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Showing posts with label African. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African. Show all posts

Friday, October 11, 2019

Mantashe launches African Energy series - NaijaAgroNet

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, Gwede Mantashe, has launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report at the Africa Oil & Power conference, reports NaijaAgroNet.

On the second day’s theme of “Energy in Powering Growth”, panel discussions and talk sessions unpacked the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s power sector; Program highlights included topics such as the energy transition, Africa’s renewable energy sector, financing the power sector and energy security.

Following the successful conclusion of the first day of the three-day African Oil &Power conference and exhibition, the second day commenced today with a focus on the future of Africa’s power sector.

The day began with a keynote address from Kholly Zono, Acting CEO of CEF Group, who introduced Hon. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa.

In his introduction, Zono outlined CEF Group’ energy s strategies and shared that the CEF group is, in line with the conference theme, motivated by the goal of making energy work and, is driven by the agenda of addressing inequality, unemployment, and poverty.

He said, at the core of its strategy, the group is built on the fundamental principles of empowering people and innovation.

“The theme of the conference #MakeEnergyWork resonates very well with the CEF Group of companies, taking into account the global challenges in terms of energy requirements,” Zono said. “Making energy work is challenging us to move beyond strategies and focus on innovative approaches.”

In his keynote address, Minister Mantashe spoke about the role the energy sector plays in driving economic growth.

“South Africa recognises the energy and mineral resources sectors as catalysts to economic growth. We have witnessed how an adverse impact of high costs and unreliable supply of energy have on the productive sectors of the economy,” Mantashe stated. He further added that the government is also promoting the Integrated Resource Plan and the Amendment to the Gas Act of 2001 to encourage investment in the energy sector and to increase energy security in the continent.

Minister Mantashe also launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report compiled by Africa Oil & Power and dedicated it to the late Deputy Minister, Bavelile Hlongwe.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

African leaders for Nutrition to launch accountability scorecard - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The African leaders will gather at a side event of the 32nd African Union Summit, to launch the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), the continental nutrition accountability scorecard, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The launch slated for Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, would hold on Monday, February 11, 2019.

NaijaAgroNet reports that the scorecare is to raise awareness and reinforce commitments by African governments to end malnutrition and promote healthy children on the continent.

Some of the confirmed the African Union high calibre members including His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the African Development Bank, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners, will launch the African Leaders For Nutrition (ALN) Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard.

The event, under the theme “A Call for Better Advocacy and Accountability for Nutrition Investments,” will be chaired by, His Majesty King Letsie III and African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

The Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard is the latest tool produced by ALN to raise awareness and reinforce commitments by African governments to end malnutrition and promote healthy children.

This data-based advocacy tool gives an overview of how African leaders are doing on their delivery of the main nutrition indicators. It is expected that the scorecard will increasingly be used to track Africa’s effort to halt malnutrition and its effects.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

African women shine @Anzisha Prize Awards'18 - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The Mastercard Foundation and African Leadership Academy are thrilled that 22-year-old healthcare entrepreneur Melissa Bime has won the US$25,000 Grand Prize at the 8th annual Anzisha Prize awards gala. She is the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that ensures patients in 23 hospitals in Cameroon have life-saving blood when and where they need it. She is only the second woman to win the grand prize since Best Ayiorworth took it home in 2013.

“Today, I stand here to represent every young girl out there that just has her dreams,” said Melissa Bime during her acceptance speech. “I stand here to represent this amazing group of entrepreneurs that I am a part of. With these people, the future of Africa is very bright. We are going to change this continent.”

Melissa was selected from among 20 finalists during a ceremony on 23 October that was live streamed to over 3,000 viewers and created a social media buzz across the continent.

The first runner up, 18-year-old Alhaji Siraj Bah will receive US$15,000 in prize money. He is the founder of Rugsal Trading in Sierra Leone, a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel. Alhaji hopes that the funds will boost the impact his business is already having and will enable him to hire more youth from his community. “I had only US$20 dollars when I started and I have created an impact already,” said Bah. With US$15,000, I am going to impact 7.5 million Sierra Leonians’ lives in less than five years. It will happen.”

Joan Nalubega, 21, was the second-runner up. She is the co-founder of Uganics, which produces mosquito-repellent soap to combat malaria inUganda. With the US$12,500, she will conduct a certification study for the company’s products and prepare Uganics for export to neighboring countries which will help to widen her impact in the fight against malaria.

The keynote speaker, renowned entrepreneur Sim Shagaya spoke plainly about the challenges faced by the continent but was confident that young entrepreneurs are best placed to solve them. He concluded his inspiring remarks with a simple message to the finalists, “you must lead!”

“We are proud of all 20 finalists and are excited to see two young and dynamic women taking home top prizes,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation. “Their contributions will continue to impact their countries and they are role models for other young women across the continent. They are demonstrating how to turn obstacles into opportunities that create value and jobs for others.”

