Friday, 30 March 2012

The Commissioner of Economic Affairs at the African UnionCommission, Dr. MAXWELL M. MKWEZALAMBA
Ayoub mzee with the former President of Maldives H.E MOHAMMED NASHEED

State Department Meetings with Mohamed Nasheed (Taken Question)


Question: Are any State Department officials meeting with former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed while he is in the United States?

Answer: Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman and other State Department officials will meet with Mr. Nasheed tomorrow at the State Department.

The United States enjoyed excellent relations with Mr. Nasheed and his administration, and we particularly appreciate Mr. Nasheed’s strong leadership on climate change and international human rights issues.

The United States continues to call for restraint by all sides to prevent possible violence, to allow parliament to operate unhindered, and to use Maldivian democratic institutions to resolve differences peacefully.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

MEET HON MUSTAFA MKULO -THE TANZANIA FINANCE MINISTER

Mustafa Mkulo, Finance Minister:
I feel privileged to be in President Kikwete Cabinet again. I think that in the new setup, and in collaboration with the Planning Commission and Bank of Tanzania, we will make sure the country becomes the middle income class before the end of this term.

We will work in collaboration with other stakeholders to make sure the set goals are reached… in a period of five years we have managed to push the GDP up which is an indicator that we are moving forward.

Tanzania Finance Minister-Hon Mustafa mkulo with AU commissioner Gawanas in Adis ababa today


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Pictorial news from the 5th meeting of the ministers' of economy , finance and economic development of the Africa Union in Addis Ababa

The Nigeria Presidency Team
Lord Paul Boateng
Mr Jenerali Ulimwengu and a friend from UNECA

The Ethiopia Prime minister-H.E Melesi Zenawi[black suit]
The Tanzania permanent Rep at the AU H.E J Biswaro with a constituent
Ayoub mzee with the South sudan Director General of the central Bank Mr Daniel Kech Puoc
Cleaness is second to godlyness so they say.
Press release

Funding revelations concern the Prime Minister’s office, his policy unit, and his judgement - Ed Miliband



Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, in the House of Commons following last weekend’s reports of the Tory Party’s treasurer offering meetings with the Prime Minister in return for donations, said:

Mr Speaker,

Let me first say to the Minister for the Cabinet Office: It shouldn’t be him at the despatch box today. It should have been the Prime Minister coming to this House. The revelations this weekend concern the Prime Minister’s office, his policy unit, and his judgement. And it shows utter contempt for this House that the Prime Minister can make a statement to the media just three hours ago but refuses to come here to face Members of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I think we all know why. He’s got something to hide. I will come to the wider party funding issues that the Minister raises, but let us be clear:

The reason he has come to the House today is not because of long-standing debates about party funding, but because of grave revelations this weekend. This is about the Prime Minister’s chief fundraiser seeking cash for access. What did he say, and I quote:

“The first thing we do…is get you at the Cameron and Osborne dinners, and in fact some of our bigger donors have been for dinner in Number 10 Downing Street”.

About seeking cash for influence:

“We get a chance to ask the Prime Minister questions …What do you think we are going to do about the top rate of tax…Everything is confidential…”

And seeking cash for policy:

“If you’re …unhappy about something…we’ll listen to you and we’ll put it into the policy committee at No10.”

These represent grave allegations about the way that access is gained and policy is made. They are about a breaking down of the lines between support for a political party and the way government policy is determined.

So first, will the Minister for the Cabinet Office accept that it is completely inadequate for the investigation into what happened to be conducted by the Conservative Party?

The Prime Minister today put forward a Conservative peer, Lord Gold, to carry out this inquiry. A Conservative peer appointed by him. So this is an inquiry into the Conservative Party; by the Conservative Party; for the Conservative Party.

Let’s call it what it is. It’s a whitewash. And everyone knows it. We need a proper independent inquiry appropriate to the gravity of what is at stake. So will the minister now agree to an inquiry conducted by the independent adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan?

On cash for access, specifically the inquiry should cover: All the donors the Prime Minister has met in Downing Street or Chequers since May 2010, and whether any of those meetings were in response to promises of cash for access?

And whether other senior ministers, including the Chancellor, have held such meetings?

On cash for influence: Whether Conservative party donors were offered the chance to put forward policy ideas in exchange for donations – as the whole country now knows was suggested by Peter Cruddas?

