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Nigeria:Ijebu-Ife school to play key part in world’s biggest grassroots online education conference
September 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

100 schools global showcase

The Christ Anglican Primary School in Ijebu-Ife is to play a vital role in what is billed as the ‘world’s biggest education conference’.

The school, noted for its commitment to enhancing employability, entrepreneurship and life skills, is to be part of a showcase of 100 schools which will gather online to share expertise and best practices in the inaugural World Education Week, from 5-9th October, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education (SDG 4)  

The hundred schools have been hand-picked for their expertise across a range of educational themes, such as enhancing employability and life-skills; deepening family and community engagement; the use of technology; a focus on wellbeing; and promoting the science of learning and teaching.  Each will share their wisdom to an online audience expected to reach 100,000 worldwide. The ambition driving World Education Week is to accelerate progress to achieve UN SDG 4, a commitment designed to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.

Centred on the theme of ‘Learning Today’, each school will host a virtual event to demonstrate how to bring change, based on their own experiences. The Christ Anglican Primary School will talk about its programmes on skill acquisition and financial literacy for students and their parents. 

The Christ Anglican principal,  Alhaji Ogunlaja Sefiu Adewale, said: 

“The pupils and teachers of Christ Anglican are thrilled to be selected to host a showcase event during World Education Week, which will allow schools all over the world to learn and innovate together, improving education from the grass-roots up.  With our focus on arts education we are proud to be a founding showcase school of such an ambitious project, and are looking forward to our event.”

The ground-breaking event is led by Vikas Pota, a globally-respected leader and driving force in the education, international development, philanthropy and technology sectors. In launching the event, Mr Pota said:

“I congratulate the Christ Anglican Primary School for being selected to take part in our Global Showcase for World Education Week. By sharing the ways in which this school has developed its particular expertise, we hope others will feel inspired to undertake the same journey to excellence.”

“I am incredibly inspired by the schools that applied to take part in this year’s World Education Week. Their commitment to improving the life chances of their learners by nurturing expertise and wanting to share their experience with others, especially in these challenging times, says a lot about the education community. They are our heroes and World Education Week provides us all an opportunity not just to learn from them, but to celebrate their successes, too.”

The conference has won the backing of Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education at the OECD, who said:

“What’s exciting about World Education Week is the idea of schools around the world sharing their expertise with their peers. After a turbulent period in global education, this is a great way of building back better.”

The project was also welcomed by Jaime Saavedra, the Global Director for Education at the World Bank:

“The sheer scale of educators around the globe combining to share expertise, excellence  and wisdom in accelerating learning is hugely impressive. If all educators learn from the best educators of their countries and of the world we would make immense progress in ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.”

World Education Week is an effort by thirty civil society organisations coming together after the record breaking T4 conference on 30th May that was attended by over 100,000 teachers.

The event will be hosted from the World Education Week website, with registration opening from September 1st.

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Cameroon: Nzometia Tetsop’s E-Waste 3D Printer Wins 2020 Best ICT Project
September 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Nervis Tetsop winner of the 2020 Best ICT Project
Nervis Tetsop winner of the 2020 Best ICT Project

22-year-old Nzometia Tetsop Nervis has won the best ICT Project for 2020, bringing to an end this year’s edition of the Digital Innovation Week.  Nervis Tetsop Nzometiah, a student at the University of Buea, in the South West Region, wins a check for 10 million FCFA and many prizes estimated at 5 million FCFA for his project E-Waste 3D Printer. 

His concept is about developing a 3D printer for education. The printer will be made from recycled electronics components, the national broadcaster reported. This way, the product will be more affordable for most educational institutions, explains the startupper.

The young engineer equally aims to manufacture mufflers and protective masks to fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

His package is divided into a cash prize of 10 million CFAF, a laptop, smartphone, 4G internet modem, six months internet connection and three online pieces of training amongst which is one by the renowned Tony Elumelu Foundation.

This year was the Second Edition of the ICT Innovation Week organised by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, who chaired the closing ceremony at the Polyvalent Sports Palace in Yaoundé, said it is an initiative which aims to arouse vocations in ICT and create an environment conducive to the emergence and development of viable businesses in the digital sector.

“Beyond the financial support, the prizes offered to the laureates mainly concern training and incubations, all costs included, in various specialized institutions recognized at the international level such as the training centres of the International Telecommunications Union; admissions to the famous Tony Elumelu Foundation mentoring and coaching platform; full support in the SUP’PTIC Business Academy and computer equipment and high-speed internet connections,” she stated.

The Cameroon E-translate project, which allows texts to be translated from French or English into local languages, won the second prize and a check for 5 million FCFA, as well as several prizes worth 5 million FCFA. BNRLABS, a virtual laboratory that offers virtual practical work for teaching, ranks third. The project won a check for 3 million FCFA and prizes estimated at 4 million FCFA.

Nervis aims to use the E-Waste 3D Printer for educational purposes
Nervis aims to use the E-Waste 3D Printer for educational purposes

About the 2020 ICT Innovation Week

ICT Innovation Week is organised by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL). It is aimed at boosting the development of ICT-driven business projects initiated by youths.

