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Through its unique capacities as the world’s premiere vehicle for international cooperation, the UN system plays a crucial role in coordinating assistance of all kinds — to help Africa help itself. From promoting the development of democratic institutions, to establishing peace between warring nations, the UN is present on the ground supporting economic and social development and the promotion and protection of human rights.

To advance its support for Africa even further, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa was established in 2003 to enhance international support for African development and security and to improve coordination of UN system support. It also works to facilitate global deliberations on Africa, particularly with respect to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) — a strategic framework adopted by African leaders in 2001. In 2019, NEPAD’s mandate was reformed. It is now serving as the first development agency of the African Union.

UN chief condemns ‘ongoing military coup’ in Sudan 

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres on Monday condemned the “ongoing military coup” in Sudan, saying Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and all other officials, “must be released immediately.”  Long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military following months of popular protest in April 2019, and a transitional government was set up comprising both military and civilian leadership, after a power-sharing agreement, that was due to lead to full

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Ethiopia: UN forced to abort humanitarian aid flight into Tigray

A UN humanitarian aid flight destined for the capital of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, was forced to return to Addis Ababa due to airstrikes on Friday, raising “serious concerns” for the safety of staff working on the ground, said the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a statement. The airstrikes in Tigray’s capital Mekelle,

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Madagascar: Severe drought could spur world’s first climate change famine

More than one million people in southern Madagascar are struggling to get enough to eat, due to what could become the first famine caused by climate change, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).  The region has been hit hard by successive years of severe drought, forcing families in rural communities to resort to desperate measures just to survive.  Madagascar,

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WHO announces plan for ‘profound transformation’ following sexual abuse allegations in DR Congo

The suffering of survivors of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by World Health Organization staff during the tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is going to be “the catalyst for a profound transformation” of WHO’s culture.  The assurance came this Thursday from WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while announcing a Management Response Plan to address the findings of an independent commission.  “This plan outlines the changes we will make as

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UN’s top envoy warns Great Lakes Region is ‘at a crossroads’ 

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Africa’s Great Lakes region on Wednesday, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Huang Xia, told ambassadors that the countries concerned now stand “at a crossroads”.   For Mr. Xia, the main threat to peace and stability in this region around the Great Rift Valley, remains the persistence of non-State armed groups.  He pointed to “an upsurge in attacks”, whether by the Allied Democratic Forces

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‘Overzealous’ security services undermining South Sudan peace: rights experts 

State security forces in South Sudan have been responsible for imposing new and potentially arbitrary restrictions against the country’s most prominent civil society leaders, issuing “credible” death threats that have undermined peace efforts, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.  In an alert, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan alleged that “overzealous” security forces had prevented dissent so dramatically, that civic space was now eroding “at an accelerating pace”, forcing rights defenders to flee and discouraging others from taking their place.  “The

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UN-backed show highlights lifesaving benefit of ‘edutainment’ in South Africa 

Young people in South Africa changed their attitudes significantly and adopted safer sexual behaviour, after watching a TV show called Down South – which the UN initiative behind it describes as a tribute to the power of “edutainment”.    A new report, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, indicates that, after watching the episodes, young people were twice as likely to get tested for

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UNHCR responding to worst flooding in decades in South Sudan

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is supporting the Government of South Sudan in assisting people hit hard by the worst flooding there in decades.  Weeks of heavy rain have caused unrelenting floods, affecting more than 700,000 people across the country, UNHCR Representative in the country Arafat Jamal said on Tuesday.    South Sudan is experiencing its worst floods in decades. Urgent

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UN-backed report reveals rising climate change risk across Africa

Climate change contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and partners said, in a report published on Tuesday.  The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 report highlights the continent’s disproportionate vulnerability but also reveals how investing in climate adaptation, early warning systems, and weather and

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UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ at reported air strikes on Tigray capital 

The United Nations has received alarming reports of aerial attacks in the residential areas of Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, on Monday morning local time.   Speaking to reporters in New York, the UN Spokesperson said the Organization was still trying to verify the details, but it is worried about the potential impact on civilians who reside or work in the affected areas.  According to Stéphane Dujarric, the Secretary-General is “deeply concerned” over the escalation

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Positive momentum in Central African Republic must be maintained

The announcement last week of a unilateral ceasefire in the Central African Republic is among recent positive steps in the country, the top UN official there told the Security Council on Monday, urging continued support for peace and reconciliation efforts.  Mankeur Ndiaye, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN peacekeeping operation, MINUSCA, underlined the need to maintain “positive momentum” as