Whether any of these ideas were forwarded to the No10 policy unit, and which of these ideas found their way into the Chancellor’s Budget?

And whether government departments have been asked by Downing Street to facilitate ministerial and official meetings with donors?

Above all the inquiry needs to investigate a clear breaking down of the boundary between the Prime Minister as leader of his party, and the Prime Minister as head of our government.

Yesterday we were told the only people who had been to dinner in Downing Street were a few “long-standing friends” invited to the private flat. Today, he reluctantly admits that some of them weren’t invited because they were long-standing friends at all.

And it wasn’t in his private flat. It was a thank you dinner for donors who donated to the Conservative Party, held inside Downing Street. In total, £18 million from 12 donors.

Not the premier league. But the Champions League of Tory donors. I bet they did alright out of last week’s Budget.

Even this is not a complete list, because the Prime Minister has refused to name donors he met on government property who donated less than £50,000. His excuse? That these were the only ‘significant’ donations. Only this Prime Minister would think a donation of £49,000, twice the average salary, is not significant.

Next, will the Minister for the Cabinet office agree with me that the rules on party political funding are clear: It is illegal to solicit donations through overseas companies and also illegal to attempt to disguise these donations.

Yet there are allegations that this was exactly what Mr Cruddas was suggesting. Will he now undertake to recommend to the Prime Minister that he refers the Conservative Party to the Electoral Commission to investigate this practice by Mr Cruddas and whether it is practised by any other Conservative Party donors?

Thirdly, on the issue of party funding, let me say to the Minister, I am somewhat surprised by him suddenly saying he now wants to restart talks. Let me provide the House some background. The Deputy Prime Minister wrote to me and the Prime Minister on February 8th seeking cross-party talks with heads of terms to be decided by Easter. I replied with my suggested nominees for those talks 12 days later. Such was their enthusiasm for reform that in the five weeks since then, I have heard precisely nothing about these talks. Neither have my nominees.

All of a sudden they have become an urgent priority. What are we to make of their new-found enthusiasm for reform? What a coincidence - the day after the Tory treasurer seeks cash for access. And now, who have they nominated for these talks?
Who is their great reformer?

The Conservative Party Chairman, Lord Feldman. The man who just last September fatally undermined the Kelly inquiry into party funding by saying at the eleventh hour that a £10,000 cap on individual donations would: “hugely inhibit the ability of political parties to engage with the electorate”. Perhaps he should have said hugely inhibit the power of rich individuals to influence policy in Downing Street.

We are happy to have proper talks about funding. But it is ridiculous for the Government to seek to use them as a smokescreen. The problem with these people, as we saw with last week’s Budget, is that they think they can get away with anything. And they’ve been found out.

Mr Speaker, the weekend’s revelations show this Government cannot deliver the change we need. They promised transparency, they promised to clean up politics. Now they won’t even agree to a proper inquiry. And the Prime Minister is too ashamed to come to this House and explain.

This scandal speaks to the conduct and character of this Prime Minister and his Government.

Anything short of an independent inquiry will leave a permanent stain on the reputation of this Government and this Prime Minister.


Ends


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE LABOUR PARTY

Press release

Tu

Letter from Jack Straw MP to Electoral Commission


Peter Wardle
Chief Executive
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London
EC1Y 8YZ



Dear Mr Wardle,

Donations to the Conservative Party and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

I write to you following reports by The Sunday Times on 25 March, 2012 regarding donations to the Conservative Party alleged to have been solicited by the Party’s then co-treasurer Mr Peter Cruddas, and by a Ms Sarah Southern, a long-serving former Conservative Party staffer.

According to reports, undercover reporters told Mr Cruddas and Ms Southern that they were interested in making a donation on behalf of Middle Eastern donors. The reporters were allegedly told that money from foreign investors could be channelled through a company established by the reporters as they were on the UK electoral roll (See the accompanying Annex, note A, for the relevant quote from the Sunday Times report).

The Sunday Times has published a series of video recordings of both Mr Cruddas and Ms Southern. In one of these clips, Ms Southern says that she had spoken to the Conservative Party about the situation and that they said that money would have to come via “an individual, or individuals who are on the electoral roll”. Pressed by the reporters as to whether the Conservative Party would need to clarify this situation, Ms Southern said, “The Party, the Party won’t ask.” (A full transcript of this recording is attached in the Annex to this letter, note B).

