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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

OPEC-Nigeria think of post-COVID-19 market - NaijaAgroNet

The OPEC-Nigeria Bilateral Meeting that took place last week ended with a signal of the strong dialogue and cooperation between OPEC and Africa’s biggest producing country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Such a dialogue, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered, is key for compliance with the OPEC global production cuts deal of April, to which all of OPEC’s African member countries have agreed to. Nigeria’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in West Africa.

“African producers and service companies are the hardest hit when there is volatility in the market. H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo and Dr. Ayed S. Al-Qahtani leading these discussions sends a strong message that collaboration and sticking to the principles of a stable market is good for Nigeria, its producers and the economy at large,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“We continue to support the Government of Nigeria, and the country’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources in their effort to improve the environment for investment and getting the industry to rebound post-Covid-19. We believe they are right in making this a priority and we welcome the bold initiatives by Nigeria’s leadership,” he added.

Nigeria’s ongoing Marginal Fields Bidding Round was launched in earlier this year and has already been met with significant success, reportedly attracting hundreds of bidders. The round is expected to result in a new wave of local content development in Nigeria, a country already widely regarded as the most successful example of local content and capacity building across the continent.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

OPL oil scam: Group wants Malami to declare full recovered assests - NaijaAgroNet

Group of anti-graft civil society groups has has Nigeria's Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to make full disclosure on recovered assets linked to the OPL multi-billion dollar oil scam, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Assets running into billions of dollars have been recovered due to local and international litigations but there are increasing public outrage against the lack of transparency in the process

The lack of openness in the entire process continues to fuel public suspicion that corrupt officials might manipulate the procedure for personal gains.

A consortium of anti-corruption groups across the world are raising series of fresh questions on the role of Malami and the funding arrangements that Johnson and Johnson, the Nigerian legal firm that has the fiat for all OPL 245 recovery claims has entered into with Drumcliffe Partners, a U.S. litigation fund, to finance various OPL 245 related asset recovery cases.

On Sunday, the Corner House, Global Witness, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) and Re-Common through a letter to the AGF Malami launched a filament of global campaigns for transparency in the quantum of assets recovered from the scam which lid was been blown open. In the petition, the groups raised 25 critical questions for Malami.

"Nigerians need to know assets recovered relating to the OPL 245 scam. This is one of the most significant corruption cases in Nigeria involving billions of dollars in stolen funds used by political figures to procure assets kept across the world. It is important that Nigerians and the international community know how many assets have been recovered", the groups said in the jointly signed statement on Sunday. 

Following earlier media publications by the group titled The Ministry of Justice Needs To Get Its Act Together On Asset Recovery" raising questions about the Ministry of Justice's handling of asset recovery and damages claims, particularly in relation to the OPL 245 corruption scandal, Global Witness was contacted by Montfort Communications, a public relations firm that defends the legal team of Nigerian central government. The groups said Montfort offered to arrange a meeting to explore earlier raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the asset recovery deal saying is was ready for an open meeting driven by overall public interest.

The groups have raised 25 fundamental questions seeking answers from both the OPL 245 asset recovery lawyers and Malami who, as senior law officer and Minister of Justice, should be abreast of the funding arrangements and their implications for Nigeria. 

The groups said Nigerians are anxious to know how many OPL 245 related contracts have been signed between Johnson and Johnson and Drumcliffe, on what dates, when and how was Malami informed of the existence of such contracts.

The group stated "Nigerians want to know if any complaint has ever been made to any official body or official of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in respect of terms of the contracts, has Johnson and Johnson or any legal firm employed by Johnson and Johnson explained the terms of the contracts to any official of the Federal Government and whether any assessment has been made by Johnson and Johnson or any legal firm employed by Johnson and Johnson of potential conflicts of interest that might arise from the contracts?" It said contracts signed with all relevant authorities relating to the asset recovery should not be shrouded in mystery. 

The coalition asked Malami to clarify what fees and expenses arising from Nigeria's asset recovery does Drumcliffe fund and what does it not fund, who is Drumcliffe's counterparty in the funding agreements adding whether it was the Federal Government or Johnson and Johnson.

The groups asked further "How much funding has Drumcliffe allocated or spent to date on the various OPL 245 asset recovery efforts (Italian civil claim, JP Morgan, Shell-Eni etc), what is Drumcliffe's typical rate of return, or what lowest rate of return Drumcliffe will accept, and also Drumcliffe's contractual rate of return in the case of FRN/OPL 245 recoveries. 

It noted that litigation funders typically prefer to deduct what is owed to them prior to recovered assets or damages being remitted to the claimant. The coalition asked Malami to confirm that in the OPL 245-related contracts entered into between Johnson and Johnson and Drumcliffe, all recovered monies will be automatically credited to the Federal Government without prior deductions adding that if this is not the case it would wish to know what procedure will be followed.

"Has that procedure been sanctioned by the Attorney General or the Solicitor General? What deductions would be made and how these consistent with Government policy on asset recovery claims. What assurances can you give that Drumcliffe is not controlling the FRN's legal strategy? What codes of conduct, if any, does Drumcliffe subscribe to in the USA? Who regulates Drumcliffe? and what are the key regulatory requirements?"

It said, it is important to know what assurances can Malami give that Drumcliffe has the capital in reserve to support the Federal Government's asset recovery efforts long-term, who is paying the FG's £850k legal costs from the recent case it lost against Shell, Eni and others in London and when did the FG's legal team in the recent Shell and Eni case first inform the government that Drumcliffe would not be liable for the £2 million adverse costs in the Shell, Eni and others case in London.

The groups asked further "Who is liable for putting up any securities for costs in other ongoing cases, Drumcliffe or the FG and if it is the government, are they aware of this and when did you first inform them of the development.

It also wanted to know if Drumcliffe had funded other FG and OPL 245 asset recovery cases before, why are Drumcliffe's funds incorporated in Delaware, who typically invests in Drumcliffe's litigation funds and what due diligence has been undertaken by Johnson and Johnson on the investors in Drumcliffe? And on Drumcliffe itself.