The Anzisha Prize, the premier award for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation. The 20 finalists spent 10 days in a business accelerator camp strengthening their business fundamentals before presenting their ventures to a panel of judges that included Ntuthuko Shezi, Bita Diamomande, Saran Kaba Jones, and Polo Leteka. They join a pool of more than 85 Anzisha Fellows and a network of support that includes access to mentors, experts, and networking. Each returns home with a US$2,500.

“This year was exciting in that we announced our new efforts to support the parents of very young entrepreneurs in Africa,” said Josh Adler, Vice President of Growth and Entrepreneurship at African Leadership Academy. “Our new book – Raising the Boss – uncovers the critical role they play and how we must invest in them if we are to see more young people confidently choosing an entrepreneurship career path post school.”

Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on 15 February in 2019. Nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are welcome all year round.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

African institute graduates 3rd cohort on water, energy - NaijaAgroNet

The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) celebrated the third graduating class of both the engineering and policy tracks of our Masters programmes in Water and Energy, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The graduating class made up of 79 students from across the African continent, received their diplomas during a ceremony at the University of Tlemcen. The graduating students and their guests were addressed by official representatives and dignitaries from the Algerian government from across Africa and Europe, including Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST), Mr. Ali Benyaiche, the Governor of the Wilaya of Tlemcen, and Her Excellency Ulrike Knotz, the German Ambassador to Algeria.

This year’s graduating students are about to constitute the next generation of engineers and policymakers committed to addressing the issues critical to Africa’s sustainable development. PAUWES graduates have not only successfully completed their coursework requirements, they have conducted practice-oriented research for their master theses that address the water, energy, and climate change challenges facing Africa and elsewhere. 


Additionally, they completed international internships in the private and public sectors at renowned research institutions across Africa and beyond, gaining a transcontinental perspective of those same challenges. 

During the graduation ceremony, H.E. Prof. Sarah ANYANG AGBOR said: “I would like to congratulate you on your efforts and for upholding the core values of our continent. I wish you the best in your future endeavours. As a mother, let me advise you to always remember that in real life, every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. So always strive to graduate in every decision or activity you make. I am proud of you, we are proud of You, Africa is proud of You!”.

The graduating cohort represents and fulfils one of the key objectives of the Pan African University (PAU) and PAUWES—which is to foster an African learning environment of the most qualified and motivated scholars while revitalising and nurturing the quality of African higher education. The Class of 2018 has students from twenty African Union member states with all regions of the African continent represented. This diverse cohort of students have had the opportunity to study, being taught by and international faculty coming from four continents. Supported by the University of Tlemcen and the key thematic partner Germany, Prof. Abdellatif Zerga, Director of PAUWES, is confident: “The students of the Class of 2018 are well positioned to become change makers in public administration, policy-making, research, technology, private enterprise, and civil society.”

The PAUWES 2018 Class Booklet showcases this year’s graduates, and PAUWES is pleased to invite future employers to meet them.

PAUWES has also just welcomed the incoming class (students from 29 countries across Africa) and is proud to announce that thanks to a number of specific measures, gender parity could be reached, which is a huge achievement within our latest cohort.

Isaac OyimahGEE


ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!
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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

African leaders unite against malaria, launch ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ - NaijaAgroNet

African leaders have launched the Zero MalariaStarts with Me, a continent-wide campaign co-led by the African Union Commission and the Roll-Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria, to see more people involved in the fight against the disease that kills over 400,000 Africans every year, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Following reports that malaria cases have increased for the first time in more than a decade, Zero Malaria Starts with Me seeks to reignite a society-wide movement to get back on track efforts that contributed to a 60% decline in cases and saved an estimated 7 million lives since 2000, and to help meet the goal of eliminating malaria across Africa by 2030.

The campaign, unveiled Sunday during the AIDS Watch Africa Meeting at the 31st African Union Summit by President Macky Sall of Senegal and King Mswati III of Eswatini and endorsed by 55 (TBC) African Heads of State and Government today, empowers communities to take greater ownership of malaria prevention and care, and to mobilise additional resources for the effort.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Chair of the African Union, says: “The African continent accounts for over 90% of the global malaria burden. It is in this context that we have launched the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign, a continent-wide public-facing campaign for a malaria-free Africa. The campaign will reignite grassroot movements in which individuals, families, communities, religious leaders, private sector, political leaders, and other members of society pledge to take responsibility in the fight against malaria.”

Inspired by Senegal’s nationwide campaign of the same name launched in 2014, Zero Malaria Starts with Me is now being rolled out across the African continent to encourage all citizens – political, business, community and religious leaders, as well as individuals, families and communities – to make a personal commitment to ending malaria for good.

