Saturday, August 30, 2014

AIF ECOWAS & AU News digest: 18-24 August, 2014

AIF ECOWAS & AU News digest: 18-24 August, 2014

A compilation of developments in the West African sub-region, and news from the AU, as compiled by the Research & Communications Unit of “Africa in Focus”
Assistant producer: Freda Cann
Executive Producer: E.K.Bensah Jr

ECOWAS to hold emergency meeting over Ebola in Accra
Despite a three-month moratorium on all international conferences in Ghana, an emergency meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) is likely to be held in Accra. That meeting will be held “if it is necessary” and will follow a meeting of the sub-region's health ministers.

This was disclosed by President John Daramani Mahama on Friday, August 22 when he welcomed the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) Michel Sidibe to the Flagstaff House, Kanda. Michel Sidibe is in Ghana to inspect work done so far on setting up a production hub of anti-retroviral drugs in Ghana. President Mahama, who is also Chairman of Ecowas’ highest decision-making body, used the opportunity to brief Mr Sidibe on a meeting of the West African Health Organisation which was held yesterday 25 August, 2014 over the deadly Ebola virus.

That meeting had in attendance officers of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control. “And then after that if it is necessary we will hold another emergency meeting of the heads of state to agree on the measures that we must take going forward in order to eliminate Ebola.”

South Africa bans incomers from West Africa
South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned. South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday. Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries. Separately, the African Union (AU) announced plans to send a special team to the four affected countries. The six-month-long operation, involving volunteer doctors, nurses and medical personnel, will cost about $25m (£15m) and begin immediately, the AU said in a statement.

Uhuru to open meeting of Africa spy men
Kenya: African spy men are meeting in Nairobi to discuss continental security threats in the last one year. The spies are meeting under the auspices of Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), established in 2004. The week-long conference, which began on 23rd August, 2014, is expected to end on Friday August 30. President Uhuru Kenyatta will open the conference, which brings together African heads of intelligence and security services. The meeting comes at a time when Kenya’s long serving intelligence boss Michael Gichangi has been replaced with Major-General Philip Kameru.

Interpol plans to open office at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa
The International Police Organisation (Interpol) is planning to open a permanent office at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, says the Ethiopian National Interpol Head, Police Commander Girmay Kahsay. The decision to open a permanent office took into consideration Ethiopia’s close collaboration with the organisation and its active role in the continent. Activities are currently underway to establish AFRIPOL, a continental organisation affiliated to the Interpol.

The Research & Communications Unit of Africa in Focus is pleased to announce that from 4-5 September, Eastgate Hotel will be hosting a High-Level Forum on Regional Development in West Africa.

The Forum will bring together a group of around ten that include senior policy officials, civil society leaders, researchers and community leaders to discuss ongoing debates around ECOWAS integration; regional peace and security; the informal economy; and efforts to promote intra-African tourism with the view of providing the necessary public support to these initiatives. The involvement of these stakeholders in the advocacy efforts around ECOWAS and African integration efforts is not only important but very urgent. The theme of the forum is “enhancing public knowledge and engagement on regional development in West Africa”.

The forum has the following specific objectives:
1.      Increase participants’ and public knowledge and engagement on ongoing ECOWAS integration efforts on energy security in the region and across the continent; and their implications for Ghana;
2.     Discuss recent initiatives by ECOWAS and its stakeholders on West African integration efforts; regional peace and security; and East Africa on facilitating tourism in Africa 

Moderated by host of, and Head of Research & Communications of AIF, it is an opportunity to revisit and amplify some of the major topics covered over the past three months of the show. The idea is to encourage greater public engagement of the issues. The Forum is expected to start at 10:00am and end at 3:00pm with lunch

It is a fantastic opportunity to network with a number of the people who have been on our show. These include ECOWAS officials; Ghana Association of Susu Collectors; AgriPro Consulting; Borderless Alliance; and many more! We will be launching the AIF Volunteer Scheme, which is an opportunity to contribute to Africa’s integration.

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