News in Brief 24 February 2016 (AM)

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A wide view of the conference hall as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening session of the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference in Kinshasa.UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe


People of Great Lakes region counting on private sector

The people of the Great Lakes region in Africa are counting on the private sector to play its role in boosting development.

That was the message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to business leaders he met on Wednesday in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr Ban is on a three-nation tour of the region.

He urged Congolese business to play its part in the future of the continent.

"To the African private sector leaders, I say. The people of the Great Lakes region count on you, business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors, to fully contribute to the goal of transforming the region. They look to you to strengthen productive capacity; create decent jobs and livelihoods; improve economic governance; and foster inclusive development and shared prosperity."

European border closures will create chaos and confusion

The closure of borders to migrants and refugees in Europe will create "further chaos and confusion" according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Europe is facing unprecedented numbers of people who are fleeing conflict and instability in the Middle East and Africa.

High Commissioner Filippo Grandi has made his first official visit to the island of Lesvos in Greece which received half a million refugees last year.

He said the border closures by some European countries would further increase the burden on Greece which was already "shouldering a big responsibility."

At the end of March, the UN Refugee Agency is due to hold a conference to promote legal avenues for refugees to make it to Europe, thus reducing their dependence on criminal smuggler networks.

Brazil to receive help to sterilize "Zika" mosquitoes

The Brazilian authorities are to receive help from the UN atomic energy agency, IAEA, to sterilize mosquitoes which carry the Zika virus.

The virus, which in itself is relatively harmless, has been linked to a cluster of birth abnormalities in babies in Central and South America.

The IAEA said it would facilitate the transfer of a gamma cell irradiator to Brazil to sterilize male mosquitoes.

The sterilized males will be released in areas of the country affected by the current Zika virus outbreaks.

Those males mate with females who do not produce any offspring, effectively suppressing the insect population over time and reducing cases of Zika.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 2’29″

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