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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mozambique, ARC sign MoU to mitigate drought, floods - NaijaAgroNet

The African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency and the Government of Mozambique have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide mid to long-term solutions against the recurrent episodes of drought, floods, and tropical cyclones in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The MoU serves as “a framework to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between the ARC Agency and the Government, and to define the terms and conditions under which the Government and the ARC Agency will work together to address the impact of Extreme Climate Events on Mozambique, including through support provided by the ARC Agency for Mozambique, training of Government officials and other efforts in support of Mozambique objectives.”

Mozambique, which is emerging from two tropical cyclones, is vulnerable to climate change because of its location and geography which expose large areas of the country to tropical cyclones, droughts (every three to four years) and river/coastal storm surge flooding. This vulnerability is heightened by the country’s 2,470 km of coastline and socioeconomic fragility which puts infrastructure, coastal agriculture, key ecosystems and fisheries at risk.

Speaking about the signing of the MoU, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Director-General of ARC, Mohamed Beavogui indicated that the aim is to work with the Government of Mozambique to understand its own risk profile vis-à-vis the various perils facing the country and develop customised response plans.

“ARC is a Development Insurance Mechanism which links risk profiling, contingency planning and a payout. “Although insurance will never cover all the risks associated with a peril in each country, the ARC approach allows for the risks to be managed in a way that multiplies the benefits from limited resources available to Government. Therefore, helping to save more lives and livelihoods at the early stage of a disaster…before the arrival of humanitarian assistance…,” ASG Beavogui stated.

“The Government of the Mozambique appreciates the onset of formal collaboration with the African Risk Capacity” said HE Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Mozambique’s Minister of Economy and Finance. “We expect that the MoU will initial a well-coordinated take-off of activities towards strengthening the capacities of our climate management authority officials as well as other personnel to better understand our risk profile and provide quicker responses in the event of natural disasters,” he concluded.

Under the MoU, the Government of Mozambique and the ARC Agency will work together through the Program to prepare for the potential participation of the Government as an ARC Ltd member. At the end of the Program, the Government will decide whether to participate in ARC Ltd and its level of participation.

Government involvement in the Program does not commit it to participate in ARC Ltd but rather support an informed decision-making process on climate risk insurance.

ARC is working with other development partners including the African Development Bank as well as the World Bank towards a premium financing support to Mozambique when it decides to take the sovereign disaster risk insurance coverage. 


Isaac Oyimah/Editor

Pix; UN-ASG / Director-General African Risk Capacity, Mohamed Beavogui and HE Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Mozambique’s Minister of Economy and Finance during one of the discussions leading to the signing of the MoU

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Merck Foundation mets Kenyan First Lady to underscore healthcare capacity - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany underscored their commitment to build healthcare capacity in Kenya during a high level meeting held at the State House between The First Lady of Kenya, H.E. Madam Margaret Kenyatta and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The First Lady of Kenya, had emphasized, it was an honor to meet and hold talks with the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej. 

"I am looking forward to partnering in the training of more oncologists and experts in diabetes and infertility management, as well as in @BeyondZeroKenya” she said.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “I am proud and elated to meet Her Excellency The First Lady of Kenya, to discuss Merck Foundation’s commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of people of Kenya by improving access to quality and equitable healthcare in the country by training more doctors in the fields of Fertility, Cancer and Diabetes care through nationwide programs. Also, to work closely to break the stigma of infertility in Kenya and other African countries.”

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fayemi commissions Gossy Water plant - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has commissioned Gossy Water Production plant, signalling the commencement of full scale production of the popular table water brand, a year after the parent company was liquidated, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The entire Ikogosi was tuned into a carnival, Tuesday, as both the young and the old trooped to the major streets as early as 6.00am singing and dancing in celebration of the return of the company.

Governor Fayemi who led other dignitaries to commission the plant, said it was regrettable that the Gossy Water Company which could have been generating revenues for the State went moribund due to lack of conducive environment for ease of doing business in Ekiti State after he left office in 2014.

The Governor recalled that the bottling company was established as a joint business venture under Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the first civilian Governor of the State and the investment “made waves in the market thereby boosting the IGR of the State and creating job opportunities for the citizens”.

He described the revitalisation of the company as another milestone in the state government’s determined efforts to revive moribund projects in Ekiti State.

“I am particularly excited about this development because of its expected multiplier effects on the economic lives of the people and governance in the State. I therefore congratulate Ekiti kete, home and abroad, for the restoration of this company which is an offshoot of one of our most prominent tourist attractions, the Ikogosi Warm Springs”, he said.

While lamenting the neglect of the tourism corridors of Ekiti State by the last administration, the governor said Ikogosi resort has now become “a ghost of its former self and hardly enjoys patronage because of its state of dilapidation”.

Dr Fayemi, however, assured that his administration would soon revive the warm spring resort, through private sector investment, and restore it to its pride of place as a first class tourist destination in Africa, with

While promising that his government would ensure an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, the governor said his administration has mapped out strategic plans towards the resuscitation of other abandoned and moribund investments in the State.