The law is clear on the permissibility of donations to political parties. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) stipulates that donations are only permissible if they come from individuals registered on the UK electoral roll, or from companies registered in the UK.

(2) For the purposes of this Part the following are permissible donors—
(a) an individual registered in an electoral register;
(b) a company—
(i) registered under the Companies Act 1985 or the 1985 c. 6.Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and S.I. 1986/1032
(ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another (N.I. 6).member State, which carries on business in the United Kingdom;
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (page 42-43)

PPERA also stipulates that where a donation is received by way of another person, the party must be given details in respect of the original donor.

(5) In relation to each such separate donation, the principal donor must ensure that, at the time when the principal donation is received by the party, the party is given—
(a) (except in the case of a donation which the principal donor is treated as making) all such details in respect of the person treated as making the donation as are required by virtue of paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 to be given in respect of the donor of a recordable donation; and (b) (in any case) all such details in respect of the donation as are required by virtue of paragraph 4 of Schedule 6 to be given in respect of a recordable donation.
(6) Where—
(a) any person (“the agent”) causes an amount to be received by a registered party by way of a donation on behalf of another person (“the donor”), and
(b) the amount of that donation is more than £200, the agent must ensure that, at the time when the donation is received by the party, the party is given all such details in respect of the donor as are required by virtue of paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 to be given in respect of the donor of a recordable donation.
(7) A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he fails to comply with subsection (5) or (6).
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (page 43-44)

These reports raise serious questions as to how the Conservative Party is soliciting donations, potentially in contravention of PPERA. A number of questions are worthy of further investigation:

  • In soliciting donations which they believed to come from an overseas source, were Mr Cruddas and/or Ms Southern, or others committing a criminal offence?
  • Is the reported method of soliciting donations from an overseas source as outlined by Mr Cruddas/Ms Southern standard practice within the Conservative Party?
  • Why did Mr Cruddas, and Ms Southern, evidently believe that this practice was legitimate?
  • Who at the Conservative Party advised Southern how the undercover reporters could get around electoral law?
  • Do other donations to the Conservative Party ultimately come from overseas?

It would also be helpful to know whether your Commission has been aware of the procedures which the Conservative Party have in place for ensuring full disclosure; and what if any precautions have they taken to ensure that sufficient disclosure is made to ensure that the donor is not acting for a third party.


As the body tasked with enforcement of PPERA, under the 2000 Act, I would be grateful if you would investigate this matter. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Given the public interest in this matter I am releasing a copy of this letter to the media. I am also sending a copy to the Prime Minister, and to Francis Maude.

Yours sincerely,





JACK STRAW

Monday, 26 March 2012

AYOUB MZEE with Dr Okonjo Iweala at the Africa union headquarters today

African Union finance leaders on Monday unanimously endorsed Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy to lead the World Bank and urged an open merit-based process to select the next head of the global financial institution.

"Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's impeccable credentials, including depth and breadth of knowledge, rich and varied experience, make her eminently qualified and the best candidate for the post of World Bank president," the Africa Union said in a statement.

frica supports Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as
Africa’s sole candidate for the Presidency of the World Bank

The Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Meles Zenawi , the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, and African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development today in Addis Ababa endorsed the nomination of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Africa’s sole candidate for the Presidency of the World Bank.

The unanimous endorsement came by acclamation during the 1st Plenary Session of the 5th Joint Meeting of the African Union Conference of African Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that opened in Addis Ababa today 26 March 2012.

Dr. Okonjo Iweala had been nominated by Angola, South Africa and Nigeria.


The Commissioner for Social Affairs Department at the African Union (AU) Commission, Ms. Bience Gawanas, has expressed concern at the lack of cooperation from central bank officials in Africa for the technical team on the establishment of an African Institute for Remittances (AIR).

The commissioner, who spoke Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a high-level ministerial discussion on “Leveraging remittances for social development in Africa,” said it had been difficult for the technical team to obtain timely responses from central banks regarding their acceptance of the assessment visits.

“I urge our member states to galvanize your commitments to this course and also to join us in implementing this project for the benefit of our continent,” Gawanas said.

The panel discussion was held on the sidelines of the meeting of the committee of experts of finance and economy, which started Thursday to prepare for the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development beginning Monday.

The panel discussion was intended to sensitize AU member states on the implementation of the preparatory phase of AIR and inform on the road map towards its creation.

