- Grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa could total $4 billion - FAO/WB report
- ICC: Weekly summary of the proceedings (23-27 May 2011) in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
- IOM Survey reveals Egyptians want to migrate mainly due to unemployment
- Sudanese Parties Sign Agreement on Border Security
- East African Legislative Assembly calls for joint efforts in the protection of human rights
- G8 Foreign Ministers’ Condemn military action in Sudan
- AUC-EC College-to-College Meeting to Discuss Consolidating Growth and Democracy
- East African Legislative Assembly Ends Business Thursday
IOM Survey reveals Egyptians want to migrate mainly due to unemployment
A survey conducted by the international Office for Migration (IOM) to determine the trends of migration among the Egyptian youth has found that the political changes in the country have only marginally influenced youth’s decision to migrate.
The survey, which sampled 750 youth who planned to migrate, found that the most important factor that spurs Egyptian youth to migrate remains the lack of employment opportunities, security, low wages and unsatisfactory living conditions.
It found that youth who wished to migrate were more likely to have lost their jobs since January, when political changes occurred.
Out of 750 questioned, 330 of respondents (44 percent) had already decided to migrate before the events of 25th January, and remained committed to their plans despite the changes; whereas 307 or 41 percent said the events have only slightly affected their decision to migrate.
Only 112 youth said the current political changes have made them want to leave Egypt.
On May 31, Pasquale Lupoli, IOM Regional Representative for the Middle East said: “Young Egyptian men and women are concerned about access to jobs, whether in Egypt or abroad. We found that two thirds of respondents who were working prior to January 25 either lost their jobs or faced a reduction in pay and working time due to recent political changes and economic turmoil.”
However, despite these findings, IOM said on Tuesday that the survey showed that the majority of those who took part have good expectations for the future political climate and the security of their country, believing the situation will improve.
According to the official government records, 2.7 million Egyptians are living abroad, 70 percent of them in Arab countries with the remaining 30 percent scattered in various European and North American countries.
Sudanese Parties Sign Agreement on Border Security
At a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the facilitation of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, the Sudanese parties, the National Congress and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, signed a Joint Position Paper on Border Security, yesterday evening, 30 May.
The agreement details the establishment of a Joint Political and Security Mechanism for
North and South Sudan headed by the two Ministers of Defence and including the Chiefs of Staff of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the heads of intelligence and police, and other senior officials, to ensure that the two parties can maintain stable and secure relations. The agreement also establishes a Common Border Zone between North and South Sudan, which is to be demilitarized and jointly monitored and patrolled.
The Joint Position Paper was signed by Lt. Gen Mahmoud Suleiman (NCP) and Lt. Gen Salva Mathok (SPLM) and witnessed by the African Union. The Agreement paves the way for further negotiations on key security issues between the parties, to be convened by the AU Panel within the week.
East African Legislative Assembly calls for joint efforts in the protection of human rights
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the regional civil society fraternity have agreed to collaborate for the betterment of human rights standards in the region.
A media statement on Tuesday revealed the areas of co-operation span across information dissemination, scale-up of promotion and protection of human rights, enhanced monitoring and linking up with citizens to share best practices.
This sums up recommendations of the ‘Roundtable on Strengthening the Implementation of Human Rights Standards in the EAC region: The Role of the East African Legislative Assembly’ held in Arusha, Tanzania recently.
At the one-day roundtable held on Friday, May 27, 2011, participants called for vigilance and regular scrutiny of the environment to ensure the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights in the region was adhered to in order to strengthen democracies.
The roundtable which was opened by the EAC Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera, was attended by representatives of the civil society from the region under the aegis of the East African Civil Society Organizations Forum (EACSOF), Members of EALA (Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges) and East African Community (EAC) officials.
In his remarks, Dr. Sezibera reiterated EAC’s commitment to protecting and promoting human rights adding that it remained a major priority area for the region.
“Human rights concerns have therefore constituted the philosophical underpinning of the EAC integration and development process. The requirements of inclusiveness and empowerment across all sectors and sections of the human society have been the ingredients of the EAC programme” Dr.Sezibera noted.
The EAC Secretary General said human rights issues were not only cross cutting in the EAC programme but also that the issues were best managed and handled in the context of the regional co-operation framework.