The governor commended one of the leaders of Ekiti socio-cultural group, Ugbimo Ure Ekiti, Sir Remi Omotoso for playing a key role in ensuring that the Gossy Water Company returns and called on other Ekiti indigenes to support government in moving the State forward.

In his speech, the Board Chairman of Gossy Warm Spring, Mr Wole Adeyegbe expressed the readiness of the company to run the Gossy brand profitably and extending the brand to related food and beverage segment.

Adeyegbe added that the company has employed Ekiti indigenes, adding that it is planning to have at least 300 of its direct and indirect staff from the State.

Earlier, the Group Managing Director of Fountain Holdings Ltd, Mr Seyi Ayeleso thanked Governor Fayemi for working with Benin Electricity Distribution Company to restore power to Ikogosi Ekiti and its two neighbouring communities; saying that this would help forestall a re-occurrence of power challenge which was part of the reasons for its liquidation by its owner company, UAC.


Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Pix: L-R: Production Engineer, Gossy water, Engr Ayodeji Ojo; Ekiti State Governor; Dr. Kayode Fayemi and former Managing Director oodua Investment Company, Sir Remi Omotoso; inspecting production process, during the commissioning of Gossy water production plant in Ikogosi-Ekiti…on Tuesday

Monday, May 13, 2019

Shell targets equivalent of 2,400MW electricity from new gas supply project - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The ongoing Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project in Imo State, southeast Nigeria will produce 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, energy equivalent of about 2400 Megawatts which is enough to provide uninterrupted electricity to about 2.4 million homes, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor said on Monday, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Okunbor spoke at the media launch of the 2019 edition of the Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, an annual publication detailing the activities of the business interests of the global energy giant in Nigeria covering SPDC, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Shell Nigeria Gas and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas.

SPDC took the final investment decision on the Assa North/Ohaji South project last December giving a major momentum to the domestic gas aspiration of the Federal Government for increased power generation and industrialisation.

Giving a breakdown of the gas production, Okunbor said 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day would be processed at a new gas processing plant owned by the SPDC Joint Venture while the remaining 300 million will go to a proposed gas processing plant by SEPLAT Petroleum.

Okunbor said, “The project would be a major game-changer in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency and economic growth as we look to grow the domestic gas market.” He added that the SPDC and its joint venture partners – NNPC, Total and Agip – would continue to explore other areas of support for the expansion of domestic gas supply and continue to make investments under the right conditions.

The Assa North/Ohaji South Gas Development Project ranks top among the Federal Government’s Seven Critical Gas Development Projects aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s aspiration for energy sufficiency and diverse industrial growth.

Explaining the company’s gas development strategy, SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said Shell was transforming to a gas-oriented business and currently accounts for about 10 percent of Nigeria’s domestic gas most of which is used for power generation.

SPDC and SNEPCo continue to contribute tremendously to the Nigerian economy. They paid N515.14 billion to the Federal Government in 2018 in taxes, royalties and levies while contracts worth N393.94 billion were awarded to Nigerian companies in the same year.

These contributions, according the 2019 Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, are aside the N39.58 billion paid to the Niger Delta Development Commission and another N44.36 billion disbursed for various community-driven projects in the Niger Delta under the SPDC JV Global Memorandum of Understanding.

Shell Companies in Nigeria also made direct spending of N17.03 billion on social investment projects making Nigeria the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group.

Those who attended the Briefing Notes launch included the SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari; SNG’s MD, Ed Ubong and the SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor


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Erelu Fayemi laments 60% of out-of-School children in Nigeria are females - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: The Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has bemoaned the increasing number of out of school children in the country, saying that 60 per cebnt of out of school children in Nigeria have been found to be females, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Ekiti State first Lady said available statistics indicated that the girl child accounted for over six million out of the 10.5 million that lack access to formal education in the country. She outlined this as one of the major impediments to the progress and leadership of Nigerian Women.

Stressing that presently, women representation at the National Assembly and other levels of government is almost non-existential, she, however, predicted that with the gradual conscious efforts being made to sensitize women, there would be a better representation in future elections.

Erelu Fayemi stated this on Thursday while delivering the 5th Distinguished lecture of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, titled: 'Clapping With One Hand: Female Education, Leadership and the Quest for National Development'.

In her lecture, the First Lady noted that the atrocities committed by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram have had a devastating effect on millions of citizens, particularly women and children. This, according to her has disrupted the education of many children, with a dire implication on their future and in turn the future of the country.

She added that despite their successes and achievements, millions of women and girls still suffer from the feminization of poverty, lack of access to basic resources, diseases, violent conflict and the complex use of culture, religion and tradition to render the female gender voiceless in the society.

According to Erelu Fayemi, "the gains of women are often eroded when faced with a combination of the following obstacles: Patriarchal Power and Privilege; violent conflict and displacement; lack of political will; religious and cultural conservatism; and ideological differences.

