They also point out that the annual number of farm killings— black and white — has fallen to 47, the lowest in 20 years, although this may be due to improved security measures taken by farmers to protect themselves. The number of violent attacks on farms is rising, with more than 500 incidents in the year to March, although the rate is still half what it was in 2001.
Africa And The Developing World Urged To Fund The Green Energy Revolution Model.
August 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
AFRICA and the Developing World which are Energy poverty impacted Regions have been urged to fund the Green Energy Revolution model. Africa and the developing World need at least 49, 4 billion annually to finance their overall Energy projects and the current spending rotating in these Regions is 9 billion. World Bank has over the past years since 2007 financed 31 billion worth Energy projects in developing countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In order to monitor the reduction of absolute poverty in the World, there is need to focus strongly on Energy financing .This is done to develop various energy projects, reduce poverty and win on Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal number 7 on Energy by 2030.Africa has the big challenge. One of its Investors , African Renewable Energy Fund finances small projects in Hydro-Power , Wind , Solar , Geo-Thermal , Gas and Biomass .It has 10 to 30 million size of Investments , 200 million total fund size with target return of 20% .
Experts in the Energy sector in Zimbabwe have taken a strong move to work towards sustaining energy projects through sourcing finance and calling for Investments to boost the sector. The prevalent rate of climate change in the World is fast reducing BIOFUEL ENERGY .This relied on by 60% of the rural population mainly in developing countries struggling to grapple with solar energy which is cheap, efficient. However, it is reliable with those who have used it .The strong fact is Solar is renewable, therefore it is of less cost once purchased.
CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL programs organized by Business Council for Sustainable Development , Practical Action and ZERA[Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority ] held since issues of energy took Centre stage have since in short time memorial brought change in the country . Zimbabwe is only 40% solar energy dominated according to recent ZERA information on the ground. Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer Gloria Magombo said that adequate funding is needed to run Sustainable Energy projects. This, she said must touch the whole World so as to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION. The World has special focus on clean energy which does not have effects on human lives as far as Air; Land and Water pollution is concerned.
Air pollution has over the past years affected communities especially in coal mining areas where a number of people have had problems of respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. .These challenges have as well been experienced in urban areas. After hydro-power blackout is experienced, dwellers pursue alternative energy sources which lead to destruction of the natural environment. Some turn to massive use of coal which emits unfriendly pollutants affecting people and the atmosphere.
Experts have summed that, though the need for Green Energy for a Green Economy, funding is not adequate to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION flourish. Glued in the exclusive interview, the expert said Zimbabwe power shortages are indicated by a deficit of 60% .By February 2016 the country was measured producing only 845 mw against a projected national demand 2,200 mw and installed capacity of 1,940 megawatts.
‘’There is need for adequate funding mechanisms in form of grants and concessional loans buttressed by competent Investors who must support the Energy sector. This is under-trodden and submerged by anthropogenic factors contributing to climate change .Climate-Change affects the earth which now is heavily compromised in terms of its naturalness, beauty, esthetics and bounty wealth of bio-fuel .The urgent need for regeneration of the energy sector through the support of Investors is no doubt a fact on the ground . The Green Climate Fund must come to this rescue in form of Bilateral and Multi-Lateral Funding ‘’.
’’Countries of the world still taking development steps in response to Sustainable Development Goals targets need more funding. It must be more than the current amount so that they can run sustainable projects. This can make developing countries in Africa, Asia and some parts of the World see the light in a changing world in which clean energy is the right path.’’
‘’Clean Energy is environmentally friendly since it does not lead to air pollution which does have negative impacts on the health of the general public. Many forms of energy have led to changes in climate of which resultant adverse effects there-after have led to depletion of the ozone layer. Clean energy solutions today lead us to a habitable disease free world.’ ’Said the Expert.
Further on ,she cited that high cost financing of Infrastructure amounting from 12 billion to 13 billion to lift up Energy project funding in developing countries is vital .She continued that, for these countries to grow, they need to lure Investments from the developed World through implementation of sound policies meant to reduce energy poverty in the developing world.
‘’Funding for the purpose of Economic development is vital because there is need to promote a GREEN ECONOMY. Therefore, we need to support GREEN ENERGY projects on the ground so that we can reach targets of GLOBAL ENERGY growth and achieve Sustainable Development Goals of the UNITED NATIONS’’, she concluded.
Commenting on the same issue, Patson Mbiriri , Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development , said , Energy financing was as well delayed by lack of political will in many developing countries . Lack of National Renewable Energy policies reduce communities to abject poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa , East and Pacific Asia and in some parts of the World .He added also that lack of expertise and the issue of brain drain has much impacted Africa .
‘’Lack of this political will has much trodden developing countries which even up to now need strong financial support to lift themselves out of absolute poverty . Sustainable Development Goals will lift people in many countries out of poverty like how they have done in developed countries like China, Japan, America and others’’.
‘’Access to energy finance stands vital, hence the reason why Sustainable Development Goals are important. Energy developments over the past decades slackened because Energy was not part of the Millennium Development Goals .The current Sustainable Development Goals are giving a new image to Energy sources like solar which is affordable and accessible.
