Thursday, 26 February 2015
AFRICAN UNIONS WELCOMES BACK THE FIRST GROUP OF ITS HEROINES AND HEROES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA
Addis Ababa, February 2014- 17 ASEOWA (African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa) health workers, who were the first to be deployed to fight Ebola, returned from Liberia on 22nd February, upon completion of their tour of duty and were welcomed back by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Attending the meeting were the AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, the Director of Social Affairs Dr Olawale Maiyegun, ambassadors from the health workers’ member states and a representative from Liberia. It was a unique event- the first time ever that the AU had welcomed back heroines and heroes in the fight against Ebola, and, without any infections among the health workers.
Dr Dlamini Zuma thanked the health workers for their pioneering role and assured them that the AU’s is determined to defeat Ebola: “You personified Pan Africanism and solidarity. The African Union will stay the course until the affected countries are declared Ebola free. We are very happy that you undertook this mission”, she told them.
All returnees were awarded certificates of service in recognition of their contribution to the fight against Ebola and their selfless dedication. The returnees were from Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among them were doctors, hygienists and communications experts. One of them was a trainer of other medical personnel in the treatment of Ebola patients.
A representative of the health workers, Dr Abdou Sebushishe outlined the impact that ASEOWA is having on the ground:
“When we went in September 2015, there were very few Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs). At first people preferred to go to other aid agencies when they contracted Ebola. The mortality rate was very high and there were dead bodies around. But in November 2014 we opened our own ETU in collaboration with the Cubans and the Swedish. We had 60 confirmed cases of Ebola and we released 22 of them. We also had psychosocial teams doing follow ups”.
Dr Sebusishe also shared some of the personal fears he had when he first arrived, “one day I told Mum on the telephone, ‘I don’t know if I will come back’”. But after serving the continent, he was still able to say it was a pleasure to have been in Liberia to serve the people there. “We thank you for taking care of us”, he told Dr Dlamini Zuma, on behalf of his colleagues. He proceeded to commend the mission management, under Major General Dr Julius Oketta.
African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko commended the health workers for going into the field at a time when no one else wanted to, “when just the mention of Ebola was enough to drive people away”. Echoing the Chairperson, Dr Kaloko said the health workers were pioneers. “You responded to the call by Africa when there was a serious crisis and you made the continent proud. The weight of the disease is much less now because of the work you did.”
Uganda’s Ambassador to the African Union called the health workers heroes and heroines. “You have done a wonderful job for Africa. You deserve to be treated as heroes and heroines”, he said.
In their debriefing session, the health workers had the opportunity to share their experiences as well as some of the challenges they faced. Dr Dlamini Zuma assured them that lessons from the debriefing session would be used by the AU to improve the operational efficiency of ASEOWA. She also informed them that they and their colleagues still on the field would form the core of future health emergency responses by the continent.
The returning health workers were among the first group of African expert health workers to be deployed by the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). They left Addis Ababa in September 2014, after a two day pre deployment briefing by the African Union and other partners. In Liberia, they were given a further 2 weeks of intensive training to prepare them for work in the ETUs.
Operating in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, ASEOWA was formed on the basis of a decision of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union and has since deployed nearly one thousand health workers. With support from AU member states, partners and the African private sector, the health workers will remain on the field until Ebola is defeated.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Commissioner Tumusiime visits AGRA President, Dr. Kalibata
Nairobi 25 February 2015- H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture yesterday called on H.E Dr Agnes Kalibata President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa at her office in Nairobi, Kenya.
The two held discussions following on the earlier meeting they held on 2 February 2015 in Addis Ababa on the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between AGRA and the AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.
They reviewed the progress made since then by the two institutions and provided further guidance on expediting the way forward in the context of the AU Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agriculture Growth and Transformation. They placed emphasis on joint efforts to contribute towards the operationalisation of the African Fertiliser Financing Mechanism whose Governing Council the Commissioner chairs.
They further highlighted collaboration in promoting agricultural mechanisation through partnerships with countries and institutions that have registered success in this regard and have shown interest to support Africa. They envisage Agricultural mechanization with a strong focus on women and youth employment and anchored in the private sector with a facilitating role of governments. The meeting was attended by Mr. FadelNdiame, an official of AGRA and Mr Julius Kagamba, Special Assistant to the Commissioner.
