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Press releases from Africa-Neswroom.com
  1. The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, signs a US$210 million Framework Agreement with Government of The Gambia for financing over a  3 year period. The signing ceremony took place in Banjul on 16th January 2018,  during the official visit of the ITFC CEO to The Gambia.

    The agreement is to support key economic sectors, including energy, through the importation of  refined  petroleum products, and agriculture, through the importation of fertilizer and the provision of pre-export financing for agricultural produce notably, groundnuts and cashew nuts, the main agricultural produce/exports of the country. The Agreement will also extend the cooperation with The Gambia to Trade Development programs for poverty reduction by providing technical and/or financial support for capacity building, Information exchange and knowledge dissemination.

    The agreement was signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E. Hon. Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs.

    On this occasion, the Chief Executive Officer, ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, remarked “the  continuation of this important cooperation reaffirms ITFC’s proven strategy of investing in key economic sectors in our member countries, and thus contributing towards member countries’ development objectives".

    Since inception in 2008, ITFC has approved a total of 30 financing operations for The Gambia for a total of US$437 million. On the Trade Development area, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol , indicated that ITFC is currently studying a request to undertake a very important trade development program for the Aflatoxin mitigation in The Gambia. This pilot project aims at eradicating the Aflatoxin fungus and enhancing the quality of the groundnut produced in The Gambia for local consumption and export  into the European and other international markets. Based on the result of the this pilot program, ITFC will study the possibility for its extension to the national level.

    From her side, The Gambia’s Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs, H.E. Hon. Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, thanked ITFC for its continued support and affirmed that The Gambia is seeking to improve its economy to consildate economic growth, create jobs, and build a better future for its people.

    It is worth mentioning that ITFC’s coverage has spanned 41 countries and over 180 clients from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. Through trade financing and trade development efforts in the agriculture, energy and industrial sectors, ITFC solutions has touched the lives of thousands of people and contributed to the socio-economic development of our member countries.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

    Media contact:
    Raghda Elsharawy
    Head of Corporate Communications
    Human & Corporate Resources
    +966 12 646 8331

    About the International Islamic Trade and Finance Corporation (ITFC):

    The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)(www.ITFC-IDB.org) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the purpose of advancing trade among OIC member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commenced operations in January 2008 (Muharram 1429H), ITFC has since consolidated all trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IsDB Group. Earning the A1 rating by Moody’s reflects the Corporation’s efficiency in service delivery by responding swiftly to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.

    Since 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$40.25 billion of trade financing to OIC Member Countries, making the Corporation the leading provider of trade solutions for OIC Member Countries’ needs. With a mission of being a catalyst for trade development among OIC Member Countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity-building tools, which enables them to successfully compete in the global market.

  2. The Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Jeff Radebe, MP, will visit Portia Shabangu Secondary School, in Mpumalanga as part of government back to school programme.

    The objective of the FSDM visit is to motivate and encourage learners in 2018 academic year, especially those in matric to focus on their studies and emphasize the importance of education in uplifting our society with the knowledge that government is behind them and wishes them all the success in attaining their goals.

    Education is identified as one of the key elements in creating a better and more prosperous South Africa by 2030. It is also the first priority outcome in the current Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014 – 2019. Implementing the NDP requires a multi-sectorial collaboration between all sections of society and effective leadership.

    The NDP further envisions a South Africa where everyone has access to education of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved outcomes and a prosperous life.

    The visit also seeks to send a clear message that South Africa is serious about education and that it is at the apex of government priorities.

    All media are invited to attend the event as follows:
    Date: 17 January 2018
    Venue: Portia Shabangu Secondary School
    Time: 08h30

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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  3. The ‘Infinite Wave’ by London and Gloucester-based George King Architects has been selected as the design for the memorial dedicated to the 31 British nationals who lost their lives, and to all of those affected by the two terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015.

    An independent panel shortlisted seven designs from 19 entries, and chose ‘Infinite Wave’ following consultation with family members of those affected by the two attacks.

    As announced last year, the sculpture will be located in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, and construction is due to be completed later on this year.

    The panel selected ‘Infinite Wave’ due to its beautiful flow and clever use of the natural environment, as well as positive feedback from family members.

    Announcing the winning design, FCO Minister for North Africa, Alistair Burt said:

    "For those who lost loved ones or witnessed the horrendous terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015, resulting in 31 Britons being killed, their lives have never been the same since because of these cowardly acts of terror."

    "I know several families have tried to ensure something good comes out of these terrible events, such as raising money for charity, or improving awareness of extremism in their community and they should be commended for their positivity."

    "I hope that ‘Infinite Wave’ with its beautiful surroundings in Cannon Hill Park, will provide a focal point of tranquillity for families to reflect and remember their loved ones."