"Inaccessible political machineries and godfather's syndrome; lack of financial investment required for political office; violence and intimidation; Cultural and attitudinal barriers are major factors that are limiting women and reducing their capacities to rise to the top", she said.

"Patriarchy is a system of male authority which legitimizes the oppression of women through political, social, economic, legal cultural, religious and military institutions.

"Men's access to, and control over resources and rewards within the private and public sphere derives its legitimacy from the patriarchal ideology of male dominance," She explained further.

The First lady added: " If you look at the configuration of the National Assembly since 2011, women representation has always been very bad and this has not given women ample opportunity to participate in setting legal framework that regulates governance. It was better in 2011, dropped in 2015, but became worse in 2019" she said, stressing that these factors should not discourage the women from demanding for their rights.

The Ekiti First Lady further said "Crimes against women are on the increase, gender violence, rape, trafficking, sexual exploitation, discrimination and kidnapping, amongst others. All these issues make the atmosphere very unsafe for women".

Erelu Fayemi called for holistic implementation and enforcement of relevant laws that tend to tame gender inequality and promote women's interest to enhance their relevance in all sectors.

She further advised women "to seek conceptual clarity on gender and feminism, to research use of legislative and policy framework, build a platform to make political demands, encourage inter-generational organising, engage in resource mobilisation, make educational institution safe for female gender, prepare for leadership and build a legacy that can attract public respect.

"These are the different ways that we can reset the agenda and as a society clap with both hands," she noted.

Present at the event were the representative of the Governor of Ondo State, Special Adviser, Education, Dr Wumi Ilawole and Olori Olayinka Kiladejo, Wife of the Osemawe of Ondo.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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North-East: 894 children released from armed group says UNICEF - NaijaAgroNet

A total of 894 children, including 106 girls, were released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria today, as part of its commitment to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The CJTF is a local militia that helps the Nigerian security forces in the fight against insurgency in north-east Nigeria. It was formed in 2013, with the aim of protecting communities from attack.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being." 

Since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to put measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

The children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country. Without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

In the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria, more than 3,500 children were recruited and used by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017. Others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” said Fall.

UNICEF continues to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict. The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor
 
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Thursday, May 9, 2019

See the power of blue economy, ABEF charges businesses - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgronet:
Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) comes to Tunis on June 25-26 with some confirmed speakers include Government ministers and officials from Gabon, Ghana, Morocco, Somaliland, Tunisia and Seychelles; Aims to raise awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of the Blue Economy.

African businesses are being challenged to wake up to the economic, social and environmental power of the Blue Economy. Momentum is gathering for companies based in Africa’s coastal nations to fully recognise and understand the benefits of backing a Blue Economy, which covers a wide range of productive sectors that are crucial for the continent’s sustainable development, including fisheries, aquaculture, transport, energy, trade and tourism as well as extractive industries.

Research indicates that the Blue Economy has the potential to be a major source of wealth and prosperity for the continent and help advance the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Businesses interested in learning how they can be part of the rising tide involved in the Blue Economy are invited to attend the second Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF), which is being held in Tunisia on 25-26 June.

This year’s ABEF2019 builds on the inaugural event in London last year which explored what the Blue Economy was. This year’s forum aims to take it a stage further and explore how business and government can implement actions that will proactively boost the economic, social and environmental welfare of the continent.

Isaacc Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Nestle Nigeria records 5.2% growth - NaijaAgroNet

Nestlé Nigeria Plc has unveiled its financial results for the first quarter of 2019 with a record of post-revenue of N71.0 billion, which is a growth of 5.2 per cent over previous year, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The gross profit for the period, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered, stood at N 31.5 billion, compared to N 25.8 billion during the previous year. 

Also, the company posted a net profit of N 12.8 billion as compared to N 8.6 billion during same period under review. 

In the first quarter of the 2019, Nestlé Nigeria continued its emphasis on creating demand as well as strengthening brand loyalty programs to increase market penetration.

Also, the company continued to focus on Creating Shared Value for society and its shareholders by delivering high quality nutritious products to consumers and contributing to the growth of the local economy through local sourcing and increasing access to clean drinking water in the communities where it operates.

Managing Director & CEO of Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, said, “We are pleased with the sustained growth of our company, the loyalty of our consumers and the discipline and dedication of our people to provide tastier and healthier foods and beverages,” 


Isaac Oyimah/Editor


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Monday, April 29, 2019

Soil tops GSP 7th Assembly - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The essence of soil in agriculture is toppied the agenda for the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) 7th Assembly slated for Lozio, Italy, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Soil is an essential resource and a vital part of the natural environment from which most of the global food is produced. At the same time, soil provides living space for humans, as well as essential ecosystem services which are important for water regulation and supply, climate regulation, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and cultural services.
But soils are under pressure from increases in population, higher demands for food and competing land uses. Approximately 33% of our global soils are degraded and policymakers around the world are exploring opportunities to embrace sustainable development via sustainable development goals.
The Global Soil Partnership was established in December 2012 as a mechanism to develop a strong interactive partnership and enhanced collaboration and synergy of efforts between all stakeholders. From land users through to policymakers, one of the key objectives of the GSP is to improve the governance and promote sustainable management of soils.
The Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly (PA) constitutes the main venue where all GSP partners come together to make important decisions about the global soil agenda.
Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AGRA, Atlas AI, hing on tech to boost food insecurity sub-Saharan African countries - NaijaAgroNet