This year’s edition of the ICT Innovation Week was under the theme of focus “Young Cameroonians amidst the challenges of ICT Innovation in a context of the health crisis.” The competition aims at providing long-term support for the emergence of a mature and sound digital ecosystem in Cameroon.

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Ghana:Cocoa Sector at Risk As Farmers Lament Measly Income and Nonexistent Welfare Packages
August 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica


Setting up of a farmer’s welfare fund is one of the core mandates of Ghana’s cocoa sector regulator COCOBOD since its inception. But after 36 years of its existence, the Ghanaian cocoa farmer is becoming poorer each passing day as they lament the outcome of their toils over the years has not reflected their gains. 

The average cocoa farmer earns approximately 18 million cedis annually or less provided the best farm management practices are adopted on a two-acre land as against the fat salary of a COCOBOD staff per month according to the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association, GARDJA.   

Section 27 of the COCOBOD Act 1984 enjoins it to establish a fund to be known as the Farmer’s Welfare Fund and at the end of each financial year transfer a sum of not exceeding 10 per cent of the net profit of the board for the farmers’ benefits –  interest-bearing welfare loans, farmers’ refresher courses, a scholarship scheme for farmers’ wards, and other purposes aimed at enhancing the welfare of the  cocoa farmers. But despite the huge contribution of the cocoa sector to the country’s revenue and gross domestic product GDP, the farmers say they are not given what is due them by their regulator.

Moses Djan Asiedu, the secretary to the National Board of Directors and Administrators, World Cocoa Farmers Organization, Ghana said, after toiling through the planting season, the cocoa farmer is denied his or her entitlement. He warned of an imminent shut of Ghana’s cocoa production in the next 10 years to come, as the older farmers are quitting the sector daily. “The older farmers are retiring from the cocoa farming due to the meager income and poor living conditions. This could mean an impending shut-in cocoa production in 10 years to come if nothing is done about it”.

At a workshop dubbed “cocoa advocacy dialogue” spearheaded by the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association, GADJA in partnership with Send Ghana and Rain Forest Alliance, Calvin Doe, a young cocoa farmer quizzed “Why  go into cocoa farming when COCOABOD worker takes ‘’fat salary’’ at the expense of the poor farmer”.  For him, looking for greener pasture elsewhere is an alternate for him and his peers since their efforts in cocoa production are not yielding the desired result. Stating that, the traditional land tenure system is no longer encouraging farmers as the conditions of giving away a third or half of proceeds to the land owner remain a difficult decision.

The president of the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association, GADJA Richmond Frimpong, says COCOBOD has over the years made the Ghanaian cocoa farmer poorer due to low prioritization of the needs of the farmer. “COCOBOD is the reason our farmers are getting poorer each day”. He pointed out roads leading to these cocoa farms are in a deplorable state yet every year there are budgetary allocations for those same roads which have always been misappropriated.  Bemoaning why cocoa clinics which are to cater for the farmers are situated in the cities while the farmer languishes in pain and ill-health in the forest somewhere.

In his closing remarks Dr Affail Monney, president of the Ghana Journalists Association, GJA, stated that it is an indictement on Ghana as a country for farmers to toil and will not enjoy the benefits of their labour. He explained, every worker works to enjoy the outcome of his or her effort and if that fails to happen, then there might be no need to work at all. He called on the media to take the lead in the crusade for fairness and transparency in the cocoa sector. 

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Curtain falls on the African Development Bank 2020 Annual Meetings as Governors endorse President Adesina’s bold development program
August 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Adesina: “I am deeply grateful for the collective trust, strong confidence and support of our shareholders.”

Newly reelected African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina voiced great optimism about Africa’s future as the institution closed its 55th Annual meetings. The Bank’s Board of Governors today unanimously voted for a second five-year term for Adesina, giving him a mandate to renew a focus on the institution’s priorities, including closer continental integration, boosting renewable energy sources and developing infrastructure.  

The election of the president was the centerpiece of the two-day meetings, held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic formed a backdrop that underscored the Bank’s critical leadership role in assisting African countries to marshal responses to its health and economic impacts. A wider commitment to grow Africa’s resilience by building back its economies post-pandemic with an eye to mitigating climate change and assuring more equitable growth, is also an important agenda for the Bank.

In a 16-point communique, Governors lauded the Bank’s swift response to the pandemic, endorsed its strategic priorities, and urged greater emphasis on building out primary healthcare infrastructure and supporting member countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments.  

 “We urge the Bank Group to deepen its collaboration with the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to fast-track Africa’s integration and economic and social transformation particularly in view of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which has the potential to increase growth, enhance competitiveness, improve the business climate, as well as ensure greater investment and development of regional and continental global value chains,” the communique stated.  

In closing remarks, Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Niale Kaba, the Ivorian Minister of National Planning, noted the Governors achieved consensus.

“I note with satisfaction that we were able together to face up to all of these challenges. Let me seize this opportunity to tell you this was the outcome of collective work and I was able to benefit from the wise advice of many regional and non-regional governors for us to be able to reach a common ground.”

Kaba also observed that the meeting’s virtual format had deprived Cote d’Ivoire of the opportunity to showcase its beauty to visitors. The Minister, whose term as Chairperson has come to an end, commended Bank Secretary General Vincent Nhemielle for his partnership and dynamism in organizing the meetings virtually.

