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Bonn — As developing countries push the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, scientists and leaders at the UN-led climate talks underway in Germany say the world will fail to meet the key goal of limiting global average temperature rise to well under two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, says that given the trajectory of carbon emissions, the world could well see a temperature rise of three degrees Celsius before the end of the century.

Carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise again after a three-year period of stability, according to research published in three journals this week. The findings dash hopes that emissions might soon be reaching peak levels, and that the goal of the Paris Agreement - to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius - will be met.

Data from the UK Met Office, NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that the Earth has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. China is the world's top polluter, followed by the US, the European Union, India and Russia.

"This rise comes perilously close to the 1.5 degree Celsius limit of temperature increase, which the parties to the climate accord pledged they would pursue, while agreeing to hold the increase in temperature level to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels," Taalas told SciDev.Net at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is hosted by Fiji but held in Bonn.

Taalas says the trend foretells more intense and frequent extreme weather events, including climate change-caused paced sea-level rise, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, heat waves, droughts, extreme rainfall events, paced ice/glacial melt, and changes to agriculture that threaten food security - unless the world drastically cuts heat-trapping carbon emissions.

The latest 'Emissions Gap Report' published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) highlights that nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) submitted by the 169 countries under the Paris pact cover only about one-third of the emissions cut required by 2030 to meet the climate targets set in Paris in 2015.

"Even though the current NDCs are fully enforced, the carbon budget for limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius (by mid-century) will be about 80 per cent depleted by 2030," said Carlos Alomia, a member of the Ecuador delegation, in an interview after attending the G77 and China UNFCCC plenary coordination meeting.

Henry Neufeldt, a senior scientist at the Technical University of Denmark, told SciDev.Net at the launch of UNEP's report that the gap between emissions reductions needed and national pledges made in Paris stands at of 8-13 gigatonnes. This, he said, is alarmingly high: "If the emissions gap is left unplugged by 2030, the goal of keeping global warming to well below two degrees Celsius is unlikely to be achieved."

Meanwhile, developing countries continue to criticise rich nations for dragging their feet on reducing emissions, providing finance for mitigation, and addressing loss and damage.

"I have, as part of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), made concerns known during the plenary session and side events at the COP23 that rich countries are shifting their focus and responsibilities to developing countries for their post-2020 actions under the Paris accord," Said Majid Shafiepour, spokesperson for the LMDCs, told SciDev.Net.

India's law minister and a key negotiator at the talks, Ravi Shankar Prasad, warned that inaction by rich nations on pre-2020 commitments would lead to a trust deficit between rich and poor countries over the post-2030 climate actions of developed countries under the Paris Agreement.

The pre-2020 actions refer to existing obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, where only rich nations are obliged to take mitigation actions to cut emissions. Conversely, the post-2020 actions require all countries to take action under the Paris Agreement. In 2012, developed countries had agreed to undertake emission cuts that on aggregate amounted to at least 18 per cent below 1990 levels, but they are yet to ratify the decision.

India's stance was supported by negotiators from other developing countries including China, Iran and Pakistan. Switzerland, though representing developed nations under the Environmental Integrity Group, also backed the LMDCs in pushing for greater pre-2020 actions.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net's Asia & Pacific desk.

By Kylie Kiunguyu

The Kenyan Kalasha International Awards seeks to honour and represent the five original branches of Film making: Directors, Actors, Writers, Producers and Technicians but has since extended that to include even more related categories.

The Kenya Film Commission registered 237 films this year, which is the highest number of films ever submitted for Kalasha Awards since it's inception in 2010. This year, the Kalasha International has been split in three with the Kalasha International Film Festival set from 4th - 8th December 2017, the Kalasha Awards gala on 9th December and the Kalasha Market set for March 2018.

Notable nominees include the film Kati Kati that has a remarkable 13 nominations and a solo feature in the best special features category making them this years favourite. Another notable nominee is the XYZ show a Kenyan satirical puppet show that has brazenly tackled the type of political issues that not many would venture into, with comedic flair.

The Kalasha International Awards is an annual accolade presented by Kenya Film Commission. Entries into the award ceremony are films and TV series that have been aired on Kenyan television stations.

Here is the full list of the 2017 Kalasha Awards;

Best Comedy, Best Performance In A Comedy, Best TV Host, Best TV Drama, Best Actor In A TV Drama, Best Actress In A TV Drama, Best Documentary, Best feature by a student, Best TV commercial overall, Best short film, Best TV documentary, Best diaspora, Best animation, Best feature film, Best original screenplay, Best Director, Best Director of Photography, Best Lighting Technician, Best editor, Best special effects, Best sound design, Best production designer, Best actor, Best actress, Best supporting actor, Best supporting actress, Best East African Film, Best Documentary by a student and Best local language.

By Hudson Kuteesa

The single African air transport market is yet to be implemented across the continent because some countries want to protect their local airlines, Raphael Kuuchi, the vice president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

Kuuchi was yesterday speaking to the media in Kigali during the Aviation Aero Political Forum, an event that IATA organises every year at the closure of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) annual general assembly.

The single African air transport market was a decision that African Heads of State endorsed in 2017 during the 29th AU summit in Addis Ababa.

The leaders had given it a timeline of 2018 to be achieved.

The single air transport market is one of the goals of AU's Agenda 2063, aiming to connect Africa through aviation and other transport infrastructure to achieve integration and boost intra-Africa trade.

