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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sylva earns DEMS’ passmark with digitization in oil & gas - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: 
The leadership of Digital Economy Media Support Volunteers’ (DEMS Volunteers’), an NGO tracking all development activities in the nation’s public and private sector on digital economy, has assessed activities of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva since his appointment and gave him a pass mark.
A report released weekend in Lagos on the reforms adopted so far by the ministry in the last couple of months, have shown marked departure from the way and manner the operations of the nation’s oil and gas sector had been.
The Director General of the NGO, Prince Stan Okenwa noted that “Starting from the downstream sector, the 2019 December can be rated as yuletide season in Nigeria that never experienced any form of fuel scarcity due to new ideas and digital tracking systems put in place by the ministry.”
The DG in a statement signed by the Director of Communications, Mr Peter Oluka, said “There had been steady supplies and uniform price of petroleum products especially petrol across the federation and this has continued both off and on yuletide season.
“The relentless efforts of the Minister in coordinating the planning of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Final Investment Decision (FID) earlier this month, remains a game changer in Nigeria’s drive to lead the continent in gas revolution.
“Further investigations made DEMS Volunteers’ revealed that various transformation processes are currently ongoing in NNPC which include but not limited to digital installations, growing from Business Unit Focus Areas (12 BUFAs), Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE). We are aware that the Ministry is considering the Incorporation of NNPC and its existing Joint Venture Companies as government is currently working on the modalities.
“Still on the downstream, DEMS Volunteers’ is aware of a special consideration by the ministry to introduce two new regulators; one for the Upstream (the Commission) and another for the Midstream & Downstream (the Authority) to open enormous opportunities to local investors and consequently create massive job opportunities in the country.
“To us as an NGO, the move will deepen investments in pipeline engineering design, procurement &construction, terminal operations, pipe mills, fabrication of pressure vessels, storage facilities, pipe transportation and laying equipments, Refineries, Central Processing Facilities and also investment in Gas-based industries (Fertilizer, Methanol, Petrochemicals, LPG and CNG) etc. Besides, open access for oil and gas transportation will be fully enhanced.
“On the upstream sub-sector, DEMS Volunteers is convinced that the ministry is coming up with more robust fiscal provision, acreage management, drilling-or-drop programme, and will not only retain investors, but more players will join the leagues of high-value operators.
“We are further thrilled by the planned use of technology for pro-active leak detection in the Niger Delta to end instances of oil pollution.  
“We are also convinced on the way and manner the Ministry under Chief Timipre Sylva, is driving the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP).
DEMS Volunteers’ is also pleased with the tenacity with which the Technical Adviser to the Minister on Gas Business, who doubles as the Program Manager of NGFCP, Mr Justice Derefaka is driving the scheme, designed as the strategy to implement policy objective of the government for the elimination of gas flares with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria in terms of job creation and ending gas flaring.
“We are aware that the key objective of the NGFCP is to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process. 
DEMS Volunteers’, however encouraged the Minister to hasten the ongoing harmonization of existing versions of PIBs so that a more reliable document would be transmitted to the waiting National Assembly for legislative surgery in the interest of the nation.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

2bn mosquito nets delivered globally since 2004

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria has revealed thagt some 2 billion insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) were delivered globally since 2004, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This development and scale up of nets, RBM said were responsible for 68 per cent of the malaria cases prevented in Africa since 2000, contributing to global efforts that saved over 7 million lives and prevented another 1 billion malaria cases.

A new video highlights the global collaboration it took to boost funding, pioneer, produce, and deliver the insecticide-treated mosquito nets to millions of families around the world living at risk of malaria, a preventable disease that kills a child every 2 minutes.

The film follows the journey of one of the life-saving mosquito nets passed among representatives from the global malaria community including advocates, a scientist, global leaders and malaria-endemic country health workers to reach a family in Nampula, Mozambique, one of 5 countries with the highest burden of malaria. It also features a classroom of young women in Nyanza Province, Kenya, including Clementina Akinyi. Ms Akinyi, now in her last year of high school, grew up sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and was photographed as a young child under a mosquito net – an image which became iconic for the fight against malaria.

According to the latest World Malaria Report, between 2010 and 2018, the number of pregnant women and children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa who slept under an insecticide-treated net more than doubled, up from 26% to 61%. Each net is typically effective for up to 3 years and 20 washes and, on average, protects two people simultaneously.