She also congratulated Adesina on his re-election. He is the Bank’s eighth elected president and the first Nigerian to hold the post.

“I am deeply grateful for the collective trust, strong confidence and support of our shareholders for electing me for a second term as President,” Adesina said. “It is yet another call for selfless service to Africa and the African Development Bank, to which I will passionately devote myself. “I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you for the urgent and difficult task of supporting Africa to build back  better, smarter and boldly from the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

Adesina’s first term focused on the High 5 priorities: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. 

Bank Governors are typically the finance and economy ministers or Central Bank Governors of the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries. 

Ghana’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta assumed the Chairmanship of the Board of Governors from Niale. “It is with great honor and humility that I accept on behalf of the Republic of Ghana  to chair the Board of Governors and host the Annual Meetings for 2021,”  Ofori-Atta said.

The 2021 Annual meetings will be held next May in Accra, Ghana.    

*AFDB

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AWF AND PARTNERS SUPPORT FOREST LANDSCAPE RESTORATION IN RWANDA WITH NATIVE BAMBOO CULTIVATED IN KENYA
August 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

11,400 Bamboo Seedlings Grown in the Aberdare Region of Kenya Delivered to Greenhouses in Kigali, Curtesy of African Wildlife Foundation

KIGALI, RWANDA and NAIROBI, KENYA (August 27, 2020) – African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) today announced the delivery of 11,400 bamboo plants to Rwanda, as part of an effort to assist the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) – the government authority responsible for protected areas and wildlife in Rwanda – in restoring a native bamboo species.

In 2018, AWF donated land to the Government of Rwanda to expand Volcanoes National Park for the first time in forty years. Missing from the landscape was the The Yushania Alpina species of bamboo, which is difficult to find in-country. AWF and RDB enlisted leading bamboo development company EcoPlanet Bamboo to help cultivate the native seedlings for restoration. EcoPlanet Bamboo worked with local partners in the Aberdare region of Kenya to grow the seedlings for ecological restoration in Rwanda.  

RDB Conservation expert said: “Rwanda has demonstrated to the World and Africa that conservation, tourism and development are not mutually exclusive and is leading in holistic conservation and green growth initiatives. Rwanda’s national parks arebenefiting communities with one of the highest revenue sharing programs in Africa. To ensure that this vibrant green economy continues to thrive, ecological restoration to improve mountain gorilla habitat is a key.”

AWF Senior Vice President Craig Sholley said: “Many people familiar with AWF’s work have a limited understanding of what we do to restore landscapes to support our core work of preserving wildlife and supporting local communities.  In Rwanda, AWF made a historic land donation, but the work wasn’t finished. Successful ecological restoration required a native plant species that was hard to cultivate in-country, so with partners, we found a way to make it happen.  We are thrilled to announce that these plants have come home.  ”

Reforestation is an important tool for soil stabilization to help prevent landslides and erosion. It is also important for reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change.  Bamboo is notjust important to the environment in Rwanda; it can also be used commercially to develop employment, capacity and spinoff enterprises.  Rwanda’s bamboo strategy calls for production and business systems for bamboo products, job creation, and a strong bamboo policy that will promote a sustainable supply chain.

Habitat loss is the number one threat to wildlife in Africa today. As development in Africa continues, agriculture, infrastructure such as pipelines and roads, as well as resource extraction contribute to the destruction of wildlife habitats. These changes in land-use are fragmenting natural habitats and wildlife migration corridors. Not only does this ecological loss impact the long-term survival of wildlife populations, but it also erodes the ecosystem services that will help us mitigate climate change impacts and escalate human-wildlife conflicts. AWF is delighted to be partnering with RDB on expanding habitat protection and ecological restoration.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands.

*AWF

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Malawi: the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road now among the country’s safest roads, thanks to African Development Bank support
August 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
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Bank financing of USD$30 million went into widening the road.


ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 26, 2020/ — A five-year project to rehabilitate the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road with African Development Bank financing has made the road one of Malawi’s safest, according to the project’s completion report. The project, began in 2013, wrapped up in 2018. 

The road was formerly very narrow and poorly maintained, and it required an hour and a half to travel the 50 kilometres between the northern towns of Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay. The latter is a tourist centre on the shores of Lake Malawi. The problem was exacerbated by the high incidence of accidents involving small public buses along the route.

Bank financing of USD$30 million went into widening the road, resurfacing, and flattening sharp curves, streamlining the movement of people, goods, and services between the two towns.  Most of the road’s users in the region work in agriculture, fishing, and tourism, and use the road to reach health centres, schools, and markets.

“The project involved rehabilitation of 47km of road of main road and 3 km of township.  The project completed within the original contract sum with savings. The savings from the loan was used to construct an additional 1.3km of dual carriageway in Mzuzu town,” according to the project completion report, directed by Davies Makasa, Principal Transport Engineer at the African Development Bank.

Following the rehabilitation, transport costs, vehicle operating costs and the number of traffic accidents fell significantly. Vehicle operating costs dropped from $0.49 to $0.37 per vehicle and per kilometre and travel time between the two towns was cut to less than 40 minutes. As a result of the road rehabilitation the fleet of public transport vehicles operating on the road has increased.