It asked further "Has the FRN been informed of the names of the investors in Drumcliffe and what contingent liabilities have been built up by the FRN for OPL 245 asset recovery cases undertaken through Johnson and Johnson? Who sanctioned these liabilities."

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Merck Foundation marks 2020 World ART day - NaijaAgroNet


The Merck Foundation provides long term hands-on Embryology & Fertility Specialists training to develop local Embryologists & Fertility Experts across Africa and Asia; Merck Foundation makes history by training the first African Embryologists and Fertility Experts in many countries such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks ‘World ART Day 2020’ through providing long term hands-on embryology training and clinical fertility specialists training to develop local Embryologists and fertility specialists to improve access to quality and cost-effective fertility care in Africa and Asia, this is as part of Merck More than a Mother campaign.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, President of Merck More than a Mother and One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019) emphasized, “I strongly believe in the critical role of Embryologists and fertility specialists to empower infertile women through improving their access to information, change of mindset and quality & equitable fertility care.

I am very proud that as part of ‘Merck More Than A Mother’ campaign in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Academia and Fertility Societies, we were able to provide hands on long term embryology training and clinical fertility specialists to develop more than 182 local Embryologists & Fertility Experts from 35 countries, many of them were trained to be the first local embryologists in many countries where they never had local embryologists or fertility specialists before such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Niger, Chad, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Liberia. Together with you, Merck Foundation Alumni and our partners, we are making history and reshaping the landscape of fertility care”.

Merck Foundation will also provide on line one-year diploma and two years master degree in sexual and reproductive medicines from UK University to more than 80 doctors from Africa and Asia to contribute to our mission to break the stigma around Infertility and reshape the landscape of fertility care in the global south.

African First Ladies of 18 Countries are working closely with Merck Foundation as Ambassadors of Merck more than a Mother including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Namibia, Mozambique, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, The Gambia, DR Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, CAR, Botswana and Burundi (former First Lady) and Malawi (Former First Lady). “The African First Ladies have partnered with Merck Foundation to lead and execute many initiatives in their respective countries as Merck More Than a Mother Ambassadors to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility. This speaks volume about the work we are doing” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation has trained more than 82 Embryologists in addition to over 100 Fertility Specialists from 35 countries which are: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D'IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Merck hands-on Embryology and Fertility specialists Training program is an ongoing initiative and Merck Foundation will continue to train more doctors and embryologist in more African, Asian and developing countries.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, July 24, 2020

COVID-19: Gospel on dangers of vaccine according to Chris Okotie - NaijaAgroNet

This article is an excerpt from my broadcast on YouTube concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. It deals with the issue of the vaccine being prepared to fight the virus. You may have to listen to the full broadcast to fully understand what I am talking about here. Here is the link.   

What the devil has attempted to do, is to create the pattern of communion in this situation. How? Communion involves that which is solid, and that which is liquid. The bread is solid, the wine is liquid. That’s what this vaccine project is all about. 

Bill Gates, as Commander of the Ten, like I mentioned in the numerology of his name, has dealt with the solid, which is what the bread is, by affecting what we eat, in what is called GMO; Genetically Modified Organisms, now found in what we eat. This is the pattern for the bread. The vaccine on the other hand, brings the liquid to you, just like the blood, and it is injected into you. So, it is received into you, because, when you drink the wine, it goes into your system, so that when you consume the GMO’s, and you receive the vaccine, you bring the body and blood together; so to speak, just as it is in communion; the body of Jesus Christ and His blood. That’s what replicates that pattern. And I told you that the reason for the communion is because it affects you on three dimensions: Your eyes, your vision. Your mouth, the words that you speak, because, the power of life and death resides in the tongue. Your hands, your enterprise, what you can do. 

So, what Bill Gates is doing; under the auspices of the United Nations, is to make sure that you receive the food … Many people did not complain about GMOs’, because they didn’t understand where this was leading. They thought it was just changing whatever nutritional values these things have. They did not understand the spiritual import: But now, they do. 

So, when you eat the genetically modified organisms that you eat, and you take the vaccine, you’ve entered into communion with Satan, with Lucifer, and that communion involves blood. Now, since the blood of Jesus is not what he’s talking about, or what he has to offer, he will require you to seek blood somewhere else, and the only place that you can find blood, is another human being. So, one of the things that the vaccine will make you do, is to become a ‘vampire’, who needs to drink blood for sustenance. But we as Christians, we don’t drink blood, we drink the wine, which is an emblem of the blood, and that sustains us spiritually. But his communion will require you drinking blood spiritually, so that you are a vampire for your sustenance. That is why you have seen all of the movies about vampires. 

Hollywood is one of the mouthpieces of the god of this world. He has many prophets there that are directors, and a lot of actors and producers. You say, why does he say what to do ahead of time? Because he is an imitator of scripture; of our God. Martin Luther called him the ape of God. He imitates God, because God; through prophecy, will tell you what He wants to do ahead of time; and you can’t change it. So, to provide the same pattern, he has his people telling you things, like Rockerfeller Foundation, and all these things that they say to you; ahead of time: And they assume that there is nothing that you can do about it, because this thing going on now, was already predicted, they already talked about it. They MUST provide the pattern … The pattern, because that’s where the power comes through, so, they must provide that pattern. 

That’s why they do their movies, to tell you what they are going to do, because the drugs inside this vaccine, will make you a zombie; you are a walking cadaver, you’re neither dead nor alive, so, you can be controlled by the power of Satan … Zombified, so he can control you. He has the power, that’s why it’s called sorcery. In the book of Revelations, when the Bible talks about the reason why the people on earth cannot turn away from their sin, even though the judgment of God is manifest, the Bible says it’s because of their sorceries. That word is a translation of the word Pharmachaea; it’s a reference to drugs. That is not talking about drugs that you can easily swallow, or pills that you take, because, that will be too expensive for the devil; to turn all of the world into drug addicts; all of us. Now, he can do that, so, the easiest way to do it, is through vaccines. 

