Sunday, 31 May 2015


Wang Liming, pictured in 2013, says he fears he will be arrested if he returns to China.
When calls for Wang Liming to be arrested were made on a forum hosted by China's state-controlled press last year, the satirical cartoonist who lampooned the Communist Party leadership decided it would be safer to stay in Japan, where he had been traveling. But while he may have avoided possible arrest, the cartoonist, known as Rebel Pepper, says he is struggling to make a living in his self-imposed exile.
"Maybe the [Communist] Party wants to admonish people one by one as examples," Wang said in a public appeal for support this month, after exhausting his savings over the past year. "If they don't throw you in jail, they'll make it impossible for you to live."
Wang's experiences of falling foul of the authority figures featured in his satirical work mirror those of other political cartoonists around the world. Earlier this month, CPJ released its special report, "Drawing the Line: Cartoonists Under Threat," which highlights how globally cartoonists are being imprisoned, forced into hiding, threatened with legal action, or killed.
As his nickname "Rebel Pepper" suggests, Wang's sharp, satirical cartoons may not have been palatable to everyone, including China's Communist Party. The cartoonist frequently used his drawings to skewer the Chinese leadership and their authoritarianism as well as to call attention to events such as last year's pro-Beijing rally in Hong Kong, organized by a group sympathetic to Beijing.
While visiting Japan in May last year, Wang was labelled a pro-Japanese traitor for his cartoons, in a post that called for his arrest. The post, written under a pseudonym, appeared on an online forum hosted by the state-controlled People's Daily website and was republished by several other Chinese news sites, according to reports.
"I wonder why [I have to be called] a traitor for conveying thoughts on Japan as I felt," Wang said in an interview. "We're not allowed even to make a joke about the government and bureaucrats. I'm pessimistic about the future of China."
Wang said he also began receiving death threats via email, according to news accounts.
Fearing he would face arrest upon returning home, Wang decided to stay put. His anxiety is not unwarranted. The cartoonist was detained in October 2013 over a microblog he had forwarded, which authorities said "was a rumor," and in 2011 he was interrogated by security officers over a cartoon titled "One person, one vote to change China," according to news reports. Moreover, China's clampdown on criticism has become ever more stifling. The country is currently the leading jailer of journalists, with 44 imprisoned according to CPJ's latest prison census.
But Wang's decision to remain in Japan has led to another set of challenges. The cartoonist, who had hundreds of thousands of followers on social media before his accounts were deleted on sites including Sina Weibo and Tencent, is now struggling to make a living. Last year, Taobao, an online shopping portal owned by Alibaba--China's biggest e-commerce company--closed Rebel Pepper's Little Shop through which the cartoonist supported himself, reports said. Alibaba has not publicly commented on why the online store was closed.

Selling the occasional cartoon to Japanese publications and his position as a visiting scholar at a Japanese university, which offers no stipend, are not enough to keep him afloat, he told the Christian Science Monitor this week. Wang added that so far, he and his wife have not been able to apply for political asylum in Japan. The pair have "cultural exchange" visas that are set to expire at the year's end, the report said.

Saturday, 30 May 2015


The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release today of Mexican journalist Pedro Celestino Canché Herrera, who had been imprisoned on charges of sabotage in the state of Quintana Roo since August. A local court on Thursday declared Canché innocent of the charges and ordered him to be released, Canché's lawyer, Maria Araceli Andrade Tomala, told CPJ. 

"We are relieved that Pedro Celestino Canché Herrera's ordeal is over and welcome his release after almost nine months of unjust imprisonment," said Sara Rafsky, CPJ's Americas research associate. "Mexico is already one of the most dangerous countries for the press. Authorities should ensure that journalists do not face the additional threat of imprisonment or state retaliation."

Canché, an independent journalist and activist for Mayan causes, was accused of personally directing protesters to block access to the Quintana Roo state water and sewage commission in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto on August 11, according to news reports.  The journalist, who had previously written about and posted videos of the protests on Twitter and YouTube, denied being present that day, his lawyer told CPJ. Canché had also been harshly critical in his posts of the state governor, Roberto Borge. Mexico appeared in CPJ's 2014 prison census for the first time since 2006 and was the only country in the Americas-besides Cuba-to be included. Violence tied to organized crime has made Mexico one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press over the course of the past decade, CPJ research shows. 

