Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's Travel to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice is traveling to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti from March 6-8. In the United Arab Emirates she is meeting with senior Emirati officials including Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed to discuss U.S.-UAE cooperation on a range of regional issues. In Djibouti, she will meet with President Guelleh to discuss our strategic partnership and visit U.S. troops at the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier.
AU Commission Chairperson meets Darfur armed movements' leaders
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “We have only one option: to work for a peaceful, unified, diverse Sudan with a common identity”- Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on Friday 7 March 2014,met with a delegation of the Darfur armed movements led by Mr. Minni Arko Minawi and Dr. Gibril Ibrahim Mohamed, Chairmen of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLM/Minni Minawi) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), respectively. The Darfur armed movements' leaders were accompanied by UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Dr Mohamed Chambas.
The two armed movements' leaders – now part of the leadership of a political and military coalition under the name of Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), affirmed their commitment for peace, a united Sudan with a national identity that reflects its cultural and religious diversity, and the need for a national dialogue to address holistically the problems facing the country. They urged the African Union to become fully engaged in the political process and assist the Sudanese parties realize these goals.
The Chairperson welcomed the commitment of the armed movements' leaders to peace, the unity of their country, a comprehensive and negotiated solution to Sudan's issues, and the holding of national dialogue. Reflecting on the experience of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, she advised that “there will always be problems of mistrust, skepticism and doubts when people have been at war for decades”.
The Chairperson also welcomed the political determination expressed by the leaders of the armed movements and stressed the need to harness it. She encouraged them to continue to work with UNAMID and other stakeholders to formulate a strategy on how to conduct the national dialogue.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma reaffirmed the commitment of the AU, through the joint efforts of UNAMID and the AU High Level Panel on Sudan, to continue to assist all the Sudanese parties in the search for lasting peace and economic development in Sudan. “The more we can assist Sudan to be united, diverse, with a common national identity, the better for all of us”, she said.
Partners harmonise AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria strategies for Africa
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- With the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals fast approaching over 60 partners from the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, civil society, UN organisations and development partners met in Brazzaville, Congo Wednesday through Friday to streamline harmonisation and coordination of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria responses.
“In the context of inadequate resources to respond to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria effective coordination at national, regional, continental and global levels remains fundamental in ensuring effective, efficient and responsive disease interventions”,said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission
The need for more effective coordination and efficient use of resources at continental and regional levels has become even more pressing as Regional Economic Communities and the African Union are expected to provide more proactive leadership to sustain the gains and strengthen health service delivery. Stronger and more effective cooperation between the African Union Commission and Regional Economic Communities and countries is vital for realising Africa's commitment to the African Roadmap for Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria (2012-2015) and related continental commitments.
“Doing more requires strengthening national health systems, which is a prerequisite for universal health coverage. A functional health system must be able to reach every person in every community with quality health services wherever and whenever needed irrespective of social status and disposable income of individuals and families”, said Dr. Luis G. Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Over a decade of progress in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria
While significant challenges remain unprecedented progress has been made in responding to AIDS, TB and malaria. By the end of 2012, more than 7.5 million eligible people were receiving antiretroviral therapy. This represented coverage of 68%. Ten countries had reached the universal access coverage of more than 80%, based on the 2010 WHO ARV Guidelines. There has also been an overall decline of 37% in the number of new HIV infections among children between 2009 and 2012. The uptake of ARV for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV has improved substantially with 63% of pregnant women living with HIV in the region receiving ARVs in 2012, an increase from 34% in 2009. Twelve countries have PMTCT ARV coverage rates of 80% or more, with five of them having reached the 2015 target of 90%.
The TB treatment success rate has continued to improve reaching 82% in 2012. The previously increasing incidence of TB has been halted and a decline observed as a result of several years of intensive implementation of the Stop TB strategy and the strengthening of TB/HIV collaborative activities. Over 75% of TB patients in the high HIV endemic countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa sub-region were tested for HIV and nearly half accessed ARVs in 2012.
