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Friday, May 22, 2020

35 Medical Postgraduates: Merck Foundation partners African health ministries - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
Merck Foundationthe philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health, continue their strategy to provide one-year diploma and two-year master degree in both Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Diabetes for medical postgraduates from more than 35 African and Asian countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans emphasized, “Amidst the pandemic that has rocked the world, we must not forget people living with other health conditions such as Diabetes and Hypertension because they are the Coronavirus risk groups therefore Merck Foundation continues to build Hypertension and Diabetes care training to doctors, in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health and Academia. Moreover, we also provide training to doctors from Asian countries”.

Merck Foundation has so far enrolled and trained over 183 Medical postgraduates from over 35 countries. As a part of their efforts to build hypertension and diabetes care capacity, Merck Foundation enroll medical postgraduates for One Year Online Diploma and Two Year online master degree in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Diabetes from reputable university in UK. Additionally, they also enroll doctors for a three-month Diabetes Master course from English, French and Portuguese speaking African countries to advance their clinical knowledge in tackling these non-communicable conditions.

Merck Foundation started capacity building of Coronavirus healthcare through providing online one-year diplomas and two year master degree in both Respiratory Medicine and Acute Medicine from UK University, for African doctors.

Dr. Sofia Jarombwereni Natshikare Nepembe, Merck Foundation alumnus from Namibia says, “I feel fortunate to be a part of this program and receive the Postgraduate one-year Diploma in Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine as part of Merck Foundation capacity advancement program. The course has enabled me to learn the advanced scientific developments for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The course has helped me to serve my patients better. Merck Foundation is doing a great job by providing postgraduate degrees for doctors like me who are eager to specialize to better serve their communities.”

“We are committed to enroll more doctors for these courses to be able to build a platform of hypertension and diabetes experts in underserved communities. These online courses is the right strategy to scale up our efforts to improve access to quality healthcare solutions widely and effectively especially during Coronavirus lockdown”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The program started in 35 countries such as: Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

COVID-19: Yanmar disinfects city of Indaiatuba - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: 
The Yanmar South America has teamed up with John Deere and the local government of Indaiatuba, an important center of industry in the state of Sao Paulo, in an effort to disinfect the streets of the city of the novel coronavirus, to make them safer for citizens.

The City of Indaiatuba carried out the spraying and disinfection of the city’s streets from April 15th to May 8th with Yanmar contributing a Solis 90 CV tractor to assist in the operation. 

Working at night, the tractors sprayed a solution of water and sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine-based bleach, prepared and approved by the city’s health department. Yanmar South America employee Odirlei Silva from the agricultural commercial department operated the tractor.

“We have over 60 years of history in Indaiatuba,” said Yanmar South America President Kenji Kitahara. “This city is home to many of our employees and it’s important for the people of the city that we work closely with City Hall in this time of crisis.”

The response of residents was overwhelmingly positive with many taking to social media to express thanks for the disinfection work.

Mr. Nilson Gaspar, Mayor of the City of Indaiatuba agreed with residents: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and wellbeing of our residents. We’re very pleased that the city has been able to come together with Yanmar and John Deere to carry out this important public service.”

Yanmar will consider further action in the future in line with city health guidelines.

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Pix: A Solis 90 CV tractor disinfects the streets of Indaiatuba, Brazil.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Banks tasks on observing physical distancing directives - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet
The CLEEN Foundation has task banks in Nigeria on the need to observe physical distancing directives to avoid spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The NGO also  called for disciplinary action against security personnel violating government ban on inter-state movement by extorting citizens to allow movement in and out of states, thereby promoting the spread.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Mr. Benson Olugbuo, decrying the complicity of security operatives who allow interstate movements despite the restrictions have resulted in the increase in infection in the affected states.

Olugbuo expressed concerns that inter-state travel is still on the rise under the watch of these law enforcement agancies.

"In Edo, a trailer conveying 84 travelers from the Northern part of the country were intercepted at Irrua by the state task force, the travelers were taken to Irrua specialist hospital where three (3) of the persons tested positive for COVID-19. In Akwa Ibom state, a truckload of cattle herders was apprehended at Itu LGA (a boundary point between Akwa Ibom and Cross River state) by a Divisional Police Officer. 

"Ogun Waterside LGA of Ogun state that borders Lagos and Ondo states has also remained a key entry point due to the porous nature of both the land and sea borders. This has also led to a high number of COVID-19 infected victims that has been discovered in the LGA. 

"In Ekiti state, reports from border LGAs such as Ikere, Emure, Ekiti South West, Moba, Ekiti West etc indicate that security agents extort money between N200 – N5000 from travelers to allow movement in and out of the state," the report read.

The report recommended that security institutions and their oversight agencies sustain internal and external disciplinary measures to discipline personnel who are guilty of extorting citizens and violating human rights to serve as deterrent to other officers.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Finance: Africa needs to think local - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
African countries may be coming to terms with a bitter reality: that the continent is about to entered major recession in 25 years, reports NaijaAgroNet.