‘’One main important aspect is that of brain drain of African professionals giving their knowledge to greener pastures. The problem is leaving blind spots making management of energy projects a challenge to digest. Also those in leadership at top need more expertise, sensitization and awareness on the importance of energy link to the environment. A Green Revolution is possible close home if these experts help us with their skills and push for Africa to get Investors. In other words, Africa is towards a GREEN REVOLUTION’’, he said.
Talking on Investor incentives to sustain Energy projects, another Expert in the ENERGY SECTOR, Sustain Ziuke said, incentives are important because Zimbabwe is only 40% covered by solar energy. All in all 80% of energy is urban and 19% is rural. We still have a long way to go. Access to electricity is estimated @ 52% of the total population.
Approximately, 200,000 urban house-holds and 1, 2 million rural do not have access to electricity. He expanded by highlighting that there is need to work towards financing of solar since it is cheap and easy to maintain. There is need for developing countries to research and access other Energy types especially in rural areas so that bio-fuel can be saved.
Africa as a whole has those challenges related to energy shortage .There is danger to the natural environment caused by lack of energy sources. The environment gets deforested without any afforestation, this leading to desertification. Most issues in origin of what is climate change are a result of massive cutting down of trees, poor mitigation and adaptation. This leads to denudation, mass wasting and serious erosion during rainy season. Communities are later affected by food –insecurity which leads to Malnutrition.
‘’Access to Energy types is the challenge in developing countries. Worse still, wood is 80% to 90% in rural areas and 15 to 30% in African urban areas. For Energy development to take place at fast rate in these countries there is need for GREEN FUNDING, what we call SMART ENERGY for the sustainability of a GREEN WORLD. Humanity wont be affected by POLLUTION, especially AIR POLLUTION which results in Respiratory and Cardio-Vascular Diseases, related to heart and Lung cancer ailments’’, ’he said.
Zimbabwe which still lags behind in Energy development has fuel wood at 60%, liquid fuel 18%, electricity 13% and coal 8%. Although the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation promotes Energy projects sustainability so as to reduce poverty, more than half of its population is living in Energy poverty and needs funding to run such projects.
Many Energy organizations in energy poverty countries have come out with projects which need sustainable funding. Energy projects in Zimbabwe are run under the theme, CLIMATE FINANCE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT. Some of them touched on the issue of diesel -50 and how countries can move towards the use of diesel 10 and the use of solar powered vehicles in the future. The issue of climate change brings in today gender dimensions which call the involvement of women in energy issues because they matter most when it comes to sourcing energy in both rural and urban communities .
Africa’s Economic Growth Prospects Amongst the World’s Brightest
August 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Ayodele Odusola *
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 23 (IPS) – Dr Ayodele Odusola is Chief Economist, UNDP Regional Bureau for AfricaThe best time to invest in Africa is now. However, foreign investors have not moved into the continent as quickly as expected because foreign investment decisions are often methodically over-structured. One of the major factors cited is too much risk. But risks and profits are inseparable twins: high-risk ventures are frequently associated with higher profits.
Africa is the most profitable region in the world. A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development states that between 2006 and 2011, Africa had the highest rate of return on inflows of Foreign Direct Investment: 11.4%. This is compared to 9.1% in Asia, 8.9% in Latin America and the Caribbean. The global figure is 7.1%.
Examples of companies benefiting from bountiful profits in Africa abound: Sonatrach’s turnover from oil and gas alone was $33.2 billion; MTN Group’s turnover was about $10 billion; and Dangote Group’s turnover was $4.1 billion—all in 2017.
A variety of factors drive up Africa’s profit prospects, making it imperative for European, North American, Asian, and Latin American businesses to invest, helping to foster the continent’s economic progress.
Africa’s economic growth prospects are among the world’s brightest. Six of the world’s 12 fastest-growing countries are in Africa (Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Rwanda). Further, between 2018 and 2023, Africa’s growth prospects will be among the highest in the world, according to the IMF.
Good news: sectors where foreign companies could have a comparative advantage, such as banking, telecommunications and infrastructure, are among the drivers of current economic growth in Africa—creating clear investment opportunities for foreign businesses.
Africa’s growing, youthful population, amidst an aging population in most other regions, constitutes a formidable market. The continent’s population is predicted to quadruple from 1.19 billion in 2015 to 4.39 billion by 2100. In 2015 alone, 200 million Africans entered the consumer goods market. Maximizing this bourgeoning market size calls for actively engaging Africa’s structural economic transformation.
Africa’s youthful population contributes to an abundancy of labour, which is one of the region’s highest potentials for labor-intensive industrialization, and lowers production costs, leading to benefits that far outweigh the cost of doing business on the continent.
The hourly wage in Africa is less than 50 cents (for example, it’s $0.27 in Mozambique, $0.34 in Nigeria and $1.62 in Morocco) compared to $10.49 in UK, $7.25 in the USA and $6.57 in Japan. Engaging more foreign companies may help raise wage rates in Africa, improve labour market efficiency and generate additional resources for those left behind on the age ladder.
