Category Archives: African Union

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa has announced that the inauguration of the President

Elect will take place on Saturday, 25 May 2019 in the City of Tshwane.

In a departure from the tradition of holding the inauguration at the Union Buildings, the event will take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Hosting the inauguration in a stadium, the largest in the City of Tshwane, will allow for greater public participation in this important national event.

It is symbolic that the inauguration will take place on Africa Day, as it affirms government’s commitment to advancing the African agenda and to strengthening ties between South Africa and its neighbors.

The theme of the inauguration ceremony is “Together celebrating 25 years of freedom: Renewal and Growth for a better South Africa.”

Aside from members of the public, it is expected that Heads of State and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties, and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

Chairperson Mahamat and Commissioner Traore

ECOWAS Commission restates commitment to deepening cooperation with the AU

The President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has reaffirmed the determination of the Commission to work more with the African Union (AU) while deepening cooperation in the implementation of priority projects and programmes. The renewed commitment was given on the 26th of October 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria when the Chairperson of the AU Commission Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat led a delegation from the continental body on a courtesy visit to the ECOWAS Commission.

President Brou who was represented by the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Mamadou Traoré stated that the good relations between both bodies is reflected by the joint recognition of representations at their headquarters as well as the dynamic technical cooperation between the different Departments of their organizations. Noting that the visit is coming within the framework of the implementation of the reforms initiated at the level of the continental organization, he highlighted the regional priorities set by the new ECOWAS management to include a focus on institutional reform, consolidation of peace and security, free movement of persons and goods, infrastructure, improving the investment climate, building industrial capacity and the development of human capacity.

Acknowledging the efforts of the AU in the management of peace and security on the continent and in particular for its support to Mali, Gambia and some other countries Mamadou Traoré stressed that the ECOWAS Commission has been following with keen interest, the implementation of the recommendations of the Kagamé intervention plan and the management of major issues such as the free trade area akin to other sectors such as political affairs, peace, security and economic integration. Additionally, are the responses to regional security challenges, particularly in the Sahel and transhumance, the continuation of the implementation of the single currency program as well as the recent official opening of the Sèmè-Kraké (Nigeria-Benin) and Noèpé-Akanu (Togo-Ghana) checkpoints to boost intra-community trade. Other strides were given as the adoption and implementation of the common external tariff, the scheme for the liberalization of trade in local products and industrial products, the introduction of the biometric identity card symbol of a community identity and the adoption of the Community Investment Policy and Code, which is expected to give new impetus to the business environment in the region through the promotion of cross-border investments.

In his own brief, the AU chairperson who was visiting the ECOWAS Commission for the first time, disclosed that he was on tour of some West African states and deemed it appropriate to have an official engagement at the regional community headquarters.

Maintaining that the relationship between the AU and ECOWAS is that of subsidiarity and complementarity, Mr. Mahamat noted that both parties would love to see the fruits of a sensible division of labour and harmonized practices with the ongoing reforms. Stressing that ECOWAS has the most advanced instrument of integration on the continent playing a key role in Peace, security and political governance, he added: “We fully support what is being done by ECOWAS (Commission). We have worked together before and we will continue. To do so I am sure that institutional reforms will save cost lead to efficiency” He reiterated the necessity for the continent to speak with one voice on all of the issues that also include job creation and defend African interest even as some concerns that are specific to Africa such as terrorism, irregular migration are already being discussed with the European Union (EU). He emphasized the need for the AU Commission to work with the Regional Economic Communities for the implementation of programmes, seeing that the ongoing reforms will help in the creation of a more efficient process for the attainment of collective goals.

On the AU Chairperson’s delegation were the Union’s Commissioner for Human resources, Science and Technology Professor Sarah Anyang Agbo, his counterpart for Trade and Industry Professor Albert Muchanga as well as the principal strategic adviser, Professor Hacen Lebalt among other officers. Sectorial overviews were also given by the ECOWAS Commission’s Statutory Appointees who were on hand to support President Brou. These included Auditor-General Dr. Alfred Braimah, Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research Dr Kofi Apraku, Dr Siga Jagne (Social Affairs and Gender), Dr Zouli Boukoungou (Telecommunications and Information Technology), Dr Leopoldo Amado (Education, Science and Culture) and Dr Jeremias Furtado (Human Resources).