The malaria burden in countries has been considerably reduced. Eleven countries with on-going malaria transmission have achieved reductions in malaria incidence of at least 50%. Between 2001 and 2012, an estimated 337 million malaria cases and 3 million deaths were averted in the African Region.
Next steps for the Abuja Call
Partners recommended among others the need to participate in the processes to position AIDS, TB and malaria prominently in the post 2015 development agenda; prioritising investments for AIDS, TB and malaria responses in Nigeria and DRC which have the major disease burden and supporting the development of investment cases and economic arguments for increased domestic and international investment in AIDS, TB and malaria including consideration of counterpart funding as a viable option.
Implementation of the Action Plan for Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in Conflict and Post Conflicts Settings in Africa
Partners also pledged to prioritise the prevention of violence and gender- based violence and include it in the national action plan with targets; develop in country capacity for violence prevention and strengthen integrated health system approach for violence and HIV prevention in women and girls.
For more information, visit http://www.africa-union.org, www.aidswatchafrica.org
EU Donates 50 Million Euros to Support AU Mission in CAR
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The African Union (AU) has signed an agreement with the European Union (EU), formalizing an EU contribution of Fifty (50) million Euros to support the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA). The agreement was signed today at AU Headquarters , by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, in the presence of the Head of the EU Delegation to the AU, Ambassador Gary Quince. The contribution which covers the period from August 2013 to June 2014 will be used to pay troop allowances and other MISCA expenses.
Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner Chergui thanked the EU for its sustained support to AU efforts to enhance peace and security in Africa, and emphasized the importance of close cooperation and coordination between the AU and all multilateral and bilateral Partners, to help restore security, stability and the rule of law in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Burundi: Pillay denounces increasing restrictions on political and civil rights ahead of 2015 elections
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday expressed concern at the increasing restrictions on civil and political rights in Burundi, following a series of violent acts by the ruling party's youth wing and the disruption of public meetings organised by opposition parties.
“I am concerned that restrictions have increasingly been imposed on freedom of assembly and on the press over the past few months in Burundi,” Pillay said.
Recent attacks by the ruling party's youth wing, including the reported killing of an opposition youth leader on 19 February, were also hugely worrying, especially in the lead up to the 2015 elections, she added.
At least 19 violent incidents involving members of the youth wing, known as Imbonerakure, have been documented since the beginning of the year. These included beatings, acts of extortion and intimidation of political opponents, and the prohibition and disruption of political meetings.
The latest incident occurred on 28 February, when Imbonerakure members reportedly beat up members of an opposition party's youth wing in the village of Busoni, in the Kirundo province.
“These violent acts threaten to have a negative impact on the exercise of political rights and freedoms in Burundi, and there is real risk that opposition youth groups may start to retaliate, creating a dangerous downward spiral of violence,” Pillay said.
“I call on the Government to publicly condemn these violent acts to ensure that those responsible for acts of violence are held accountable. This is essential if the rising political tensions in the country are to be defused,” she said.
The High Commissioner also expressed concern that the police, acting on instructions from administrative authorities, disrupted meetings organised by an opposition party on February 18 and 19. A workshop organized by the Bujumbura Bar Association in conformity with the new Law on Public Gatherings was also prohibited by the authorities on 18 February.
“The increasing restriction of public gatherings could severely narrow the democratic space ahead of the elections,” Pillay said.
The High Commissioner also expressed concern at legislation introduced over the past year, including the Law on Public Gatherings adopted on December 5.
“The prohibition of spontaneous gatherings by this new law may amount to a disproportionate restriction on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” said Pillay.
“I am also concerned that attributing civil and criminal responsibility to organisers of public gatherings, for any unlawful act committed by anyone attending such gatherings, could deter the holding of demonstrations and protests that are legitimate under international law,” she said.
The High Commissioner also drew attention to the potentially negative impact of the new Media Law, promulgated last June, on press freedom. The law requires journalists to reveal their sources of information when they report on a number of issues ranging from state security to public order.
“This legislation could all too easily lead to infringements of freedom of expression, thereby violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Pillay said. “The protection of a journalist's sources is essential to ensure that media can play an active and vibrant role in a properly functioning democracy,” Pillay said.