However, by July 2017, only 20 African countries out of 55 had subscribed to it, with many fearing to stifle growth of their local airlines, according to Kuuchi.

"Some African countries want to protect the local airlines in their markets. They think if they open up their markets other airlines in Africa will come and take the passengers and their local airlines will not survive," he said.

According to Kuuchi, some states without airlines are also protective; reluctant to give away the market to other operators, arguing that they are planning to set up their own airlines.

"But what we have always said and what has been demonstrated over and over is that once you open up the market transport increases, the number of passengers, the amount of cargo you transport from your hub grows bigger," he said.

He hailed Rwanda for opening up its skies to airlines from other countries, which he said has led to increase in traffic to the country as well as growth of local airline, RwandAir.

"So this is what we are explaining to states that there is need to embrace a single African market so that we can be able to grow traffic on the continent," he said.

Going forward, Kuuchi said IATA will maintain steady sensitisation on opening up skies for countries to enjoy the numerous benefits.

He pointed to a study conducted two years ago by IATA which showed that open skies lead to job creation, lower fares, tourism, and GDP growth among others.

Photo: allafrica.com

Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SPSG) for West Africa and the Sahel, and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)

document

Accra — Keynote address on the occasion of National Youth Day, Ghana, by H. E. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SPSG) for West Africa and the Sahel, and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)

Mr. Chairman, Learned fellows of Academia, Distinguished audience etc, Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to thank the organizers for offering me the opportunity of sharing my perspectives and taking stock of current trends in Africa's development. I consider this dialogue an important part of what it takes to go through an institution of higher learning.

A vibrant discourse on problems of society outside the formal curricular of each academic discipline is a sine qua non for a University degree from a reputable University like yours. Such vivacity was the case in my days at Legon when youths at the University of Ghana played vital roles in shaping policies for the country and even for our continent.

The fight against apartheid, and the liberation of the rest of Africa from the last vestiges of colonialism, for instance, benefitted tremendously from youths in Universities on the continent. Ghanaian students of my days were no exception. So, I am extremely happy to be here at this prestigious University to discuss efforts to have our youths improve the lot of our continent by giving momentum to the fight against poverty and to make Africa truly rise.

Mr. Chairperson/ Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

At a time, most developed economies are in crisis, a lot of African economies are on the upswing. Since 2010, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has been convinced, like most multilateral agencies, including the Bretton Wood Institutions that the African economies are like "lions on the move".

Yet the continued failure of commodity prices to recover significantly and the global slowdown of economic growth, especially in China and other emerging markets, made 2016 a tumultuous year for many African economies, indeed, "the worst year for average economic growth" in the region in over twenty years, according to a report from Ernst & Young.

Compounding these trends, varying dynamics within the continent's biggest economies meant that Nigeria slipped into recession while South Africa barely lurched forward with anaemic 0.2 per cent growth in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, only African countries which have diversified their economies, focused on energy infrastructure, and promoted industrialization will be best poised to overcome the challenges of sustained economic growth.

For now, despite the deterioration in the performance of key economies, the rest of Africa was able to maintain stable rates of GDP and productivity growth over the past five years. Real GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.4% a year. Productivity grew at a compound annual rate of 1.7% over the same period. The real challenge, for me, is the question of how to equip the successor generation of you the youth of today to renegotiate Africa’s position through building on the phenomenon of ‘Africa rising’.

The trend of globalization has foisted increased interconnectedness on businesses or other organizations to develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

The story of fast-growing African economies as a result of a boom in commodity prices; the development of the manufacturing and service industries; a fast-growing middle class; the continent's enthusiasm for technology; as well as more favorable political and security conditions are well too familiar. This results in several African countries being consistently among the world's fastest-growing economies.

However, while strong growth and an improvement in living conditions for millions of Africans were observed before, during and after the global financial crisis, conditions deteriorated between 2014 and 2016, and in the early part of 2017. Weaker global growth and a slump in commodity prices eroded economic growth in many countries, resulting in rising unemployment.

In Africa’s current situation, there is an urgent need for a purposeful preparation of young Africans to massively deploy and brace up for the advantages, as well as challenges of ‘Africa Rising’ and mobilize them to increase trade and cultural exchanges across the globe.

What is ‘Africa Rising’?

There is a groundswell of opinions for and against the concept of Africa Rising. Whether it is true or not, what cannot be disputed is that Africa has to contend with the competitiveness of globalization. A more integrated world market must be leveraged to open a wide potential for greater growth. Such a situation presents an unparalleled opportunity for African countries to raise their living standards.

The notion of African Rising itself gained global attention in the first decade of this century. It was coined to describe the rapid economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa and the belief in the inevitability of further, rapid development on the continent. Almost all independent economic research organizations agree on this.

From 2005 – 2015, Africa’s economy grew 50%, compared with world average of 23%

Over the past decade, six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere's slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to continue to grow, some by as much as mid-to-high single-digit economic growth, and some double-digit till most become middle income earning nations by 2025.

For most researchers, this development has been due largely to improved governance and democratization of African states since the end of the Cold War. Africa’s relative peace, greater availability of mobile phones and other forms of information technologies, has seen the increase in African consumer spending as well as a growth in entrepreneurship. This may not be disputable because between 2005 and 2015, the economy of Africa as a whole increased by 50 per cent in contrast to a world average of 23 per cent.

The new crop of leaders on the continent have forged ahead with high strategic development initiatives to ensure that Africa does not remain in the periphery of the global economy by diversifying their respective economies, institutionalisation of macroeconomic policies that would change the continent from being "cash poor and project rich", which has a consequence of interventions and policies of donor institutions in the past.

