Ghana:Waive 20% import tax on sanitary pads – CSO
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdalla
J Initiative (JI), a child-centred research and advocacy-based non-governmental organization that made the call is worried the classification of sanitary towels as luxury by the Ghana Revenue Authority has pushed under privileged girls to use unhealthy absorbents.
“Due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls; especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper.
“Aside the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil their uniforms,” JI said in a statement on Thursday to mark International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: “With Her; a skilled GirlForce”.
“Once and for all, a lasting solution must be resorted to by removing or drastically reducing the 20% import tax on sanitary towels in Ghana in order to make that essential product available and affordable for all girls from regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds,” it advocated.
Read full statement below
IMPACT OF BAD MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRACTICES ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION.
Menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and dirty process in most parts of the world, especially Africa. There are many taboos around this natural phenomenon which leave most adolescent girls unprepared for their periods and misinformed on how to manage them. This promotes the practice of unsafe menstrual hygiene practices which may lead to ill health. There is a need for both men and women to have greater awareness of good menstrual hygiene practices as this is vital to the health, well-being, self-worth, empowerment, mobility and productivity of women and girls.
Sadly, the realization of quality education for both boys and girls is a problem in most developing countries including Ghana. Some barriers to girls’ school attendance, participation, and retention have been identified as cultural expectations, early pregnancy and marriage, household responsibilities and the prioritization of boys’ education.
The school environment also tends to contribute to these barriers to the education of girls. Some deficits in the school environment that discourage girls from attending and participating in school activities include lack of female teachers, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and gender-based violence. Menstruation has emerged as an additional barrier to school attendance and active participation amongst adolescent girls. Some effects of poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) on the education of adolescent girls include school absenteeism, distraction and increased school drop-out rates.
For the practice of effective menstrual hygiene , girls require access to clean absorbents (for example, sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups) with facilities that provide them with the needed privacy to change, clean or dispose of these absorbents when necessary, and access to soap and water for cleaning their bodies and reusable absorbents. Unfortunately, studies across low and middle income countries have reported that more than 50% of girls have inadequate MHM, with higher proportions reported in rural areas. More than half of girls in lower- and middle-income countries lack access to basic menstrual hygiene needs such as sanitary pads, soap and water, or lavatories to change, clean, or dispose of these absorbents.
Due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls; especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper. Aside the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil their uniforms. The embarrassment girls face as a result of soiling their uniforms during their periods causes them to miss school.
Research carried out in Ghana and Kenya, has revealed that interventions providing sanitary pads and education, or materials and education for girls to make their own pads improve school attendance. Kenya has gone ahead to provide free sanitary towels for girls to encourage school attendance during their periods and remove menstruation as a barrier to their girl child education. One may ask; will Ghana go ahead to do same?
Presently 20% tax levy is charged on imported sanitary towels because sanitary pads are categorized as luxury products at the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines. Is this commodity that is a necessity to a woman’s livelihood, engagement and participation in society really just luxury? It is the right of every girl to be informed and have access to menstruation supplies. Some organizations in Ghana have resorted to pad donations to girls; especially those in deprived societies as a way to encourage girls’ attendance and participation in school activities during their menses. However, statistics have shown that the average woman can use up to 10,500 disposable sanitary pads or more in her lifetime. This reveals then that pad donations are just but a temporal solution to removing this barrier to education.
Call to Action to Ghana
Once and for all, a lasting solution must be resorted to by removing or drastically reducing the 20% import tax on sanitary towels in Ghana in order to make that essential product available and affordable for all girls from regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. Today is being observed globally as the International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: ‘’With Her; a skilled GirlForce’’. The focus of this year’s theme is on securing viable employment opportunities for adolescent girls set to enter the workforce within the next decade. If girls’ JI’s Happy School Girl Project aims resonates with this theme in this sense that if girls’ participation and retention in school is hindered because of menstruation, it pre-supposes that they cannot acquire the soft skills needed to become a useful workforce to any country. On this special day, it would be most appropriate that the government would consider reviewing tax on sanitary pads to ensure an enhancement in the Ghanaian girls’ health and in the education.
