Automobili Lamborghini’s “The Epic Road Trip” nears its destination with commemorative collectible celebrating the brand’s 60th anniversary

After 7 months of exclusive NFT drops, existing customers will receive a custom collectible to celebrate the iconic supercar manufacturer’s diamond jubilee.

Sant’Agata Bolognese, March 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Automobili Lamborghini has nearly reached the end of “The Epic Road Trip”, an 8-month journey that culminates in a momentous milestone: the legendary brand’s 60th anniversary.

Developed in partnership with INVNT.ATOM™  and Web3 Pro, The Epic Road Trip invites owners and enthusiasts to collect the ultimate set of digital memorabilia to unlock utilities and experiences – including the opportunity to be one of the first to preview the latest Lamborghini model before it’s released to the public.

Collectors of “The Epic Road Trip” will also be rewarded with a variety of utilities and experiences, depending on their level of ownership:

  • Access to Collectors-only Discord community/channel
  • Exclusive mobile and desktop wallpapers
  • Centro Stile sketch from Mitja Borkert, Head of Design
  • GLB file for Lamborghini consumers to experience in the metaverse
  • An intimate VIP tour of the Lamborghini Sant’Agata headquarters
  • Exclusive first look at the latest Lamborghini model

As the 60th anniversary approaches, Lamborghini will leverage this opportunity to bring together in celebration both Lamborghini customers and “The Epic Road Trip” asset holders. “Lamborghini’s commitment to innovation extends beyond our super sports cars and into all aspects of our business – specially as we reach younger generations,” says Christian Mastro Marketing Director of Automobili Lamborghini. “The Epic Road Trip is the latest example of our unconventional approach which has powered us for six decades. As we celebrate 60 years of forward looking attitude, we want to reward customers and fans of the past, present, and future for their loyalty — giving them the chance to get further involvement and connection with the Brand.”

Lamborghini will commemorate the milestone with a 60th-anniversary digital collectible. Those visiting Lamborghini dealerships or attending IRL anniversary celebrations can scan a QR code to claim. At the same time, the commemorative collectible will be airdropped to “The Epic Road Trip” collectors who have purchased 2 or more NFTs across Drops 1 through 8.

In addition, all holders of the commemorative NFT will receive token-gated access to an exclusive, AMA-style session with senior Lamborghini executives discussing Lamborghini’s past, present, and future.

The final drop of “The Epic Road Trip” begins March 20th – 23rd, with the last opportunity for collectors to reach the finish line at Lamborghini NFT Marketplace.

While “The Epic Road Trip” will be concluding soon, this is only the beginning of Lamborghini’s Web3 journey as they continue to develop innovative engagement platforms that deepen their relationship with customers and fans which capture the essence of what it means to be a member of the Lamborghini community.

Photos and videos: media.lamborghini.com
Hype Reel of the campaign to date

Media kit (hi-res photos and bios)

Information on Automobili Lamborghini: lamborghini.com

###

About Automobili Lamborghini’s “The Epic Road Trip”

Automobili Lamborghini, together with Web3 Pro and INVNT.ATOM, invite fans, collectors, and enthusiasts to be a part of The Epic Road Trip, a series of digital collectibles that unlock utilities, and experiences – including the opportunity to be one of the first to preview a new Lamborghini model. The collection consists of four NFTs released each month for 8 months, across 4 consecutive days, each available to purchase for 24 hours only. All base collectible NFTs will be limited to an edition of 1,963 and the fourth rare NFT will be available in a limited edition of 63 units. At the very end of the campaign, only those who have acquired all the monthly NFTs issued – either the three base NFTs or three base plus the limited edition – will receive a special NFT revealing the next Lamborghini model.

About INVNT.ATOM™

INVNT.ATOM, part of [INVNT GROUP] THE GLOBAL BRANDSTORY PROJECT™, is an innovation and brand experience agency devoted to helping global brands chart a course, navigate, activate, and create new opportunities at the digital frontier of Web3. Based in Singapore, the collective of strategists, marketers, creators, programmers, matchmakers, and thought leaders, turn strategies into stories and stories into experiences, that engage communities on the global stage. For more information about INVNT.ATOM, visit: www.invntatom.com.

About [INVNT GROUP]™

[INVNT GROUP] was established as an evolution of the founding global live brand storytelling agency INVNT. Led by President and CEO, Scott Cullather, [INVNT GROUP], THE GLOBAL BRANDSTORY PROJECT™ represents a portfolio of disciplines designed to help forward- thinking organizations innovate and impact audiences everywhere. The GROUP consists of modern brand strategy firm, Folk Hero; creative-led culture consultancy, Meaning; production studio & creative agency, HEVĒ; events for colleges and universities, INVNT Higher Ed; digital innovation division, INVNT.ATOM; creative multimedia experience studio, Hypnogram; and the original live brand storytelling agency, INVNT. For more information visit www.invntgroup.com.

About Web3 Pro™

Since 2018, Web3 Pro has been a pioneer in developing innovative technologies that enables enterprise brands, creative agencies, marketing agencies, and their clients to harness the power of Web 3.0, community-based marketing. Our platforms, including the NFT PRO white-label marketplace and HUB engagement platform, are designed with the end customer in mind, which enables successful campaigns and strategies that boost important revenue, engagement, and marketing-related key performance metrics. For more information about Web3 Pro, visit: www.web3pro.com.

Attachment

For “The Epic Road Trip” campaign & press inquiries:
Paola Cracknell
pcracknell@invnt.com

For [INVNT GROUP] and INVNT.ATOM press inquiries:
Jhonathan Mendez de Leon
jmendezdeleon@invnt.com

For Web3 Pro press inquiries:
Bekkah Frisch
bekkahf@web3pro.com

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8785335

Security Council decides to Extend Mandate of Sudan Sanctions Panel of Experts, Adopting Resolution 2676 (2023)

The Security Council voted today to extend through 12 March 2024 the mandate of the Panel of Experts charged with assisting its Sudan sanctions committee, while also expressing its intention to review those sanctions in light of progress achieved by the Government on several key benchmarks.

 

Adopting resolution 2676 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2676(2023) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, with 13 Council members voting in favour and 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation), the 15-nation organ decided to review the sanctions in place against Sudan — first imposed in resolution 1556 (2004), and subsequently renewed by other resolutions —through inter alia their modification, suspension or progressive lifting, by 12 February 2024. For that purpose, it would consider progress achieved by the Government of Sudan on benchmarks 2 and 3 and related targets outlined in the Secretary-General’s report of 31 July 2021 (document S/2021/696).

 

Furthermore, members requested the Panel of Experts — originally appointed pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) — to provide the Council’s sanctions committee with an interim report on its activities by 12 August 2023; a final report by 13 January 2024, with findings and recommendations; and updates every three months.