He acknowledged the fact that – the establishment of the Common Market last year gave priority to human rights issues. “We acknowledge that deepening integration must be anchored on a firm foundation of the rule of law and respect for human rights. We have therefore moved human rights to the front banner” Dr. Sezibera said.
The EAC Secretary General committed to placing emphasis on social security, solidarity and development in order to pursue regional projects in the management of cross-cutting social concerns towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Speaker of EALA, the Rt. Hon. Abdirahin Abdi, termed respect for Human Rights as one of the fundamental principles of the Community that enabled the attainment of the objectives of the Community.
“Adherence to the principles of good governance including respect for human rights is not only a fundamental and operating principle of the Community, but also a basic requirement for membership within the bloc,” he said.
In a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Hon. Gervais Akhaabi, EALA MP, the Hon Speaker noted EALA’s commitment towards continued legislation and working closely with various organizations and institutions on matters pertaining to human rights.
“This will entail strengthening of existing legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for the recognition, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with our mandate”, he added.
“I am happy to note that this particular Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges has sought leave of the House to introduce among other Bills, the EAC Bill on Human Rights and the EAC Members’ Elections Bill. It is hoped the Bills shall sail through the various stages in the House and become law” the Speaker said.
“There is also need for enhancement of the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice to deal with issues of human rights. EALA and the Partner States’ parliaments in collaboration with the civil society should bring pressure to bear on the Community to operationalise Article 27 of the Treaty,” he added.
A panel discussion on ‘Strengthening the Interplay between East Africa Legislative Assembly and National Assemblies/Parliaments in the East African Community: Challenges and Opportunities to enhancing human rights protection in Partner States’ was held. The paper was presented by the Principal International Relations Officer at EAC, Ms. Isabelle Waffubwa.
The topic on ‘Scrutiny, Monitoring and Oversight of States Implementation of Human Rights obligations: The role of civil society in supporting EALA and National Assemblies’ was presented by Mr. Nzovu Job Ruzage, Executive Director of the Human Rights First Rwanda Association.
The roundtable also saw the launch of a new publication by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). The publication titled: ‘Human Rights and Parliaments: Handbook for Members and Staff’ by the Speaker of EALA. He hailed the EAC for “tightening the screws” in ensuring human rights is and continues to remain a priority.
“Each Partner State has ratified various international, regional and sub- regional instruments that protect and promote economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of its people. The Treaty succinctly talks of adherence to the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. My appeal is that we self-police and ensure total adherence to the instruments”, the Speaker noted.
The book authored by the IBAHRI with support from The Westminster Consortium (TWC) is a compilation of reports stemming from several workshops of the IBAHRI. With a number of case studies in the EAC region and beyond, the valuable handbook gives practical guidance about how Members of Parliament can perform their crucial role in ensuring the legislature upholds the rule of law and human rights.
G8 Foreign Ministers’ Condemn military action in Sudan
May 31, 2011: Earlier this year, we welcomed the peaceful referendum in South Sudan, and commended the Government of Sudan and Government of South Sudan for their demonstrable commitment to implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Today, we watch with deep concern the crisis in Abyei, a crisis that threatens to undermine the relationship between CPA parties and their ongoing negotiations. We urge both parties to focus on the benefits to their peoples from a peaceful secession and constructive political relations in the future.
We condemn the military actions taken by both parties that violate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Kadugli Agreements of January 13 and 17. We urge both parties to exercise restraint and refrain from any further actions that could escalate this crisis. It is critical that President Bashir and President Kiir work together to take steps to restore the level of cooperation essential for completing the CPA in a productive and peaceful manner. We strongly support the efforts of Thabo Mbeki and the AU High-Level Implementation Panel in this regard.
We call on the Government of Sudan to halt any military operations and to withdraw its forces immediately from Abyei and urge both parties to quickly agree on new security arrangements in Abyei that can restore calm, protect civilians, and uphold the CPA. We emphasize to both parties the importance of their reaching agreement, by July 9 on the future status of Abyei, consistent with the Abyei Protocol and Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling.