To date, over 20 African nations have committed to join in supporting the campaign, with presidents of Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique already launching nationwide campaigns that include large-scale bed net distribution drives to establishing high-level national End Malaria Councils and parliamentary groups on malaria. Others, including the First Ladies of Ghana and Niger, have pledged to do more to engage leaders and communities to fight malaria in their countries.

President Macky Sall of Senegal comments: “In my country, malaria has long been a major public health concern threatening the socio-economic development and structural transformation trajectory that has put our country on a firm path to sustainable development. It is through national ownership, shared responsibility and global solidarity that we can defeat malaria for good.”

HM King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Chair of the African Leaders’ Malaria Alliance, says: “This campaign further reinvigorates our commitment to eliminate malaria in Africa as we now call upon all our people at all levels to work with us in ridding our continent of this scourge. I urge all governments to invest more in fighting the disease, however the success of this campaign will depend on partnerships and on collaboration across sectors and amongst our population, for as government, we cannot win this fight against malaria alone.”

The campaign offers simple tools to increase community participation in malaria elimination efforts, keep pressure up on leaders to stay committed to ending the disease, and forge new partnerships that can contribute additional funding that will increase access to treatment, improve diagnosis and prevention against the deadly disease. Campaign resources are provided via a Zero Malaria Starts with Me toolkit available at www.zeromalaria.africa.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

World Malaria Day 2018: AMMREN applauds African countries on free malaria by 2020

As part of the 2018 World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), has applauded some five African countries aiming to eliminate malaria by 2020, reports NaijaAgroNet.

AMMREN Executive Secretary, Dr. Charity Bika, applauded Egypt and Morocco which have been malaria free since 2000 as well as Algeria, which achieved this feat in 2016.

The network also acknowledged five African countries, namely, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland, which have been identified as most likely to eliminate malaria by 2020.
April 25, 2018, Accra - World Malaria Day is here again to bring stakeholders together in the hope of winning.

Describing the fight against malaria as fight against one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, Bika said that each year, 25th April has been set aside as the World Malaria Day to highlight efforts to control malaria and celebrate the gains that have been made.

Equally, she said, since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. However, half the world still lives at risk from this preventable and treatable disease, which costs a child’s life every two minutes.

As the world commemorates this year’s World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), made up of a group of African journalists and scientists leading a malaria advocacy agenda, “it is also gratifying that Algeria, Comoros, Madagascar, the Gambia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe have also been honoured this year by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance for leadership in scaling down malaria cases.”

As said by her, “we all look up to these shining examples of countries that are making progress in the fight against malaria.”

AMMREN further urged countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to double the malaria control efforts to ensure they join or at least get close to the ranks of countries at the elimination stages by 2020.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

African Continental Free Trade Area: Moving African integration further forward

Commentary@NaijaAgroNet:
Twenty years ago, I hoped for an Africa that would draw closer and forge forward boldly, despite a bag of mixed fortunes. Rwanda had just been blighted by genocide; the ubiquitous coup d’état still reared its ugly head in West Africa; although a tentative calm prevailed in Central Africa, political tensions simmered below the surface; Zaïre was in the throes of the ‘first Congo war’; the civil war in Somalia grew in magnitude and intensity; Ethiopia began an experiment in state-led macroeconomic planning; a democratic South Africa rose from the ashes of Apartheid, a veritable validation of the OAU’s ultimate goal of political liberation for Africa.

An interim period of positive change ensued, a growth fuelled by new media including the Internet, greater multiculturalism and a stronger attachment to democratic principles.

In March 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union Heads of State and Government enacted the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda at its 10th Extraordinary Session, under the able leadership of H.E. President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, with H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as current AU Chairperson and H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission. Once in force AfCFTA will be the largest trade zone in the world, increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022, remove tariffs on 90% of goods, liberalise services and tackle other barriers to intra-African trade, such as long delays at border posts.

The end of colonialism in the early 1960s created 55 African countries which cut arbitrarily across ethnic, cultural and traditional boundaries. They established the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to promote unity and solidarity on one hand yet emphasised territorial sovereignty on the other. This hamstrung the OAU insofar as national affairs were concerned, and helped create regional economic blocks or communities (RECs) in the mid-1970s.

RECs engendered political and economic integration. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (EAC) signed agreements for the free movement of goods, services and people. There are now 8 AU-recognised RECs and a number of sub-regional bodies that are actively pursuing Africa’s integration agenda.

In 1991 the Abuja Treaty established the African Economic Community (AEC), building on RECs for integration. At the 2001 OAU Summit, African Heads of States and Government adopted the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as a further vector to accelerate African economic co-operation and integration. The Summit recognised the importance of OAU input into REC programme planning and implementation. In 2002, the Constitutive Act of the AU was adopted in Lomé, Togo, formally replacing the OAU.

These milestones show that African economic integration is best pursued on a regional basis.