While the impact of the pandemic on African economies is expected to be lesser than in Europe or North America, it still puts to the forefront the continent’s overdependence on key commodities for its economies to function, and under-investment into social infrastructure. For Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic is turning into a wake up call to find better ways to industrialize, chief amongst them being access to reliable, cheap and clean energy. Given global liquidity constraints however, financing Africa’s energy transition and supporting industrialization will require becoming more competitive and finding new ways to mobilize capital across key industries and projects.

The topic was at the center of a leading webinar discussion between Kola Karim, Managing Director and CEO of Shoreline Energy International, Vitol Senior Investment Manager Steven Brann, and Bambili Group Managing Director Nyonga Fofang. The webinar was organized by the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) and hosted by Africa Oil & Power.

The key to industrialization in Africa is access to power, which heavily relies on Africa’s ability to get its natural resources right, especially natural gas. Up until now, most of Africa’s gas has been produced for the benefits of foreign markets in Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, where it is shipped as LNG. LNG prices have dropped to historic lows and are currently below the $2 threshold in Europe and Asia, while African power producers still pay above that price to get natural gas in their turbines. Current market prices for natural gas are expected to remain depressed for a while, and should be a strong incentive for African power producers to use LNG as a feedstock and switch their fuel oil or coal plants to LNG which can be easily procured on the continent.

However, proper management of Africa’s natural resources does not stop at switching existing power plants to gas in order to benefit from a cheap and locally-available resource. It rather requires a profound transformation of how African countries see energy and how they plan to power up their economies moving forward.

In doing so, financing will become an even greater challenge as capital becomes scarce and investors look for only very resilient assets to invest in. In that regard, participants noted that it is currently challenging to monetize Africa’s LNG across industries because industrial customers are reluctant to signing the kind of multi-year commitments required by gas producers to raise debt. Because potential industrial users do not know what the future holds and do not get a clear vision on what their country’s energy mix will look like, their reluctance to switch to gas is directly impacting the attractiveness of the sector and has them keep paying expensive energy instead. Similarly, the imports of fuel oil and coal to power industries has become such a habit that making a long-term commitment on developing LNG receiving and processing infrastructure is now a matter of debate.

Participants highlighted the responsibility of both African sovereigns and the private sector in maintaining the continent in that energy status quo. In a post Covid-19 world, a situation in which Africa exports its energy while its people are in the dark, and imports finished products while its youth is unemployed is not longer viable. The industry is calling for a strong sovereign participation on establishing a connection with the private sector and thinking holistically about the development of the continent. While foreign exchange and international capital will continue to be needed, there is an urgent need to energize African communities and neighbors first. Nigeria cannot think of its gas development without keeping in mind the energy needs of its immediate neighbors for example. Similarly, South Africa cannot plan for its energy future without taking in consideration the vast gas reserves of its neighbors. The list of examples goes on.

Africa needs to use the solid base of its natural resources to create opportunities and change the narrative around its industrialization by making a difference in its own energy space. For such a paradigm shift to happen, African sovereigns need to take the lead. Only at the sovereign level can a country raise several billion dollars from multilateral agencies and invest in the necessary projects and infrastructure that will support private sector investment and growth. Only political will can truly unlock the value of African cross-border energy cooperation and open up the doors for a wider African private sector cooperation across industries and within a prosperous free trade continent.

Meanwhile, additional efforts need to be done to mobilize local and patient capital from domestic funds and African family fortunes. Participants concluded on the fact that there is a lot of do-good capital sitting all across the continent, but its mobilization requires the presentation of above-standards bankable projects run by outstanding leadership teams. It is up to African leaders and African private sector executives to put the continent on a new path to prosperity.

Isaac Oyimah/DoP

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Friday, May 15, 2020

COVID-19 threatens 950 Nigerian children - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet
An estimated 950 Nigerian children are currently being threatened by pandemic COVID-19, reports NaijaAgroNet.

In the next six months these children could die of no urgent action is taken as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts routine services and threatens to weaken the health system, reports

As said by the UNICEF, globally, 6,000 additional children under five could die every day.

The estimate is based on an analysis by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, newly published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

In a commentary to the Lancet report, UNICEF warns these disruptions could result in potentially devastating increases in maternal and child deaths. 

The analysis offers three scenarios of the potential impact of COVID-19 in 118 low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. In the worst-case scenario, the estimate is that an additional nearly 173,000 under-five deaths could occur in just six months, due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels – including routine vaccinations - and an increase in child wasting.

In Nigeria, these potential child deaths would be in addition to the 475,200 children who already die before their fifth birthday every six months – threatening to reverse a decade of progress in ending preventable under-five child mortality in Nigeria.

About 6,800 more Nigerian maternal deaths could also occur in just six months.

“Under a worst-case scenario, the global number of children dying before their fifth birthdays could increase for the first time in decades,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We must not let mothers and children become collateral damage in the fight against the virus.”

