CONTINENT HEADING TOWARDS CHEAPER AIR TRAVEL

AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1

Towards cheaper air travel on the Continent

ADDIS ABABA – At least 23 AFRICAN countries have signed an agreement to set up the Single AFRICAN Air Transport Market, SAATM, with the aim to reduce air travel costs.

SOUTH AFRICAN SABC News says the move comes after people of the Continent have, for years, paid sky-high airfares when travelling within AFRICA.

It says the AFRICAN UNION has launched the major aviation trade agreement to change the situation, by allowing the airlines of signatory countries to access each other’s airports freely.

AU Chairperson, President PAUL KAGAME of RWANDA, has revealed the move at the launch of SAATM on the sidelines of the recent AU Summit in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

He says the market is vital for the overall development of the continent, where international air links between many cities are expensive or non-existent.

SABC News also quotes a 2010 World Bank study as saying air travel between AFRICAN countries has for years, been governed by a relatively small number of bilateral agreements.

The report says the situation has been a legacy of the post-colonial era when air carriers from newly independent states connected chiefly with their former colonial powers.

It says many AFRICAN countries restrict their air services markets to protect the shares of national carriers, but the new deal hopes to reduce airfares and increase the number of direct air connections.

The SOUTH AFRICAN Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation has told the media companies can now freely access all countries in the single market, without relying anymore on bilateral agreements, whether they exist or not.

Current members of the SAATM are BENIN, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO, CAPE VERDE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IVORY COAST, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, and GABON.

Others are GHANA, GUINEA, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TOGO, and ZIMBABWE.

Nevertheless, SABC News says the group is hosting some of the continent’s busiest airports, including JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN, CAIRO, LAGOS, and NAIROBI.

The new single air travel market comes as a priority of the AU Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and prosperous AFRICA, and the AU Chairperson says work is ongoing to apply TWO other planks of the Blueprint: a free trade zone and a single AFRICAN passport./Sabanews/cam

AU CONSULTS REGIONAL PARTNERS ON COMMON POSITION TO END TB

AFRICA: TB/SABANEWS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
JOHANNESBURG – The AU Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria has reviewed the draft Common AFRICA Position on TB for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in 2018.
 
A statement from the continental group says the Draft Common Position on TB was last month reviewed by the Ministry of Health TB Program Managers in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
 
It says the document focuses on SIX pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
 
Others are access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information; promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability.
 
The draft calls for sustained political commitment and for increased leadership, ownership, integration, governance and management of TB programs to promote accountability.
 
It further calls on governments to intensify TB responses through working with AFRICAN leaders as champions, cross-sector partnerships, increased oversight and accountability, improved monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
 
The AU says while recognising structural and operational barriers to achieve universal access, the draft calls for Member States to scale up TB programs to reach, find, treat and cure all people with the killer disease.
 
It also calls for Multi Drug Resistant TB to be declared a global emergency and health security threat, to ensure it can be addressed properly in most affected countries.
 
The draft calls for access to TB services in congested settings, high risk areas like prisons, mines and areas affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, to help guarantee no one is left behind.
 
The Common AFRICA Position calls for governments to pursue new innovations and ensure access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies for TB.
 
The draft says governments should strengthen ties with research institutions to enhance innovation and evidence-informed policies and programs as well as increased investments in research and innovation.
 
AFRICA will also push for increased domestic and international funding to health through innovative financing mechanisms, social health insurance schemes and increased allocations at various levels.
 
The Common AFRICA Position also calls for improved data to inform policy and programs for TB, while the AU Commission has lined up various consultation conferences ahead of the UN meeting.
 
TB is spread through the air from person to person, when a patient coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings; and people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected./Sabanews/cam

PRESIDENT RECEIVES MESSAGE FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

ANGOLA: DIPLOMACY/ANGOP/8/3/17 SABANews 1

LUANDA – President JOSÉ EDUARDO DOS SANTOS of ANGOLA has this week received a message from CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Head of State FAUSTIN-ARCHANGE TOUADÉRA.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Foreign Affairs Minister CHARLE ARMEL DUBANI delivered the letter during a meeting with President DOS SANTOS at the Presidential Palace in the capital, LUANDA.

The ANGOLAN Press Agency, ANGOP says Minister DUBANI has addressed the media at the end of the discussions, saying he has discussed with the ANGOLAN Leader the state of bilateral cooperation.

It quotes him as saying the situation of political stability in his country is improving, in terms of internal security, despite some isolated skirmishes disturbing the peace.

Minister DUBANI says the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Government has been working with the international community for the full restoration of peace and security, with a view to achieve the global development.

ANGOP also says ANGOLA and CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC have agreements signed in general terms in the political and diplomatic field.

Minister DUBANI says areas of interest include diamonds, diplomacy, defence and security; while President TOUADÉRA also made a trip to ANGOLA last JANUARY in order to strengthen cooperation.

ANGOLA and CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC are members of the International Conference on the GREAT LAKES Region, ICGLR.

Other members of the grouping are BURUNDI, REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, KENYA, UGANDA, RWANDA, SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN, TANZANIA, and ZAMBIA.

The ANGOLAN Head of State has been supporting the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, which experienced an internal interreligious conflict, to put an end to disagreement through dialogue./Sabanews/cam

ELECTORAL BODY TO HOLD NATIONAL MEETING ON VOTING
ANGOLA: ELECTIONS/ANGOP/8/3/17 SABANews 1

LUANDA – The ANGOLAN National Electoral Commission will hold a national methodological meeting from 16 to 17 MARCH in the capital, LUANDA, ahead of the 2017 polls.

Commission Spokesperson JÚLIA FERREIRA says the forum aims to provide technical and legal training to representatives of national and local bodies on the elections.

She says the gathering will further provide guidelines on the way the stakeholders will better fulfil their duties.

Ms FERREIRA also says there is a need to transmit strategic guidelines in terms of methodologies, which should be used to carry out the tasks.

She says it is important to provide the central and local electoral bodies with information on the timetable of the activities.

The Constitutional Court will also hold a seminar on 14 MARCH on the preparation and submission of political parties’ candidates to the general elections in AUGUST.

The meeting will take place at the Auditorium of the Justice Palace and will be attended by registered political parties and coalitions.

Legal parties and coalitions will send a maximum of THREE representatives, whose names must be submitted to the institution by the NINTH of MARCH before accreditation on the 13TH and the 14TH.

The FOURTH ANGOLAN General Elections are scheduled for AUGUST, after the FIRST held in 1992 and the SECOND in 2008.

The THIRD ANGOLA ballots in 2012 saw the coming in of a new general election model, in which the Head of State will be leader of the party with the majority votes and the SECOND will be the Vice President.