Rethinking Africa’s priorities is urgently called for. In this regard Agenda 2063, a consolidated strategy for sustained political and economic integration and prosperity, was launched by African Heads of State and Government at the 50th Anniversary of African Unity in 2013. Agenda 2063’s first Ten-Year Implementation Plan (2013-2023) draws heavily on NEPAD’s experiences. Beyond these broad strokes in development priorities and programmes, African development must be translated into concrete action.

While business and consumer confidence have improved, investment, trade and productivity have not. This has a direct impact on both foreign and domestic investments in Africa, particularly in infrastructure. As the world’s second-fastest growing region, Africa holds much promise for those willing to invest time to study our local economies and identify opportunities presented by a booming middle class with an endless appetite for consumables.

Although the Africa Report 2017 shows that virtually all countries plan large infrastructure projects and understand the need to industrialise, Africa cannot afford to be an ‘investment risk’ for infrastructure projects that advance sustainable inclusive development.

To this end, the AU-NEPAD Continental Business Network (CBN) continues to de-risk infrastructure projects in order to attract financing, especially through Pension and Sovereign Wealth Funds. In September 2017, NEPAD and the CBN initiated an Africa-led and Africa-owned campaign to increase African asset owners’ contributions to African infrastructure from approximately 1.5% of their assets under management (AUM) to 5% of AUM. By using financial resources available on the continent and strengthening public-private partnerships, infrastructure investments should increase. The CBN has called for a more strategic engagement with domestic institutional investors in support of this campaign.

The AfCTA, is a monumental step for Africa; another significant milestone in Africa’s integration process. I have to however aptly point out that the AfCFTA was signed in Kigali the capital that experienced complete turmoil some 24 years ago but is now poised to become the futuristic “Wakanda.”

*Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, a former Prime Minister of Niger, is the current CEO of the African Union’s NEPAD Agency. 

African, Continental, Free, Trade, Area, Moving, African, integration, forward, 

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Modern slavery: SDGs & unending African malaise?

Recent exposure of internally African modern slavery markets calls for joining of forces beyond the African Union and European Union joint summit in Abidjan, writes REMMY NWEKE.
 
Preamble:
Historically, the slavery in Africa dates way back prior to 1793. A visit to the Badagry suburb in Lagos and slavery gateway, would leave any discerning mind a wet chronicle; how the community leaders then sold a human being for a ceramic cup and some for a bottle of hot-drink, equally known in the local parlance as foreign ‘gin’, yet another for a goldsmith design, that will not be of value either to be adorned at occasion or move about easily due to its weight.

From Badagry in Lagos to somewhere in Kumasi in Ghana, the story was definitely the same, then you find the slave trade outlet after agonizing stay and dehumanizing in the section of point of no return.

At first when I visited Badagry and Kumasi, my assumption was that we have and must put this kind of histories in the past and sojourn with the present in order to make progress as required, hence, when DigitalSENSE Business News made its debut a few years ago; the cover reflected on “How tech-giants promote child-labour” by some of the mobile device manufacturers in the same cheap labour with bottom design being to highlight the implications of that being a modern day slavery.

And as the world progressively develop in the areas and applications of the information and communication technologies (ICT), one thinks that such news as 21st century slavery or still modern slavery should have become a bygone over half a decade later.

40 million in modern slavery:
Defined as modern ways of exploitation ranging from forced prostitution and forced labour to forced marriage and forced organ removal, as well as human trafficking, debt bondage, descent-based slavery and child slavery, according to antislavery.org.

But latest data from a recent report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which came in two parts, showed that some 40 million people are currently in modern slavery and 152 million in child labour around the world, aged between 5 and 17, within the 2016 alone.
NaijaAgroNet also gathered that this new data revealed that the United Nations (UN's) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on goal 8.7, will not be achieved unless efforts to fight modern slavery and child labour are radically augmented.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet reports that the new estimates indicated that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women, they said, represent 99 per cent of the victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages. 

The research revealed that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25 million were in forced labour, and 15 million were in forced marriage. While child labour remain concentrated primarily in agriculture with 70.9 per cent, almost one in five child labourers work in the services sector, whereas estimated 11.9 per cent of child labourers work in industry. 

The ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, noted that the message his office sent with the latest research findings alongside its partners, remain very clear; “the world won’t be in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless we dramatically increase our efforts to fight these scourges. These new global estimates can help shape and develop interventions to prevent both forced labour and child labour.” 

The Founding chairman, Walk Free Foundation, Mr Andrew Forrest, pointed to the fact that as a society humanity still have 40 million people in modern slavery, on any given day shames mankind. “If we consider the results of the last five years, for which we have collected data, 89 million people experienced some form of modern slavery for periods of time ranging from a few days to five years. This speaks to the deep seated discrimination and inequalities in our world today, coupled with a shocking tolerance of exploitation. This has to stop. We all have a role to play in changing this reality – business, government, civil society, every one of us.” 