We strongly support efforts to bolster the capacity of UNMIS forces in Abyei to assist the parties in implementing new security arrangements. We condemn acts of violence against civilians in both North and South and call on both Governments to protect civilians and allow full humanitarian and UN access. We also recall the need to put an end to the persistent violence and insecurity in Darfur and call on all parties to engage with a view to reaching a speedy solution in the context of the Doha process mediated by the Joint Chief Mediator and the Government of Qatar.
But even as we offer our continued support for the CPA, our help in reaching a peaceful, political resolution, our assistance to the Sudanese citizens whose lives have once again been upended, our commitment to UNMIS, and to the economic viability of the two future states, we cannot resolve this crisis. The responsibility for achieving peace in Sudan rests with the signatories to the CPA, who have the power to decide whether they will resolve their differences peacefully and set the stage for a better future for their citizens, or will instead resort to the violence that has imposed enormous costs on the potential of North and South Sudan and on the international community. As the G8, we have committed ourselves to support Africa’s development. No single act will contribute more to Sudan’s development than will peace; and no single act will do more to undermine Sudan’s development than a return to violence.
AUC-EC College-to-College Meeting to Discuss Consolidating Growth and Democracy
May 31, 2011, The African Union (AU) Commission and the European Commission are meeting in Brussels for their 5th annual College-to-College session. They will move forward on a joint agenda of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership and focus their discussion on two pressing issues of present concern: democracy and growth.
The profound democratic transformations that are currently taking place in Northern Africa deserve the whole-hearted support of all international actors, with an aim of strengthening political and economic governance across the African continent. At the same time, as the world is emerging from the economic crisis, a crucial common challenge for both Africa and Europe is to kick-start growth and focus on inclusive and sustainable development for Africa, eyes firmly on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said prior to the meeting: “The encouraging historical changes on the African continent present tremendous opportunities to enhance the relations between our continents. Our two Commissions will continue to serve as the engines of the ambitious Joint EU-Africa Partnership. Together we can achieve real progress for the people of Europe and Africa, by tackling global issues, by creating more opportunities for trade, investment and inclusive development, and by addressing the people’s aspirations for democratic reforms and social justice.”
The Strategic Partnership between Africa and the EU pursues common objectives beyond the traditional donor-recipient focus, in a dialogue of equal counterparts. The EU is the biggest trading partner for the African continent. In 2009, 36% of total imports to Africa originated in Europe. The European institutions are also the second biggest donor worldwide for Africa. The European Commission has committed €24.4 billion through its various financial instruments for the period 2007-2013 in support of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its thematic partnerships.
Discussions aim at strengthening the political and technical cooperation between the two institutions; provide fresh impetus to the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and elements for the future political agenda.
Agenda of the College-to-College meeting
The programme of the meeting between the two Commissions is divided between thematic cluster meetings of Commissioners, bilateral meetings and a plenary session, which takes place in the morning of 1 June.
On 31 May, cluster meetings will cover: Political Affairs; Regional Integration, trade and infrastructure; Social Affairs; Climate Change and Environment; Economic governance and raw material. President Jose Manuel Barroso and AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping will meet bilaterally.
On 1 June, cluster meetings will cover: Administrative cooperation; Agriculture, food security and safety; Science, ICT, Space. The topic of the joint plenary session of the two Colleges is “Consolidating Growth and Democracy”.
At 12h40 on 1 June (tbc), President Jose Manuel Barroso and AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping will hold a joint press conference
The Joint Africa-EU Strategic Partnership
80 Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe adopted the Africa-EU Joint Strategy in Lisbon in December 2007. Both sides agreed to pursue common interests and strategic objectives together, beyond traditional development issues, beyond the exclusive geographic scope of Africa and beyond institutions with the participation of non-state actors. The Joint Strategy outlines a long-term shared vision of the future of Africa-EU relations in a globalized world. Based on this vision and on common principles, the Africa-EU Joint Strategy defines eight specific partnerships: Peace and security; Democratic governance and human rights; Trade, regional integration and infrastructure; Millennium development goals (MDGs); Energy; Climate change; Migration, mobility and employment; Science, information society and space.
In November 2010, African and EU leaders met again under the overarching topic “Investment, Economic Growth and Job Creation” to take cooperation between the two continents to a new, more ambitious level. They confirmed the Joint Africa Strategy as the central political framework for their relations. To implement this Strategy, a joint Action Plan 2011-2013 was adopted, including concrete actions to be pursued or launched on the strategic areas and building on accomplishments since 2007.