 

The Council requested the Secretary-General, in coordination with the Panel of Experts, to conduct progress assessment on the key benchmarks by 1 December 2023, and the Government of Sudan to report to the sanctions committee on progress achieved on the key benchmarks by that date. It also requested the Government to submit requests for the sanctions committee’s consideration, and where appropriate, prior approval for the movement of military equipment and supplies into the Darfur region, particularly in the context of implementing the Juba Peace Agreement, signed in 2020.

 

Following the adoption, John Kelley (United States), the draft resolution’s penholder, said the text incorporates the views of all Council members and sets out achievable and relevant benchmarks anchored in the commitments of Sudan’s Government under the Juba Peace Agreement, as well as the national action plan for protection of civilians. Stressing the fragility of the situation on the ground, he endorsed a continuation of monitoring and reporting, adding that progress in these areas will move Sudan and its people towards the peace and prosperity they deserve.

 

Joao Genesio De Almeida Filho (Brazil) said his delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution and was ready to engage in negotiations until the very end, if a consensual text could be reached. Noting that his delegation would have preferred clearer, more concise benchmarks and a shorter sunset clause, he acknowledged that many concerns raised by the three African Council members and the United Arab Emirates were considered. Arms embargos and targeted sanctions are “temporary” by definition, he said, describing the evaluation mechanisms that will be implemented by the resolution’s terms as a positive change.

 

Dmitry Polyanskiy (Russian Federation) said he abstained in the vote, as the sanctions regime no longer reflects the situation in Darfur and is preventing the Government of Sudan from state-building and achieving socioeconomic development. The Russian Federation is in favour of Council sanctions being justified and amended until they are lifted, he said, adding that it is unacceptable to use them as a punitive measure. Recalling that the League of Arab States and the African Group are also in favour of their lifting, he said that nonetheless the authors of the draft resolution only conceded to reduce the time for which sanctions were renewed. There was no consensus on the second and third benchmarks, originating in the Secretary-General’s July 2021 report, he said, voicing regret that despite seven requests from seven Member States that negotiations continue, the author of the text forced a vote.

 

Dai Bing (China) said his delegation also abstained, noting that the signing of a peace agreement in Juba in 2020 and the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) reflected a positive shift. The sanctions are now outdated and should be lifted to reflect improved circumstances on the ground. Citing requests from Khartoum — as well as several other countries in the region — to lift the sanctions, he said the first draft submitted by the penholder was rejected by Council members. A version was circulated that would maintain the sanctions until February 2024, “yet the penholder dug their heels in”, he said. Noting that today’s text endorses two benchmarks that are not workable, he said certain Council members have no intention of lifting the sanctions and only seek to perpetuate them by setting benchmarks that cannot be met.

 

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), also speaking for Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique, expressed regret that the proposal offered by those countries with regard to the sanctions’ sunset clause was not adopted, as it reflected the current best practice of the Council and enjoyed support from many of its members. Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates voted in favour of the draft resolution in the spirit of compromise and in order to recognize the progress made. Welcoming a shift from “open-ended” to “time bound” sanctions, she pointed out that sanctions are not intended to be an end or last forever, and reiterated her support for their full lifting.

 

The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 3:23 p.m.

 

Source: UN Security Council

Security Council Emphasizes That Punitive Restrictions on Women’s Rights, Escalating Hunger, Insecurity Taking Devastating Toll in Afghanistan

Members Stress Urgent Need for Reversal of Taliban Decrees, Ramped Up Response to Humanitarian Crisis, Extension of United Nations Mission in Country

 

Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the most repressive country in the world for women’s rights, the senior United Nations official in Afghanistan told the Security Council today, spotlighting numerous restrictions imposed on women’s right to travel, study, and work freely, including for non-governmental organizations, making the response to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis even more challenging.

 

Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said she had few comforting messages to share with Afghan women and girls on International Women’s Day, noting that, although Afghanistan needs human capital to recover from the war, half of its doctors, scientists and journalists find themselves shut as women in their homes, with their dreams crushed and talent confiscated. “We understand that the Taliban have a highly different worldview than any other Government, but it is difficult to understand how any Government worthy of the name can govern against the needs of half of its population.”

 

Amid a catastrophic humanitarian situation, in which two thirds of Afghanistan’s population— 28 million people— need humanitarian assistance to survive, and 20 million people are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity, necessitating funding of $4.62 billion — the single largest country appeal ever — access and security constraints, including the bans on women working in non-governmental organizations, make it difficult to reach those in desperate need. Prior to these restrictions, in 2022, the United Nations and its partners were able to reach 26.1 million people, she said, noting that the situation had compelled humanitarian workers to make uncomfortable compromises to save Afghan lives.“ The absurdity of this situation requires no comment,” she added.

 

Against this backdrop, she also voiced concern about the increasing erosion of human rights, with the Secretary-General’s report noting ongoing arbitrary arrests, killing and torture of former Government officials and security forces, constituting violations of the Taliban’s amnesty decree. Further, judicial corporal punishments were carried out, often in public, constituting torture and ill treatment under international law, in concert with a greater stifling of media and civil society, she added. As well, she expressed concern about the worrying security situation, due to the growing threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant–Khorasan Province (ISIL-K), which will require the concerted attention of Member States to mitigate, with the de facto authorities lacking the capacity to address it.

 

While acknowledging that trends on the ground remain worrying and negative, making it harder to preserve the necessary space for dialogue, she said UNAMA continues to engage daily with the de facto authorities, local opposition, civil society and, increasingly, Afghan youth, who will inherit the future now being shaped. Expressing hope that the Taliban will pay heed to the unified position of the international community, which has called for the reversal of its decrees, she urged global actors to construct an agenda for discussion with the Afghan authorities, which includes issues that matter to the Taliban, thereby paving the way for a positive outcome.

 

Her stark message also resounded through the address of Zubaida Akbar, who spoke on behalf of Freedom Now, a civil society organization that defends human rights in Afghanistan, who described the many ways in which the rights of Afghan women and girls have been “decimated” since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.Since then, through more than 40 decrees, it has sought not only to erase women from public life, “but to extinguish our basic humanity”, she stressed. It has been 534 days since teenage girls were able to go to school, she said, and 78 days since women were banned from universities, making Afghanistan the only country in the world where women are prohibited from accessing most forms of formal education.

