Daily Archives: July 6, 2017


ROME, More than one million people in Angola have been affected by drought in the past five years because of the “El NiAo” weather phenomenon, especially in the provinces of Huila, Cunene and Namibe, says Agriculture Minister Marcos Alexandre Nhunga.

Addressing the 40th session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) here Wednesday, he added that this had forced the government, along with national and international partners, to launch an extensive operation of support for the affected population with a view to dealing with negative effects caused by the drought.

As for the improvement of income and poverty reduction, the minister said several programmes and projects had been launched, including extension services and rural development, increase of supply of fertilizer and seeds, as well as the analysis and correction of acidity of land for subsistence farmers.

In order the raise income levels and productivity in the agriculture sector, Nhunga said the Government was implementing a World Bank-funded Family Agriculture and Marketing Development Project (MOSAP II) to support family farmers in the provinces of Malanje, Huambo and Bie, as well as aquaculture development programmes.

Angola is preparing, with FAO technical assistance, to implement its first general agricultural and livestock census with the aim of establishing a permanent system of agricultural statistics.

The government had also approved a new National Development Plan for the agrarian sector covering the 2018-2022 period, with the support of the FAO.

Also in the Angolan delegation to the July 3-8 meeting are Minister of Fisheries Victoria de Barros Neto and the permanent representative of Angola to United Nations agencies in Rome, Ambassador FlorA�ncio de Almeida.


Amnesty International: Libya No Place to Trust With Migrants

PARIS � Europe has made a dangerous turn on the Mediterranean Sea as it looks to Libya for help in slowing the number of migrants attempting to reach the continent in flimsy boats, Amnesty International said in a report released Thursday. The organization called the European Union’s strategy of training the Libyan coast guard to rescue migrants reckless.

By turning to Libya, a country in chaos that is the jumping-off point for the hazardous journey, the EU has created A Perfect Storm � the title of Amnesty’s report � that could hammer often-desperate migrants with a double vengeance. They face the risk of dying at sea or grave human rights abuses once they are returned to Libya and trapped there, the human rights group said.

More than 2,000 migrants to Europe have died at sea so far this year while more than 73,380 have reached Italy, the report said, citing figures from Italy’s Interior Ministry. By year’s end, the number of arrivals is expected to match or exceed the 181,400 who made it in 2016, which was more than in the two previous years, the report said.

EU looks to Libya

The European Union has been casting about for ways to deal with the crisis, notably looking to Libya, which has two rival governments, for help preventing departures. The EU is focusing in particular on equipping and training the Libyan coast guard and Navy to conduct sea rescues and to lead the fight against smuggling and trafficking networks.

Amnesty said it was deeply problematic to unconditionally fund and train Libya, where human rights are lacking and the coast guard has been known for violence and even smuggling.

The group cited an August incident off Libya’s coast in which attackers shot at a Doctors Without Borders rescue boat. A U.N panel of experts on Libya later confirmed that two officers from a coast guard faction were involved.

In May, the Libyan coast guard intervened in a search-and-rescue operation another non-governmental organization was performing. The coast guard officers threatened migrants with weapons, took command of their wooden boat and took it back to Libya, Amnesty reported.

The current situation with the Libyan coast guard is absolutely outrageous, Iverna McGowan, who leads Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said in an interview in Brussels. It is unconscionable that the EU … would allow certain rescue operations that we know are inadequate and trust that with people’s lives.

The worst may go unseen, McGowan said. People who are disembarked in Libya are going back to unlawful detention centers where they are facing torture, rape and other unthinkable abuses, she said.

Keep NGOs involved

The report argues that NGOs need to continue participating in migrant rescues even though Amnesty says responsibility for the task rests with governments. It makes no mention of the recent threat by an overwhelmed Italy to prohibit some NGOs from bringing migrants to ports in southern Italy.

Amnesty said a multicountry humanitarian operation under control of Italy is urgently needed and that use of Libyan resources should be conditional on certain limitations, including no rescue operations outside territorial waters and the transfer of all rescued migrants to EU or other appropriate vessels.

Amnesty is not alone in its concern about relying on Libya to ease the European migrant crisis.

The search-and-rescue director for Save the Children, Rob MacGillivray, said in a statement that rescued migrants have recounted horrors from Libya, including claims of sexual assaults, sales to others for work and whippings and electrical shocks in detention centers.

Simply pushing desperate people back to Libya, which many describe as hell, is not a solution, he said.

Precarious conditions

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitri Avramopoulos conceded at a recent news conference in Paris that the EU is drawing on a country in very precarious conditions.

The European Union executive Wednesday beseeched member states to step up their efforts and show goodwill in helping Italy and Greece cope with the surge in migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said, to the applause of legislators at the European Parliament, that it would already make a world of difference in Europe if every single member state would live up to their commitments to show solidarity.

The EU made commitments to ease the migrant pressure on Italy and Greece by having other member states take in some of the refugees who have made the dangerous Mediterranean crossing, but several countries in eastern and central Europe have shown little or no appetite for doing so.

Source: Voice of America

SA to participate in Africa trade meeting

Pretoria – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will today leave for Uganda where he will attend the Tripartite Committee of Sectoral Ministers meeting.

The meeting, which will be held in Kampala on Friday, will give the Ministers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) an opportunity to get an update on the progress achieved in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations.

The TFTA consists of 26 member states of the African Union.

The TFTA marks an important step in promoting regional integration in Africa and is a building block for the Continental Free Trade Area. The meeting is expected to consider the remaining annexes, thus marking the conclusion of the legal framework for trade in goods, said the Department of Trade and Industry.