Ghana: National Insurance Trust blows over GH¢300k on value for money audit of OBS contract.
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdalla
It has emerged that Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged the services of auditing firm KPMG to do a value for money audit on the controversial $72million Operational Business Suite (OBS) contract at a staggering cost of ¢337,685.
The value for money audit contract was signed on February 2, 2018 between SSNIT and KPMG after restricted tendering process. The job was expected to have been completed on September 17, 2018.
Some four officials of SSNIT including the Director-General Ernest Thompson are currently facing charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state in the procurement of the OBS at $72million to digitize the Trust’s operations—but the software reportedly was not fully functional.
It was discovered last year following the change of government that the Trust settled for the procurement of the OBS software at $72million although it received tenders to undertake the project at much cheaper prices including $9 million
A document on the deal indicates that the eventual winner of the contract bid produced a tender price of $27,610,792 but that was reviewed to 34, 011,914.21 after the General Services Manager of SSNIT identified arithmetic errors in the tender of the eventual winner, Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium.
Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was chosen out of the total of 10 companies and joint venture responded to the tender by the October 19, 2011 deadline.
Perfect Business System’s $34million was almost nine times the amount presented by Persol Systems, about $4million.
Sambus Company Limited presented the second least bid price of $9.8 million.
After the deal between SSNIT and Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was sealed in 2012, the cost of the project increased by about $32million.
The increase was attributed to the procurement of additional equipment including servers and flash drivers and headsets.
FG travel ban: Ozekhome tasks affected Nigerians to head to court
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
Nigeria’s Constitutional lawyer and activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN has tasked affected Nigerians on travel ban to take legal measures.
Reacting to the executive order by the Federal government, the lawyer called on any Nigerian affected by the order not to waste time in approaching the court.
Ozekhome said: “The recent announcement of the government’s ban on certain Nigerians(yet publicly unnamed) is an extreme panicky measure of desperation and obvious descent into totalitarianism,absolutism and fascism.It is highly condemnable for being absolutely unconstitutional,illegal,wrongful,immoral,vindictive,dictatorial,panicky and presumptuous of the victims’ guilt,without any trial or conviction.
“The order shows a government wallowing in narcistic self-righteousness ,brazen glorification and a false sense of redemptive messianism. It will surely boomerang on the government in this electioneering campaign period and strip the government bare of any pretensions towards democratic credentials. “Presumably anchored on Executive Order 6,it made earlier in July,2018,the recent clamp down on opposition elements and persons suspected to be against the desperate attempt by this government to cling to power at all cost is nothing but a draconian Decree,a piece of legislative enactment without a NASS and an unconstitutional judicial pronouncement outside the orbit of a court of competent jurisdiction. It is a vile coup against Nigerians,democracy and constitutionalism. “The government by the order turned itself into a court of law to trail citizens,deprive of their freedom of movement and monitor and seize their accounts by fiat,without a valid court lose. The right to freedom of movement is guaranteed by section 41 of the 1999 Constitution,and same is not subject to derogation from by any Executive Order outside the pronouncement of a court of law. “It dresses the Executive branch of government with the despotic garbs of arbitrariness and whimsicality to determine which citizens should be prevented from traveling,l and have their accounts and properties attached.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria,in Director of SSS v Olisa Agbakoba (1999) 3 NWLR (or 595) 340,quoted with approval,the Indian case of Meneka Ghandi v Union of India (1978) AIR 597,(1978) SCC (1) 248,where the Indian Supreme Court held ,on Ghandi’s passport being seized,and he filing a writ of petition under Articles 21 and 32 of the Indian Constitution,that:
“the Indian Constitution safeguards the right to go abroad against executive interference which is not supported by law;law here means enacted law or state law. ..thus,no person can be deprived of his right to go abroad unless there is law made by the state prescribing the procedure for so depriving him and the deprivation is effected strictly in accordance with such procedure”.Neither the Executive Order no 6,nor the new travel ban and accounts monitoring and property attachment constitute any such law,by any stretch of the imagination,or constitutional imprimatur. In Agbakoba’s case,the apex court made it clear that ownership of a travelling passport was part and parcel of and concomitant to the freedom of movement.