Atlas AI, a Silicon Valley-based public benefit corporation founded in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led, farmer-centered institution transforming smallholder agriculture with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and other partners, have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) forming a unique collaboration to address food insecurity in 11 sub-Saharan African nations.
The MOU establishes an agreement between both Atlas AI and AGRA to collaborate around predictive analytics for smallholder agriculture, through applications of satellite imagery and machine learning to offer useful insights in areas of land use, yields, and peak time for harvest, input distribution gaps, and other contextual monitoring aspects.
In a continent where about 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods—and smallholder farmers account for 90 percent of food production, this collaboration will utilize Atlas AI’s cutting-edge tools together with AGRA’s unique local data sets to help improve food security across sub-Saharan Africa.
 It will unpack the results from predictive analytics to aid government and private sector decision-makers in the face of emerging threats and shocks such as changing weather, diseases and pests. It will support regional bodies in advancing the continental and global agricultural agenda.
“At The Rockefeller Foundation, we recognize that technology has the power to improve food security that is critical for both human welfare and economic growth in Africa, and we’re optimistic that this relationship represents the future of defeating large-scale food insecurity around the world,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “I am excited that AGRA and Atlas AI will work together to drive agricultural transformation that will improve the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and the communities they serve.”
Since 2006, AGRA has worked to transform Africa’s smallholder farming from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives through efforts to develop and deliver high-yielding and locally adapted seeds, improve soil fertility, upgrade storage facilities, improve access to markets, strengthen farmers’ associations, expand access to credit for farmers and suppliers, and advocate for national policies that benefit smallholder farmers and agribusinesses.
“There have been many exciting advances in data, satellite imagery, and machine learning for agriculture over the years. Until recently, very little of this technologies has been available to African farms due to the inability of farmers and governments to pay for them,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA. “We are delighted to partner with Atlas AI and the Rockefeller Foundation in making these cutting edge advances in digital technology real and bringing them home for the millions of smallholder farmers we work with to improve their yields and lives.”
Founded in 2018 by Stanford Professors David Lobell, Stefano Ermon, and Marshall Burke, Atlas AI brings world-class AI solutions to sustainable development.
The teams uses cutting-edge machine learning to help decision-makers get more impact at lower costs through better planning, management, and assessment. In February 2019, Victoria Coleman—former CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation VP and VP of Engineering at Yahoo!—joined Atlas AI as its inaugural CEO.
“Atlas AI is excited to formalize our partnership with AGRA, which represents an important milestone for us,” said Victoria Coleman, CEO of Atlas AI. “They have an impressive footprint across Africa, and we share their commitment to transform smallholder agriculture. By working together, we hope to be more effective in growing agribusinesses and agricultural markets across the continent.”
A data-driven philanthropy focused on partnering for the greatest impact, The Rockefeller Foundation has long a history of supporting innovative organizations such as Atlas AI and AGRA.
This new partnership allows Atlas AI and AGRA to use technology to the benefit the millions of smallholder farmers who are unable to invest in tools and technologies that could increase yields and improve the lives of millions.
 The Foundation maintains a seat on both Atlas AI’s and AGRA’s Board of Directors and will continue to be an active partner focused on long-term stewardship of results-oriented, global human development outcomes.
Bob Koigi 
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African Energy Chamber welcomes South Sudan investment drive - NaijaAgroNet

South African and African private sector participants have an amazing opportunity to invest in South Sudans’ peace and make huge profits, just as the African Energy Chamber will be joined by Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, Minister of Finance and Planning, South Sudan’s global investment drive is arriving in Johannesburg this week, reports NaijaAgroNet.

South Sudanese Cabinet Ministers and business leaders will meet with the African Energy Chamber and other investors at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on April 24th from 9am to 5pm, hereby closing a 4-city global investment drive that previously took them to Washington, New York and Dubai.

The delegation is notably made up of Agriculture and Food Security Minister Hon. Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, Mining Minister Hon. Gabriel Thokuj Deng, South Sudan Investment Authority Secretary General Dr. Abraham Maliet Mamer, Nilepet Managing Director Dr. Chol Thon Abel, and South Sudan Petroleum Commission Chairman Amb. Ceasar Marko.

The African Energy Chamber commends Afrexim Bank for providing a $500m financing facility to fund power transmission, infrastructure and agricultural projects. We also commend President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Energy Minister the Hon. Jeff Radebe for committing 1 billion US dollars in oil and gas an infrastructure projects in South Sudan. These bankable deals should be closed quickly as it will create opportunities for both the South African and South Sudanese people.

“We are hopeful that the arrival of the South Sudanese delegation to South Africa will result in even more investment deals being announced,” declared Centurion Law Group CEO and AEC Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk. “Johannesburg is the financial capital of Africa and I am bullish that we will be able to raise more money to secure and promote lasting peace and investment in South Sudan”.

