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Monday, April 30, 2018

Family planning: Media executive, Fanimo warns on population explosion impact

Media executive and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Leadership Newspapers, Mr Dele Fanimo, has warned on population explosion impact on family planning, urging Nigerians to ensure they have family they can cater for comfortably, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking during an advocacy visit to his office by members of the Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group (FPMAWG) in Lagos, Fanimo dispelled myths and misconceptions around family planning in the country.

According to him, Nigerians must learn to plan their lives especially families so as to make certain they enjoy family lives to its fullest.

He also bemoaned the recent revelation by the National Bureau of Statistics indicating that the country now has some 198 population, describing it as a time bomb.

“The Nigerian population is 198 million and this figure has an implication on the country in all aspects of the economy. A quarter of this population is almost twice the population of Republic of Benin. The central of this is uncontrolled birth,” he said.

The COO said the implication of the Nigerian huge population can lead to increase in crime and prostitution, adding that with social dislocation, what a country gets is underdevelopment and a failed nation.

“Uncontrolled birth is unacceptable because when a man has a big family he cannot cater for, he will have to deny child A to send child B to school, leading to more miscreants, thieves, thugs and hoodlums on our streets, and the vicious circle continues.

“This is a huge problem, if we want to help the country, we must promote FP. Churches need to do more. Some of these things should form part of the Sunday sermon and mosque service.

“They need to demystify the myths and misconceptions to their members. Imagine a woman attaching child birth to inheritance. Some will say, if you live in a man’s house and no son, you will suffer when the man dies.

“Not able to cater for a large family can also lead to corruption because when you have more than you can care for, you would be force to steal,” he said.

He however called on traditional leaders, religious leaders and political leaders to help and demystify the myths and misconceptions of FP as the media cannot do it alone.

As part of contributing its quarter in creating more awareness on FP, Fanimo assured FPMAWG that Leadership Newspaper is ready to work with them.

He however urged the FPMAWG to see beyond newspaper publications but go to the rural communities, community leaders and other stakeholders to sensitize them on the importance of FP, they in turn will now be an advocate of FP.

Earlier in her address, the working group chairperson, Mrs. Umeha, noted that Family Planning (FP) has been a worldwide issue, hence the reason why world leaders, local and international donors and advocates from around the world gathered at an FP Summit in London on July 11, 2017 to discuss efforts to reach the FP 2020 goals and ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their future.

Nigerian government, she pointed out, made a commitment to increase the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) from 15 percent to 27 percent by 2020 at that meeting, stressing that government at both the Federal and State have shown commitment to the provision of free FP services to the entire women of child-bearing age in the country.

The reason for this is not far-fetched as different statistics and surveys conducted around the world, have revealed that FP program when effectively done, can lead to a reduction of maternal deaths by up to 34 percent and newborn death by about 15 per cent.

The chairperson was accompanied during the advocacy visit by some members of FP Media Working Group, including Chioma Obinna of Vanguard Newspapers, and Remmy Nweke of DigitalSENSE Africa Media, publishers of NaijaAgroNet and Pastor Olusegun Omotayo Adeboye as well as Mrs Shotomiwa Olubunmi, both of Lagos Advocacy Working Group (LAWG) and Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative(PHSAI), while the acting General Manager, Southern Operation at Leadership, Mrs. Angela Tony Iji, was also on attendance.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Agriculture, lifeline for millions of Syrians war victims


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has urged countries attending an international pledging conference for Syria to invest in agriculture as an engine of stabilization and recovery, reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO Deputy Director-General for Programmes, Daniel Gustafson told NaijaAgroNet in a statement that despite significant setbacks, agriculture continues to sustain almost half of the food supply in Syria, serving as a lifeline for millions vulnerable Syrians.

"This is a powerful testimony of the resilience of the people of Syria and of the agriculture sector,"  "Without additional assistance to the agriculture sector and to resilience programmes in rural areas, food insecurity will continue to rise as well as migration, and stability will remain elusive," he said.   