Friday, 29 May 2015


At the 2015 annual meetings in Ivory Coast this week, African heads of state, ministers and nonregional member representatives paid tribute to Donald Kaberuka, the outgoing president of the African Development Bank.
Nigerian agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina will succeed Donald Kaberuka
“I introduced the bank on the financial market, but Donald Kaberuka has given Africa a voice on the global platform,” former AfDB President Babacar Ndiaye said at the opening of the meetings Monday.
Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala meanwhile hailed him for being a “true and trusted voice for Africa.”
But amid the praises, Kaberuka admits there’s still a lot to be done. For instance, while Africa’s growth is strong at 5 percent, it is still below the 7 percent minimum African countries have been aiming for over a decade, he said in an interview with BBC. And while the bank has been championing infrastructure development, huge gaps remain, which now will be passed on to the bank’s new president, Nigerian agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina.
Many credit Kaberuka for making the bank the “premiere” institution for Africa. Under his leadership, the bank was able to boost its presence among member states, increase its capital, carve out its role, and return to its roots in Abidjan — although not without consequence. The bank lost considerable talent in the process, and is now looking to fill those now-empty positions.
Kaberuka has set a 10-year strategy for the bank — which Adesina seems inclined to follow — introduced new initiatives and opened doors. In 2014, the board agreed to allow countries eligible to receive funding only from the bank’s African Development Fund to also have access to AfDB’s sovereign window.
New mechanisms were announced as well, including the African Guarantee Fund to benefit small and medium enterprises, the Private Sector Credit Enhancement Facility, and the much-talked about Africa50 fund aimed at accelerating the continent's infrastructure development.
Under Kaberuka’s leadership, AfDB increased its focus on gender, appointing a special and envoy and releasing its first gender strategy during the past couple of years. And this week, the bank unveiled its first gender equality index.
But the job is far from over. As Kaberuka sets sail for his next adventure, he leaves behind an unfinished decentralization process, a bank that’s refamiliarizing itself with its original stomping grounds, and an institution that’s under pressure from shareholders that demand more impact and accountability, beneficiaries that require greater resources, and a development finance landscape that’s becoming more and more crowded and competitive.
“It is a complex and merciless job, but very exciting,” Kaberuka told his then-yet-to-be-elected successor in his opening statement at the meetings, noting the bank is preparing a “well-designed transition for your smooth landing and to hit the ground running.”
But the beloved president is also leaving behind current and former bank staff craving for change in the way the institution goes about its business.
An AfDB socio-economist who requested to remain anonymous said the Adesina must reassess the bank and its current approach in the continent, noting “there is much room for improvement.”
The official is particularly concerned with the bank’s current investment priorities. AfDB is currently focusing its work on infrastructure and private sector development, which the official acknowledged are areas where the bank has competitive advantage. But concentrating on these issues — and in the process neglecting areas such as health, education, peace and security — isn’t sustainable, as the international community has and should have learned from how insufficient heath investments exacerbated the Ebola outbreak.
“One might argue this is not our mandate, yet if it’s clear that the lack of effort within these sectors might endanger the success of others, how well are we managing/mitigating the risks to our operations?” the official asked.
The bank needs to also invest in developing the skills and education of people, so the infrastructure it is supporting to build will be of real use and function as planned. It also has to truly engage with civil society actors — and not just in a “very theoretical manner” — and build capable institutions to create resilience, particularly in areas vulnerable to conflict.

We need a mix of skills

But in working in such fragile contexts, the bank needs to understand it requires a diverse set of skills, and that it cannot just rely on its many engineers and economists, the official argued. It needs to have anthropologists, social experts and political economists on its payroll, for example, especially those with deep knowledge of the countries the bank works in and understands the sensitivities and contexts on the ground.
A program coordinator at the bank shared the same sentiment: Adesina must have the courage to properly set the institution’s skill mix.
“We have to stop recruiting staff that were not good enough for other institutions,” he added.
The socio-economist said that while moving back to Abidjan may have reduced the bank’s workforce, it also opened an opportunity for change. Implementing transformative reforms may be a challenging task for Adesina, however, or indeed for anyone who is not familiar with the inner workings at the bank. The program coordinator fears the “informal network within the bureaucracy of the bank will not allow the necessary changes to happen.”