This will facilitate the signature of the agreement by all member states.

Negotiations on tariffs, rules of origin and Phase II will continue as part of the built-in agenda.

Minister Davies has said that considerable progress has been achieved in tariff negotiations between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EAC and Egypt. According to Minister Davies, it is expected that SACU and the EAC will conclude the tariff negotiations in the near future.

Launch of Microfinish Automotive

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe will on Friday launch the multi-million black industrialist firm, Microfinish Automotive in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal.

Microfinish, which is an automotive valve guide and valve seat manufacturer, was approved for grant funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Black Industrialist Scheme (BIS) for R13.5 million.

The BIS is a grant programme of the Black Industrialists Policy that aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.

The company is a niche manufacturer and supplier to original equipment manufacturers and aftermarkets suppliers.

Deputy Minister Magwanishe said Microfinish contributes to South Africa’s capability and competitiveness in exporting quality products to first world countries like Germany.

Microfinish has utilised the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme to exhibit and market the company at numerous international and South African trade fairs, resulting in the addition of new customers in Europe and the Middle East.

The scheme develops export markets for South African products and services and recruits new foreign direct investment into South Africa.

Currently, a total number of 46 Black Industrialist projects have been approved for joint support by the dti, the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and commercial banks through the Black Industrialists Financing forum.

A total of 16 of these approved are from KwaZulu-Natal. These projects will be injecting R3.7 billion investments into the economy and generating more than 8 000 direct jobs and 12 000 indirect jobs, said Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Western Cape Education on learners attending Winter Schools

Over 10 000 learners attending WCED Winter Schools during the holiday period

Every school holiday period, one of my biggest concerns is for those learners whose parents work full time and who are left unsupervised at home.

The WCED Safe Schools Directorate has therefore organised various holiday programmes for learners in all eight education districts which were launched on Monday 3rd July 2017. Programmes ensure that learners are provided with a safe environment where they can learn and play through a series of well-developed games and team building exercises. Learners are also taught about values such as discipline, respect and team work and also acquire invaluable life skills.

These programmes are designed to be both fun and a learning experience.

For example, at Bloekombos Secondary School today, there are 120 Grade 4 � 7 learners from Bloekombos Primary School, Wallacedene Primary School and Ekuthuleni Primary School who are attending a comprehensive programme aimed at tackling important topics such as substance abuse, gangsterism, bullying and conflict resolution.

The Safe Schools Programme at Bloekombos Secondary School is just one of many holiday programmes on offer this winter.

Various partners are helping us with the various holiday programmes. They include government departments and NGOs, the City of Cape Town, Metro Police and the South African Police Service. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all our partners who are working together to better the lives of learners and expand the opportunities available to them.

I would also like to appeal to all parents and caregivers, especially those who have full-time jobs, to ensure that their children are supervised during the remainder of the school holidays. This is an opportune time to promote continued reading and I urge you to encourage your children to visit their local library. Our parents are key in providing support for our learners and promoting healthy activities as opposed to anti-social behaviour.

Grade 12 Winter Schools

With the 2017 NSC examinations around the corner, the next five months are crucial for our Grade 12 NSC Candidates as they prepare for the most important exams of their school career.

It is therefore vitally important that as a department, we do all that we can to assist our candidates with their preparation for the upcoming NSC examinations. In order to assist our learners, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has initiated a number of targeted and sustained interventions at schools across the province, including a Winter School and Winter Camps for Grade 12 learners.

Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is a priority for this Government, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects.

The Grade 12 Winter Schools Programme aims to assist learners in high enrolment subjects. These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics. Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED. The Winter School programme also includes Winter Camps. For example, there is a winter camp in Ceres that is hosting over 200 Grade 12 learners for the week.

The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.

I am informed that more than 10 000 NSC candidates are attending Winter Schools across the province. I am extremely encouraged to see the commitment of so many learners to improve their results with a phenomenal number of learners attending Winter Schools across the Western Cape.

Unfortunately I was unable to visit Bloekombos Secondary School today due to unforeseen circumstances. However, I feel that it is appropriate to make special mention of the school given their significant improvement in their NSC results.

This week, almost 250 learners from Bloekombos Secondary School are attending an intensive revision programme as part of the Winter School Programme.

The school has been working hard to improve their pass rate and I am impressed with the sustained increase in their results. In 2014, the school achieved a pass rate of 62.8%, in 2015 this increased to 69.8% and in 2016, this increased significantly by 15.4% to 85.2%. This is a remarkable achievement and one of which the Principal and teachers are very proud. I will certainly keep an eye out for your results this year and hope that the school will continue on the trajectory that they are.

There is no such thing as luck when it comes to the NSC Examinations.

Roman philosopher Seneca, reminds us that we make our own luck when he said that ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. So, my wishes for our Grade 12’s is that they put in the necessary preparation and make use of all available opportunities such as the Winter Schools, to ensure that they do the very best that they can do.

Nothing is ever achieved without hard work, and I have every confidence that you will make yourselves and the Western Cape proud.

Source: Government of South Africa

Malawi National Day

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, congratulations to the Malawian people on the 53rd anniversary of your country’s independence.

The United States is pleased to partner with you to advance health, education, agricultural development, and the empowerment of women and girls. We look forward to the completion of your international commitments to increase economic growth and prosperity.

Best wishes to all Malawians for peace and prosperity in the coming year.

Source: U.S Department of State