"We must address the root causes of the vulnerabilities that have contributed to exacerbating the crisis and their impacts. These include in particular the urban-rural gap in poverty and access to social services, escalating water scarcity and climate change which are drivers of massive rural unemployment and migration," Gustafson added. "While everyone recognizes the relevance of the resilience approach in responding to the Syria crisis and the imperative of bridging humanitarian and development interventions, we continue to face major funding shortfalls".

FAO is appealing for $120 million under the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria and has received just one quarter of the total.

The European Union and the United Nations are co-chairing the pledging conference in Brussels (24-25 April) to mobilise humanitarian aid and to garner political support for the UN-led peace process. 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

World Malaria Day 2018: AMMREN applauds African countries on free malaria by 2020

As part of the 2018 World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), has applauded some five African countries aiming to eliminate malaria by 2020, reports NaijaAgroNet.

AMMREN Executive Secretary, Dr. Charity Bika, applauded Egypt and Morocco which have been malaria free since 2000 as well as Algeria, which achieved this feat in 2016.

The network also acknowledged five African countries, namely, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland, which have been identified as most likely to eliminate malaria by 2020.
April 25, 2018, Accra - World Malaria Day is here again to bring stakeholders together in the hope of winning.

Describing the fight against malaria as fight against one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, Bika said that each year, 25th April has been set aside as the World Malaria Day to highlight efforts to control malaria and celebrate the gains that have been made.

Equally, she said, since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. However, half the world still lives at risk from this preventable and treatable disease, which costs a child’s life every two minutes.

As the world commemorates this year’s World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), made up of a group of African journalists and scientists leading a malaria advocacy agenda, “it is also gratifying that Algeria, Comoros, Madagascar, the Gambia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe have also been honoured this year by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance for leadership in scaling down malaria cases.”

As said by her, “we all look up to these shining examples of countries that are making progress in the fight against malaria.”

AMMREN further urged countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to double the malaria control efforts to ensure they join or at least get close to the ranks of countries at the elimination stages by 2020.

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World Malaria Day 2018: Africa accounts for 90% of global malaria cases, deaths

Africa presently accounts for over 90 per cent of the global malaria cases and deaths, according to the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also informed NaijaAgroNet that malaria costed Africa’s economy US$ 12 billion per year in direct losses, and 1.3 per cent of lost annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

As the world marks malaria day, today, April 25, 2018, NaijaAgroNet reports that globally progress against malaria are being celebrated in order to encourage political, scientific and personal commitments to end the disease for good.

The Roll Back Malaria partnership equally noted that 25th April marks the tenth World Malaria Day and the culmination of a month of worldwide action against the disease at a time when global malaria cases are on the rise for the first time in a decade.

With the rallying call ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, NaijaAgroNet reports, is encouraging governments, health bodies, private sector companies and the public to accelerate progress against malaria, making this World Malaria Day even more vital.

“After a decade of success in pushing back malaria, it is on the rise again and will come back with a vengeance if we do not act decisively now,” warns Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

“Half the world is still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable, treatable disease which takes a child’s life every two minutes. Worldwide action is needed to meet the 2030 target of reducing malaria cases by at least 90 per cent. We are delighted that more countries than ever, forty-four, are reporting less than 10,000 cases, however we must ensure we continue to press forward to end malaria – not only in highburden nations but also those on track to eliminate the disease. It is our global responsibility to consign malaria to the history books,” Admasu said.

Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership Board Chair comments, “This month has seen world leaders come together to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease. It has been a truly momentous time in the fight against malaria, but the battle is not yet won. We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets.

“The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to beat malaria – are you?”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, says: “World Malaria Day reminds us of the challenges that remain. The declining trend in malaria cases and deaths has stalled and vital funding for malaria programmes has flat lined. If we continue along this path, we will lose the gains for which we have fought so hard.

“We call on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the malaria response. Together we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing lifesaving services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria,” DG said.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

For bioeconomy without any behind, FAO urges coordination

For a bioeconomy without any individual behind, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged for deliberate attempt on coordination, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This was the message FAO Deputy Director-General Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo delivered today at the Global Bioeconomy Summit in Berlin.

A sustainable bioeconomy, Semedo said, "is foremost about nature and the people who take care of and produce biomass". This means family farmers, forest people and fishers, who are also "holders of important knowledge on how to manage natural resources in a sustainable way."