Libya Slave Market exposed:
Then, came, the news on Libyan Slave Market in the northern Africa. The fact is that most Africans remain divided with some sympathizing with the victims who have to journey via the unpleasant route to Libya with hope of making it to Europe.

The alarming aspect is that most victims that got trafficked actually paid to be exported via Libya and often ended up being stranded without any food or money, hence some end up in doing drugs, prostitution and odd jobs after being sold between $400 and $600 in order to survive. From most stories, told by the surviving returnees, they paid initially between $1000 and $6000; for self-export into slavery.

As at the time of filing this report, some 6,000 Nigerians have been repatriated back home with everyone having ugly stories abound, while the Nigerian High Commission in Libya, said some Nigerians, even refused to go home.

Freely become slave:
NaijaAgroNet reports that another school of thought disputed if what is happening in Libya Slave Market is precisely a slave trade? According to the proponents of this thought, some of the victims voluntarily paid about $6,000 each, to reach the shores of Libya for onward movement to Italy and other European cities, where they look forward to being secured and revel in a so-called better life ... regrettably, “From there they became victims of their own choices. Nobody came into Nigeria or Ghana or Cameroon to pick them as slaves; rather they went there by themselves and with their own money, but their ‘Points men’ and ‘points women’ had invariably other ideas in their heads.

Also, the proponents considered these victims as not more than slaves who are only fit to work menial jobs in the family homes of Europeans, and for that their traffickers tagged them with the price of $400 each for the Europeans to buy and herd them to their homes for domestic chores!
These proponents insisted that a quick conversion of $6,000 into Nigerian Naira will tell you that these "slaves" were never poor people by any equation, because the amount here is about N2.6 million spent by each "slave" to freely become "slaves" in Europe, and by simple reckoning, poor people have no such cash in any part of the world.

This school of thought was saddened on the so-called modern slavery story, because evidences have shown that in some communities in Nigeria, “it is the parents or families that raise such huge sums for their children, especially for daughters, to go to Italy or other European cities to become sex slaves and send large sums of dollars home. At best, the above narration is not slavery since it was not forced one; rather a deliberate consent to be sold into slavery."

Whereas appreciating the United States-based Cable News Network (CNN), they posited, it's good that CNN broke the story of this self-induced slavery, and it's also good that Nigeria's federal government sent in aircrafts and brought back home her own contingent of ‘rich slaves.’

Can AU & EU summit mitigate?
This story, directly or indirectly influenced the outcome of a summit of African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) in Cote d’ Ivore capital, Abidjan, setting a goal of immediate repatriation of some 3,800 migrants languishing in a camp near Tripoli. They also insisted on stamping out horrific abuse of African migrants, some of them Nigerians, in Libya where thousands are suffering in a vast, lawless territory. Just as head, AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat noted, there are hundreds of thousands more estimated about “400,000 to 700,000,” who are stranded. Yet, experts pointed out a daunting array of hurdles including from extracting migrants in perilous situations, to giving them incentives to stay back when they return home.

For the International Organisation for Migration Europe Director, Eugenio Ambrosi had told AFP by phone from Brussels. “It is a step in the right direction. It is a little bit too much to think it will solve the slavery issue, but it would definitely mitigate (it) to some extent.” Emphasising that the summit also showed there was now ‘international watchdog pressure’ that could be brought to bear on the criminal gangs but it must be ‘sustained.’

The drive proclaimed at a meeting on the summit sidelines organised by French President Emmanuel Macron, which gathered eight other EU and African countries as well as the AU, EU and United Nations representatives; hinting that the UN-backed Libyan government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj had identified and granted access to the worst camps to enable the returns of people who want to go home.

Dealing with traffickers & punishment:
Additionally, the Macron group decided to work with a task force, involving the sharing of Police and intelligence services, to “dismantle the networks and their financing and detain traffickers,” he said, even as they pledged to freeze the assets of identified traffickers, while AU will set up an investigative panel and the UN could take cases before the International Court of Justice.

While saluting this as progress, commentators pointed to big practical problems, which begin with the need for African countries to respond rapidly to the need for travel documents so that evacuees can leave quickly.

“Something has to be done for people in this situation, obviously. But from an operational and logistical point of view, the evacuations are very complicated,” said Matthieu Tardis, a researcher at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. Adding, “Doing it on a major scale raises the question of cooperation with the Libyan authorities and of their authority across the country. On top of that, it’s hard to see how you can walk into unofficial camps and other places to evacuate migrants, especially when they are controlled by traffickers.”

Unofficial camps:
Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord is opposed by a rival administration in the east of the country, backed by strongman Khalifa Haftar. Just as there is the question of support for those who go home — an influx that adds to a poor country’s economic and social burden.

