Daily Archives: July 31, 2017

Gilbert Chagoury annonce le règlement du litige Chagoury par le gouvernement des États-Unis

WASHINGTON, 31 juillet 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Le gouvernement des États-Unis a convenu de régler l’action en instance de Gilbert Chagoury.  M. Chagoury a déposé la plainte auprès du Tribunal du District de Columbia en septembre de 2016, s’efforçant à tenir le gouvernement responsable de fuites d’informations fausses sur M. Chagoury provenant prétendument de dossiers du gouvernement. La plainte dénonçait que les fuites ont causées de grands torts à sa réputation et à ses biens, et il s’est vu refusé son droit constitutionnel à un procès équitable.

Comme cela est clairement indiqué dans la plainte, en dépit de son amour bien connu pour les États-Unis et ses dons de charité nombreux et généreux au cours des 35 dernières années où il s’est rendu aux États-Unis, Gilbert Chagoury a vu sa demande de visa rejetée par le département d’État des États-Unis en 2015.  Cette décision a été prise sur la base de fausses informations.  Cette injustice a été aggravée lorsque des fonctionnaires anonymes du gouvernement des États-Unis ont divulgué des informations aux médias à propos du rejet de la demande de visa de M. Chagoury, y compris des fausses informations qui avaient entraîné le refus du visa.  Le tort ainsi causé à sa réputation a fait qu’il était difficile pour M. Chagoury de faire des affaires aux États-Unis.

Aujourd’hui, dans le cadre du règlement avec M. Chagoury, le gouvernement des États-Unis stipule que M. Chagoury ne figure pas actuellement et n’est jamais apparu sur la liste de ressortissants spécialement désignés (SDN) et, par conséquent, le gouvernement n’a effectué aucun gel de ses biens. Par ailleurs, le gouvernement reconnaît qu’aucune institution financière des États-Unis ne doit s’abstenir de mener des activités commerciales avec M. Chagoury.

Dans le cadre du règlement avec M. Chagoury, le gouvernement des États-Unis a également reconnu que des fuites non autorisées aux médias peuvent violer les lois fédérales et pourraient faire l’objet de différents types de peine ou des mesures disciplinaires.

« Je suis heureux que le gouvernement des États-Unis ait officiellement reconnu que je ne figure pas et n’est jamais apparu sur la liste SDN et que cette affaire, qui a commencé en raison d’une personne diffusant des informations fausses et préjudiciables sur moi, est définitivement close », a déclaré Chagoury.  « Comme je l’ai souvent déclaré, j’ai aimé les États-Unis ma vie entière parce que c’était la terre de liberté et justice. J’ai commencé à venir aux États-Unis il y a plus de 35 ans et j’ai fait tout de mon possible pour aider les États-Unis au cours de ma longue carrière. J’espère que cet accord avec le gouvernement va m’aider à réparer ma réputation et me permettra d’aller de l’avant suite à cet incident fâcheux ».

Contact : Mark Corallo
703-838-9705

New Report Details How Legacy Financial Institutions Are Deepening Financial Inclusion Through Fintech Partnerships

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with the support of MetLife Foundation, today released a new report examining how partnerships between mainstream financial institutions and fintechs are expanding access to the formal financial economy to the unserved and underserved, particularly in emerging markets.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.

The report, “How Financial Institutions and Fintechs Are Partnering for Inclusion: Lessons from the Frontlines” is based on 24 in-depth interviews with firms and experts from around the world, and highlights 14 partnerships in as many countries. The report identifies four key financial inclusion challenges in emerging markets that mainstream financial institutions address through fintech partnerships:

  • gaining access to new market segments
  • creating new offerings for existing customers
  • data collection, use, and management
  • deepening customer engagement and product usage

The report features successful tech-based collaborations, such as one partnership that sends SMS nudges to bank customers in Colombia and another that uses a cryptocurrency-enabled digital ledger to record mobile wallet transactions in India. The report analyzes what factors enable these partnerships between entrepreneurial fintechs and large mainstream financial institutions to succeed in serving the needs of low-income people in emerging markets.

“When partnerships between the financial sector and fintechs are at their best, they are a potent cocktail for disruption at scale. This kind of impact requires working together—neither financial institutions nor fintechs can do it alone. To be successful, however, financial institutions must significantly reinvent their operating models or risk watching innovation pass them by,” said Sonja Kelly, Director of Research for the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.