Africa’s large deposits of natural resources promise a bright future for developing value chains. Agriculture and the extractive sectors are linchpins of national, regional and global value chains. Africa hosts 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. In 2015, the continent produced 13% of global oil, up from 9% in 1998.
The growth trend of oil and natural gas production between 1980 and 2012 was amazing: from 53.4 billion barrels to 130.3 billion barrels for oil; for natural gas, from six trillion cubic meters in 1980 to 14.5 trillion cubic meters in 2012. As of 2012, Africa also controlled 53.9% of the world’s diamond resources.
In 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone accounted for 58% of the world’s cobalt (used in electronics production) while South Africa accounted for 69.6 % of the world’s platinum production in 2016 (used for catalytic converters and in other goods). Actively investing in adding value to these commodities, among other extractive activities, will shape global economic activities over the next five decades.
Finally, emerging domestic developments lend credence to actively engaging Africa’s economic transformation agenda. Some of these developments include improvements in macroeconomic prudence and overall governance. For instance, evidence from the 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance shows that Africa’s overall governance index improved at an annual rate of 1.4% since 2007, an improvement of more than 5% in at least 12 countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Rwanda and Ethiopia. This improvement helps to mitigate perceived risks for many investors on the continent.
African governments should build on this positive trend to maximize foreign investments. This includes eliminating corruption; improving safety and security; strengthening macroeconomic environment, investing in quality education and skill development in science, technology and innovation; and avoiding a ‘race to the bottom’ syndrome, that gives unnecessary tax holidays and waivers to foreign companies.
Investing in Africa is good business and a sustainable corporate strategy for foreign investors. Advanced and emerging countries’ governments and the private sector should leverage these profitable, emerging investment opportunities.
Using official development assistance to leverage and de-risk the investment climate in Africa is a key component in attracting FDI. Japan’s Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) initiative, to insure a facility in Ghana, is a laudable effort that should be scaled-up and supported by other actors.
Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa offers investment opportunities to foreign companies. Good examples abound: the Sumitomo Chemical’s insect-proofing mosquito nets technology is helping to fight malaria; the Sonatrach, JGC, and Hitachi’s desalinating seawater technology is accelerating access to clean water; and the Commodity Risk Management Group and the Sompo Japan Niponkoa’s weather index insurance is helping to mitigate climate change. In Africa, each SDG offers business solutions and investment opportunities to foreign companies.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is working with African governments and private sector actors to de-risk and improve the continent’s investment climate. Developing industrial strategies and clusters, promoting special economic zones, improving energy access, facilitating innovative funding, advocating for value chain development across countries and supporting investment promotion through the International Conference on the Emergence of Africa are some of UNDP’s efforts.
The best time to invest in Africa is now.
*Culled from Global Issues
Liberians divided over Weah honouring former coaches
August 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Zoom Dosso*
Monrovia (AFP) – Liberian football star-turned-president George Weah has won world headlines by conferring his country’s top honour on his former boss Arsene Wenger — but back home, not everyone is happy.
On Friday, Weah will award Arsene Wenger and Claude Le Roy, the two French coaches who gave his football career an early boost, with Liberia’s highest distinction.
But over the past week, debate in Liberian newspapers and radio shows has mounted over whether the award — usually reserved for individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to Liberia — is right.
“This Knight Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption title, which the nation can bestow upon Liberian and non-Liberian alike, should not be about the personal connection between the President and Wenger or Le Roy,” Liberian newspaper Front Page Africa wrote in an editorial.
In the streets of Monrovia, some Liberians questioned the timing of such a ceremony, as the poor West African nation grapples with runaway inflation and a host of other economic woes.
“This honouring should not have been prioritised now,” said George Sackie, a 35-year-old teacher.
“Such titles should be given to someone who has served the nation in a distinguished manner,” said Daniel Neufville, an analyst at Ataryee community centre in Monrovia.
The government maintains, though, that both men helped Liberia through helping Weah.
“If Arsene Wenger and Le Roy had not exposed George Weah he would not have been the pride of an entire nation today,” said Andy Quamie, deputy minister of youths and sports.
“They helped Liberia in a distinguished way by helping someone who has become president of our nation… Consequently, Arsene Wenger and Claude Le Roy contributed highly to our nation’s pride.”
Wenger signed Weah, then aged 22 and playing in the backwater of Cameroonian football, when he was in charge of AS Monaco in 1988.
After four seasons in Monaco, Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and then to AC Milan in 1995 — the year he became the only African player to win the coveted Ballon d’Or for the top player in a European club football.
He was feared as a quick, rangy and versatile forward who was deadly from long range and devastating in front of goal.
In an interview with AFP in 2014, Weah described Wenger as “My coach, my mentor, my father figure.” Weah’s wife Clar is an ardent Arsenal fan.
After Weah was elected president in January, he invited Wenger to his inauguration, but the Frenchman, in what turned out to be his last season as Arsenal manager, was unable to attend.