So, everything he needs to put in the drugs, is in the vaccine. That’s why you see in the movies that deal with witchcraft like Harry Porter, things like that, you will see them stirring this liquid, because, when you take that, that’s the drug, that’s the pharmachaea, the reference to the drugs. It opens doors in the soul realm, in the mind realm, that God had shut, because of the sin of Adam. 

That’s why those who play around with drugs, when they take these drugs, they begin to hallucinate, and they begin to see things. Because doors that were shut, are open, because when you take these things, you become susceptible to witchcraft, and you can now leave your body into what they call astral travels, and things like that. You need those things as a catalyst, they facilitate the movement from physical into the spirit realm. And all of those things are in the drugs. 

So, just as communion connects you to the Lord, through the bread, which connects you to the body, which gives you healing, and the wine connects you to the blood, which gives you forgiveness. That’s exactly what the devil will do, or is already doing. The GMO’s will connect you to Lucifer, the vaccine will connect you to Lucifer, concerning your body and your spirit, or your soul, so he can control you. That way, he can determine the population of the world, because, all he has to do, is command you to die; you kill yourself. Or command the disease to kill you, and he can reduce the population of the world through that, or turn you into a zombie, just like I said: he can do that. And he controls what you say, because that’s what communion does. Our mouth has power of life, and for Satan to control our mouth, we must begin to say words that are contrary to the Bible. 

In the New Testament, there are two words that describe evil. There’s the word, kakos: When a man is doing evil, and just wants to do evil, and deals with the consequence of that evil, he doesn’t care about anybody else. He just wants to do evil, and then he’ll bear the consequences. But there’s another word called, poneros, which is used to describe the evil of this world. That is evil that is done by a man and he does it in such a way that he drags you down by the evil that he commits. So he wants you to be a partaker of the consequence of the evil, even though you did not partake in the evil, because those two words are used to describe Satan’s operations. 

kakos; people who do evil on the internet, and then do not care about anyone else. They just purveyeur, they sell evil, they do evil, they attract evil, they communicate evil with the things that they say, they blaspheme God, they speak enchantments and divinations contrary to the word of Almighty God. Then you have others who are poneros evil, who do things to seduce others, so that they can participate in the consequence of the evil, and drag you down with them. 

*Contributed by Rev. Chris Okotie, who is the Pastor of the Household of God Church, Lagos.

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FRA 2020 key findings - NaijaAgroNet

The world has a total forest area of 4.06 billion hectares, which is about 31 percent of the total land area. Europe, including Russian Federation, accounts for 25 percent of the world's forest area, followed by South America (21 percent), North and Central America (19 percent), Africa (16 percent), Asia (15 percent) and Oceania (5 percent), NaijaAgroNet reports.

The global forest area continues to decrease, and the world has lost 178 million hectares of forest since 1990. However, the rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over the period 1990-2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation and natural expansion of forests.

Africa has the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010-2020, at 3.9 million hectares, followed by South America, at 2.6 million hectares. The highest net gain of forest area in 2010-2020 was found in Asia.

Since 1990 an estimated 420 million ha of forest has been lost worldwide through deforestation, conversion of forest to other land use such as agriculture. However, the rate of forest loss has declined substantially. In the most recent five-year period (2015-2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, down from 12 million hectares in 2010-2015 and 16 million hectares in 1990-2000.

The area of forest in protected areas has increased by 191 million ha since 1990, and has now reached an estimated 726 million ha (18 percent of the total forest area of reporting countries). In addition, the area of forest under management plans is increasing in all regions - globally, it has increased by 233 million ha since 2000, reaching slightly over two billion hectares in 2020.

Top ten countries worldwide for average annual net losses of forest area between 2010 and 2020 are: Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Angola, United Republic of Tanzania, Paraguay, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Mozambique.
Top ten countries for average annual net gains in forest area in the same period are: China, Australia, India, Chile, Viet Nam, Turkey, United States of America, France, Italy, Romania.

Commenting on the FRA key findings, Senior Forestry Officer and FRA Coordinator Anssi Pekkarinen said: "While the rate of deforestation decreased substantially during the last decades, it still remains a source of great concern. At the current pace we risk not meeting the 2030 SDG targets related to sustainable forest management. We need to step up efforts to halt deforestation in order to unlock the full potential of forests in contributing to sustainable food production, poverty alleviation, food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change while sustaining the production of all the other goods and services they provide."

FRA provides essential information for understanding the extent of forest resources, their condition, management and uses. Since FRA 1990, assessments have been published every five years. It is a country-driven process, conducted by FAO at the request of its member states and in close collaboration with hundreds of national and international experts.

With support from the European Union, the Government of Norway, Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Global Environment Facility, and in collaboration with FAO member states, the FRA Advisory Group, Collaborative Forest Resources Questionnaire partners, and others, FRA will continue to evolve as a dynamic, transparent and continuous reporting process that provides easy access to official up-to-date, high-quality data.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Global Forest Resources debuts - NaijaAgroNet

United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched the 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2020) NaijaAgroNet reports.

FRA 2020, NaijaAgroNet gathered, offers detailed regional and global analyses in a new, digitally interactive way in an innovative and easy-to-use digital format.
Available for public viewing, the Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2020) and its first-ever online interactive dissemination platform contain detailed regional and global analyses for 236 countries and territories.

Users can now consult a comparable and consistent set of more than 60 forest indicators across countries and regions and download the requested data in a non-proprietary digital format. Monitoring of change over time is also possible in parameters such as forest area, management, ownership and use.

"The wealth of information on the world's forests is a valuable public good for the global community to help facilitate evidence-based policy formulation, decision-making and sound investments in the forest sector," said Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo, at the launch. "These newly released tools will enable us to better respond to deforestation and forest degradation, prevent biodiversity loss and improve sustainable forest management."

Millions of people around the world depend on forests for their food security and livelihoods. Protecting forests is also key to conserving natural resources, as they harbour most of the Earth's terrestrial biodiversity and help mitigate climate change impacts. According to the recently published the State of the World's Forests (SOFO) report, forests contain 60,000 different tree species, 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species, and 68 percent of the Earth's mammal species.