IIF

“Most financial institutions that we interviewed are positive about partnering with fintechs. They see great value in bringing in expertise and activities that are beyond the core competencies of the institution and most see fintechs as collaborators rather than direct rivals. These institutions recognize that they must innovate their processes to reach new customer segments and to compete with new market entrants and other astute financial institutions,” said Dennis Ferenzy, Associate Economist at the Institute for International Finance. 

The new report is part of a two-year initiative from CFI and the IIF, with support from MetLife Foundation, to help advance the financial services industry’s ability to reach unserved and underserved populations. The project, titled “Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices,” facilitates learning and action on how financial institutions can respond to the specific challenges of reaching lower income market segments. Through research, knowledge exchange, best practices, real world examples, and expert insights, the project will identify and transmit practical guidance that financial institutions can use to expand quality services to the poor.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org
www.cfi-blog.org
@CFI_Accion

About the Institute of International Finance

The Institute of International Finance is the global association of the financial industry, with close to 500 members from 70 countries. Its mission is to support the financial industry in the prudent management of risks; to develop sound industry practices; and to advocate for regulatory, financial and economic policies that are in the broad interests of its members and foster global financial stability and sustainable economic growth. IIF members include commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, central banks and development banks. For more information visit www.iif.com.

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MEC Sakhumzi Somyo: 80th anniversary of the Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape

Speech delivered by the MEC for the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the Eastern Cape, Mr Sakhumzi Somyo at the 80th Anniversary of the Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape

The Executive Mayor of Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality, Clr. Zenzile Shweni,

Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs

CEO of SANParks, Mr Fundisile Mketeni,

Chairperson of the landowners association of the Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment, Mr Edgar Kingwill,

Community members

Members of the media

Good Morning

This is indeed an auspicious occasion � a day on which we celebrate the 80th anniversary of this wonderful protected area. It is here that scientists and rangers work day and night to restore the South African population of the Cape Mountain Zebra (known in scientific circles as Equus zebra zebra). In essence this is one of our great conservation successes that we announced at the 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES that we hosted in Johannesburg last year.

We should celebrate more of these successes loudly, because they speak to South Africa’s longstanding reputation for species conservation. So once again to all those who have played an instrumental role in this regard, well done.

I must highlight that this region and in particular the town of Cradock has an illustrious, yet sad political history. It was here in this town of Cradock that leaders of our struggle for freedom and a just society, Matthew Goniwe and his friends and fellow activists, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli, were murdered by the security police in this Eastern Cape Town in June 1985. So when we come here we are both sad and happy because through their sacrifices we are now able to gather in this fashion in a democratic, none racial South Africa to celebrate this wonderful heritage that we have in this Mountain Zebra National Park. We are now a nation in peace united in our diversity.

As you would know our country adopted the National Development Plan in 2012. It is a Vision that provides a framework for government, business, labor and ordinary citizens to grow our economy, and to resolve the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality and with the ultimate aim of creating additional 11 million jobs by 2030. This region of the Karoo, holds within it great potential to create thousands of jobs for our people that could contribute towards the 11 million jobs that we envisage by 2030. Despite grappling with pressures of poverty the people of this area are highly supportive of our conservation efforts and they understand the value of conservation to their own personal lives and to humanity.

For instance through the opening of the new accommodation units � the Rock Chalets — earlier today, this park has increased its permanent employment by 20%, not to mention the increase in casual work opportunities and extra stimulation of the local economy that will follow.

The construction of these income-generating facilities was made possible by the government’s infrastructure development programme. This is one small example of how the Green Economy benefits our local economies that need it most. I had the privilege of being the first guest to sleep in one of these Chalets and I can tell you now they are top quality accommodation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Conservation has played an important role in the development of Karoo towns such as Cradock. In 1937, 1712 hectares of land was proclaimed as the Mountain Zebra National Park. Thanks to the conservation efforts of farmers in the area, a small herd of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra survived in the area and these provided a founder population for the Park that we are celebrating today.

The Park at first expanded slowly over the years, but then received a boost with a joint public-private conservation initiative. Nine surrounding farms were purchased through this process, enabling the Park to expand from 6 536 hectares to 28 386 hectares in size. Following this, black rhino, buffalo cheetah and, most recently, lion could be introduced to the Park.