“Maybe if I’m suspended I’ll have time to go,” Wenger joked.
Weah’s odyssey “is an unbelievable story,” Wenger added. “But it’s down to the fact that one thing that was common in George’s attitude is being strong mentally, absolutely unbelievably convinced that he has a mission.”
Le Roy met the young Weah while managing Cameroon’s national side.
“He had signed to Tonnerre Yaounde and came to Cameroon national squad training even though he was a Liberian. I was dazzled by his talent and called Arsene,” Le Roy, who is currently coaching Togo’s national team, told AFP.
Among other Liberians — including many young people who help propel the soccer legend to the presidency in January’s elections — the event is a source of pride and excitement, placing the impoverished country on the world map.
Hundreds gathered in the capital Monrovia on Wednesday, hours before the Frenchmen’s expected arrival.
“For me the president is right to give such honour to the man who made him to be the only African to handle the world’s best title,” Patrick Harris, 23, told AFP.
South Africa hits out at Trump’s ‘narrow and divisive’ tweets on land seizures
August 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Adrian Blomfield*
South Africa’s government accused Donald Trump of hysteria on Thursday after he questioned its plans to seize white-owned agricultural land and asserted that white farmers were being murdered on a “large scale”.
Stirred into action after watching a television programme on land reform in South Africa, the US president instructed his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to study both the killing of farmers and “farm seizures and expropriations”.
Mr Trump did not disclose what action he might take should the State Department report negatively. His comments prompted a fall in South Africa’s currency, the rand.
The instruction, made on Twitter rather than through a formal channel, came after Fox News, the cable television channel, incorrectly reported that white-owned farmland had already been seized, an error the president repeated.
However, Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African president, is introducing legislation that would allow agricultural land to be taken from white farmers without compensation.
The president’s tweet was strongly condemned by politicians in South Africa, while the government — which said it would issue a protest “through diplomatic channels” — said it could undermine confidence in the land reforms.
“Hysterical comments and statements do not assist the process,” Khusela Diko, Mr Rampahosa’s spokeswoman, told CNN. “The majority of South Africans want to see land reform. The majority of our farmers, white and black, want to be part of this initiative.”
Mr Ramaphosa , under pressure to initiate land reforms from radical opposition groups and the left of the ruling African National Congress, has justified the proposal as an attempt to redress an Apartheid legacy that left most farmland in the hands of whites.
A voluntary programme of land redistribution on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis has seen ten percent of white owned-farm land transferred to black South Africans since the end of white-minority rule in 1994. However, white South Africans still control 72 percent of all agricultural land despite making up only nine percent of the population.
The American State Department has said it would support the process. But domestic critics have cautioned against a policy they say would undermine investor confidence at a time of economic fragility.
The seizure of white-owned farms is credited with causing Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. South Africa’s economy is bigger and more diverse, but could still be hurt should Zimbabwe’s fall in food production be replicated.
Mr Trump was also criticised for appearing to give credence to claims of a racist pogrom against white South African farmers.
The killing of white farmers — some 1,500 of whom are believed to have been murdered since 1998 — has become a deeply politicised issue inside and outside South Africa.
Right-wing politicians in the West have claimed that white farmers in South Africa are suffering persecution.
The Kremlin has invited white farmers to move to Russia and Australia’s home affairs minister and possible next prime minister, Peter Dutton, has called for “civilised” countries to assist them on humanitarian grounds.
In contrast, left-wing politicians have played down racial motivation in the murders, despite some black South African politicians portraying white farmers as murderers and rapists. Julius Malema, a prominent opposition politician, used to lead students in singing the Apartheid-era protest song “Kill the Boer” until 2012.
Statistics are varied and incomplete, used by both sides to advance their claims. Some suggest a white farmer is three times more likely to be murdered than a normal South African, while others find no difference.
South Africa is one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries — a South African is 30 times more likely to be murdered than a Briton — and some analysts said that killings on isolated farms are more likely to be motivated by thuggery than race.
Microsoft launches ‘Kaizala Pro’ in South Africa
August 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
A mobile app for large, secure group communications and work management
22 August 2018, Microsoft’s latest mobile offering, Kaizala Pro, is now commercially available in South Africa. Microsoft Kaizala is a mobile app that improves the way businesses communicate and collaborate. It’s designed for large group communication, workflow management, reporting and analytics, and is integrated with Office 365.
Nick Keene, Modern Workplace Business Group Lead at Microsoft, says the app addresses several challenges faced by many businesses across the region who manage field staff remotely.
“Mobile technology is enabling businesses to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitally transform their operations. Microsoft Kaizala is ideal for organisations that need to communicate with large numbers of workers to enhance business agility, collaboration, and organisational productivity,” he says.
Kaizala also provides actionable information through analytics and reports, while complying with industry security best practices.
Impact of Kaizala on businesses
Unlike other chat-based apps in the market, Kaizala extends beyond a mere communication function. Because many workers in the region often don’t have an email address, Kaizala only requires a mobile number to sign a user up. The app is also optimised to work on any network – including slow 2G networks.
