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Roland Achenjang’s soul-searching book; “Who and Why You Are” hits the stands
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The Self-exploring book now available worldwide (photo: Facebook @ Roland Achenjang)

The Self-exploring book now available worldwide (photo: Facebook @ Roland Achenjang)

As humans struggle to comprehend the evolution of our time on earth and how to maximize our experiences with a better understanding of who they are, Roland Achenjang has in his latest book titled; Who and Why You Are provides answers to some of these questions.

In his first book, Roland Achenjang summarizes what he says is who we truly are and why we are here each having an Earth life experience.

Spurred to write the book due to his search and understandings of the “Universal Truths, the author says; “I refer to the information as Universal Truths, because they equally apply to everyone throughout the planet, including you! I wrote the book because of how liberating and empowering the information (Universal Truths) I remembered is. It changed my entire perspective on everything.”

In an exclusive chat with Pan African Visions, the visionary who attributes his spiritual awakening  to a four-year meditation experience said he “firmly believes there are many souls currently experiencing life on Earth who would benefit from reading this book and being aware of this information, like I did. And besides, my wife was getting annoyed with me talking about it to her alone.”

“I woke up that lovely Tuesday morning and immediately had a strong urge to meditate. During the session, I adopted a yoga posture that caused a rush of energy to move from the base of my spine to the top of my head in three consecutive waves. With each movement, ‘I remembered’ the Universal Truths I write about in my book. That day and the proceeding seven days were blissful for me, and they marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Nothing about me has been the same since,” he said.

Quizzed on how spiritual awakening changed his life and why he’s now, via his book, campaigning for others to follow suit, he retorted; “the experience itself was humbling and I consider it a tremendous blessing. As far as what changed, honestly, my beliefs and understanding about everything, who we are, and the Earth life experience changed; particularly my attitude towards fear. It is as thought the experience provided me the last piece to a puzzle that revealed a new level of Truth and understanding of the (Earth life) experience; the information is empowering and blissful.”

Urging all to grab paperback copies of the book on Amazon and Amazon Prime for just $22 the enthusiastic author whose book has already hit an e-reading platform said autographed paperback copies could be gotten via his website; rolandachenjang.com.

Roland Achenjang, is an alumnus of Belmont University where he obtained an MBA in Healthcare Management. Motivated during his school days, Roland began meditating to cope with the stress of being both a business school student and the sole overnight clinical pharmacist at a large hospital in Nashville. As a result, his life transformed from a fear-based experience to one filled with creative expressions.

At the Sunrise Festival of the Arts 2019 with Pre-Launch autographed copies of Who & Why You

At the Sunrise Festival of the Arts 2019 with Pre-Launch autographed copies of Who & Why You

In “Who and Why You Are: All You Need to Remember,” Achenjang discusses his passion for helping others remember, experience and express what he says is the ultimate benefit to effective meditating – bliss.

“By recognizing and understanding these universal truths, you can break free from the endless, self-imposed, creative limitations impeding you from living a purposeful life, expressing joy and experiencing bliss while here on Earth, he said.

Born and raised in Cameroon before relocating to the United States in 2000, Achenjang has always been fascinated with finding, or remembering, meanings and purposes to life on Earth.

Your first book Who and Why You Are: All you need to remember just hit the stands; can you give us a synopsis?

Gladly. The book summarizes what I remember about who we truly are and why we are here each having an Earth life experience. I refer to the information as Universal Truths, because they equally apply to everyone throughout the planet, including you!

What prompted you to come up with the book and what is the message you seek to share?

Great question. I wrote the book because of how liberating and empowering the information (Universal Truths) I remembered is. It changed my entire perspective on EVERYTHING!

I firmly believe there are many souls currently experiencing life on Earth who would benefit from reading this book and being aware of this information, like I did. And besides, my wife was getting annoyed with me talking about it to her alone.

From information about the author, we gathered that after over four years of meditating daily as a means to cope with work and school stress, you had a spiritual awakening on August 21st, 2018, can you walk us through this experience?

With joy . I woke up that lovely Tuesday morning and immediately had a strong urge to meditate. During the session, I adopted a yoga posture that caused a rush of energy to move from the base of my spine to the top of my head in three consecutive waves. With each movement, ‘I remembered’ the Universal Truths I write about in my book. That day and the proceeding seven days were blissful for me, and they marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Nothing about me has been the same since.

How was this spiritual awakening like, what changed for you after you after that?

The experience itself was humbling and I consider it a tremendous blessing. As far as what changed, honestly, my beliefs and understanding about everything, who we are, and the Earth life experience changed; particularly my attitude towards fear. It is as thought the experience provided me the last piece to a puzzle that revealed a new level of Truth and understanding of the (Earth life) experience; the information is empowering and blissful.

In what way did the spiritual awakening impact your religious beliefs?

Great question. The change in perspective the awakening experience offers affects EVERYTHING – this includes religious beliefs, too. The experience changed my beliefs and significantly improved my understanding of them as well. And the process is still on-going.

