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APO - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

Press releases from Africa-Neswroom.com
APO - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa
  1. The Global Gig Economy and its Implications for African Digital Workers

    Professor Graham, addressing the 4th UNI Africa Conference in Dakar, Senegal (http://ForwardForANewAfrica.org), warned of the danger of ‘parasitic capitalism’ where digital companies give little back to the places where they are embedded and platform workers are left to fend for themselves.

    UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings' said research into the Future World of  Work followed by action was crucial, “We have to face the reality - the research that has been undertaken by Oxford University, the World Economic Forum, the OECD and others all points to a bleak future of employment which cuts across many sectors. This poses policy questions at all levels and there needs to be more urgency in the policy response.”

    Professor Graham, the Oxford-based digital expert, drew on his recently launched paper “Digital Labour and Development” and the corresponding report “The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins.”

    Paper: http://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/3FMTvCNPJ4SkhW9tgpWP/full

    Report: https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/publications/gigwork.pdf

    Professor Graham said, “There is an alternative to the ‘Upwork.com ’ and ‘Mechanical Turk’ model which is unfortunately successfully pushing the platform economy in its image. Unions must work together to produce an alternative which safeguards the rights of workers. There is no time for excuses because the new structures are being put into place now.”

    Professor Graham proposed concrete solutions centered around creating bargaining power for digital platform workers including:

    “We could imagine organisations committed to transparency and identifying best practices doing a lot to ensure that workers are paid living wages, have appropriate social and economic protections, and aren’t saddled with an undue amount of risk. So, a Fair Work foundation instead of a Fairtrade foundation – verifying and certifying these sorts of things.

    “We can also use what we know about the socially disembedded nature of this work, to push for more of it to be sourced through firms, social enterprises, non-profits, and of course cooperatives – of the non-platform – variety - that adhere to local labour laws.”

    “The geographically dispersed nature of digital work platforms has made it extremely hard to regulate. There are many who thrive in that environment. But the role of labour regulation should be to help the most vulnerable. One solution may be that employment status should be established in the place that a service is actually provided. Why should an employer based in Germany or the US be able to avoid adhering to labour laws and minimum standards just because they used a digital platform to connect with a worker?”

    Professor Graham advocated creating a transnational digital workers’ union: “If we lack the physical proximity that unions traditionally needed, we at least need some sort of shared occupational identity…One explicit role for a digital workers’ union could be building class consciousness amongst the varied workers, part-time, temporary, full-time, entrepreneurs etc. Highlighting the precariousness of this work. Highlighting that workers are receiving many of the risks of entrepreneurship, but few of the rewards.”

    Professor Graham concluded that he was not pessimistic about the Future World of Work but that we should not shy away from the challenges. He pointed out that some African countries were taking the initiative such as Nigeria’s government which has developed a programme called ‘Microwork for Jobs creation.’ Kenya’s government is planning something similar.

    Instead of imagining digital work as being undertaken in digital spaces, beyond the realm of regulation and worker-led governance, let’s remember it all happens somewhere. Digital work always has a geography.  And we can use what we know about the economic geographies of digital work to envision and strive towards alternate and fairer future for working people in Africa and around the world. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of 4th UNI Africa Regional Conference.

    Contact Professor Mark Graham:
    immedium@gmail.com

    Media contacts:
    Richard.Elliott@uniglobaunion.org
    Chakera@APO-opa.org 

  2. Famine risk, Alfano: "Emergency assistance from Italy for Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen"

    This statement was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, specifying that the actions in question will be implemented by "the UN Agencies working on the front line of the colossal human effort currently under way, in particular the World Food Programme and UNICEF, as well as the Committee of the International Red Cross".

    Specifically, the action taken by Italian Cooperation will provide funding of three million euros for the WFP and UNICEF to distribute food rations and water in the States of North Eastern Nigeria, with particular attention being paid to children and pregnant women. Two million euros will be destined for Somalia for the distribution of food and medical assistance, entrusted to the WFP and the International Red Cross, respectively, in the areas most seriously hit by the drought.

    In South Sudan as well, Italian Cooperation will be working with the WFP and UNICEF, providing 2 million euros to fund a programme of school canteens and to combat acute malnutrition in children. Finally, three million euros will be allocated to Yemen for food distribution by the WFP and to provide assistance in the health sector and support for hospitals with the Yemeni Red Crescent.

    "The sums put in place," concluded Minister Alfano, "are not the end of our humanitarian commitment to the affected countries. We shall soon be making further resources available to fund other emergency activities, the implementation of which will be entrusted to Italian civil society organisations".

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.

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    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy
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  3. Didier Reynders supports CENCO in its mediation efforts in the DRC

    This 23 March, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has met the President of the Congolese National Episcopal Conference (CENCO) Mgr. Marcel Utembi and the Secretary-General, abbot Nshole. On 24 March, Minister Reynders met the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Maman Sidikou.
     

    During these exchanges, the Minister discussed the crucial period which the DRC is facing. In the coming days, contacts between CENCO, the President of the Republic and all the other parties will be essential to reach an agreement before 27 March and to appoint rapidly the transitional Prime Minister. Minister Reynders supports CENCO in its mediation efforts between the Congolese and he supports its call to implement faithfully and without further delay the New Year's Eve agreement.