Therefore, it is crucial to turn the tide on deforestation and the loss of biodiversity which can be done by conserving and sustainably managing forests and trees within an integrated landscape approach - addressing forestry and food security challenges together. Reliable and comprehensive information on forests and other land-uses plays a vital role in this process, FAO said.

In addition, the FRA 2020 data are used by FAO to estimate carbon emissions and removals from forests, by country and at a global level. For instance, the new FRA-based estimates indicate that global emissions from forest loss decreased by about one-third since 1990. Figures on carbon emissions and removals, based on the FRA data, are made available through the FAO statistics database FAOSTAT.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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FAO outlines uses of Hand-in-Hand initiative - NaijaAgroNet

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has outlined several uses of the Hand-in-Hand initiative, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Some of the uses, FAO said the platform provides vital information to monitor agricultural water productivity, including agricultural systems at risk due to human pressure on land and water; compare human population density to distribution of cattle or compare density between two livestock species around the world; ascertain aquatic species distribution; and analyse precipitation trends.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that this initiative avails analysis of information from national forest monitoring systems that show distribution of forest resources with other geospatial data such as the road network.

This, FAO said, allows the separation of undisturbed forest areas that have high conservation value from accessible areas that are more suitable for restoration or production.

"The geospatial platform will allow us to design more targeted agricultural interventions and investment plans through a territorial approach - an approach that fosters equality, inclusion and sustainable food and nutrition security," said FAO's Chief Economist Maximo Torero.

FAO will add new datasets and country- and domain-specific case studies to the platform to improve targeting and tailoring of policy interventions, innovation, finance and investment, and institutional reform in food and agriculture.

The platform is part of FAO's Hand-in-Hand initiative - an evidence-based, country-led and country-owned initiative aimed at accelerating agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty (SDG1) and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG2), including through the use of the most sophisticated tools available such as advanced geo-spatial modeling and analytics.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

FAO launches hand-in-hand geospatial data platform - NaijaAgroNet

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched the Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform with a large and rich set of data on food, agriculture, socioeconomics, and natural resources to help strengthen evidence-based decision-making in the food and agriculture sectors, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The platform, NaijaAgroNet gathered is a crucial tool for all efforts to build back better and create more resilient food systems post COVID-19.

It boosts over one million geospatial layers and thousands of statistics series with over 4,000 metadata records, bringing together geographic information and statistical data on over ten domains linked to food and agriculture - from food security, crops, soil, land, water, climate, fisheries, livestock to forestry. It also includes information on COVID-19's impact on food and agriculture.

The data has been sourced from FAO and other leading public data providers across the UN and NGOs, academia, private sector and space agencies. It also incorporates FAOSTAT data on food and agriculture for over 245 countries and territories from 1961 to the most recent year available.

"Geospatial technologies and agricultural data represent an opportunity to find new ways of reducing hunger and poverty through more accessible and integrated data-driven solutions," said FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu.

"The Geospatial Platform serves as a digital public good to create interactive data maps, analyze trends and identify real-time gaps and opportunities," said the FAO chief.

The platform can be used by anyone and its application will in turn help data-driven and evidence-based decision-making in food and agriculture.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, July 17, 2020

UNICEF, WFP warns: 15.4m children to suffer acute malnutrition - NaijaAgroNet

The United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have jointly warned that an estimated 15.4 million cases of acute malnutrition in children under five years old are expected by December 2020 in West and Central Africa, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This figure, 
NaijaAgroNet reported that one third of them from its most severe form if adequate measures are not put in place now, warned 

This represents a 20 per cent increase from earlier estimates, in January 2020, according to an analysis of the combined impact of food insecurity and COVID-19 on acute malnutrition in 19 countries of the region.

Conflict and armed violence have led to massive population displacements and drastically limited access to basic social services, leading child malnutrition to increase to unprecedented levels. The coronavirus disease is exacerbating fragile contexts in West and Central Africa, such as in the Sahel region across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, which were already stricken with food insecurity and malnutrition. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 4.5 million cases were anticipated to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020, in these 6 countries. Today, with growing insecurity and COVID-19, that number has jumped to almost 5.4 million.

“Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are at higher risk of COVID-19-related complications. Whereas, good nutrition for children, starting from their early days, protects them against illnesses and infections, and supports their recovery when they become ill,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Ensuring the continuity of preventive and lifesaving health and nutrition services, building shock-responsive social protection systems, protecting livelihoods and supporting families’ access to water, hygiene and healthy food are critical for child survival and long-term development.”

Several factors threaten the nutritional status of children under five in West and Central Africa. These include household food insecurity, poor maternal nutrition and infant feeding practices, conflicts and armed violence, population displacement, high levels of childhood illnesses and water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, fragile health systems, poor access to clean water and sanitation, and chronic poverty.

Adding to these malnutrition aggravating factors, COVID-19 pandemic containment measures have led to disruptions in food production and distribution, in health and humanitarian supply chains, as well as a slow-down of economic activities. The pandemic has had indirect negative impacts on food systems, households’ income and food security, and the provision of treatment against malnutrition. This makes it more difficult for populations to maintain healthy diets, optimal infant and young child feeding practices, and hinders their access to essential nutrition services.

“Thousands of families will be unable to provide their children with the nutritious food needed for their proper growth and development,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We must work together to improve access to nutritious foods and ensure that there are strong preventive actions that protect children from falling into the vicious trap of malnutrition and sickness.” 

WFP and UNICEF are working with governments and partners to ensure the continuation of essential services. Together, they deliver an integrated package of care focused on the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition and empower communities for the provision of basic services.

In northern Mali, for example, WFP and UNICEF are joining their efforts and resources to treat and prevent maternal and child malnutrition and reinforce good feeding practices. This includes screening of children for malnutrition. 

The screening is part of an initiative that promotes early detection of malnutrition in children by mothers and families, using a Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening tape. In addition, it allows for the referral of moderate and severe acute malnutrition cases to health facilities, supported by both agencies. 

