exactly fulfilled its obligations as an economic council because of the unending series of conflicts between the Federal and State Governments over very many issues.
But we are determined to do things the right way, to be transparent in our dealings with you, to respect your views, regardless of partisan or ideological affiliations, and to join hands with you to create positive change in the lives of all our people.
Please permit me a comment on hate speech. The Federal Government has today drawn the line on hate speech. Hate speech is a specie of terrorism. Terrorism as it is defined popularly is the unlawful use of violence or intimidation against individuals or groups especially for political ends. The law, that is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended), defines terrorism as inter Alia, an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm or damage a country or seriously intimidate a population.
The intimidation of a population by words, by speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter very seriously. As I have said, we've drawn a line against hate speech, it will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all of the consequences will follow it.
I call on all business, religious and political leaders, whatever your political leaning, your religion or tribe or faith to condemn in the strongest possible terms at all times, hate speech.
Speech that promotes violence against an individual or group, especially when such comes from people of your own faith, tribe or group, your silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement.
Hate speech, and the promotion of the same throughout history from Nazi Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential, voices from the aggressor communities.
When leaders in communities that speak in such a manner as to create dissension or to intimidate a population are quiet, they do a great disservice to our unity and nation.
This is why I urge all of our political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders and all of those who truly want a united country and a country where there will be peace and security, to ensure that we do not tolerate by our silence the hate speech that we hear every day in our community.
In closing, let me remind you that our Constitution states that the primary purpose of government shall be the security and welfare of the people. And as President Buhari likes to say: “you cannot administer a country you have not secured.”
We will not relent in our vision to ensure a secure country, in which all citizens can confidently aspire to achieve their dreams and ambitions. I am confident that today will mark an important milestone in the achieving that vision.
I thank you very much for listening.
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President
Office of the Acting President
17 August 2017
USAID and Ministry of Education and Technical Education link Egyptian technical school students to...
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Egypt's Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE) brought together in Luxor this week 600 Egyptian technical school teachers and administrators from 28 schools to highlight the Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE) project's efforts to link Egyptian students with the workforce and private sector jobs.
The WISE project selected over 2,300 Egyptian teachers and school staff from 28 schools in five governorates to receive training to provide career guidance for students, assist students in understanding the labor market and employment options, increase entrepreneurship and innovation in technical schools, and adapt curricula to better meet the needs of the job market. This important project involving teachers and staff from schools in Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia, Aswan, and the Red Sea area allows USAID to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to working with Egypt to help technical school students make a successful transition to employment, and to do that across the entire country.
“Through our Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE) project, we are working with the MOETE to train teachers and link skilled graduates with the private sector,” said USAID Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin. “Since 2016, technical school teachers have provided career counseling to nearly 10,500 students, facilitated over 4,800 internship opportunities, and helped 5,400 graduates secure employment.”
This project is part of the $30 billion that the American people have invested in Egypt through USAID since 1978. To find out more about USAID's work in Egypt, please see www.usaid.gov/egypt, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter at @USAIDEgypt.Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy - Cairo.
What: The Ministry of Health will officially announce that Ethiopia will be hosting Acting on the Call conference of Ministers and high level policy makers on maternal and child survival
When: Friday 18 August 2017, from 2:00 P.M - 3:30 P.M
Where: Ministry of Heath, Addis Ababa Ethiopia
- H.E Prof. Yifru Berhan, Minister of Health, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
- Dr Ephrem Tekle, Director, Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Directorate, Minister of Health, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Why: Hosted by the governments of Ethiopia and India, the 2017 Acting on the Call conference will gather around 500 participants across the world, including Ministers and high level policy makers from both the public and private sectors from 24 countries. The organization of this conference has been supported by many partner organizations such as USAID, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NGOs as well as private sector actors. This conference has these objectives:
- Highlight successful approaches to increasing the use of high-impact reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health interventions (RMNCAH) with equity, quality and sustainability.
- Increase commitment from countries, private sector and NGOs to strengthen the system required to overcome the remaining key obstacles for maternal and child survival both within and outside the health sector.
- Demonstrate global commitment and continued momentum to move forward towards the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
Press Statement attributable to Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State:
On behalf of the United States of America, our best wishes to the people of Gabon on the occasion of the Gabonese Republic's 57th Independence Day. The United States values its partnership with Gabon and will continue to support the Gabonese people in strengthening democracy, human rights, and economic progress.Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (16 August) on Horst Köhler's appointment as Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara:
I would like to offer Horst Köhler my most sincere congratulations!
Horst Köhler has long devoted himself to the African continent with dedication and passion – for many years as Federal President and latterly on behalf of the African Development Bank. He is just the right man for the challenges at hand. Together with all those concerned, he will work on finding a just, viable political solution for the Western Sahara that is accepted by all sides.
Allow me to wish him every success for his new and important role.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Prof. Horst Köhler as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara today (16 August).