“Increase in public transport fleets is expected to bring about competition, which in the medium- to long-term will reduce fares for passengers and tariffs for cargo,” states the Bank’s report. “All accident-prone spots have been eliminated. Stopping sight distances have been increased and all black spots have been removed. This intervention is expected to reduce accidents by more than 60 percent, especially by small public passenger buses.”  The road also saves international traffic from Zambia and Tanzania to and from Malawi and Mozambique.

According to the report , which was published in April 2019, the project has also led to the creation of 300 direct and indirect new jobs.

*AFDB

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Covid-19 Pandemic Reversing Humanitarian Gains of African Women and Children
August 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu  

Director of Gender Commission  Zimbabwe and Fiona Magaya of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union
Director of Gender Commission Zimbabwe and Fiona Magaya of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union

The Global up-surge of Covid-19 leaves sad stories told on the side of women and children now facing the social and economic injustices. These according to ZIMCODD [ Zimbabwe Coalition On Debt And Development ] Report posted to Media leaves gaps currently created beyond repair by covid-19 if stronger Global solutions at country levels are not put practically in place.

The Report plunges on issues of good governance, transparency and accountability exercise to be raised on the sidelines of equitable gender 6mainstreaming, equity and equality. Gender justice woven by equality and equity in women during this pathetic era empathy women and children at most for their survival in alleviation of poverty and vulnerability.

However, despite the concerted effort put across by women and children organizations, much that flows carried on by covid-19 effects erodes on women and children’s rights more imp actively. These are on the edges of poverty and vulnerability. Earlier on during the 21 days of lockdown, bevy of women like Virginia Muwanigwa , Director of Gender Commission  Zimbabwe and Fiona Magaya of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union among others on the fore-front reiterated  on the increase of gender based violence  , gender- in-justice and lack of equality exposed to affect  women ..

‘’During this time of covid-19, women remain impacted by gender-based violence which has been exacerbated by the pandemic world-wide. The erosion of family income exposes women to violence. This comes with divorces, separations. Poverty is likely to increase, vulnerability affecting women and children if immediate action is not taken.’’

Fiona Magaya adds that women have at most become discriminated, this widening the gap of gender inequality in families already hard hit by poverty. We have to take collective action to fight these in-equalities at family and community levels. Reducing inequalities is vital and critical as we move on towards the inside of this pandemic.

These in-equalities have increased in many African countries. Women are facing all forms of abuses ranging from physical, economic, social and intense domestic violence. Cases have grown in number in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and a few I have to confirm with. A number of women have as well moved out of marriage, go away with children whom they care for without maintenance or any support in terms of food.

In-equalities are driven by culture, tradition and African customs.  There are other issues of concern like Patriarchy , meliorism and male domination. This has prevailed for long in Africa, especially South of the Sahara in countries with strong African customs like Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Lesotho, Swathini and South Africa. In-Equalities increase as well fueled by modernism, industrialization and Globalization.

‘’Because of inequalities there rises wide gaps of discrimination in women. Poverty increase opens way for violence in marital relations. This leads to further gender in-justice which results in women and children marginalization. We stand by women at this hour in time using several International protocols like the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women [CEDAW] , laws and policies at regional and national levels .’’

Sally Dura of Zimbabwe Women Coalition
Sally Dura of Zimbabwe Women Coalition

The report from ZIMCODD further states that women are on the frontlines of Health provision. This means they take care of family members, children and themselves. . Vulnerability comes with the role they take to provide health services. As they strive to bring sanity at homes and in communities, family incomes are eroded, creating chances of gender-based violence, gender injustice, inequity and in equality due to low levels or not at all of the flow of gender mainstreaming. Taking a voice high pitched up in response, a nurse by profession at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Clara Nyoni said women provide the most health services.  she hits up the subject,

‘’Women are on the frontline in terms of health service provision to populations. It is therefore imperative to hold Public Health and Population Health accountable above all Community Health at community, family and national levels. Therefore, Primary Health Care is vital now. There is no doubt women do all the work right like now.   Most of our patients are women vulnerable due to covid-19. There is less doubt to say.’’ she poses.

World Health Organization reports that from 8 June 2020 187,875 cases of corona had been documented in 54 countries of the African Region.  This means strong commitments in Health budgets at Global, regional and country levels.

A Child Rights Activist and Expert in Children humanitarian well-fare, Father Reverend Nyanhete has ideas that Governments working with Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, churches and Chiefs must take time to look at issues of our past culture and tradition. He says if covid-19 is left alone to affect children, then the Convention on Children’s Rights is then not respected because past practices will turn evil to humanity.

‘’remember children have been victims of our African values, culture, customs and tradition. As long we forget these in this era we hurt and shoot ourselves in the foot. We need to push Governments to re-look at the customs and see to it that we are not being found un-aware by issues that have long time back reversed gains.’’

‘’Cultural and customary marriages have done the worst on the girl child. Girls used to be married to older man under betrothment, a custom that undermines the right of the girl child further with education. Girls are now given house hold chores at home since they have nothing to do. They are not in school. Most of their time is being at home.  They are chances of them taken for a ride by men, sexually abused, economically strained they turn to prostitution under these hard times ‘’

Speaking on the same line of though, Sally Dura of Zimbabwe Women Coalition said women are facing gender-based violence that was no-more in African countries but now it is almost back because of the pandemic we have. She added that unless countries in Africa take holistic measures as fast there are thorny new emerging issues.