"We must foster internationally-coordinated efforts and ensure multi-stakeholder engagement at local, national and global levels," she said noting that this requires measurable targets, means to fulfil them and cost-effective ways to measure progress.

"Together, let's harness the development for sustainable bioeconomy for all and leave no one behind," Semedo said, stressing how FAO works with member states and other partners across the conventional bioeconomy sectors - agriculture, forestry and fisheries - but also relevant technologies such as biotechnology and information technology to serve agricultural sectors.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Novartis enters 5-year partnership on malaria elimination, votes USD100m

A five-year commitment to the fight against malaria has been entered by Novartis in conjunction with the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Conference and the Malaria Summit of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The company, NaijaAgroNet gathered, also released new African research on progress and remaining challenges toward the 2030 malaria elimination targets, together with Elimination 8 and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust program.

Over the next five years, as part of its commitment, Novartis will invest more than USD 100 million to advance research and development of next-generation treatments to combat emerging resistance to artemisinin and other currently used antimalarials. The company will also implement an equitable pricing strategy to maximize patient access in malaria-endemic countries when these new treatments become available. In order to contribute to the WHO’s target of reducing malaria-related child mortality by at least 90% by 2030, Novartis will further help expand access to pediatric antimalarials and implement healthcare system strengthening programs in 4 sub-Saharan countries.

“Resistance to treatment presents the biggest threat to the incredible progress that has been made in the fight against malaria in the past 20 years. We cannot afford to wait; this is why we are committing to advance the research and development of next-generation treatments,” said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. “At the same time, we need to work to ensure that our innovation reaches those most in need, even those in the most remote locations.”

The R&D investment is meant to advance the Novartis malaria pipeline through 2023 and to complete a comprehensive global clinical trial program for our novel antimalarial drug candidates KAF156 and KAE609 (currently in Phase IIb and Phase IIa respectively [1]). Both are from new classes of medicines that were selected for their ability to treat malaria in different ways from current therapies. The investment also includes new uses of technology to identify areas where the malaria burden is greatest. This information could then be used to support capability- and capacity-building to establish future clinical trial sites, so the medicines can be evaluated in the populations where they are most needed.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Merck Foundation opens call on diabetes, hypertension awards 2018

The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has opened the calls for application for Merck Diabetes and Hypertension awards 2018, reports ITRealms.

The awards, ITRealms gathered is open across the African and Asian Universities through its Merck Capacity Advancement Program with the aim to building a platform for diabetes and hypertension experts across the globe.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej said, “I am very proud to see our newly established platform of Diabetes and Hypertension Experts has grown in one year. This encourages us to continue and expand 2018 Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards to universities in more countries in Africa and Asia such as Senegal, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Niger, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to join our mission to improve access to quality Diabetes and hypertension care in the two continents . “

She further added, “All Merck Diabetes and Hypertension awards winners have Joined Merck Foundation Alumni with our oncology and Fertility scholars and fellows from different countries to exchange experience & knowledge and network, this is a very important initiative for us. I personally oversee this platform to ensure success of its interaction and sustainability. “

Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards 2018 will be rolled out in many African and Asian Universities in more than 30 countries, as a part of Merck Foundation’s commitment to build Diabetes and Hypertension healthcare capacity and improving access to quality and sustainable healthcare solutions in developing countries.

The theme for Merck Diabetes Award 2018 is ‘Every day is a Diabetes Day,’ and the theme for Merck Hypertension Award is ‘What a Healthy Heart Needs.’ All medical postgraduates and final year undergraduates are invited to apply for the awards. The participants need to submit a one-page concept paper on the theme.

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

GlobalGAP certifies ABX Nigeria ‘Farm Assurer’ over Anambra feats

The GlobalGood Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP) has certified ABX World Nigeria Limited to offer trainings and certifications to recognized farmers and agricultural organisations, commencing with Anambra State, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The GlobalGAP certification comes with a crucial objective to pursue safe, sustainable agriculture worldwide, setting voluntary standards for agricultural products around the globe with producers, suppliers and buyers harmonizing their certification standards to match, among others.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered is being championed in the country by ABX World Nigeria with a lead from Anambra State, which is expected to escalate to other parts of Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Anambra State recently entered partnership with ABX to train and certify farmers while linking them to off-takers abroad, thereby raising the states bar in agricultural revolution.