Some of its other unique features include the ability to:
- Communicate with and manage an unlimited number of users. This includes employees, front-line workers, customers, suppliers and citizens. Organisations can create flat, hierarchical or discoverable public groups in minutes, from contact lists, directories or ad hoc sharing. For users in remote areas, the app is optimised to work on slow 2G networks and users don’t need an email address to sign up, only a mobile number.
- Broadcast and collect information in a structured way through action cards. This includes sharing announcements; photos, videos or documents; hosting polls or surveys; assigning tasks; providing training content; marking attendance; and tracking workforces using location tracking.
- Gather rich insights from data with built-in analytics. Organisations can view results in real-time, organise large amounts of information with an aggregated view of user responses and get reports at each level of the organisation.
What is included in Microsoft Kaizala Pro?
Microsoft Kaizala Pro has premium features that include user and group management; system integration and automation using Microsoft Kaizala APIs; advanced reporting and analytics; the ability to publish custom actions and to create public groups, an organisational profile and directory, and support.
Security is paramount
With Kaizala, customer’s messages, photos, video files, audio files, documents, polls, surveys, and other data is protected by encryption in-transit and at-rest. Managers can decide who has access to company data. All Kaizala data is stored in Microsoft Azure datacentres, which adhere to industry standard security and compliance certifications.
“This means only you and the people with whom you are communicating can see what you have sent them,” says Keene. “Microsoft Kaizala is currently Tier-A compliant and our engineers do not have access to any customer data.”
Using Microsoft Kaizala, organisations can connect with their employees and the extended value chain. The product offers a simple and familiar chat interface but goes beyond this to make everyone more productive.
More than just a chat app – how companies are already using Kaizala
Kenyan-based solar energy company, M-KOPA Solar, now has more than half a million customers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. M-KOPA Solar couldn’t have achieved this growth without providing the underlying communication and payment technology that people can access easily by phone. M-KOPA uses the Microsoft Kaizala app to connect its sales team and provide essential resources to rural communities.
The company has grown from 5,000 customers in its first year to more than 600,000 as of January 2018—more than 120 times the original customer base. The app that helping fuel M-KOPA’s growth is Microsoft Kaizala.
Another company taking advantage of the benefits provided by Microsoft Kaizala is Well Told Story, which is using the app as a research tool, putting it into the hands of their network of young people to run surveys and interviews for them. This empowers the youth with jobs and income, while also giving Well Told Story the rich insights to fuel their youth media business.
“As we roll out Microsoft Kaizala in South Africa, we hope to connect the complete value chain, including the unconnected parts of organisations. Microsoft’s vision for Kaizala, is to empower every organisation and community to achieve more through purposeful chat,” Keene concludes.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
Saraki assures PDP of winning 2019 presidential election
August 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki has insisted that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the 2019 presidential elections.
Saraki said this in Ilorin the Kwara state capital at a meeting with PDP members who came from the 16 local government areas of the state.
He further expressed his confidence that his new party would emerge victorious in all the local government areas of Kwara State. Saraki said that the victory of PDP at both federal and state levels would be beneficial to all the members in the state.
The Senate President said that the future of PDP was now brighter than it used to be. “If we emerge victorious at the federal level, all of us will be the beneficiaries.
In the state, with your support we will win the state for PDP. “All of you here are the key players in Kwara politics. With unity of purpose, no party can contest with you. “We are here to unite all of us under the party we belong to today. I am assuring all members that there will be equity, internal democracy and justice.”
“It is not going to be winners take all. As far as I am concerned, everybody here today belong to our political structure. “There is nothing like old or new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We have all become one PDP. “I want all of us to be united for the progress and development of Kwara State. “As par the politics of the state, nobody can wrest the power from us I if we are united. By the grace of God we will emerge victorious both at the federal and state levels. “We will ensure that we work as one party because we have always worked together before. “We will see that all the wards and local governments’ popular candidates emerge based on their popularity and acceptability,” Saraki said. He assured PDP members that there would be no anointed candidates in all the elective positions. “I don’t have any anointed candidate at all levels. I don’t have candidates for the state Assembly, National Assembly. It is the person you want in your constituency that I will okay. “Don’t allow anybody to deceive you that I have endorsed any candidate,” he said.
The Senate President implored party leaders and elders not to drop his name to impose unpopular candidates. “All of us will collectively choose who becomes the next governor. We will ensure that there is no faction, but one PDP. “We will ensure that meetings in the local government areas take place in one venue. And we will all work together for the interest of the party,” he said.