    Chair of the Creative Panel, Mark Castle, CEO, Victim Support, said:

    "The panel were only too aware of the significant responsibility to find a design that is not only stunning to look at, but also one that families can connect with."

    "We knew going into this process that we had a difficult task but the on-line design consultation with families revealed that George King’s concept resonated with many people affected by these terrible events."

    "I think the appeal is not only because of the beautiful flow of the sculpture, and its clever use of the natural environment, but because the single tube of steel in George King’s concept shows how the people affected by these terrible events are intrinsically linked."

    Suzy Richards, who lost three members of her family in the attack said;

    "I chose the infinity design because to me it represents never ending loss and pain of losing three generations of my family. My son Joel was just 19, my brother Adrian at 49, and my dad Pat, 79. It also represents our never ending love and beautiful memories we treasure."

    George King, Principal of George King Architects said:

    "It is wonderful and overwhelming to be chosen to design this memorial. We put the families and their experiences very much at the heart of this concept and didn’t want to gloss over the immense pain they have been and continue to go through."

    "We came up with ‘Infinite Wave’ to show how time stood still for victims on the day of the attacks and designed the surrounding landscape as a series of ripples."

    "The ripples represent the impact that the events in Tunisia in 2015 had beyond those that lost their lives. They represent the survivors, the families of the victims, the local communities, the national heartache and the global loss."

    Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Parks at Birmingham City Council, said:

    "I am pleased that the memory of those involved in these tragic events will be remembered in such a thoughtful way in Cannon Hill Park."

    "This is an important Memorial and we believe the designers have paid respect to the beautiful park and that the successful design ‘Infinite wave’, will enhance the natural environment."

    "We hope that, as well as providing a place of reflection for all of those affected by these horrific events, the site will also be appreciated and used by more regular park visitors."

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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  4. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Bience Gawanas of Namibia as Special Adviser on Africa. She will succeed Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Organization. The Secretary-General also wishes to extend his appreciation to Mr. David Mehdi Hamam who served as Acting Special Adviser since Mr. Abdelaziz’s departure.

    Ms. Gawanas is currently Special Adviser to the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Namibia. Prior to this, she was Special Adviser to the Minister of Health and Social Services. A champion of women’s health and rights in Africa, she has been commended for her role in initiating far-reaching campaigns such as the continental Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

    Ms. Gawanes was elected for two terms as the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2003 and 2008, during which time she was responsible for advocacy as well as the harmonization and coordination of regional and continental policies and programme on promoting social development. Her portfolio included health, HIV/AIDS and nutrition, migration and population, arts and culture, the welfare of vulnerable groups, labour and migration, and sports. Prior to her work as Commissioner, she was Ombudswoman of Namibia (1996-2003). She has also worked as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre, a human rights NGO (1990-1991) and as a lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia (1995-1997).

    She has served on various taskforces and commissions, including the UNAIDS Global Task Team on Improving AIDS Coordination Among Multilateral Institutions and International Donors, the Task Force for Scaling-Up of Education and Training of Health Workers, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the Commission on Accountability and Information on Women’s and Children’s Health, the Global Steering Committee on Universal Access, the Commission on Accountability and Information on Women and Children’s Health, and the Lancet-Oslo University Commission on Global Governance for Health.

    She holds an LLB Honours degree from the University of Warwick, UK, and an Utter Barrister Degree from the Council of Legal Education School of Law/Lincolns Inn, UK. She also holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an honorary doctorate degree in Law from the University of Western Cape. Born in 1966 she has three children and four grandchildren.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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  5. Three independent experts* appointed by the UN have expressed concerns about recent reports that indigenous Sengwer peoples in western Kenya have been attacked and forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of the implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation project, an EU-funded water management project.  

    “The Sengwer are facing repeated attacks and forced evictions by agents of the Kenya Forest Service, which is an implementing agency in the project financed by the European Union,” the experts said.

    On 25 December 2017, more than 100 armed Forest Service guards entered the traditional lands of the Sengwer in the Embobut Forest, firing gunshots, burning at least 15 homes and killing their livestock.

    On 9 January 2018, one of the Sengwer leaders, was shot at by Forest Service guards. While he managed to escape unhurt, his house was burnt down and his property destroyed.

    The experts called on Kenya and the European Union to ensure that the human rights of the Sengwer peoples are respected. “We are concerned that the project is being undertaken without a human rights impact assessment,” the experts said. “Consultations have not been held with the Sengwer to seek their free, prior and informed consent.”

    “We call on the Kenyan authorities to urgently halt the evictions of the Sengwer community and undertake impartial investigations of these attacks. Furthermore, we urge the European Union to suspend funding for the project until measures have been taken to uphold international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights.”

    In June 2016, the EU and the Kenyan government launched the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (WaTER) project worth some €31 million.

    *John H. Knox, Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

    The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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