“Next year's elections will be a key test for Burundi. Continued political violence is a threat to the democratic process in a country which is still slowly recovering from a devastating protracted civil war,” the High Commissioner said.
CAMEROONIAN WOMEN IN ADDIS ABABA (CAMLADIES) TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S DAY WITH CHILDREN IN ORPHANAGES
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following the celebration of the International Women's Day observed on 8 March every year, women from the Cameroonian community in Addis Ababa (CAMLADIES) will tomorrow, Saturday 8 March 2014, join the rest of the women in Africa and worldwide, to commemorate the day through different humanitarian activities.
CAMLADIES members will gather at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as from 2 pm before proceeding to some orphanages where they will interact with the less privileged girls and boys, distribute food items and clothes and sensitize them on the theme chosen by the African Union Commission for the Day: “Stand-Alone Goal on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Post 2015 Agenda”.
The women will also engage on issues of interest to the young orphans and gather their views on the Africa they will want to see in the next 50 years as well as give the orphans hope for a brighter future.
The CAMLADIES will later converge in the residence of one of its members to discuss and exchange views on ways to make their stay in Addis Ababa more enjoyable and comfortable. The meeting will take place in the presence of invited women from other African communities in Addis Ababa. The women will share traditional dishes and entertain themselves with dance and music reminiscent of the different tribes in Cameroon, referred to as “Africa in miniature”.
We hold up half the sky Statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on the occasion of the Commemoration of International Women's Day. Addis Ababa, 8th
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- We hold up half the sky Statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on the occasion of the Commemoration of International Women's Day. Addis Ababa, 8th March 2014
On the occasion to commemorate the 103rdInternational Women's Day, I wish to convey my warm greetings and congratulations to women and girls in Africa and all over the world.For over a century, women in successive generations have celebrated this day by benchmarking, mobilising and celebrating our long struggle for gender equality.
African women are a proud and integral component of this global movement, since the days of the anti-slavery, anti-colonial and liberation movements, to today's struggle for Africa's development, peace, integration and prosperity. This ongoing mobilization and organisation of women have been and remain critical, since we continue to hold up half the sky. Emmeline Pankhurst, explained this in 1913, when she declared:
“…we are women fighting for a great idea; that we wish the betterment of the human race, and that we believe this betterment is coming through the emancipation and uplifting of women.”
Women today constitute 21.3% of the world's parliamentarians. Rwanda and Andorra are the only two countries in the world where over half of parliaments are women, at 63.8% and 50% respectively. In forty-six (46) countries across the world, women account for more than a quarter (25%) of all MPs. I am also proud to say that fourteen (14) of these countries are in Africa. However, the fact that only two countries globally have 50% women in parliament, means that this struggle for equal representation is far from over.
Sadly, the situation in terms of women's representation in the economy, particularly in the labour market, on boards and in the professions is changing at a much slower pace. Globally, women represent less than 15% of membership of boards in the Fortune 200 companies. At the same time, we know, that most women entrepreneurs are found in the small and micro enterprise sectors and in the informal economy. Although greater numbers of women are entering the labour market, this also tends to be in sectors with poor working conditions and low wages. As we therefore embark on the finalization of our Africa Agenda 2063 framework for the transformation of the continent, we must and will pay attention to women's access to capital and other factors of production such as land, as well as ensuring that our infrastructure development, industrial development, job creation and promotion of intra-Africa trade are gender sensitive and seek to empower African women.
The 2013 Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum indicates that globally, on health and education, progress is being made in closing the gap in health outcomes and educational attainment between men and women. However, according to the report, the gap between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remains wide.
On educational attainment,African countries are making progress in closing the gender gap, especially with regards to the participation of girls and young women in education (primary, secondary and higher education levels). There are,however,countries that are not doing that well and we must look at ways to work with them to ensure that African girls and women are an integral part of the human capital strategy for continental transformation.
Similarly, on health, the life expectancy of African women is rising, but we must address with greater vigor the burden of disease; maternal, infant and child mortality and general access to health services, good nutrition, water and sanitation.