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Food Heroes: Cameroon’s shrimp entrepreneur

Anastasie Obama, a Cameroonian woman who set up her own smoked shrimp business, has been recognized by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) as a Food Hero, for her contribution towards unlocking the potential of selling shellfish locally and abroad. Cameroon sits on the Atlantic coast where Western and Central Africa meet. It was named

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Ceasefire in Central African Republic a ‘critical step’: UN chief

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire in the Central African Republic (CAR), his spokesperson said in a statement issued on Saturday. President Faustin Archange Touadéra on Friday announced the accord with armed groups, stating that he hoped it would lead to dialogue and greater protection of civilians, according to

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Displaced in northeast Nigeria ‘knocking on door of starvation’: WFP

Displaced families in Nigeria’s northeast are “knocking on the door of starvation”, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday. The alert follows years of insecurity linked to non-State armed groups that have disrupted livelihoods and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee in search of shelter.  More than one million children are already malnourished, according to WFP

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Food Hero: Cameroon’s shrimp entrepreneur

A Cameroonian woman who set up her own smoked shrimp business, has been recognized by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) for her contribution towards unlocking the potential of selling shellfish locally and abroad. Cameroon sits on the Atlantic coast where Western and Central Africa meet. It was named “Rio dos Camarões” or, “River of Prawns”,

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Alert over spike in security operations against Libya migrants  

Migrants and asylum seekers in Libya have been facing increasingly heavy-handed treatment from targeted security operations, that have resulted in at least one death and a steep increase in detentions.  In an alert on Tuesday, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said that vulnerable people on the move in the north African nation experience “a myriad daily violations and

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UNHCR recommends the end of refugee status for Ivorians by June

Following an in-depth analysis of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, recommended on Thursday that countries hosting Ivorians end their refugee status, and help them to voluntarily repatriate, obtain permanent residency or began the naturalization process to remain. “In light of the fundamental and durable changes in Côte d’Ivoire, I am

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Guterres criticizes ‘unprecedented expulsion’ of staff from Ethiopia; calls for focus on saving lives

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday urged authorities in Ethiopia to allow vital humanitarian work there to continue, following the recent decision to declare seven of the Organization’s staff persona non grata and expel them from the country. Mr. Guterres was addressing the Security Council, where he briefed on the growing needs in the north,

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Landmark report highlights untapped potential of Africa’s film industry

Africa’s film and audiovisual industries could create over 20 million jobs and contribute $20 billion to the continent’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, said on Tuesday in a new report highlighting this untapped potential.  The African Film Industry: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Growth is the first-ever mapping of the sector, which currently employs some

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Violence, aid access continues to obstruct humanitarian effort in DR Congo 

Violence and access constraints in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continue to hamper humanitarian operations in a context where one in three people need assistance, the senior UN official in the country told the Security Council on Tuesday.   For Bintou Keita, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the

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UN chief condemns attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali

The UN Secretary-General has condemned an attack against peacekeepers in Mali on Saturday which left one Egyptian ‘blue helmet’ dead, and four others seriously injured. António Guterres expressed his deep condolences to the family of the victim, as well as the Government and people of Egypt, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured peacekeepers serving with the UN

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Ethiopia: Decision to expel UN staff could put aid operations at risk

The decision to expel United Nations staff from Ethiopia could affect aid distribution in the war-torn north of the country, where needs and displacement are rising, UN humanitarians said on Friday. Engagement between the UN and the Government continues after the Ethiopian authorities on Thursday declared seven of the organization’s staff personae non grata and

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Flash Appeal launched as 2.5 million face ‘dire situation’ in Kenya 

Immediate action is needed to respond to the severe drought that is ravaging communities in Kenya’s dry regions – categorized as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) – the UN’s humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) said on Friday.  Two and half million people are already experiencing deep food insecurity after two back-to-back rainy seasons failed.  By November, it will have nearly tripled since the same

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Ethiopia: 7 UN officials told to leave country within 72 hours

Secretary-General António Guterres voiced his shock on Thursday after the Ethiopian Government declared seven UN staff persona non grata, ordering them to leave the country within 72 hours.   The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that five members of the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, including senior leaders, were being ordered

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UN Chief commends ‘remarkable achievements’ in Sudan

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday recognized the “remarkable achievements and resilience of the Sudanese people, and its transitional government” since the overthrow of Omar Al-Bashir in 2019, as they “chart a new future together.”  António Guterres was delivering the opening remarks at a virtual High-Level Event on Sudan, which he co-hosted with Norway, on the margins of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. “We are also here to highlight

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