Prevention activities include sensitization sessions on infant and young child feeding practices, supported by UNICEF and complemented by the provision of vouchers to women to exchange for nutritious foods available in the market, facilitated by WFP.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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7 key priority response areas by FAO - NaijaAgroNet


United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has outlined some seven key priority responses for urgent attention in navigating the post COVID-19, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Disclosing this, FAO in a launch of its comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, said these key areas would assist to minimise COVID-19's damaging effects on food security and nutrition while transforming global food systems to make them more resilient, sustainable and equitable.

FAO also called for immediate action in seven key priority areas, namely
NaijaAgroNet reports that in response to the current emergency, FAO is working on convening governments and multiple stakeholders in a call to action, gathering and analyzing data to better understand emerging trends and pinpoint any deterioration, and providing prompt technical advice and capacity development across a wide range of disciplines.

In addition, the Organization is offering investment support to leverage all forms of partnerships and finance.

The new programme is also supported by the COVID -19 Food Coalition, launched by the Government of Italy and led by FAO mobilizing political, financial and technical assistance in support of countries affected by the current crisis.

"The efforts needed to importantly address these seven priority response areas will be immense. The Food Coalition is an exemplary approach to leveraging high-level capital and political will to avoid an escalation of the pandemic from a health crisis to a food crisis", said Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General.

Today's event also saw the participation of Carla Montesi, Director for Planet and Prosperity, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), European Commission; Joachim von Braun, Director of Center for Development Research of University of Bonn (ZEF) and Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Secretary-General's Food Systems Summit; Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission; Kip Tom, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome; Vincenza Lomonaco, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Italy to FAO; Peter Bakker, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Najat Mokhtar, Deputy Director-General, Head of Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency, among others.

The participants in today's dialogue discussed the priority response areas, ways to galvanize joint action and modalities for partnering with FAO in the COVID-19 response for the agricultural sector.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

US$1.05bn withdrawal: NLNG says allegation is baseless - ITREALMS


The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has described as baseless, the allegation of illegal withdrawal of US$1.05billion from NNPC’s (NLNG) dividend account and linked to its Managing Director/CEO Tony Attah and the GMD, NNPC, Mele Kyari who are signatories to the account.

NLNG also denied allegation of moving and "squandering" monies belonging to the company without approval.

A press statement from NLNG available to NaijaAgroNet pointed out that for the purpose of clarity, NLNG wished to state that the company, as a private limited liability company, duly pays dividends to its shareholders and continues to conduct its business in full compliance with regulations and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

NLNG strictly follows extant protocols in the payment of dividends as value generated from the business and ensures that the process concerning payment of dividends to its shareholders is transparent and in full compliance with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Expectedly, NLNG’s involvement in the process ends with the payment of such dividend.

The governance and controls around the company's finances also makes the allegations against the Managing Director and the GMD an impossible scenario and therefore members of the public are advised to disregard the allegations as it is totally baseless and simply untrue.

NLNG also wishes to emphasize that it continues to bring value to both its shareholders and the country, utilising best practices in the industry to monetise gas resources and contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the country in line with its vision of helping to build a better Nigeria.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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COVID-19: Nigeria in top 5 African countries making 644,205 cases - NaijaAgroNet

A total of 644,205 cases of coronavirus also known as COVID-19 have befell Africa with 14,044 deaths, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as Nigeria is among top-five African countries with 73 per cent of all cases.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) made this disclosure to NaijaAgroNet on Thursday during a weekly press briefing on COVID-19.

Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC made this known in his remarks to the media briefing said that in Africa, 54 Member States have reported 644,205 cases and 14,044 deaths.

This, he said, gives “a case fatality rate of 2.2 per cent,”

In addition, he said, that there have been 334,547 recoveries.

In the past week, he also said, there was a 23 per cent increase in cases, with 119,546 new cases reported, an average of 17,078 new cases reported per day.

“Average daily new cases for previous week was 14,975,” Nkengasong said.

The top five countries accounting for 73 per cent of all cases in Africa includes South Africa: 311,049 (48 per cent), Egypt: 83,930 (13 per cent), Nigeria: 34,259 (5 per cent), Ghana 25,430 (4 per cent) and Algeria: 20,216 (3 per cent).

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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Post-COVID-19: FAO estimates 135m to suffer acute food insecure - NaijaAgroNet

Following the recent release of the Global Report on Food Crises 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that some 135 million people would suffer acute food insecure, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the report, this figure were acutely food-insecure in need of urgent humanitarian food and nutrition assistance.

Addressing COVID-19 impacts on food systems during the launch of its comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, FAO said its aimed at preventing a global food emergency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic while working on medium to long-term development response for food security and nutrition.

Besides being a major public concern, the COVID-19 pandemic can also be a serious threat to global food security. According to the World Bank's estimates, the pandemic's economic impact could push about 49 million people into extreme poverty. Soaring unemployment rates, income losses and rising food costs are jeopardizing food access in developed and developing countries alike and will have long-term effects on food security.

The latest edition of FAO's report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, revealed that even before the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global food systems and livelihoods of millions of people at the start of the year, 10 million more people were in a condition of undernourishment with respect to 2018 and 60 million more with respect to 2014.

Furthermore, the pandemic may plunge national economies into recession, and countries ought to take urgent measures to mitigate the longer-term impacts on food systems and food security.

Equally urgent is the compounding threat of the pandemic on existing crises - such as conflict, natural disasters, climate change, pests and plagues - that are already stressing our food systems and triggering food insecurity around the globe.

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How AfDB enhances food security for 9m people - NaijaAgroNet

The Water Mobilisation Project to Enhance Food Security in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions (PMERSA-MTZ), implemented between 2011 and 2018 in Niger, has sustainably increased agricultural production and productivity and increased food security for nearly nine million residents of this Sahelian country, according to a report by the African Development Bank (

Financed through a loan of $11 million from the African Development Fund and a grant of $28.7 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme, the project directly involved 218,000 people in the three regions of south-central Niger, with another nearly 476000 indirectly affected. These three regions are home to approximately 56 percent, or 8.9 million people, of the country’s population.