The Chamber believes South Sudan’s leadership also has an obligation to creating an enabling environment of investors to put more money into the country. To achieve these great benefits, South Sudan needs to safely open up new oil blocks to exploration especially to African investors. It's time to build refineries, pipelines, urea, ammonia, fertilizer plants, power plants, large agricultural fields and set up technology hubs. Recent discussions between The African Energy Chamber, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his cabinet agreed that Economic growth must be front and center of the peace and recovery efforts of South Sudan.

The African Energy Chamber believes that securing investments is not the problem. "Investors need an enabling environment and we are spending a lot of money to help South Sudan achieve that. It is business that creates jobs and hope. Economic revival and business are the solution; not aid. Our leaders in government need to understand this. We cannot afford smallness in our drive for peace, Investment and stability when what South Sudan and most of Africa really need are big pragmatic common sense solutions" added Mr Ayuk.

The AEC will proudly and vigorously support South Sudan and it's people, but we will reject narrow agendas wherever they come from and put the country first. We call upon all of African Energy Investors and corporate leaders to do the same. The Chamber will stand squarely with those who do.

As a strong partner of South Sudan’s economic revival, the African Energy Chamber encourages all partners and interested parties, especially African entrepreneurs, to attend the investment drive and seal business deals with South Sudanese public and private sector leaders who will be present at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on April 24, 2019.
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World Bank support Ekiti to revive farm settlements - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The Ekiti State government’s agriculture and rural development programme has received a major boost as the government has secured the World Bank’s support for the initiative, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi disclosed this on Sunday during at his Isan Ekiti country home.

According to Dr Fayemi, the initiative called Rural Access and Marketing Programme (RAMP) will connect Ekiti rural communities to the urban centres and market places as well as help in the reconstruction of farm settlements many of which were built in the fifties by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo but were not put to good use.

The Governor explained that the initiative would help provide basic amenities at the farm settlements so as to encourage farmers in the areas to focus on their agricultural activities.

“One of my assistants is going to be focusing on agric and farmsteads because in the course of my campaigns, I went round those farmsteads. My wife also toured the farmsteads extensively. There are things that are required by the people in those farms that will make their work a lot better in terms of social amenities, social investment, in terms of ensuring that we connect the farms to the market.

“So we have another initiative that is being supported by the World Bank which is known as Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Programme (RAMP). This is meant to assist us to connect our rural communities to the urban centres and the market places in the hope that we can also reconstruct our farm settlements, provide the necessary amenities there and ensure that our people stay back in those places without missing the amenities they ought to have if they were to be in the cities”, he said.

While speaking on the College of Technical and Commercial Agriculture which was scrapped by his predecessor, Governor Fayemi said a bill for the re-enactment of the College establishment law will soon be sent back to the State House of Assembly to enable the school begin operation legally.

The governor who disclosed that the ongoing construction works in the school would be completed before September when the school would open for academic activities, said the College was designed to train and equip young people who are interested in agriculture agric value chain.

His words: “Work has resumed there and significant progress has been made on the road construction. I believe the builders are also on site. The idea is that the school will be ready for use by the opening of a new session in September- October. Some six months of intense work should get it ready. The law is going back to the Assembly for re-enactment because of what the last administration did to it and once that is done, it is legally covered to undertake the business of recruiting our young people who are interested in becoming middle -level managers and technical operators in commercial agriculture in Ekiti.

“Since we have decided that agriculture is important to us as an agrarian society and none of our young people is interested in hoe and cutlass farming. They want modernization and the tools that will enable them participate in the entire value chain right from planting to processing and marketing. As government we are prepared to give necessary support and incentives.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

VaccinesWork campaign to inspire support - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
NICEF is launching a new global campaign on 24 April to emphasize the power and safety of vaccines among parents and wider social media users.

The campaign will run alongside World Immunization Week from 24 to 30 April to spread the message that together communities, including parents, can protect everyone through vaccines.

#VaccinesWork has long been used to bring together immunization advocates online. This year, UNICEF is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to encourage even greater reach. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute USD$ 1 to UNICEF for every like or share of social media posts using the hashtag #VaccinesWork in April, up to USD$1 million, to ensure all children get the life-saving vaccines they need.

Vaccines save up to 3 million lives yearly, protecting children from potentially deadly, highly infectious diseases such as measles, pneumonia, cholera, and diphtheria. Thanks to vaccines, fewer people died from measles between 2000 and 2017 and polio is on the verge of being eradicated. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective health tool ever invented – every USD$1 spent on childhood immunization returns up to USD$44 in benefits.

“We want the awareness that #VaccinesWork to go viral,” said Robin Nandy, UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization. “Vaccines are safe, and they save lives. This campaign is an opportunity to show the world that social media can be a powerful force for change and provide parents with trustworthy information on vaccines.”

The campaign is part of a global, week-long celebration under the theme, Protected Together: Vaccines Work, to honour Vaccine Heroes – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators.