 

Women cannot travel more than 75 kilometres without a male guardian and are banned from public baths, restaurants and parks, she went on, pointing out that during a recent visit, even the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohamed, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) were told that they should not be there without their mahrams — namely, a husband, father or brother. Outlining other ways in which women’s rights have been impacted, she said that women facing domestic violence have no access to justice; the sale of contraceptives was recently prevented by Taliban fighters; and several restrictions have been imposed on women’s right to work, including the recent decision to ban women from working for non-governmental organizations, which has led to more than 100 civil society groups being unable to function fully. “Nothing less than an immediate and unconditional reversal of the ban will ensure that the 28 million Afghans depending on humanitarian assistance, especially women and girls, are able to survive,” she stressed.

 

Under these grim circumstances, she said that women in Afghanistan feel suffocated and hopeless, with young girls speaking to her directly about ending their lives. “This cannot continue,” she stressed, adding that the Taliban’s human rights violations based on gender amount to gender persecution, which is a crime against humanity, and for which United Nations experts have called for the Taliban to be investigated and held accountable. Citing instances of women-led protest movements resisting such oppression across the country in the face of the Taliban’s violent attacks, imprisonment and torture, she addressed Council members directly, saying: “The brave civic resistance of Afghan women urgently needs your support.”

 

She stressed the need for a commensurate meaningful international response, beyond outspoken condemnation, and for the Council to demand that the Taliban respect human rights of all Afghans, including women, girls, LGBTQI people and all other marginalized groups, and to end all restrictions on women’s rights. It should be clear that there will be no unconditional engagement — including high-level visits with United Nations officials — with the Taliban until those basic conditions are met, she said, adding: “If you do not defend women’s rights here, you have no credibility to do so anywhere else.”

 

In the ensuing discussion, Council members expressed concern over the Taliban’s continued and intensifying repression of the rights of women and girls, as well as its alarming oppression of civil society, including protesters and the media. Many members also voiced alarm over the security situation, due to the ever-present threat of terrorism, with several underscoring the need to respond to the grave humanitarian situation and renew UNAMA’s mandate for another 12 months when the matter arises in the Council over the next few days.

 

Among them was the representative of the United States, who opposed any efforts to interfere with a simple technical mandate extension, urging the Council to preserve the Mission as a lifeline for the people of Afghanistan and extend the mandate without delay. “We have days left,” he stressed, adding: “We cannot sit silently and watch the Taliban silence women from public life.” He called on the Taliban to allow access to aid workers of all genders and safe conditions for humanitarian personnel, urging it to establish a credible process to support representative governance that provides for the full, equal and meaningful representation of women and minorities.

 

The representative of China asserted that the United States is not entitled to divert Afghan overseas assets for other uses, citing a federal court ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The United States and other relevant countries should immediately return the assets of the Afghan central bank to the Afghan people, he said, also calling for the lifting of sanctions, which have exacerbated the humanitarian situation on the ground. Taking note of positive signs in the Afghan economy, he said the country should further develop its domestic market, expand connectivity, and promote alternative agriculture cultivation so that root causes of turmoil and instability can be eliminated.

 

The representative of Gabon, also speaking for Ghana and Mozambique, took note of positive signs, including several institutional changes recently enacted by the Taliban, including the reestablishment of the National Procurement Commission, the creation of 25 additional districts — with the stated intention of improving access to public services — and the successful return of some refugees to Afghanistan. However, he voiced concern over the persisting lack of ethnic and geographic representation in the Taliban’s Government and the challenging situation of women, urging Taliban leaders to respond to calls from the opposition and international community on those fronts.

 

The representative of Japan called on States to avoid isolating the Taliban, underscoring the importance of continuous engagement to change its course. Recalling that Japan has been conducting dialogues in Kabul with Taliban leaders to deliver messages from the international community, he underscored UNAMA’s bridging role in promoting inclusiveness through dialogue, voicing support for the extension of its mandate, as a co-penholder on Afghanistan.

 

Meanwhile, the speaker from the United Arab Emirates underscored the need for the Council to reconsider and initiate a more strategic overview of international engagement in Afghanistan, pointing out that United Nations reports show that the organ lacks a political strategy for Afghanistan. She went on to spotlight her discussions with Afghan women, including during this week’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women at Headquarters, who asked the international community not to abandon them, and called on Council members to express their solidarity with the women of Afghanistan.

 

Representatives of neighbouring countries, including Iran and India, then took the floor, with Pakistan’s delegate echoing others’ disappointment over the imposition of further restrictions on Afghan women and girls, while voicing hope that the country’s authorities will find a solution to those matters in line with Islamic injunctions. However, he warned against any attempt to replace the current leadership by force, stressing that such a repetition of past mistakes will only be a “recipe for further conflict and instability”. Moreover, he observed that the Council’s proceedings would have been more productive if members had interacted directly with those who actually control Afghanistan, expressing hope that the anomaly of Afghanistan’s United Nations representation can soon be addressed. As well, he called for the lifting of sanctions on the country’s authorities, including, as a first step, the restoration of travel ban exemptions.

 

The representative of Afghanistan said that the Taliban has, over the past 18 months, systemically stripped Afghan women and girls of their fundamental human rights and effectively erased them from society. Meanwhile, essential services have been dismantled as poverty and unemployment have increased, he said, adding that people have resorted to selling their body parts because of starvation and hunger. The Taliban has reversed two decades of achievements and abolished human rights protection mechanisms. “In the absence of an effective judicial system, the country is ruled by the force of the rifle without national legitimacy,” he said, adding that the country has been politically and globally isolated because of the Taliban’s barbaric and un-Islamic policies and behaviour, adding: “They do not represent the culture of the people of Afghanistan or Islamic values.”

 

He went on to welcome the decision and judgment of United States District Judge George Daniels concerning the $3.5 billion of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, voicing hope that these funds will be used by a legitimate Government with strict, transparent monitoring for the long-term benefit of the Afghan people, not for humanitarian aid. Calling for principled engagement with the Taliban, without making any concessions or compromises on the legitimate demands and rights of the people of Afghanistan, he stressed: “We must be cautious that we should not help the unacceptable become a norm.”

 

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Albania, Ecuador, Russian Federation, Malta, Brazil and France.

 

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 12:19 p.m.

 

Briefings

 

ROZA ISAKOVNA OTUNBAYEVA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), presenting the latest Secretary-General’s report on the country (document S/2023/151), opened her address by saying that, while today is International Women’s Day, she has few comforting messages to share with women and girls in Afghanistan, with bans currently in effect against women working, studying and travelling without male companions. Although the Taliban claims it has unified the country, it has severely divided it by gender, she said, adding that, although Afghanistan needs human capital to recover from the war, half of its doctors, scientists and journalists find themselves shut in their homes, with their dreams crushed and talent confiscated.“ Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the most repressive country in the world regarding women’s rights,” she emphasized.