ECOWAS

Joint ECOWAS-AU-UN Statement on the occasion of the swearing-in Ceremony of H.E. Adama Barrow, President-Elect of the Republic of the Gambia

The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations congratulate H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia on the occasion of his swearing-in and assumption of the mantle of leadership to the highest office of the land following his victory at the presidential election of 1stDecember 2016 and in
accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations equally congratulate the people of The Gambia who have demonstrated patience, discipline, maturity and resolve to defend their popular will, as expressed in the 1st December, 2016 presidential election and during the post-electoral crisis.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again commend the independence, professionalism and commitment of members of the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia and all political parties for exercising the needed restraint that paved way for the peaceful conduct of the
1st December, 2016 presidential election.

The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations commend the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Her Excellency (Mrs) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari,
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and CoMediator, for the efforts undertaken for the resolution of the post-electoral impasse in The Gambia in full compliance with constitutional legality to ensure peaceful
transfer of power.

The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations urge His Excellency Adama Barrow to take all necessary steps to strengthen national unity, social harmony and peace in the Gambia with a view to addressing the sociopolitical and economic challenges that have hampered poverty reduction in the country.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again urge the Security Forces to observe neutrality and conduct themselves in a civil manner, and to strongly support President Barrow by maintaining public order and security which are essential to the stability and development of the country.
The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations reaffirm their commitment to continue accompanying The Gambia in consolidating democracy and rule of law in the country.

ECOWAS

Joint ECOWAS-AU-UN Statement on the occasion of the swearing-in Ceremony of H.E. Adama Barrow, President-Elect of the Republic of the Gambia

The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations congratulate H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia on the occasion of his swearing-in and assumption of the mantle of leadership to the highest office of the land following his victory at the presidential election of 1st December 2016 and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia. The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations equally congratulate the people of The Gambia who have demonstrated patience, discipline, maturity and resolve to defend their popular will, as expressed in the 1st December, 2016 presidential election and during the post-electoral crisis. 

 The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again commend the independence, professionalism and commitment of members of the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia and all political parties for exercising the needed restraint that paved way for the peaceful conduct of the 1st December, 2016 presidential election. 

 The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations commend the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Her Excellency (Mrs) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and Co-Mediator, for the efforts undertaken for the resolution of the post-electoral impasse in The Gambia in full compliance with constitutional legality to ensure peaceful transfer of power. 

 The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations urge His Excellency Adama Barrow to take all necessary steps to strengthen national unity, social harmony and peace in the Gambia with a view to addressing the socio-political and economic challenges that have hampered poverty reduction in the country. The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again urge the Security Forces to observe neutrality and conduct themselves in a civil manner, and to strongly support President Barrow by maintaining public order and security

which are essential to the stability and development of the country. The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations reaffirm their commitment to continue accompanying The Gambia in consolidating democracy and rule of law in the country.

COMESA

Countdown to the 18 COMESA Summit

The biggest annual event in the COMESA calendar is set to take place this month in Ethiopia when Heads of State and Governments of the 19 Member bloc of countries hold their 18th meeting. The COMESA Summit will convene on 30th and 31st March 2015 at the Africa Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The Summit which is also referred to as the Authority is the supreme policy organ of the COMESA and meets once a year. It is responsible for the general policy direction and control of the performance of the executive functions of the organization. During the Addis Summit, the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn will take over the reins of COMESA Chairmanship from the incumbent H.E. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The theme for this year’s Summit is “Inclusive and sustainable industrialization”. This theme was chosen through consultations between the COMESA Secretariat and the incoming Chair of the Authority the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The main thrust of the theme is to address industrialization in a holistic way. This is by focusing on all factors that influence and impact on industrialization such as infrastructure.

Preceding the Summit will be the Council of Ministers meeting. This forum is the second in the hierarchy of COMESA policy organs. Its mandate is to monitor COMESA activities, including supervision of the Secretariat. This forum also holds the mandate of recommending policy direction and development and its decisions are binding to all Member States.

The curtain raiser of the policy organs fora will be the 34th Meeting of the Administrative and Budgetary Committee which kicks off on 20 March 2015. This will be followed by the Intergovernmental Committee (IC), the COMESA Business Council (CBC) forum, the Council of Ministers, EPA Council of Ministers and the 14th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

The Intergovernmental Committee will bring together Permanent or Principal Secretaries designated by each of the 19 Member States. It is responsible for the development of programmes and action plans in all fields of co-operation except in the finance and monetary sector. Owing to its heavy workload, this meeting will run for three days beginning from 22 to 24 March 2015.