Saraki appealed to all party members to start work for the party to emerge victorious next year. “I am sure many more will come back and join us because those that left left under the wrong assumption that it will be different from what it used to be. “They were misled that those coming are out to move them away. Nobody is moving you away because this place belongs to you too. “Let us go back and start work closely together and by the grace of God we will all be victorious,” the Senate President said. NAN Related
President Buhari’s 2019 rerun is a done deal – Eneduwa George Delta APC Chieftain
August 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
Austine Eneduwa-George is member of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress APC in Delta state, in this interview with PAV, he bares his mind the rancour bewitching the ruling part and how the emergence of Adams Oshomole as the new party chairman brings about fresh air in the party. excerpt:
Countries that are better at converting wealth into well-being posted stronger economic growth since financial crash
August 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
African countries have shown improvements in key indicators over the past decade, particularly Morocco, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya
South Africa, August 7th , 2018— Data collected over the last decade highlights a clear increase in global well-being post the financial crash, particularly in Africa, where many countries showed strong improvements in Infrastructure and Economic Stability.
Since 2012 The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has used proprietary Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA), a comprehensive diagnostic tool, to produce a score that measures the relative well-being of countries and also relative scores for ten dimensions. The 2018 report, Striking a Balance Between Well-Being and Growth: The 2018 Sustainable Economic Development Assessment, reveals that countries which lead in generating well-being for their citizens tended to post faster economic growth over the past decade.
Whilst African countries on the whole have maintained their overall wellbeing rankings, many have made positive strides towards improvement. 26 out of 40 countries (65%) have enhanced their ability to transform wealth into wellbeing and nearly a quarter (9 of 40) are now above the world average ability to do so.
However, despite the encouraging rise, African countries still have much room for improvement as they display lower than average well-being levels, in particular in Sub-Saharan nations.
This is in large part to much lower than average income levels and so comes as no surprise, however there are several factors which should be focused on to help improve wealth to well-being conversion for citizens. The research identified that countries which saw the most progress over this period were particularly successful in improving education, infrastructure and overall governance.
“In Africa, as well as globally, we see that the same three dimensions pop up as differentiators for countries that have made the most progress,” said Joao Hrotko, a BCG Partner and report coauthor. “It is also interesting to note that despite infrastructure having improved in most countries in Africa, the dimension still stood out as a differentiator between most improved and least improved African nations.”
The research also found that digital technology has a positive and significant association with a country’s ability to convert wealth into well-being at low and middle usage levels. Robust digital infrastructure supports employment by allowing faster matches in the job market, improves education by expanding the access of students to new material or instruction and strengthens governance by involving citizens more directly in decision making and reducing the inequality in access to information.
“The positive relation between technology readiness and wellbeing underlines the importance for developing countries to put the widespread adoption of digital technology among the items at the top of policy agenda, either through investing in digital infrastructure and promoting technology usage, or by creating the conditions for the private sector to invest,” added Hrotko.
The last decade has shown that governments who stick to strategies and policies focused on well-being can deliver material impact to the population. African nations that have done so include Morocco, which has improved 5 places, Ethiopia (8 places), Rwanda (7 places), and the Republic of Congo (6 places), which have all improved more than 5 places, and Kenya, which improved 4 places.
“BCG has been a strong advocate of the need for countries to focus policies and development strategies on improving well-being, however there remains a belief that policies aimed at improving well-being may lead to weaker GDP growth,” said Enrique Rueda-Sabater, a Senior Advisor at BCG. “Our analysis finds this tradeoff can be avoided and, in fact, an approach that balances both well-being and growth is advisable under normal circumstances as well as during times of crisis. In such periods, countries must resist the temptation to pursue policies that come at the expense of well-being.”
Most improved African nations
Ethiopia rank increase: +8
SEDA Score 2009 vs 2018: 23.8 – 32.9
Rwanda rank increase: +7
SEDA Score 2009 vs 2018: 32.0 – 38.0
Republic of Congo rank increase: +6
SEDA Score 2009 vs 2018: 28.5 – 32.7
Morocco rank increase: +5
SEDA Score 2009 vs 2018: 41.4 – 45.8
Kenya rank increase: +4
SEDA Score 2009 vs 2018: 31.4 – 35.4
SEDA is a fact-based analysis that assesses well-being based on ten dimensions, including health, education, and infrastructure. SEDA scores 152 countries on a relative basis in terms of their current well-being and the change in their well-being over time. It also measures how effectively countries are able to convert the wealth they have into well-being, regardless of their income level. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
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New Study: In Sub-Saharan African Countries with Unreliable Power, Outages Cost Companies As Much as 31% in Sales
August 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
-More than 25% of businesses surveyed in some of Africa’s biggest economies cited losing double-digit sales due to power outages
Washington – In Sub-Saharan African countries with unreliable power, outages cost some companies as much as 31 percent in sales, according to a new study released today by the Center for Global Development.
Researchers from the Center for Global Development (CGD) examined data from more than 3,000 firms in 37 African countries in an effort to examine how businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa respond to frequent power outages, and what it means for their businesses’ bottom lines and growth prospects.
“While there’s a lot of effort put into providing solar panels and generators to African households to power their daily lives, to actually change the economic development equation in Africa we must focus our efforts on the energy infrastructure that can power businesses,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, the study’s lead author and a senior fellow at CGD. “We found that unreliable power can have a major impact on businesses, dampening their growth prospects and undermining job creation opportunities.”