The preparatory phase towards the establishment of AIR was launched in June 2010 and focuses on consultations, research, capacity building and networking.

The finance ministers will make appropriate recommendations to the AU executive council and the assembly on the establishment and structure of AIR.

According to the AU, there are some 30 million Africans living outside their countries of origin, some 3 percent of the continent’s population, who contribute about US$40 billion in remittances to their families and communities back home every year, affecting as many as 25 million recipient households.

It is believed that the remittances, when properly harnessed, will have significant effect in accelerating socio-economic development of the continent.

Unlike development aid, remittances are spent directly by the families of migrants, making it an efficient way to raise the overall income and well-being of the poor.

The establishment of an African Institute for Remittances is expected to facilitate remittances leverages for economic and social development.

Gawanas, however, noted that in spite of the size, stability and development implications of these flows, remittance markets in Africa remain relatively underdeveloped.

A Panel of experts.Her is the Tanzania ambassador to the AU mr Joram Biswaro
Ayoub mzee with the former president of Tanzania H.E Benjamin Mkapa in Ethiopia today

Sunday, 25 March 2012

JOBS JOBS JOBS


Mkurugenzi Mtendaji mpya wa Kampuni ya Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL) Tido Mhando Jobs in international development
Programme Support Officer: Planning, Monitoring and Programme Quality
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance supports communities to meet the challenges of AIDS and build healthier communities. Our vision is a world in which people do not die of AIDS. Since 1994, the Alliance and its partners have supported over 3,000 projects, in over 40 countries, reaching millions of people.

We are seeking a Programme Support Officer: Planning, Monitoring and Programme Quality to lead on effective monitoring and quality support. S/he will manage the Alliance bespoke monitoring and reporting system, working closely with the data, acting as a focal point for issues pertaining to programme quality. S/he will work closely with staff from other departments, especially from the Best Practice, Communications & Resource Mobilization departments, and other teams in the Field Programmes Department.

The successful candidate will be an advanced user of Microsoft Access and Excel, have excellent communication skills, experience/interest in international work, and a commitment to be part of a hardworking team.

Application deadline: Tuesday 27 March at noon (UK time)
Interviews expected: Tuesday 3 April 2012

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance is committed to equal opportunities and welcomes applications from appropriately qualified people from all sections of the community. Qualified people living with HIV are particularly encouraged to apply..recruitment@aidsalliance.org.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------







Jobs in international development
Monitoring & Evidence Adviser
Permanent post
Based in London with travel
From £30,917 gross per annum

APPLICANTS MUST HAVE THE EXISTING RIGHT TO WORK IN THE UK

HelpAge International is a global network of not for profit organisations with a mission to work with and for disadvantaged older people. HelpAge International has a vision of a world where older people fulfill their potential to lead active, dignified, healthy and secure lives. HelpAge has identified a need to strengthen the quality of monitoring and impact assessment across the organisation in order to improve programme learning and contribute to the evidence base for advocacy work.

The Monitoring & Evidence Adviser will ensure the development and implementation of high quality organisation-wide monitoring and impact assessment; one element focussed on providing support to selected international offices to implement integrated programme monitoring activities with a particular focus on effectiveness and impact assessment.

The ideal candidate will have proven experience of designing and developing monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment systems in a development context including knowledge of tools such as Social Return on Investment, Cost-Benefit and Value for money analyses as well as an understanding of principles of rights based programming and issues of accountability to beneficiaries and stakeholders. You will also have knowledge and experience of using qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods, including basic statistical packages. Ability to communicate well orally and in writing in at least French and/or Spanish is highly desireable.

Closing date: 25 March 2012
Start date: ASAP

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Why we need a minimum alcohol price

The Prime Minister is leading Government action on tackling drink-fuelled violence and the binge-drinking culture that fuels it. A new Alcohol Strategy sets out a radical approach to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking which costs the UK £21 billion a year.

It will help reverse a culture that led to almost 1 million alcohol-related violent crimes and 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions last year alone. The strategy includes introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Minimum pricing













Why we need a minimum alcohol price

The Prime Minister is leading Government action on tackling drink-fuelled violence and the binge-drinking culture that fuels it. A new Alcohol Strategy sets out a radical approach to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking which costs the UK £21 billion a year.