“The project’s expected effects, as far as food security, increased production and jobs, were achieved overall,” according to the PMERSA-MTZ final report. The team was led by Moustapha Cheick Abdallahi Cheibany, senior agricultural economist for the Bank.

“Grain production goals were 94 percent achieved and those for vegetable production were exceeded (123%). A very clear improvement in the availability of agricultural and livestock products has been demonstrated, and income for the population has been increased due to higher yields, commercialised agricultural production and the revitalization of production areas,” notes the report team.

The average expected level of grain production (15,000 tonnes/year) was achieved and surpassed in 2017 and 2018 to reach 16 000 and 21 156 tonnes, respectively. With 16 000 tonnes annually, vegetable production surpassed its goals in 2017 (122%) and 2018 (179%).

The project entailed establishment of various types of infrastructure (irrigation projects, including 47 sills (small dams) and 11 mini-dams, water and soil conservation techniques on 3 700 ha, and the construction of 74 wells and 273 km of rural tracks) with the goal of developing and securing agricultural production (on 18 800 ha irrigated and decreasing). It also supported product commercialisation and, more broadly, improving living conditions of the rural residents involved.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

FAO launches the new COVID-19 response, recovery - NaijaAgro

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) unveiled today its new comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, aimed at preventing a global food emergency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic while working on medium to long-term development response for food security and nutrition.

The agency is calling for $1.2 billion in initial investment to support the needs of the new programme.

The Programme was launched today during a virtual dialogue with private and public sectors entitled "Joint action on COVID-19: boosting our food and agricultural response". The event was organised by FAO to provide an agile and coordinated global response that ensures access to nutritious food for all by mobilizing all forms of resources and partnerships at country, regional and global level.

In line with the UN approach to "build back better" post COVID-19, and in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new programme aims to mitigate the immediate impacts of the pandemic while strengthening the longer-term resilience of food systems and livelihoods.

"We cannot employ a ‘business as usual' approach anymore," highlighted FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in his opening remarks, adding that "We must work very hard to limit COVID-19's damaging effects on food security and nutrition. We need to be more country-driven, innovative and work closely hand in hand. This is how FAO has built its COVID-19 comprehensive response and recovery programme, and today we are asking you to join us."

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

post–COVID-19: Indigenous Peoples crucial partners to better world says Houngbo - NaijaAgroNet


The Indigenous Peoples and their unique knowledge are essential to address the COVID-19 outbreak and to build a more sustainable, resilient world as we recover from the pandemic, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has said, reports 

“The COVID-19 pandemic shows us that we need to rethink the way we interact with nature, as well as how we produce and consume food. The continuous use of unsustainable agricultural practices, and the devastation of forests and wildlife, are part of what has brought us into closer contact with the virus that causes COVID-19,” said IFAD President, Gilbert F. Houngbo. “Indigenous Peoples have long warned of the consequences of exactly these kinds of practices”.

Houngbo was speaking ahead of today’s event focused on the importance of partnering with Indigenous Peoples to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build a more resilient future, to be held on the margins of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The event is co-convened by Canada, Finland, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG) for Sustainable Development.

“We must recognize and acknowledge the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in supporting and protecting sustainable livelihoods. They provide sound stewardship of our environment, and help build greater biodiversity and sustainable food systems,” said Minister Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of International Development who is opening the event.

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Desilting of Waterways: Buhari, Lawan, Gbajabiamila must stop N15bn fraud payment - NaijaAgroNet

The President, General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, and President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawan as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila have been urged to stop the payment of N15 billion to contractors over "desilting of waterways" by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), reports NaijaAgroNet.

This call was made at the weekend by a legal practitioner, Mr. Godwin Ojeh, lamenting what he called corruption of self-enrichment in NDDC.

"The Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission has thrown caution to the winds. It is about to pay for jobs not done. The committee is processing the payment of a whooping amount of N15billion on spurious contracts in the name of "Desilting of Waterways".

He particularly decried the misappropriation in the management of the funds of the commission.

"Is the 2020 budget of the commission ready? Where are they spending from? ’Recently, the Senate set up an ad hoc committee to probe the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged mismanagement of N40billion. The Senate also requested for 2019 budgetary performance. The commission doesn’t have power to expend public money. There is no budgetary provision."

In a tone suggestive of his hatred for corruption, the Benin based lawyer asked the National Assembly and the executive arm of the government to stop the commission from wasting the country’s resources.

In a statement in Benin, Ojeh described the intention of the NDDC Interim Management Committee as "a move that will endanger development of the region."

This, he said, poses a greater danger to the development of the Niger Delta region than the payments for fictitious contracts.

He also harped on the need for transparency in government organizations, saying "it is necessary for the National Assembly and the executive arm of government to adopt a collective position on the allegation of corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)."
*Isaac Oyimah with additional report by Ebireri Henry Ovie

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Post-Pandemic: OLADE, IRENA put renewables at heart with MoU - NaijaAgroNet


The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) will boost ties to put the renewables-driven energy transformation at the heart of Latin America and the Caribbean’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak. The efforts build on an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) originally signed by the two organisations in 2012.

Accelerating the development of sustainable energy could provide the Latin-American region with a long-term strategy to address social inequality, energy access and energy security. Renewables can also stimulate the growth of clean technology utilisation within the industrial, agricultural, manufacturing and transport sectors, while reducing the carbon emissions in the region by 21 per cent by 2030 compared to today’s levels, contributing towards global decarbonisation efforts in line with the Paris Agreement. In this context, OLADE and IRENA will promote renewable energy investment and financing, as well as energy integration in the region.

Under IRENA’s Global Renewables Outlook, accelerating the renewable energy driven transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean could create more than three million jobs across the region by 2050, while offering economic returns of between USD $3 and USD $8 dollars on every dollar invested the energy transformation. Investment needs in the region are estimated at USD $45 billion per year between now and mid-century – an increase of more than 10 per cent over current plans and policies.