The book has so far received favorable reviews

The book has so far received favorable reviews

Just how important is it for people to meditate, for you who did it over a year, what recommendations do you give for those who may be curious about it?

I am biased of course, but I believe it’s extremely important that everyone meditates (effectively). Meditating (effectively) is my most trusted and go-to-activity for when I feel out of balance, which could mean feeling sick, stressed, tired or what have you. It’s a free and healing practice that reconnects you directly with the ‘Higher-Being’ you believe in! No middleman needed and the benefits are infinite! What could be better?

I commend anyone curious about meditating and invite them to begin by visiting www.rolandachenjang.com  to get a copy of 6 Proven Paths to Effective Meditating. It’s a free guide that puts you on the right track to personalizing the practice and making it enjoyable.

What are some of the challenges you faced in writing the book?

Great question . With my new perspective, I view challenges as our minds’ illusionary creations designed to teach us more about ourselves; they (challenges) are great learning opportunities. So what did I learn in writing the book? That I truly am infinitely creative, and I have everything available to me to create anything I am passionate about while here on Earth. This is true for you too!

Could you make a pitch to the public on the merits of grabbing a copy of this book, from the horses own mouth, from the author, what are some of the reasons people should rush for their copies?

As humans, we are always in search for empowerment, autonomy, and bliss. From this state of being, we become free to express our infinitely creative selves. Our heroes and idols know this. Truth is, these abilities aren’t reserved for just them. We each are capable of being great, much more so than we can even imagine. This book is a reminder of this Truth and much more.

Read it. Remember how amazing you are. Regain control of your life!

 

The book is a reminder of the infinite possibilities of greatness says Roland Achenjang

The book is a reminder of the infinite possibilities of greatness says Roland Achenjang

How much is the book and where can people procure copies?

The paperback is $22. It is available at Amazon and Amazon Prime.

Autographed paperback copies will be available through rolandachenjang.com for additional costs soon

The electronic version is available through any of your favorite e-reading platforms.

 

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Susan Dexter: From Sierra Leone To Running The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast, the number one getaway in Hollywood Maryland
September 3, 2019 | 1 Comments

By  Ajong Mbapndah L & Amos Fofung

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Planning a getaway from the hustle and bustle that characterize everyday life especially in the DMV area?  The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast located in Hollywood, MD offers you a unique taste of luxury at a very affordable price.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a bed and breakfast is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfast are often private owned facilities and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house offering exceptional services, and giving their guest the home feeling lacking in most hotels.

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisine . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisines . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

With an exquisite 8 suits ready to accommodate you and your peers, Victorian Candle B&B according to its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Susan Dexter, prides itself as one of the few African-owned bed and breakfast in the DMV. Originally from Sierra Leone, Susan Dexter has put in enormous time and resources to make the Victorian Candle B&B  a force to reckon with.

“This is a good place to come because of the food. We can cook anything someone wants us to cook be it African or American cuisine. If you have events here, we work with you financially, and I do not think most of the other bed and breakfast do same. Most of them, when they do their breakfast, it is continental, but mine is hot food that meets your everyday need, all upon your request and taste,” she said in a chat with Pan African Visions.

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Asked  if accommodations can be provided for private ceremonies, the CEO responded that “it is a bed and breakfast were we have 8 suits and I mind you, the rooms come with a full breakfast menu, we also have a room called Butler room where we host private events like birthdays, small weddings, conferences, and meetings among others.”

With a sitting capacity of over 75 guests, the Butler room as it is known, resonates calmly with the serene environment perfect for a quiet ceremony or private getaway.

Situated in an environmentally friendly location called Surally plantation with close-by rivers that offer guest the opportunity to purchase fresh fish, the CEO of Victorian Candle B&B makes very good use of the natural environment which provides fresh vegetables and African spices for the cuisine.

“There are a lot of farms that you can pick vegetables or if you like potatoes, fresh corn and others, provided by the Armish people that inhabit this locality. It is a good place for relaxation due to its quiet and beautiful environment,” added Susan Dexter.

The strategic location of the Victorian Candle B&B also comes with opportunities for visitors or patrons to get easy access to other facilities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, picnicking and cycling.

During the Thanksgiving period, the Victorian  Candle Bed and Breakfast sells smoked turkey and sides including macaroni and cheese recipes, stuffing casserole, mashed potatoes and more. “We are working hard  to get these products in stores around soon,” Susan Dexter said.

With little over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, the founder says, thanks to her dedicated staff and love for hospitality, the place is gaining momentum with growing customers base who have been entreated with the Victoria B&B experience.

*For more information, visit www.victorian-candle.com

contact The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast
25065 Peregrine Way
Hollywood MD 20636-2698
301-373-8800

email:reservations@victorian-candle.com

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UN conference on land management opens on a positive tone for change
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

New Delhi, 2 September 2019 – “If human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, it is the strong intent, technology and intellect that will make difference. It is human efforts that will undo the damage and improve the habitats. We meet here now to ensure that this happens,” said Prakash Javadekar, India’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Pointing to an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, Javadekar said 122 countries, among them Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa, which are among the largest and most populous nations on Earth, “have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target.”