‘’Gender-Based -Violence has increased during covid-19 meaning to say, women are being sexually, economically and physically abused at the expense of children whom they take care of. What do you think happens? There are huge implications, divorce, separations, child poverty increase, vulnerability, increase in theft, deviant behavior and emerging health issues related to food-insecurity comes with malnutrition’’.

‘’There are growing cases of early marriages as well with the girl-child a past occurrence that we start to experience in the shadow of the disease.  Women are turned into more growing poverty. This is true that children are affected as well. ‘’

With the voice for children more at cost of the gained now reversed gains, Pascal Masocha another Child-Rights activist notes with deep sorrow on the increase in Child Labour and prodigy on many farms in Zimbabwe. The Increase is almost rising to 30% a figure which tells more to be done.

‘’The increase of child-labour has increased almost 30% high since the end of last year, worse now with covi-19 issues making children lose on education. Families are unable to cope up with food security, a scenario that throws children into child-labour ‘’

‘’Organizations are not in full swing at work fearing for their lives because corona stigma and discrimination is growing as well. It means then there are some children somewhere under child-lab our, prodigy, where-by they carry heavy loads at the expense of their weight, energy and bodies ‘’

A Health Expert in Nutrition working with ZICOSUNA [ Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance] Kudakwashe Zombe recommends Governments to increase budgets in Health provision at this point in time. Besides, Infrastructural development helps countries prevent covid-19. He advises countries to follow up on the World Organization guidelines so as to meet Global standards. He concludes by making a point on the Abuja Declaration

‘’The Abuja Declaration recommends countries to make effort to come up with 15% amount of budget so as to fight this pandemic. It means then countries need to increase their budgets in covid-19, increase nutrition levels of finance flows so as well to curb malnutrition. This is enshrined in Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights’’

‘’In order to reduce in-equalities during this time Investments in Health reduces challenges faced by women and children. During this Health crisis nutrition levels decrease. This is a bite of poverty and vulnerability on women and children. Gender injustice follows with impacts on women themselves’’.

A Legislator Dubangani Mpofu standing for Zvishabane- Runde Constituency says there is need to lift people out of poverty by addressing social -economic opportunities at community to national level. He adds that there must be full representation in political spheres by all women without fear and favor, with transparency and accountability.

‘’There must be social and economic opportunities created for women so as to curb gender injustices, inequality and marginalization of women and children. Increase in health budgets makes countries address as well challenges faced by women.’’, he said

Above all, a number of Politicians and Members of Parliament asked to comment advises the Government working with the Anti-Corruption Commission to curb corruption, illicit finance flows and capital flight. Curbing corruption puts women and children on the safe side during these hard times of covid- 19, experts, academicians, policy makers and implementers note.

*Nevson Mpofu a renowned multi-awarded winning journalist is as well a development studies lecturer at Chartered Institute for purchasing and supply at midlands state university campus in Harare . he is advancing in sustainable development ..

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Justice: Answers and Actions for Lasting Positive Change
August 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Brian Nkemnji*

Brian Nkemnji
Brian Nkemnji

I hope to uplift the lives of all who read this article.

Nowadays, technology exposes social injustices in previously impossible ways. Information in the form of videos, photos, and messages instantaneously disseminates worldwide. Ongoing and recent injustices are reminders of the mistreatment people face. Pain and struggle are heavy in society, especially for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC).

Society is in turmoil. The health and safety of marginalized people are at risk as abuse of power and coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths disproportionately affect BIPOC. Social disparities, police brutality, and COVID-19 case management reveal the systemic inequities and privileges granted to certain groups. As a nation, we should protect everyone’s human rights and ensure social justice and dignity.

The anguish and frustration manifesting in society emanate from centuries of race-based oppression. Disparities in policing, criminal justice, housing, employment, healthcare, and education, illustrate society’s institutionalized inequities. During the United States of America’s inception, people in power instilled and ingrained racism into the nation’s culture and systems. This plight is America’s past and present. Until society dismantles systemic oppression, it will be America’s future. Oppression destroys people and the nation. Humanity deserves better; let us create solutions.

As human beings, we owe one another humane interactions. The torment and systemic racism people endure is a relentless reality. People of goodwill, especially those in power, should denounce and act against injustice. However, words alone will not ensure social justice.

Education – in households, classrooms, and workplaces should confront systemic oppression. Everyone has a moral obligation to check their behavior and the behaviors of their relations. People can unlearn toxic mentalities and pass on humane ideologies. However, education alone will not ensure social justice.

Legislation at the Local, State, and Federal levels should diminish institutionalized oppression. The nation must enact and enforce laws that quell systemic injustice. Abuse of power plagues society. Perpetrators should face significant judicial and financial consequences. However, legislation alone will not ensure social justice.

Society needs fair play, oversight, and accountability to ensure social justice. The current systems allow perpetrators to cause injury and death and evade responsibility. Systems must remove perpetrators from authority, levy financial penalties, and pursue justice using special prosecutors.