In a letter dated April 5, 2018, signed by the Chief Executive Officer, GlobalGAP, Dr. Kristian Moeller, he congratulated ABX World Nigeria Limited, declaring them GlobalGAP Licensed Farm Assurer in the country.

“Based on a pre-assessment and the signed agreement with FoodPLUS GmbH you are now a GlobalGAP Licensed Farm Assurer.

“We also accepted you as Farm Assurer Manager, the main contact person for the GlobalGAP Secretariat”, the letter reads.

Dr. Moeller expressed confidence that the newly licensee Farm Assurer Manager will assist GlobalGAP in carrying out coordination activities and communicate with GlobalGAP, where required. 

The license, the MD/CEO of Captain John Okakpu, is a huge step towards expanding agro-produce exports in the country.

He said, GLOBALG.A.P. members are notable for creating private sector incentives for agricultural producers worldwide to adopt safe and sustainable practices to make this world a better place to live in.

“The emphasis in on safe produce through sustainable programmes. We are happy to have put Nigeria in this global map through the supports of Anambra State Government. 

“This license further entails there will be 50% cost reduction for local farmers to be trained and certified. It implies enhanced capacity for training farmers has been achieved.

The MD/CEO of abx world noted that the platform will be utilised to train young Nigerians, particularly those with discipline in agriculture.

“This is huge and coming at the time the Nigeria Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP 2018 - 2020) for Agriculture and Transportation summit is on-going in Abuja- identifying all the problems facing the two sectors and offer solutions for implementation to put solid template for their growth.

“So, this license offers us the platform to queue into the FG’s ERGP program to unlock the potentials and properly address the issues and problems facing the sectors and put everlasting solutions in place”, Okakpu said.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Support to smallholder farmers, women, youth top agenda @Mauritania

The imperative of supporting smallholder farmers, women and youth are top on the agenda for a forthcoming meeting between the President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The meeting, according to David Florentin Paqui of IFAD Communications Division in Nouakchott, affirmed to NaijaAgroNet, said would be witnessed by senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, to discuss how investment in agriculture could ensure food and nutrition security and create jobs for rural people, particularly women and youth.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that in Mauritania, 41 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, and half depend on agriculture for their income, whereas farming generates 25 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), hence, small farms are vital for the country’s food security as well as its economy.

During an official three-day visit to the country starting Monday, April 9, Houngbo hinted his meeting with the Mauritanian President and Prime Minister, Yahya Ould Hademine would have support for smallholders farmers, women and youth top on agenda.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet gathered that a joint working meeting with the Minister of Economy and Finance, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Livestock and the Minister of Environment will focus on the role of smallholder farmers in ensuring food security in Mauritania, the challenge of climate change, and the opportunities agriculture can offer to young people in rural areas.

Investing in a new generation of smallholder farmers is essential. Of Mauritania’s 4 million people, 40 per cent are under 15 years of age, 60 per cent are under 25 and only 5 per cent are over 60. Half of the population derives their livelihoods from raising crops and livestock and fishing. Although the country is self-sufficient in red meat and fish, it imports 60 per cent of other staple foodstuffs, particularly rice, vegetables, sugar and cooking oil.

IFAD and the government of Mauritania are working together to improve food security and nutrition, increase the incomes of poor rural households, create jobs and reduce the country's dependence on food imports. Since 1980, IFAD has financed 14 projects and programmes in Mauritania for a total of $342.3 million, including $136.2 million from IFAD’s own resources, directly benefitting nearly 190,470 Mauritanian rural households.