Land degradation neutrality is an innovative land-use and management approach that prioritizes the optimal use of land to ensure the balance of productive land remains stable long-term. It is one of 169 targets set for 2030 for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Javadekar made the remarks during the opening the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, taking place from 2 to 13 September 2019, in New Delhi, India.

Echoing these sentiments, Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the Convention, drew attention to the warnings sounded by recent scientific assessments and the growing public alarm at the frequency of weather-related disasters such as drought, forest fires, flash floods and soil loss, but urged delegates to be mindful of the opportunities for change that are opening up, and take action.

“While the science and events around us must get our full attention, we should never, ever, lose sight of the inspiring moments or opportunities opening up or are happening around us that we can build on to break vicious cycles, trends or behavior. This is what will move us forward,” he said.

Over 70% of the world/s land area has been transformed from its natural state to produce food, fibre and energy. Some of this conversion is essential, but what is alarming is the pace of land transformation that is putting 1 million species at risk of extinction.

Moreover, 1 in 4 hectares of this converted land is no longer usable due to unsustainable land management practices. These trends have put the well-being of 3.2 billion people around the world at risk. In tandem with climate change, may force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050. Moreover, and unless significant changes are made to turn this around, all of humanity will eventually be impacted as we lose more and more of the services ecosystems provide.”

Thiaw drew attention to the actions taken by governments in recent years, which signal a sea-change in how environmental issues, particularly in land use and management, are viewed.

“More than 70 countries have robust national drought plans, compared to just three countries only 4 years ago. The agenda shows that governments have come to COP14 ready to find solutions to many difficult, knotty and emerging policy issues,” he added.

Land tenure, drought management, the consumption and production flows influencing agriculture, urbanization that could consume up 80 percent of the most productive agricultural land in Asia and Africa, ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions to fight climate change are all on the agenda of the Conference, Thiaw stated.

An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected. They will take around 30 decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts.

Conferences of the Parties help governments, worldwide, to plan their land use sustainably and to pursue their sustainable land management goals practically. COP14 is expected to ramp up efforts by countries to achieve land degradation neutrality with tools and resources that are fit for purpose.

The Conference of the Parties meets once every two years. The last Conference of Parties, hosted by the Government of China, was held in October 2017 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Notes to Editors:

India is a Party to the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD). The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal Ministry of Government of India (GoI) that oversees implementation of the Convention in the country.

India’s population is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2050. About 2 billion hectares of land – an area over three times the size of India – are degraded, but can be restored back to health. India was one of the first countries to commit to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN).

India Government takes over the residency of the COP from China, and will serve for 2 years. Similar to previous COP sessions, a high-level segment will take place to raise political momentum for the negotiations and boost the engagement of stakeholders in the Convention’s implementation.  Ministers from over 70 countries participating in the high-level segment of the Conference will address new and emerging issues.

About UNCCD

The UNCCD is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries to create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food and water and energy, by ensuring land users have an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss.

Background Information and Resources

For background materials, including photos for use, and other resources are available here: https://www.unccd.int/conventionconference-parties-copcop14-new-delhi-india/cop14-media-resources

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Wagaki Wischnewski, wwischnewski@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94332

Mr. Abhishek Srivatsava, asrivatsava@unccd.int, Cell: +91 99991 80790

Ms. Yukie Hori, yhori@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94331

 

 

 

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Scientists: ‘Partnering with farmers crucial for saving degraded lands’
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Highlighting successful farmer-led initiatives scientists demonstrate the importance of the ‘Research in Development’ approach for the global land restoration effort

 New Delhi, 2 September: If degraded lands have to be saved embedding research within farmer-focused development initiatives is essential, echoed scientists on the sidelines of the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification here on Monday. They cited successful land restoration initiatives in Africa and India to make the point.

“To stop land degradation and reverse it to be able to achieve the SDGs, especially combatting desertification and restoring degraded lands (SDG 15.3), a synergy is required between scientists, farming communities and their institutions that are the land users and managers. Research can help restoration initiatives to scale-up globally but only if farmers, their livelihoods and communities are at the heart of such initiatives,” said Prof Anthony Whitbread, Director for the Innovation Systems for the Drylands research program at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), during the session ‘Applying the Research in Development Approach to Scale Land Restoration and Achieve the LDN targets’. The event was organized by ICRISAT and World Agroforestry (ICRAF).

The SDG 15.3, as envisioned by the UN, reads – By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

 This target, which drives land restoration initiatives that were presented at the session, bridges with the UNCCD through the scientific conceptual framework of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).