The study found:
- In some of the continent’s largest economies like Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana, more than 25% of businesses lose double-digit sales due to power outages—with some firms averaging losses of 31%.
- The largest grouping of firms are just surviving. Thanks to a heavy reliance on generators their sales are mostly unaffected by power outages, but they average just 3% growth.
- Across the continent, some firms have grown rapidly despite frequent power outages—even in very poor countries.
- In middle-income countries, especially in Southern Africa, many firms suffer relatively limited power outages and don’t see significant effects on sales.
- The hardest-hit firms average more than 200 hours without power each month, while even the least-affected firms average more than 10 hours per month.
- Some individual firms report losing over 70% of their sales.
“Of course, there’s no single story of how African businesses cope with unreliable power, but it’s clear that across the continent, a huge number of firms suffer high costs and lost sales,” said Ramachandran. “Better power infrastructure could enable business growth, create jobs, and produce better economic outcomes for the region.”
You can read the full study at https://www.cgdev.org/publication/how-do-african-firms-respond-unreliable-power-exploring-firm-heterogeneity-using-k-means.
Nigeria:As another storm breaks
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Edwin Madunagu*
This piece is a dialogue with Nigerian Leftists—and all those who feel they share essential attributes with Leftists (socialists and pro-people radical democrats) but, for one reason or another, reject the “label” Leftists. The dialogue is driven by current political happenings and is here presented in form of notes, observations and propositions.
Early in the morning of Thursday, August 9—about 48 hours after armed detachments of Nigeria’s Secret Service operatives took over the National Assembly complex in Abuja—I sent a text message to a number of activist Nigerian Leftists. The message read: “For me, it is not the current political happenings in Nigeria—but the attitudes of Nigerian Leftists to them—that are significant”. I began with the cautious qualification “for me” because I cannot, even now, say how strong or popular is my insistence that only the Nigerian Left, acting in alliance with other genuinely democratic forces, can now reprieve the country.
About six years ago, I engaged in a similar dialogue when, with the appearance of Chinua Achebe’s last book, There was a country: A personal history of Biafra, many Nigerian Leftists lined up on opposite sides of a line that quickly appeared. My opening message on that occasion was that Leftists should not—on the basis of that book alone—as important, revealing and controversial as it was—make new friends or allies or acquire new opponents or enemies.
The refrain should be an admonition which I encountered long ago: “Weep not, laugh not, but understand”. I urge the same refrain over this new intra-ruling class political storm. My advice does not translate to “neutrality”. That will be the worst of all possible reactions. What I urge is class and ideological response based on knowledge of facts, sequences of facts and dialectical relationships between facts.
Beyond this, and more directly and concretely, Leftists should, at all times, uphold democratic rights. In crises of constitutional democracy, Leftists should wave the constitution. Why this admonition? There are several reasons, the most obvious being that in situations where Leftists or the common people are the main targets of attacks or could easily become main targets, the constitution may be their first line of defence.
We may not know how many living Nigerian Leftists were born when the “Reichstag Fire” in Berlin on February 27, 1933, was used as a pretext by the newly-inaugurated German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, to launch the core of his political programme: liquidation of all Jews and all German Leftists—starting with Communists.
I know, however, that many Nigerian Leftists were born, and were, in fact, in school when, using the pretext of an alleged communist-inspired attempted coup, the Indonesian military, in one night alone, in late 1965, wiped out the entire membership and alternate membership of the Central Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party, a revolutionary Leftist party that was second in numerical strength only to that of the Soviet Union.
This was followed in the following two months by the massacres of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Indonesian citizens. Since then, massacres (politically-motivated, religiously motivated, ethnically/racially motivated or of combined motivations) of comparable magnitudes have taken place in many regions of the world, including Nigeria.
My warning here is that such catastrophes can still happen anywhere on this planet Earth. In particular, they can still happen in Nigeria. Only the Nigerian Left, I insist, can apprehend and prevent them.
The “Reichstag Fire” event refers to the burning of the Parliament (Reichstag) building by a young mentally-challenged man on the night of February 27, 1933, four weeks after Hitler became German Chancellor—ironically through a democratic election. Initially, before Hitler, the position of Chancellor was equivalent to that of executive Prime Minister in a constitutional parliamentary democracy. Before long, however, Hitler and his Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers’ Party!), through a number of orchestrated incidents (like the “Reichstag Fire”), abolished the position of President and assumed dictatorial powers. The Nazi government blamed the Leftist Opposition for the arson but could not prove its case because the justice system which Adolf Hitler inherited was still in place. But that system was soon to be dismantled—together with other democratic institutions of pre-Nazi Germany.
The latest phase of the current political crisis may be presented as a sequence: announcement of an electoral alliance by about 40 opposition parties led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); defection of several frontline office-holders from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP and a number of other parties; counter-defections to APC; brief take-over of the National Assembly complex by detachments of the State Security Police—followed by the dismissal and arrest of the powerful commanding officer of the agency; propaganda and “hate speeches”; political threats and manouvres. Barring “accidental discharges” the maximum possibilities in the development of this game will not call for a revision of the present article. So, we continue while expecting the storm to rage on.
