Monthly Archives: September 2017

News in Brief 29 September 2017 (PM)

Flash appeal to help hurricane-affected Dominica

Humanitarians are appealing for US$31 million to support the Caribbean island of Dominica, hit hard by Hurricane Maria, the United Nations has announced.

The category five storm caused catastrophic damage, leaving every one of the 71,000 inhabitants affected.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told journalists in New York on Friday that with nearly everything on the island destroyed or damaged, needs are “monumental.”

“Through this $31-million appeal, the United Nations and its partners plan to provide humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions over the next three months. Our colleagues at the World Food Programme (WFP) said they have delivered some 10 metric tons of high-energy biscuits to Dominica this week, including to communities in the remote interior by helicopter and to coastal communities by boat. Overall, the World Food Programme plans to provide a range of food assistance to some 25,000 people for three months. WFP is also providing critical logistics, air service and telecommunications support to Dominica and the humanitarian relief response. The UN has been airlifting critical emergency supplies, including mobile storage units and pallets, tarps, boats, and electric generators from Panama.”

Protect rights of Honduras displaced: UNHCR

Authorities in Honduras are being urged to defend thousands of people displaced by gang violence who have been robbed of their lands and homes.

The appeal by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comes in a report launched on Friday which contains measures to ensure rights are better protected.

UNHCR said Honduras has one of the world’s highest murder rates, and the displacement is linked to criminal gangs known as “maras” who battle each other over territory and control of illegal activities.

Official figures reveal that at least 174,000 people in 20 urban municipalities were displaced by violence during the decade ending in 2014, but the real number is expected to be higher.

Around 7,000 of these internally displaced people, or IDPs, cited dispossession and occupation of their land and property as their main reason for fleeing.

Andrej Mahecic is a UNHCR spokesperson:

“The report makes a number of recommendations to ensure that government policies take into account and protect the property rights of displaced people, especially in procedures to regularize title deeds. One of the main recommendations is the creation of a registration system for abandoned land and housing, to guarantee the legal protection of the rights of IDPs and the establishment of restitution mechanisms linked to durable solutions.”

Central Africa economic diversification focus of expert meeting

Experts met this week in Cameroon to brainstorm ways to diversify the economy in the Central African region.

Representatives from national ministries responsible for industry, mining, trade and other sectors, joined counterparts from UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia for the four-day event which wrapped up in Douala on Friday.

It was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) where Antonio Pedro is the Director of the Sub Regional Office for Central Africa.

“Central Africa is very rich in natural resources which could serve as a basis to promote industrialization. And at the same time, the region has potential in terms of market opportunities, especially if all the tariffs and non-tariff barriers are removed which is part of the agenda of establishing the continental free-trade area in Africa.”

Young leaders urged to make older people’s rights “a reality”

Younger generations in power today need to act now to provide decent futures for older people.

The UN Independent Expert on older people’s rights, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, made the appeal in a statement marking the International Day of Older Persons, observed annually on 1 October.

She called for concrete action to strengthen protection of the human rights of older people.

She added that these citizens should also remain integrated in society, and involved in shaping policies that affect their well-being.

Source: United Nations Radio


AMMAN, Jordan, The 2017 Africa and the Middle East Aviation (AME) and Aero Political Affairs Day, will begin in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, this Wednesday.

The two-day conference provides a platform to discuss disruptive innovation and how emerging and disruptive technologies can be used, to meet the needs of an increasingly complex and connected passenger.

Panel discussions will address the reality of disruption, strategies & tactics, for aviation’s next evolution and the impact of technological innovation.


CGAP Launches Guide for Financial Service Providers to Better Meet the Needs of Low-Income Customers

Washington, D.C., Sept. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CGAP today launched the Customer-Centric Guide, a web-based collection of toolkits and experiments to help financial service providers deliver products and services that better meet the needs of low-income customers.

The number of people with a financial account grew by 721 million between 2011 and 2014, reducing the ranks of the unbanked by 20 percent to 2 billion. While the number of people with formal financial accounts is growing worldwide, many poor people seldom use them, suggesting they find the accounts have little value.  According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, in developing countries about 20 percent of adults left their accounts unused for at least a year. For banks, mobile money services and other financial providers, this represents a lost business opportunity after spending an estimated $13.3 billion to open these accounts. For poor customers, it limits their opportunities to build financial resilience, make choices and improve their lives.

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide is designed to help bridge this gap between financial access and usage.

“In a world where low-income customers make little use of financial services, providing value is the missing part of the puzzle,” said Gerhard Coetzee, Lead Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP.

Customer centricity is not a new business concept, but learning how to better understand poor people and offer the financial products and services they want and will use is a crucial way to extend business value and support financial inclusion. Coetzee said, “Every interaction a customer has with your organization, products or services, in person or online, is an important part of a customer experience. When an offering is intuitive, speaks to customers’ needs and is easy to use, value increases. Customers who are poor and often marginalized will feel empowered, and it helps them to move towards economic freedom.”

CGAP has begun testing various tools and approaches outlined in the Guide with over 15 partners in Africa and Asia, increasing its potential to help low-income customers.  Among them is Zoona, a financial technology startup that offers mobile-based money transfer, payments and accounts in southern Africa.  One of its largest branches is in Zambia, where Zoona has credited CGAP’s customer segmentation exercises for helping it recognize that agents are an important customer base and part of improving the overall customer interaction and experience. In the Philippines, with CGAP’s help CARD Pioneer Microinsurance Inc. has adopted a customer journey mapping process to better understand their low-income customers.

Greta Bull, CGAP CEO said, “CGAP works with its partners to generate insights that are actionable, can be practiced, refined, improved and embedded in the institution. It is about creating a feedback loop and understanding what the barriers are to using a service for poor people. It is about being aware of what is driving that and how you overcome those barriers so that as a business you can add value to your firm and to your customers.”

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide provides a wealth of knowledge, practical resources and real-life case studies on ways businesses can improve the customer experience, better serve low-income customers, and at the same time improve their business performance.  Its four main sections are:

  1. Why Go Customer-Centric: Put customers at the center and move your organization toward long-term competitive advantage.
  2. Learn from Customers: Learn how to understand your customers’ behaviors, needs and wants and generate the insights you need to start delivering the right solutions.
  3. Design Solutions: Build products and services with customers in mind. Once you draw insights from your customers, you can design for better adoption and use.
  4. Organize for Delivery: When customer insights drive strategy, products, and experiences, your organization can be fully customer-centric.

Explore the CGAP Customer-Centric Guide:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Esther Lee Rosen
+1 202 458 0147

Best wishes for matrics

Cabinet has wished all learners well, especially those in Grade 12, as they prepare for their end-of-year examinations.

In a statement following a meeting of the executive, Cabinet said parents and guardians must support learners as they prepare for exams.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says it is on schedule for the matric exams starting on 16 October, which will be written by more than 798 000 registered learners.

Cabinet said the department is providing additional support to matriculants with onsite learning after school hours and during weekends and school holidays.

Source: South African Government News Agency