“Restoring degraded lands for food security is critically important in sub-Saharan Africa given the extent of degradation and socio-economic conditions in the region. With climate change only exacerbating degradation, collaboration between institutions of science, development actors, governments and farmers is a pressing need,” said

Dr Tilahun Amede details the successes from embedding research in land development efforts in Ethiopia.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki, a Soil Systems Scientist at the World Agroforestry (ICRAF). Dr Winoweicki’s work that was presented at the session had resulted in creation of ‘Communities of Practice’ in Africa. These communities are platforms for stakeholders with common goals to share lessons learnt and create knowledge for an enabling environment to accelerate impact on the ground.

In India, development and management of watersheds have helped reclaim degraded lands. The Parasai-Sindh watershed in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, developed by ICRISAT and partners from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has been held up as a model for increasing land productivity by the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).

“Integrated watershed development involving agroforestry helps to control erosion and enable farmers to achieve food and economic security. It is important in the context of increasing dependence of Indian agriculture on groundwater,” said Dr Kaushal Garg, a Natural Resources Management Scientist at ICRISAT. Dr Garg presented the Parasai-Sindh watershed which helped increase area under cultivation, crop and milk yields and triple farm household incomes in Jhansi. The government of Uttar Pradesh is attempting to double farmers’ income in seven districts of the state’s Bundelkhand region with ICAR and ICRISAT’s assistance.

In Ethiopia’s Amhara region, ICRISAT’s work in managing landscapes illustrates the benefits of integrated watershed management in restoring degraded lands. Innovations, mainly in the development of physical and biological barriers, have helped control extreme events upstream and runoffs downstream, thereby creating opportunities for farming. Dr Tilahun Amede, ICRISAT’s Country Representative for Ethiopia, demonstrated the benefits of research contributing to adoptable innovations.

“Following construction of structures to control runoff and creation of areas where sediment can be deposited, new avenues for farming and unique farming systems came into being. These systems were trialed at scale with local and normally nomadic communities. For the first time, these communities were producing food crops and fodder. A long-standing problem was not only managed but taken advantage of,” Dr Amede said.

The session also saw Bora Masumbuko, Senior Program Officer, Drylands, IUCN; Ms Aureile Lhumeau, Professional Officer of the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism Team; Ms Marie-Aude Even, Senior Regional Technical Specialist, IFAD, and Dr Susan Chomba, an ICRAF scientist managing the Regreening Africa initiative, a megaproject that aims to restore 1 million ha, discuss approaches to scale land restoration in a panel discussion. The panel deliberated donor priority for land restoration, land management strategies in the backdrop of the LDN framework, the role of policy and governance in land regeneration and role of nations in a region’s land restoration agenda.

About ICRISAT

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) is a not-for-profit international agriculture research organization. ICRISAT works across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with a wide array of partners. The semi-arid tropics or drylands cover 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, home to over 2 billion people of which 644 million are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT innovations help the dryland poor move from poverty to prosperity by harnessing markets while managing risks – a strategy called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (lMOD). ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. www.icrisat.org.

 

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

About World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

World Agroforestry (ICRAF) is a center of science and development excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, from farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability. ICRAF is the only institution that does globally significant agroforestry research in and for all of the developing tropics. Knowledge produced by ICRAF enables governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at scales. www.worldagroforestry.org

About CGIAR

ICRISAT and ICRAF are members of the CGIAR Consortium. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org

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Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative statement on operations
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

As unfortunate actions continue to escalate the ongoing crisis in Southern Cameroons, CHRI counts on your support in order to continue to take actions to alleviate the suffering. On the 31st of July 2019, the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, successfully carried out its latest outreach to the refugees at Ikom settlement camp, Cross River, Nigeria. We distributed 20 bags of clothing donated by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Benin, Nigeria (see photos). The church also raised 1 million naira to support refugee relief. CHRI extends appreciation to Our Lady of Fatima church and the Nigerian community at large for supporting those affected by the crisis.

Starting on August 3, CHRI is hosting a series of webinars with other NGOs engaged directly with internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria to discuss ways to collaborate/coordinate to optimize our collective response to the crisis. Action plans arising from these positive discussions will be provided in future updates.

On July 11, 2019, CHRI carried out its 22nd monthly donation of food items to SC detainees at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde, Cameroon. Due to protests at the prison and related challenges, we have suspended this important outreach initiative until the appropriate conditions are in place to continue.

On behalf of CHRI, I would like to appreciate and encourage your continued support to the victims of this unfortunate crisis. Since our inception last year, we have raised $77,796.68 and spent $66,197.2 supporting these victims. We are planning our next outreach to the many refugees in Nigeria who are not currently covered by UNHCR. To channel your support through CHRI, I kindly request you to visit our website at chrelief.org/donate to make a donation or mail a check to: CHRI at 4413 Nuttall Road, Fairfax, VA 22032

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Nkafu Debates: Experts agree to disagree on whether Cameroon benefits from ACFTA
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Experts discussing if Cameroon benefits from ACFTA. Photo Boris Esono Nwenfor, PAV

Experts discussing if Cameroon benefits from ACFTA. Photo Boris Esono Nwenfor, PAV

The second edition of the Nkafu debate has been held with experts disagreeing to agree on whether Cameroon will benefit from the recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area, ACFTA. The Nkafu Debates which took place August 29, 2019, at Mansel Hotel in Yaounde was on the theme, Will Cameroon benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area?