2014 is the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security and, therefore a critical year for African women in the struggle for emancipation. Agriculture is a key driver for economic transformation, since Africa still has up to 60% of the world's unused arable land. Women constitute over three quarters of the agricultural workforce and play a major role in food production, and increasingly in domestic and cross-border trade. Yet they own less than 1% of the land, and their access to assets, capital and infrastructure are limited.
In this year of Agriculture and Food Security, for Africa to move towards a situation where we can feed ourselves and eliminate hunger, for our agricultural sector to contribute towards economic transformation by eliminating the need for food imports, for our agribusinesses to become a major exporter of value-added goods, we must and will invest in practical ways in which women (and young people) can drive Africa's agrarian revolution. An example of some of these practical ways is the suggestion by Nigeria that we advocate and engage banks and financial institutions to earmark 30% of their agricultural lending for women, so as to double the current level of women's access to capital, which is only 15% of all loans.
As we celebrate the 103rd International Women's Day this year, the world and Africa are moving towards finalising the post-2015 development agenda. We have made progress through the millennium development goals, but for Africa the greatest lesson learnt was that these goals could not be met fully, without transformation. That is why we have made transformation as the foundation of the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda. Part of this transformation agenda is the mainstreaming of gender and women's empowerment throughout all pillars and goals of the development agenda, with specific goals on gender equality and women's empowerment.
Whether this becomes the global consensus or not, African transformation will not be possible without the empowerment of women, and our Agenda 2063 will therefore ensure that sufficient attention is given to this.
Finally, we have stressed time and time again that there can be no development without peace, and no peace without development. Last year we pledged that by 2020 we shall silence all the guns. And yet, in Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic, we have situations where women and children once more are the main victims of conflict.
Last, but not least, I must reiterate our concern about the continued high levels of violence against women and urge governments to ensure protection for women, as well as creating adequate and responsive mechanisms and legal frameworks in which women can freely and respectably report violence and seek redress.
As we therefore strategise how to silence the guns and ensure the human security of all, we know that the inclusion of women in political structures, in security sector reform, in peacemaking, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction is critical. It is for this reason that we announced to the January 2014 Summit, the appointment of a Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, to ensure that we have a more proactive approach towards mobilizing women into a powerful movement for peace and development on the continent.
On this day, I would like to congratulate African women and women of the world for the progress made and encourage men and women to continue empowering our girls and boys and our young women and men. They are our future.
Finally, I would like to welcome the exemplary initiative Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy has taken by appointing Eight Women and Eight men to his cabinet.
I wish you all a happy Women's Day, and aluta continua.
DRC: Germain Katanga before the International Crminal Court, a mixed verdict
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Today, the Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted Germain Katanga for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2003.
The infamous warlord from DRC was found guilty of contributing to the crimes of murder, attacks against civilians, destruction of property and pillaging, committed during the attack of the village of Bogoro, in Ituri, early 2003. He was however found not guilty and acquitted for the charges of rape, sexual slavery and use of child soldiers. FIDH and its member organisations in DRC, ASADHO, LE and GL, call upon the ICC and the Congolese authorities to engage in a wide outreach programme in order to explain this judicial decision in DRC and in particular to affected communities.
"After Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, this is the second conviction in a case related to the conflict in the DRC, highlighting the gravity of the crimes that the Congolese population has endured, and reminding us that the suffering of victims should not go unheard" , said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President. "The ICC should engage in a communication and outreach strategy to explain to victims and affected communities the meaning of this decision and its consequences in DRC", said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.
“With some relief we can go to the Congolese communities and confirm that what happened to them was recognised as the most serious crimes, amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes, and should never happen again” , declared Dismas Kitengue, President of Groupe Lotus and FIDH Vice-President.