For Yves Roland Houeto, the coordinator of an Ivorien Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called the Pan-African Association of Children and Young Workers (AACYW), said he saw no signs West African governments were ready to offer serious economic prospects to keep the young at home.

Governments cannot just offer returning migrants some money and supplies when they land back in their country’s airport. As said by Houeto “As soon as their supplies and money run out, they will leave again,” noting that in Grand Bassam, a coastal city of 80,000 people less than an hour’s drive from Abidjan, that every month, around 10 young people leave the area for Europe.

Summary:
Of immediate commendation must be given to government and people of Uganda for accepting to habour some of the victims from Libya, pending their final repatriation to their home countries. And given the scenes above, there is a lot to be done by the governments and African Union Commission, especially in enthroning good governance in most African countries.

Until such a time, the situation in Southern Cameroun needed to be nipped on the bud. It will also send the signal that AUC is ready alongside the sub-regional organisations, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Walk Free Foundation, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to work the talk. Of course, with the support of European Union, so as make the youth see the reality on ground rather than propaganda and the time to start was like yesterday, that is, if we intend to make inroads into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; in combination of 8.7 – which centres on forced labour.

Therefore, it’s imperative to agree with the earlier submission that unless efforts to fight modern slavery and child labour are jointly tackled and radically too to complement each other, any effort towards this may be in vain.

And time to start is now, after all, because, at this time it cannot be said to be a stitch in time that saves nine, but efforts at remedying  the situation is and must be commendable, whilst determinations to make the required change on modern slavery, must start from the homes and immediate societies, backed by good governance as its bedrock.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cerebral harmattan & failure of African tea leaves

Commentary@NaijaAgroNet:
If you live and work in my side of Africa, as in the wild wild West, you know what time of day it is. The Harmattan has arrived, as in very fine particles of dust blown by an easterly/north-easterly wind from the Sahel. It will hover in a gritty daze, for weeks (usually between December and February but with global warming and climate change ....) over everything.

Extreme weather - wintry storms, freezing fog patches and a blitz of amber weather warnings - in former colonial Britain, the advent of the Christmas season and cheap airfares. Means the cousins, nieces, nephews and their friends from the Diaspora, those who have papers and can travel without imminent fear of Mr. Trump's dawn immigration tweets or a sudden turn in the Brexit negotiations, will soon invade Ghana. Adding further to the traffic, the noise and the stress.

The top ten performing currencies on this continent at some point in 2017, were: the Egyptian Pound; the Eritrean Nakffa; South Africa's Rand; Botswana's Pula; the Moroccan Dirham; Zambia's Kwacha, the Sudanese Pound, Ghana's Cedi (you know?!!), Tunisia's Dinar and the Libyan Dinar. In Accra, for the duration of the dizzy season, the exchange rate for pounds, dollars, euro, anything of value, except of course African currencies, many of which you can't give away even as a joke, will fluctuate.

Fortunately, the Diasporans have no staying power, they will depart by the second week of January 2018, weighed down by the double effects of our national diet of complex carbohydrates - kenkey, banku, brodi, apem, banku, akple, tuozaafi - and the pyramid of debt that comes from the onslaught of cousin/auntie/uncle coming to 'greet. Cynical Ahasporans like me will apply shea butter to our parched skins and lips, with a wry smile. This harmattan too shall pass.

Athritis

I also have a soft spot for older men. They do have to be gentlemen, in possession of bifocal glasses, their own teeth, able to move freely, arthritis can be managed. Said older man must be non violent. Physically as well as in publicly expressed thought. Lest my position hardens.

An older man worthy of a second look, is the Speaker of the 7th Parliament of Ghana's Fourth Republic, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye. We are co equals, only, in terms of our abbreviated physical height. Whilst I am probably taller, the Right Honourable Ocquaye's resume is much more impressive.

A former Member (twice) of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya - a constituency in Accra - , he was elected the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament (2009 - 2013), served as Ghana's former High Commissioner to India (2001 - 2004) and was Minister of Energy, briefly, then Minister of Communications (2006-2009). Mr. Speaker is also a lawyer and an author who has published severally on matters politics and human rights. I am unreliably informed, that he has recently added ordained clergy to his towering list of accomplishments.

When our cerebral Right Honourable Speaker took the Oath of Office on January 7th 2017, he stated publicly "I need to remind the new MPs that the highly procedural nature of Parliament calls for an equally high level of commitment to the rules and procedures of the institution. Serious learning will therefore have to be undertaken to sharpen your competencies in order to function optimally." Polite speak for 'grow up, get a grip and get on with it'.

I could commend and comment on how happily I received the speed with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly clapped back and shut down the Right Honourable Ocquaye for granting a recent interview during which he apparently unilaterally, welcomed the singular decision of US President Donald Trump, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I will not.