    Minister Reynders underlined the importance of the current discussions in the Security Council on the new mandate of MONUSCO. This mandate should provide better protection for civilians, but also support for the 2017 electoral process. In a worrying security context, Belgium will be attentive to the implementation of this mandate.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

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    Kingdom of Belgium - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
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  4. IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Zambia
    • Fund staff and Zambian authorities made progress regarding economic program that could be supported by an IMF arrangement
    • Economic growth is expected to improve slightly to 3.5 percent in 2017. Sustaining high inclusive growth in the future requires sound policies & reforms to improve competitiveness.
    • IMF team welcomed the government’s fiscal consolidation plans which aim at putting public finances on a sustainable path

    An IMF team led by Tsidi Tsikata visited Zambia during March 9-24, to conduct the 2017 Article IV consultation and hold discussions on an economic program that could be supported by an IMF financial arrangement.

    At the end of the mission, Mr. Tsikata issued the following statement:

    “We have had fruitful discussions with the Zambian authorities and made progress towards reaching understandings on an economic program that could be supported by an IMF arrangement. There is broad agreement on key objectives, targets, and policies, most of which are drawn from the Government’s Economic Program. However, further engagement is needed on details of measures and reforms to achieve fiscal consolidation targets while protecting social spending and clearing the large stock of arrears without accumulating new ones. We have agreed to continue discussions at the forthcoming Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington D.C. next month.

    “The mission held wide-ranging discussions with a broad range of stakeholders. Topics included Zambia’s experience under past IMF-supported programs, reforming the subsidies in the energy and agriculture sectors, and policies needed to diversify Zambia’s exports, create jobs and make the economy more resilient to shocks. 

    “The mission projects real GDP growth in Zambia to improve slightly from about 3 percent last year to 3.5 percent this year, reflecting good rains which are expected to boost agricultural output and domestic electricity generation. Over the medium term, realization of Zambia’s enormous potential for achieving and sustaining high inclusive growth will depend on the continuous implementation of sound economic policies, and on reforms to boost productivity across sectors and enhance Zambia’s international competitiveness.

    “The mission welcomed the fiscal consolidation plans outlined in the 2017 budget speech by the Minister of Finance, which aims at putting public finances on a sustainable path. However, in the first two months of the year, expenditures outpaced revenues substantially, with the deficit financed mostly by domestic borrowing. In contrast to most of last year when the government faced severe domestic and external financing constraints, so far this year government securities auctions have been consistently over-subscribed, with increased participation of foreign investors. The mission advised the government to steadfastly implement the measures needed to achieve the 2017 budget targets; this would reassure markets and reduce the risk of souring sentiments and associated outflow of funds.

    “The mission welcomed the recent easing of monetary conditions by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). The BoZ’s tight monetary stance since late-2015 succeeded in stabilizing the exchange rate and lowering the annual rate of inflation from a peak of 22.9 percent in February 2016 to 6.8 percent in February 2017. However, the ensuing very tight liquidity conditions contributed to elevated stress in the banking system. Monetary conditions remain tight; although interest rates in the interbank money market and the yields on government securities have started coming down, lending rates remain very high.   

    “The mission also discussed the findings and recommendations of the Joint IMF-World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) mission that took place in July 2016. The assessment found that the financial sector was under considerable stress from the combination of external and domestic shocks. Financial supervision was not fully effective and several financial sector laws are in urgent need of upgrading. The authorities have welcomed the FSAP findings and recommendations, and have energetically initiated remedial actions. A resulting Financial Sector Stability Analysis report is expected to be published in the context of the Article IV consultation process.

    “The mission met with Minister of Finance Felix Mutati; Governor of the Bank of Zambia Denny Kalyalya; Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya; other senior government and BoZ officials; members of parliament; and representatives of the private sector, labor unions, civil society organizations, and Zambia’s development partners.

    “The mission expresses its gratitude to the authorities and stakeholders for their openness and the constructive spirit in which all discussions were held.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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    International Monetary Fund (IMF)
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  5. Official visit to Ghana of Mr. Louis Michel, former European Union (EU) Development Commissioner

    Mr. Louis Michel, former European Union (EU) Development Commissioner and Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister, will arrive in Accra on 27 March 2017 for an official visit to Ghana.

    He is part of a pool of three high level personalities made up of former members of the European Commission designated by the EU to support the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Neven Mimica, by carrying out targeted outreach activities with key EU  partners in view of the preparation for the future of EU-ACP relationship.

    Mr. Michel, who is on a West African Regional tour, will arrive from Abidjan on 27 March 2017, departs Accra on 28 March and also visit Dakar and Lomé.

    While in the country, Mr. Michel will meet with key Government officials and stakeholders to discuss the renewal of the Cotonou Agreement, both on the substance and the structure of the approach for bolstering it and to lay the ground for smooth and fruitful exchanges between the European Union and the ACP counterparts.

    Mr. Louis Michel, born in September 1947 is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, a member of the European Parliament and the Belgium Mouvement Réformateur.

    After a fruitful professional career as a teacher between 1968 and 1979, Mr. Louis Michel began his political life in 1999 and held various positions in political parties and national trade unions, local government bodies, regional assembly, the national parliament and in the national government in Belgium serving as Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister for Institutional Reform.  He has also been a member of the Benelux Inter Parliamentary Consultative Council and Member of the Convention on the Future of Europe between 1995 and 2004. 

    His career in the EU institutions began in 2004 as a member of the European Commission responsible for Science and Research Policy and in 2009, member of the European Commission with responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid.  In 2013 Mr Mitchel was Special envoy of the International Organization of French-Speaking Countries to monitor the situation in the Central African Republic.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Ghana.

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    Delegation of the European Union to Ghana
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