Projected to be inching towards a combined Gross Domestic Product of $2.6 trillion by 2020, Africa’s growth rate is one that has been on the upward trend. In the last two decades, most countries of the continent have posted impressive growth rates, and in some cases, such as in Ethiopia, and Ivory Coast have stunned pundits with double digits, that by 2025 they may likely become middle-income nations.

Will the trend continue?

Some analysts have indicated that these gains in Africa are not equitably shared. For example, the UNDP notes that: "On average, the top twenty percent of earners in Africa have incomes which are more than ten times greater than those of the bottom twenty percent." The unequal distribution of resources, power, and wealth, combined with inequitable social norms, sustain persistent inequalities. The same source has concerns on gender inequality. It notes that "gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year, or six percent of the region's GDP." Such inequities definitely raise fears of social strife and conflict which could hamper continued and sustained rising of Africa.

In the era of globalization, what affects one country may have a ripple effect and reverberate across the globe in split seconds. China, the world's second-largest economy is no longer soaring as it had been doing as India and Japan weakened, Europe is lagging and North America’s demands have become limited. In such a situation, will sub-Saharan Africa stagnate and current prospects deteriorate?

I asked this question advisedly because given unexpected additional problems on the near horizon, will Africa’s peoples be able to realize the kinds of social advances that had appeared to be within their reach? The answer is yes, provided critical steps are taken and ongoing initiatives are consolidated and sustained. This is precisely the rationale behind the SDGs and the AU Agenda 2063 that put emphasis on prevention of conflict and transformation of the continent.

Factors slowing down the pace of the African lions

Fear of complacency and over-dependence on natural resources which lead to jobless growth

As earlier stated, until very recently, the nations of sub-Saharan Africa were growing economically at an average of five per cent a year, much faster than the rest of the world. A few of them, especially the petroleum and gas producers, had been rising at even higher, double-digit, rates. But that growth trajectory has now come to a shuddering halt as China's demand for oil, iron ore, copper, chrome, the metallic ore coltan and other precious natural resources has slowed substantially.

Simultaneously, the formerly high prices for commodities have tumbled, so Africans and other exporters of primary goods have suffered a double whammy as mines have been shuttered and pipeline deliveries slowed. The pace of exploration in West and East African waters has also considerably faltered. This is all the more so concerning as 2/3 of African economy depends on exports of a few commodities. A case in point is the Central African countries that are now in economic crisis owing to the sharp drop in the oil prices.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic resurgence in this century has been fuelled by multiple factors. A number of studies by authoritative institutions such as UNECA, UNFPA, UNDP, the World Bank and IMF show that there are significant gains for instance in terms of reduction of child mortality, unprecedented access to primary education, literacy and access to primary health services.

Furthermore, (i) democracy is developing and governments are increasingly being held accountable, (ii) Africa’s relationship with the international community is being redefined[1], (iii) the continent has adopted new technologies that are creating new opportunities for business and political accountability, (iv) Africa now has a new generation of policymakers, activists and business leaders, (v) pan-African investment funds are becoming a reality (Africa Finance Corporation, Lagos, Blakeney Management, London; Pamodzi Investment Holdings, South Africa). The emergence of a middle-class is boosting goods consumption and that is translated in the multiplication of supermarkets and increasing imports of goods.

However, these positive developments benefit only a small portion of the fast-growing population. Progress seems to have been achieved on the surface only. Indeed, while enrolment in schools is on the rise, the quality of education and the relevance of curricula to the needs of our economies are yet to come true and the available work force is yet to be utilized adequately phenomenon of unemployment we face today.

According to the “2017 Africa sustainable development report” which tracks progress on the African Union Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, the reduction of poverty and inequality is very slow, “owing to limited decent employment opportunities and weak social insurance mechanisms”. “Approximately 60% of jobs in Africa are considered vulnerable”. Coupled with the lack of social insurance mechanisms, this vulnerability has led to “high rates of poverty among the working class”.

“One {in} three workers lived in extreme poverty in 2015”. The most affected portion is the youth and women, with 32.1% and 35.1% unemployment respectively. The trend has been observed for almost two decades now and poses a serious challenge to the advancement of Africa.

Insecurity and climate change

In West Africa for instance, l recall that the UN Security Council raised the alarm already in 2003 and 2005 when it described youth unemployment, and I would add underemployment/qualityless employment, as « a perennial source of instability » and subsequently called for « lasting solutions to the problem of youth unemployment, in order to prevent the recruitment of such youth by illegal armed groups ».

Positive developments across Africa only benefiting a small part of the continent’s fast-rising population

My Office, the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) followed it up with two issue papers in 2005 and 2006, the recommendations of which have unfortunately hardly been implemented. Today, a number of African countries are faced with competing priorities as a result of a deteriorated security situation and new challenges that further strain the economy and weaken state capability to handle the root causes of instability. All attention is geared towards addressing urgencies rather than adopting a policy of prevention.

Climate change a fundamental threat to Africa

The security challenges include: (i) impact of climate change with its attendant farmers-herders deadly clashes, (ii) terrorism and violent extremism, (iii) highly disputed elections, (iv) piracy and armed robbery at sea, (v) drug and human trafficking as well as trafficking in counterfeit medicines, (vi) chronic political instability in the DRC, the CAR and South Sudan particularly and (vii) threat to state unity in some cases.

