Open Society Announces $1.7 Million to Support Middle East and North Africa Debt Swap for Sustainable Development

Amman, March 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Open Society Foundations today announced that they are giving $1.7 million to a United Nations initiative in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) that seeks to catalyze increased public spending on achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by negotiating reduced national debt service payments. Importantly, the initiative provides a channel for MENA civil society organizations to have a voice about where such kinds of innovative financing is needed most.

The two-and-a-half-year project partnership, which will last from April 2023 through September 2025, will support work by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) with interested member states and civil society to identify investment projects that prioritize the most urgent needs of MENA societies. ESCWA will support member states in reaching agreements with their creditors to redirect scheduled debt service payments into sustainable local investments.

An emphasis on robust project monitoring and evaluation provides an incentive to creditors who are ready to deliver on their own commitments to climate and sustainable development goals financing in MENA. The initiative is further strengthened by the role of ESCWA’s Advisory Committee, made up of experts with experience implementing debt swaps and providing economic policy advice on inclusive growth in other parts of the world.

Heavily indebted MENA countries have pressing financing needs to address climate adaptation and sustainable development goals, while struggling to recover from fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic and repercussions of the war in Ukraine, including growing food insecurity. As middle-income countries, they are both excluded from debt relief frameworks and find it difficult to access the financing they need.

The combined public debt burden of Arab countries was $1.5 trillion, equivalent to about 54 percent of the region’s GDP in 2021. In addition, the Arab region continues to suffer disproportionately from climate change and 90 percent of the population resides in water-scarce countries. Conflicts in the region have devastated institutions and infrastructure and some 66 million persons in Arab countries affected by conflict are dependent on humanitarian aid.

“The ESCWA initiative is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders involved,” said Issandr Amrani, executive director for Open Society–Middle East and North Africa. “As a multilateral institution with a commitment to human rights and civil society engagements, ESCWA provides a new opportunity for civil society to engage with governments on borrowing, spending, and development priorities. Open Society is committed to backing innovative projects that can help deliver economic justice.”

Yamide Dagnet, Open Society’s director for Climate Justice, added: “Climate disruption poses exponential risks to MENA’s economic and political challenges. Open Society’s pro-climate and fiscal-forward support can pave the way for catalytic investment in a just and inclusive climate transformation. From spurring dynamic and higher quality, green new employment opportunities that spark optimism among youth, women, and other marginalized communities, to addressing adaptation issues such as water scarcity that risks amplifying conflict. The fiscal space and just opportunities this pledge creates expands how we must put climate justice into action.”

Open Society’s president announced the launch of the grant during a high-level plenary session of the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 15, 2023.

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Open Society Foundations 
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ACAMS Launches Scholarship Program for Korean Professionals Seeking Anti-Money Laundering Training

CAMS Scholarship recipients will train on strategies to identify, trace, and report criminal activity threatening financial institutions across the globe

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As part of its efforts to support the fight against financial crime throughout the Asia Pacific region, ACAMS is launching a new scholarship program for South Korean compliance professionals seeking to become Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (CAMS). Under the initiative, ACAMS will award the CAMS Scholarship to 10 Korean compliance practitioners in the anti-financial crime (AFC) space, granting them a one-year membership to the association and a full waiver of all fees for the CAMS exam package.

As part of the program, scholarship winners will train on a broad array of skills and strategies to detect, track, and report illicit financial activity, including global best practices on the effective implementation of anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorism financing (CTF) policies and procedures, risk-mitigation controls, and suspicious transaction reporting. Widely recognized as the global standard for AML/CTF credentials, the CAMS program helps to shield financial institutions around the world from criminal exploitation, regulatory fines, and reputational harm.

“This scholarship is a reflection not only of our mission to fight illicit finance around the globe, but also of our commitment to the talented professionals in Korea’s dynamic anti-financial crime sector,” said ACAMS CEO Scott Liles. “As South Korea’s financial markets continues to grow, it’s critical that compliance professionals are prepared to meet evolving regulatory expectations and face emerging criminal threats.”

“For compliance practitioners, CAMS is pathway to becoming part a global community of dedicated men and women around the world who are applying their knowledge and skills to protect the private sector and save lives,” said ACAMS Advisory Board Member Jean Chung who is also Managing Director, Asia Head over Conduct, Financial Crime and Compliance Advisory for Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered Bank. “This is a credential that will open doors for professional development throughout a recipient’s career.”

The initiative is the third of its kind for ACAMS following the launch in 2021 of the CAFCA Scholarship and CCAS Scholarship in 2022. The CCAS Scholarship attracted entries from AFC professionals from over 100 countries around the world.

Applicants can apply for the CAMS Scholarship through 11:59 pm GMT April 28, 2023. Winners will be announced in June.