Build our DFIs

Another area the bank can look into is building the capacity of development finance institutions — specifically those within the continent.
This is not to say that the bank is not already doing this, according to Zach Bloomfield, a former AfDB program specialist whose recent experience allowed him to also gain an understanding of the needs of different subregional banks and national ministries from the institution.
During Bloomfield’s time at the bank, a number of “million-dollar technical assistance programs” were given to these institutions to address what he described as “sparing to severe capacity constraints” in human and financial resources.
But AfDB could do more by boosting its partnerships with these regional financial institutions, as well as building the capacity of national and smaller, more localized ones, which could eventually take some of the load of the multilateral development bank in the long run. The problem though is that AfDB, under Kaberuka’s leadership, seems more interested in partnering with institutions outside the continent, according to Bloomfield.
“In general, it seems that there is an attitude and perhaps also a strategic choice by the AfDB to pursue partnerships with institutions that are, so to speak, ‘up the development finance food chain,’ [whereas] on-continent DFIs are largely disregarded by most of the AfDB’s operations departments as either unreliable or as incapable partners who can be led around by the ear,” he shared.

Enough with decentralization?

In addition, the bank has invested significant time and resources in decentralizing operations, but that is “not serving the DFIs it owns well.”
Bloomfield said that while he understands the decentralization process is part of the bank’s efforts to “get closer” to operations on the ground, “AfDB’s comparative advantage in the grand scheme of development finance does not require it to decentralize and get closer to serve progressively smaller clients.”
Rather, he argued, the bank’s advantage is in catalyzing access to international capital markets and undertaking or syndicating massive infrastructure finance projects.
AfDB, according to Bloomfield, is stretching itself to reach areas where “it has no business” or are better served by the smaller, locally available DFIs.

According to the bank’s rolling plan and budget document, AfDB now has 38 field offices and regional resource centers, and is currently managing 59 percent of bank-financed operations. Following a midterm review concluded in June 2014, management started working on an action plan to “appropriately sharpen the bank’s decentralization model.”

Sunday, 24 May 2015


If there is a person who can write with insight and authority about the relations between students and their parents, it is one who has been a parent, a teacher and a school director for more than 20 years.
One such person is Ms Beth Kanyi, the director of Gilgil Hills Schools who recently launched her book on parenting, Smart Parent. 
The book, launched at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, contains tips and advice for parents on how to bring up wholesome children and the qualities of a good parent. It also gives red alerts on how not to go about parenting.  
 “Teachers, while striving to mould holistic students tend to concentrate more on academics, which is their job,” said Ms Kanyi at the launch. “House-helps, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do and cannot be blamed for being impersonal,” she added.”
 Due to the reality and demands of today’s living, most parents work long hours, the book says.
At times, toddlers as young as two years are sometimes entrusted to daycare homes.
When the family meets again in the evening, the children are busy with their homework and the parents are mostly worn out, creating a vacuum in communication.
 Even during weekends, many parents leave their children to their own devices, which in modern times include television and social media.
These are unsuitable as tools for bringing up children, and it is from them that they pick up their morals and living habits, of which most are negative.
Instead, parents should engage their children in outdoor activities which make it easier for children to learn and communicate between themselves and adults.
 If a family stays together (where the children are not in boarding school) parents should always set aside some time everyday to interact with them. They will come to understand one another through talking and engaging in common activities such as doing homework.
For those in boarding school, parents should make time during school holidays to be with their children.
Communication helps children to understand what is expected of them and forms early childhood bonds, morals and beliefs which children carry into adulthood, Ms Kanyi says.
 Children look up to their parents to learn the facts of life and, if this interaction is missing, the children will not grow up to be fitting members of society.

The book is recommended for every parent who is raising a family. It is available in major bookshops in Kenya.

Saturday, 23 May 2015


On Thursday of last week and with a vote of 97-1, the U.S. Senate approved the “Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015,” which includes reauthorization of the African Growth
and Opportunity Act (AGOA). With this action, the Senate seeks to reaffirm the “centerpiece of trade relations between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa,” as well as enduring bipartisan consensus for stronger commercial ties with the region.
The legislation now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives. As this bill moves closer toward becoming a reality, it is important to review the specific changes that the Senate’s version of AGOA reauthorization entails for African beneficiaries and their counterpart in the U.S. Here, we briefly evaluate the key revisions of the program, broadly classified as the “good” and the “to be determined.” Importantly, opportunities still exist to modify AGOA reauthorization, and several amendments could strengthen the bill.