It will help reverse a culture that led to almost 1 million alcohol-related violent crimes and 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions last year alone. The strategy includes introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Minimum pricing




Binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.

"My message is simple. We can't go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now.

"So we’re going to attack it from every angle. More powers for pubs to stop serving alcohol to people who are already drunk. More powers for hospitals not just to tackle the drunks turning up in A&E – but also the problem clubs that send them there night after night. And a real effort to get to grips with the root cause of the problem. And that means coming down hard on cheap alcohol.

"When beer is cheaper than water, it’s just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub. So we are going to introduce a new minimum unit price - so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit. We’re consulting on the actual price, but if it is 40p that could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 900 fewer alcohol related deaths per year by the end of the decade.

"This isn’t about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new kind of stealth tax - it's about fast immediate action where universal change is needed.

"And let’s be clear. This will not hurt pubs. A pint is two units. If the minimum price is 40p a unit, it won’t affect the price of a pint. In fact, pubs may benefit by making the cheap alternatives in supermarkets more expensive.
Janneh urges Africa to develop capacity needed for its transformation

ECA Press Release No. 34/2012

ADDIS ABABA, 22 March 2012 (ECA) – Africa must have a clear vision of where it is headed to and build the capacity needed to attain its development and transformation processes, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa said in Addis Ababa today.

Mr. Abdoulie Janneh who was addressing the committee of African economic, finance and planning experts said that for Africa to jumpstart its development and become a global development pole, “it must rise to meet its domestic, regional and global challenges and undertake carefully calibrated policy responses and actions”.

The experts are meeting to kick-start the 5th Joint Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

Before delving into the theme of this year’s conference – Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth - the ECA Executive Secretary undertook a comprehensive overview of Africa’s potential, actual achievements and charted a course for urgent action if the continent must take control of, and master its own development.

Mr. Janneh dressed a positive balance sheet of economic performance of the continent, although the “overview of economic and social conditions” shows that overall growth in the continent was 2.7% in 2011, down from nearly 4.6% in 2010.

He explained that with the political upheavals in North Africa and in spite of draught and associated challenges, the rest of the continent registered a respectable growth level of about the same as in the previous year.

He said that this could be attributed to increasing domestic demand, good economic management, in addition to high and rising commodity prices but warned that the region needs to improve on its governance structures.

“The experience of North Africa goes to show that these factors are not enough and that improved governance remains central to economic and social transformation”, Mr. Janneh explained.

Commenting on the effects of the Eurozone crisis, he reiterated the fact that African countries also have very close trade, monetary, aid, and investment ties with Europe and will certainly be negatively affected by further deterioration of conditions in the Eurozone, but argued that Africa provides an opportunity for global development.

“In spite of these well known facts, it is evident that given its improved prospects and the extent of its untapped potentials, Africa provides an opportunity for the world as a place where investments can be made to boost demand and help reduce global imbalances”, he added.

He stressed the need for an African pool of experts capable of leading this process, and said this has guided ECA’s work over the past one year, especially as its African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) has been working to rapidly scale-up capacity needs, planning and development management.

He announced with appreciation the decision of the UN General Assembly to signal “strong support for our efforts by tripling the statutory allocation to the Institute in these austere times."

Mr. Janneh took the opportunity to highlight other major achievements by the ECA, such as the Reports on Governing Development in Africa; Regional Integration; the African eLearning Initiative; and the African Mining Vision.

He also mentioned the 2012 Innovation Prize for Africa during the Ministerial meeting as being the fruit of the High Level Panel on science and innovation under the leadership of former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

The opening session of the experts’ meeting was also addressed by Dr. Maxwell Nkwezalamba, the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, who praised Mr Janneh for his stewardship at the ECA, during which the UN agency has become the premier continental development partner of the African Union.

He recalled that the AUC and ECA have been working together in several areas, including the African Statistical Yearbook, the review of progress in the attainment of the MDGs in Africa; assessing regional integration in Africa; in preparations for for major conferences;

“All these speak to the excellent cooperation that exists between our two premier continental institutions”, he added.

It would be recalled that on the eve of the 5th Joint Conference, the leaders of the two institutions have co-signed an opinion piece presenting no less than eight key arguments why Africa could easily become a new pole of global growth.

The piece has been widely distributed to the media.