Find out more about the scholarship’s criteria and application process here:
https://www.acams.org/cams-scholarship

About ACAMS®

ACAMS is a leading international membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for anti-financial crime (AFC) education, best practices, and peer-to-peer networking to AFC professionals globally. With over 100,000 members across 180 jurisdictions, ACAMS is committed to the mission of ending financial crime through the provision of anti-money laundering/counterterrorism-financing and sanctions knowledge-sharing, thought leadership, risk-mitigation services, ESG initiatives, and platforms for public-private dialogue. The association’s CAMS certification is the gold-standard qualification for AFC professionals, while its CGSS and CCAS certifications are for sanctions professionals and AFC practitioners working in the crypto space, respectively. ACAMS’ 60+ Chapters globally further amplify the association’s mission through training and networking initiatives. Visit acams.org for more information.

Media Contact:
Lashvinder Kaur
lkaur@acams.org
+44 7388 264478

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Bahrain: IPU Secretary-General calls for dialogue

Manama – The Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong, appealed in Manama for open and fraternal dialogue as a way to solve internal conflicts and between nations.

Speaking to the Angolan press, Martin Chungong said that dialogue allows belligerents to talk and express their points of view, so that they can be taken into account and a solution that satisfies everyone can be found.

When asked about the conflicts in the east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and between Russia and Ukraine, Martin Chungong stressed the need for cohabitation and peaceful coexistence, respect for religious difference and human dignity for everyone´s well-being.

He said that IPU is for peaceful coexistence, for the promotion of peace and tolerance.

Specifically, regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Martin Chungong announced that IPU will create a task force to keep the channels of dialogue open, reporting on the steps taken to resolve the conflict.

Martin Chungong said that the task force is the only interlocutor of the organisation mandated to maintain permanent dialogue with both countries and help find the best way forward.

The Angolan delegation, headed by the Parliament Speaker, Carolina Cerqueira, spent four days of intense parliamentary diplomacy, maintaining contacts with foreign counterparts with whom she discussed issues related to cooperation between Angola and the respective countries, as well as between parliaments.

During the meetings with the most different personalities, Carolina Cerqueira took the opportunity to promote Angola´s image by publicising the achievements of the government aimed at the social well-being of Angolans and the political transformations that have resulted in a younger parliament, balanced in terms of gender and where peaceful and partisan coexistence is a reality.

In addition to the approach on bilateral cooperation, Carolina Cerqueira also emphasised the need to create parliamentary friendship groups with some countries in order to promote exchanges and exchange of experience in a more active way.

The Angolan delegation also took the opportunity to gather detailed information about the organisation of the event by learning from Bahrain´s experience for the success of the Luanda meeting.

During the 146th General Assembly of the IPU, the parliamentarians addressed, among others, issues related to peaceful coexistence, tolerance, inclusion, crimes and security against cybercrime, climate change, advancement of women in politics, youth in change, natural disasters and global health, as well as the strengthening of climate legislation to reduce carbon emissions and support for a clean energy transition.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is made up of 178 national parliaments and 12 regional assemblies. It is currently the main parliamentary interlocutor with the United Nations.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Bahrain: IPU General Assembly ends with Angola display

Manama – The 146th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held at the Bahrain’s World Exhibition, in Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, ended this Wednesday afternoon with the display of a promotional video with detailed information and images about Angola.

Angola will host, in October this year, the IPU’s 147th General Assembly, which is why the organization took the opportunity to promote the host country of the next world inter-parliamentary meeting.

During the four days of activity, which brought together representatives of 178 national parliaments and 12 regional assemblies, the Angolan delegation headed by its National Assembly leader, Carolina Cerqueira, developed an intense day of parliamentary diplomacy, maintaining contacts with foreign counterparts with whom it addressed issues associated to cooperation between Angola and the respective countries, as well as between parliaments.

Carolina Cerqueira took advantage of the meetings with the most diverse sensitivities to promote the country’s image and features, making known the achievements made by the Executive aimed at the social well-being of Angolans and the political reforms, which resulted in a younger parliament, balanced in terms of gender and where peaceful and partisan coexistence is a reality.

In addition to the approach on bilateral cooperation, Carolina Cerqueira also emphasized the need to create parliamentary friendship groups with some countries in order to promote trade and experience exchange in a more active way.

Also highlighted was the Angola spot, which, throughout the event, received members of all the delegations present, with a daily flow of more than 300 delegates eager to know information about the country, the IPU’s next stop, in October of the current year.

The Angolan delegation also took advantage and learned detailed information on the organization of the event, “drinking” on Bahrain’s experience for the success of the conclave in Luanda.