Some key initiatives driving this progress include The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which purchased and worked with malaria-endemic countries and partners to distribute 1.13 billion and 400 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets, respectively. Many other governments, notably the UK, and organisations, including UNICEF, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the World Bank, the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets initiative and Against Malaria Foundation, also made significant contributions to the 2 billion net milestone.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO), said “Insecticide-treated nets have saved lives, prevented suffering and brought us 2 billion steps closer to our vision of a malaria-free world. With country leadership and global partnership, they will continue to play a vital role in fulfilling that vision.”

Also, Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said “The milestone of delivering 2 billion life-saving nets is a hallmark example of effective global partnership and sustained commitment over the past two decades. As we enter a new decade, we must now step up action to meet the ambitious global targets of further reducing malaria deaths and cases significantly by 2030. Political commitment and engagement from all levels of society will be crucial to ensure we reach those most vulnerable – pregnant women and children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa – who still suffer from malaria with life-saving mosquito nets. Equally, we need to continue investing in developing, testing and scaling up nets with new insecticides and active ingredients to stay ahead of the evolving mosquito.”

Dr Marijke Winroks, Chief Staff, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and RBM Partnership to End Malaria board member noted that this is a great milestone. 

"With increased domestic and international investment, we can help close the gap and make sure everyone at risk for malaria has an insecticide-treated net – breaking the transmission cycle and helping more countries on the path to elimination,” Winroks said.

Clementina Akinyi, Kenyan schoolgirl featured in the film, explains that she does not fall sick due to her use of the nets.

“I don’t fall sick because I’m using the nets. Me and my sister are now champions for mosquito nets, and we are now advising people at school to use the nets. I advise everyone to use nets to prevent malaria, because malaria is a deadly disease.”

While current evidence suggests that nets treated with pyrethroid insecticides continue to be effective against the mosquito, resistance to pyrethroids – the only insecticide class currently used in ITNs – is widespread and highest in the WHO African Region.

To combat insecticide resistance, partners are developing, testing and scaling up nets with new insecticides and harnessing data to better target where to distribute current and new nets. Some of the new nets, which include combinations of insecticides and other active ingredients, have been approved by WHO while others are being piloted to build the epidemiological evidence needed for their public health value to inform WHO policy recommendations and to assess the cost-effectiveness of the nets under pilot conditions.

The Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) leads implementation of the pilot New Nets Project which began in 2019 in Burkina Faso and will expand in 2020 to Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Rwanda. The pilot project is funded by the Global Fund and Unitaid. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Agency for International Development are providing supplementary funding. Funding for PMI in 2020 includes an additional US$15 million to invest in the use of mosquito nets treated with new types of insecticides. And, in October 2019, MedAccess and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an agreement with a mosquito net manufacturer to accelerate the availability of 35 million new nets, which is expected to help lower prices and further increase the use of these tools.

Between 2006 and 2017, the mosquito net market increased fivefold with prices falling from approximately $4.50 to $2, greatly increasing value for money and significantly expanding net coverage from 5.5 million in 2004 to almost 200 million in 2018.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Foresight Africa: Top priorities and agenda 2030 - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:

The new year 2020 Report marked the beginning of a promising decade for Africa. Through at least the first half of the decade, economic growth across Africa will continue to outperform that of other regions, with the continent continuing to be home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. Collective action among African and global policymakers to improve the livelihoods of all under the blueprint of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is representative of the shared energy and excitement around Africa’s potential.

With business environments improving, regional integration centered around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement progressing, and the transformational technologies of Fourth Industrial Revolution spreading, never before has the region been better primed for trade, investment, and mutually beneficial partnerships.

The recent, unprecedented interest of an increasingly diversified group of external partners for engagement with Africa highlights this potential. Despite the continent’s promise, though, obstacles to success linger, as job creation still has not caught up with the growing youth labor force, gaps in good and inclusive governance remain, and climate change as well as state fragility threaten to reverse the hard-fought-for gains of recent decades.

This special edition of Foresight Africa highlights the triumphs of past years as well as strategies from our experts to tackle forthcoming, but surmountable, obstacles to a prosperous continent by 2030.

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