Africa Asean MENA Pakistan Press Releases South Africa

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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Africa Asean MENA Pakistan Press Releases South Africa

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:

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 for more information.

Media Contact:
Lashvinder Kaur
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Group trains 650 Nigerians in ICT skills

Coven Works Inc., a Non-Governmental Organisation has trained 650 Nigerians on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills aimed at empowering and reducing unemployment in the country.

Mr Olusola Amusan, Chief Executive Offer (CEO) of the group said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Osogbo.

Amusan said the training was to help reduce the rate of unemployment among job seekers in the country.

He said it was also create an avenue for more people interested in technological innovations and advancement.

Amusan said that the free training on business/data analysis and cybersecurity had further equipped participants with essential skills needed for today’s job market.

According to him, Coven Works is thrilled to extend its reach and also provide free training to African migrants on technological skills.

“Recently, we announced that the company will offer free training on business/data analysis and cybersecurity to 200 people across Africa including Nigeria.

“The response exceeded the company’s expectations with over 650 people from Nigeria subscribing to the free tech class apart from other five different countries which include France, Brazil and Poland.

“Coven Works has been partnering with governments across all levels, universities, and private companies to provide training in information and communication technology,’’ Amusan said.

He said the courses covered a range of topics including Cyber Security, Blockchain Analysis, Data Visualization with Power BI and Tableau.

“Others are Machine Learning, DataStructuring with SQL, Python Programming, AWS Cloud Computing, Conversational AI, and Project Management with JIRA,” Amusan added.

He said the training was to ensure that Nigerians did not feel stranded when it came to employment within and outside the continent.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


1,144 athletes set for Bayelsa Sports Festival

Athletes numbering 1,144 will jostle for glory in the maiden edition of the Bayelsa Sports Festival tagged “Access Bank Prosperity Games” and scheduled for March 26 to April 1.

The state’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Daniel Igali, stated this while addressing newsmen in Yenagoa on Wednesday.

Igali said hosting the festival became necessary due to the exploits recorded and the global attention the state has received in the last three years.

He attributed the positive publicity sports had attracted to the state government to the governor’s commitment to sports development.

The commissioner said that 1,144 athletes comprising 592 females, 552 males would participate in the one-week event in 14 different sports at various Local Government Areas of the state.

Igali said the festival would feature 14 events which includes, Athletics; Boxing; Canoeing; Judo; Football; Chess; Karate; Table tennis; Draught; Swimming; Taekwondo, Scrabble, Para swimming, Wrestling and Weightlifting

While appreciating Access Bank for sponsoring the event, Igali said the financial institution have shown what was expected of corporate organisations in the state.

He thanked the Governor and his deputy for the premium attention it has rendered to sports development in the state.

Also speaking, Braveman Wodi, Co-chairman of the games and Director of Sports, said that the move to host the festival became imperative.

Wodi said the festival would focus basically on local athletes who are yet to participate in the National Sports Festival.

He said the target of the showpiece was to discover young talents that would represent the state and the country at the global stage.

The Director said that the state was desirous of hosting a befitting fiesta and as well discover hidden talents across the state.

Mr Kakiri Miebi-Flint, the Relationship Manager, Access Bank, said the event would improve the lives of the youths in the state.

He said it would also bring out raw talents from the various local government and communities, saying that their services are beyond mere banking.

The manager who expressed happiness for the collaborate with the State government, said that it is part of the bank`s corporate social responsibility to the people of the state..

Source: News Agency of Nigeria