One of the most important successes for SANParks and the Mountain Zebra National Park came in 2016 when South Africa hosted the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Johannesburg.

It was a particularly proud moment when the Parties to CITES adopted South Africa’s proposal to transfer the Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) from Appendix I to Appendix II. Through our intervention we highlighted that the Cape Mountain Zebra subspecies is endemic to South Africa and no longer met the biological criteria for an Appendix I listing.

The proposal was based on the remarkable recovery from just less than 100 individual animals in the 1990s to a number well over 5 000 in 2016, signifying South Africa’s success in the conservation of the subspecies.

The Cape Mountain Zebra is well protected in state-owned protected areas. The largest population in the country is right here in Mountain Zebra National Park and this population has done remarkably well, increasing from only 11 zebra to 1159 today. This population has been used to start and augment many new Cape mountain zebra populations in national parks, provincial reserves and privately-owned game reserves and farms across the Eastern and Western Cape.

In August 2015, the national population of Cape Mountain Zebra comprised a minimum of around 4 800 individuals in no less than 75 subpopulations that are well distributed over the historical range of the subspecies. As a result, the Cape Mountain Zebra is no longer threatened with extinction, having recently been assessed as Least Concern in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Therefore the transfer of Cape Mountain Zebra National Park to Appendix II supports the management and conservation of this subspecies, and also opens up additional economic opportunities that can support the expansion of available habitat and better management of subpopulations on private land. Private ranchers play an important role in conserving almost a third of the national population and we must strengthen their involvement in the meta-population management of the Cape Mountain Zebra. In this regard an analyses and modelling is being done to determine conditions for adaptive management of Cape Mountain Zebra and the setting of offtake quotas.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Mountain Zebra National Park and Camdeboo National Park, outside the nearby town of Graaff-Reinet, are inextricably linked through the unique Karoo biome and important Karoo grasslands. Consolidating and expanding the protected area by means of voluntary contractual agreements with private landowners was therefore a natural next step in the protection of this region’s natural heritage.

Our country works with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support them in their endeavors to assist with the consolidation and expansion of the protected areas. I note the contribution of the UNDP South African office and the Global Environment Facility in supporting the implementation of the newly declared Protected Environments management plan. The results achieved to date at the Mountain Zebra Camdeboo Protected environment show a marked improvement in management effectiveness measured from June 2016 to June 2017. We continue to work with other spheres of government to improve management effectiveness and expansion of the protected areas network in South Africa.

The Mountain Zebra – Camdeboo Protected Environment, declared in 2016, was first initiated in a Corridor Project, a joint partnership between SANParks and the Wilderness Foundation with funding from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund.

The Protected Environment links Camdeboo National Park with Mountain Zebra National Park through vital ecological corridors, protecting a huge diversity of plant and animal species. This will assist in the conservation of the Cape mountain zebra as well as many other vulnerable species.

The Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment covers about 270 000 hectares between the two Parks, and greatly enhances the integrity and conservation outcomes of the region.

This area is managed by a Landowners Association. To date, 67 landowners, have signed up to the Protected Environment. Phase Two of this development will see more willing landowners sign up to protect valuable resources. The recently approved first management plan for the Protected Environment was handed over to the Landowners Association today. It is up to you, Landowners, the signatories to the Protected Environment, to conserve the unique and valuable biodiversity on your land for current and future generations.

The Protected Environment has the potential to stimulate the development of both nature-based and sustainable agriculture tourism in the area.

Just over a week ago, we reported on the successes of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros in South Africa, highlighting that although 529 rhino have been poached in South African between January and the end of June this year, this marks a drop in poaching in general. There has been a 34% decrease in the Kruger National Park in particular.

However, the decline in the Kruger Park and Mpumalanga is not being experienced in the rest of the country. Until the end of June KwaZulu-Natal had experienced an increase in poaching with 133 of these majestic animals being killed for their horns. While no rhino have been poached here in the Mountain Zebra National Park, the Eastern Cape recorded a loss of 3 rhino in the first six months of 2017.

So as we mark World Ranger Day today, I can think of no better place to celebrate the work of the men and women who protect our natural environment than right here in the Mountain Zebra National Park.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is because of the dedication of rangers working alongside our police and soldiers that we are able to announce such successes.