 

The Taliban says it must be judged by other achievements and that gender segregation is not a significant issue, she continued.The reality, however, is that the 20 December ban on higher education for women and the 24 December ban on their working for non-governmental organizations have serious consequences for the Afghan population and the relationship between the Taliban and international community. As a result, she said that funding for the country is likely to drop, as women-run non-governmental organizations must cease activities. Further, if the amount of assistance is reduced, the amount of cash shipments in United States dollars required to support that assistance will also decline, she said.

 

“We understand that the Taliban have a highly different world-view than any other government, but it is difficult to understand how any government worthy of the name can govern against the needs of half of its population,” she went on. Noting that UNAMA has always focused on the Afghan people, supporting women’s rights, human rights, and girls’ education, she recalled that the Organization understood by the Taliban’s assurances during the Doha negotiations that these rights would not be curtailed. Some women even welcomed their takeover, as it ended the war, but they soon began to lose hope, stating that being barred from public life was no different from fearing violent death, she said.

 

Turning to the humanitarian situation, she pointed out that Afghanistan remained the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with two-thirds of the population — 28 million people — in need of humanitarian assistance this year to survive, adding: “This will cost $4.62 billion, the single largest country appeal ever.” Further, almost half of the population, 20 million people, are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. Against this backdrop, she pointed out that humanitarian access remains challenging due to the complex access and security environment, along with bans on women working in non-governmental organizations. In addition, she voiced concern that national women staff working for the United Nations will also be banned, noting that the Taliban has tried to prevent Afghan female staff coming to the Organization’s offices in five provinces. She pointed out that, prior to such constraint being imposed, the Organization and its partners were able to reach 26.1 million people in 2022.However, she expressed fear that, in 2023, due to wilfully imposed bans by the Taliban, access will be hindered. Given the situation, humanitarian workers have been forced to make uncomfortable compromises to save Afghan lives, she noted. “The absurdity of this situation requires no comment,” she said.

 

On the security front, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant–Khorasan Province (ISIL-K) pose a growing threat, she said, expressing concern that the de facto authorities do not have the capacity to address such emerging threats. Therefore, mitigating them will require concerted attention by Member States. She also voiced concern about the increasing erosion of human rights, with the Secretary-General’s report noting ongoing arbitrary arrests, killing and torture of former government officials and security forces, constituting violations of the Taliban’s amnesty decree. There is no transparency around the investigation of such violations, she added. Further, there is continued implementation of the instruction by the Taliban leader to carry out judicial corporal punishments, often in public, constituting torture and ill-treatment under international law as well as a greater stifling of media and civil society.

 

Turning to UNAMA’s efforts, she recalled that its initial engagements with the de facto authorities were “relatively constructive and gave cautious hope”, but the accumulation of decisions taken by the leadership beginning a year ago have been unacceptable to the international community, adding:“ This could not have surprised the Taliban.”The condemnation and imposition of sanctions in response may not have had an effect and may have led to a hardening of positions. While there might be a faction across the movement which does not agree with the current direction of the leadership and wishes to pay attention to the real needs of the people, she pointed out that time is short and demands on donors are multiplying. She voiced fear that history might repeat itself if the Taliban continues to make decisions that increase its isolation. However, unlike in the 1990s, the world is now more focused on Afghanistan.

 

For its part, UNAMA engages daily with the de facto authorities, local opposition, civil society and, increasingly, Afghan youth, who will inherit the future now being shaped. While trends on the ground remain worrying and negative, making it harder to preserve the necessary space for dialogue, she voiced hope that the Taliban will pay heed to the unified position of the international community, which has called for the reversal of its decrees. Meanwhile, the international community must construct an agenda for discussion with the authorities, which includes issues that matter to the Taliban. She went on to voice hope that UNAMA’s mandate will soon be renewed for another year, adding that the current mandate is robust and balanced.

 

ZUBAIDA AKBAR, speaking on behalf of the civil society organization Freedom Now, described the group as one that defends human rights in Afghanistan and works directly with 20 grass‑roots, mostly women‑led movements across the country. Noting that it is International Women’s Day, she said the situation in Afghanistan represents the worst crisis for women’s rights in the world. “Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the rights of Afghan women and girls have been decimated,” she said. Through over 40 decrees, the Taliban has sought not only to erase women from public life, “but to extinguish our basic humanity”.

 

It has been 534 days since teenage girls were able to go to school, she said, and 78 days since women were banned from universities, making Afghanistan the only country in the world where women are prohibited from accessing most forms of formal education. Emphasizing that the repercussions of those edicts will be catastrophic for future generations, she said the Taliban has done everything possible to curb women’s freedom of movement and expression. Women cannot travel more than 75 kilometres without a male guardian. They are banned from public baths, restaurants and parks. During a recent visit, even the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohamed, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women) were told that they should not be there without their mahrams — namely, a husband, father or brother.

 

Meanwhile, she said, the total collapse of Afghanistan’s legal system — and the exclusion of women from what remains of it — means that women facing domestic violence have no access to justice. Most recently, Taliban fighters prevented the sale of contraceptives, in a country that already has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Several restrictions have also been imposed on women’s right to work, she said, citing the recent decision to ban women from working for non-governmental organizations, which has led to more than 100 civil society groups being unable to function fully. “Nothing less than an immediate and unconditional reversal of the ban will ensure that the 28 million Afghans depending on humanitarian assistance, especially women and girls, are able to survive,” she stressed.

 

“We keep hearing the international community say that it confronts a dilemma in Afghanistan — to save lives, or to call out the Taliban for its violations of women’s rights,” she said. However, the real question is: Whose lives are being saved, and at what cost? Pursuing humanitarian action without women, or delivering aid that doesn’t reach women, only serves to further eliminate them from society. And while it may save lives now, it can never be a substitute for finding a durable solution to the crisis. Women in Afghanistan feel suffocated and hopeless, and young girls have spoken to her directly about ending their lives.“This cannot continue,” she stressed, describing the situation as a case of gender apartheid. Furthermore, the Taliban’s human rights violations based on gender amount to gender persecution, which is a crime against humanity, and for which United Nations experts have called for the Taliban to be investigated and held accountable.

 

While outspoken international condemnation is critical, it is not enough, she stressed. Such flagrant violations of international law and the United Nations Charter require a proportional, coordinated and meaningful international response that makes clear that violations of women’s rights are intolerable and unjustifiable and that the Taliban will face consequences. “If you do not defend women’s rights here, you have no credibility to do so anywhere else,” she said. She described strong efforts by grass‑roots, women‑led protest movements across Afghanistan, whose members are risking their lives daily to advocate for the rights of all the country’s people. The Taliban’s response to those peaceful protests has been violent attacks, imprisonment and torture. Nargis Sadat, a woman protester, was arbitrarily arrested on 12 February, and her fate remains unknown. Several other protesters were abducted and disappeared after protesting in Kabul and held for weeks in detention, while another was arrested along with her child and has reported abuse and torture in a Taliban prison.