As I offered, I have a spot, it is hardening, quickly though, for a certain type of older man. Especially when he needs serious learning to sharpen his competencies in not projecting his personal opinion in a way that is not optimal and can publicly undermine the functioning official government position. Our Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv, as will the Embassies of the European Union. And Russia.

Democracy is Tiring and Required

Another older man who warrants a 'no you did not' is Tanzania's President John Pombe Joseph Magafuli, note he has two biblical names. A former Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, a former Minister of Lands and Human Settlement, he too was a Member of Parliament. Character is like pregnancy, it will always out.

As President, Magafuli has made a maverick name for himself by defying the odds. This is the man who banned luxe public celebrations of national holidays including his inauguration, this is the man who walked into a government hospital, found victim citizens prostrate on the floor and apparently issued firing letters to the absent senior management. Magafuli has also recently pardoned a number of prisoners, including a father and son convicted of raping 10 school girls. In June 2017, Magafuli also spoke publicly in support of a ban on pregnant girls from attending school.

I will not say something about this older bespectacled African leader as well. What I will do is present comments attributed to the Director of an Arusha based civil society organisation, Community for Children's Rights. Ms Kate McAlpine has been quoted as saying President Magafuli's pardon of the 2 pedophiles, demonstrates his "lack of understanding of violence against children." She is also quoted in the same report as stating "he has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims."

Welcome to the Harmattan, the impending invasion of the Diasporans and a word to men of a certain vintage in paid public office. Older and acting up in public is undignified, unwelcome, unjust and can be dangerous. Careful, Grandpa. Dinosaurs are extinct for a reason. They failed to read the tea leaves and the weather. You could end up in Serbia.
Courtesy: Nana Yaa Ofori Atta who contributed this from Accra, Ghana. NanaYOforiAtta@gmail.com

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Novartis Access extends to sixth African country, Nigeria still aloof

The Novartis Access has extended portfolio of high-quality medicines targeted at four key non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to the sixth country on the continent of Africa while Nigeria still aloof, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The latest addition being the Republic of Cameroon, just as NaijaAgroNet reports that Novartis Access had landed at Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Pakistan and Uganda before now.
According to Novartis Global Media Relations, Eric Althoff they were pleased to disclosed this in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement Novartis Access in Cameroon.

The collaboration, NaijaAgroNet also reports include capacity-building activities with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) on community awareness. Initially.
Althoff said, Novartis Access medicines will be made available through CBCHS hospitals and clinics, with the objective to extend the programme to other faith-based organizations across the country.

Novartis Access, NaijaAgroNet gathered, provides a portfolio of high-quality medicines targeting four key non-communicable diseases (NCDs), namely, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. This portfolio covers the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for chronic diseases.

“Cameroon is increasingly affected by the burden of noncommunicable diseases,” said André Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health of the Republic of Cameroon. “The government has established prevention and control programs for chronic diseases, and having access to high-quality treatments at low cost is critical to success. This collaboration with Novartis is part of the solution.”

According to the WHO, chronic diseases cause 31% (1) of all deaths every year in Cameroon, and a survey by the CBCHS showed consultations for NCDs at some of their health facilities rose by over 40% between 2011 and 2015 (2).

“We are pleased to help Cameroonian patients better manage their chronic conditions,” said Dr. Harald Nusser, Head of Novartis Social Business. “We believe new approaches such as Novartis Access that bring governments, the private sector and social sector together are needed to expand access to medicines and healthcare delivery.”

Beyond medicines, the collaboration will also offer activities to strengthen healthcare systems in Cameroon, for example by training healthcare professionals on NCD screening, diagnosis and treatment, quality assurance and by providing community education and awareness.

“This month, CBCHS and Novartis will kick off a Know Your Numbers campaign to encourage individuals to know their vital health numbers through community awareness and screenings,” said Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBCHS. “Activities such as this campaign are needed to ensure we combat NCDs effectively, thanks to stronger healthcare systems and high-quality medicines.”


The campaign will take place in seven health districts in five regions, reaching a potential population of 1 million people with education and NCD health checks.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Merck gathers African, Asian countries for healthcare capacity

Merck Foundation, a non-profit company and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, is gathering African and Asian countries together to contribute towards building healthcare capacity for the continent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The foundation, would use the occasion to conduct the Fourth edition of their annual ‘Merck Africa Asia Luminary’ on the 24th and 25th of October 2018 in partnership with relevant government institutions such as the Ministry of High Education and scientific research of Egypt, Africa Fertility Society and the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS).

‘Merck more than a Mother’ to be launched by Vice President of Tanzania and First Ladies of Central African Republic, Gambia, Chad, Niger and Republic of Guinea with the aim to empower infertile women in their countries.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG, said, over 450 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers from Africa and Asia to benefit from several educational and social development sessions.

After the success of Merck Africa Luminary in Germany, Kenya and Cote D’Ivoire, Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), a non-profit company and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, to conduct the Fourth edition of their annual ‘Merck Africa Asia Luminary’ on the 24th and 25th of October 2018, in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research, Africa Fertility Society and the International Federation of Fertility Societies- IFFS.


“Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons why Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent,” he said.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

USAID lifts African CNC with agro transformation grant

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is advancing undisclosed grant to the Africa Lead II and the CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC) in support of initial CAADP four countries including Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This was a key resolution from the just ended meeting of Africa Lead II and the CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC) in Ghana.

The grant is to support CAADP in Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Kenya in the first phase.

The official communique from the meeting made available to NaijaAgroNet invited interested organizations to submit a brief concept paper in order to earn the chance to apply for resources and support, build relationships and networks with key actors in CAADP, and put their idea into action.

The grant activities, NaijaAgroNet reports, would help to create and effectively bring about approaches towards improving citizen engagement in national food security investment priorities as outlined by the CAADP themes.

NaijaAgroNet equally reports that interested non-state actors should submit proposals with focus on aligning Non-State Actors (NSA) programme design and development to the CAADP agenda to support relevant National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) priorities.

Also, NaijaAgroNet  reports that proposal should include on how to make use of agricultural performance data relevant to specific CAADP themes for advocacy and strategic communication purposes; and ready to generate relevant data sets to support the ongoing monitoring of CAADP progress.

“Applicants may propose new projects or scale up small projects that have demonstrated success. Awardees will be expected to share evaluation results and key lessons, and periodically disseminate activities and outcomes with the broader community.  If your organization is working towards creative solutions for these objectives in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, or Senegal, please review the application and submit your idea,” our source told NaijaAgroNet.
Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Public, Private Partnership to boost African healthcare indicators

The chairman of the African Healthcare Federation, Dr Amit Thakker, has said that increased spending on healthcare in the public and private sectors across the African continent have resulted in improved health indicators and life expectancies, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Thakker, a speaker at the Africa Health Exhibition & Congress noted that the progress of this improvement is extremely slow and not commensurate with the increase in funding.

Also Thakker pointed out that the private healthcare sector,  as well as non-government organisations (NGOs) are well placed to help improve healthcare across the continent, and while there have been Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), stressing, these need to be stepped up if Africa wants to beat its healthcare challenges.

According to Thakker, these poor outcomes reflect challenges with governance and leadership, while noting that budget allocations in a number of African countries are relatively large, but unfortunately inefficiencies reduce their impact substantially.

“We would have saved twice as many children and women if governments were efficient,” Thakker declared.

Leader of Deloitte Digital Africa, and leader for Healthcare and Life Sciences, Valter Adão says “Healthcare spend is often sizeable in dollar terms but low relative to GDP, like in Nigeria, or reasonably comparable to European countries but the outcomes are poor, like in South Africa.”


“The deviation from the traditional PPP models is that governments would not be the recipients, but owners or implementers and perhaps even the investors into these solutions,” Adão recently told the World Economic Forum.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ethiopian Tedros Ghebreyesus elected first African WHO Director-General

NaijaAgroNet
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new Director-General, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

Remarkably, this is the first time, since 1941 that an African is elected to this post and the first time ever that the whole African continent had one candidate.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of the country's health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16 000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38 000 health extension workers; and initiated financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage. 

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, NaijaAgroNet reports he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Malaria vaccine trials: AMMREN commends WHO over 3 African countries selection

The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) has commended the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the choice of three African countries of Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, for the first malaria vaccine trials beginning in 2018, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the WHO, the injectable vaccine RTS,S was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum and it will be assessed in the pilot programme as a complementary malaria control tool that could potentially be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention.

Welcoming this development, AMMREN Executive Secretary, Dr. Charity Binka told NaijaAgroNet that they see the introduction of the vaccine in these countries as an opportunity to step up advocacy directed to whipping up public support for the malaria elimination agenda and specifically for the vaccine.

AMMREN, she said, also called for the training and equipping of journalists to promote accurate and effective dissemination of information on the vaccine and other tools to ensure that media content on the vaccine is well packaged and disseminated in a timely and accurate manner, nationally and globally.

In addition, she said building of the capacity of scientists and researchers to communicate effectively with journalists from data generated from malaria research, tools and the vaccine, cannot be over-emphasised.

The network said that by facilitating widespread awareness of the RTS,S vaccine, particularly among families and community members would foster accurate understanding of the potential risks and benefits of the RTS,S malaria vaccine and need for continued use of other malaria control measures.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that AMMREN has over the years, laid a solid foundation for African journalists to partner with scientists and stakeholders in the fight to kick out malaria from the continent.

Thus, the skills of journalists across Africa have also been sharpened to tell the malaria story as well as the RTS,S malaria vaccine stories.


AMMREN further urged all stakeholders to join forces to carry out a sustained media advocacy project on the malaria elimination and to push for public acceptance of the RTS,S vaccine.

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