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AU will deploy “women-only” election observers to Seychelles   

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, on Wednesday approved the deployment of a “historic women-only” AU election observation mission to Seychelles.

The deployment of a women-only short-term election observation mission is for the parliamentary elections in Seychelles scheduled for Sept. 8-10, according to a statement from the pan-African bloc.

The Chairperson is pleased to deploy the first ever women-only observation mission in line with AU’s commemoration of the “African Year of Human Rights with a Special Focus on the Rights of Women,” noted the statement. 

The AU election observation mission to Seychelles will be led by Fatuma Ndangiza, former Chairperson of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, said the statement, adding that the mission will be dispatched from Sept. 1 to 15.

The overall objective of the AU mission is to provide an accurate and impartial reporting and assessment of the quality of the parliamentary elections in Seychelles.

The mission will also offer recommendations for improvement of future electoral processes in the country based on observer findings; and ensure that the conduct of genuine elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in the country, according to the statement.

The Chairperson has reaffirmed the AU’s continued support to the government and people of Seychelles as they strive to consolidate democracy, peace and stability in the country, the statement said.



Pan-African meeting deliberates on veterinary vaccine labs in Africa

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- A pan-African meeting on veterinary vaccine laboratories has deliberated on veterinary vaccine and related issues as animal diseases in Africa cause annual losses estimated at 4 billion U.S. dollars, according to an AU statement on Wednesday.

Hosted by the African Union (AU) from 29 to 31 Aug. in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the Ninth Pan African meeting of directors of veterinary vaccine laboratories has reviewed reports from AU member states’ vaccine production laboratories, on the status of vaccine production on the continent, achievements and limitations so far.

Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, stressed the serious constraint of livestock sector development in Africa due to the burden of other infectious animal diseases, like Peste des Petits Ruminants, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, Rift Valley Fever, African Swine Fever and many others, which are threatening to dwarf the strides made and efforts being put into livestock development in Africa.

According to the Commissioner, animal diseases constantly reduce Africa’s capacity to achieve self-sufficiency in food proteins to assure livestock owner’s welfare, and continue to pose significant impediments to national, regional and international trade in livestock and livestock products.

“In Africa these diseases alone cause annual losses estimated at 4 billion U.S. dollars. Using quality assured vaccines is one sure way of controlling these diseases,” she said.

Professor Marie Monique Rasoazananera, Madagascar’s Minister of High Education and Scientific Research, has noted that the meeting was an opportunity to strengthen partnership among countries in protecting Africa’s livestock from new animal diseases.

Highlighting the situation of international and regional trade on the continent, the Minister said, “We must protect our livestock against the introduction of new animal diseases, with the economic and social consequences that implies.”

“We need to work together to prevent the spread of certain communicable disease, such as the foot and mouth disease that is currently present in some of the neighboring islands of the Indian Ocean,” she urged.

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