The “Good”

Long-term extension:  AGOA reauthorization extends the program until September 30, 2025—a 10-year time horizon, which crucially also includes continuation of the third-country fabric program for the same period. Together, these provisions stand as the longest extension the bill has ever received. Short-term extensions and an uncertain renewal process have been the largest obstacles to AGOA’s success. The Senate’s new reauthorization bill provides exactly the type of stability and predictability required for beneficiary countries to utilize AGOA more effectively and for companies to make long-term investment decisions in the continent.
Targeted and flexible eligibility reviews: The Senate’s version of the AGOA reauthorization provides increased flexibility with and advance warning for a country whose eligibility is in question. In addition to an annual review and request for public comment on whether beneficiary countries conform to the eligibility criteria, the president may now initiate “out-of-cycle” assessments. The president must also provide the country in question a 60-day warning if its preferences are to be withdrawn. Additionally, the U.S. government will have more flexibility in dealing with beneficiary countries not meeting the eligibility criteria. The Senate legislation provides for the “withdrawal, suspension, or limitation” of duty-free treatment. This gives the president a more targeted way to penalize violations. For example, if this new approach had been in place during Madagascar’s 2009 coup, which led to the country’s exclusion from AGOA from 2010-2014, the U.S. may have been able to preserve the several thousands of jobs that were lost (largely by women), while pursuing more focused actions against the interests of those perpetrating political instability.  
A focus on agriculture and women: This AGOA renewal recognizes the critical role of the agricultural sector and specifically mandates support to “businesses and sectors that engage women farmers and entrepreneurs.” According to the World Bank, agriculture employs about 65 percent of the region’s overall labor force, with particularly significant incorporation of female workers. This hortatory language is important, but the Senate’s version of AGOA reauthorization also takes action to provide the type of technical assistance needed to help African agribusinesses gain access to U.S markets. In particular, the legislation lifts the cap on the number of countries that can receive American trade capacity-building support and urges the Department of Agriculture to increase the number of Foreign Agricultural Service personnel assigned to staff these important programs to 30. The Senate’s leadership on this issue is commendable, but the fulfillment of these provisions will ultimately hinge on the performance of the federal agencies involved in providing trade capacity building and, unfortunately, history is not the best guide. For many years, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Foreign Commercial Service on the African continent was understaffed, and this trend only recently changed under the leadership of Secretary Penny Pritzker. 
Movement toward reciprocal trade agreements: AGOA provides unilateral access for African imports into the United States. While this continues to be a stimulus for economic development and U.S. investment, there is a need to begin to move to a more mutually beneficial trade relationship with Africa, especially as many African countries have initiated reciprocal trade preference programs (the Economic Partnership Agreements) with the European Union. Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the only regions in the world where the United States lacks any type of comparable free trade agreement (FTA). The Senate legislation appropriately requires the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to report on plans for negotiating such agreements within a year and to notify Congress of any African country that has expressed an interest in an FTA. While this is very positive aspect of AGOA reauthorization, the USTR reports should be issued more frequently than every five years, as presently provided for in the Senate legislation.
Publishing utilization strategies: Despite success in key areas and important improvements, AGOA-eligible countries have struggled to utilize their preferential access to U.S. markets. The AGOA reauthorization seeks to address this issue by requiring participating countries to develop and publish “utilization strategies,” which designate the sectors in which each country believes it can be competitive and how it plans to take advantage of this potential. This is a welcome initiative. Not only will it give more focus and content to the annual AGOA forums, but it will provide businesses, from Africa and the U.S., more opportunities to engage governments on how to take advantage of the program. USTR is also required to submit an AGOA utilization report to Congress on a biennial basis. These new reports could support increases in the use of the program, especially if the private sector and civil society are actively involved in the discussion.