Let me at this juncture dwell on climate change and its impact on security. Climate change, which directly affects the people and their livelihoods, has become a fundamental threat to stability in Africa. So are the major droughts this year in southern Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region south of the Sahara. This is the result of a gradual degradation of the environment. Other significant consequences of climate change are the advancement of the desert and the drying up of sources of life such as rivers and lakes.

A case in point is the Lake Chad, which has lost 90% of its waters over the past fifty years. The example of the Lake Chad, once the hub of the region’s economy, speaks volume. A quick analysis shows that the regions affected by climate change are also conflict-prone. First, the Lake Chad Basin area and the Sahel are prey to all kinds of transnational crimes and terrorism. Second, areas affected by farmers-herders deadly clashes. Countries and people face these conflicts at huge costs, namely loss of lives and property, destruction of infrastructure (schools, roads, bridges et cetera).

Insecurity slows down the gains of the past years as it distracts governments from the implementation of their development plans. Indeed, all the affected countries redirected the budgets initially earmarked for development to security. A country like Chad that has so far been able to secure its borders and even help out other countries, is now suffering a serious economic crisis that in turn threatens stabilization not only of the country but also of the leadership.

Niger is now devoting nearly 10% of its GDP to military expenditures at the expense of investing in socio economic development. Insecurity also slows down progress in the sense that the affected countries need to reconstruct and rehabilitate infrastructure and people (psychologic assistance). On a positive note steps are underway to reverse the impact of climate change, for instance, by recharging of the Lake Chad through bringing in water from the River Ubangi. The LCBC is working on this project in close collaboration with AU/NEPAD, the World Bank, the AfDB and China.

Population explosion-challenges of the basic social services and infrastructure

If these climatic perils were not sufficient, sub-Saharan Africa, now and for the remainder of this century, is experiencing a huge demographic explosion. Being the most rapidly growing part of the world, sub-Saharan Africa’s one billion people will surge in the next 50 years to two billion and three billion and reach an estimated 3.7 billion in 2100, right behind Asia’s four billion by then.

Based on well-regarded UN Population Division estimates, Nigeria will become the third most populated nation in the world, after India and China. Tanzania, now a mere 75 million people, will soar to 340 million and become the fifth largest country in the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold 212 million and be the eighth largest polity, bigger a that time than Brazil.

Population growth per se is welcome as it is also a factor of economic growth. In case of Africa, so far, it is rather a problem because the population grows faster than the economy and countries cannot cope with the increasing demands for basic social services such as water, sanitation, education, and health. Although urbanization is needed for the transformation of African economies, its rapid pace adds to the stress on the economy; hence the need to manage it properly.

For instance with Lagos and Kinshasa becoming larger and more congested than Cairo and Mexico City, but with much poorer sanitation, fewer roads, serious electricity shortages and a paucity of jobs. Overall, cities will mushroom in sub-Saharan Africa and rural areas will decline from 50 percent of the total today to 25 per cent of the population in 2100.

Where will the food to feed these new millions come from? How will they be governed? Are current methods of political management adequate? Most of all, can Africa, like Asia, realize a demographic dividend if educational resources are sparse and new employment possibilities cannot keep pace with population growth?

Human capital development

Education is another Achilles heel. Although most Africans have access to primary school, only 70 percent or so, and more boys than girls progress into secondary school. Only about 30 percent of girls finish secondary school, and there are places in sub-Saharan African universities for only six percent of eligible students. Slowing fertility rates depend in large part on the education of girls through secondary school. That advance is happening too slowly, and, with faltering economies, may further diminish.

Although the number of enrolled children is on the rise, the quality and content of the education and the curricula leave something to be desired. To harness the demographic dividend, Africa needs not only a vast educational upsurge, but particularly a rise of technical education or professional education such as is offered in institutions of higher learning such as the University of Professional Studies.

Good governance

Although much improved, governance and leadership in most of the sub-Saharan African countries may be insufficiently robust to cope with these and other challenges. Today, all of sub-Saharan Africa struggles to educate and care for its citizens and, critically, to create formal and informal livelihood mechanisms.

The middle class is demanding better governance and achieving breakthroughs in some places, but there are many countries on our continent where the rule of law is still uncertain and corruption overwhelming. And those in power or their supporters can often still act with impunity and reign terror on those perceived to be opposed to them.

Civic responsibility

The loss of public spiritedness among our youth also contributes to slowing down progress in Africa. A number of reasons explain this, including particularly the devastation of education following the structural adjustment programmes in the mid to end of the 1980s and the misunderstanding of the democratic transitions of the 1990s.

We begun to see: (i) the defiance of social values and breach of taboos such that “it became forbidden to forbid anything”; freedom as license, vigilantism, disobedience and breach of law and order; (ii) relinquishment by parents of their responsibilities as primary teachers to their children.

As a result, the respect for the law and institutions begun to wane, rights were emphasis whereas obligations were forgotten if not rejected. Schooling was no more a place for learning and was driven more by the lure of material gain. This state of affairs has proved damaging to the cultivation of civic responsibility in the citizenry and the participation of the youth in the construction of their countries has suffered from that. African countries must take a number of initiatives for the restoration of civic education, patriotism and pan African vision, a love of their country and their Continent, in African youth.

The road ahead is difficult, marred by potholes. However, there is increased awareness and a great deal of political will to tackle these challenges. Some noteworthy initiatives are ongoing at regional and global levels.