The IC will review progress reports on Trade and Customs, Infrastructure (Airspace Integration; River Nile Projects; and Construction of the Border Markets), report on financing COMESA Programmes from COMESA Institutions and Co-operating Partners, Progress Report on the Implementation of the COMESA Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Strategy, Co-operation among Member States in the Manufacturing of Essential Drugs, Draft COMESA Industrial Policy, Draft COMESA Monitoring and Evaluation Policy Directive.

The COMESA Business Council which is the voice of the private sector in COMESA will host a two day open forum whose key theme is Combating Illicit Trade- Taking Action for Industrial Competitiveness. This meeting will be co-hosted with the Ethiopia National Chamber of Commerce.

23 South African health workers to be deployed to treat Ebola in Sierra Leone under ASEOWA

The African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), in collaboration with the South African government, is sending 23 South African health workers to Ebola affected countries. The health workers, including 20 nurses, and three paramedics are expected to depart Johannesburg for Sierra Leone on Friday, 20 February 2015.

From 11th to 12th February, the health workers underwent 2 days of pre deployment training given by the African Union and Ministry of Health officials. On arrival in the affected countries, the health workers will undergo further intensive training for 2 weeks before embarking on their duties.

African Union Commissioner of Social Affairs, Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko commended the South African government for sending health workers, saying that the 835 African medical personnel so far deployed by ASEOWA have impacted positively in reducing both new infections and deaths from Ebola.

“We are very proud that, together with the governments of AU member states, we are finding solutions to African challenges by Africans. By representing South Africa on the mission, you will also be representing the African Union and Africa in general. I am very sure that you will acquit yourselves very well and continue to make a positive impact.”

This deployment is the second for South Africa, following an independent deployment on January 23. The first group is stationed at the Goderich Emergency Ebola Treatment Centre on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Since their arrival, the South Africans have already seen six discharges and lost two patients.  One 36 year old man was a typical patient.  He arrived with a confirmed Ebola diagnosis.  He began treatment and then “crashed” as often happens, but treatment was successful.  He recovered and was released, walking out on his own.  The youngest patient so far has been a four year old boy.  He has been moved from the ICU and is now recovering.

The healthcare professionals stay in country for 6 months of service in AU supported treatment sites and when they return to South Africa they will undergo three weeks of observation before they can resume normal duties.

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According to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, “Whilst thankfully Ebola cases are decreasing, the South African effort implemented by Right to Care and supported by South African business and the African Union are able to address Ebola ‘fatigue’. South Africa’s involvement which began last year has been extensive and has included mobilising both a domestic response to prevent the entry of Ebola into South Africa as well as an external health and humanitarian assistance programme to support affected countries. The Department of Health mobilised cash and in-kind contributions amounting to almost R60 million. This has included setting up a NICD diagnostic laboratory which has tested more than 6000 specimens of those suspected of Ebola infection. The laboratory teams rotate every 5 weeks and are also training local personnel. We have also provided 16 000 protection suits and we have sent ambulances, scooters, drugs, generators, autoclaves for sterilisation and food.

Minister Motsoaledi concluded “South Africa can be very proud of our courageous health care workers and all those that have supported the Ebola response, as they assist fellow Africans to win the fight against Ebola.”

According to Prof Ian Sanne of Right to Care, “Team South Africa are on duty for long shifts each day; some of the time in full protective clothing and other times working in the lab or fulfilling other duties.  They are learning to treat a highly infectious disease effectively.  The knowledge they gain will be useful in knowing how to better treat other crisis outbreaks.”

African Union Director of Social Affairs, Dr Olawale Maiyegun summarised the ASEOWA intervention as follows: “the most important and effective intervention with significant impact is the decreasing cases. ASEOWA has made a huge difference. Before their intervention, Ebola was chasing us, thanks to ASEOWA, we are now chasing Ebola. It is just a matter of time, Ebola shall be defeated.”

As part of its obligations to the health workers, ASEOWA will provide the medical professionals with an allowance, full training, insurance and housing and will take care of them should they contract Ebola. FirstRand Bank (FNB) has committed to paying for transport, flights and transfers for this medical intervention.