The “To Be Determined”

The role of South Africa: The ongoing dispute over U.S. poultry exports to South Africa has been one of the most significant obstacles to AGOA reauthorization. Lawmakers ultimately compromised over the issue by including a provision on the AGOA reauthorization that requires the president to commission a review of South Africa’s participation in the program within 30 days of the AGOA extension. In many respects, this is the best outcome given the others that reportedly were being considered, such as excluding South Africa altogether or extending the benefits for only three years. Given South Africa’s FTA with the EU and the growing number of U.S. companies filing complaints to USTR about barriers to accessing the South African market, Pretoria and Washington need to use this moment to forge a blueprint for a more mutually beneficial trade relationship.
Support for regional integration: AGOA reauthorization seeks to support Africa’s regional integration agenda through improved rules of origin provisions, but more could be done to back the region’s ambitious efforts to enact a continental free trade agreement by 2017. While many remain skeptical about the timeline for this initiative, leaders of the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community, and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa are expected to sign a “Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement” on June 10, 2015, which will incorporate half of the African Union’s member countries overall, with a combined population of 600 million people and an integrated domestic product of almost $1 trillion. More integrated African economies could be a “game changer” for the region, and AGOA could still provide a better articulation of what the United States could do to support this process and align U.S. trade policy with the region’s goals.
Import sensitivities and tariff rate quotas: Perhaps the most impactful provision of an AGOA reauthorization would be to expand product eligibility for AGOA beneficiaries. Import-sensitive sectors like sugar and cotton are areas where Africa could gain the most in terms of expanded trade with the U.S. In fact, in August of last year, USTR identified 316 specific tariff lines as priorities for possible inclusion in an AGOA renewal, but this call to action does not seem to have resonated in Congress yet. A 2013 brief from our colleagues at the Brookings Institution concludes that full duty-free, quota-free access to U.S. markets would increase African exports by $72.5 million, while costing the U.S. only $9.6 million. A similar Brookings brief highlights many areas where more could be done in terms of allocating additional quotas for agricultural exports to AGOA-eligible countries. As feasible, legislators could still consider these areas as measures to improve AGOA.

Next steps

The Senate’s move to reauthorize AGOA is a major milestone for the program, but it is still far from certain that bill will ultimately pass. There are indications that the House of Representatives will move to vote on the Trade Promotion Authority before AGOA, leaving the bill in a somewhat precarious position leading up to President Obama’s trip to Kenya in July. In the interim period, most proponents of the program will likely continue to concentrate their energies on urging Congress to take quick action. While the focus on AGOA continues, U.S. legislators have taken other important actions to improve U.S. investment policy in Africa. Last Thursday, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) filed an amendment to the Senate’s version of the Trade Promotion Authority, which would require the president to establish a strategy to increase U.S. exports to the region. This amendment builds on Senator Durbin’s previous bill, “Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012,” (with parallel action taken in the House by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ)), which also called for a “Special Africa Export Strategy Coordinator” to be placed in the White House and act as a principal lead on implementation of efforts to support U.S.-Africa trade. The American legislators who voted overwhelmingly to support AGOA last week should take a serious look at this amendment as they consider the TPA before the Memorial Day recess.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Brazilian authorities must fully investigate the murder of a Brazilian blogger, identify the motive, and bring the killers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The decapitated body of Evany José Metzker was found on Monday in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, according to news reports.
"We condemn the brutal murder of Evany José Metzker and urge Brazilian authorities to leave no stone unturned in investigating this crime and all possible motives," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's Americas senior program coordinator. "The ability of local journalists to report the news is clearly being undermined by deadly violence against the Brazilian press."
Police, responding to an anonymous phone call, found Metzker's body in a ditch just outside the town of Padre Paraíso, in the northeast of Minas Gerais, according to local news reports. His head had been cut off and was found 100 meters from the rest of his body, according to press reports. He was half naked and his hands were tied behind his back, the daily O Globo said. He still had his wallet, watch, and ring.
Francisco Couy, an officer with the local coroner's office, told CPJ by phone that Metzker was probably killed on Wednesday or Thursday. The officer also read out details of the case in a YouTube video.
Metzker, 67, wrote a blog called Coruja Do Vale, which focused on general political news and official wrongdoing in the impoverished north and eastern parts of Minas Gerais, one of Brazil's biggest states. The blog reported news such as arrests made at police roadblocks, parking violations by local authorities, and community interest stories, according to CPJ's review of its content.
The journalist's wife, Hilma Chaves Silva Borges, told CPJ that they lived in the town of Medina, but that Metzker had traveled to Padre Paraíso about three months ago to do some investigative work, about which she did not provide further details. "He was doing investigative journalism in a region that is very dangerous," Borges told CPJ. "There are lots of murders here. I think that the motive--given the barbarity of his murder--was because he hit on something. He investigated mayors, politicians, cargo robberies, prostitution," she said.
According to some local news reports, Metzker had been investigating a child prostitution ring that was active in the area. A May 9 post on his blog featured an image of a Wild West-style gunslinger with the words, "Welcome to Padre Paraíso." The caption below reads: "Here there are no rules or laws."
Fabrícia Noronha, the lead investigator in the case, told CPJ that authorities were pursuing two lines of investigation. "One is that it was related to his work as an investigative journalist, and the other is a possible crime of passion," she said. She did not provide further details.
The Minas Gerais Union of Professional Journalists issued a statement calling for the murder to "be rigorously investigated" and the perpetrators held to account.
Independent bloggers in provincial capitals and towns who cover crime and corruption are particularly at risk in Brazil, according to CPJ research. News bloggers have grown influential in the country, thus becoming the newest targets of those who want to muzzle the press, CPJ research shows.