During the IPU’s 146th General Assembly, parliamentarians addressed, among others, issues linked to peaceful coexistence, tolerance, inclusion, crime and security against cybercrime, climate change, advances of women in politics, youth in change, natural disasters and global health.

The approach also included reinforcement of climate legislation to reduce carbon gas emissions and support for a clean energy transition.

The parliamentarians approved, among other documents, a resolution in which they call for dialogue as a way to end armed conflicts in the world, highlighting Russia and Ukraine’s war issues.

They also approved the creation of a task force, as the only interlocutor, to monitor the situation in Ukraine, as well as to help in the dialogue between the two member countries of the organization.

The IPU is made up of 178 national parliaments and 12 regional assemblies. It is currently the United Nations main parliamentary interlocutor of the United Nations.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

UNITA youth wing begins 5th Congress works

Viana – The 5th ordinary congress of the Revolutionary United Youth of Angola (JURA) started Wednesday in the Municipality of Viana, in Luanda, with internal work, with emphasis on the presentation and analysis of contributions related to the proposed agenda of the national committee meeting.

The official opening ceremony of the three-day congress is scheduled for Thursday, during which the new leader of the Youth Organization will be elected to replace the outgoing secretary-general, Agostinho Kamuango.

Manuel Armando Nelito Ekuikui and João Lucombo are the two candidates vying for the top JURA position.

Speaking to the press, João Lucombo promised that he will prepare JURA to defend the interests of Angolan youth if he wins the elections, while Nelito Ekuikui stressed that he intends to empower Angolan youth to be authors of their own achievements, challenges and dreams.

JURA´s 5th congress foresees the assessment of key issues to solve problems affecting youth such as unemployment, homelessness and social conditions in general.

The congress, which brings together more than 500 delegates from all provinces of the country, will be held under the slogan “JURA – Innovate and Mobilize to Win”.

The United Revolutionary Youth of Angola was founded on July 18, 1974, by David Janotão, who was the first leader of the youth organization.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Stock Exchange Business grows 60.20% and registers a AKZ 1.5 billion record

Luanda – The Angolan Debt and Stock Exchange (Bodiva) handled 1.5 billion kwanzas in 2022, a volume of transactions considered “record”, with 5,746 deals being carried out in the markets.

The movement of securities had a 60.20% increase compared to the same period last year, according to the annual report presented this Thursday, at the BODIVA’s IV Forum edition 2023.

In each quarter, an average value of 391.2 billion kwanzas was traded, according to the document presented by the Bodiva’s executive director, Odair Costa.

The highest peak of negotiations was registered in the third quarter, with a movement of 606.31 billion kwanzas.

With a quarterly average of 1,437 transactions, there was an increase of 6.01% compared to the same period of the previous year.

By market segment, around 63.26% were trades carried out in a multilateral environment and around 36.74% bilaterally, with a tendency for investors to taking preference on the multilateral environment.

In terms of business, the annual average between 2016 and 2022 was 38.80%.

Of the amount traded by year of maturity, compared to previous periods, there is a greater concentration in securities with residual maturity of up to 3 years.

As an example, bonds maturing up to 2026 represent 77.92% of the amount traded in 2022.

Treasury Bonds (OT) registered a total of 4,643 trades, equivalent to 80.80% of total trades, while Treasury Bills (BT) stood at just 0.17%.

In terms of private securities, Shares represent, in the aforementioned period 16.95% and Participation Units 2.07%.

By type of security, Non-Adjustable Bonds – OT-NT (72.27%) predominate, with greater appetite from institutional and private investors regarding to Treasury Bonds Linked to Exchange Rate -OT-TX (18.90 %), Bonds in Foreign Currency – OT-ME (3.83%), Shares (1.56%), OT-BT (021%), Treasury Bills (0.15%) and Shares (0.07%).

In 2022, five members had the best performance in the amount traded in 2022, out of a total of 25 intermediation agents. These are Fomento Angola Bank (BFA), BAI Bank, Standard Bank Angola (SBA), Millennium Atlântico bank (BMA) and BPC bank.

Transactions from these top five places at the level of trading and settlement members account for around 63.73%.

Of the total, BFA holds a market share of 23.52%, with 625.01 billion kwanzas handled, in 2022, while BAI comes in second with a share of 17.70%, with 470.35 thousand million kwanzas transacted.

In terms of sectors, financial institutions were the ones most traded in the buying position, with a total of 172.15 billion kwanzas, Kz 93 billion from companies in the wholesale and retail trade sector.

In the case of sellers, the industry sector leads with 99.98 billion, followed by wholesale and retail trade with Kz 83.52 billion.

According to Odair Costa, the year 2022 was marked in the history of the markets, as the period in which the Equity Market was implemented, the admission to trading of the issuers of BAI and Banco Caixa Geral Angola bank (BCGA).

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)