“It is our core priority to help OLADE member countries improve energy access and security of energy supply in socially, technically and economically convenient conditions, promoting the incorporation of clean energy resources and efficient technologies,” said Alfonso Blanco Bonilla, Executive Secretary of OLADE. “It is in this context, strengthened collaboration between OLADE and IRENA can support the achievement of deeper energy transitions in the region, accounting for a diverse set of national circumstances and in line with the sustainable development objectives.”

“We stand together with OLADE in ensuring there is collective regional recognition of the socio-economic potential of a green recovery built around the energy transformation,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “While the region is diverse, all countries within it seek to benefit from higher shares of renewables, from enhanced energy security and lower system costs to widespread job creation, improved health and economic growth. The decisions made by policymakers today must seek to build a future of stability and prosperity, rather than prolong the unsustainable systems of the past.”

The Lima Declaration, approved during the XLIX Meeting of OLADE Ministers in November 2019, established energy complementarity and integration as a regional priority, promoting the creation and revitalisation of regional energy markets, including renewable energy. Additionally, the Declaration, ratified the commitment made by OLADE Member Countries to harmonise energy transition with economic growth and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Latin American countries possess vast and untapped renewable energy potential. In addition several countries in the region have developed robust electricity markets which results in an appealing destination for RE project developers and investors looking for geographical diversification and clean investments. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay have grown renewable energy capacity significantly in recent years. In 2019, total regional capacity increased by around 12 gigawatts (GW) and IRENA’s recent Future of Solar Photovoltaic report highlighted that the region’s solar energy capacity alone could grow by a factor of 40 by 2050 to more than 280 GW thanks to an abundant resource endowment and strong enabling policies. In addition, geothermal, wind and bioenergy all play an increasingly important role in the region’s low-carbon energy mix.

In September last year, Colombia led a region-wide initiative called Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAC) to increase the share of renewables for electricity generation to at least 70 per cent by 2030. 10 countries are already part of this initiative and several entities have confirmed their support. This initiative may offer an additional area of collaboration between OLADE and IRENA.

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Ekiti commences renovation of Primary Healthcare facilities - NaijaAgroNet


The Ekiti State government has commenced the renovation of Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities across the state, reports 

The state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi disclosed this last Friday while inaugurating the state’s health Insurance scheme aimed at ensuring that all residents of the state have access to quality and affordable health care services in Ado-Ekiti,.

Dr Fayemi said his administration would continue to ensure that all residents of the state have direct and unbridled access to quality healthcare at an affordable price.

The flag off ceremony was witnessed by the deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Commissioner for Health and human Services, Dr Moji Yaya-Kolade as well as stakeholders in the health sector.

The Governor also disclosed that his administration had commenced renovation of 16 primary healthcare facilities across the state in order to ensure effectiveness of the insurance scheme.

He urged Ekiti indigenes to prepare for the future by keying into the programme saying “the act of insurance simply implies getting ready or prepared for future unforeseen happenstances, that is saving in readiness for unforeseen losses even though nobody prays for one”

Dr Fayemi said he was confident that the programme will ensure protection of Ekiti families from financial hardships of huge medical bills with the aim to ensure sound health of children and safe delivery of pregnant mothers.

He assured that nobody would be turned away from any of the health services on account of poverty, adding that money has been released to take care of specific vulnerable group especially pregnant mothers and children under five years to participate in the scheme at the point of care.

The governor stated further that the other groups would be gradually incorporated into the scheme as they register and fulfill the requirements.

He said, “The launch of this scheme is very important, considering the prevailing precarious health situation human race is facing worldwide, the launch of Ekiti state Health Insurance Scheme today shows our continued quests to strengthen and sustain quality healthcare delivery in our dear state.

“We are therefore gathered here to prepare for qualitative healthcare for our people even though we do no pray to fall sick, our actions today show that we as a government and people are making provisions for accessible, qualitative, effective and efficient healthcare delivery through the launch of the Ekiti state Health Insurance Scheme. Many of you here would recall that Ekiti state Health Insurance scheme was initiated and piloted under our maternal child health programme in my first term in office, this was eventually passed into law as part of this administration’s dynamic and sustained health financing system.

“As we all know, health insurance guarantees unlimited healthcare funding with the view to achieving universal healthcare coverage with little or no financial burden on both the government and the people of the state.

“The mission of this scheme therefore is to put in place appropriate health plans and programmes that will ensure continuous access of all Ekiti residents to qualitative and affordable healthcare services through collective pulling and redistribution of our financial resources

“As a responsible government, we have also commenced the renovation of primary healthcare facilities across the state starting from here at Okeyinmi Comprehensive health Centre as well as fifteen others to prepare adequate infrastructural facilities for the provision of basic healthcare services at selected locations.”

The governor noted that his administration had recorded successes especially in the area of women protection and empowerment; in construction and industrial development, knowledge economy; security of lives and property; restoration of values as well as the health sector.

He explained further that his administration was committed to supporting the health sector to ensure quality healthcare delivery with the aim of boosting the health status of the state and its entire population.

The highpoint of the event was the distribution of medical kits to some registered expectant mothers at the Okeeyinmi Primary health centre. The distribution was made by Erelu Fayemi, whom also urged the women to take full advantage of the new initiative.

Also speaking at the event, the State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr (Mrs) Mojisola Yaya-Kolade commended Governor Fayemi for restoring values and worth of lives of Ekiti residents adding that the scheme would provide them with easy access to healthcare with no discrimination to financial status or class.

The commissioner restated that the scheme was introduced to provide universal healthcare and improve access to preventive care as well as provide early effective diagnosis and quality treatment.

She congratulated Ekiti residents who would no longer need to wait for 30 days before maturation of the insurance policy as Dr Fayemi administration had reduced it to 14days.

In their goodwill messages, the representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and National Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA) all commended that state government for the launch of the scheme which they described as being long awaited.