What have politicians, state functionaries, the media, leading newspaper columnists and others been saying about this crisis? We make a selection from the more striking and revealing public comments. The Nigerian President said that what is happening is the weeding out of “bad eggs” from the ruling party; a leading politician said that what is now happening—noisy combinations and separations—is not unique: it happens on the approach to every general election; a commentator was of the opinion that for President Buhari to be defeated in the coming election, the Opposition must be able to produce a presidential candidate who can be as reputed as Buhari as a corruption-free politician and who can demonstrate the ability to also make rich and powerful Nigerians shed tears as Buhari has so far made them do; the chair of the ruling party said that defectors were “thieves and looters”; defectors responded that they were fighting against dictatorship.
In the midst of all this, a veteran Nigerian Leftist proposed: “Between APC and PDP, there are no important differences. PDP probably has more cynical and desperate operators, but APC has more hypocrites. There were and there are virtually no reformers in PDP; there is a sprinkling of reformers and progressives, countable in single digits, in APC. In the complete absence of any issues of significance marking one from the other, we are left with the naked ambition of the leaders as the driving engine of politics”.
Nigerian Leftists should think about this. And Leftists should also not forget that there are political forces and millions of ordinary citizens—scattered across the country—who, for various reasons, are not interested in the current electoral politics; not interested in defections and counter-defections, not interested in elections, and not likely to be interested in eventual outcomes. Only the Nigerian Left, armed with its manifesto, “the people’s manifesto”, can reach them. Think about this.
Let me end with this narrative: A former ruler of Nigeria is reputed to keep a personal secret file on each important, ambitious, troublesome or promising ruling class political figure. The files contain no lies, no embellishments. Just facts. Each file is divided into a number of departments including: Corruption, Biography, Family Life and Social Life. The Social Life department, following Frederick Forsyth’s No comebacks, is subdivided into public, private and secret. Our former ruler also keeps a file on himself, titled Rumours and Refutations.
The most significant point in this narrative is that there is practically no file in this collection—and there are tens of thousands of them—that does not hold multiple entries, each of which can send the subject to prison or the hangman!
Nigerian Leftists should also think about this.
*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
African Development Bank Mourns Passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi A. Annan
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
|He was a staunch advocate of the Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 18, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AFDB.org) has learned with deep sadness the news of the death of Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, at the age of 80 in Bern, Switzerland.
“With Mr. Kofi Annan’s passing, Africa and the entire world has lost its finest diplomat, champion of world peace and development advocate, leaving a void which will be hard to fill,” President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina said. “Today, the international community is mourning a man of great humility and righteousness; a formidable architect behind critical peace brokering agreements around the world. His leadership on spearheading the Millennium Development Goals, made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative. He touched the lives of everyone he met with his dignity and quiet resolve. We stand with his dear wife, Nane, family and friends at this time and express our heartfelt condolences”, Adesina added.
For the African Development Bank, Mr. Kofi Annan held a special place on several of the Bank’s initiatives. He was a staunch advocate of the Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025. He was appointed as the “Champion” of the New Deal on Energy for Africa. In 2016, Mr Annan co-chaired the Special Panel on Accelerating the Implementation of the African Development Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, launched by President Adesina.
He spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In April 2001, in Abuja, Nigeria, at a summit of African leaders, Mr. Kofi Annan made the first explicit public call for a new funding mechanism, proposing the creation of The Global Fund, to be dedicated to the battle against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. He made the first contribution to the Global Fund in 2001.
Kofi Annan was Africa’s global icon. He will be greatly missed.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AFDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). With country offices in 44 African countries and an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and social progress of all its 54 regional member states in Africa.
Koffi Annan’s death epitomises Africa’s end of Golden Era in global politics, Saraki mentain
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has described the demise of a former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Koffi Annan, as the end of a golden era in global politics and international relations.
Saraki in a statement, described Annan as a quintessential African diplomat on the global plane and a citizen of the world, who deployed his vast capacities to tackle intractable global challenges ranging from hunger, conflict, epidemic and restoration of peace in war-torn countries.
He noted that many developing nations benefitted immensely from the humanitarian efforts of the late Annan during lifetime as he was able to raise the concerns and challenges confronting hitherto forgotten peoples and nations in the Assembly of world powers.
According to Saraki: “Annan was a quintessential African Diplomat who bestrode the world stage with dignity, finesse, admirable restraint and wisdom. He was a diplomat’s diplomat. He dedicated his immense expertise, experience and energies to resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems and conflicts, including most recently, the Rohingya refugee crisis. He was a citizen of the world.
“Annan was an African avatar and God’s messenger of peace to the world. His demise is a huge loss to the international community and to humanity. Africa has indeed lost one of her best. He shall be sorely missed,” Saraki stated.
He commiserated with the wife and children of the deceased, the Government and people of Ghana, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the United Nations, international humanitarian organizations and the diplomatic community over the sad and irreparable loss. He prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased mercies and to count him among the righteous ones in His abode.