The event was in line with the vision and mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute-a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, which works to catalyze the economic transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, health, and the implementation of development policies that will create economic opportunities for all.

To Dr. Fabian Sundjo, the ACFTA is very good and Cameroon will indeed benefit in the long run. He said, “Trade is the best concerning increasing growth which will in turn increase the growth of the country” while adding that the “ACFTA will increase competitiveness. It makes the country to be competitive which brings benefit to the country.”

He added that, “The free trade was important but there are some issues that had as handled, some structures are put in place before going forth to sign the treaty. The issue that was highlighted could be based on the competitiveness of the economy, and the necessity to increase productivity.” “Once you increase productivity with good institutions, and a good structure that will permit the transfer of goods. If some countries are not ready and their productivity is low, it becomes difficult to move forward, and sign the ACFTA.”

Dr. Louis Marie Kakdeu, Economist, Policy Fellow in Economic Affairs, Nkafu Policy Institute said there are two reasons why to him Cameroon will not benefit from the agreement. He stated “the necessity to respect the rules, and principles of free trade. The African zone should respect i9t, if not it is no longer the free trade but something like mercantilism. The second is the necessity to put in place in Cameroon economic reforms before engaging a country into competition. One cannot go to fight when one is not powerful or competitive.”

“We are afraid that in the next two years or so, we will have companies created in Cameroon dying as a result of the agreement. Now it is 80 per cent which is very dangerous. We have to stop it, and we cannot be having problems, and we still go and add other problems every day. Today, we have to open where we are competitive and if we are not competitive we do not open up”, He added.

The over 90 minutes exchange brought together over 80 participants comprising academia, researchers, students, NGOs, CSOs and others.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was officially launched on July 7, 2019 during the 12th extraordinary summit of the African Union held from July 4 to 8, 2019 in Niamey, Niger. Cameroon ratified ACFTA on July 19, 2019, after it was signed on March 21, 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda, together with other 43 countries.

Observers believe Cameroon ratifying this agreement will strengthen economic growth in the country while others say Cameroon should not open up, but should instead protect its economy.

Experts, participants at 2nd Nkafu debate .Photo Boris Esono Nwenfor,PAV

Experts, participants at 2nd Nkafu debate .Photo Boris Esono Nwenfor,PAV

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, intra-African trade could increase by more than 50 per cent and even double within 10 years after the entry into force of the ACFTA compared to approximately 15 per cent currently. Others say the ACFTA will create a 3.4 trillion dollar economic block and usher in a new development of the continent.

In an increasingly globalized world, only the most competitive countries are likely to gain the largest shares in trade. Cameroon’s economy is presently facing major structural change. In a 2018 reports by the Nkafu Policy Institute, the poverty level is alarming as less than 17.65 per cent of Cameroonian adults earn more than 200,000 FCFA. Some major challenges facing entrepreneurs in Cameroon as outlined by the Nkafu Policy Institute comprise taxation, the cost and access to credit, and the formalities.

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Business Sector and Women Hit hard by Energy Crisis in Zimbabwe
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu*

Egenia Chishapira sits close by an open fire lit with a torch light as she uses firewood to prepare an evening meal for her family at her home in Mbare township, Harare. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP)

Egenia Chishapira sits close by an open fire lit with a torch light as she uses firewood to prepare an evening meal for her family at her home in Mbare township, Harare. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP)

Harare—The serious shortage of energy in the country seriously stands core negatively to affect the Business Sector and women. Energy supply has drastically fallen low to an extent that all sustainable operations in Business Sector remain down-sized in daily operations.

Three main reasons for the serious shortage are faulty equipment at Hwange Power Station, lack of enough Finance and low water levels in the Kariba dam. The country has installed capacity of 2000 Meg-Watts. Its demand is at 1500 MW. It generates and produces a total of 1200 Meg-Watts from Kariba [Hydro-Power] Hwange [Thermal] Harare [Thermal] Bulawayo [Thermal] and Munyati Power Station [Thermal]

Main Economic Sectors, An Expert notes will bear the greatest brunt of the pang of pain in terms of energy shortages. This, DR Prosper Chitambara of LEDRIZ, Labour and Economic Development Research in Zimbabwe reveals. Three 3 sectors of the Economy that is Agriculture, Mining and Manufacturing Industry are hard hit. This leads to low Gross-Domestic Product [GDP], gross per capita [GPC] and National Domestic Product [NDP] of the country.

‘’The three main sectors are in heavy fall out of Business as the country continues to receive power cuts. Agriculture is the one more likely to be severely impacted with the shortage. Besides, there is likelihood of low rains. This is because climate change remains a challenge in the Region.