Background information on the Partnership and its eight thematic areas can be found at: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/
The African Union and the African Union Commission
The AU was created in 2002 and currently has 53 Member States. It is Africa’s premier institution and principal organisation. Its main objectives are to achieve unity and solidarity on the continent, achieve political and economic integration, promote peace and security, democratic principles and institutions as well as sustainable development.
The AU Commission is the key institution in the day-to-day management of the African Union and main interlocutor for the European Commission in the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. The Commission is composed of the Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and eight Commissioners. It has its headquarters in Addis Ababa and currently has1500 staff members.
A success story from the Energy Partnership: The PAMENU Project in Northern Uganda
The PAMENU project (‘Providing Access to Modern Energy in Northern Uganda’) uses solar panels, improved stoves and micro-hydro power for local electricity grids to bring energy to over 1 million people. http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/videoplayer.cfm?sitelang=en&ref=I070006
Street interviews: What do Africans and Europeans think about the Partnership?
The 3rd Africa-EU Summit, 29/30 November 2010
A video report from the meeting where Heads of State and Government decided to take cooperation between the two continents to a new, more ambitious level, confirmed the Joint Africa-EU Strategy as the central political framework for their relations and adopted the joint Action Plan 2011-2013.
Grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa could total $4 billion, FAO/WB report
May 31, 2011, Investing in post-harvest technologies to reduce food losses could significantly increase the food supply in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new FAO/World Bank report released today as technical experts from around the region meet to discuss the issue.
The report, “Missing Food: The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa” is produced in collaboration with the UK’s Natural Resources Institute, estimating the value of post-harvest grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa at around $4 billion a year.
“This lost food could meet the minimum annual food requirements of at least 48 million people,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Maria Helena Semedo. “If we agree that sustainable agricultural systems need to be developed to feed 9 billion people by 2050, addressing waste across the entire food chain must be a critical pillar of future national food strategies.”
According to estimates provided by the African Postharvest Losses Information System, physical grain losses prior to processing can range from 10 to 20 percent.
In Eastern and Southern Africa alone, food losses are valued at $1.6 billion per year, or about 13.5 percent of the total value of grain production.
While no similar regional loss estimates are available for Central or West Africa, assuming losses of a similar magnitude, the value of post-harvest grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa could total $4 billion a year out of an estimated annual grain production worth $27 billion (2005-2007 annual average).
This is roughly equivalent to the value of annual cereal imports in the region during the same period. Given the near doubling of global grain prices since 2005-2007, the value of current losses is likely much higher.
Losses occur when grain decays or is infested by pests, fungi or microbes, and physical losses are only part of the equation. Losses can also be economic, resulting from low prices and lack of access to markets for poor quality grain, or nutritional, arising from poor quality or contaminated food.
Food losses contribute to high food prices by removing part of the food supply from the market. They also have negative environmental impacts as land, water and non-renewable resources such as fertilizer and energy are used to produce, process, handle and transport food that no one consumes.
The recent food and financial crises have heightened the focus on post-harvest losses.
“Africa cannot afford to lose 20 percent of its grain production,” said Jamal Saghir, Director of the Sustainable Development Department, World Bank Africa Region.
“Reducing food losses is increasingly recognized as part of an integrated approach to realizing agriculture’s full potential, along with making effective use of today’s crops, improving productivity on existing farmland, and sustainably bringing additional acreage into production.”
Technologies that work
A variety of practices and technologies are available for reducing post-harvest losses, including crop protectants and storage containers such as hermetically sealed bags and metallic silos.
While a number of these technologies have proved successful in Asia, more research and piloting is needed to identify interventions adapted to local environments in Africa.
To succeed, interventions must be sensitive to local conditions and practices, be viewed within a value chain lens, and ensure that appropriate economic incentives are in place.
Technologies that have taken off in Asia, such as small-scale rice-drying technology and the introduction of pedal threshers and rice mills, have had successful adoption in some parts of Africa and may become more even more accepted as migration, aging farming populations, and high rates of HIV/AIDS infection reduce available labour and raise wages.