” Thus, Executive Order no 6 cannot even enjoy the derogation qualification granted under section 45 of the Constitution,which permits restriction and derogation from the observance of section 41 under a law “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of defence,public safety,public order,public morality,or public health,or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons”This is because it is not a law and , but a mere executive order. Nothing more. Those affected should head for the courts immediately and get it struck down.” he said.
2019: Buhari must go Galadima insists
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
ABUJA Critic of of the the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari, Engr. Bubu Galadima has said that Nigerians must all join hands to send the president back home in 2019 general election.
Atiku tasks Buhari not to plunge Nigeria into another recession
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
ABUJA- Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has warned against the implementation of Executive Order 6 (EO6) saying it is capable of triggering capital flight out of the country.
China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy: Time for Africa to reconsider Its Sino Relations ?
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
At the start of the decolonization period in Africa around the 1960s, Africa (as a whole) and China were facing more or less the same problems economy wise. These two were struggling to sustain themselves; Africa and China were agro-based but an agriculture backbone was proving to be an unsustainable solution not just in keeping the economy stable at the time but also in shaping the future.
Faced with almost the same problem, Africa and China at the time (the early 1960s) decided to take different paths. China started diversifying its economy and placed austerity measures to cut government expenditure. Africa on the other hand when it attained independence decided to stick with agriculture, mining and adopted the welfarist ideology which chowed a huge chunk of government revenue subsiding consumer goods and paying for free health and education. The end result was that China moved forward and Africa regressed.
Africa’s regression meant that it had to look for bailouts. Surprisingly, one of the countries that Africa looked to for bailouts is China, the same country which the African continent had the same standing with barely less than 50 years back.
The mere fact that China managed to move forward while Africa regressed is enough for us to conclude that China is intelligent and Africa (as painful as it is to say) is dull. To illustrate China’s intelligence, one only needs to look at its Debt Trap Diplomacy which ensures that China continues to propel further economically while furthering its political interests. To better understand and appreciate China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy, let’s use the zero-sum game theory.
Zero-Sum Game Theory
In general, the zero-sum game theory entails that when two actors enter into a partnership, only one actor is going to gain while the other is going to lose. As such, in the China-Africa relationship, there is one actor who is clearly gaining and another who is clearly losing. Taking, for instance, the case of Zambia.
Since independence, mining (particularly copper mining) has been the backbone of Zambia’s economy. However, around 2011, the price of copper significantly fell thereby affecting the economic standing of the country significantly. The Zambian government was unable to balance its budget, therefore, leading it to look for alternative ways of earning money to be used in covering the budget deficit. The chosen alternative method was borrowing.
The first port of call was to look to the West. Zambia approached the IMF and received a small loan. However, as the prices of copper continued to tumble, it meant Zambia once again had to approach the IMF for another bailout. Unfortunately, the second time around Zambia received a different response from the IMF. Instead of receiving the funds it came looking for, the IMF said “…the latest borrowing plans provided by the authorities continue to compromise the country’s debt sustainability and risk undermining its macroeconomic stability…future program discussions can only take place once Zambian authorities implement credible measures that ensure debt contraction is consistent with a key program objective of stabilizing debt dynamics and putting them on a declining trend in the medium term.”
As has been the case with China in recent times, China was quick to offer Zambia a lifeline by offering quite a substantial loan. The trick however when it comes to Chinese loans under the Debt Trap Diplomacy is that it somehow indirectly influences leaders not to reveal the details of the loan to the prying eyes of the public. With less to no accountability, any staggering clauses inside the loan agreements will not cause any alarm hence no public outcry.