‘’Business remains product of burden in the whole set up of the energy challenge. Energy now stands to affect a number of them be it in Agriculture, people in mining and those also in small scale Business and Manufacturing. It tells a lot about what the country needs to do in order to remain in vibrant Business ‘’.

‘’There is need for Investments, more to say in Renewable Energy.  Investments in Renewable Energy lifts up the country from extreme poverty, hunger and it saves the Environment. By Investing in Renewable Energy, we are empowering citizens.

‘’ 60% of emissions are from ‘’dirty energy ‘’, that is Thermal Energy from Coal. The country has been using Coal Energy for the past 100 years.  This is the worst ‘’dirty energy ‘’ which  must not remain threatening inlk countries that need to develop in terms of humanitarian sectors , Health and Education and Economy sectors Agriculture , Mining , Manufacturing Industry and Tourism .’’

‘’The Green House Emissions are harmful. They have over the years affected communities that later become vulnerable in terms of the Health of the Nation. Besides, Business, Women and children in families, communities are at most affected health wise, economically and socially. Women do all domestic chores, serve children, support and protects them at home. They preserve the Environment so as to protect the Bio-Sphere’’

Dr Chitambira noted that the exploitation of Solar is the only Business venture the country can be in, in-order to become viably active in National Economic Growth working with the Energy Sector. Dr Chitambara pointed out that the current highest shortage has impacted the three main sectors, this leading to low Gross Domestic Product.

‘’The need to exploit Solar Energy is un-questionable. Countries of the World need to venture effectively into Solar Energy which is the Energy of a New Revolution. Business is down in the country. It means we are moving further deep into economic hardships in all the sectors of the Economy’’, he said

Solar Energy in the Green Revolution.

The world is expected to reach a green revolution by 2030. This is a period whereby all countries of the world are compelled to use clean energy that is solar energy. Africa in the developing world could be the first epitome to get into renewable solar energy. Other forms of solar energy are wind, wave and geo-thermal power. Many countries are exploiting these forms so as to buttress Hydro-Power.

These are environmentally friendly forms of energy which women can even exploit for the benefit of developing broad based developed economies. Women currently are heavily impacted because of the dwindling deforestrated environment that is not being aforestrated. Therefore it means death of the natural environment. This explains that the bio-fuel [fire-wood] women have relied on becomes extinct in the eyes of women.

A young Zimbabwean boy does his homework under a candle light in Harare. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP)

A young Zimbabwean boy does his homework under a candle light in Harare. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP)

Women are hit hardest because of the following reasons:

  1. Domestic work they do to support children in terms of food supply therefore women hold community food security.
  2. Women fetch firewood in the forest therefore if deforestation, denudation and mass wasting continues women are seriously affected in terms of energy service delivery related to bio fuels. Therefore it is vital to develop solar renewable energy in order to save women from expenses related to firewood, searching energy alternatives, food gathering that is wild from the forest and also taking care of livestock at home. If women are exposed to these conditions they become vulnerable to sexual abuse during their activities in the forest.
  3. A number of women are in agriculture. They are into tobacco growing therefore they need to cure tobacco. Energy is the alternative challenge they have because Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is tightly working against environmental degradation. Most of them end up using Coal, Thermal Power.
  4. Women have grown big in mining therefore they need all forms of energy in order for them to do their work. Most of them are artisanal small scale miners who need empowerment in terms of renewable energy. Besides they need awareness, sensitisation and advocacy related to ways of managing the natural environment. The link lies between issues of energy and the environment. However the environment is slowly disappearing because of several factors that need to be addressed at a global level.

 

It vital therefore for countries of the World to focus on policies on Environmental Management in order to develop water sources for Hydro-Power. Secondly, to foster growth and Economic development through the support of a Green Revolution. Thirdly, the need to avoid all forms of pollution, water, air and land pollution to make the environment green. Once this is done, women can exploit solar energy, wind and wave energy because all forms of the explained energy is from water and air natural life.

There are issues of the Environment that will take centre stage in my second story. Stay tuned to hot factors pulling women down .Women are of our first concern. They matter in every aspect of our daily LIVES. I hope and wish to toast you with the great master- class information.

*Nevson Mpofu –is a multi-awarded Zimbabwean Media person and Published Literature Writer. He is also a DEVELOPMENT STUDIES LECTURER at Career Management Centre, A London based Graduate Learning Institute based in Harare

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TICAD7: Invest in Africa’s food markets to win the war on hunger and boost nutrition – African Development Bank
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

“There is a business case for governments to invest in grey matter – Jennifer Blanke

Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development

Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development

Yokohama, Japan 30 August 2019 – By investing in Africa’s food markets, governments can win the fight against stunting and improve nutrition across the continent. And with support from institutions like the African Development Bank, the results would be a win-win situation for all.

“What a huge potential the food markets represent. “Feed Africa,” which is one of the Bank’s High 5 priorities, has nutrition at its core,” Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke said Thursday at a panel discussion on day two of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

The session, organised by the Global Panel on Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAN) & the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), was titled Ending Malnutrition in Africa: Towards Nutrition for Growth 2020 & Beyond.