Governments can help by creating an enabling environment; reducing market transaction costs by investing in infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water; and strengthening agricultural research and extension, particularly in identifying where losses occur along the food chain and how to tackle them, the FAO said.
East African Legislative Assembly Ends Business Thursday
The Assembly ended business on Thursday, May 26, 2011 passing the EAC Service Commission Bill 2010, approving the Financial Statement for the Financial Year 2011/12 and the revised estimates of expenditures for the previous year 2010/2011 among others.
Debate on the EAC Service Commission Bill 2010 resumed after adjournment the previous week. The EAC Council of Ministers had through Assistant Minister for EAC, Kenya, Hon Peter Munya, requested for adjournment on the debate for the EAC Service Commission Bill 2010, to enable for more consultations between the Council of Ministers with the initiator of the Bill and the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges.
The East African Community Service Commission 2010 for the organs and institutions of the Community shall be responsible inter alia for making recommendations to the Council of Ministers on appointments of all staff of the origins of the Community, terms and conditions of service; except where it is otherwise specifically provided for in the Treaty or in an Act of the Community.
Earlier on, the Deputy Minister of the East African Co-operation in the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon Dr. Abdullah Saadala, had in his Ministerial Statement urged the Assembly to hold debate on the Bill until completion of the process of the Institutional review at the EAC, so as to make the Bill timely. He however affirmed the EAC Council of Ministers’ unequivocal support for the Bill.
EALA Members however rose up in support of the Bill saying it was progressive and would help move the Community in the right direction.
The Bill in its original form was sponsored as a Private Members Bill by Hon. Dr. F.L.Masha, EALA MP.
The Assembly also passed a motion approving the Financial Statement for the Financial Year 2011/12. Also approved were the revised estimates of expenditures for the Financial Year 2010/2011 by the Committee of Ways and Means and the corresponding budgetary estimates for Financial Year 201/12 by the Committee of Supply.
The Budget was presented by the Assistant Minister for EAC, Kenya, Hon Peter Munya on behalf of the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Hafsa Mossi. The Minister suggested that the first measures in the coming financial year for the Community would aim at changing the legal and regulatory frameworks that are not conducive for the thriving of a single market in the region. The approved budget totaled $ 109,680,319, exceeding the previous 2010/11 approved budget ($ 32,025,876) by 41 per cent.
During debate, Members congratulated the Council of Ministers for a well presented budget that was well analysed and to a big extent, realistic.
The Committee on General Purposes (GPC) noted with appreciation the improvements in the overall budgeting process and hailed the EAC Secretariat for a job well done. The Committee also applauded the Council of Ministers for steadily steering the Community in the right direction.
The Chairperson of the GPC, Hon Sebtuu Nassor, noted the myriad challenges the EAC faced during the past financial year including inter alia the late disbursement of funds by the Partner States.
The Committee however stated that notable underutilization of budgets in some of the departments and directorates of the Community and the slow pace of decision making and reiterated the need for remedial measures.
The GPC emphasized the need for aligning priorities for absorption of funds and the capacity of departments to implement the activities to expectation.
The Committee further urged the Secretariat to appropriately forecast and to advise the region in times of economic and social crisis.
“This does not only refer to economic issues but the Secretariat could make an effort to do this across board with regard to weather and climate change issues, agriculture, livestock and all other such sectors that are subject to natural occurrences and phenomenon”, Hon Nassor said.
On tourism and wildlife development, the Committee was concerned by the slow pace towards attaining a single tourist visa and recommended to the Council of Ministers to consider issuance of a single visa as a priority by next year, East African Community (EAC) notes in a media statement.
ICC: Weekly summary of the proceedings (23-27 May 2011) in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, May 31, 2011, ICC / ‘In the Courtroom’ programme – Weekly summary of the proceedings (23-27 May 2011) in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
YouTube (for viewing):
Audio (mpeg3) for download:
Video (mpeg4) for download:
For more information about audiovisual programmes, please contact Violeta Willemsen-Curcic, AV Producer, Public Information and Documentation Section, at +31 (0)70 515-8422 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Courtesy of the African Press Organization, APO, the main Africa related news online community offers a complete range of media relations tools such as press releases distribution, press videoconference, webcast, events promotion, and media monitoring.