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria’s Country Representative, said, “We have made steady progress in reducing preventable child and maternal deaths in Nigeria over the last 20 years – and it would be devastating if that progress is lost or reversed – devastating for Nigerian families, communities and for the country as a whole.”

The under-five mortality rate has declined gradually over the last two decades in Nigeria - from 213 deaths per thousand in 1990 to 120 today. This is likely due to improved access and coverage of key lifesaving interventions at primary health care and community levels and improved immunization rates.

But in countries with still overall weak health systems, like Nigeria, COVID-19 is causing disruptions in medical supply chains and straining financial and human resources. Visits to health care centres are declining due to lockdowns, curfews and transport disruptions, and as communities remain fearful of infection.

According to the modeling, and assuming reductions in coverage in the worst-case scenario, the 10 countries that could potentially have the largest number of additional child deaths are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.

The 10 countries that are most likely to witness the highest excess child mortality rates under the worst-case scenario are: Djibouti, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Somalia.


Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

African agro-research gets booster for commercialisation - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), have signed a collaboration agreement that will facilitate joint work towards building a market system for the commercialisation of research products in Africa, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The agreement will also facilitate the improvement of farm productivity through mechanisation to address drudgery and contribute to building an enabling environment for agricultural research and development on the continent.

The MoU will be guided by the core principles and values of the African Union especially the realisation of Agenda 2063.

Specific key areas of the agreement include addressing challenges in production of quality foundation seed, a key area of attention for AATF that is already working with the continent’s small and medium seed enterprises to ease production of quality certified seed.

The two organisations will also focus on strengthening seed certification and variety release policies and processes including development of the private sector, licensing of new agricultural technologies and technology stewardship for sustainable use of agricultural innovations and products.

The MoU, signed by Dr Denis T. Kyetere, Executive Director of the AATF and Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, AUDA-NEPAD, will ensure that both organisations identify flagship projects from the key areas of cooperation to effectively achieve the intended goals.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, welcomed the collaboration saying it would contribute to accelerating Africa’s agricultural transformation.

“As articulated in Agenda 2063, Africa’s sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation requires sustained investment in new technologies and continuous innovation in areas such as agriculture, clean energy, education and health. This agreement will help contribute to this goal,” said Dr Mayaki.

Dr Denis Kyetere said the collaboration provides opportunity for the smallholder farmers to benefit from innovative and value adding agricultural technologies.

“With the smallholder farmer at the centre of decision making, AATF emphasises the need to get innovations to farmers rapidly and effectively to optimise benefits,” said Dr Kyetere, adding that the agreement would also facilitate replication of mechanisation business models in more African countries as part of transformative agriculture development.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor


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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

NLNG consummates EPC contracts for Train 7 with J Consortium - NaijaAgroNet

Breaking@NaijaAgroNet:
The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has consummated the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contracts for its Train 7 Project with the SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The execution of the EPC Contracts now triggers the commencement of the Detail Design and Construction phase of the Project expected to increase the capacity of NLNG’s current six-train plant by 35% from the extant 22 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to 30 MTPA.

NLNG is an incorporated Joint-Venture owned by four Shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%), and Eni International N.A. N.V. S.àr.l (10.4%).

Reacting to the Contracts’ signing, Engr. Tony Attah, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, remarked that the EPC Contracts represents yet another milestone in NLNG’s journey towards achieving its vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

“With the award of the EPC Contracts to our preferred bidders (SCD JV), we are guaranteeing that our country remains significantly on the global list of LNG suppliers. This singular act clearly demonstrates our Shareholders’ determination and resolve to sustain the economic dividends that NLNG’s monetization of our vast natural gas reserves offers our great country Nigeria”

He expressed confidence in SCD JV Consortium’s proven competence, adding that the demonstration of an understanding of NLNG’s business philosophy by the Consortium will positively influence the execution of the Project and ensure zero harm to people, environment and host communities.

Also, the Group Managing Director (NNPC) and a Director on the NLNG Board, Mr. Mele Kyari, remarked on NLNG’s successes and its operating model. He said: “Nigeria LNG’s successes since it started operation in 1999 continue to prove that the Company operates a unique business model that is profitable to all its stakeholders. NNPC and the other Shareholders — Shell, Total and Eni — are proud to be a part of this exceptional Nigerian brand that stands out in the global market.”

“It is for this reason that our President, Muhammadu Buhari instructed through the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources that NNPC as a Shareholder must do everything possible to support all the other Shareholders and NLNG’s Management to secure the much-needed public confidence from all critical stakeholders, especially the critical agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria and international investors, to pursue the Company’s ambition of adding a 7th train to its existing production capacity. I encourage every stakeholder involved in execution of the Train 7 Project, especially the SCD JV Consortium, NLNG Train 7 Project Team and the Company’s Management to leave no stone unturned in making this project a reality,” he added.

NLNG says the Project was in fulfillment of its vision of “…being a Global Company, helping to build a better Nigeria.” The Project upon completion will support the Federal Government’s drive to generate more revenue from Nigeria’s proven gas reserves of about 200 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) and further reduce gas flaring in the country’s upstream oil and gas industry.