 

“The brave civic resistance of Afghan women urgently needs your support,” she told the Council, adding that protesters need the international community to say their names, demand their release and grant them asylum.They also need the Taliban to be held accountable for its actions, as the current total lack of consequences only emboldens it to expand its crackdowns. She added that the Taliban’s all‑male, majority Pashtun caretaker Cabinet has signalled that it has no intention of forming an inclusive Government that represents either the ethnic diversity of Afghanistan or women, or of protecting marginalized ethnic and religious groups. The Taliban has failed to investigate or punish attacks on the Hazara community and has in fact been directly responsible for mass killings of Hazaras that may amount to war crimes. Other groups, such as the Sikh community, have been forced to abandon their homes due to targeted attacks, and members of Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen communities continue to be forcibly displaced, their lands redistributed to Kuchis and Taliban members.

 

Meanwhile, she said, the Taliban’s brutal return to extrajudicial killings, public floggings and executions is clear evidence that it has not changed since it was last in power. Instead, it is imposing an extremist, patriarchal interpretation of Islam that relies on repression of women and marginalized groups. Against that urgent backdrop, she called on the Council to demand that the Taliban respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, girls, LGBTQI people and all other marginalized groups, and to end all restrictions on women’s rights. It should be clear that there will be no unconditional engagement — including high-level visits with United Nations officials — with the Taliban until those basic conditions are met. She also advocated for a renewal of the UNAMA mandate for another year, without any changes, and the strengthening of initiatives to ensure accountability for all human rights violations in Afghanistan.

 

Statements

 

ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), noting the Taliban has not been fulfilling its commitments since seizing control, said Member States’ assistance should enable the Afghan people not only to survive but also to receive medical care, education and jobs. Otherwise, the crisis will persist, and history will repeat itself. Urging States to avoid isolating the Taliban, he underscored the importance of continuous engagement to change its course. Recalling that Japan has been conducting dialogues in Kabul with the Taliban leaders to deliver messages from the international community, he underscored UNAMA’s bridging role in promoting inclusiveness through dialogue. Expressing hope that the Mission will help to move the political process forward, as a co-penholder on Afghanistan, he supported the extension of UNAMA’s mandate, expressing Japan’s unity towards “secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan”.

 

LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates), noting the Council members’ strong support of UNAMA, said the Mission is providing the space to work with stakeholders on the ground in an attempt to alleviate suffering and improve lives. There is no doubt it is delivering this to the best of its ability in a highly challenging political and security environment. The Council bears the responsibility to ensure the international approach supports a more prosperous, more self-sufficient Afghanistan that is not a threat to its people, to its direct neighbourhood or beyond. The Council’s support for the Mission should be unwavering and remain the centrepiece of its engagement on Afghanistan. Reports from the United Nations and individual countries, as well as developments since August 2021, show the Council lacks a political strategy for Afghanistan. In her discussions with Afghan women, including during this week’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women at Headquarters, they ask the international community not to abandon Afghan women. “Today, on International Women’s Day, there is no better time to express our solidarity in this respect with the women of Afghanistan,” she said. The Council needs to reconsider and initiate a more strategic overview of international engagement in Afghanistan.

 

MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), also speaking for Ghana and Mozambique, cited several institutional changes recently enacted by the Taliban, including the re‑establishment of the National Procurement Commission, the creation of 25 additional districts — with the stated intention of improving access to public services — and the successful return of some refugees to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there remains a lack of ethnic and geographic representation in the Taliban’s Government, and the situation of women in the country is a major challenge. Urging Taliban leaders to respond to calls from the opposition and the international community on that front, he drew attention to the December 2022 suspension of higher education and work opportunities for women, adding that such restrictions affect nearly all aspects of life. “The international community must stand firm and demonstrate solidarity on that front,” he stressed, noting that Afghanistan cannot be rebuilt without the inclusion of women.

 

Turning to the security situation, he spotlighted attacks by the groups known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan and urged the Taliban authorities to take steps to prevent all forms of terrorism. Drug trafficking, coupled with the presence of foreign forces and border tensions, is increasing tensions on the ground. Meanwhile, violence — along with a sharp reduction in development assistance, mistrust by banking institutions, and the freeze of Afghan assets — has worsened the country’s economic and humanitarian situations. The worrying humanitarian landscape is a result of not only those economic and political developments, but also the impacts of climate change, he said, adding that the recent ban on women aid workers is only compounding the crisis. Encouraging UNAMA to continue its critical work, he expressed support for the Mission’s extension for another 12 months and called on the international community to strengthen its support.

 

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), noted that the rapid deterioration in the Taliban’s behaviour has all but erased women from Afghan society, urging the Council to remain unwavering and united towards the country. The Council, he recalled, set out its expectations in resolution 2593 (2021) on honouring counter-terrorism commitments, respecting human rights and ensuring humanitarian access. The Council must be clear on consequences should the Taliban continue — that international acceptance will not be on the table and that its decisions are self-defeating. Afghanistan’s economy will continue to suffer when 50 per cent of its population is excluded from society and the workplace. Moreover, there will be no stable and durable peace while large swathes of society and ethnic groups are excluded, he pointed out. The Council should further ensure that UNAMA retains its strong mandate, he continued, adding that the United Nations must continue to engage the Taliban to reinforce the Organization’s expectations, including on progress towards representative governance.

 

PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) underscored that the Council should not limit itself to words in its obligation to make resolution 1325 (2000) a reality on the ground. She called on the Taliban to immediately reverse its bans while condemning its human rights violations. In supporting the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, she stressed that the Council and that Mission must support all efforts to promote an Afghanistan where all of society can participate without discrimination and reprisal. The Council must also respond to Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs, find durable solutions to its endemic food insecurity, and continue its long-term support. It must come together around a common strategy and support the population’s efforts to regain safety. However, these efforts can only succeed if the Taliban recognizes the key role of women, she pointed out, asking it to rescind its decrees and recognize the importance of inclusive governance and the rule of law.

 

FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said that, while today was International Women’s Day, Afghan women and girls are being denied the most fundamental human rights. Among other things, the Taliban is making forced marriages and honour killings the norm, while also imposing restrictions on women’s freedom of movement. The Taliban is stubbornly pursuing a course of undoing progress made over the past decades and is creating socioeconomic and social damage by restricting half its population, he said, characterizing this trend as a “predictable drive into the precipice”. He voiced support for all actions leading to the lifting of arbitrary restrictions, including the “absurd ban” on female aid workers, which prevents the dire needs of two-thirds of the population being met. He also condemned measures that are driving the country backwards, including the suppression of peaceful protests, reduction in space for media and civil society, and outlawing of democratic dissent. He voiced support for the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, which is set to occur in the next few days, noting that the Council and the international community must unite in asking the de facto authorities to comply with Security Council resolutions, bring peace and stability back to the country and normalize relations with the international community.