People give life to nations, systems, and cultures; people also give life to injustices. Just as individuals created these ongoing systemic injustices, so can individuals stop them. The nation needs widespread, groundbreaking reflection, involvement, and action to dismantle unjust and oppressive systems.

I ask everyone reading this article to act against injustice and press those in power (elected officials, lawmakers, law enforcers, judicial authorities, and leaders in business, education, healthcare, and more) to help end systemic oppression and bring forth a more just society. Sustained collective action can end systemic oppression. Together, we can defeat the injustices entrenched in society.

*Brian Nkemnji is a social justice advocate who strives to uplift the lives of those in need.

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Zimbabwe:ZIMRA Turns To FOREX In Tax Remittance ..
August 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority announced on Friday last week that all goods and services charged in foreign currency must remit in foreign currency as well to ZIMRA.

The dominating US $ Dollar bits the Zimbabwean currency which people take for granted because of the current economic hardships it can- not financially sustain.

Secondly, Inflation is over 700% of which is too hyperinflationary   for businesses which are failing due to it. Many businesses have resorted to full time use of USA Dollar and to an extent other forex.

Government banned use of multi-currency , but still it was dominated by USA Dollar in 2nd half of 2019. It reinstated the failing Zim $ as the legal currency.

Multi-Currency has been talked of for years in the attention of failure of the Zim Dollar to operate well in an inflationary economy. It has faced heavy inflation challenges since 2009.

ZIMRA Commissioner Faith Mazani in an interview with this Writer I Harare said Businesses have been gaining yet not paying in forex of which they charge in. ZIMRA has taken a move.

” Businesses charging in foreign currency must pay tax as well in foreign currency. Most of these businesses charge in USA Dollar of which we demand it as well ”.

”The tax collector demand PAYE, Pay As You Earn, Value Added Tax [VAT] , Income Tax , Capital Gains Tax , Mining royalties from businesses in tax .’’

”Businesses trade in multi-currencies taking USA Dollar first priority in their commercial activities. We had to come with the decision to charge in forex as well.”

”We looked at Section 4A of Finance Act [Chapter 23..04]  and section 38 of the Value Added Tax Act [Chapter 23..12] . We saw it convenient for businesses to pay in foreign currency.’’

The Commissioner further said Employers who pay their workers in foreign currency must as well remit to ZIMRA in forex.

If Its partly, employers shall apportion employee tax accordingly and remit both Real Time Gross Settlement [RTGS] and USA dollar to ZIMRA on or before due date.

Registered operators remit Value Added Tax in Foreign currency if price of taxable supply in Question was tendered in forex.

On Income tax she said the tax collector, a company, Trust, Pension Fund or other juristic person whose taxable income from trade is earned, received, or accrued in whole or in part in forex shall pay tax in the currency that income is earned.

”The same applies to Capital Gain Tax. All specific assets sold in forex pay CGT in forex. All specified assets purported to have been disposed of in Zimbabwe Dollar shall be deemed to have been sold in USA Dollar at Market value unless seller provides documentary proof that the asset in question has been sold in Zimbabwean dollars’’.

” Persons specified in section 37 of the Finance Act shall pay mining royalties in forex to the extent that the amounts from which mining royalties are withheld are forex amounts ” , she concluded .

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FIFA teams up with African Union, WHO and CAF to promote campaign against domestic violence in Africa
August 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

FIFA is joining forces with the African Union, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to jointly address the issue of domestic violence by launching the #SafeHome campaign across the African continent.

The initiative is designed to support women and children victims of domestic violence, particularly as stay-at-home measures in response to COVID-19 have put them at greater risk. A number of African football stars are supporting the campaign via video awareness messages distributed on social and traditional media.

The African Union-FIFA-CAF memorandum of understanding, which was concluded in February 2019, covers joint campaigns on topics of mutual interest and the promotion of gender equality, a key principle. Other areas of collaboration include education through football, sports integrity and safety and security at football matches.

“I am glad that today we can launch this campaign on the important topic of domestic violence, which is significantly exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdown conditions and movement restrictions, together with our partners, the African Union, WHO and CAF,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “It is our duty to leverage the immense popularity of football in Africa to raise awareness on this societal challenge with a very clear message: violence has no place in homes, just as it has no place in football.”

H.E. Amira Elfadil, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, emphasised: ’’The African Union Commission is resolute and committed to the protection of women and girls. We recognise and align ourselves with FIFA, CAF and the World Health Organization and other stakeholders on the efforts aimed at preventing abuse and domestic-based violence through collaborative programming that links reconstruction, access to the continuum of service, addressing the underlying social norms and harmful practices that continue to perpetuate gender-based violence and inequality, as well as community awareness and empowerment. We align ourselves to leverage the popular appeal of football to raise awareness against domestic violence, particularly as stay-at-home measures in response to COVID-19 are in place.’’

“Violence against women is a major threat to women’s health and that of their children,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. ”It is also a grave violation of human rights – and it must end now. WHO is proud to stand with FIFA, the African Union and CAF to launch this campaign across Africa to bring attention to this critical issue. We are committed to a world where women live free from violence and discrimination.”