Houngbo will deliver a keynote address at the opening session of the Regional Implementation Forum organized in Nouakchott by the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD. Later, he will join Lemina Mint El Ghotob Ould Moma, Minister of Agriculture, in Kiffa to meet with rural people benefiting from an IFAD-supported Poverty Reduction Project in Aftout South and Karakoro – Phase II designed to help build, an economic and social fabric based on sustainable natural resource management that is inclusive of poor rural households, particularly women and young people. Because of its achievements in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, this project was a recipient of a 2017 IFAD Gender Award.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mandela University Abuja breaks through with cancer treatment

Just 17 years after Nelson Mandela sold the dream of a state of the art institution to drive Africa’s advancement in science and technology to former World Bank President Jim Wolfenssohn, the Abuja-based institution inspired by Mandela dream is making strong strides in the battle against cancer, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Three students of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, whose Board Chair is Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and President is Professor Kingston Nyamapfene, have in separate research efforts come up with very promising findings that are likely to make a difference in the global search for a cure to the deadly disease.

The studies include the work of Kwabena Kan-Dapaah on “Implantable Composite Devices for the Localised Treatment of Breast Cancer”; John David Obayemi’s work on Nano- Particles For Breast Cancer Detection And Treatment and Salifu T. Azeko’s work which was centred on “Biodegradation among others.

These efforts are in addition to the widely reported groundbreaking discovery in cancer treatment by a young Sierra-Leonian female student of African University of Science and Technology, Sandra Musujusu. Musujusu is developing an alternative treatment for a subtype of breast cancer commonly found in black women.

According to the student: “My research is actually centered on the development of biodegradable polymers for treatment of breast cancer… I will be focusing on triple negative breast cancer, which is actually the aggressive subtype of breast cancer that is common with women from African ancestry.”

The Sierra Leone native’s research was unveiled in July last year  when World Bank director Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi visited the Nigerian school as a part of his assessment tour of the 10 African Centers of Excellence locations, funded to encourage research to benefit African countries facing problems.

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Ghana to host first Autism Talent Show

Twellium Foundation, manufacturers of Verna Mineral water, Afi Antonio Foundation and Autism Society of Ghana to host Ghana’s first autism talent show on Saturday,14th April,2018 at the Aviation social centre, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The project which aims to create awareness on autism, erase stereotypes associated with the condition, and challenge the perception that children with autism cannot live their dreams to the fullest. The campaign will showcase different talents of children living with autism, which includes painting on canvas, drawing, dancing, beading, etc
Giving details of the event to the public, Mrs. Afi Antonio-Addo, Executive Director of the foundation revealed the theme for this year’s world Autism day which fell on 2nd April is “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism" a theme that is in line with Verna and its stakeholder’s vision of touching lives of women and girls in Ghana.
For this purpose, Twellium Industrial Company Limited through Verna Changing Lives Campaign has for the past year been creating awareness about Autism by engaging 3 beautiful girls living with autism, who have dreams of becoming models.
On the day of the event, the public is invited to witness the kids taking part in activities such as painting on canvas, beading, modeling, drawing etc.

Arts and crafts produced by the children during this event will be sold to invited guest and money raised will be  used to purchase equipment and tools to support selected Autism Training Centres in the country that admit and support these children.
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African Continental Free Trade Area: Moving African integration further forward

Twenty years ago, I hoped for an Africa that would draw closer and forge forward boldly, despite a bag of mixed fortunes. Rwanda had just been blighted by genocide; the ubiquitous coup d’état still reared its ugly head in West Africa; although a tentative calm prevailed in Central Africa, political tensions simmered below the surface; Zaïre was in the throes of the ‘first Congo war’; the civil war in Somalia grew in magnitude and intensity; Ethiopia began an experiment in state-led macroeconomic planning; a democratic South Africa rose from the ashes of Apartheid, a veritable validation of the OAU’s ultimate goal of political liberation for Africa.

An interim period of positive change ensued, a growth fuelled by new media including the Internet, greater multiculturalism and a stronger attachment to democratic principles.

In March 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union Heads of State and Government enacted the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda at its 10th Extraordinary Session, under the able leadership of H.E. President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, with H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as current AU Chairperson and H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission. Once in force AfCFTA will be the largest trade zone in the world, increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022, remove tariffs on 90% of goods, liberalise services and tackle other barriers to intra-African trade, such as long delays at border posts.