 

ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador) voiced his rejection of the Taliban’s decisions rendering women and girls defenceless and desperate by severely restricting their access to education, work, justice, health services and public places. The continued implementation of institutional policies discriminating against and erasing women is an attack on Afghan society as a whole and makes it almost impossible to imagine a future of peace and development. “How can one imagine this future if over half of the population is deprived from helping to build this future?” he asked. Against this bleak backdrop, he voiced his strong support for renewing UNAMA’s mandate for 12 months; expressed his regret over the grave violations perpetrated against Afghan children; and unequivocally rejected the extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill-treatment by the Taliban regime. The complexity and seriousness of the situation requires the Organization’s coordinated and expedited work as well as the international community’s genuine solidarity to bolster a sustainable architecture of peace and achieve economic development for that country’s suffering people, he stressed.

 

ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said that, in the guise of being a benefactor and advocating for the rights of women and girls, Washington is “hiding its true colours” and military crimes are being “edited out from history books” as if they never existed. Turning to the “stolen Afghan assets”, she expressed concern those could be used in other conflict areas. In this regard, she highlighted security challenges related to terrorist activities of the ISIL-K group that has strengthened its presence in the country. Pointing to large-scale hunger and poverty in Afghanistan, she called on the international community to support Afghan farmers. Underscoring the importance of interaction with the Afghan authorities, she recalled that the Russian Federation, together with regional partners, is developing an overall approach in the framework of the Moscow Format, which held a meeting on 8 February in Moscow. She also outlined the potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Afghanistan contact group and regular consultations within the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Commonwealth of Independent States.

 

FRANCESCA MARIA GATT (Malta) said Afghanistan remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with about 28.3 million residents needing emergency humanitarian assistance. According to the United Nations, in just 18 months, Afghanistan’s gross domestic product declined by about 30 per cent, with the cost of a basic food basket increasing by 30 per cent and unemployment by 40 per cent. This has tipped the country into yet another cycle of impoverishment. Her delegation reiterates its full support for UNAMA’s work, she said, expressing pleasure that the European Union has re-established its physical presence in Kabul to support humanitarian operations. She also welcomed work of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in engaging with the de facto authorities to find new parameters and protocols for humanitarian operations. These parameters will allow aid to keep reaching the Afghan people without compromising the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality and humanity. The Council must remain vigilant and united to swiftly respond against any further repressive measures by the de facto authorities, she said.

 

JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDO FILHO (Brazil) said his delegation has maintained long-standing support for UNAMA’s essential role, as outlined in Council resolution 2626 (2022), and intends to favour its extension, depending on the guidance of penholders. Afghanistan cannot develop into a stable and economically viable country unless all people, including women and girls, receive education and participate in the country’s future development. Respect for human rights law and maintenance of the full scope of humanitarian assistance is crucial.Restrictions on humanitarian efforts and the denying of the rights of Afghan women must be stopped. Building bridges of mutual understanding and ensuring all channels of communication are open is essential to promote long-term peace. In line with Brazil’s support of international protection, the Government has authorized humanitarian visas for people in need. Since September 2021, it has authorized more than 8,000 visas to people in need, including many women and girls.

 

NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL(France) said the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, as they are being systematically deprived of their most basic rights and freedoms — including the rights to education and employment.The Taliban is responsible for Afghanistan’s seriously deteriorating humanitarian and economic situations, due especially to their restrictions on women, she said, calling for the urgent reversal of such policies.She also noted with concern reports of violations against children, including cases of corporal punishment, and degrading treatment of the population more broadly, stressing that the international community must continue to stand up to the Taliban about its policies.Expressing firm support for UNAMA, she noted that France has always offered unwavering support to the people of Afghanistan and continues to do so now, while paying particular attention to the needs of women and girls.The European Union, meanwhile, is one of Afghanistan’s main donors and will continue to step up to the plate.She went on to note that the stipulations in resolution 2593 (2021) regarding terrorism continue to apply, including under Taliban leadership.

 

ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) said that by preventing women from working for non-governmental and humanitarian organizations, the Taliban jeopardizes the lives of the Afghan people who depend on aid delivered by women.Expressing strong support for UNAMA’s mandate, he urged the Council to preserve the Mission as a lifeline for the people of Afghanistan.Opposing any efforts to interfere with a simple technical mandate extension, he called on the Member States to preserve the mandate without delay.“We have days left,” he stressed, noting that the Taliban’s grave restrictions deserve a strong response from its neighbours.“We cannot sit silently and watch the Taliban silence women from public life,” he added.Spotlighting broad unity among regional States to repeal restrictions to education and employment for Afghan women, he expressed support for regional efforts to enshrine this unity in the form of a General Assembly resolution.Calling on the Taliban to allow access to aid workers of all genders and safe conditions for humanitarian personnel, he also urged it to establish a credible process to support representative governance that reflects the country’s rich diversity, including full, equal and meaningful representation of women and minorities.

 

GENG SHUANG (China) said the international community should combat terrorism with a zero-tolerance approach and urge the Afghan Taliban to take vigorous measures to prevent the build-up of terrorist forces in the country.Noting positive signs in its economy, he said Afghanistan should further develop its domestic market, expand connectivity, and promote alternative agriculture cultivation so that root causes of turmoil and instability can be eliminated.He called on developed donor countries to maintain their humanitarian aid and explore ways to ensure that resources are invested in the Afghan people, especially women and girls.Unilateral sanctions have exacerbated the humanitarian situation on the ground and must be lifted.Citing a federal court ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, he said the United States is not entitled to divert Afghan overseas assets for other uses.The United States and other relevant countries should immediately return the assets of the Afghan central bank to the Afghan people.Voicing concern about education and work bans targeting Afghan women, he expressed hope that the Afghan authorities will take practical action to guarantee women’s education and employment. He commended Special Representative Otunbayeva and UNAMA for their work, noting that China will stay engaged with Council members to make proper arrangements for the renewal of the Mission’s mandate.