Using this method, China managed to offer Zambia loans in which she added major state assets as collaterals in case Zambia fails to repay back the loan within the agreed timeframe. The collateral that was included in some of the loan agreements includes national broadcaster ZNBC and power utility ZESCO. In one of the loan agreements, Zambia failed to meet the repayment terms and ended up losing ZNBC to the Chinese who now control the state broadcaster. In another loan agreement, Zambia also failed to meet the loan repayment deadline. While by default Zambia was supposed to automatically forfeit its control of ZESCO owing to its failure to meet the repayment deadline, it’s still controlling the power utility but just for the time being.
In the end, one can see that from the so-called relationship established by China and Zambia, only China has managed to win as it now controls the country’s state broadcaster and is likely going to control the country’s power utility. With its controlling stake in ZNBC, China does possess the keys to influencing public opinion and perception as media plays a critical role in how public opinion is shaped. Though we don’t know when (as it’s now looking certain) China will assume full control of ZESCO and any other national assets that we may not know of at this point in time, what we do know is that China is slowly but surely entrenching itself in Africa and placing itself strategically so that it can have access to Africa resources with no questions asked.
Zambia’s fate has also befallen Djibouti (which lost one of its ports to the Chinese) while other African countries are likely to face the same eventuality as they are all relying on Chinese loans to service their foreign and local debts while at the same time covering budget deficits with borrowings.
Reconsidering Sino-Africa Relations
The mere fact that Africa has already seen two countries cede some of their national assets to China should be a wakeup call for Africa. Now is the time for all African countries to start reconsidering Sino-Africa relations. There are different ways in which African countries can do this and below, we share some of these methods. Only with a reformed mindset will Africa start moving forward and this change in the mindset is needed right now.
- Revising Previous (Loan and Investment) Agreements
During his campaigns, the leader of the opposition party in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa said that if he won, he would revise all Chinese deals that the country is part of. At the time, many media outlets, Chinese investors, economists and the general public viewed the remarks with contempt thinking that he wanted to boot out Chinese investors on the continent. That was not the case, however, all that Chamisa wanted was to revise all deals so as to find out if there are any glaring clauses which benefit China solely while inconveniencing Africa. Though he lost the election, his solution to the China Debt Trap Diplomacy is what Africa needs to do. Africa needs to revise all deals that it entered with the Chinese. All deals that threaten the sovereignty of Africa (such as the taking of key national assets) should be revoked as was done by Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar.
- Need For The Emergence of an Active Citizenry
African leaders have been able to get away with some scandalous deals because they have not been subjected to intense scrutiny. As such, it’s important that the African population becomes active in the affairs of the country. Each deal that the country enters should be scrutinized, if there are any suspicious and glaring clauses, they should be pointed out. Once there is accountability, African leaders will be forced to stop entering into unfavourable deals.
- Time Nigh For Africa to Depend On Itself
Africa has for so long depended on foreign aid to finance different government services as well as cover budget deficits. This despite the fact that Africa is one of the richest continents on the planet owing to the endowment of numerous natural resources. Therefore, there is a need for Africa to stop relying on foreign aid but to come up with measures which will enable the continent to feed itself. While relying on natural resources is alright, Africa no longer needs to export unprocessed raw materials but rather, it needs to focus on value addition and beneficiation.
- Need to Stamp Out Corruption
It’s not always the case that China puts clauses that disadvantage Africa. Sometimes it’s Africans who disadvantage Africa through engaging in malpractices such as corruption. There are times when Africa receives aid or loans but rather than channelling the funds to the purposes that they are meant to address, high ranking officials in the government syphon the funds and divert them to personal use. In the end, it’s the ordinary folks and the state which is left to bear the effects of corruption. Therefore, public servants ought to serve and not to profiteer at the expense of the country. Also, the ordinary folks ought to take measures to force the public officials to be accountable so that loans and aid money is used to address the goals it is supposed to address.
- Take Heed of Advice
Earlier on, we discussed how Zambia failed to take heed of advice offered by the IMF and decided to look elsewhere for support. Many countries on the African continent have taken the same stance, instead of listening to advice given by some economic think tanks to implement necessary reforms, they look the other way. Its high time, that African leaders start taking heed of the advice given by reputable authorities so that they remove their countries from the quagmire they find themselves in. the general public has a role to play in forcing the government to listen to advice and also to abide by the advice offered by reputable think tanks. Only a concerted effort between the leadership and the people can take Africa from its current predicament.