“More children than ever before are being reached with vaccines today,” said Violaine Mitchell, Interim Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are delighted to work with UNICEF and all the global and country partners around the world who are working tirelessly to ensure all children, especially those in the world’s poorest countries, can be protected from life-threatening infectious diseases.”

Despite the benefits of vaccines, an estimated 1.5 million children died of vaccine-preventable diseases in 2017. While this is often due to lack of access to vaccines, in some countries, families are delaying or refusing to vaccinate their children because of complacency or skepticism about vaccines. This has resulted in several outbreaks, including an alarming surge in measles, especially in higher-income countries. Uncertainty about vaccines on digital and social media platforms is one of the factors driving this trend.

That is why the centerpiece of this UNICEF campaign is a 60-second animated film, “Dangers,” which, along with illustrated animations for social media posts and posters, is based on the relatable insight that kids, by their very nature, are little daredevils who are constantly putting themselves in danger. The video explains that while parents can’t prevent all the dangers their kids get themselves into, they can use vaccination to help prevent the dangers that get into their kids.

Immunization coverage in Nigeria was only 57.2% in 2018. This is far below the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) target of 90 percent.

However, the clear benefit of vaccines can be seen in the case of polio, where vaccines have been crucial in eradication efforts. The country has been free of any case of wild polio virus since September 2016 and is on track for being declared polio-free by the end of this year. The success of polio vaccines in eliminating polio has, among other factors, been linked to the low cost and oral administration route of vaccines, enabling mass delivery.

Angélique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Grammy Award-Winning Singer:

“Today nine in ten children receive immunizations, but we cannot leave anyone behind. We must reach every child with life-saving vaccines.”

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Nigeria births registration increase by 29m - NaijaAgroNet

In less than eight years, the birth registration programme implemented by the National Population Commission (NPopC), with support from UNICEF, has increased the number of children between the ages of zero and 17 years registered in Nigeria by about 29 million, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the evaluation report launched today, for children under one year of age, the programme increased by more than 100 per cent the number of children registered -- from 3 million in 2012 to 11 million in 2016.

“Low rates of birth registration is a challenge in Nigeria,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“In 2011, the birth registration rate was 41 percent, which means that three in every five children were not registered. This lack of birth registration negatively affects a child’s ability to access his or her right to health care, education and many other rights.”

It was in this context that the programme was initiated to accelerate birth registration rates - particularly for children under the age of 5, between 2012 and 2016. 

The programme made significant improvements in strengthening the birth registration system in Nigeria. At the level of infrastructure, the numbers of NPopC Registrars/Centres increased to nearly 4000 in 2016 from about 3,000 in 2012, helping to achieve a harmonized, accessible and efficient birth registration system, which now functions as an integral part of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in Nigeria.

The programme’s use of ICT tools for birth registration introduced target-driven performance in all of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria. The LGAs now have specified targets, reports and performance ranking.

Some key benefits of the programme are: fully sustained partnership and convergence with health interventions; innovative use of ICT tools and applications; and a strong link with the national CRVS Strategic Plan (2018-22).

The report asked NPopC, as a primary service provider, to take “greater ownership and a proactive approach” on registration of newborn children and all other children who are still unregistered. NPopC is advised to prioritize digitization, advocacy, and lobbying for more funds to effectively implement the Strategic CRVS Plan (2018-2022).


Birth registration remains pivotal to child wellbeing in Nigeria, Overall survey results, as part of the evaluation, indicate that nearly half of the survey respondents perceived that an increase in birth registration can help reduce child rights violations.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sida, FAO, ECOWAS join forces to protect West African forests - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have joined forces to protect West Africa's forests and help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

The three institutions will carry out a five-year project aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management, addressing transboundary forest threats, maximising the livelihoods of forest-depended communities, and building climate resilience across 15 countries in West Africa.

The project - to be implemented by ECOWAS with financial support of over $8 million from Sida and technical support from FAO - will improve knowledge of forests dynamics, support legal reform, establish and share best community-based forest practices across the region. It will be key to the rolling out of the ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa adopted in 2013 by ECOWAS to mobilize political, institutional, financial and technical support to address transboundary forest issues across ECOWAS's 15 member states.

"We are very pleased to be partners with ECOWAS and FAO on transboundary forest management in West Africa. It is a very important project for the people and governments of the region, but also for the global efforts to stop climate change and loss of biodiversity," said Ulla Andrén, Sida's Head of Regional Development Cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"It is because of strong partnerships that we have the Forest Convergence Plan," said Tiina Vahanen, FAO's Chief of Forestry Policy and Resources Division. "Now it's time to act on it. The project is a concrete step towards improved forest management in the region and will build on the momentum created in recent years to safeguard West Africa's forests."