"Although the Court recognises the commission of crimes of rape and sexual slavery and the presence of child soldiers during this attack, the acquittal of the accused for these crimes is particularly disappointing. The Lubanga case, which failed prosecute crimes of sexual violence, failed the victims of these crimes and women's rights organisations. Today's verdict brings further disillusionment. It is urgent that the Office of the Prosecutor draws the necessary conclusions and takes them into account in its new strategy on investigations and prosecutions, as well as in its policy on crimes of sexual violence, so as to avoid new defeats for victims", said Sheila Muwanga, FIDH Vice-President
"The trial of Germain Katanga has opened our eyes even more to the consequences these crimes have on victims and their lives, and the importance of justice for their deterrence. The international community and DRC should continue this long fight against impunity" , stated Paul Nsapu, President of the Ligue des Electeurs and FIDH Secretary General.
FIDH and its member ogranisations underline that it is of paramount importance that the international community, but also Congolese authorities, continue their efforts to bring the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, committed during the conflict afflicting DRC for two decades, to justice. DRC should urgently promote the establishement of independent and effective specialised mixed Chambers in the courts of DRC to try crimes of international law being committed in DRC, that could not be tried at the ICC. Moreover, the reform of national law is essential to facilitate victims access to Congolese courts and reduce the prohibitive costs of these national proceedings.
This conviction will be followed by a decision on the sentencing and proceedings to establish measures of reparation for the victims, reparation that victims of international crimes never obtained in DRC. Our organisations are calling all States Parties to contribute to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims and cooperate with the Court in ensuring that victims receive adequate and comprehensive reparations.
"We will try to ensure that the victims will receive the reparations to which they are entitled after suffering the consequences of such grave crimes", said Jean Claude Katende, President of ASADHO.
Germain Katanga was on trial before the ICC as part of the proceedings related to the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is the alleged commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI), and has been prosecuted for the crimes committed in the village of Bogoro in the Ituri district of Eastern DRC from January to March 2003. The trial against him and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (the two cases were joined in March 2008) started on 24 November 2009. They were accused of three counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, sexual slavery and rape and seven counts of war crimes. These included: using children under the age of 15 to take active part in hostilities; deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population as such or against individual civilians or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; wilful killing; sexual slavery and rape; destruction of property; and pillaging. The two cases were later severed and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted on 18 December 2012.
On 7 March 2014, Germain Katanga is found guilty of four counts of war crimes and one count of crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber, by majority, proceeded to the recharacterization of the mode of liability of Mr. Katanga, initially charges as a principal, on the basis of Article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, considering “it has not been proven, in light of the evidence found credible, that... he had the material ability to issue and ensure compliance with orders or, furthermore, that he had the power to punish commanders from various camps”.
IMF Executive Board Concludes 2014 Article IV Consultation with Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On February 21, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Nigeria.
Real GDP is projected to grow at 6.4 percent in 2013 owing to continued strong performance in the non-oil sector. Inflation declined to 7.9 percent at year end, supported by lower food price, fiscal consolidation, and a tight monetary policy stance. The external current account surplus fell to 3.1 percent of GDP from 7.8 percent at end-2012, but reserves remained at a comfortable 5.6 months of next year's imports, despite uncertainties about the timing of the tapering of unconventional monetary policies. The non-oil primary deficit of the consolidated government is projected to narrow from expenditure restraint, but a shortfall in oil revenues resulted in a drawdown of the Excess Crude Account (ECA), a key fiscal buffer. Despite significant job creation, unemployment and poverty are high and social indicators lag those of peers. Continued weaknesses in labor markets, access to electricity, cost of doing business, and small and medium enterprises' access to finance have prevented a transition to a more robust and inclusive growth path.
Economic growth is expected to improve further in 2014, driven by agriculture, trade, and services. Inflation should continue to decline, with lower food prices from higher rice and wheat production and supported by a tight monetary policy and a budget execution that maintains medium-term consolidation objectives. The current account is also expected to improve. Key risks to be managed include: (i) uncertainty about the pace of global recovery; (ii) unwinding of UMP; (iii) persistently lower oil prices; (iv) persistent oil production losses; (v) continuation of insurgency in the North; and (vi) slow implementation of reforms.
Sound and balanced economic policies over the medium term are critical. Policies should focus on rebuilding external and fiscal buffers, avoiding spending pressures from the political cycle, strengthening the transparency and governance of the oil sector, and enhancing financial stability, while promoting the availability of and access to finance. Over the medium term, it will be vital to ensure the steady implementation of the wide-range of structural reforms necessary to improve competitiveness and productivity, boost growth and job creation, strengthen governance, and build social cohesion.