There are four partners working on South Africa’s response to Ebola under the leadership of the Department of Health. They are Right to Care which has an MoU with the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone, the Wits Health Consortium which is overseeing and managing funds from the private sector on behalf of the Department of Health and the NICD which has set up labs in Sierra Leone, is providing training and has a number of staff there.

The current deployment is being undertaken under the African Union’s Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). The African Union will maintain the health workers on the ground till the countries are declared Ebola free.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane

Media statement by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, on international developments

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media

We would like to take this opportunity to share with you information on a number of developments taking place which relate to the implementation of our foreign policy and which we believe are of interest to the public.

In particular, we wish to focus on:

(1) the outcomes of the recent African Union Summit,

(2) the upcoming elections in the Kingdom of Lesotho,

(3) emergency relief provided to the Republics of Mozambique and Malawi, as well as

(4) South Africa’s role as Chair of the G77+China.

1. OUTCOMES OF THE AU SUMMIT 

We recently returned from the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU Summit) held on 30-31 January 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “Year of  Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.

The Republic of Zimbabwe was elected to Chair of the AU for this year, and will have the double responsibility of leadership of both the continent and the region as chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Summit also considered the state of peace and security on the Continent; the escalation in international terrorism; as well as Agenda 2063 and its 10 year action plan.

Agenda 2063 is a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development on the African continent. It envisions that in fifty (50) years, Africa will be a world leader, setting the standard for inclusive economic development, democratic governance and a humane and just social order.

Some of the decisions taken at the AU Summit include the following:

On ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’, the Summit adopted the Framework Document and the Popular Version of Agenda 2063. The AU Commission was requested to conclude all consultations in order to finalize the First Ten-Year Plan and to submit it for adoption by the June/July 2015 Summit.

The Executive Council took note of developments and progress on the flagship projects and requested the Commission to present detailed road maps for implementation of:

•           The Integrated High Speed Train Network;

•           The creation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2017;

•           The African Passport and Free Movement of People;

•           The Implementation of the Grand Inga Hydroelectricity Dam Project;

•           The Pan-African E-Network; An African Virtual and E-University;

•           Establishment of an Annual African Forum for Policy Dialogue;

•           Formulation of a Commodities Strategy; Implementation on the Yamoussoukro Decision on the Unification of the African Air                         Space by 2017;

•          Silencing the Guns by 2020;

•           Developing a Space Programme for Africa.

On the status of the Ebola virus outbreak, the Assembly urged Member States to continue their assistance to the countries affected by Ebola. The Assembly recommended the extension of the mandate of the African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA):

•    Called upon Member States who have not yet done so, to lift all restrictions imposed on Ebola-affected countries;

•      Requested the international financial institutions and partner countries to cancel the debt of the three affected countries (Guinea,                 Liberia and Sierra Leone);

•      Approved the recommendation to urgently convene a Global Conference on the Ebola epidemic; requested and appealed to the scientific community to accelerate the search for a vaccine against Ebola. The urgency of the establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was re-emphasized as a result of this epidemic.

On the Report of the Conference of Ministers of Finance and Economy on the Alternative Sources of Financing the African Union, the Assembly was agreed that countries’ assessed contributions will need to be adapted according to GDP’s of Member States. Informed by the suggested alternatives, it was decided that domestic sources of funding will be the prerogative of each Member State according to their own financial structures.

On the situation in the Republic of South Sudan, the parties were urged to recommit to an unconditional end to hostilities as provided for by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and to conclude consultations on outstanding matters with a focus on the establishment and structure of the Transitional Government of National Unity.

The Assembly noted progress in the implementation of the peace framework agreement and appreciate work done by MONUSCO and FIB in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On the Boko Haram terrorist group, the AU reiterated its solidarity with the Government of Nigeria and other affected countries. The United Nations Security Council was urged to endorse the deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for an initial 12 months.  The Assembly also authorised the establishment of a Trust Fund by the United Nations Secretary-General to sustain the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the international community was called upon to provide support to this Joint Task Force.

The Assembly also considered the reports by the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) and that of the Committee of Ten (C10) on the Reform of the UN Security Council. On the C10 report, the Assembly reiterated its call for Africa to continue speaking with one voice through its Common African Position on all issues relating to the UN Security Council reform and related matters; and underscored the overriding need to ensure that the interest of Africa continues to be maintained and safeguarded at all times in the on-going inter-governmental negotiations on Security Council reform.