Issued by:

ECA Information and Communication Service

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Situation in Mali


Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 22, 2012


The United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali. We echo the statements of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and other international partners denouncing these actions. We call for calm and the restoration of the civilian government under constitutional rule without delay, so that elections can proceed as scheduled.

We stand with the legitimately elected government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. Mali is a leading democracy in West Africa and its institutions must be respected.












MEETING OF THE EXPERTS OF THE 5TH JOINT ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AU CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF ECONOMY AND FINANCE ,PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Objectives:
The objective of the Conference is to provide a platform for African
ministers to deliberate on how Africa can unleash its development
potential and position itself as a global player and become part of
the solution to the problem of low global growth, high
unemployment and global imbalances.
The Conference will also provide an opportunity to discuss
concrete ways of addressing these challenges and the policies
needed to position Africa as the new pole of global growth. It will
recognize, however, that addressing these constraints that limit
Africa's capacity to develop presents opportunities for dealing
directly with the problem of global imbalances and increasing
global aggregate demand. Such issues as prioritization, policy
coherence and policy coordination will require urgent attention in
this regard.
Expected
Outcomes:
The Committee of Experts will prepare and adopt a concise report
on the main recommendations and resolutions of its meeting, and
submit it to the Conference for adoption.
The Conference is expected to lead to the adoption of a ministerial
policy statement, which will provide a basis for concerted action at
the national and regional levels on the issues discussed by the
Conference. The Ministerial Statement and other outcomes of the
Conference will be submitted by the AUC as major inputs to inform
discussions at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and
Government in July 2012. ECA will also submit the documents to
the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Participants:
- Ministers and representatives from member States,
- Regional Economic Communities,
- United Nations agencies,
- The African Development Bank ,
- The Bureau for the Association of African Central Bank
Governors,
- The Association of African Universities,
- The African Capacity Building Foundation,
- The Arab Bank for Economic Development in African, the
European Commission,
- The European Central Bank
- Other intergovernmental organizations,
- Other cooperating partners,
- Non-governmental organizations and
- The private sector.
Background: Several studies and reports by institutions such as the World Bank,
the International Monetary Fund and the McKinsey Global Institute
have underscored Africa’s potential as a new global growth pole
because of its human and natural resource endowment,
demographic transition, improving political and economic
governance and business and social environment, and the fact that MEDIA ADVISORY
Fifth Joint Meeting AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA
Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
Theme: Unleashing Africa’s potential as a new pole of global growth;
INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA
When:
22nd
Thursday – 27th
Tuesday, March 2012
22th
Thursday – 25th
Sunday, March 2012 – Meeting of the
Committee of Experts
26th
Monday – 27th
Tuesday, March 2012 – Conference of
African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic
Development of the African Union (AU) and the Economic
Commission for Africa (ECA)
Where: New African Union Conference Center (AUCC), Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia
Who:
Jointly organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Why: Achieving strong, sustainable and shared growth on the continent
must be underpinned by efforts at national, regional and
continental levels to address binding development constraints
within a holistic economic and social development framework. To
that effect, there is need for a unified vision and general
understanding that Africa should enhance capacity as a way of
unleashing its potential as a new driver of global growth and
rebalancing. This role is well founded as Africa has enjoyed
steady growth in the past decade and can therefore no longer be
neglected, not to mention its untapped potential and vast natural
resources. Political and economic conditions are improving, as are
the general economic outlook and business and investment
environment. Also, demographic changes have led to urbanization
and a growing middle class. However, for the continent to be a
veritable new pole of global growth, certain challenges and binding
constraints must be addressed. This requires action by both
Africans and members of the international community alike.
African Union

Joint Statement on the Contributions of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) to Enhancing Nuclear Security




We, the Co-Chairs (Russia and the United States) of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), the Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) Coordinator (Spain), and leaders of the three IAG Working Groups (the Kingdom of Morocco, the Netherlands and Australia) wish to inform the states in attendance at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit of the valuable contributions the GICNT has made in strengthening global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism.

In 2010, the Russian and U.S. Co-Chairs embarked on a process to streamline GICNT activities so that they directly advance key nuclear security goals and the GICNT Statement of Principles, which were adopted at the first GICNT Plenary Meeting in 2006 in Rabat, Morocco. As a result, the partnership implemented the IAG mechanism to better coordinate and focus GICNT activities. The June 2010 Abu Dhabi GICNT Plenary Meeting endorsed Spain to lead the IAG. In Abu Dhabi, the partnership also agreed to direct future activities in the focus areas of nuclear detection and nuclear forensics, two topics of global importance that were highlighted at the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit; the Netherlands and Australia currently lead GICNT working groups on these topics, respectively. In June 2011, the Daejeon GICNT Plenary Meeting added response and mitigation as a third focus area and endorsed the Kingdom of Morocco to lead a working group on this issue.