The Third Edition Of The Africa Forum To Take Place In Sharm El-Sheikh On The 8-9 December, Held Under The High Patronage Of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President Of The Arab Republic Of Egypt.
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Over 2,000 Participants Expected During The Two-Day Forum To Advance Trade And Investment Across Africa.
– Confirmations Received From 5 Heads Of State
– Forum Will Also Focus On Issues Relating To Entrepreneurship And Giving A Stronger Voice To Women At The Decision Making Table
Cairo, 3rd September, 2018 – The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency today confirmed dates for the Africa 2018, a high-level forum offering participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within the continent. The Forum will be held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on 8-9 December 2018, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Forum will be the biggest business-to-business and government-to-business gathering bringing together leading policy makers with captains of industry, financiers, major industrialists and young entrepreneurs from across Africa and beyond.
This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Egypt taking over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, making it a platform to help shape private sector priorities for the coming year. The theme for this year; ‘Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: The third edition of the Africa Forum to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh on the 8-9 December, held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Advancing Intra-African Investments’ reflects the need for policy makers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take tough decisions to advance and fast-track development across the continent.
The organisers have confirmed that already five African heads of State had confirmed their participation including the newly elected Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and also President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who has been leading the drive to get commitment from other African heads of State to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This year, the Forum will have a day focusing on the role of women in helping them define the continental priorities in a gathering called Women Empowering Africa. The organisers will convene women driving change across the continent and give them a platform to get together and agree on clear action points to ensure they have a stronger voice and more significant presence at the decision making table, as much in government as in the boardroom. A communiqué will be presented to the heads of state present highlighting their priority concerns and aspirations.
Building on last year’s success, the organisers will be hosting their Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) offering the continent’s rising stars the opportunity to meet a diverse set of investors as well as to hone their skills in some workshops tailored by specialist consultancies and leaders in their field.
Speaking about the Forum, H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, reiterated her country’s commitment to working towards a unified vision for promoting economic co-operation among African nations: “The Forum aims to improve intra-African trade and investment for the benefit for all citizens on this continent. Egypt’s comprehensive socio-economic reform programme to transform our country continues to progress alongside efforts to advancing Africa’s sustainable development through greater cross-border business among our nations.” Echoing this commitment was Heba Salama, COMESA Regional Investment Agency CEO, welcoming this important community to the third edition of the Forum: “COMESA, now consisting of 21 countries following the admission of Tunisia and Somalia this year, continues to play a lead role in advancing Africa’s economic integration. As one of the most influential regional economic communities in Africa we have a pivotal role to play in engaging with business leaders and investors.”
The Forum is by invitation only. Interested parties can apply for an invitation through the event website www.businessforafricaforum.com .
CAIRO: Engy AbdelHady (email@example.com)
LONDON: Ishara Callan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About Africa 2018
Africa 2018 Forum will be held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2018 edition builds on the success of the previous editions, which have seen the participation of 11 Heads of State and more than 3,000 delegates from 80+ countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with a Women Empowering Africa day as well as our exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.
Africa 2018 has established itself as the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Won’t Seek Third Term, Spokesman Says
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ouattara suggested earlier this year he may run in 2020
Spokesman says ‘no ambiguity’ over Ouattara’s intentions
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will step down after serving two terms and won’t run for a third term in elections due 2020, according to a government spokesman.
Ouattara, 76, told the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique earlier this year that he’s still deciding whether to run again, saying a constitution adopted in 2016 allows him to extend his time in office. While Ivory Coast has a limit of two presidential terms, Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans party says the new charter has reset the clock.
The interview came after Ouattara first appeared to reconsider earlier pledges to stick to two terms by saying “we’ll see what happens’’ when asked last year whether he would step down. In previous years, he was firm in saying he’d quit by 2020.