While Africa is clearly on the right track, there is still some way to go. I see five main areas where African countries need to achieve greater progress in order to consolidate their strides on the theme of Africa Rising:

  • Maintaining macroeconomic stability and accelerating structural reform

As the continent enters the "second phase of adjustment", the emphasis must be to maintain economic stability and to reinforce the implementation of structural policies that will make the economies more flexible, encourage diversification through value addition to raw materials and industrialization, to reduce their vulnerability to exogenous shocks. These include further reforms in the areas of public enterprise activity, the labor markets, and the trade regime. Governments must also ensure that public services--including transportation networks, electricity, water, and telecommunications, but also health services and jobs skills education--are provided in a reliable and cost-efficient fashion.

  • Ensuring economic security

Establishing the right framework for economic activity addresses the second requirement of policy, namely, removing the sense of uncertainty that still plagues economic decision-making in most of Africa. The direction and orientation of future policy must be beyond question. This requires the creation of a strong national capacity for policy formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Moreover, the transparency, predictability, and impartiality of the regulatory and legal systems must be guaranteed. This goes well beyond the respect of private property rights and the enforcement of commercial contracts. It also involves the elimination of arbitrariness, special privileges, and ad-hoc exemptions, even where these are intended to encourage investment.

  • Reforming financial sectors

It has been generally agreed that the liberal movement of capital is beneficial to the world economy and to African economies as well. However, rising capital flows place additional burdens on banking regulation and supervision, and requires more flexible financial structures. This aspect of globalization confronts developing countries with a new challenge--to accelerate the development and liberalization of their financial markets and to enhance the ability of their financial institutions to respond to the changing international environment. Much remains to be done regarding the reform and strengthen Africa's financial systems, many of which are weak and poorly managed.

  • Achieving good governance

National authorities should spare no efforts to tackle corruption and inefficiency and to enhance accountability in government. This means reducing the scope of distortionary rent-seeking activities; eliminating wasteful or unproductive uses of public funds; and providing the necessary domestic security. Many African countries will also have to undertake a comprehensive reform of the civil service, aimed at reducing its size while enhancing its efficiency. In short, governments must create confidence in their role as a valued and trusted partner of private economic agents.

  • A partnership with civil society

Finally, African governments will need to actively encourage the participation of civil society in the debate on economic policy and to seek the broad support of the population for the adjustment that are needed. To this end, governments will need to pursue a more active information policy, explaining the objectives of policies integration and soliciting the input of those whom the policies are intended to benefit.

With closer economic integration, each country has an interest in ensuring that appropriate policies are followed in its partner countries. This could be achieved by coordinating the relevant national policies within a regional context. Throughout the continent, African governments are coming together to coordinate components of their policies, and virtually all countries are now members of one regional organization or the other. Efficient regional cooperation allows the economies of Africa to overcome the disadvantages of their relatively small size and, by opening access to larger markets, to realize economies of scale.

The obligations of membership in some of these organizations also make it easier for each individual country to achieve further progress in regulatory and judicial reform as is the case in the CFA franc zone; to rationalize payments facilities and to relax restrictions on capital transactions and investment flows as in the ECOWAS Cross-Border Initiative; and to develop mutual economic infrastructure as in the SADC where efforts are underway.

Enhancing the trade links among themselves naturally also strengthens their ability to participate in trade on a global scale, and could lead toward further progress in the direction of non-discriminatory multilateral trade liberalization.

The challenge for the future will be to ensure that these regional organizations are perceived as effective vehicles for the integration of African countries into the world economy, providing mutual support to their members in their reform efforts. They should not be considered as defensive mechanisms, intended to ward off the "negative" aspects of globalization.

Common regional objectives should be set in terms of international best practices. And the regional organizations should seek to push through reforms in the areas of the legal and regulatory frameworks, financial sector restructuring, labor and investment code reform, and exchange and trade liberalization that seek to reach international standards as quickly as possible. The pace of progress should be what is feasible, not what is comfortable for the slowest member.

However, looking at the current challenges facing Africa, what I just said Africa should do would be a mere wish list or rather incantations if those challenges are not taken care of and with a sense of urgency.

Africa’s future economic growth if the continent’s nations invest in its young population, providing them with the tools they need to be successful in a global economy.

Indeed, the nexus between security and development is widely acknowledged and steps are being taken to work in this direction. In 2015, the AU and the UN adopted Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) respectively, in order to ensure a comprehensive and forward-looking approach to the issues. A particular attention is given to the youth.

Also, both agendas are based on two main principles: (i) African solutions to African problems and (ii) partnership between the AU and the UN particularly. In the same vein, the UN and World Bank published a study in September 2017 “Pathways for peace: Inclusive approaches to preventing violent conflict”, which lays the ground for a “closer collaboration to deliver at the country level” and various levels the benefits of development. It is envisaged that the World Bank and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) will intensify collaboration with countries to implement the SDGs through respective national development plans.

Mr. Chairperson/ Ladies and Gentlemen

Please permit me to unequivocally state that Africa’s time has come. But sustenance of the current good tidings is essential. Africa’s youths represent the future of the continent. By establishing programmes that focus on the intellectual development and health improvement of young Africans, the continent will make an investment in its future.

Africa has true potential for future economic growth if the continent’s nations invest in its young population, providing them with the tools they need to be successful in a global economy.

What should Africa do?

With 70% of Africa's population under the age of 30, the continent is presented with a greater opportunity and, possibly, a great challenge if the opportunities are not taken. Young Africans today are taking actions that not only have an immediate impact but will also determine the future of the continent for decades to come.