The construction period is expected to last approximately five years with first LNG rundown expected in 2025.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, May 11, 2020

African leaders demand action to save additional lives from malaria - NaijaAgroNet

The African members of the End Malaria Council have released a joint statement with a four-pronged action plan, calling on African and global leaders to act quickly to protect the decades of gains against malaria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also reminded global leaders on the need to boost African purchasing power and local manufacturing of critical medical supplies; continue investments in building an essential health workforce; and, use data to maximize limited resources to save lives.

The End Malaria Council is a committed group of global public sector and business leaders that sees malaria eradication as a critical health and development priority and that drives progress toward eradication by focusing on three key areas: leadership, financing and technology. The signatories of the statement are:
H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance
H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia
Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group
Graça Machel, Founder, The Graça Machel Trust and Foundation for Community Development

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners recently published a modelling study which shows that deaths from malaria could double in 2020 if access to life-saving malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services are disrupted. This finding becomes especially concerning as we reach the rainy season in the highest malaria endemic countries across Africa and in India.

“I am committed to working with fellow heads of state and government on a coordinated and harmonized response to COVID-19 that stamps out this pandemic while continuing to provide essential health services to our citizens. Nothing is more important than protecting our women, children and men from preventable and treatable diseases like malaria. These efforts will help us to sustain the significant gains that we have made driving down malaria cases and deaths over the past twenty years.” – H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of Kenya, the Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and a member of the End Malaria Council.

“To fight COVID-19 effectively and ensure hard-won gains in malaria are not lost, African nations must strengthen essential regional partnerships to develop coordinated and collaborative approaches to support public health systems.” – H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania was the founding Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. Currently President Kikwete is an ambassador and advocate for regional approaches to health and development on the African continent and a member of the End Malaria Council.

“Prioritizing frontline health worker safety is a critical investment in the COVID-19 response that will provide short- and long-term benefits. Ensuring these health workers are equipped with the necessary protective equipment, diagnostics and data tools will protect health workers and empower them to interrupt the virus while maintaining life-saving services against existing diseases like malaria.” – H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President of Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 is the former Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. Currently President Sirleaf is the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Health Workforce and a member of the End Malaria Council.

“African governments face challenging resource constraints as they seek to control and respond to COVID-19 but must avoid diverting funds from essential health campaigns that protect the most vulnerable populations, including children and pregnant women. By prioritizing the mobilization of new funding to combat the pandemic, African nations can address the needs of the pandemic without interrupting vital delivery of other life-saving health programs.” – Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, created a private sector coalition to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response that has mobilized over 25 billion Naira. He is a member of the End Malaria Council.

“Pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to infectious diseases, including malaria. It is imperative that we African leaders ramp up our work to sustain safe access to essential health services during this pandemic to support our communities and protect the lives of Africa’s future.” – Graça Machel, Founder, The Graça Machel Trust and the Foundation for Community Development and a member of the End Malaria Council.

Uj. N. Dominc/Editor

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Global Renewables Outlook shows millions of new jobs - NaijaAgroNet

The Global Renewables Outlook has shown that the path to create a sustainable future energy system would create some 42 million new jobs globally, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This flagship report, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered, highlighted climate-safe investment options until 2050, the policy framework needed for the transition and the challenges faced by different regions.

As the world seeks durable economic solutions, accelerated uptake of renewables promises to drive sustainable development, boost well-being and create tens of millions of new jobs.

This comprehensive analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) outlines the investments and technologies needed to decarbonise the energy system in line with the Paris Agreement. It also explores deeper decarbonisation options for the hardest sectors, aiming to eventually cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to zero.

Raising regional and country-level ambitions will be crucial to meet interlinked energy and climate objectives. The report presents findings on the specific transition prospects for ten regions around the world. Comprehensive policies could tackle energy and climate goals alongside socio-economic challenges, fostering the transformative decarbonisation of societies.
NaijaAgroNet equally gathered that among other findings include that "Energy-related CO2 emissions have risen by 1% per year on average since 2010. While the health crisis and oil price slump may suppress emissions in 2020, a rebound would restore the long-term trend.

"The transition to renewables, efficiency and electrification can drive broad socio-economic development. The outlook’s Transforming Energy Scenario aligns energy investments with the need to keep global warming “well below 2oC”, in line with the Paris Agreement.

"Jobs in renewables would reach 42 million globally by 2050, four times their current level, through the increased focus of investments on renewables. Energy efficiency measures would create 21 million and system flexibility 15 million additional jobs.

The last portion of CO2 emissions will be the hardest and most expensive to eliminate. The outlook’s Deeper Decarbonisation Perspective highlights the need for innovative technologies, business models and behavioural adaptation to reach zero emissions.

Decarbonising energy use in time to avert catastrophic climate change requires intensified international co-operation. With the need for emission reductions unchanged, clean energy investments can safeguard against short-sighted decisions and the accumulation of stranded assets.