Ethiopian Airlines wins Aviation 100 award
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and Skytrax-certified four-star global airline, has won the Aviation 100 “Africa Lease Deal of the Year 2018” award by Airline Economics Magazine during the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dubai 2018 conference gala dinner.
The Aviation 100 awards recognize aviation’s most outstanding performers, as well as the most innovative and successful finance and leasing deals closed in the last 12 months. Winners of the Aviation 100 awards are decided by an industry-wide survey, a rigorous vetting process and editorial consideration.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said: “We are happy to receive this award from Airline Economics. It’s for the first time that the Japanese financing system, JOLCO, financed an aircraft deal with an African airline. JOLCO availed financing for our A350 aircraft. The deal shows the strong confidence of reputed global financiers in Ethiopian balance sheet and business plan.”
Africa will not attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Agenda 2063 unless urgent climate actions are taken, says Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Murombedzi
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
UN welcomes ‘milestone’ release of 833 children from anti-Boko Haram force in North-East Nigeria
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
For over nine years, Nigeria’s north-east has been in the grip of a brutal conflict between various non-state armed groups, including Boko Haram, and the Nigerian military
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 12, 2018/ — The United Nations welcomed on Friday as an “important milestone” the release in Nigeria of 833 children by the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF); a group formed in 2013 to protect communities and support the country’s security forces against Boko Haram extremists.
“This is an important development for boys and girls of north-east Nigeria whose lives have been deeply affected by violence and insecurity,” said the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba. “I also want to highlight that today’s release of children is the result of months of productive work and collaboration between the CJTF and the United Nations… We expect more children to be separated from the CJTF soon.”
For over nine years, Nigeria’s north-east has been in the grip of a brutal conflict between various non-state armed groups, including Boko Haram, and the Nigerian military. This has resulted in the recruitment of thousands of children by the various militias.
This release by the CJTF comes after it was named in the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report for Children and Armed Conflict and an action plan was subsequently developed and signed in September 2017. In the agreement, the group committed to ending and preventing the recruitment of children and agreed to release all children from their ranks.
The United Nations has supported this process by providing training and awareness raising sessions to members of the CJTF and communities.
This is the first formal release since the agreement, but the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that another 600 boys and girls remain within the ranks of the CJTF in the city of Maiduguri, and many more youngsters remain in other armed groups, either in combat or support roles.
“The release of these children from CJTF shows commitment to implement the provisions of the Action Plan and to uphold international humanitarian law, human rights laws as well as other regional and national legislations, protecting children’s rights,” said Pernille Ironside, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria.
Special Representative Gamba noted that the Nigerian authorities will be providing reintegration services to all children released today, with support from UNICEF and other child protection organizations.
“We have an opportunity to help these children heal and rebuild their lives,” said the Special Representative. “I call on all those who can support this process to work with us to ensure they have access to the best possible services.”
Since 2017, UNICEF and its partners have supported the Nigeria authorities in its efforts to reintegrate more than 8,700 children released by parties to the conflict. This work has involved tracing their families, getting them home and offering psychological and economic support, an education, vocational trainings, as well as helping them overcome the stigma they face from their association with armed groups.
While today’s release of children is an “important milestone” for the protection of children in Nigeria, Ms. Gamba regretted that children in the country’s north-east continue to be subjected to grave violations.
During the first six months of 2018 alone, 37 children, the majority of whom were girls, were used as ‘human bombs’ to harm civilians. During the same period, 349 children were killed or maimed, and another 140 children were abducted.
The Special Representative also expressed concern over children detained by the authorities for their – or their parents’ – alleged association with non-state armed groups. Calling on the Nigerian Government to consider these children primarily as victims, she appealed for a handover of these children to civilian care “without delay”.
Investments to End Poverty 2018 – meeting the financing challenge to leave no one behind
October 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Development Initiatives (DI) has published a new data-led report that explores how development finance is responding to the demands set by the Sustainable Development Goals and what changes and action are needed to ensure their aspirations become reality for all.