H.E President Zuma chaired the 22nd African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Forum Summit. The January 2015 APRM meetings reported progress made on the Malabo decisions to address institutional challenges and integration. Cote d’Ivoire acceded to the MoU on the APRM to become the 35th Member State of the APRM.

Kenya was appointed as the new Vice-Chair of the APRM Forum as well as the appointment of two new Panel Members, Honourable Brigitte Mabandla (South Africa) and Chief (Mrs.) Chinyere E. Asika (Nigeria.) The incoming Panel Members respectively replace Ms. Baleka Mbete, current Speaker of the South African National Assembly, and Ambassador Professor Okon Edet Uya, who passed away in April 2014.

Honourable Mabandla is the current Chairperson of the National Orders Advisory Council of South Africa. She served as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development from 2004-2008. Chief (Mrs.) Asika is a Board Member and Trustee in various Nigerian organizations. She has formally served as Senior Special Assistant to the President on NEPAD, in the Cabinet of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Summit decided that South Africa will host the upcoming AU Mid-Year Summit and its related meetings in June/July 2015.

2. UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO

South Africa will lead and form part of the SADC Election Observer Mission to the Kingdom of Lesotho. The elections are scheduled for the 28th of February 2015. It is expected that the SADC Election Observation Mission will be launched in Maseru on 18 February 2015. Preparations for the elections are already underway and political parties have started campaigning.

His Excellency President Zuma is meeting the Leaders of the Government of Lesotho today in his capacity as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The Leaders are expected to brief the Chair of the SADC Organ on final preparations for the elections.

As Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation since August 2014, South Africa has led successful SADC Election Observer Missions to Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Zambia. The missions found that elections in these countries were peaceful, transparent, credible, and free and fair, thus reflecting the will of the people.

3. EMERGENCY RELIEF TO MALAWI AND MOZAMBIQUE

The South African Government sent a team from the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to the Republic of Malawi on 22 January 2015 in response to floods and resultant humanitarian situation in the country.

A joint command was established between the South African team from the National Disaster Management Centre and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to coordinated air transport requests from the Malawi Government and the UN relief agencies and international organisations for the relief and rescue operations in the Southern Region of Malawi that was severely hit by floods.

On the emergency situation in Mozambique, which was similarly caused by floods in January 2015, the Mozambican Government sent a request to the South African Government to assist with relief efforts.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in conjunction with the Mozambican Defence Force (FADAM) and the National Disaster Management Institute of Mozambique (INGC), took leadership of flood relief efforts. Two Oryx medium transport helicopters, SA Navy divers, medical staff from the SA Military Health Service and the South African Air Force with troops were deployed to the Zambezia Province.

The mission was also concluded successfully and the teams have returned to South Africa.

4. SOUTH AFRICA AS CHAIR OF THE G77+CHINA

We would like to conclude the briefing by bringing to your attention the fact that, in early January 2015, South Africa took over the reigns as Chair of the G77+China. The G77+China is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations, which provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.

South Africa’s tenure comes during a year in which various envisaged development processes would demand that the Group remains more steadfast in promoting the interests of developing countries. 2015 is the year in which the United Nations celebrates its 70th Anniversary and it is also the year in which the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be reached.

The MDGs, adopted in 2000, set bold targets for development and were key in forging a global cooperation framework for development. Foremost in the efforts of the UN member states and the G77+China in particular this year will be the evaluation of the progress made in reaching these goals and the negotiation of the post-2015 development agenda.

By forging alliances between countries of the South, and by leveraging the South’s collective bargaining power and negotiating capacity across many different negotiation tracks in the UN system, the G77+China has ensured that its member states collectively work together to articulate and pursue the collective and individual economic and social interests of developing countries. The G77+China has played a critical role in promoting South-South Cooperation for development as well as successfully strengthening economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.

The G77+China remains a champion for a more legitimate and accountable global system of governance. For far too long, developing countries have not been at the centre of global standard-setting and decision-making processes that impact on our development. It is critical, therefore, that the countries of the South continue to push, through the G77+China, for the reform of the global governance system, in particular, for the enhanced voice and representation in the decision-making structures of International Organisations.

