Daily Archives: January 17, 2015

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 15 January 2015

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 15 January 2015 | OSCE

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UN agency, Africa Cup tournament kick off anti-hunger initiative

16 January 2015 – A United Nations-supported video campaign to fight hunger in Africa will feature at the matches throughout the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, starting 17 January, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

In the video, a footballer dressed in white garb dribbles a ball across an abandoned underground construction site, laser focused, dust stirring up around him as he angles for the winning kick – he takes it and scores – which represents for overcoming hunger in Africa by 2025.

“Eradicating hunger requires teamwork and perseverance – the same qualities that players in the Nations Cup show us on the field,” said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.

The campaign, ‘African Football against Hunger,’ is a product of the partnership between FAO and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and will spotlight the breakthrough commitment by African leaders to end hunger in the next decade.

The initiative leverages the global popularity of “footie” to spread a message of solidarity: African nations can overcome hunger in our lifetime, but they need collective action and popular support to reach their goal.

Of particular significance, Mr. Graziano da Silva stressed, is adequate nutrition to reach one’s goals, athletic or otherwise.

Hunger, unlike the invisible opponent in the video, is tangible across the African continent, says FAO. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 223 million people – or one fourth the population there – are undernourished. This hampers their ability to lead healthy, productive lives and holds Africa as a whole back from reaching its full potential.

“Football brings together people from all over the continent and that makes it the ideal platform to call for solidarity,” said Mario Lubetkin, FAO´s Director of Communications, during a press conference in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, on the eve of the opening of the Africa Cup of Nations.

He also added that (it can) “bring people across Africa on board with our joint effort to raise the bar in the fight against hunger.”

Home to seven out of 10 of the planet’s fastest growing economies, Africa also has the youngest population in the world. However, regional markets are still dominated by foreign food imports and youth unemployment runs high.

Therefore, investing in agricultural development now could improve inclusive growth that boosts youth employment, strengthens rural livelihoods and meets the food challenges of a growing world population.

In this regard, the FAO-administered Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, also featured in the video, was established in 2013. As the first Africa-for-Africa fund, it has so far leveraged some $40 million from African States (primarily Equatorial Guinea and Angola) for projects that aim to improve agriculture and fight hunger.

The work of FAO and the Fund complement the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), a home-grown, region-wide cooperative effort to boost agricultural productivity that was launched by governments 10 years ago.

Investments in agricultural development, strong social safety nets and rights to access resources are of great importance to ensure a food-secure Africa, according to the UN agency. It also highlights the need to support small-scale farmers, who work more than 60 percent of the agricultural land.

The Africa Cup of Nations takes place in a pivotal year for international development, with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) coming to an end and the international community finalizing a set of sustainable development targets to succeed them.

Sustainable livelihoods and food security are likely to be cornerstones of the post-2015 development agenda.

“This is the time for governments, institutions and civil society on the continent to come together and double down on efforts to make hunger history,” Mr. Lubetkin underscored.

Sixteen teams will compete in the Africa Cup of Nations from 17 January to 8 February in venues across Equatorial Guinea.

Is long-term earnings inequality growing? Evidence from German baby-boomers and their parents

Today’s post is by Giacomo Corneo of the Free University of Berlin, following a talk given in the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Seminar Series in October 2014.

Modern welfare economics suggests that lifetime income is a main determinant of how well individuals fare in economic terms. However, most analyses of income inequality are based on yearly data that might be poorly correlated with lifetime incomes. Typically, these analyses include individuals of different age and educational attainment, whose incomes in a given year may be little representative of their long-term incomes. As sample composition changes over time, it is unclear whether the increase of inequality that is often found in cross-sectional analyses corresponds to a similar evolution of long-term inequality or is simply due to sample changes.

In a recent study, we pinned down the evolution of intra-cohort lifetime earnings inequality in Germany. Starting with the cohort born in 1935, we computed the distribution of lifelong earnings among employees who were born in a same year. Our analysis exploits a rich dataset of the German social security system that includes monthly information about earnings, employment status, sickness and other variables of interest for some 240,000 individuals. Based on this, we built a sample that covers about 80 % of the West German labor force in a typical year.

For the cohorts born between 1935 and 1952, we can compute for each individual his or her lifetime earnings, defined as discounted earnings received between age 17 and age 60. For these cohorts we can thus compare lifetime inequality to annual inequality using the Gini coefficient. We find that the distribution of lifetime earnings for these cohorts is rather compressed, with a Gini coefficient that is less than two thirds of the average value of the Gini coefficients of the distributions of yearly earnings. In other words, yearly earnings show far greater inequality than lifetime earnings. This big difference is caused by the mobility of the individuals in the distribution of yearly earnings during their life cycle – the fact that the same individual may rank low in the distribution of annual earnings in some years and rank high in others. Over a lifetime, the ups and downs offset each other to some extent and make the income distribution less unequal.

But how is lifetime inequality evolving over time? Is it increasing, similarly to what is happening in terms of annual inequality?

Read more at oecdinsights.org

Originally published on OECD Insights on 9 January 2015.


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Africa: Convictions in Mauritania of Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, Brahim Bilal Ramdhane and Djiby Sow

Convictions in Mauritania of Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, Brahim Bilal Ramdhane and Djiby Sow

Press Statement

Jeff Rathke
Director, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Press Relations

Washington, DC
January 16, 2015

The United States is closely following the legal proceedings against Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, President of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), IRA Vice President Brahim Bilal Ramdhane, and Djiby Sow, President of Kawal e Yelitaare. We are deeply concerned by the January 15 court decision to convict and sentence them to two years’ imprisonment, and the impact this ruling will have on freedom of association and assembly in Mauritania. We urge the appellate court to review both the convictions and the sentencing without delay, and to handle these important cases in a fair, impartial, and transparent manner. We are committed to continuing our support of efforts by the Mauritanian government and civil society to eliminate slavery in Mauritania, which must be a sustained and collective effort by government, religious, law enforcement, judicial, tribal, and civil society leaders together with all Mauritanians.

Equatorial Guinea, Congo share spoils

BATA: IT’S not over until it is over! The old football saying was confirmed on Saturday when Congo Brazaville came back from a goal down to force a draw with four minutes before regulation time.

A skilful strike by marauding Congolese forward Thievy Bifouma in the 86th minute was all the French Coach Le Roy needed to save the central African nation from the jaws of defeat in this 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) official match strongly contested at Estadio de Bata.

However, it was Equatorial Guine who scored first in the 17 minutes when Emilio Nsue scored from close range following some poor defensive marking by Congo. The match, which started on a fast pace saw both sides exchange short passes in the middle of the park, but poor finishing upfront was the biggest let down for both national teams.

However, it was the Argentine Esteban Becker coached Equatorial Guinea that settled first with a cheeky close range strike by Nsue sending thousands of home fans into celebration.

The match, watched by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) President is Issa Hayatou rose to the occasion as both sides played to get goals.

After the breather, Congo came charging left, right and centre with Bifouma causing all sorts of anxious moments for the host, but pushing and shoving by Equatorial Guinea defenders frustrated the Congolese strike. It came as no surprise when Bifouma scored in the dying moments of the game sending home sends to put tails between their legs.