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Monday, August 31, 2020

COVID-19: Investing in water, sanitation a public health priority - NaijaAgroNet: ... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Investments in improved water and sanitation infrastructure is a public health priority for countries and communities.
As the prevalence of COVID-19 accelerates across Africa, over 40% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to clean water and are unable to heed the advice of health experts to wash their hands as a primary way to stop the spread of the virus. Preventing infection thus remains out of reach for many.

Action in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector, also known as WASH, is therefore critical to containing COVID-19. WASH’s core – providing access to clean water, improved sanitation systems and implementing healthy hygiene practices – lowers the infection rate and builds communities’ ability to ward off infectious disease outbreaks.

The African Development Bank’s guide on WASH interventions is currently helping our client governments in their COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response The guide supports the implementation of emergency WASH interventions at hotspots; utilities and service providers to enhance business continuity; hygiene promotion; improved viability of critical hygiene products and supply chains, as well as enhancement of sustainability of hygiene outcomes.

The Bank has been supporting and advocating WASH long before COVID-19’s arrival. Our investment of an estimated $6.4 billion in strengthening core WASH infrastructure systems over the last decade, has provided approximately 52 million additional people access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene as well as increased pandemic preparedness.

Over the next decade or so, our investments in the water sector are set to provide an estimated 154 million more people access to improved WASH.

Many of our established, on-the-ground WASH interventions have adapted to the coronavirus era, especially in resource-constrained settings.

In Zambia, school children recruited in early 2019 to be “WASH ambassadors” have since added the COVID-19-specific message of wearing masks, social distancing and implementing stay-at-home orders to their healthy hygiene and sanitation practices promotion campaign. Their campaign t-shirts, emblazoned with the slogan “Stop Spreading Germs, Wash Your Hands with Soap,” are just as applicable today as when they were designed pre-COVID, as part of a $243 million Lusaka Sanitation Program co-funded by the Bank and other development partners.

In rural northern Malawi, the Bank co-financed and supervised the Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project for the Mzimba Town project, which increased the community’s access to potable water from 65% to 95%, raised access to improved sanitation from 45% to 97% and created around 1,000 jobs. It comprised the construction of primary school sanitation facilities, including secured toilets to provide privacy and comfort to the pupils, especially girls.

School children are also serving as ambassadors to convey the message about preventing the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading into their homes and neighborhoods. This WASH project recently received the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development ( The $200,000 in prize money will go to projects implemented by government agencies, public institutions or social businesses approved by the Mzimba Town scheme.

Investments in improved water and sanitation infrastructure is a public health priority for countries and communities as it significantly contributes to reduced mortality, ill health and impacts of water-related epidemics/pandemics which are a major economic drain.

Investing in WASH is a no-regret policy and decisions taken now to improve these public health systems are going to be worth it, regardless of the uncertainty around COVID-19.

*Contributed by Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development and Director, Water Development and Sanitation at the African Development Bank.

NLNG lifts Edo, Adamawa with medical equipment - NaijaAgroNet ... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology


The two states of Edo and Adamawa have been lifted by the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) with a donation of medical equipment, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered is coming as part of NLNG contribution to the N11.4 billion Oil and Gas Industry Collaborative Initiative, spearheaded by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, August 28, 2020

US embassy partner African Women on enterpreneurship - NaijaAgroNet

The Embassy of the United States of America in South Africa has partnered with the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) to implement the 2020-2021 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) South Africa programme, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Now in its second year, another 125 female entrepreneurs will be selected nationwide for an opportunity to receive virtual and in-person training and mentorship sessions for eight months.

“AWE is a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs across South Africa to gain university-level business and management training, strengthen their networks, and grow as entrepreneurs.” said Embassy Public Affairs Officer Maureen Mimnaugh. She noted that “particularly in a post-COVID world, the tools for successful entrepreneurship will be more important than ever, and this program aims to support women in a recovering economy of innovation.”

AWE is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) as part of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative which aims to empower 50 million women worldwide by 2025 to fulfill their economic potential, with the goal of creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all. Currently implemented in more than 50 countries, AWE supports the growth of women entrepreneurs by equipping them with the practical skills, resources, mentorship, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises. AWE is centered around DreamBuilder, an online training platform for women’s entrepreneurship developed by the Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management in partnership with the global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.

Irene Ochem, AWIEF founder and chief executive officer, said “We are excited that the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria has partnered with AWIEF to implement this important program tailored for women’s economic empowerment. Participating in the AWE program will not only help the selected 125 female entrepreneurs, but will also benefit their families, their communities, and the economic development of South Africa”.

The 8-month-long AWE program will take place at American Spaces in five South African cities: Durban/Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town. South African women entrepreneurs are invited to apply until September 30, 2020. 
Uj. N. Dominic/Editor
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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Development experts canvass review of SDG domestication - NaijaAgroNet


Nigeria’s nutrition and development experts have canvassed for an urgent review of nation's domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to alleviate malnutrition in the country, reports 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Stakeholders seek improved education to tackle protein deficiency - NaijaAgroNet


Food security, nutrition education and the need to increase the nation’s budget for health and nutrition emerged as some of the issues that dominated conversations at the latest Protein Challenge webinar designed to address the problem of protein deficiency in Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

NNPC becomes EITI partner company - NaijaAgroNet

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) partner company, joining a group of over 65 extractives companies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), commodity traders, financial institutions and industry partners who commit to observing the EITI’s supporting company expectations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

DRC needs strong political will for gas monitisation - NaijaAgroNet

Surrounded by major African oil & gas producers Republic of Congo and Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has so far remained relatively absent of Africa’s league of hydrocarbons producers. In 2019, only French independent Perenco produced from the DRC, at an average rate of 25,000 boepd from 11 onshore fields.