Brazil has seen a sharp increase in lethal anti-press violence in recent years, according to CPJ research. At least 14 journalists have been killed in direct retaliation for their work since 2011, CPJ research shows. Brazil's poor record of impunity adds to the violence and intimidation. The country was ranked 11th on CPJ's 2014 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


French President Francois Hollande gives a speech during
the Petersberg Climate Dialogue conference in Berlin, Germany,
May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/Poo
A roadmap for ramping up climate finance for developing countries to $100 billion a year by 2020 will be essential to agreeing a new global climate change deal in Paris later this year, the leaders of France and Germany said on Tuesday.
"Without any financial commitment, there won't be an agreement in Paris," French President Francois Hollande told the Sixth Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin.
"Developing countries won't accept an agreement if they do not get any financial support for adaptation and (energy) transition - and I am thinking in particular of African countries," he added.
The Gambia's climate change minister, Pa Ousman Jarju, said finance is "key", and should be part of a package of support for developing countries to allow them to opt for low-carbon growth. 
At U.N. talks in Copenhagen in 2009, rich countries pledged to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 in climate finance from public and private sources to help poorer nations cope with worsening extreme weather and rising seas, and to develop their economies cleanly by using renewable energy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a roadmap for how the world will raise the additional $70 billion in climate funding needed to reach the $100 billion goal, from the current level of around $30 billion. 
A summit of G7 industrialised nations in Germany in June should provide an "important signal" for this path, she added. 
Germany supports the $100 billion goal set in 2009 and will provide its share, Merkel said.
The European nation plans to double its aid for climate action from the 2014 level through 2019, as part of an 8.3 billion euro ($9.28 billion) increase in development assistance, she added, although she did not give a precise figure.
In 2014, climate finance from the public spending budget was around 2 billion euros, and this amount will be doubled by 2020, tweeted Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in Germany's environment ministry.
Private finance and innovative means of funding will be needed alongside public money, the French and German leaders said. 
Both Merkel and Hollande called for a global market for trading carbon emissions that would set an international price on carbon. 
The German chancellor said it was important for the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund - which has pledges of $10.2 billion so far - to select the first projects it will back before the Paris climate talks, in order to build trust between developed and developing nations.
"This is really necessary because many countries needing money hear about these major sums but if you ask them what has been disbursed, we have a lack here," Merkel said.
Oxfam urged other rich countries to respond to the call for a credible plan to boost climate support for developing nations.
The Paris talks should also agree on how to do that after 2020, when the new deal will take effect, including setting periodic targets, said Jan Kowalzig, Oxfam's climate change policy advisor.
"So far, Germany and other rich countries are highly reluctant to accept any future commitments in this field. If this does not change, a strong new agreement in Paris may not happen,” he added.
Both the French and German leaders emphasised the need to increase ambition on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 
Merkel said Germany would propose for the Paris agreement international emissions reductions of at least 60 percent on 2010 levels by 2050 as a "very ambitious" long-term global goal. 
The Gambia's Jarju said vulnerable countries had a “fundamental” need to adapt to climate impacts, and it was critical for the Paris agreement to include an adaptation goal “to build a resilient world".

"To get to an agreement, we must tell developing countries that we stand by them," President Hollande said.