Recovery measures following the COVID-19 pandemic could include flexible power grids, efficiency solutions, electric vehicle charging, energy storage, interconnected hydropower, green hydrogen and other technology investments consistent with long-term energy and climate sustainability.

Technologies consistent with long-term climate sustainability include flexible power grids, efficiency solutions, electric vehicle charging, energy storage, interconnected hydropower, green hydrogen and other technology investments consistent with long-term energy and climate sustainability.

Socio-economic measures to maximise the benefits of the energy transition include industrial policies, labour market interventions, educational and skills development and social protection programmes.
 
Decarbonising energy use in time to avert catastrophic climate change requires intensified international co-operation, financial mobilisation, strengthened institutions, and broad policy cohesion. With the need for emission reductions unchanged, clean energy investments can safeguard against short-sighted decisions and the accumulation of stranded assets.

As governments respond to the COVID-19 crisis, they need to work together towards a Global Green Deal, recognise the advantages of renewables and efficiency, ensure a just transition for everyone, and pave the way for a clean, low-carbon global economy.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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$10m renewable energy Techfund elucidates commendation from AfDB - NaijaAgroNet

The Trust Fund Committee of the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), one of two funds within the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) have received commendation for extending a $10 million concessional senior loan for development of the 50 MW Tulu Moyo Geothermal Power Plant project in Ethiopia.
The African Development Bank in welcoming the decision by CIF, said the investment would assist in diversification of Ethiopia’s energy mix, which also avails CTF to become the first progressive geothermal Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Ethiopia.
 
The CTF approved the loan on 20 April 2020 for the project, which is seen as a critical step to the East African country’s drive to harness sustainable and resilient energy resources to support its economy and livelihoods. With this investment, CTF becomes the first progressive geothermal Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Ethiopia.

“We welcome the participation of CTF in this project. This concessional resource will be instrumental in helping the country to diversify its energy mix by facilitating the deployment of renewable energy technologies while supporting Ethiopia in meeting the targets under its National Electrification Plan 2.0,” said Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the Bank.

The project entails the design, construction, commissioning and operation of a 50 MW geothermal power plant under a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) scheme, and marks the first phase of the Ethiopian government’s plan to build cumulative generation capacity of 150 MW by 2024.

The project will include a sub-station and an 11 km transmission line.

Antony Karembu, Principal Investment Officer and Renewable Energy Specialist at the African Development Bank noted that as the first progressive geothermal Independent Power Producer in Ethiopia, CTF will leverage climate finance options in mobilizing private sector operators for the project.

The project is expected to curb greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes CO2 equivalent over its lifetime, and will create around 600 jobs, Karembu said.

CTF will catalyze the deployment of renewable energy technologies in Ethiopia and will underpin future investments into the sector as first-mover risks are reduced and compliance requirements are better understood to all market participants, Leandro Azevedo, Principal Climate Finance Officer and CIF coordinator at the African Development Bank, stated.

The CTF funds will be drawn from the Dedicated Private Sector Program III designed to provide risk-appropriate financing for high-impact, large-scale private sector projects in clean technologies.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

COVID-19: CLEEN wants States to beef up security @entry points - NaijaAgroNet

The CLEEN Foundation has called on State governments to as a matter of urgency beef up security at the entry points into their states across the country to help checkmate continued inter-state movement and spread of COVID19 through community transmissions, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Foundation expressed concern that despite government's ban, inter-state travel which the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says is the one of the major cause of community transmission and the increasing number of cases.

The nonprofit organisation in a report released made available on Friday, said security personnel that ought to enforce the ban are found violating same by extorting travellers to enable them gain entry into states.

"As already noted, our observers reported the movement of travelers along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway. In Bayelsa state, it was observed that there was complicity on the part of the security personnel manning border posts and tollgates into the state.

"There were reported incidences of extortion by security personnel to enable transporters and commuters enter the state. The situation is not different in Delta state where there are regular entry and exits into the state through the Asaba-Onitsha and Patani-Bayelsa axis due to the compromising nature of security personnel.

"In the South Eastern region particularly borders between Imo & Abia States (Owerrinta/Okpala), it was observed that the borders between the two states made it possible for citizens to move freely with no hinderance. Transporters in Imo State have devised various means of moving commuters in and out of the state.

"It was further observed that the Abia State COVID-19 Task Force intercepted a lorry carrying youths from the northern parts of the country into the state against government regulation.

"In South Western states, there have been reported cases of influx of youths allegedly from Zamfara state into Osun and Oyo states. The Governor of Oyo recently stated that the challenges with noncompliance with restrictions on interstate movement was majorly between Lagos- Ibadan and Ibadan-Ife Highway roads.

"In Yobe state, North East Nigeria, traders were reported to have traveled to Kano for business despite knowing the high level of COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Kaduna state was observed to have strictly restricted inter-state movements," the report read.

On compliance with stay-at-home directive, Social Distancing Guidelines, ban or religious gathering, the report found that there was a lack of compliance by citizens to guidelines and precautionary measures stipulated by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The report noted that one of the gaps that resulted to the poor compliance is that, commercial banks provided inadequate banking facilities for citizens thereby forcing citizens to use only available branches in operation resulting in chaos in different bank premises.