Rangers working for SANParks and in our provincial reserves ensure the execution of plans. They are to be saluted for their efforts, not only in combating poaching, but also in their daily work to conserve our rich biodiversity � landscapes such as the one we are celebrating today.

These are the men and women on the frontline � the people who keep our precious natural resources safe. They put their lives on the line every day to keep our flora and fauna safe and on behalf of all South Africans I want to thank each and every one of them for their dedication and passion for conservation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by wishing a Happy 80th Birthday to the Mountain Zebra National Park. May your successes be an example to all other conservation areas in our beautiful country.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

Used Book Sales Boom in S. Africa as Economic Recession Bites

South Africa entered an economic recession in June, and the country’s unemployment rate is fast approaching 30 percent, according to the government statistics agency. But for the sellers of secondhand books, business has never been better.

Eric Nofal, who has been selling used books for almost 30 years, shows a customer around his store in Johannesburg.

He says he recently faced intense competition before launching his fifth bookshop in the city.

My ex-wife also wanted to open up a shop in this area, but I beat her to the punch, so she is a bit [angry] with me, actually!, he admitted.

Nofal adds “I am making money and it is going into my third month and that is pretty good for a new business to make money so quickly. Books have come back.”

It is a big contrast to five years ago when Nofal’s sales dropped dramatically. Book lovers were embracing electronic reading devices like Kindles. He had to close six stores.

But now, Nofal says, the kindle craze may be over and many South Africans want to turn real pages.

Yet many of his clients give another reason for no longer buying new books.

They have gone up a hell of a lot. Obviously it depends on your import or your [South African] rand level, he said.

The rand has dropped steadily against the dollar since the end of 2011, when one dollar was valued at about eight rand. Presently, a dollar is valued at 13 rand.

A new book should cost you about the price of a meal. In the UK [Britain] that is about right, a meal costs about seven pounds and a [new] book costs about seven pounds. Here on the other hand a reasonable meal for one person will cost you about 70 rand, 80 rand and a [new] book costs 350 [rand]. People just can not afford [new] books, he said.

Dealers across Johannesburg put the number of second hand book stores at about 50, up from about 25 just a few years ago.

But used books are not always cheaper.

Unpacking hand-me-down books inside his shop, Doron Locketz says that despite the poor economy, some South Africans spend big money on rare second hand titles.

We sold a first edition of Long Walk to Freedom, and the big thing about it was that it was signed, pre the release date, by Mandela. It went to one of our collectors, he said.

Locketz sold the autographed copy of Nelson Mandela’s bestseller for almost 80,000 rand … more than $6,000 US.

But he says the collectible book market is very small, and he mostly sells used books to a general audience.

I am delighted to increasingly see more black customers, younger ones, who really have, many of them, a passion for books, he said.

Economists are predicting a bleak outlook for South Africa for the next few years. So second hand book dealers like Locketz expect sales to rise even further in the near future.

Source: Voice of America

SA, DRC sign diplomatic visa waiver pact

South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed a visa waiver agreement for official and diplomatic passport holders.

The agreement was signed on Monday by Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Security of the DRC, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari in Tshwane.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mkhize said the signing of the agreement is a positive step towards enhancing relations between South Africa and the DRC.

The Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo maintain good diplomatic and political relations. The highest expression of our relations is the annual Bi-National Commission (BNC), co-chaired by the Heads of State, Minister Mkhize said.

Minister Mkhize said diplomatic ties between the two countries are growing and this is evident in the recent training programme of diplomats from the DRC. To date, more than 700 DRC diplomats have been trained.

Minister Mkhize said she trusts that the visa waiver will further enhance cooperation between South Africa and the DRC by making it even easier for officials to regularly interact with each other without hindrance.

Minister Shadari said the agreement will offer the two countries a lot of advantages. The agreement will facilitate easy movement of officials from the two countries.

The two countries agreed at the 10th Session of the BNC, which took place in Tshwane in June 2017, that the visa waiver pact must be concluded in July.

South Africa also has a planned trade mission to the DRC, which will be taking place soon.

We are quite excited about the upcoming trade mission. The Department of Trade and Industry has invited companies in the agro-processing sector to apply for participation in the seventh Investment and Trade Initiative to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minister Mkhize said.

Source: South African Government News Agency