Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Abducted Polish sailors freed

All of the crew abducted by pirates from a container ship off the coast of Nigeria in October, including eight Polish nationals, are safe and will be reunited with their families, Poland Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

We would like to thank the shipowner, its co-workers and advisers for their professional handling of this difficult matter. We are grateful also to the Nigerian authorities,” the statement said.

The culprits targeted the MV Pomerenia Sky, a container ship owned by Midocean (IOM) Ltd and headed for the Nigerian port of Onne, in October.

Abductions are common in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. The Polish Foreign Ministry said it was the fifth abduction of Polish citizens there since 2013.

Africa-Europe Forum in Vienna

Vienna, Austria. At Africa-Europe Forum, hosted jointly by the Austrian Presidency of the EU, notably by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union for 2018, President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated Europe’s ambition for a true and fair partnership among equals between Africa and Europe. President Juncker presented the first results of the Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, just three months after its launch. The Alliance aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth.

“Europe and Africa share a long history and a bright future. This is why I proposed a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, to help attract both European and African investment and create 10 million jobs in Africa over the next five years. Translating words into action, we have already taken a series of measures to bring our ambitions to life”  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The president is accompanied to the high-level Forum by vice-president Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and Commissioner for Digital Economy Mariya Gabriel.

The Africa-Europe Alliance, announced by president Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address, focuses on four key areas. Three months on, work is already well underway in each.

The EU External Investment Plan aims to raise significant sustainable investments in Africa and European neighbourhood countries by 2020. From the €44 billion announced, programmes already in the pipeline will mobilise €37.1 billion of investments.

New projects were announced today:

  • An EU guarantee (NASIRA Risk-Sharing Facility), the first of its kind under the EU External Investment Plan, will use worth €75 million of EU funds to leverage up to €750 million of investments for entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the EU’s southern neighbourhood. Alone this is expected to create 800,000 jobs and benefit those who usually struggle to access affordable loans, such as small and medium sized enterprises, internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, women and young people.
  • A new Agri-Business Capital fund worth €45 million will support smallholder agriculture by increasing access to finance for individual smallholder farmers. It is expected to attract more than €200 million in investments and benefit as many as 700,000 households in rural areas.
  • To support the EU’s southern neighbourhood, a programme worth €61.1 million will supportsolar power plants in Morocco and €46.8 million will be invested in depolluting the Kitchener Drain in the Nile Delta region in Egypt.

Ethiopia receives €89 million EU aid

EU announces new humanitarian package for those most in need in Ethiopia.

On an official visit to Ethiopia, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced today €89 million in humanitarian support for 2018-2019 whilst visiting EU aid projects in the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia where many people have fled their homes due to internal conflict.

“Ethiopia is an important partner for the European Union. As the country undergoes profound positive political change, the EU will step up support for the most vulnerable Ethiopians. I have seen myself how crucial our EU humanitarian support is in the daily lives of displaced people. It helps them feed their children, provide them with medicines and send them to school. This is EU aid that save lives,”Commissioner Christos Stylianides said  speaking from the Quologi camp for internally displaced people near Jijiga, capital of the Somali region.

The EU funding will be used to address the needs of people displaced within Ethiopia, refugees from neighboring countries as well as tackling natural disasters such as drought. Currently there are close to three million people displaced within the country and around one million refugees from neighboring countries.

The Commissioner is holding various meetings with the Ethiopian authorities. He met Ethiopian President Ms Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa, where the Commissioner reiterated the EU’s strong partnership with Ethiopia and commitment to support the country’s reform process. In Jijiga he met with President of the Somali region, Mr Mustafa Mohammed Omar and with partners delivering aid on the ground to discuss the humanitarian situation.

The Commissioner is also due to meet representatives from the Government of Ethiopia, as well as the African Union.

Chairing rotating presidency of the European Union Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Quoloji camp earlier in December to provide additional two million euro for assisting children.

Mozambique ivory seized in Cambodia

Cambodian customs have seized more than three tons of elephant tusks from Mozambique following a notice from the US Embassy. The demand for ivory from China and Vietnam is a driving factor in Cambodia’s illegal wildlife trade.

The elephant tusks were hidden among marble in a container that was abandoned,” Sun Chhay, director of the Customs and Excise Office at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, told the AFP news agency.

The official said the ivory was sent from the southern African nation of Mozambique and it arrived in Cambodia last year. He also said the owner of the shipment did not show up to collect the cargo.

Officials said the tusks were discovered after a tip-off from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.

It was unclear whether the smuggled ivory was destined for markets other than Cambodia.

 

 

 

EU on Mozambique acceding Arms Trade Treaty

“On 14 December 2018, Mozambique became the 100th State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), after depositing its instrument of ratification to the Secretary General of the United Nations.  Over half a million people are killed with conventional arms every year and strengthening the regulation of international trade in these weapons, which the ATT is designed to do, can save lives around the world.  By acceding to the Treaty, countries contribute to the advancement of the ATTs’ objective to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and ammunition, and prevent their diversion” the European External Action Service (EEAS) says in a statement.

“100 States Parties is an important achievement for the Treaty, which entered into force on 24 December 2014, but additional support is needed to allow the ATT to reach its full potential and to make it even more effective. Universal adherence would positively contribute to global peace, security and stability, and create conditions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“All 28 European Union Member States have joined the ATT and are pursuing its objectives, its universal ratification and full, effective implementation. All Signatory States should advance their ratification processes and all States, especially the major arms exporters, importers and transit States, to join the ATT without delay”

Sudan leader visits Damascus

President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on December 16, the first visit by an Arab leader since the start of the Syrian conflict, according to the reports.

President Bashar al Assad welcomed Omar al-Bashir at the airport, official photos showed. Many Arab countries have ignored Assad since the conflict that began early in 2011.

Kenya Olympics replaced ritual lion hunting

Kenyan warriors of young generation are no longer pursuing lions to show off their hunting prowess and bravery, they are competing for monetary prizes in javelin throwing at the Maasai Olympics instead.

We have changed the outdated lion hunting culture, as there was a time before the Maasai Olympics when we were killing animals, but now we are protecting them as we coexist in harmony,” 22-year-old Moran Joseph Tipape Lekatoo said.

Lekatoo was competing for his Mbirikani Manyatta group in the fourth edition of the Maasai Olympics, where youthful morans, or warriors, from four Manyattas (settlements) — Rombo, Mbirikani, Kuku and Elselengei — gather to compete.

If you compare me to the past warriors, they used to go and kill lions and that does not help you in anyway,” said Moses Ntimama, another warrior and participant in the Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.

Government-run Kenya Wildlife Services informs there are about 2,000 lions in the East African country, and the biggest threat to them and other carnivores is conflict with humans.

 

 

« Older Entries