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5 African Presidents, others meet to discuss Africa’s post-COVID economy at AEC – Organisers

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Presidents from five African countries are set to converge on Sal Island, Cape Verde, for the African Economic Conference, 2021, organisers said on Wednesday.

The presidents to be attending the high-level economic meeting include:  President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; President José Maria Neves of the Republic of Cape Verde and President Felix-Antoine Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Others are President Paul Kagamé of the Republic of Rwanda and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal.

The 2021 event which has as its theme: “Financing Africa’s post-COVID-19 development”, will also feature more than 100 other speakers from African governments, private sector, and leading academics.

Scheduled to hold from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, the annual event is organised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The focus of the meeting for 2021 would be to develop new ways to finance Africa’s post-Covid-19 recovery and accelerate its development.

The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA said for three days, decisionmakers will also reimagine development financing, discuss the reform of Africa’s financial systems to meet development challenges and assess whether Africa is on the verge of a new debt crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has increased Africa’s development financing challenges by constraining public finances, which has led to increasing debt and dwindling foreign direct investment.

“Across the continent, the pandemic has left more than 30 million people in extreme poverty and living on less than 1.90 dollars a day.

“Still, access to international capital markets, a growing debt financing source for many African countries, has declined as investors’ perception of the risks increases.

“Capital flight from Africa, estimated at over 90 billion dollars since January 2020, and investor risk aversion have caused volatile market movements.

Similarly, organisers said, tightening global financing conditions make it more expensive for governments to secure the financing they need to recover from the pandemic and refinance maturing debt.

It is therefore on the heels of the above listed premises that organisers are gathering policy makers and industry experts to converge on Cape Verde to chart a possible way forward out of the economic quagmire.

The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA argue that it had become pertinent to have such as discuss as populations across Africa are on the brink of extreme poverty, with African countries announcing stimulus packages to stem the tide.

Conference organisers added that while the packages are lifesaving, there was also an urgent need for significant additional gross financing in 2022.

The organisers added that for the conference, papers had been submitted by prominent researchers who have proffered innovative ideas on mobilizing domestic resources in the age of the digital revolution; enhancing Africa’s position in the international financial system; and reviewing the role of public development banks.

“These papers are also expected to guide the discussion of sustainable finance solutions, regional integration and the role of the global financial safety net; policy options for managing capital flow volatility; financial regulatory reforms and the role of climate risks,” they said. (NAN)

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International

UN Secretary-General visits Buhari At State House

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The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday paid visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

He was received by top government officials.

Buhari’s conversation with Guterres centred on the need to ensure peaceful and democratic elections as well as the robust participation of women and young people in all areas.

President Buhari also thanked the UN boss for the visit, stressing that it came at a time when the world is focussing on the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Buhari also believes that the visit underscores the assurance that the world is with Nigeria.

On his part, the UN scribe called for developed nations to ramp up vaccine support to countries in the global north, halt the asymmetrical distribution and reform the global financial system.

Earlier in the day, he visited the UN House in Abuja alongside some top officials and diplomats of the agency.

Guterres is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria – the first of such.

The UN chief had arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and also visited Borno State where he proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists. This, he said, is key to the restoration of peace in the North East region.

“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he told a gathering at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.

The UN scribe is also expected to perform the wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the August 26, 2011, suicide bomb attack victims.

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Ukraine : UN Agencies Condemn Attacks On Health Care Facilities

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UN agencies on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to attacks on healthcare professionals and facilities in Ukraine, describing such incidents as acts of “unconscionable cruelty”.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 31 attacks on health care have been documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA), the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.

“To attack the most vulnerable -– babies, children, pregnant women and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives –- is an act of unconscionable cruelty,” they said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
In 24 of the reported attacks, health care facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases ambulances were hit. A total of 12 people were killed and 34 injured, according to the UN agencies’ statement.

“Humanitarian partners and health care workers must be able to safely maintain and strengthen essential health service delivery, including immunisation against Covid-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines for civilians across Ukraine as well as to refugees crossing into neighbouring countries,” said the statement, signed by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, UNFPA counterpart Natalia Kanem and WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

At least three people were killed, including a young girl, in an attack Wednesday on a children’s hospital in Mariupol in southern Ukraine.

According to the United Nations’ reproductive health agency two other Ukrainian maternity hospitals had already been attacked and destroyed before that strike.

“Attacks on health care and health workers directly impact people’s ability to access essential health services -– especially women, children and other vulnerable groups,” the UN agency chiefs said in their statement on Sunday.

“We have already seen that the health care needs of pregnant women, new mothers, younger children and older people inside Ukraine are rising, while access to services is being severely limited by the violence,” the statement added.

Oxygen and medical supplies, including for the management of pregnancy complications, are running dangerously low, they warned.

“The health care system in Ukraine is clearly under significant strain, and its collapse would be a catastrophe. Every effort must be made to prevent this from happening,” the UN agencies warned.

“We call for an immediate ceasefire, which includes unhindered access so that people in need can access humanitarian assistance. A peaceful resolution to end the war in Ukraine is possible.”

AFP

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Yoon Suk-yeol wins South Korea’s presidential election

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Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative former top prosecutor, has been elected South Korea’s new president, defeating his chief liberal rival in one of the country’s most closely fought presidential elections.

With more than 98 percent of the ballots counted, Yoon had 48.6 percent of the votes against his rival Lee Jae-myung’s 47.8 percent.

Yoon said on Thursday that he would honour the constitution and the parliament and work with opposition parties when he takes office as the country’s next leader, calling the election result a “victory of the great people”.

“Our competition is over for now,” he said in an acceptance speech, thanking and consoling Lee and other rivals.

“We have to join hands and unite into one for the people and the country.”

At a separate ceremony with supporters, Yoon said he would put top priority on “national unity,” adding all people should be treated equally regardless of their regional, political and socioeconomic differences.

“I would pay attention to people’s livelihoods, provide warm welfare services to the needy, and make utmost efforts so that our country serves as a proud, responsible member of the international community and the free world,” he said.

Yoon is to take office in May and serve a single five-year term as leader of the world’s 10th-largest economy.

 

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