11 Jan

WFP Launches Innovative Cash Assistance Programme in Darfur, Supported by UKAID

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed senior UK officials to a new cash assistance programme in Nyala’s Otash Camp in South Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan, January 11, 2017

The programme, funded by UK aid from the government of the United Kingdom, is currently providing unrestricted cash assistance to 75,000 displaced people, offering them choice and freedom to prioritize their needs.

The UK officials saw firsthand how vulnerable people in Otash Camp receive cash assistance from selected retailers using prepaid cards swiped against a Point of Service (POS) device.

Head of the British Diplomatic Service Simon McDonald, and Department for International Development (DFID) Permanent Secretary Mark Lowcock, formally launched the programme today. Their visit is part of a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders about how the UK can support development in Sudan and achieve shared objectives.

McDonald said: UK aid is supporting Sudan’s most vulnerable and excluded people to meet their basic needs, build their resilience to crisis, and lay the foundations for a more democratic, inclusive and peaceful future.

In 2017, WFP plans to assist 4.2 million vulnerable people in Sudan through a range of activities, including emergency food and cash-based transfers

With a contribution of £3.1 million (approximately US$4.5 million) from DFID, the cash assistance programme in Otash Camp is part of WFP’s continuing efforts to provide new and flexible solutions to ending hunger and promoting self-reliance among vulnerable communities in Sudan.

Lowcock said: DFID is proud to launch this innovative cash programme which will provide 75,000 people in Otash Camp with cash assistance, allowing them greater choice over what they buy and stimulating the local economy.

The current monthly cash entitlement is SDG 55 (US$8.53) which is adjusted for changes in the real market prices of cereals and beans, the food items that make up WFP’s food allocation for displaced people in Darfur. “Cash assistance enables me to buy the food my family needs from any market and at affordable prices,” said Umsineen Abdulaziz Abdalla, a displaced mother of seven children living in Otash Camp.

The UK has been a major donor to WFP in Sudan for many years. Since 2013, DFID has contributed more than £52 million to the cash and vouchers programme which currently supports more than half a million vulnerable and food-insecure displaced people and injects some £31.5 million into the local economy. DFID is also supporting a study that will determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the cash assistance programme in improving the food security and nutrition of the people it is designed to assist.

We are grateful to the British people, through DFID, for supporting our pioneering work in promoting self-reliance among the communities that we assist, said WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director Matthew Hollingworth. The cash and voucher assistance programme helps us respond not only to the food needs of vulnerable people, it also supports local traders and farmers; it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Sudan is one of WFP’s most complex operations, with recurring conflict, new and protracted displacement, insecurity, and crisis levels of malnutrition and food insecurity.

In 2017, WFP plans to assist 4.2 million vulnerable people in Sudan through a range of activities, including emergency food and cash-based transfers, nutritional support and resilience-building activities to help communities become independent. Through the Department for International Development, the UK is committed to continued support for humanitarian needs, early recovery and development in Darfur and throughout Sudan.

10 Jan

EU Gives EUR 35M for Agriculture and Accountability in Liberia

European Union Flag
MONROVIA, Liberia, January 9, 2017 — The European Union (EU) has announced that it will provide EUR 35 million in support of agricultural development and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) in Liberia.

Speaking in Monrovia today, European Union Ambassador to Liberia, Tiina Intelmann said: “The European Union props both the private and the public sector in Liberia. The EU supports the Government’s efforts to boost the economy through agricultural development, because agriculture is the road to progress and development.” She added: “Supporting the national audit watchdog ultimately means assuring that public money is properly and wisely spent so as to provide the citizens of Liberia with best value for their taxes and other country’s public resources“.

Ambassador Intelmann stated that the EU will assist cocoa, fisheries, food and nutrition security as well as capacity at the Ministry of Agriculture in ongoing efforts to implement the Country’s own Agriculture Transformation Agenda.

The EU support will build capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture with EUR 12 million so that it delivers policies and services to the best use of Liberian citizens

She said that the EU will help develop the markets for cocoa and fisheries with EUR 8.5 million and EUR 7 million respectively so that Liberian farmers and fishers will increase their incomes from selling their produce. The Envoy added that the EU will assist Liberia to improve rules and policies for fisheries to fight against illegal fishing in the spirit of the political cooperation between Liberia and the EU through the recently signed EU-Liberia Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Also, Ambassador Intelmann announced that the EU will support the Government of Liberia with EUR 12 million to overcome food insecurity by stimulating productivity and diversity in food crops in several counties that suffer from food insecurity.

The EU support will build capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture with EUR 12 million so that it delivers policies and services to the best use of Liberian citizens.

The EU Envoy stressed that following a longstanding partnership with the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the EU has decided to support the Supreme Audit Institution with EUR 5 million over the next four years to fund implementation of its Strategic Plan, and key elements of its Staff Professionalization and Capacity Building Strategy. While previous programmes helped to make the GAC fully operational, the new support will help the GAC to improve performance, be autonomous and independent in line with the 2014 Liberian GAC Act. The GAC will be responsible for managing EUR 3 million of the programme.

The ultimate goal is for the GAC to become a Supreme Audit Institution up to international standard which will have a substantial impact on how public money is spent in Liberia.  The main activities under this programme will entail making the GAC more effective in terms of both audit capabilities and the management capabilities necessary for an autonomous agency, as well as strengthening the relationships with audited Ministries and Agencies, the National Legislature and the media to ensure that the GAC’s audit recommendations are fully taken on board.

06 Jan

Mozambique ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement

World Trade Organisation
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 6, 2017– Mozambique’s instrument of acceptance was submitted to the WTO on 6 January. It is the 13th least developed country (LDC) to do so. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement.

In addition to Mozambique, the following WTO members have also accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, and Ghana.

The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion

Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

According to a 2015 study carried out by WTO economists, full implementation of the TFA would reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain. The TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half while also reducing time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion.

The TFA broke new ground for developing countries and LDCs in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.

A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members. Further information on TFAF is available at www.TFAFacility.org.

More information on the WTO and trade facilitation is available at www.wto.org/tradefacilitation.