They urged residents of the state to key into the scheme as a way of bringing better improvement to the health status.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Extensive Drought: ARC, WFP respond to Zimbabwe with $1.7m - NaijaAgroNet

The African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd) Thursday paidout the sum of USD 1.4 million to the Government of Zimbabwe and another US$ 290,288 to UN World Food Programme (WFP), in parametric drought risk insurance payouts to support the extensive drought response efforts in Zimbabwe, reports NaijaAgroNet

The payouts announced via a virtual ceremony were the result of drought insurance policies bought by Zimbabwe’s National Treasury and UN World Food Programme (WFP) to cover the 2019/20 rainfall season. 

These payouts will contribute in funding the early response measures put in place by Government and WFP through the ARC Operational Plan mechanism. The payout to the Government will be used to support over 155 000 families in the highly vulnerable districts of Buhera, UMP, Chivi, Binga and Bulilima, through direct mobile cash disbursements during the month of August 2020. 8. WFP will use the ARC payout to support around 33,550 beneficiaries with unconditional food assistance in prioritized wards during Sept/Oct’20 and complement the Government’s response efforts through the Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy.

Speaking after the official notification of the ARC payout, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honorable Prof. Mthuli Ncube, said; “This is evidence that the Government of Zimbabwe is taking measures of cushioning its fiscus against natural disasters, in Zimbabwe. The payout will complement existing social safety nets that Government has structured to counter droughts but also to respond to the emergence of the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Zimbabwe is increasingly vulnerable to severe drought events, and other calamities such as floods and tropical cyclones. Given the unpredictable nature of occurrence of these disasters, Government has had to resort to National Budget reallocations to cushion vulnerable populations against their impacts. In that sense the Government of Zimbabwe has moved to revamp its disaster risk financing systems. 

The ARC parametric risk insurance facility has been identified as a low hanging opportunity. With adequate insurance coverage against droughts, floods and outbreaks and epidemics at sovereign level, Government stands a better chance to cushion its fiscus against natural disasters now and in the future. 

Speaking on the ARC payout to Zimbabwe, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Chairperson of African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency said, “it is helpful that this payout is coming at a time when there is a compounded effect of COVID 19 pandemic; and we hope that in addition to assisting the population affected by the drought, it will enable the Government in easing the financial pressure of supporting affected communities. Although disasters are not to be celebrated, when a Government takes steps of hedging its investments in food security against natural risk to broaden fiscus flexibility when a disaster strike, it should be commended. “The payout signifies the policy direction that Zimbabwe and other Governments across the continent are taking towards a transformative culture to disaster risk management and financing for the benefit of the population that is vulnerable to climate change’, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala concluded.

The Government has also called upon Development Partners to complement its efforts to increase insurance coverage at sovereign level. This support can either be direct or indirect. The ARC insurance products can be accessed by non-government entities such as UN Agencies, INGOs and private sector entities. 

Mr. Niels Balzer, the (a.i) UN World Food Programme Country Director and Representative for Zimbabwe, said, “The ARC payout to the Government of Zimbabwe and WFP through the Replica initiative is proof that the concept works as an innovative instrument to finance early response and lifesaving actions in the aftermath of extreme droughts. When combined with other instruments such as micro-insurance for smallholder farmers and Forecast-based Anticipatory Action, it provides powerful combined approach that has the potential to accelerate progress towards zero hunger in Zimbabwe.” He urged other Governments and Development Partners especially in the SADC region to capitalise on this instrument for enhancing climate resilience and food security in the region. 

Development Partners running resilience projects in disaster prone regions of Zimbabwe can directly secure their investments by purchasing insurance coverage from ARC, whilst micro-insurance companies can either act as insurance aggregators of small-holder farmers to allow bulk purchase of crop insurance from ARC or can purchase re-insurance products from ARC on specific terms and conditionalities. The ARC insurance products are highly competitive given that they capitalise on pooling risk across the risk diverse African continent, thus attracting favorable rates on the international re-insurance market. 

Over and above insurance products, these entities can also capitalise on ARC early warning, risk analytics, operational planning for early response and knowledge on disaster risk financing products and capabilities. 

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Pix: Representatives of ARC, Government of Zimbabwe, and other partners during the virtual ceremony

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Adamawa: BUA cement targets ultramodern 3m plant, 50mw power - NaijaAgroNet

BUA Cement, one of West Africa’s largest cement companies has announced that it is set to establish a three million metric tonnes cement plant and 50 megawatts power plant in Guyuk and Lamurde local governments of Adamawa state in the North Easter region of Nigeria. This was revealed when the Chairman of BUA, Abdul Samad Rabiu led the BUA Cement Management team on a courtesy call to the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri in the Government House, Yola.

Speaking during the visit, Abdul Samad Rabiu said preliminary findings show that the two local governments of Guyuk and Lamurde are reputed to have good quality of limestone deposits and BUA Cement is ready to begin the investment in the state. He added that the BUA will use new technologies to supply power to the proposed cement plant and communities of Guyuk and Lamurde in addition to providing three thousand direct and five thousand indirect jobs.

The Chairman stressed that the Guyuk Cement Plant will be the major investment in the North East by BUA and solicited for support of Governor Umaru Fintiri to set up the factory in Guyuk. Rabiu said the company made a decision to source its raw materials locally and it has invested billions of dollars in various sectors across Nigeria and therefore urged the state government to support BUA to actualize the Guyuk Cement project. In addition, he praised the commitment of the governor within one year in office in many sectors of development despite the economic challenges in Adamawa.

Responding, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri said his administration's effort in exploring local contents has started yielding results and thanked BUA for showing interest in establishing the cement plant in Guyuk. He further assured the management team of BUA that government will make whatever is needed and provide the necessary support which will create enabling environment so that the BUA Cement company in Guyuk will become a reality.

He also expressed readiness of the government to protect the investment once it is established and told them that his administration will maintain the good relationship with the company for the benefit of the state.

BUA is Nigeria’s second largest Cement Producer by volume with cement plants in Sokoto and Edo States. The Company’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021. When completed, the Guyuk Cement Plant will bring BUA’s total capacity to 14million metric tonnes per annum.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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