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad stated: “Whether at home or on the pitch, everyone is entitled to respect and safety. Domestic, physical or moral violence, especially against women and children, must be condemned. Do not be afraid or ashamed to seek help if you are a victim of violence in your own home. If you are a witness to violence, intervene or get help, but do not stay silent: remaining silent is to be guilty of complicity. Never forget that everyone has a right to live in safety in their own home.”

The #SafeHome campaign launched today across Africa is part of a wider global initiative to raise awareness on this critical issue. In Africa, the awareness videos feature nine football stars – Abel Xavier, Emmanuel Amuneke, Sarah Essam, Khalilou Fadiga, Geremi, Rabah Madjer, Lúcia Moçambique, Asisat Oshoala and Clémentine Touré – who convey a series of key messages to the public. The campaign is being published on various FIFA digital channels and African Union and WHO channels. #SafeHome is also being supported by multimedia toolkits for FIFA’s member associations and for media to help facilitate additional localisation and to further amplify the message worldwide. 

FIFA is calling upon its member associations to actively publish details of national or local helplines and support services that can help victims and anyone who feels they are at risk of domestic violence in their locality. The world governing body also calls upon its members to review their own safeguarding measures using the FIFA Guardians toolkit to ensure that football is fun and safe for everyone in the game, especially women and the youngest members of the football family.

Background:

Almost one in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone else in their lifetime. In a majority of cases, that violence is committed by a partner in their home – indeed, up to 38% of all murders of women are committed by an intimate partner. It is also estimated that one billion children aged between two and 17 years (or half the world’s children) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.

There are many reasons why people perpetrate domestic violence, including gender inequality and social norms that condone violence, childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence and coercive control growing up. Harmful use of alcohol can also trigger violence. Stressful situations, such as those being experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability, exacerbate the risk. Moreover, the current distancing measures in place in many countries make it harder for women and children to reach out to family, friends and health workers who could otherwise provide support and protection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA signed in 2019 a four-year collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. More information on the WHO-FIFA memorandum of understanding can be found here. The two organisations jointly launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign in March 2020 to share advice on effective measures to protect people from COVID-19. This was followed by the #BeActive campaign in April 2020 to encourage people to stay healthy at home during the pandemic, while the global #SafeHome campaign was published in May 2020.

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WFP urgently seeks international support to prevent millions of Zimbabweans plunging deeper into hunger
August 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

WFP Zimbabwe

The World Food Programme reports that with COVID-19 aggravating an already severe hunger crisis in Zimbabwe, the organization is  appealing for an additional US$250 million to support a rapidly expanding emergency operation for millions at-risk. 

WFP projections indicate that by year’s end, the number of food insecure Zimbabweans will have surged by almost 50 percent to touch 8.6 million – a staggering 60 percent of the population – owing to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the pandemic.

“Many Zimbabwean families are suffering the ravages of acute hunger, and their plight will get worse before it gets better”, said Lola Castro, WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa. “We need the international community to step up now to help us prevent a potential humanitarian catastrophe.”

A nationwide lockdown, reinforced last week, has precipitated massive joblessness in urban areas, while rural hunger is accelerating because now unemployed migrants are returning to their villages and the absence of the vital remittances they provided is more keenly felt.

Subsistence farming families who make up three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population and produce most of its food are also hurting because of a third successive drought-hit harvest this year. It yielded only 1.1 million MT of maize, the staple cereal, well down on last year’s already poor 2.4 million MT and less than half the national requirement. This, in turn, presages even more severe hunger in early 2021, the peak of the next “lean” season.

Hyperinflation is a feature of the country’s profound economic crisis and has pushed the prices of basics beyond the means of many Zimbabweans. Last month, maize prices more than doubled in Harare, the capital. Increasingly desperate families are eating less, selling off precious belongings and going into debt.

With maize set to be an increasingly untenable crop in many arid regions of the country as temperatures rise, WFP is promoting the cultivation of drought-resistant, nutritious and indigenous alternatives like sorghum and millet. This is part of a broader campaign to help vulnerable communities build resilience to increasingly frequent and severe climate shocks.

Donations permitting, WFP intends to assist 4 million of the most vulnerable this year – those suffering “crisis” and “emergency” hunger – and scale up to 5 million in January-April next year, the peak of the lean season.

As the already dire situation worsens, more contributions are urgently needed. This month, for lack of funding, WFP will only reach 700,000 of 1.8 million intended recipients.   

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S. Sudan: President Kiir Imposes State of Emergency in Jonglei Region to Contain Floods, Violence
August 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Floods in Bor Town, Jonglei, South Sudan, August 2020. Photo: UNHCR / Komma Godfrey
Floods in Bor Town, Jonglei, South Sudan, August 2020. Photo: UNHCR / Komma Godfrey

Juba, South Sudan – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has placed Jonglei State and the Pibor Administrative Area under a state of emergency due to persist floods and intercommunal violence.

The two areas were blighted by the unending circle of violence and the unfolding humanitarian situation.

A state of emergency is a situation of national danger or disaster in which a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control.

Armed youth from Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area have engaged in attacks and counter-attacks since the beginning of 2020.

The inter-communal clashes that have raged for months over cattle, child abduction and revenge killings, has resulted to deaths and uprooted thousands of locals from their villages.