A senior management team from the Bank led by its President Akinwumi Adesina is attending this year’s TICAD in the Japanese city of Yokohama, under the theme: Advancing Africa’s development through technology, innovation and people. The conference is focused on Africa’s economic transformation and the business environment through partnerships and increased cooperation with Japan.

Despite holding 60 percent of the world’s arable land, African countries import nearly $50 billion net of food annually. Yet the population bulge and a rising middle class represent a massive opportunity in terms of agribusiness and the consumer market.

“There is a business case for governments to invest in grey matter, or brainpower, and this requires much more nutritious diets” Blanke said.

With most people in Africa getting their food from local markets, business opportunities for healthy foods abound everywhere in the food system and potential investors were urged to engage and explore.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular play a predominant role in the food supply chains in Africa, but their growth has been slow. “The biggest constraint to their scaling up is lack of access to finance,” Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said.

Other side events such as a session on Investing in Human Capital Development and one on Rural Transformation and Sustainable Agriculture in the Digital Age, jointly organized by the Bank and the World Food Programme, spoke to policy makers about the importance of the private sector and an enabling environment in fighting malnutrition.

Women and Girls need to be at the table

On Wednesday, a discussion on empowering women and girls highlighted how that directly benefits Africa’s development agenda.

Technology, access to finance, education and digital technology can help women leapfrog over many hurdles.

“It is essential that women are empowered to become a vehicle for transforming society,”

Ms Toshiko Abe, of Japan’s ministry of finance said.

Blanke said women in agriculture were an overlooked stakeholder group. In many parts of Africa most farmers are women.

The Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative known as AFAWA, seeks to support women entrepreneurs in Africa. Through AFAWA the African Development Bank aims to raise at least $300 million for a guarantee facility that will spur lending of ten times at much (around $3 billion) to African women entrepreneurs.

“We can leverage more for women,” Blanke said

*AFDB

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Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Barkindo Writes Inspiring Foreword On African Energy Book By Nj Ayuk
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

OPEC is the subject of Chapter 3 in Ayuk’s book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, which will be published this October

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 29, 2019/ — As OPEC intensifies its engagement with Africa, Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo said there’s no better time for the analysis of OPEC membership benefits put forth in the newest book by leading African energy attorney, NJ Ayuk.

“It is most fitting at this time that Mr. Ayuk describes how important it is for Africa’s producing nations to be part of the discussion on global strategies that will affect their fortunes,” Barkindo, who wrote the book’s foreword, said. “In today’s oil and gas industry, coalitions are essential and Mr. Ayuk proves that point by discussing the advantages that our newest members from Africa have gained by joining OPEC.”

OPEC is the subject of Chapter 3 in Ayuk’s book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, which will be published this October.

Half of OPEC’s 14 members are on the African continent. Libya joined in the 1962, followed by Algeria in 1969. Nigeria came on board in 1971; and Angola followed in 2007. More recently, the organization welcomed Gabon, which rejoined in 2016, and Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo, which became members in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

With 130 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, Africa is a frontier filled with promise, Barkindo said—and Ayuk does a masterful job of showing how both OPEC and the continent benefit from increased African participation in the organization.

“Mr. Ayuk’s book shows how the oil and gas industry can unleash economic development and prosperity across the continent but cautions that producing nations will achieve more in collaboration than individually,” said Barkindo. Adding that, “In particular, he explains how the Declaration of Cooperation has helped stabilize the market, providing economic opportunities that were previously unavailable.”

Above all, in his chapter about OPEC, called A Place at the Table: Africa and OPEC, Ayuk presents a balanced investigation of how OPEC needs Africa, and vice versa. He doesn’t gloss over the fact that the Middle East’s once prolific energy basins are declining—making the prospect of big discoveries in Africa one way for OPEC to wrest control over more of the world’s oil supply. At the same time, he points out the benefits that African nations can accrue as OPEC members, including access to information, financial aid, and the chance to have a voice in setting global policy.

Further, the OPEC chapter discusses the possible impact of NOPEC –  the pending American legislation that seeks to protect domestic interests from what it perceives as price manipulation.

“There is no stone left unturned in Mr. Ayuk’s analysis of Africa and OPEC,” Barkindo said.

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group; Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for pre-order on Amazon. CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW! [https://amzn.to/2NxkNLP]

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South Sudan government to inspect oil pollution
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Oil Minister Daniel Awow

Oil Minister Daniel Awow

Juba – South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum says it will soon set up a team to inspect the extent to which oil pollution has destroyed lives and the environment in the oil fields – States in the country.

Oil Minister Daniel Awow said that pollution as a result of oil spillage is of great concern to the inhabitant of around oil wells.

Both local and international campaign groups have reported widespread environmental pollution in oil-producing areas, with animals and people mostly affected.

The campaign groups say women are giving birth to deformed babies and stillbirths, claims the local people have confirmed.