In this context, the administration of President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi has made energy security and investment its top priority, seeking to get massive hydropower projects off the ground but also to diversify the country’s energy basket and create jobs in the process.

In yet another decision supporting the development of the DRC’s hydrocarbons industry, President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi requested its Minister of Hydrocarbons, Hydraulic Resources and Power and its Minister of Finance to fast-track legal processes and permits pertaining to the valorization of the natural gas produced onshore by Perenco. The decision was taken at the latest Council of Ministers last week in Kinshasa.

The move is expected to result in the monetization of natural gas through power generation, especially to address the DRC’s energy deficit and provide stable supply of power to its booming mining industry.

“We are extremely optimistic about the future of oil & gas in the DRC given current political support for the industry. While market-driven policies are needed to ensure investments in gas monetization, an enabling environment is key to unleashing the massive potential of the DRC and the energy industry is open to supporting the DRC,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“The DRC also offers 100GW of hydropower potential, and its upcoming hydroelectric stations are expected to require billions of dollars. It is a chance for investor and local players to participate and support the ambitious growth plans of President Felix Tshisekedi fighting energy poverty and boosting energy for industrial development that will create jobs and transform the economy with a post covid-19 recovery strategy,” concluded Ayuk.

The African Energy Chamber is encouraged by the governments decision as we believe locally available natural gas offers the perfect opportunity to build power capacity in the short-term and ensure a stable and cheaper power to DRC’s industries and mining companies.

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Monday, August 17, 2020

NLNG gets new board chairman - NaijaAgroNet

The newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nigeria LNG Limited, 
Dr. Edmund M. Daukoru, has formally assumed duty following a ceremony at the Corporate Head Office of the Company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, reports NaijaAgroNet

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Shell appeals assets sale judgement - NaijaAgroNet

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has expressed disappointment over the judgement of the Rivers State High Court which affirmed the sale of interest in SPDC JV's assets in Kidney Island, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The company said its very disappointed that the Rivers State High Court affirmed the enforcement of the purported sale of interests in SPDC’s JV’s assets in Kidney Island and specified interests in OML 11 to the Rivers State Government. In the underlying judgement (Chief Agbara and Others v. SPDC, ) ,which is being enforced by the sale, the claimants themselves accepted in the High Court in England that the claim was “miscalculated” and “materially overstated”. SPDC has therefore filed an appeal and an application for a stay of execution of this recent judgment issued by the Rivers State High Court on 13 August 2020.

Prior to the instant case, the Rivers State Government had filed a similar case at the Federal High Court Abuja asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to direct the Minister of Petroleum Resources to recognise the same purported interest acquired through auction sale. The Rivers State Government withdrew the Abuja case in July 2020 and refiled this new case at the Rivers State High Court without joining the Minister of Petroleum Resources. An application by SPDC to join the Minister of Petroleum Resources to the suit as a necessary party for a just determination of the issues was denied by the Judge. Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interests in a licence or lease must have the consent of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The root case, Chief Agbara and Others v. SPDC, which led to the purported sale of interests SPDC JV’s assets is still the subject of ongoing proceedings in several courts, including the supreme court, and it remains the position of SPDC that no payment is due and any purported sale or enforcement of payment is premature and prejudicial to ongoing proceedings. The auction sale is also being challenged on appeal by SPDC.

The root case has its origin in a spill caused by third parties during the Nigerian Civil War, a challenging period which resulted in significant damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region. While SPDC does not accept responsibility for the spill, the affected sites in Ejama Ebubu community were fully remediated, and this was certified by the government regulator.

The claim for N17billion as damages was first brought by the Ejama Ebubu community against SPDC in 2001 in the Federal High Court of Nigeria. In 2010, the court gave judgment against SPDC and awarded the claim without SPDC being given reasonable opportunity to defend the facts of the case. Indeed, this case has focused too long on procedural issues and not on its merits – we have always been clear that we are ready to defend this case based on the available facts.

SPDC appealed the 2010 judgment and obtained an order to stay the execution of the judgment upon the provision of a bank guarantee issued by First Bank of Nigeria Limited in favour of the claimants. Despite this matter being the subject of ongoing proceedings in the Nigerian courts, the claimants went ahead to seek to enforce the judgment in both Nigeria and England.

The English court last year rejected the claimants’ attempt to enforce the Nigerian court judgment in the UK, referring to a ‘breach of natural justice’ in the proceedings against Shell in Nigeria. The English court also found that the claimants had “materially over-stated” the value of the judgment which the claimants admitted was N34.716billion. The court therefore ruled that it would not be just and convenient for a Nigerian judgment to be enforced in the UK which the claimants acknowledge is “miscalculated”.

On Monday, March 2, 2020, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja issued an order attaching the sum of N182billion in First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s statutory account with the Central Bank of Nigeria in favour of Ejama Ebubu community in Rivers State.

SPDC and other parties affected by the March 2, 2020 order of the Federal High Court filed separate appeals, as well as applied to set aside the order and restrain its execution pending the appeal decision. In accordance with the spirit of fair hearing in the Nigerian judicial system, we remain of the view that until the pending appeals are heard and determined, SPDC is not liable to make any payments, and therefore none any of its assets or interest should not be attached to satisfy the judgement.

SPDC operates the SPDC Joint Venture on behalf of the JV partners which include the Federal Government, represented by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with 55% participating interest.

Pix: Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and  Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria.

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