Executive Board Assessment2
Executive Directors welcomed Nigeria's continued strong macroeconomic performance, underpinned particularly by sustained high growth in the non oil sector. Inflation has continued to decline and the reserves position is adequate. While the economic outlook remains favorable, key risks include continued lower oil revenues from oil production losses and lower oil prices, the impact from the unwinding of unconventional monetary policy in advanced economies, and domestic political and security uncertainties. Directors underscored that steadfast implementation of prudent macroeconomic policies and reforms will be essential to address the risks and vulnerabilities, generate more inclusive and balanced growth, and reduce unemployment.
Directors welcomed the authorities' continued commitment to fiscal consolidation and noted the improvements made to the fiscal framework. However, to ensure macroeconomic stability, they emphasized the need to rebuild fiscal buffers and to strengthen the framework further. Efforts should be geared towards boosting non oil revenue by broadening the tax base, improving tax administration and curtailing exemptions, and further reducing oil subsidies. Directors underscored that adopting a rule based reference oil price in fiscal projections and further strengthening public financial management should help the authorities achieve their consolidation objectives. They also highlighted the need for improving oil revenue management, including by completing the transition from the Excess Crude Account to the Sovereign Wealth Fund. These measures should be supported by full implementation of the Treasury Single Account and the integrated information management systems. Maintaining fiscal discipline in the run up to the elections is also important.
Directors called for strong action to address oil theft and production losses. They advised the authorities to strengthen the regulatory framework by passing a sound Petroleum Industry Bill with enhanced oversight and transparency provisions. The framework for anti money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism could support these efforts.
Directors commended the authorities for lowering inflation and considered the current tight monetary policy stance to be appropriate, given the risks associated with potential capital flow reversals. To better manage liquidity, they generally encouraged more reliance on open market operations to guide short term interest rates. With regard to exchange rate policy, Directors noted that greater exchange rate flexibility could serve as an important buffer against external shocks.
Directors noted that the financial system is well capitalized with low nonperforming loans. They recommended continued improvements in the supervisory framework, especially with regard to increased exposure from cross border financial activities. Directors encouraged the authorities to build on the progress made in strengthening prudential policies, including by further enhancing the framework for anti money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, and implementing the remaining Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) recommendations. They welcomed the plan to wind down the operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.
Directors emphasized that structural reforms remain critical to improve competitiveness and productivity, and reduce poverty and inequality. They encouraged the authorities to persevere with their Transformation Agenda with continued focus on education and health reforms, the improvement of power supply, and broadening agricultural production. Reform efforts should also aim at enhancing the business environment, improving productivity, boosting financial access to small and medium sized enterprises, and strengthening governance and institutional capacity. The upcoming release of re based GDP data and further improvements in statistical data collection should strengthen the basis for policy and private sector decision making in Nigeria.
Nigeria: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2010–2014
Nominal GDP (2012, billion U.S. dollars)
Quota (million SDR)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (2012, US$)
Population (2012, million)
Poverty headcount ratio (adult equivalent, 2009-10)
GINI index (2010)
Life expectancy at birth (2011, years)
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Act. Act. Act. Proj. Proj.
National income and prices
(Annual percentage change,
unless otherwise specified)
Real GDP (at 1990 factor cost)1
8.0 7.4 6.6 6.4 7.3
Oil and Gas GDP
5.2 -0.6 -0.2 -1.8 6.8
8.5 8.9 7.8 7.7 7.4
Production of crude oil (million barrels per day)
2.46 2.37 2.34 2.30 2.39
Consumer price index (end of period)
11.7 10.3 12.0 7.9 7.0
Consolidated government operations2
(Percent of GDP)
Total revenues and grants
20.0 29.9 25.3 20.0 21.1
Of which: oil and gas revenue
14.0 23.4 18.5 12.9 13.8
Total expenditure and net lending
26.9 29.4 25.4 24.6 24.0
-6.9 0.5 -0.4 -4.7 -2.9
Non-oil primary balance (percent of non-oil GDP)
-34.3 -36.0 -27.5 -24.0 -22.0
Excess Crude Account / SWF (billions of US$)
2.7 4.6 11.0 3.0 6.3
Money and credit
(Contribution to broad money growth,
unless otherwise specified)
Broad money (percentage change; end of period)
6.9 15.4 16.4 -5.2 14.3
Net foreign assets
-10.3 5.5 14.3 -3.4 1.3
Net domestic assets
17.2 9.9 2.1 -1.7 13.0
Treasury bill rate (percent; end of period)
7.5 14.3 13.3 10.9 ...