It added that there was also a Lack of harmonized guidelines or information to citizens on the timelines and procedures for easing the lockdown and Inadequate training of security agents on policing the pandemic at the different levels or phases.

CLEEN called on Commercial banks and other private businesses should priortise the welfare and safety of customers as they reopen and ensure they do not add to the suffering of Nigerians through their policies.

It also called on Law enforcement agents should be proactive in enforcing social distancing rules, the use of face masks in public and the ban on large gatherings especially in worship centers. In addition, they should be mindful of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, May 8, 2020

UN partners IRENA for improved access to sustainable energy - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will work together to improve access to sustainable energy, bolstering the Asia-Pacific region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The two organisations will offer recommendations to governments in the region positioning the energy transition as an integral part of the immediate response to the crisis and medium to long-term recovery efforts.

Asia-Pacific, home to half of the world’s population, is largely dependent on fossil fuels. Diesel, for instance, fuels the majority of the region’s off-grid electricity needs. 

According to ESCAP, 200 million people in the Asia Pacific region live without electricity and 1.2 billion people without access to clean cooking fuel. Joint efforts will focus on developing sustainable energy policies that are closely integrated with health and industrial development policies to bolster recovery efforts and rebuild economies.

“The pandemic is an opportunity for us to rethink our economic growth path that has come at a heavy cost to the people and planet,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. 

“To bring about a fundamental shift for the energy transition, we need to adopt the motto of ‘no more business as usual’ for all stakeholders. Policymakers should not lose sight of the looming climate crisis, but rather design economic stimulus packages with social inclusion and environmental sustainability built into every decision in particular sustainable energy development.”

“We are living in truly unprecedented times, calling for decisive and cooperative action among the international community to save lives and support livelihoods all over the world,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. 

“The Asia-Pacific region faces unique energy challenges that undermine the ability of governments to respond to this crisis and build economic resilience. Renewables can underpin these efforts and therefore can play an instrumental role in both the response and the recovery.”

With national budgets strained by immediate COVID-19 needs, short to medium-term energy access investment may represent less of a priority for governments. However, underinvestment in this area could severely impact the capacity of rural health centres to support front-line health workers and provide essential services to COVID-19 patients. When a vaccine does become available, the provision of cold storage and refrigerated transport across large areas will be critical. Decentralized renewable energy technologies such as solar will be key for large-scale immunization efforts in developing countries.

Furthermore, slow progress in mainstreaming clean cooking solutions may expose millions of people to the dangerous combination of particulates and COVID-19. Scientists are already investigating links between air pollution and higher levels of coronavirus mortality, with preliminary results showing a probable correlation between the two.

Renewables can be deployed rapidly and are therefore well-placed to support immediate crisis response efforts including electrification of public health value chains. In the medium to long-term, renewables-based energy systems can also be an engine of sustainable growth. Renewable energy costs in many parts of the world now outcompete traditional energy sources, presenting cost saving opportunities for governments and consumers while boosting energy security, building energy independence and supporting climate-related nationally determined contributions.

According to IRENA’s recently launched Global Renewables Outlook report, renewables can supply more than half of all power needs in Southeast Asia alone by 2030, boosting the regional economy by more than 4.4 per cent and growing jobs by close to 50 per cent in the process. 

In a recent COVID-19 policy report for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP identified renewable energy as one of the main sectors to include in stimulus packages.

During the 10th IRENA Assembly last January, ESCAP and IRENA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to increase the uptake of renewable energy in the Asia-Pacific region, support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and contribute to the achievement of SDG7 by 2030.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

NLNG lifts Bonny Zonal Hospital with 10-bed centre - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has donated a 10-bed Holding Centre, at the Bonny Zonal Hospital as part of its support to the host community towards fight against spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), reports NaijaAgroNet.

This handover was done on Tuesday on the heels of the donation of two vehicles, medical and other materials to the Rivers State Government in Port Harcourt recently. 


The company had earlier revealed that it was committing to N1 billion in various interventions in the State.

Handing over the facility to the Hospital, Tony Attah, NLNG’s Managing Director, represented by Godson Dienye, the company’s Manager, Community Relations, said the sustained resolve to actualise NLNG’s vision of “helping to build a better Nigeria” continues to inspire the company’s passion to establish a healthy society. 

He said: “This has been the thrust of all of Nigeria LNG’s socio-economic intervention programmes in the community and I am happy to note that our efforts are well received and are impacting Bonny and our other host communities positively. 

While receiving the facility, Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Professor Princewill Chike, represented by The Medical Officer in charge of the Zonal Hospital Bonny, Dr. Babep, said that the Holding Centre will be efficiently managed to promote good health and secure the safety of residents of Bonny Local Government Area, just as the Bonny Community Health Insurance Programme (BCHIP), a partnership between NLNG and the State Government, is already doing.