Africa is not short of programmes, projects, policies. What needs to be done is already known. What is lacking is implementation; timely and effective implementation of policies and programmes.

When one talks of Africa rising, what come to mind first are economy, finance, and development. Now, a number of studies show that young Africans get involved in criminal and terrorist activities or are victims of criminal networks, out of despair.

Therefore, the question to be answered is: what kind of youth does Africa need to get out the woods? We want youth that is dynamic, educated proud of their countries and continent and happy to stay at home and respectful of the laws of the land. To this end, a lot needs to be done to offer the needful and also to “sanitize” those who find themselves in the mode to want to cut corners or simply want to get reach quickly by any means.

The African youth is drastically changing roles. As opportunities are subsumed in the changing dynamics of the economies, so are the challenges – especially of employability and entrepreneurship. The strength of any society is within the strength and resolve of its youth - what investment are young people making in our continent today and how are our leaders mainstreaming them into the governance and administrative structure to negotiate continued prosperity for their generation?

Equipping the Youth to renegotiate Africa

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us and the rate at which technology is advancing, it is critical that we have a sufficiently educated and skilled workforce to be able to drive Africa in this direction. There is currently a mismatch between industry demands and the education curriculum.

Educational institutions need to update their curricula to align with the direction in which the world and Africa are going. If we ignore this, our young people will have irrelevant qualifications that the continent will be unable to benefit from. We need to give relevant education to empower and equip African youths to be in a position to renegotiate a better spot for Africa in the global world.

Local solutions must be sought for local challenges, but for this to happen, we need to encourage and cultivate innovation among our youth. It is encouraging to note that there are pockets of this already taking place across the continent, where we can see uptake and use of locally-designed technology. More of these need to happen across the board, covering the different sectors of our economies, as Africa still lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to introducing innovative technology.

Human development is about creating opportunities and building a people's ability to innovate and be entrepreneurial. Significant investment needs to go towards this. With the growth of the continent, it only makes sense for us to industrialize in order to be less reliant on importing products for consumption from outside the continent. And to industrialize, the youth must be equipped with the necessary job skills and technological know-how to drive the process.

The youths themselves must intentionally create a culture that encourages the building and shaping of the Africa that they want. The change they want begins with them coming together and developing their own culture and value system for thinking, planning, implementation, accountability, integrity, and collaboration. It is up to the African youth to step up shape the narrative of our continent.

If countries are to succeed in achieving the SDGs, leaving no one behind along the way, governments must seek out an active and substantive engagement of young women and men from diverse backgrounds in national-level planning, implementation, and monitoring. The overall success of the SDGs depends on youth engagement because young people are:

  1. Critical thinkers: Part of being young involves making sense of personal experiences and asking questions about the world around you. Youths have the capacity to identify and challenge existing power structures and barriers to change and to expose contradictions and biases.Change-makers: Young people also have the power to act and mobilize others. Youth activism is on the rise the world over, bolstered by broader connectivity and access to social media; though we know there can be negative effects.
  2. Innovators: Young people have displayed remarkable talent and skill in developing and exposing African culture through the film and music industries, with far reaching influence. Today, Nollywood is the world's second-largest cinematographic power in terms of the number of films since 2009, with a regular audience of an estimated at 150 million viewers. Also growing in the industry is Ghana and Kenya amongst others. Additionally, the African fashion industry is successfully promoting and cultivating African and African-inspired design talent on the continent and the world stage.
  3. Communicators: Outside the international development sector, too few people are aware that world leaders have come to a historic, far-reaching agreement to eradicate poverty by 2030. Young people can be partners in communicating the agenda to their peers and communities at the local level, as well as across countries and regions.
  4. Leaders: When young people are empowered with the knowledge of their rights and supported to develop leadership skills, they can drive change in their communities and countries. Youth-led organizations and networks, in particular, should be supported and strengthened, because they contribute to the development of civic responsibility and leadership skills among young people, especially marginalized youth.

Mr. Chairperson/Ladies and Gentlemen

In addition, the youths could take an active part in addressing international issues having to do with arms trade treaty, migration and mediation to name a few, in their respective roles as students, student leaders, workers or volunteers.

These issues are not esoteric. They have a link to peace and security, a key condition for attaining sustainable development and creating prosperity for all.

In conclusion, I would like to underline that the main issue is not to debate whether or not Africa is rising.

What matters is realizing that no matter how much progress has been made, there is still the need to improve the situation, build upon achievements and to address the many aspirations of the youth who form the bulk of the African population.

Again, it is an effort which can only be done collaboratively with all stakeholders. Putting it together, there is the need to avoid situations where the youth resort to violence to address issues or allow their frustrations to be exploited by agitators and those who promote violence instead of dialogue and mediation in the resolution of political and social disputes at the local, national, regional, and continental levels.

It won’t be long for a democratic Africa to put its youths at the epicenter of its calculations. The youth hold the ace. They can bring about the paradigm shift through a combination of thinking, planning and demonstrating a better capacity than previous generations, to effectively implement and execute plans to achieve set targets at national, regional and continental levels.

The moment is now to change the narrative of Africa being a rich continent of poor people. With a well-educated, skilled and modern technology compliant, patriotic and pan African oriented youth, Africa will truly emerge. The time is now to build a peaceful, secure, democratic and prosperous Africa for all; a continent in which no one is left behind. Such is the vision of the UN Agenda 2030 and the vision of the AU Agenda 2063. Africa is indeed rising!