In 2012, then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made him a member of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The panel's report laid the foundations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
Since 2016, Prof. Horst Köhler has, together with Kofi Annan, headed up a Special Panel of the African Development Bank that advises the bank on the implementation of its strategies.
Horst Köhler is the successor to Christopher Ross, who was the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara from 2009.Distributed by APO on behalf of Germany - Federal Foreign Office.
Two United Nations human rights experts have expressed serious concern over a new European Commission policy on Mediterranean Sea rescues, warning that more people will drown.
“The EU's proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organizations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer.
The code of conduct, drawn up by Italy with the backing of Brussels, aims to stop privately-operated ships ferrying refugees to safety in Italy from waters off the Libyan coast. It is part of a wider EU plan to reduce the pressure of migrant arrivals. Libya has also announced a search and rescue zone beyond its territorial waters, and is restricting access to international waters by humanitarian vessels.
“The solution is not to restrict access to international waters or firing weapons to threaten boats, as Libya has reportedly done repeatedly. This will result in more deaths of migrants at sea and is in contravention of the obligation to rescue people in distress,” the experts said.
They added that international organizations were making “tremendous rescue efforts”, with their vessels providing up to 40% of all search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
The Special Rapporteurs expressed concern that the European Commission was trying to move Europe's borders to Libya. They highlighted that, under international law, migrants should be allowed to disembark at the nearest port where their lives and freedom would not be threatened, and should then receive information, care and equitable processing of their asylum claims.
“Libya simply cannot be regarded as a safe place to disembark and the EU policy is in denial of this fact,” they said. “Migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard will face indefinite detention in dire and inhumane conditions, at risk of death, torture or other severe human rights violations, without any judicial review.”
Libyan detention centres were severely overcrowded with inadequate access to toilets, washing facilities, ventilation, food and clean water, they noted. Detainees also lacked access to a legal process or lawyers.
The human rights experts also highlighted that migrants in Libya risked labor exploitation and were vulnerable to other forms of contemporary slavery; while women were at risk of rape and other sexual violence.
They said it was vital for the EU and Libya to bring more European rescue boats to the coast of Libya, but warned that an Italian naval mission currently operating in Libyan waters could breach Italy's obligations of non-refoulement, in providing logistical, technical and operational support to the Libyan coast guard.
“It is high time to tackle the real issue, which is the disproportionate impact on frontline States such as Italy and Greece, and relocate migrants and refugees to all Schengen Member countries, instead of supporting measures which drive migration further underground and increase human suffering, in violation of human rights law,” the Special Rapporteurs said.
“States should expand their visa regimes and provide more options for refugee settlement, temporary protection, visitors, family reunification, work, resident, retirement and student visas”, they added, “in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and to ensure that migrants no longer have to embark on such deadly journeys.”
Seychelles' Paris-based Ambassador, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, has presented his Letters of Credential to Mrs. Irina Bokova, the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris yesterday.
Ambassador Radegonde and the Director General reviewed UNESCO's activities, particularly those centred on Africa and Small Island Developing States. The Director General expressed her appreciation for Seychelles' active participation and involvement in these activities.
Mrs. Bokova leaves her post later this year at the end of her 8 years term of office. Ambassador Radegonde took the opportunity to thank her for her leadership of the Organisation as well as for the special attention she has consistently given Africa and Small Island Developing States in UNESCO's activities and programmes.Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, paid his first official visit as High Commissioner to Sudan this week, at a time when refugees continue to flee the brutal conflict in South Sudan. He called on the international community to recognize Sudan's long-standing tradition of hosting refugees and asked for more support for the country.
“For decades, Sudan has kept its doors open to people fleeing war, hunger and hardship. I saw this myself when I worked there as a UNHCR field officer nearly 30 years ago and this continues today as South Sudanese refugees flee the horrors of war,” UNHCR's Grandi said on Wednesday while wrapping-up his visit to Sudan.
Sudan is one of the major hosting countries for refugees fleeing the deadly conflict in South Sudan. These refugees are able to benefit from the government‘s extension of certain freedoms, including to work and move, and also receive generous support from host communities.
The UN Refugee Chief visited Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur during his visit, hosting over 5,000 South Sudanese refugees who arrived at the camp in April, and praised the solidarity of the local Sudanese hosts. “Host communities are generously sharing all available resources, but they are very visibly under immense pressure with already scarce resources.”
Grandi said this exceptional generosity needed to be acknowledged and supported. “Sudan's generosity must be matched with international solidarity and resources. Much more donor support is required - and urgently - so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the country and the communities that are hosting them.”
The UN refugee chief also called once again on the international community to do much more to end the fighting in South Sudan, which is causing the world's fastest growing forced displacement tragedy, without an immediate end in sight. “Parties to the conflict, regional states and the international community need to put an end to this tragedy,” he said.
