APO News from Africa:
A spike of violence in the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now forced over 11,000 refugees to seek safety in Angola. Border points and villages inside the Southern African nation have seen a sharp increase in refugee arrivals with over 9,000 arriving so far in April. The brutal conflict in Congo’s previously peaceful Kasai region has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016.
Those fleeing into Angola continue to arrive mainly in Dundo, the capital of north-eastern Luanda Norte Province.
Refugees reported fleeing attacks from militia groups, who are targeting police, military officials, and civilians who they believe are supporting or representing the Government. After running away from fighting rebel and Government forces, some refugees had to hide in the forest for several days before fleeing to Angola. Refugees are arriving in desperate conditions, without access to clean water, food or shelter.
The situation among children is dire, as many arriving malnourished and sick – suffering from diarrhea, fever and malaria. Two children are reported to have already died from severe malnutrition. UNHCR is concerned for the fate of others suffering from worrying levels of food insecurity and illnesses.
The new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives and mentioned they do not have any immediate plans to return home. Some parents have reportedly sent their children across the border, worrying they would be forcibly recruited by the militias if they had stayed in the DRC.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is currently coordinating refugee response with the Government, local authorities and partners on the ground. We are also negotiating with the Government for proper hosting sites as the current border locations are overcrowded and not suitable. UNHCR is sending an additional emergency team to Dundo this Saturday to support relief efforts.
UNHCR is in the process of shipping family tents, kitchens sets, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and other essential relief items to the area.
Further aid is urgently needed, as refugees are forced to stay in makeshift buildings in the border villages. Angola’s wet season peaks in April, and UNHCR is especially worried about the ongoing rains –– which could further complicate living conditions and the health of refugees, especially the most vulnerable such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled.
UNHCR welcomes the response of the Government of Angola in keeping its borders open for continued refugee arrivals. We hope that this gesture of goodwill will continue as the situation remains dire in DRC’s Kasai region. UNHCR is also underlining the importance of not returning people in need of international protection to the DRC.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
KwaZulu-Natal fashion designer and owner of fashion brand Sluu, Ms Silungile Mokoena says that her primary objective for participating in this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which is taking place in Bulawayo next week, is that it falls in line with her goals of expanding her brand’s footprint beyond South Africa.
Mokoena, who will be forming part of a business delegation that will be led by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to the 2017 ZITF, holds a National Diploma in fashion design and specialises in the manufacturing of high-end boutique wear, corporate uniforms and bridal wear.
“Zimbabwe makes for a favourable market for me to venture into because of its proximity to South Africa which makes it easy for me to move my goods. In addition, the cultural similarities between the two countries makes it an attractive market to venture into,” adds Mokoena.
Mokoena further mentions that her bridal range has been receiving such positive demand in Bulawayo, so much so that she has been invited to showcase her designs at the Bulawayo Fashion Week which will be on Friday, 28 April 2017.
“My long long-terms goals include me obtaining my accreditation from the National Department of Higher Education and establishing a boutique for bridal wear. I have also been receiving numerous requests from people interested in learning about fashion design. I would like to establish an academy locally to tap into that demand and establish also a satellite branch in Bulawayo going forward,” adds Mokoena.
South Africa’s participation at the ZITF follows on the heels of a successful participation in 2016 where a reported total of 431 trade leads were secured by exhibitors, with a total of 21 Zimbabwean agents appointed and export sales totalling R10 million recorded through participation.
The companies that are part of the delegation will be assisted by the dti through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA) which aims to develop export markets for South African products and services and to recruit new foreign direct investment into the country.
Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.
This briefing will focus on recent economic developments in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including the current macroeconomic situation in SSA, the near-term outlook, and the policies and reforms needed to ensure a stronger and durable recovery.
When: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Washington, DC time
Who: ABEBE AEMRO SELASSIE, Director, African Department, IMF Andrew Kanyegirire, Senior Communications Officer, IMF (Moderator)
Where: IMF HQ1-B-640
Media contact: Andrew Kanyegirire AKanyegirire@IMF.org/ Press Center +1 (202) 623-7100.
Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).