According to German NGO, Sign of Hope, more than 180, 0000 South Sudanese people who live near oil fields use water that is contaminated by the oil companies.

It further stated on the website that water contamination is dangerous for people’s health, livestock and the environment.

On the other hand, a report from the Nile Institute for environmental health has also revealed some boreholes are salty due to oil deposits from oil exploration.

As the concerns, the lawmaker, representing Ruweng -oil producing state at the South Sudan Council of States, raised the matter, saying the rate of newborns with defects is on the rise in the area.

These defections are mostly caused by dangerous heavy metals used in oil production which leaks into drinking water sources used by people with life-threatening health risks.

Speaking to the press on Friday, the Country’s Oil Minister Awow said the team will study the consequences of the pollution to help authorities identify the interventions required.

“This exercise will be carried out by an international company to give us leeway to correct some of the damage that has occurred,” Awow told journalists in Juba.

He further unveiled that the environmental audit will start within the next two weeks, possibly next month.

“This environmental audit will tell us exactly the extent of the damage on several oil fields so that we can recommend remediation and probably correction if there is any damage that will have to be controlled and also the practice of oil operation will have to be guided,” said Oil Minister.

A year ago, the oil pollution was exposed by local media outlets in South Sudan, in areas of Toma-South and Unity oil fields (Block 4), found that crude oil has been left in ponds since 2013, in the aftermath political conflict.

In those areas, the residents were reportedly only compensated with oil containers that had been used during the oil production, for fetching water or restore their water.

The oil companies promised to establish school and health centers to the local populations are all in vain.

There have been a reported of the women who have had stillbirths and deformed children in the areas, including skin rashes, eye disease and sudden death.

But Juba government had been paid deaf ear on this matter despite the campaign groups and residents daily nitpicks.

The research implied that the contaminated water with chemicals has been exposed to people living in oil production areas to health risks.

The environmental campaign groups say this is due to lack of measures to properly dispose of waste in the oilfields.

The Chinese companies are the one undertaking the oil production in South Sudan.

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“The Kaizen approach is more than a technique…it is an approach to economic development, and it’s been yielding tremendous results” – African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga

African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga

Yokohama, Japan, 27 August 2019 – Kaizen, the business philosophy which means continuous improvement in Japanese, was at the heart of discussions at a seminar held on Tuesday, and co-organised by JICA and NEPAD on the sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD7.

The seminar, under the theme: “Africa’s Socio-economic Transformation through innovation,” discussed the role of Kaizen, in improving quality and productivity as well as human resource development on the continent.

Panelists included Assane Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD; Bezabih Gebereyes, Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and JICA Research Institute Director General Toshiyuki Nakamura, of the Industrial Policy and Public Policy Department.

“The Kaizen approach is more than a technique…it is an approach to economic development, and it’s been yielding tremendous results,” African Development Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, Dr. Celestin Monga, said.

Monga underlined the need for incremental innovation in each African country, but also called for increased support to small and medium sized enterprises as a starting point to scaled up industrialization.

Africa needs to create production lines because “ even with low-skilled labour we can do tremendous things,” he said.

JICA and NEPAD have been promoting incremental innovation through the Africa Kaizen Initiative, launched in 2017.

“Kaizen is about mindset changes. It will be a formidable tool to enhance productivity of SMES…We have rolled out projects and training programs in 10 countries,” Mayaki said in his welcome remarks.

Acknowledging two Africa Kaizen awardees, also in attendance, Makayi told the packed room “They are the exact product of how Kaizen should be implemented.”

Fikreselassie Ambaw, General Manager of MAA Garment Factory in Ethiopia and Ruben Zebedayo Lyanga, head of Atoz Textile Mills (Tanzania), who won the Africa Kaizen Award in 2019, made presentations on how the business approach radically transformed their enterprises and boosted productivity, employee commitment and creativity.

Sharing Kaizen’s contribution and achievements in Ethiopia, Gebreyes explained how Kaizen and the subsequently transformed mindset have led to increased efficiency in spare parts production lines. “In the sugar cane sector, the Kaizen model has led to a 43% hike in productivity,” he noted.

Answering questions on the capabilities needed for entrepreneurs and firms to promote radical, disruptive innovation in Africa, Toshiyuki Nakamura, Director General of Industrial Development and Public Policy Department said: “the common thread between GAFA, (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), is the implementation of Kaizen. Incremental and radical innovation, are one of the most important messages for the continent.”

Through JICA, the Kaizen approach has expanded its outreach to 25 countries on the continent; touched 18,096 enterprises and 301 public institutions.

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina is leading a high-level delegation to TICAD7 which is being held in Yokohama city from 28-30 August.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development, led by Japan, started in 1993. African heads of states and key business leaders are scheduled to attend from around the world, providing an opportunity to explore investment opportunities. The event, held every 3 years, has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since 2016.  The last TICAD was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

*AFDB

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#VisaFreeAfrica Initiative Announces Winners of 55 Voices for Africa Competition
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
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