Commissioner Tumusiime meets German delegation
25 February 2015, Nairobi- Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission who is currently leading the delegation of the high-level Meeting on Scaling Agricultural Innovations in Africa 23-24 February 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya yesterday held discussions with Dr. Stefan Schmitz, Deputy Director General of the Germany Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ) who also heads the special unit championing the One World-No Hunger initiative.
The German Government is rolling out this initiative in collaboration with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) together with its affiliated sub regional and national agricultural research organizations which are advancing the African Agriculture Science Agenda that promotes agricultural research, innovation and technology.
The One World-No Hunger initiative currently covers 13 countries in the world, of which 12 are in Africa, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia and Zambia,
The One World-No Hunger initiative comprises 6 pillars, namely innovation, rural transformation, nutrition, building resilience, natural resources management and land rights. It is envisaged that the scaling of innovations through this initiative will spread to other AU Member States and that this will also take coordination with other partners including through the Africa-EU Innovations, Science and Technology for Food and Nutrition Security as well as the Partnership Platform for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), among others.
The Commissioner commended Germany for the initiative and for the continent-wide support it provides to Africa as well as through bilateral cooperation. She called for the alignment of the initiative with CAADP and ensuring that the components implemented are part of National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans.
The meeting was attended by officials from the AU Commission and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GIZ).
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Monday, 23 February 2015
AU Launches Internet Exchange Point in Seychelles: “Keeping intra-country internet traffic within the country”
Victoria, Seychelles – 20th February, 2015: The African Union Commission (AUC), through the Infrastructure and Energy Department, in collaboration with the Department of Information Communications Technology of Seychelles on 20 February 2015 launched the Internet Exchange Point in Seychelles. Prior to the launch Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, paid a courtesy call to Mr. Danny Faure, Vice President and Minister of ICT of Seychelles on 19th February 2015.
The Vice President expressed his appreciation to the African Union Commission for having supported the establishment of the Internet Exchange Point in Seychelles. To this end, he confirmed his intention to officiate at the official launch ceremony.
On her part, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy informed the Vice President that the Commission is pleased to have contributed to the establishment of the internet exchange point in Seychelles and for the Vice President to grace the official launch ceremony demonstrates the high level support received from the Government of Seychelles.
Through the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project, the African Union Commission has so far extended capacity building support to facilitate the establishment of internet exchange points in 30 Member States including Seychelles.
The AU has also donated equipment and facilitated the setting up of Internet Exchange Points in Member States that have met the readiness criteria. With the support of the African Union Commission, the following eight Member States have since set up their Internet Exchange Points (IXPs): Burundi, Congo Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Namibia, Seychelles and Swaziland.
“There is growing importance in exchanging traffic among the internet service providers. This is due to the fact that by connecting to the internet exchange point, access to local content improves, since the local traffic remains in the country. This in turn enhances internet use because the end users realize fast and efficient services. Said, H.E. Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles.”
Increasing efficiency of national & regional traffic is an area that has largely not been addressed, resulting in a slow and expensive exchange of African inter-country traffic via overseas hubs. Africa is therefore currently paying overseas carriers to exchange intra- continental traffic on our behalf. This is both costly as well as an inefficient way of handling exchange of local Internet traffic.
“The search for better ways to maximize the benefit of ICT for development has to go on. We are just at the beginning of the journey”, said the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.
“I look forward to the advancement of the internet exchange point in Seychelles to be able to put its potential at the service of citizens in Seychelles by contributing to reduction of latency, affordable internet, increased number of new local online applications and increased quality of local access”, added Commissioner. Elham Ibrahim,
Sahel and West Africa Land Actors
Meet at African Union to add another BRICK in the Great Green Wall
Meet at African Union to add another BRICK in the Great Green Wall
Addis Ababa-19 February 2015 - From February 18 to 19, the twelve country project teams that form the World Bank/Global Environment Facility Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel met at the African Union Commission (AUC) to share knowledge and best practices to enhance the resilience of African landscapes, lives, and livelihoods – especially the poorest who deeply depend on natural resources for environmental and food security.
SAWAP, a US$1.1 billion flexible investment umbrella with 12 country-led investment operations, is the contribution of the World Bank and GEF to the African initiative to help transform the region into a stable, sustainable, and resilient region. The program was developed in 2011 under the TerrAfrica partnership, and is reinforced by a regional hub project Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Services (BRICKS). With the support of Connect4Climate, BRICKS facilitates cooperation among the country projects and Great Green Wall partners on operational problems and solutions facing country project teams.