(Annual percentage change,
unless otherwise specified)
Exports of goods and services
36.5 20.1 1.8 -2.1 2.4
Imports of goods and services
36.6 27.2 -10.6 13.8 4.6
Current account balance (percent of GDP)3
5.9 3.6 7.8 3.1 3.7
Terms of trade
10.0 9.1 1.4 -0.1 -0.4
Price of Nigerian oil (US$ per barrel)
79.0 109.0 110.0 109.0 104.0
Nominal effective exchange rate (end of period)
84.6 79.2 81.4 83.1 …
Real effective exchange rate (end of period)
117.9 119.8 135.6 150.1 …
Gross international reserves (US$ billions)
32.3 32.6 44.2 43.6 44.5
(Equivalent months of next year's imports)
4.5 5.0 6.0 5.7 5.5
Sources: Nigerian authorities; World Bank; and IMF staff estimates and projections.
1 GDP is now being rebased to a base year of 2010.
2 Consists of federal, state, and local governments.
3 Large errors and omissions in the balance of payments suggest that the current account surplus is overestimated by a significant (but unknown) amount.
1 Under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country's economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.
2 At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country's authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summing up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.
Côte d'Ivoire: UN expert urges Government to allow rights defenders to play their role for reconciliation and progress
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Cote d'Ivoire, Doudou Diène, today called on the authorities to take all necessary measures to allow human rights defenders organisations to play their role for the reconciliation and consolidation of progress in the country.
“An independent and active civil society is central for the reconstruction of a pluralist democracy and for the national reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire”, Mr. Diène stressed.
The Independent Expert's appeal comes after security forces, without legal mandate, banned a seminar on the Remobilization of the Ivorian Civil Society Federation, which was due to take place at the Research and Action Center for Peace in Abidjan on 27 February 2014.
“Banning a meeting planned by the Ivorian Civil Society Federation is a step back considering the progress already achieved since the end of the post electoral crisis,” the expert said, recalling positive moves to establish the Rule of Law and institutions able to promote and defend human rights, including the creation of the National Commission of Human Rights.
“In the dynamic of institutional progress achieved in the promotion of human rights, I call upon the authorities to take the appropriate measures to allow human rights defenders organisations in general, and the Civil Society Federation in particular, to play their role and to contribute to the consolidation of progress in Côte d'Ivoire,” Mr. Diène said.
The Independent Expert noted the Ivorian Civil Society Federation's active and substantial participation during the recent “International conference on the situation of the victims of the Ivorian crisis”, organised by him last February, and highlighted “the remarkable commitment of this organization in the promotion of human rights in Côte d'Ivoire.”
In a previous report* to the UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Diène had warned that “the decision of the Abidjan prosecutor's office to refuse the Ivorian Civil Society Federation access to its administrative premises following an internal dispute - despite a court decision- is likely to raise doubts about the willingness in some quarters of government to guarantee freedom of association.”
“Civil society should be strong, independent and have sufficient resources to play a central role in guaranteeing a democratic multiparty system, a role that should have full political recognition and appropriate legal protection” the Independent Expert reiterated.
“An independent civil society has a crucial role to play in the fight against impunity, the promotion of equitable justice as well as in the organization of peaceful and fair elections in 2015” he concluded.
(*) Check the Independent Expert 2013 report to the UN General Assembly (A/HRC/23/38): http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_f.aspx?c=45&su=54