He stated further that “NLNG has consistently proven to be a reliable development partner through its numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives which have had direct bearing on the well-being of the masses. Only recently, the company demonstrated once again that it is a friend to Rivers State by its donation of medical equipment worth over $500,000 dollars to the State Government to manage the coronavirus pandemic. The Company also pledged an intervention at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital worth $1Million.” 

Other items donated by NLNG for use on Bonny Island include one oxygen bank consisting of 5 bull nose cylinders, 10 drip stands, 10,000 one-fit N95 health care particulate respirator and surgical masks, 25,000 surgical masks, 50,000 nitrile gloves, 12,500 hooded coveralls with boots, 70 respirators, 5 suction machines, 3 single air conditioners for consulting rooms, 5 split air conditioners for wards, wall mounted hand sanitizers and 10 patient monitors. 

NLNG ‘s other programs to boost the healthy well-being of people on Bonny Island include the Bonny Malaria Eradication Programme instituted in 2019 to cut malaria-related mortality among women and children under-five to zero and make Bonny Island Nigeria’s first malaria-free zone.

NLNG stated that its contribution to the fight against the pandemic is in line with its vision of “…helping to build a better Nigeria”.


Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Monday, May 4, 2020

Nutrition Society demands scaling up social protection for citizens, COVID-19 patients - NaijaAgroNet

The Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) has called on the Federal Government to scale up social protection for the citizens, insisting that nutrition as part of healthcare that deserves requisite attention especially for COVID-19 infected persons, reports NaijaAgroNet.

NSN President, Dr Bartholomew I. C. Brai in a press statement made available to 
NaijaAgroNet, said there is need to intensify interventions on community against acute malnutrition and similar ongoing interventions.

This, he said, could be done by both the government and stakeholders alike towards the provision of food and nutrition support to indigent households, mostly COVID-19 patients with attention on energy, protein and fluid balance maintenance.

The Society advised that following high mortality among older people affected by COVID-19, “adequate nutrition and management of secondary conditions cum infection of the older population should be ensured.”

They also called for proper use of personal protective equipment and hand santisizers by all health workers and support staff to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Likewise, periodic disinfection of surface systems including doorknobs, doorways, tables, shopping cart/basket handles, elevator buttons and scales in supermarkets, market stalls, clinics, and other public facilities should be enforced,” he advised.

NSN noted that following loss of purchasing power, food price hikes, and panic purchase already exist, stressing that the government should make efforts to stabilize food supply and regulate food prices.

“Suggested measures include the release of food stocks from grain reserves, tax relief on food items, relaxation of the restriction on food distribution channels, and scale-up support for smallholder farmers. In addition, food surveillance system,” the president said.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Sunday, May 3, 2020

COVID-19 Lockdown: Lagos opens markets with guidelines - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: 
The Lagos State Government has issued new guidelines for the reopening of markets and shopping malls in the State as part of efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, following Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu's announcement on the gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos from next week Monday, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting last Thursday in Alausa, Ikeja, the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, reiterated that all markets and stores in the various Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas across the metropolis will be allowed to open from 9 a.m till 3 p.m on selected days.

He emphasised that everyone attending these markets and stores will be mandated to observe precautionary measures such as physical distancing and high levels of personal and respiratory hygiene.

Dr. Ahmed declared that malls will also be allowed to open with the proviso that stores will maintain a 60% occupancy capacity at any point in time, while also ensuring that a two-meter physical distancing is maintained between a shopper and the next person in the store.

The Commissioner maintained that food handlers must also wear masks and hand gloves in markets at all times, directing that shop owners must provide hand sanitisers and wash hands with soap and running water at all entry points, conduct temperature checks on customers and ensure that nobody is exempted from the process.

According to him, the guidelines are proactive measures put in place by the Government to curtail a possible spread of the deadly virus among traders in markets places and malls when the gradual ease of the lockdown commences on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Ahmed disclosed that stakeholders at the meeting, which was attended by the Iyaloja/President, General Association of Commodity Market Women and Men of Nigeria, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo and other major market leaders in the State, unanimously agreed that effective from Monday, 4th May 2020, food sellers and other ware traders should operate on alternate days in all markets across the State.

“In essence, those trading in other items and wares apart from food will only be allowed to trade on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while all food and farm produce sellers will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays”, the Commissioner explained.

While stressing that there will be zero tolerance for all forms of street-trading, Ahmed disclosed that all Market leaders also promised to ensure that their members abide by all the stated guidelines, while the Ministry, Chairmen of LGs/LCDAs, Office of Iyaloja-General and the State Enforcement Agencies will ensure strict compliance with the directives.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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World Malaria Day 2020: AMMREN seeks collaboration with state, non state actors - NaijaAgroNet

The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) have called for more collaboration among the state actors and non-state actors to strengthening the war against malaria on the continent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

AMMREN in its 2020 World Malaria Day message, which took place on 25th April every year, noted that the commemoration is a global event to create awareness on the control and elimination of malaria. The day also serves as a time to take stock of the gains made so far on malaria control and the gaps remaining to fill to save the lives of many vulnerable populations, especially children from a preventable and treatable disease.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the commemoration of 2020 World Malaria Day is, for the second year being celebrated under the theme: “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”.