“The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative is the first and only program conceived, engineered and created by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union,” stated H.E Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union. “This Wall is made up of the multimillion dollar programs like the SAWAP and BRICKS, multiple sectors and stakeholders, and ultimately the ‘ecological infrastructure’ that generates jobs, food and water security.”
The Second SAWAP Conference is being held in Ethiopia to celebrate the country's successful Sustainable Land Management Program that has so far restored 15 million hectares and transformed the lives of 30 million people in less than 10 years.
“The poor are affected the most by climate change. Sustainable Land Management helps build resilience and reduce communities’ vulnerability, while also creating pathways out of poverty. …We look forward to greening out landscapes and empowering communities to build their resilience,” said H.E. Ato Sileshi Getahun, State Minister of Natural Resources in Ethiopia.
Drylands in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 43% of land area, 50% of population – about 325 million people and 75% of agriculture land used for both crops and livestock production. Poverty
is heavily concentrated in drylands with about 75% of Africa’s poor people and by 2030, 40 to 100 million more people could be sensitive to shocks.
“It is becoming more and more apparent that addressing the effects of climate change requires multidimensional interventions and the concerted efforts of all of us,” said Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “As World Bank President Jim Kim says, resilience is about development and development is about resilience. One cannot exist without the other. That is why the World Bank has been working with Governments and partners to help affected countries find lasting solutions to the challenges they face.”
BRICKS is being implemented by three regional centers: the Interstate Committee to Combat Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory, (OSS) and West and Central Africa Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Each organization delivers specialty services to the SAWAP portfolio to enhance quality and promote regional integration.
“The merit of the BRICKS arrangement is that it allows us, African regional centers of excellence, to collaborate together in a united way, up our game and leverage our capacity,” said Dr. Djime Adoum, Executive Secretary of the CILSS. “OSS is in charge of geospatial applications and monitoring and evaluation, IUCN is a leader in biodiversity and communications strategies and CILSS is responsible for exchange of best practices and knowledge management. This allows us to offer effective services to the 12 country project teams and respond to their needs”, he added.
Friday, 20 February 2015
Thursday, 19 February 2015
The African Union Commission and the African Minerals Development Centre at Mining Indaba 2015
16, February 2015 – Cape Town, South Africa – As the world’s mining fraternity including the Multinational Mining Companies, international civil society, African Ministers responsible for Minerals resource development, academicians converged in Cape Town for the ‘Investing in African Mining Indaba’; the African Union Commission (AUC) led team comprising of the African Mining Vision (AMV) Implementing partners; UNECA, UNDP, NEPAD and the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) project jointly organized side events from 9-13 February 2014 including the 3rd Ministerial Symposium, the Dinner Dialogue and a Technical Session on the implementation of the African Minerals Geoscience Initiative AMGI a.k.a. A Billion Dollar Map. The Investment in African Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference, the world’s third largest mining conference, and Africa’s largest mining event.
The African Union Commission’s presence at the Mining Indaba has been a priority in recent years, and provides an opportunity to connect with leaders in the extractives industries in both public and private sectors while encouraging continent-wide developmental growth through mining. Adopted by African Union (AU) Heads of State in 2009 and being implemented by African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) under a joint partnership of AUC, UNDP, AfDB ABD NEPAD, the Africa Mining Vision calls for a structural transformation of the minerals sector in Africa through enhanced linkages with the local economy, increased value addition, promotion of local content and empowerment, and a judicious and prudent use of mineral revenue to build up other forms of capital that can outlast the currency of mining.
Prior to the start of this year’s Indaba, the African Union Commission, together with the World Bank and the South African Chamber of Mines, hosted the third Annual African Ministerial Symposium on Sunday 8 February as part of the African Mining Vision (AMV) Day. This was a closed-door session designed to allow sharing of experiences between mineral policy decision-makers in Africa, and has proven to be an invigorating and stimulating forum for the exchange of ideas in the previous two years. As a keynote speaker during the lunch, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, recalled that the tragedy of Africa has been its continuing underdevelopment in spite of the abundance of its natural resources. She indicated that the Commission has come up with the Agenda 2063 to address and resolve the issue of poverty in a comprehensive manner. “We have adopted the “Agenda 2063” as an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years”, she mentioned.