The end of colonialism in the early 1960s created 55 African countries which cut arbitrarily across ethnic, cultural and traditional boundaries. They established the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to promote unity and solidarity on one hand yet emphasised territorial sovereignty on the other. This hamstrung the OAU insofar as national affairs were concerned, and helped create regional economic blocks or communities (RECs) in the mid-1970s.

RECs engendered political and economic integration. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (EAC) signed agreements for the free movement of goods, services and people. There are now 8 AU-recognised RECs and a number of sub-regional bodies that are actively pursuing Africa’s integration agenda.

In 1991 the Abuja Treaty established the African Economic Community (AEC), building on RECs for integration. At the 2001 OAU Summit, African Heads of States and Government adopted the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as a further vector to accelerate African economic co-operation and integration. The Summit recognised the importance of OAU input into REC programme planning and implementation. In 2002, the Constitutive Act of the AU was adopted in Lomé, Togo, formally replacing the OAU.

These milestones show that African economic integration is best pursued on a regional basis.

Rethinking Africa’s priorities is urgently called for. In this regard Agenda 2063, a consolidated strategy for sustained political and economic integration and prosperity, was launched by African Heads of State and Government at the 50th Anniversary of African Unity in 2013. Agenda 2063’s first Ten-Year Implementation Plan (2013-2023) draws heavily on NEPAD’s experiences. Beyond these broad strokes in development priorities and programmes, African development must be translated into concrete action.

While business and consumer confidence have improved, investment, trade and productivity have not. This has a direct impact on both foreign and domestic investments in Africa, particularly in infrastructure. As the world’s second-fastest growing region, Africa holds much promise for those willing to invest time to study our local economies and identify opportunities presented by a booming middle class with an endless appetite for consumables.

Although the Africa Report 2017 shows that virtually all countries plan large infrastructure projects and understand the need to industrialise, Africa cannot afford to be an ‘investment risk’ for infrastructure projects that advance sustainable inclusive development.

To this end, the AU-NEPAD Continental Business Network (CBN) continues to de-risk infrastructure projects in order to attract financing, especially through Pension and Sovereign Wealth Funds. In September 2017, NEPAD and the CBN initiated an Africa-led and Africa-owned campaign to increase African asset owners’ contributions to African infrastructure from approximately 1.5% of their assets under management (AUM) to 5% of AUM. By using financial resources available on the continent and strengthening public-private partnerships, infrastructure investments should increase. The CBN has called for a more strategic engagement with domestic institutional investors in support of this campaign.

The AfCTA, is a monumental step for Africa; another significant milestone in Africa’s integration process. I have to however aptly point out that the AfCFTA was signed in Kigali the capital that experienced complete turmoil some 24 years ago but is now poised to become the futuristic “Wakanda.”

*Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, a former Prime Minister of Niger, is the current CEO of the African Union’s NEPAD Agency. 

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Expert says Nigeria invests too little on people’s health

Nigeria has been investing too little and inefficiently in the health of her people, so says the Director, Health, Nutrition, and Population Global Practice, World Bank Group, Dr. Olusoji Adeyi, NaijaAgroNet reports.

Adeyi in a keynote address entitled “Financing Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria” to the 2018 Nigeria Health Financing Forum in Abuja, said recently that Nigeria is underperforming in health financing when compared to other Lower-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and countries in the Upper-Middle-Income (UMIC) Group.

As said by him, investing in health would lead to economic growth, reductions in mortality account for about 11 per cent of recent economic growth in low-income and middle-income countries as measured in their national income accounts.

This, he said, would see to a more complete picture of the value of health investments over a time period given by the growth in a country's ‘full income,’ which is the income growth measured in national income accounts plus the Value of Additional Life Years (VLYs) gained in that period.

Dr. Adeyi noted that between 2000 and 2011, about 24 per cent of the growth in full income in low-income and middle-income countries resulted from VLYs gained.

According to him, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that all people could use the essential health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

This definition of UHC, he said, embodies three related objectives, including equity in access to health services; the quality of health services should be good; and People should be protected against financial-risk.

Further, he explained that equity in access implies that everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them, while the quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; whereas, people should be protected against financial-risk, to ensure that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.

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