"The ECOWAS Commission is happy to work jointly with Sida and FAO to implement this project. We appreciate Sida for the consistent support to ECOWAS over the years, particularly the Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources Department, to address issues of environment, climate change, water resources, and now forestry. Issues of forestry are issues of livelihood for people and communities. Building resilience to climate change impacts and sustainable transboundary forest ecosystems management are key to this project," said Johnson Boanuh, ECOWAS Commission's Environment Director.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Combatting all forms of malnutrition tops FAO priorities - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in an opening address today to the organization's executive, the Council, has stressed that FAO will focus over the next two years on promoting nutrition-sensitive food systems and innovation in agriculture, reports NaijaAgroNet.

"We cannot only focus on tackling hunger anymore," said José Graziano da Silva. "The Sustainable Development Goal number 2 calls for the eradication of all forms of malnutrition. And there is a steady growth in the levels of overweight and obesity all around the world."

"While hunger is circumscribed to specific areas, obesity is everywhere. In fact, we are witnessing the globalization of obesity," added Graziano da Silva.

Graziano da Silva also drew attention to upcoming key events: a food safety conference later this month in Geneva - organized by FAO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO); the launch of the UN Decade of Family Farming at FAO's headquarters at the end of May; two seminars on healthy diets and agriculture innovation, and the meeting of the FAO Port States Measures Agreement's (PSMA) Parties in June.

The PSMA is the first-ever binding international instrument that specifically addresses Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

Graziano da Silva also underscored the organization's success over the last years in reducing costs, and making FAO more efficient, effective and results oriented; as well as attracting more voluntary contributions.

The Director-General highlighted FAO's commitment to partnerships evidenced by a strong increase in partnerships over the years - from 20 new partners in 2012, with a contribution of $28 million to more than 100 new partners today, contributing over $200 million.

FAO's engagement in joint programmes and interagency platforms with UN agencies has also almost doubled since 2012. This represents a monetary increase of contributions from the UN system by 100 per cent, accounting for $800 million.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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IRENA unveils global energy transformation: A roadmap to 2050 - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has unveiled the Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the latest edition of IRENA’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, launched in Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue on Tuesday paves the way to meet 86 per cent of global power demand with renewable energy exist, reports NaijaAgroNet.

"Electricity would cover half of the global final energy mix. Global power supply would more than double over this period, with the bulk of it generated from renewable energy, mostly solar PV and wind," part of the report read.

Some of the key findings include:
  • Today the question is no longer if energy transition is possible, but how to make it happen faster. Renewables and electrification are a key climate solution.
  • Renewable energy supply, increased electrification of energy services, and energy efficiency can deliver more than 90% of needed reductions to energy-related CO2 emissions. Renewable energy and electrification alone deliver 75% of emission reductions.
  • The transition towards a decarbonised global energy system will require scaling up investments in the energy sector by a further 16% (an additional USD 15 trillion by 2050). In total USD 110 trillion would be invested in the energy system, representing on average 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP) per year over the period.
  • The REmap Case would result in a cumulative reduction in fossil fuel subsidies of USD 15 trillion below what would have occurred in the Reference Case by 2050, and in a net reduction of USD 10 trillion when including the increased support needed for renewables in the REmap Case.
  • In total the savings from avoided subsidies and reduced environmental and health damages are about three to seven times larger than the additional energy system costs. In monetary terms, total savings resulting from the REmap Case could amount to between USD 65 trillion and USD 160 trillion over the period to 2050.
  • By year 2050, the REmap energy transition brings about relative improvements of GDP and whole-economy employment of 2.5% and 0.2% respectively. In cumulative terms from 2019 to 2050 the GDP gains of the REmap Case over the Reference Case add up to 99 USD trillion.
  • Climate damage impacts increase with time as the climate system responds to the cumulative GHG emissions. Macroeconomic performance under both the Reference and REmap cases is significantly impacted by climate damages, leading to a global GDP reduction of 15.5% and 13.2%, respectively, by 2050.
Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Ekiti charges Boundary Commission - NaijaAgroNet

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has inaugurated the State Boundary Commission Committee and Boundary Technical Committee with a charge to always consider the best interest of Ekiti people above personal interest, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The governor who restated that the loyalty of his government is to the people of Ekiti State whom the administration is out to serve, urged the committees to discharge their duties without fear or favour but with strict adherence to the rule of law.

Dr Fayemi, who inaugurated the committee at the Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office on Monday, said there are series of boundary disputes both inter State and intra-State waiting for the attention of the committees. He advised members of the committee to adopt Alternative Dispute Resolution method without resort to court.

“I like to implore members of the inaugurated commission to see your appointment as a call to service, a call to etch your name on the sands of time in Ekiti and a call to be a part of history. You must discharge your duty without fear or favour but with strict adherence to the rule of law.

“In whatever you do, always consider the best interest of Ekiti State and Ekiti Kete far above your personal interest. Collectively we can build the society of our dreams and make Ekiti State the pride of all. We can only achieve this through selflessness”, he said.

The committee, according to Governor Fayemi is to, among other issues, deal with inter-local government boundary disputes with a view to resolving them; monitor trans-border relations with neighbouring states with a view to detecting areas of tension, possible conflicts and take necessary measures to address them, and to encourage negotiation on settlement of boundary disputes in preference to court action.