Investments to End Poverty 2018 can be read at http://devinit.org/post/investments-to-end-poverty-2018/
DI is an international development organisation that focuses on the role of data in driving poverty eradication and sustainable development. DI has offices in Kenya, Uganda, the UK and the US.
Key findings relating to Africa
- Hundreds of millions of people still live in extreme poverty and while the share and numbers of the population in poverty has decreased across most regions, the number of people living in poverty has risen in sub-Saharan Africa. The available data shows that in this region, 380 million people were living in extreme poverty in 1999; by 2013 this number had increased to 401 million people. Faster progress will be needed to ensure that no one is left behind.
- New projections on extreme poverty levels show a best case scenario of 200 million people and worst of 400 million people living below the poverty line. More than 80% of people in extreme poverty are projected to be in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with about 50% today. Even in a best case scenario, in sub-Saharan Africa, only half of those in extreme poverty today will be lifted above the poverty line.
- The difference in projected progress between South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa on numbers of people living below the poverty line is mainly because of the depth of poverty – poor people in sub- Saharan Africa are living much further below the international poverty line than poor people in Asia are.
- Pulling together human development, political and economic insecurity indicators alongside poverty projections, a select group of 30 countries – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa – emerge as being most at risk of being left behind.
- While the largest proportion of ODA allocated to countries goes to sub-Saharan Africa (37% in 2016), few of the countries in this region receive the largest amounts of ODA overall and only Ethiopia is one of the largest eight recipients of aid (US$4.2bn).
- In Africa significant volumes of concessional loans went to countries at high risk of debt distress in 2016, including Ethiopia (US$1.5bn) Ghana (US$656m) and Cameroon (US$391m). Mozambique, a country rated as actually being in debt distress, received loans totalling US$417 million in 2016.
- In many sub-Saharan African countries, the role of aid in ensuring that governments can provide social safety nets is key. In countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and South Sudan, these social protection programmes are funded entirely by external aid donors. In Liberia, Uganda and Sierra Leone, aid funds over 80% of social safety nets. In Benin and Zimbabwe the figure is over 60%. Even in middle income countries such as Kenya and Ghana, donors fund respectively around a third and a fifth of social safety nets.
- Absolute volumes of domestic public resources are lowest where poverty is highest. In sub-Saharan African countries, where over a fifth of the population lives in extreme poverty, levels of per capita government revenue are below – and in many cases, far below – the average of $2,285 per capita in developing countries as a whole
- In many sub-Saharan African countries there is potential to grow the tax base, but also a need to increase tax potential (see chart below
International flows (non-aid)
- A more-than six-fold growth in non-concessional official financing to sub-Saharan and North African countries between 2000 and 2016 is a key regional trend over the last one-and-a-half decades – particularly when compared with a more modest doubling of concessional ODA in sub-Saharan Africa and the 25% growth in aid to North Africa over the same period.
- While North Africa saw substantial growth across all non-concessional flows, in sub-Saharan Africa the trend is mainly attributable to a nearly thirteen-fold increase in non-concessional lending by official creditors that is not reported as other official flows. Given the potential contribution of this type of financing to development outcomes, such growth need not, necessarily, be concerning. However, the rising outflows that this type of financing creates, through interest and capital repayments, is a concern to be monitored, particularly given growth is currently faster in the countries identified as being at risk of being left behind, including countries already identified as being at risk of debt distress (e.g. DRC) or already in debt distress (e.g. Mozambique).
- Countries being left behind are among the smallest recipients of other official flows, Foreign Direct Investment, private finance mobilised via blending and remittances. (see chart below).
Current state of the data needed for effective decision making
- Of the 47 countries classed as providing scant or minimal public budget information, 30 are in Africa.
- Of the 31 countries with recorded poverty populations of over 5 million people, 18 publish scant or minimal budget information. These include countries with both large populations of people in poverty and high poverty rates such as Nigeria, Tanzania and Madagascar get information
- Statistical capacity also differs widely across developing countries. 14 of the 30 countries with the lowest levels of statistical capacity as measured by the World Bank are in Africa.