The Commissioner reiterated that the Africa Mining Vision is a shared responsibility whose implementation requires the collaboration of many actors, including private sector civil society, parliaments, funding partners and governments. She said the vision needs partnerships that are based on mutual benefits; it is not intended for advancing the interests of one or two mining companies. “We cannot promote the narrow interests of a company at the expense of mutual benefits and development. Our role is to advise African countries on what is in their best interest in relation to their own development,” she insisted.
In the spirit of continuing the conversation about the AMV, the African Union Commission also hosted a High Level Dinner Dialoguewith private sector leaders in Africa under the theme: “Shared Benefits in implementing the AMV”) on Monday 9 February 2015 at Mining Indaba.
The High Level Public-Private Dinner Dialogue was attended by key players such as African Ministers responsible for Minerals Resource Development, and private sector leaders including Chief Executives operating in the Minerals Sector and Chambers of Mines. The Dinner provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between private sector, public sector, and governments on mining and the shared benefits of implementing the AMV.
At the 2014 Mining Indaba, her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called on all at the Mining Indaba to work together, to seek“partnerships of mutual respect” to address the urgent needs of the African people and build the infrastructure the continent desperately needs.
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Launch and Planning of the Project ‘Improving Land Governance in the IGAD Region’.
February 16, 2015, Djibouti: The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) was established in 2006 as a joint initiative of the AU Commission, the UNECA and the AfDB with a view to facilitating national land policy development processes within the context of the AU Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa which was endorsed by the 13th Assembly of the AU Heads of State and Government in Sirte, Libya in 2009.
H.E. Tumusiime, Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture under whose portfolio the LPI is anchored at the Commission was represented by the Head, Rural Economy Division during the launch of the Project in Djibouti. The Minister of Habitat, Urbanisation and Environment of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Mousa Ibrahim together with H.E. Mme Hasna Barkat Doud, Minister for the promotion of Women officially launched the project.
The 6- year project (broken into two 3-year phases), with support from the Swedish Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the LPI and IGAD Secretariat aims to (i) Enhance the capacity of the LPI and IGAD Secretariat to facilitate and monitor the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land in the Region;
(ii) Mainstream Land Governance issues in programmes and activities of the IGAD Secretariat, (iii) Develop capacity of academic institutions in the region to promote and undertake land policy related research.
(iv) Work within existing regional platforms for knowledge sharing and advocacy aimed at promoting good land governance and land policy convergence among IGAD Member States (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda).
(v) Improve partnerships, coordination and alignment of land governance related programme in the IGAD Region and
(vi) Facilitate monitoring and evaluation of land policy reform processes.
The SDC is providing a total sum of USD4.4m while LPI together with the IGAD Secretariat have been able to mobilize combined resource of USD4-500,000.
The Launch and Planning event will comprise different activities to be conducted from 16 – 19 February 2015 as follows;
· Planning and project launching activities 16 – 17 February, 2015
· Project Steering Committee Meeting: 18 February 2015
· Inter-RECs Meeting: 19th of February, 2015.
Friday, 13 February 2015
Labour Edmonton select ‘All BME’ Female Shortlist
Submitted 10 Feb 2015 12:58pm
In one of the most fiercely contested seats for Labour party candidates, the party has selected a final shortlist of three women all Black and Minority Ethnic. They are: Ayfer Orhan, Kate Anolue and Kate Osamor .
In recent weeks the party have come under some fierce criticism for not selecting African and Caribbean candidates in their winnable seats. This selection will go some way to demonstrate the party care about the African and Caribbean vote, but in the few weeks left much more will need to be done. Ayfer Orhan is of Turkish decent, another minority group who have little representation in UK politics.
The other problem the party face is the fact that whilst this is good news for the three women selected, BME men, in particularly African and Caribbean seem to be getting shut out of the equation. Long time Labour activist Kingsly Abrahms resigned from the party because he wasn’t shortlisted in Edmonton.
The final decision to select Labour’s candidate will be made on February 21.
Orhan and Anolue are both Labour councillors in Enfield, while Anolue is a former mayor.
Osamor, seen as a frontrunner, is a GP practice manager in Edmonton and a well-known union activist.
She is also the daughter of Martha Osamor, a former Haringey councillor and community leader on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham.
Good luck to all three.
Picture: Kate Anolue, Kate Osamor and Ayfer Orhan (left to right)