Thank you

Minister of transport  Ms. Dipuo Peter

MINISTER PETERS HOSTS MEETING OF THE MINISTERIAL WORKING GROUP ON AIR TRANSPORT IN AFRICA

Minister of  Transport, Ms. Dipuo Peters, will host meeting  the African Ministerial working group on the establishment of a single air transport market in Africa in Pretoria on Wednesday, 21 January 2014.

The Ministerial Working Group is composed of members of the current Bureau of the Conference of the African Ministers of Transport (CAMT) and Ministers from a select total number of fifteen states representing each region of the African Union with various aviation backgrounds.

The meeting is convened with the main objective of engaging the Ministers and seeking their guidance on the implementation of this major continental initiative in the air transport industry. The specific objectives of the meeting are to:

·  Highlight to the Ministers the benefits of full liberalisation and unification of air transport markets in Africa;

·  Apprise the Ministers of the actions taken so far in the implementation of the Summit Decision regarding the establishment of a Single Air         Transport Market in Africa; and

·  Sensitize the Ministers on the need to promote the initiative and request Heads of State and Government to support the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market as well as express the readiness of their States to enter into an open skies agreement with other African countries, during the January 2015 AU Summit.

Minister Peters will be joined by her counterparts among them from countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Guinea, Namibia, Tunisia, Chad, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Angola.

south-sudan-map

South Sudan will resume oil output within three weeks

19 March 2013- South Sudan will be able to resume oil production within three weeks and export no more than a week after that, the oil minister said, after the country reached deals on border security with Sudan last Friday. 

Landlocked South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July 2011, closed off its 350,000 barrel-per-day output in January last year in a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to send the oil through Sudanese pipelines to the Red Sea.

 

Both countries depend heavily on oil for the foreign currency they need to import food and fuel, but disputes over the border and other issues left over from partition have prevented them resuming exports. 

Sudan’s chief negotiator, Idris Mohammed Abdel Gadir, signed a deal with his South Sudanese counterpart Pagan Amum setting out a timeline for the resumption of oil exports after four days of African Union-brokered talks in Addis Ababa.

 

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating between the two sides, told reporters they had agreed to order oil companies to restart production within two weeks of “D-Day”.

 

Speaking to reporters after returning from Addis Ababa, South Sudan’s Petroleum and Mining Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said there were few technical barriers to resuming oil output.

 

However the Secretary General of the Oil Ministry of Sudan, Dr. Awad Abdel Fattah, said the Sudanese and foreign experts estimated that oil wells in South Sudan need one or two months to resume their production, pointing out that Sudan has begun its preparations for oil since last September.

 

“We are ready to start work and the technical procedures and arrangements indicate that Sudan needs a period ranging from one month to 45 days to receive oil from South Sudan” Abdel Fattah said.

 

He went on to reveal an agreement with the Minister of Oil of South Sudan to appoint and send representatives to South Sudan to prepare for the commencement of the resumption of exports within the framework of strengthening confidence between the two parties.

 

 

The two former civil war enemies agreed at the talks in the Ethiopian capital on Friday to order the withdrawal of their troops from a demilitarized border zone within a week to ease tensions and open the way to resuming oil exports.

 

South Sudan’s president has already given that order, an army spokesman said on Monday.

 

SETTING UP A BUFFER ZONE

 

The timetable said the redeployment of forces from the border zone should be complete by April 5, and that the two countries should set up a joint committee by March 17 for demarcating the boundary.

 

However, it did not set a date for determining the final status of Abyei, a disputed territory that has been a perennial source of tension between the two sides. An administration and council for the area would be set up by March 17, it said.

 

Interior ministers from both countries also planned to meet on March 17 to discuss ways of opening up border crossings and easing the movement of citizens between the two countries, Sudan’s state news agency SUNA reported.

 

South Sudan accused Khartoum of blocking trade across the roughly 2,000-km (1,250-mile) border ahead of partition. The timeline said the two should immediately start managing a “soft border” that would facilitate movement of people, goods and services.

 

After teetering on the brink of full-scale conflict in April during the worst border clashes since their split, the two countries agreed in September to set up the buffer zone but did not implement it.

 

Some two million people died in Sudan’s decades-long north-south civil war, which ended with a 2005 peace deal that paved the way for the South’s secession.