Thank you for your kind attention

[1] The reform agenda: AU, NEPAD, Ezulwini Consensus, Agenda 2063, Joint UN-AU framework for enhanced partnership.

Before taking up his current UN post in Dakar, Mohamed Ibn Chambas was Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the Joint UN-AU Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (2012-2014), Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (2010-2012) and President of Ecowas- the Economic Community of West African States (2006-2009). He earned a BA at the University of Ghana, Legon and an MA and PhD from  Cornell University and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Photo: Premium Times

President Muhammadu Buhari with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

By Bassey Udo

President Muhammadu Buhari plans to spend N1.001 billion on travels in 2018, details of the proposed 2018 budget released by the Budget Office of the Federation show.

The amount breaks down to N751.3 million for international travels, and N250.02 million for local travels.

The budget shows that another N907 million would be spent on a phased acquisition of new vehicles and spare parts in the presidential fleet during the year.

Additional N83. 77 million will be spent on tyres for bullet proof vehicles, plain Toyota cars, close circuit vehicles, platform trucks, Land Cruiser and Prado jeeps, Hilux, Peugeot 607, ambulances and other utility and operational vehicles for the Presidency.

On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will spend about N301.04 million on general travel -- detailed as N217.06 million for international travel and N83.97 million for local travel.

The budget sets aside N986.91 million for "miscellaneous" expenses in the State House, while general utility services will gulp N476.87 million. Electricity charge is N274.79 million and N67.11 million is for internet.

President Buhari last Tuesday in Abuja presented a budget proposal of N8.612 trillion for 2018, saying the projected expenditure will drive rapid economic recovery.

He said with a benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel at an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.

"With the economic recovery made so far, it is clear that we made the right decisions," he said.

Mr. Buhari said the government would continue to develop infrastructure and increase investments in agriculture to attain food security and reduce importation.

Other major spending for the president's office are N4.86 billion for "annual routine maintenance of mechanical/electrical installations" and N1.03 billion for the State House Medical Centre.

Outstanding liabilities on routine maintenance and other services will receive N565.65 million.

Overall, the State House which comprises the president and vice president's offices, and state house administration, will spend N11.545 billion by the State House.

All the proposed spending are subject to National Assembly approval.

Photo: allafrica.com

Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe (file photo).

By Staff Reporter

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe must step down immediately to pave way for a transitional mechanism to take Zimbabwe to a new dispensation.

He was speaking during a press conference held in Harare Thursday, a day after he returned from South Africa where he was being treated for cancer.

Tsvangirai condemned President Mugabe for refusing to relinquish power after having presided over violent and rigged elections for almost four decades saying regional bodies have tolerated him for too long.

He emphasized the need for a negotiated transitional mechanism in which all the stakeholders would be involved in solving the Zimbabwe crisis.

"In the interest of the people, Mugabe must resign and step down immediately in line with national expectations and sentiments, taking full regard of his legacy and contribution to Zimbabwe pre and post-independence.

"Noting that the end game, the destination point to the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe a total return to legitimacy and fully civilian rule through a credible, free and fair election under a truly independent and international supervision.

"There will be a negotiated all inclusive transitional mechanism process and all national stakeholders should be involved in that process," said Tsvangirai.

His remarks come days after the army took over control of the country on Tuesday morning and put Mugabe under house arrest.

In his message, Tsvangirai urged parties involved in the crisis to agree to a total return to full democracy, credible, free and fair elections.

"Reforms should be implemented before any elections are held. There should be an agreed post- election framework to guaranteed stability, peace and national prosperity but SADC, AU and all international bodies should be underwriters and guarantors to the road map to the free and free election.

"We need free and fair elections in order to return to civilian rule. Zimbabweans can solve their own problems with the solidarity of the international community."

He then applauded war veterans and the army for the work done in their respective responsibilities.

"We acknowledge the work done by war veterans for liberating the country and the army for respecting the citizens' fundamental rights at this moment."

President Robert Mugabe was Friday officiating at the Zimbabwe Open University graduation ceremony in Harare despite reportedly being under house arrest.

Missing from the event however, was higher education minister Jonathan Moyo who is usually by the president’s side at such events.

In place of Moyo, who is believed to be one of the officials wanted by the military, was deputy higher education minister Godfrey Gandawa.

Also present at the event were the minister of state for Harare province Miriam Chikukwa, cyber security minister Patrick Chinamasa and counterpart Mike Bimha.

The usual police protection and presidential guard watched over the proceedings, giving an appearance of normalcy.

Mugabe appeared in public for the first time in several days Thursday shacking hands and smiling with the man who has reportedly toppled him from power on Wednesday.

The 93-year-old held talks with defence forces chief General Constantino Chiwenga and envoys dispatched by to Harare South African president Jacob Zuma.

His appearance at Friday’s graduation ceremony adds another layer of confusion to the political situation in the country.

Observers speculated that the military Generals behind Wednesday’s power grab are keen to maintain a façade of normalcy to fend off intervention by SADC and the African Union.

The two organisations have made clear that a coup would not be tolerated and urged a speedy return to a constitutional order.

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was Friday officiating at the Zimbabwe Open University graduation ceremony in Harare despite reportedly being under house arrest.

Missing from the event however, was higher education minister Jonathan Moyo who is usually by the president’s side at such events.

In place of Moyo, who is believed to be one of the officials wanted by the military, was deputy higher education minister Godfrey Gandawa.