 

NASEER AHMAD FAIQ (Afghanistan) said that, in the past 18 months, the Taliban has systemically stripped Afghan women and girls of their fundamental human rights and effectively erased them from society.Essential Afghan services, including administrative, electronic, banking and internet sectors, have been dismantled.Poverty and unemployment have increased, and people have resorted to selling their body parts because of starvation and hunger.The Taliban boasts that domestic revenue has increased without explaining where this revenue is spent. The Taliban has reversed two decades of achievements and abolished human rights protection mechanisms.“In the absence of an effective judicial system, the country is ruled by the force of the rifle without national legitimacy,” he said, adding that the country has been politically and globally isolated because of the Taliban’s barbaric and un-Islamic policies and behaviour.He said the Taliban’s justification of their strict policies and actions is largely due to a lack of proper Islamic knowledge, modern management and governance skills.“They do not represent the culture of the people of Afghanistan or Islamic values,” he said, adding that their practices defame Islamic principles and disseminate Islamophobia.

 

He thanked the Secretary-General, the international community and donor countries for their patience and support for the Afghan people through strong statements and life-saving services, including aid delivery and the funding of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan.He also welcomed the decision and judgment of United States District Judge George Daniels concerning the $3.5 billion of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank.He expressed hope that these funds, the national reserves of Afghanistan, will be used by a legitimate government with strict, transparent monitoring for the long-term benefit of the Afghan people, not for humanitarian aid.His delegation welcomed principled engagement with the Taliban without making any concessions or compromises on the legitimate demands and rights of the people of Afghanistan.“We must be cautious that we should not help the unacceptable become a norm,” he added. “Engagement must not hinder the social, economic and political rights of progressive Afghans and democratic forces inside and outside Afghanistan.”He asked the United Nations, UNAMA and international partners to support and provide platforms for progressive and democratic movements of Afghans, inside and outside the country.Supporting UNAMA’s strong mandate, he stressed the need to implement all its components, especially a political solution that engages all Afghans.He supported the United Nations leadership’s robust role in initiating a political process, with unanimous Council support, under the Secretary-General’s auspices.This process will help all stakeholders achieve a truly representative and inclusive political settlement.

 

AMIR SAEID IRAVANI (Iran) pointed out that, despite the United Nations’ efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the situation remains dire, with an estimated 28 million people projected to need assistance in 2023.In addition, the threat of terrorism persists due to the presence of Da’esh (ISIL) and Al-Qaida affiliates, he said, also voicing concern on the recent restrictions and bans imposed on Afghan’s women and girls, preventing them from accessing education.However, he called for caution and an avoidance of the politicization of humanitarian aid, which would harm the Afghan people.He went on to voice concern about the disastrous regional consequences of the situation in Afghanistan due to the presence of terrorists as well as drug cultivation and trafficking, voicing concern that the situation risked leading to a massive inflow of migrants into already overburdened neighbouring countries.Iran strongly supports the extension of UNAMA’s mandate.He went on to note that his country hosts 5 million Afghan people, despite sanctions and minimum support from the international community, and has streamlined the visa process for women and girls seeking to continue their education within Iran, given the present restrictions imposed on them.He reiterated his country’s position, held since August 2021, that recognition of the de facto authorities is contingent on their compliance with their obligations.

 

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the Council’s proceedings would have been more productive if members had interacted directly with those who actually control Afghanistan.As the country’s most immediate neighbour, Pakistan has suffered deeply from four decades of conflict and desires peace.Voicing deep concern over recent developments, he joined others in expressing disappointment over further restrictions placed on Afghan women and girls and noted his hope that the country’s authorities will find a solution to those matters in line with Islamic injunctions.He warned against ending or curbing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, which would be both morally wrong and counterproductive and would only hurt the very people — women and children — whose rights the international community seeks to uphold.He therefore called for the full funding of the Secretary-General’s $4.2 billion recovery plan.

 

Spotlighting attacks by Da’esh (ISIL) and other terrorist groups — which enjoy external sponsorship and financing — he said Afghanistan’s authorities need to do more to fulfil their assurances that the territory will not be used as a haven for terrorism.He nevertheless warned against any attempt to replace the current leadership by force, stressing that such a repetition of past mistakes would only be a “recipe for further conflict and instability”. He went on to call for the lifting of sanctions, including, as a first step, the restoration of travel ban exemptions, and expressed hope that the anomaly of Afghanistan’s United Nations representation can soon be addressed.

 

RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India), pointing to her country’s strong historical and civilizational linkages with the Afghan people, said India has direct stakes in ensuring its return to peace and stability. Recalling that the collective approach of the international community has been articulated in Council resolution 2593 (2021), adopted during India’s presidency, she reiterated that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used for sheltering, planning and financing terrorist acts, including drug trafficking. In response to the humanitarian situation, India has dispatched several shipments of humanitarian assistance, including 40,000 metric tons of wheat, 65 tons of medical aid and 28 tons of other relief material. Moreover, around 5,000 units of stationary items and winter clothing for primary school students at Habibia School in Kabul were sent. Noting that her country is also partnering with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the welfare and rehabilitation of the drug user population, she said the Office has also supplied medical aid, blankets, and female hygiene kits. Expressing concern with attempts to remove women from public life, she urged women and minorities be included in Afghanistan’s future.

 

Source: UN Security Council

Airside Ladies of Ghana Airports Company Limited observes International Women’s Day

Ms. Felicia Attipoe, Airside Operations Officer, has called on players in the aviation industry to leverage technology as a catalyst for innovation. ‘We need to be innovative in our work, and technology must be the catalyst in this direction,’ she said. Ms. Attipoe made the call when the Ladies of the Airside Operations Section of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) marked this year’s International Women’s Day in Accra. The event was on the theme: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,’ with focus on ‘the Role of Women in Advancing the Growth of GACL – The case of Airside Operations; Achievements and Challenges.’ Ms. Attipoe, who is a Representative of Airside Ladies Group, highlighted the many contributions of women within the aviation space despite challenges these women faced on the job and appealed for management’s support. Mr. Charles Hanson Adu, Group Executive, Airports Management Department, highlighted the importance of the airside within the aviation architecture and the invaluable contribution of women over the years. Mrs. Pamela Djamson-Tetteh, the Managing Director GACL, indicated that ‘the celebration aims at making the case for gender equality and globally advocating a change in attitude toward women.’ ?She said it was also aimed at highlighting the diverse aspects of a woman’s existence in male-dominated roles, including Aircraft Marshalling in the aviation industry.? She commended the Ladies of the Airside Operations Section of Airports Management Department for taking the bold step to observe this special day. The Airside Officer’s role is quite unique and involves overseeing and coordinating airfield operations at an airport, ensuring the safe and efficient operation of aircraft on the airfield and taxiways, including aircraft arrivals, departures, and ground movements, managing the airfield lighting and marking systems to ensure safe and efficient aircraft operations, including setting up cones and barriers as necessary. Other responsibilities include: overseeing the airfield inspection programme and ensuring that all areas of the airfield meet required safety standards and regulatory requirements, coordinating with air traffic control, ground handling agencies, and other airport stakeholders to ensure seamless airfield operations. The rest are responding to emergency situations, such as aircraft incidents or airfield closures, coordinating with emergency services as needed, monitoring weather conditions, and providing up-to-date information to airlines and other stakeholders as necessary etc The International Women’s Day is a global event organized on March 8 every year to celebrate and recognize women’s accomplishments in various disciplines.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Hugo Boss group sales jump 27% in 2022 but sees pace slowing