In his acceptance speech, the chairman of the State Boundary Commission Committee and Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi thanked the governor for the opportunity given the committee members to serve the State.

Egbeyemi noted that lives and properties have been lost to boundary conflicts; assuring that the committee will adopt a win-win approach to settling conflicts arising from boundary issues.

He solicited the cooperation of all communities in the State for the success of the committee in discharging its duties.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Komolafe had said that the non-existence of the committee for many years had resulted in many boundary disputes in some communities in the State.

He opined that with the constitution of the committee, disputed areas will be looked into and resolved as soon as possible.

The State Boundary Commission Committee which is headed by the Deputy Governor has the Commissioners for Finance, Works and Transportation, Agriculture, Information, Lands and Housing, and the Attorney General as members.

Other members are the Surveyor-General, the State Commissioner of Police, the State Director of the State Security Service, Executive Secretary of the Boundary Commission, the Oluyin of Iyin, Oba Ademola Ajakaye, the Ologotun of Ogotun, Oba Samuel Oyebade, and two boundary experts – Surveyor Ayeni and Surveyor Akeredolu.

The Technical Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s office comprises Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Works, Finance, Agric and Rural Development, Justice, Lands and Housing, Director of Forestry, a representative of the Director of SSS, representative of the Commissioner of Police and the Executive Secretary of the Boundary Commission.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

Early forecasts for cereal output in 2019 are positive - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:

The global food prices began the year on a buoyant note, as the FAO Food Price Index averaged 164.8 points in January 2019, up 1.8 percent from the previous month, reports NaijaAgroNet.

A sharp rebound in dairy price quotations and firmer prices of palm and soy oils drove the increase, the United Nations agency said today. The Food Price Index, an indicator of the monthly changes in international prices of a basket of food commodities, was still 2.2 percent below its January 2018 level.

The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 168.1 points in January, up marginally from December. Prices of the major grains were generally firm amid tightening export supplies and robust world demand.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose 4.3 percent from the previous month, led by palm oil values responding to a seasonal production decline in the major producing countries. International soy oil prices also rose on the back of robust import demand for South American supplies.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 7.2 percent from December, reversing seven months of falling prices. Limited export supplies - due to strong internal demand - form Europe were the primary factor behind this, along with anticipated seasonal tightening of export availability from Oceania in the coming months.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 1.3 percent, a move largely influenced by the appreciation of the currency (Real) of Brazil, the world's largest exporter, against the U.S. dollar.

The FAO Meat Price Index was almost unchanged from December. The January value was calculated assuming stable meat prices in the United States of America, where official data were not available due to the government shutdown. Elsewhere, international price quotations for bovine, pig and poultry meat remained steady, while ovine meat prices declined in step with ample exportable supplies in Oceania.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Oil Exploration: Shell pledges greater corporate transparency - NaijaAgroNet

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), has pledged to be transparency in its exploration in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This pledge is coming with the payment of over $6.397 billion to the Nigerian government and its agencies in 2018 by Shell exploration and production companies in Nigeria.

The payment, NaijaAgroNet gathered, represents a 48 per cent increase over payments by the companies to Nigerian government in 2017 which was $4.322 billion.

The payments formed part of the four documents released on Tuesday by the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Dutch Shell, Ben Van Beurden, to signal the global oil giant’s renewed commitment to greater transparency. The documents are: Shell Sustainability Report; Industry Associations Climate Review; Nigeria Briefing Notes; and Payments to Government Report.

“Shell must remain at the forefront of the drive for greater corporate transparency. We will continue to be more open about what we do and why we do it,” said van Beurden. “We want to help people better understand Shell’s performance, values and principles. These reports outline our approach and activities in the crucial areas of sustainability and our relationships with industry associations and governments.”

In the breakdown of the 2018 payments, the Shell companies paid $3.776 billion to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation as production entitlement while $1.286 billion was paid in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Another $1.253 went to the Department of Petroleum Resources for royalties and fees, while $81.5 million was remitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, described the reports as a further testament to Shell’s efforts to increase transparency around activities that are important to investors, governments and civil society. “We are irrevocably committed to transparency just as we are to business integrity part of our core values and central tenets of the Business Principles that govern the way we do business.”

The Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes detail the activities of the Shell Companies in Nigeria for 2018. These include production, environmental performance, social investment, economic contributions, gas initiatives, deepwater operations, security and Nigerian content development.

The Industry Associations Climate Review assesses for the first time Shell’s alignment with 19 key industry associations on climate-related policy. The report also details new governance principles to improve how Shell manages its memberships of industry associations on climate-related topics.

The 22nd edition of the Shell Sustainability Report outlines Shell’s approach to sustainability and covers its social, safety and environmental performance in 2018. It sets out how Shell is playing a role in the transition to a lower-carbon world and its contribution to society, which includes helping to achieve universal access to cleaner, affordable energy.

In addition, Shell published its 2018 Payments to Governments Report covering 34 countries where it has extractive activities.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor


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