AMMREN pointed out the celebration this year was unique, as for the first time, it was devoid of the usual fanfare, while people remain indoors and online meetings take centre stage. The world is currently facing a very challenging time, coping with the emergence of a new pandemic, COVID 19. The disease has brought in its wake a strain on national budgets and health systems including upheavals on the entire socio-economic lives of people and nations across the globe.

Not only are huge resources being channeled into the fight against the coronavirus disease but health workers are working under severe stress, health systems and medical supplies are overstretched, job losses are on the rise and businesses are shutting down due to the pandemic.

Worse of all, resources that should be going into handling other preventable diseases such as malaria are most likely being diverted to deal with the current pandemic. The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), a Pan-African media advocacy group of journalists and scientists working together to rid the world of malaria, is urging all stakeholders not to abandoned the fight against malaria.

The Network warns against diversion of funds set aside for activities such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control of malaria. Doing so will have serious implications for the elimination of malaria or even lead to a resurgence of malaria cases, especially in the malaria-endemic countries in Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed similar concerns in a statement released in March. The world body urged countries to ensure the continuity of malaria services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the WHO statement, Dr. Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, stated that as the COVID-19 continues its rapid spread, WHO would like to send a clear message to malaria-affected countries in Africa and adds that access to life-saving malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services should not be compromised in the efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Doing so will threaten to reverse decades of hard-fought progress against malaria. “We cannot leave anyone behind.”

“Do not scale back your planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities. If someone living in a place with malaria develops a fever, he or she should seek diagnosis and care as soon as possible,” he added.

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria, in a similar statement in March this year, added its voice by calling on countries to maintain the momentum in the fight against malaria, saying current investments in malaria are saving almost 600,000 lives and preventing nearly 100 million cases a year.

Data from RBM Partnership to End Malaria shows that 11 countries, together, account for approximately 70% of the world’s malaria burden: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. In 2018 alone, 405,000 people were said to have died from the disease, with more than 90% of cases and deaths concentrated in Africa.

Pregnant women and children continue to be hardest hit. An estimated 11 million pregnant women living in 38 African countries were infected with malaria in 2018; as a result, nearly 900 000 babies were born with a low birth weight – a major risk factor for infant mortality. Globally, children under the age of 5 accounted for about two-thirds of all malaria deaths in 2018. Records also show that every two minutes a child still dies of malaria.

AMMREN calls for stepped-up action across all endemic countries, particularly in countries hardest hit by malaria. They should fully embrace the “High burden to high impact” approach, spearheaded by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. The approach provides a response that can help ensure future success in malaria control and eventual elimination.

National Malaria Control Programmes (NMCP) should work with various partners, especially local authorities to readily make available supplies of malaria test kits. This will scale up rapid diagnosis across all public health facilities from the lowest health facility to the bigger ones to prevent presumptuous treatment of malaria cases and the proper diagnosis of other febrile illnesses for proper health intervention.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, May 1, 2020

Molfix maker lifts Lagos, Ogun States over COVID-19 - NaijaAgroNet


The makers of MOLFIX, BEBEM and several hygiene brands, Hayat Kimya Nigeria, has lifted Lagos and Ogun States on their fight to curb the Coronavirus or COVID-19 effect on the citizenry with donation of hygienic products, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The donation, NaijaAgroNet gathered included MOLPED Sanitary Pad, FAMILIA Toilet Paper and targeted at boosting the states’ efforts and commitment to treating the existing cases, and flattening the curve of the novel virus spread.

Managing Director, Hayat Kimya Nigeria, Mr Doruk Emiroglu noted that as a responsible corporate citizen of Nigeria, and in order to encourage efforts targeted at arresting further spread of the virus the donation has become imperative.



“We commend the Lagos and Ogun State government’s efforts, especially the proactive measures and leadership that the state has provided for the country at large, especially the management style, information dissemination and recovery recorded so far in the fight against Covid-19.

“We also recognise that the state resources are limited to fight the spread of the dreaded virus, isolate, treat the infected people and provide relief to majority of Nigerian citizens who make their living by going out on a daily basis, but are now compelled to stay at home.”

Mr Emiroglu further said that they donated two trucks loaded with hygienic products, namely MOLPED Sanitary Pad and FAMILIA Toilet Paper.


"As our modest support to Lagos and Ogun States governments in support of their laudable efforts. This is to ensure adequate healthcare products at the centres for treatment of people infected with Covid-19,” Emiroglu said.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Photo: L-R: Dr. Fred Oladeinde - Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Rasak Sulaimon; Quality Assurance Manager, Hayat Kimya Nigeria, and Miss Venessa Ebifemi, Corporate Affairs and Communication Chief, Hayat Kimya Nigeria, during the donation of hygienic products to the Lagos State government, recently.