In a decree read out on the state television SSBC on Wednesday, President Kiir stated that the decree shall last for three months due to the ongoing conflict in Jonglei State and Pibor administrative area and the dire humanitarian situation there.

The spikes of violence in greater Jonglei prompted President Kiir in June to form an investigation committee led by Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga to address the root causes of the problems, to bring about a lasting peace and stability in the two areas.

Dr. Wani Igga’s 13-member high-level committee is to conduct meetings with elders from Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area to contain the security situation there.

The committee is expected to also identify the root causes of inter-communal violence and organize a peace conference between communities in the areas affected.

However, it is not clear why the president declared the state of emergency before the Igga committee submitted its findings.

In 2017, President Kiir also declared a three-month state of emergency in Gok, Eastern Lakes and Western lakes states of Bahr el Ghazel region, where inter-communal clashes was intensifying. But there had been continued inter-communal clashes, cattle raiding, child abduction and revenge killings in those areas.

Floods

Most of northern parts of South Sudan were reportedly covered by the floods, which destroyed properties and businesses, caused massive displacement, something locals attributed to the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River.

However, in restive Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area, the flood has significant reported damage to livelihood assets, food crops and livestock has diminished the communities’ ability to effectively start to recover.

The water level in flood-hit areas has risen 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). Aid agencies fear the floods will aggravate the prevailing food crisis in the region. Many health facilities and nutrition centers used to shelter people are currently under water.

Bor town, capital of Jonglei State of over 200,000 people, include it outskirts, has been severely hit by heavy rains and floods over the past weeks with uncounted houses destroyed. The floods have also hit Twic East and Duk, among others in Jonglei State.

The flood has also destroyed housing and roads, include all the man – made dykes and have left many people in search of dry group.

Mabior Atem, Secretary General for Jonglei State, said the overflows of Lake Victory and River Nile have resulted to severely crisis as hundreds thousands of families were left sleeping in the open areas.

“It is really crisis – it is really catastrophe that we really need the South Sudanese over the world to pay attention. Now the people who are displaced, are now in schools and churches and those places are not enough to accommodate 150,000 populations of Bor town – that is gonna be enough but this only temporally solution we are putting in – now there is overcrowding in the schools and churches, which in sense will allow a lot of sickness,” Mabior told Pan African Visions.

“Situation is worsen as per now only God can help us here, we are on water,” said Deng Garang, with irritated tone while struggling to relocate his family as his houses were emerged by water, resident of Bor town; adding that this situation is also blighted with current conflict, hunger and covid 19 pandemic.”

Footage circulated online (social media) showed floodwaters cutting off roads and sweeping away houses and people’s belongings. Swaths of agricultural land in the areas were also flooded.

“In South Sudan, water is normally associated with life but now, water it is putting lives at risk,” said Jacob Magai, activist.

Are Floods Linked To Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

However, both experts and government says South Sudan’s flooding has nothing to do with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, attributed it to the ongoing torrential rains in Victoria Lake region, which coincide with local rainfalls creating devastating impacts. And Ugandan authorities are releasing more water than usual through the Owen Falls Dam on the White Nile.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation had said that torrential rains and the ongoing floods in Victoria Lake Basin shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, are causing water levels in the lakes to rise to abnormal conditions, which resulted to the heavy flood in the country.

Nhial Tiitmamer, Researcher and Director of Environmental and Natural Resources Program at the Sudd Institute, said the 2019 – 2020 heavy floods in South Sudan have been caused by Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).

However, the IOD is a fluctuation of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) from cold (negative) to warm (positive) and vice versa.

He explained that the Positive IOD in Western Indian Ocean leads to heavy rainfalls and floods in Eastern Africa. The IOD has been exacerbated by global warming since the 1960s.

According to the country’s environmental expert, last year, the SST of the Western Indian Ocean rose by 2 degree Celsius, an unprecedented temperature rise made worst by global warming, which led to extensive rise of moisture from the sea surface that has been deposited in the Eastern African inland countries as torrential rains, leading to floods last year and this year. 

“This has led to rise in the water level of Lake Victoria. In May this year, Lake Victoria witnessed the highest water level in history due to heavy torrential rainfalls. This is what is causing flood here in South Sudan. So this year flooding has nothing to do with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” said Tiitmamer.

According to the expert, the Ethiopian Dam would be asset to the fragile state as it would get a cheap hydroelectric power, among others.

“There are no negative impacts in South Sudan because the Dam is on the Blue Nile River, which does not pass through South Sudan,” said Tiitmamer. However, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt will negatively be affected in some ways. South Sudan can benefit from importing electricity generated by the dam,” said Tiitmamer.

More so, the office of the president said the reason for the state of emergency is to help people, not to detain them in floods hit areas.

The presidential order also stated that the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Ministry will seek international support for the flood victims.

This is a most devastating flooding experience in over four decades in the country, something that the affected locals say “the suffering here cannot go unnoticed and requires an immediately compassionate response” from both the government and humanitarian agencies.

Analyst say the overflows of River Nile and the Sudd wetland to the nearby communities and towns/villages will have much considerable negative effect to livelihoods, calling on the government to support relocation of affected communities.

Last year, since July, the floods have affected an estimated 908,000 people, 620,000 of whom require immediate humanitarian assistance in eight states of the Eastern Africa’s youngest nation.

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