High Commissioner Grandi met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and welcomed the President‘s assurances that Sudan will continue providing safety to those fleeing conflict and persecution – including those who arrive from South Sudan, and other countries in the region.
Sudan has hosted over 416,000 South Sudanese refugees since 2013 - including some 170,000 new arrivals in 2017, making it one of the largest refugee receiving countries in the region. Hundreds of thousands of other South Sudanese who stayed in Sudan following the separation of the two countries are also in need of humanitarian assistance. Sudan also continues to host refugees from Eritrea, Syria, Yemen, Chad and other countries.Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.
The new Personal Envoy succeeds Christopher Ross of the United States who completed his assignment on 30 April 2017. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Ross' tireless efforts and dedication to facilitate negotiations between the parties in order to achieve a just, durable and mutually acceptable political solution, which would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
Mr. Köhler brings more than 35 years of experience in government and international organizations, including as President of the Federal Republic of Germany (2004-2010), Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. (2000-2004) and President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London (1998-2000). Mr. Köhler also served as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance (1990-1993) before being appointed President of the German Savings Bank Association (1993).
Mr. Köhler graduated from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen with a Diploma in Public Economics and Political Sciences in 1969. He also obtained his doctorate degree in Economics in 1977 and has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen since 2003.
Born in 1943, Mr. Köhler is married and has two children.
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrives in South Sudan today to view the devastating effects that the country's continued violence is having on the millions of residents on the brink of extreme hunger.
The numbers associated with South Sudan's violence reveal the level of brutality being carried out against civilians. Of the country's population of 12 million, one in three residents has been displaced, while one in two is severely hungry and in need of food assistance.
“The number of hungry and displaced South Sudanese is overwhelming,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “The staggering scale of suffering is evidence of the cumulative effect of 3.5 years of a style of fighting that appears calibrated to maximize misery. Warfare should not directly impact the lives of so many civilians.”
Severe physical and sexual attacks against civilians, obstruction of healthcare delivery and other abuses continue to be reported across South Sudan. Medical needs are rising because of increased fighting. The number of wounded treated in ICRC-supported hospitals is significantly higher this year than for the same period last year. The ICRC has carried out more than 500 medical evacuations this year, more than in all of 2016.
The long conflict is tearing apart an uncountable number of families. Nearly 2 million people have fled across South Sudan's borders, and 2 million more are internally displaced. The number of family members separated by conflict and reunited by the ICRC has already more than doubled this year compared with 2016, to nearly four dozen, including many children.
While in South Sudan President Maurer will meet with high-level government officials and visit ICRC food, medical/surgical and water assistance operations in the field. The president will then travel to the Imvepi and Rhino refugee camps in Uganda to meet with some of the South Sudanese refugees there and hear about the challenges they face. On Monday Aug. 21 President Maurer is scheduled to meet with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
Media planning note:
1) On Monday Aug. 21 at 9 a.m., President Maurer will hold a news conference at the ICRC office in Kampala, located at Plot 8, John Babiiha Avenue, Lower Kololo. Media welcome.
2) At 10 a.m. on Aug. 21 a Skype news conference will be held for interested correspondents outside Uganda. Join online: https://conf.icrc.org/meet/jstraziuso/732TF92C or by phone: +41227302579; Conference ID 768261.
3) Video b-roll and still photos of a recent food distribution in South Sudan will be available at
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is shocked about the suffering caused by the dramatic floods and landslide last Monday in Sierra Leone, especially in the capital, Freetown. Hundreds were killed and thousands rendered homeless. The Minister's thoughts are with the victims' families and friends, as well as with the Sierra Leonean people, who were hit hard by this disaster. Our country expresses its solidarity with Sierra Leone.Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
Secretary-General appoints Ruby Sandhu-Rojon of the United States as Deputy Special Representative for West...
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Ruby Sandhu-Rojon as his new Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel. Ms. Sandhu-Rojon succeeds Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, who completed her assignment on 6 August 2017.
The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Guebre Sellassie's accomplishments as Special Envoy for the Sahel and later as Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, including for her role in mobilizing international support for the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.
Ms. Sandhu-Rojon brings to the position extensive experience with the United Nations, including in leadership positions with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and strong strategic planning, coordination, and programmatic skills. Since 2014, she has been serving as the UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa. She served as UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana from 2010 to 2014, and was the UNDP Country Director in Burkina Faso, where she also assumed the interim role of Resident Representative. Earlier in her career, Ms. Sandhu-Rojon was posted to Germany as Chief of the African Section of UN Volunteers (UNV), as Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Madagascar from 1999 to 2002, and as Special Assistant to the Administrator of UNDP from 1997 to 1999. She started her career as a Programme Officer at the African section of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Born in 1962, Ms. Sandhu-Rojon holds a MSc in Russian Politics from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Political Science specializing in International Economics and Politics from Bryn Mawr College, US. She is married with two children.Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).