Daily Archives: May 25, 2014

On Africa Day, Ban urges leveraging continent’s potential for the good of all people

The world must do more to unleash Africa’s full potential in agriculture, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said while also urging the continent’s leaders and development partners to combat growing social and economic inequalities.

“Greater equity presents a common challenge to the continent as a whole and can help foster peace and stability,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to mark Africa Day, which commemorates the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union (AU).

“Transformation, growth, dynamism, progress and partnership” are central to the AU’s narrative, Mr. Ban said, pledging the UN’s continued cooperation on partnerships to pursue peace, sustainable development, democracy and human rights.

Highlighting this year’s theme for Africa Day, which focuses on agriculture and food security, Mr. Ban noted that two out of three people on the continent are employed by the agricultural sector even as hunger persists in various countries.

With an average annual GDP increase of 4.8 per cent between 2000 and 2010, up from 2.1 per cent in the previous decade, Africa has seven out of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world. The agriculture sector, in particular, has progressed considerably, with the intensification of staple food production.

“By processing commodities and using other means to add value, we can help develop rural areas, create jobs and empower people while ensuring food security,” said Mr. Ban, whose ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ aims for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition.

First proposed at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the Zero Hunger Challenge aims to scale up efforts to eliminate hunger through sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Its five objectives are to make sure that everyone in the world has access to enough nutritious food all year long; to end childhood stunting; to build sustainable food systems; to double the productivity and income of smallholder farmers, especially women; and to prevent food from being lost or wasted.

This year’s commemoration of the Day also falls amid observances of the ongoing International Year of Family Farming, which aims to mobilize support for smallholder farmers, particularly women.

In his message, Mr. Ban also urged African leader to participate in his Climate Summit this September noting that the continent is among “the regions most vulnerable” to climate change.

SOURCE: AFRICAN RENEWAL

IMF Executive Board Completes Sixth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement for Benin and Approves US$16.4 Million Disbursement

COTONOU, Benin, May 25, 2014 – The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the sixth review of Benin’s economic performance under a program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.1 The Board’s decision, which was taken without a formal meeting and enters into effect today,2 enables the immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 10.61 million (about US$-16.4 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR 74.28 million (about US$114.5 million).

In completing the reviews, the Board granted waivers for the nonobservance of the continuous performance criterion on new non-concessional external debt with a maturity of more than one year.

The ECF arrangement for Benin was approved on June 14, 2010 (see Press Release No.10/243) for the equivalent of a total of SDR 74.28 million (about US$114.5 million).

Benin’s growth is projected to reach about 5½ percent in 2014 for the third consecutive year. This performance has closed the gap in per capita GDP growth between Benin and the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) average which was about 2 percentage points on average between 2005 and 2011.

Program performance was satisfactory and most criteria were met except for the ceiling on non-concessional borrowing. Thanks to prudent fiscal policy, macroeconomic performance remains satisfactory and progress has been achieved in structural reforms. The implementation of the new approach to customs reform is moving ahead well despite some delays.

Sound policies have created fiscal space for scaling up investment to create favorable conditions for sustainable long-term growth. To preserve the authorities’ achievements under this ECF arrangement, rising investment has to be accompanied by further progress in public financial management and integrated into a medium-term framework anchored in debt sustainability. In addition, the government has initiated reforms to strengthen the efficiency of investment spending. Government efforts to enhance the business environment are starting to show some results, but broad-based reforms will be necessary to improve productivity.

1 The ECF is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. Financing under the ECF currently carries a zero percent interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a maturity of 10 years (http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/ecf.htm).

2 The Executive Board takes decisions without a meeting when it is agreed by the Board that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

SOURCE: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Agreement between the Government of Mali and northern Armed Movements

BAMAKO, Mali, May 25, 2014 – H.E. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), visited Kidal, in the north of Mali, this Friday, 23 May 2014, where he met with the armed movements of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA). The meeting took place at Camp 2 of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The discussions resulted in the armed movements accepting an immediate ceasefire across the country; the reaffirmation of their commitment to the Ouagadougou Agreement; the immediate resumption of dialogue; the release of prisoners; the facilitation of humanitarian operations and respect of international humanitarian law; as well as the establishment of an international commission of inquiry, as provided for by the Ouagadougou Agreement, starting with Kidal.

This visit took place against the background of the occupation of Kidal and other towns by armed movements since 21 May 2014. President Ould Abdel Aziz was accompanied by Mr. Albert Gerard Koenders, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Mali and Head of MINUSMA, and Mr Ntolé Kazadi, Head of the Political Unit of the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL).

SOURCE: African Union Commission (AUC)

Security Council Press Statement On Terrorist Attack In Somalia

NEW YORK, May 25, 2014 – The members of the Security Council strongly condemn today’s attack against the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Somalia, for which Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility and which has caused numerous deaths and injuries. The members of the Security Council extended their condolences to the families of the victims, the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and to AMISOM. They also wished a swift recovery to those injured.

The members of the Security Council paid tribute to the swift response of the Somali National Army and AMISOM in responding to this attack.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation, wherever and whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with their responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Somali authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

The members of the Security Council underscored their support to the Federal Government of Somalia. They are outraged that Al Shabaab has attacked the Federal Parliament, an institution which represents the Somali people and their legitimate hopes for peace, prosperity and stability.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to all actors supporting efforts towards greater peace and stability in Somalia, including both UNSOM and AMISOM. They reiterated that this and other senseless acts of terrorism would not diminish that support.

SOURCE: UNITED NATIONS

Attack on Somali Federal Parliament

NEW YORK, May 25, 2014 – Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General condemns the attack by suicide bombers and gunmen on Somalia’s Federal Parliament on 24 May 2014. There can be no justification for such attacks.

The Secretary-General conveys his solidarity and support for the men and women of the Federal Parliament, who represent the people of Somalia and their aspiration for a peaceful future. The United Nations will continue to support the Somali people, their Government and their parliament, as they work for peace and stability.

The Secretary-General commends the prompt action of the Somali National Security Forces and AMISOM in responding to the incident. The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the families of the victims of the attack and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

SOURCE: United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General