German luxury fashion firm Hugo Boss on Thursday reported a big rise in earnings for 2022 but predicted the pace of sales growth would slow this year. Currency-adjusted group sales increased 27% to a record pound 3.7 billion, with the growth ‘broad-based’ and across all regions, said the fashion house, which recently rebranded into different labels appealing to different market segments, HUGO and BOSS. For the 12-month period to December 31, the company posted a net income of pound 221.858 million or pound 3.04 per share, compared with pound 144.125 million or pound 1.99 per share of 2021. Pre-tax earnings were at pound 285.295 million, higher than last year’s pound 196.874 million. The operating result stood at pound 335.419 million, versus pound 228 million a year ago. Hugo Boss intends to pay a dividend of pound 1 per share for 2022, higher than last year’s dividend of pound 0.70 per share. Looking ahead to 2023, the company expects its operating result, or EBIT, to rise by 5% to 12% to pound 350 million to pound 375 million. For the 12-month period, the group projects its sales to increase by a mid-single-digit percentage, lower than double-digits in 2022.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GEA receives 288,800 applications for Youstart Programme

President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo says the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has begun the processing of 288,800 applications of individuals for support under the government’s Youstart Initiative. During the state of the nation’s address, he said the programme, intended to provide the needed support to young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, market, training and technical skills among others, had successfully been piloted in 2022 with 70 youth-led businesses supported with GHS1.98 million. YouStart is a vehicle through which the Government intends to provide funding and technical support to the youth between the ages of 18 and 40 to start and grow their businesses. It is anchored on three programmes- District Entrepreneurship, Commercial programme and the Grace programme. The District Entrepreneurship Programme (DEP) is designed to support urban and rural nascent entrepreneurs and existing micro businesses with technical and financial support to enable them to start up and grow their businesses. The Commercial Programme is designed to support medium-sized businesses with technical and financial support services to scale up existing businesses and will be spearheaded by banks and other Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs). The Government and the PFIs will be required to provide funding based on an agreed ratio and a designed standardised product. The Grace programme will be spearheaded by Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) across the country. It focuses on providing technical skills training and business development support services to individuals and businesses to enable them to become employable and scale up their businesses. The programme targets unemployed youth especially graduates (i.e., SHS and University graduates), vulnerable and needy persons, rural entrepreneurs, and micro businesses, especially women-owned businesses.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NHIS paid GHS1.014 billion claims in 2022

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) paid a total claim of GHS1.014 billion to health service providers as of December 31, 2022, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said. He said that was because the scheme had improved its claims management processes with an emphasis on e-claims and paperless systems at its Claims Processing Centres. In his State of Nation Address (SONA) delivered in Accra on Wednesday, he said in 2022, electronic claims processing was about 70 per cent (70%) of all submissions. ‘We must be cheered by the improvements being made in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make access easier. The scheme is currently one of the better-digitalized institutions, and I hope they get the public support that they need,’ he said. The President lauded the NHIA for developing a self-enrolment mobile application (My NHIS App) that allowed Ghana Card holders to self-enrol in the scheme, as the application enabled registration and renewal for oneself and others by linking NHIS cards to Ghana cards. ‘In 2022, over 5 million members’ data was linked to their Ghana card to enable them to access healthcare using the card,’ he said. He said his administration introduced drones in the delivery of critical medicine, vaccines, and blood to people in remote parts of the country ‘and today, Ghana has the largest medical drone delivery service in the world with six Zipline Distribution Centres in Omenako, Mpanya, Vobsi, Sefwi Wiawso, Kete Krachi and Anum’. The President said Zipline, through the national-scale drone delivery services, had delivered some 14.8 million (14,809,463) units of life-saving medicals, vaccines, and blood products to health facilities in Ghana by the end of 2022. He said childhood vaccines top the list with the delivery of 8.3 million doses, followed by 2.05 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Source: Ghana News Agency

US stocks close mixed following lacklustre session

Following the sell-off seen in the previous session, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line. The major averages eventually ended the session mixed. While the Dow slipped 58.06 points or 0.2% to 32,798.40, the S and P 500 crept up 5.64 points or 0.1% to 3,992.01 and the Nasdaq rose 45.67 points or 0.4% to 11,576.00. The choppy trading on Wall Street reflected uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following Tuesday’s sell-off, which reflected renewed concerns about the outlook for interest following remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Traders may also have been reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday. Economists currently expect employment to jump by 203,000 jobs in February after surging by 517,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.4%. The jobs data could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rates, as the Fed has warned about labour market tightness. Ahead of the Labor Department’s report on Friday, payroll processor ADP released a report this morning showing private sector employment in the US increased by more than expected in the month of February. ADP said private sector employment jumped by 242,000 jobs in February after climbing by an upwardly revised 119,000 jobs in January. Economists had expected private sector employment to increase by 200,000 jobs compared to the addition of 106,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. Meanwhile, the report said annual wage growth for those remaining in their jobs slowed to 7.2% in February, reflecting the slowest growth in 12 months. ADP said annual wage growth for job changers also decelerated to 14.3% in February from 14.9% in January. ‘There is a tradeoff in the labour market right now,’ said ADP chief economist Nela Richardson. ‘We’re seeing robust hiring, which is good for the economy and workers, but pay growth is still quite elevated.’ She added, ‘The modest slowdown in pay increases, on its own, is unlikely to drive down inflation rapidly in the near term.’ A separate report released by the Labor Department showed job openings in the US fell to 10.8 million in January from 11.2 million in December. Sector News Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets. Semiconductor stocks showed a substantial move to the upside, however, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surging by 2.7%. Computer hardware and networking stocks also turned in strong performances, contributing to the upward move by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Housing, airline and steel stocks also moved to the upside on the day, while energy stocks moved lower along with the price of crude oil. Other Markets In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plummeted by 2.4% and South Korea’s Kospi shed 1.3%, although Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and rose by 0.5%. Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2%, Britain’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1% and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5%. In the bond market, treasuries closed roughly flat after failing to sustain an early upward move. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, crept up by less than a basis point to 3.976%. Looking Ahead A report on weekly jobless claims may attract attention on Thursday, although traders activity may remain subdued ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs report.

Source: Ghana News Agency