The GICNT’s technical IAG program was launched in February 2011 at the first IAG Mid-Year Meeting in Cordoba, Spain. The Cordoba IAG Meeting laid the foundation for the development of practical guidance documents and the organization of exercises and seminars in 2011 by partner nations Morocco, Australia, and the United Kingdom. All of these activities were designed to assist partner nations to enhance their capabilities. In the outreach field, Morocco organized a GICNT Outreach Seminar for 26 African states in Rabat (November 2011). Most recently, partner nations gathered at the Second IAG Mid-Year Meeting, held in Marrakech, Morocco from 13 to 16 February 2012, to finalize the first IAG documents and advance working group plans for the coming year. Over 200 GICNT partner nation experts and representatives from all four GICNT official observers (the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)) participated in both the Cordoba and Marrakech IAG Meetings. This robust participation demonstrates the vital importance that GICNT partner nations place on enhancing nuclear security and underscores their desire to work cooperatively to further this goal.

The collaborative efforts fostered by the GICNT are especially significant in light of the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit and the upcoming Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. Already, GICNT collaboration has produced important results that complement the Nuclear Security Summit process and help advance critical elements addressed in the Summit:

  • The Nuclear Detection Working Group, chaired by the Netherlands, is developing a series of guidance documents focused on developing and/or enhancing nuclear and radiological detection efforts. The first document in the series, the “Model Guidelines Document for Nuclear Detection Architectures,” serves as a foundational strategic framework for developing and implementing an effective national-level detection architecture. The second document in the series entitled, “Developing a Nuclear Detection Architecture: Guidelines for Awareness, Training and Exercises” focuses on a methodology for developing and implementing effective awareness, training and exercise mechanisms essential for raising awareness at all levels of detection architecture implementation, maintaining proficiency on skills that support the detection of nuclear and radioactive materials, and exercising the relevant people and capabilities as key elements for successful detection. This document focuses on key principles and considerations for implementing and enhancing five cross-cutting elements: awareness, training, exercises (AT&E), evaluation, and sustainability. The Working Group developed this document through an iterative process using interactive web-based collaboration tools and an in-person comprehensive October 2011 review meeting in Zadar, Croatia. Discussions in Marrakech, Morocco in February 2012 launched the collaborative development of the Working Group’s third document in the Developing a Nuclear Detection Architecture series focused on the Planning and Organization required for implementing an effective detection architecture.
  • The Nuclear Forensics Working Group, chaired by Australia, completed a document entitled, “Nuclear Forensics Fundamentals for Policy Makers and Decision Makers.” This document is intended to raise policy maker and decision maker awareness of nuclear forensics as a tool to enhance nuclear material security and to prevent illicit uses of nuclear and other radioactive material. This document also seeks to foster cooperation among governments and assists in identifying capabilities in which investments should be considered. Early in the drafting process, the Working Group partnered with the European Union’s Joint Research Centre for a May 2011 Nuclear Forensics Seminar and Tabletop Exercise in Karlsruhe, Germany focused on policy issues pertaining to technical capabilities and information sharing. This activity allowed partner nations to identify challenges and opportunities in addressing capability gaps, implementing practical frameworks for international engagements, and developing effective methods of information sharing.
  • The Response and Mitigation Working Group, chaired by Morocco, is the newest GICNT working group and initiated its work at the recent February 2012 Marrakech Mid-Year IAG Meeting. The Working Group agreed upon a Scope Document that focuses its activities on collaborative development of best practices and capacity building to strengthen national emergency response frameworks in the event of a malicious act involving nuclear and other radioactive material. The overall objective of the Working Group is to develop a comprehensive guide on how a nation with limited capabilities could go about establishing and building a robust capability.

Looking to the future, the GICNT Co-Chairs, the IAG Coordinator and the Working Group Leaders remain committed to working with GICNT partner nations to pursue focused efforts and activities that foster nuclear security collaboration, advance nuclear security goals, and complement the objectives of the Nuclear Security Summit.