Also present at the event were the minister of state for Harare province Miriam Chikukwa, cyber security minister Patrick Chinamasa and counterpart Mike Bimha.

The usual police protection and presidential guard watched over the proceedings, giving an appearance of normalcy.

Mugabe appeared in public for the first time in several days Thursday shacking hands and smiling with the man who has reportedly toppled him from power on Wednesday.

The 93-year-old held talks with defence forces chief General Constantino Chiwenga and envoys dispatched by to Harare South African president Jacob Zuma.

His appearance at Friday’s graduation ceremony adds another layer of confusion to the political situation in the country.

Observers speculated that the military Generals behind Wednesday’s power grab are keen to maintain a façade of normalcy to fend off intervention by SADC and the African Union.

The two organisations have made clear that a coup would not be tolerated and urged a speedy return to a constitutional order.

Waddani Party supporters on Thursday took to the streets of various opposition strongholds to protest what they claim to be election irregularities. In Burco police had to use live bullets to disperse protestors who had lit bonfires and closed main roads.

Earlier a spokesman for Somaliland's Waddani opposition party claimed "fake" ballot papers were used in Monday's voting. The Electoral Commission has yet to respond to the allegations.

International observers have noted allegations of underage voting and alleged interference of security personnel in some stations. Wadani says it has cut off cooperation with the breakaway regions National Elections Board.

An Economist, Dr Bongo Adi, has advised the Federal Government to reduce interest rates from 14 per cent to 12 per cent, to stimulate growth in the real sector.

Adi, a Senior Lecturer at the Lagos Business School (LBS), made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that government was no longer under pressure to retain the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent, due to the declining inflation rate.

The Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) is the benchmark rate at which banks can lend to companies and their customers.

NAN reports that data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Nov.15 showed that the October inflation rate stood at 15.91 per cent, the ninth consecutive decline in inflation rate since the beginning of the year.

Inflation targeting had been a major economic policy objective of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and this has been the focus of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

The apex bank had since July 26, 2016 maintained the MPR at 14 per cent, the Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent, in its bid to control inflation.

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Adi said that inflation declined because of government's sustained and efficient battle against any surge in the foreign exchange rate, like what was witnessed in the country in the last one or two years.

"Government has been under pressure from the real sector to cut the interest rate because inflation has been on the decline.

"The inflation that we had was cost-push inflation and it arose as a result of the depreciation of the naira and with the sanitation of the foreign exchange market, we have seen inflation dropping.

"I expect government to cut the rate as a palliative measure to boost activities in the manufacturing sector.

"Even though other sectors have bounced out of recession, the manufacturing sector seems to be still suffering, because of the high borrowing rates in the banks. With a rate cut, things would become easier for them," he said.

According to him, the MPR has been at 14 per cent for almost two years.

He proposed that the MPC should be reduced to 12 per cent, to encourage speedy economic growth.

Adi said that the macroeconomic environment, stability in oil price and oil production had increased government's liquidity and revenue, thereby reducing its financial pressures.

The economist, however, noted that government's efforts to source money to fund the budget deficit could be a dynamic move that might work against rate cut.

"The Senate just gave approval for the President to borrow 5.5 billion dollars from the market.

"That would tend to push rates, because the reason why interest rate is high till this moment is because of the crowding out effect which arises from the competition of the government also looking for liquidity.

"Because of that, they had to jerk up the rate so that individuals would prefer to invest in government's assets rather than giving their money to businesses.

"Now that government seems to be getting stability in oil revenue, may be it would reduce the amount of its borrowing in the market.

"We are approaching the political campaign cycle, so I see the rates coming down," he said.

Adi said that maintaining the interest rates at the present level at the forthcoming MPC meeting would imply that the government was not interested in growing the real sector of the economy.

NAN reports that the last MPC meeting of the CBN for the year would hold on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21. (NAN)

analysis By Surina Esterhuyse, University of the Free State

The South African government has made a firm commitment to proceed with unconventional gas exploration using fracking. During fracking a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped under high pressure into a deep well to fracture the rock and release "tight" gas that is not easily released by the rock. Speculative estimates of the potential gas resource in the country's Karoo basin range from 13 to 390 trillion cubic feet of gas, with the lowest estimate being the most realistic.

The extraction of shale gas is an attractive option. It could reduce South Africa's huge reliance on coal for energy.

But there are also uncertainties around the impact of shale gas extraction. That's why the Academy of Science investigated South Africa's technical readiness for shale gas development. It assessed the status of available information and technologies that can support the development of the shale gas industry. The government also commissioned the strategic environmental assessment for shale gas development.

One major concern from fracking is that groundwater will be affected in the shale gas extraction process. But a groundwater vulnerability map could help assess these risks. It also has the potential to help government decide which regions can be more safely fracked to limit damage to groundwater resources.

Groundwater damage

Groundwater only contributes about 13% of the total water supply of South Africa, but it is an important strategic water source. Two thirds of South Africa's surface area and more than 300 towns depend largely on groundwater for drinking water.

Unconventional oil and gas extraction often has an impact on groundwater. Some of these include aquifer damage. An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock from which groundwater can be extracted using a borehole. During oil and gas extraction, an aquifer can experience dewatering, deformation, and contamination.

In some cases, the damage from contamination can be irreversible, such as when aquifer contamination can't be physically cleaned or rehabilitation is too expensive. Physical cleanup may be impossible, for instance, when certain organic contaminants cannot be effectively removed. In the US, hazardous waste cleanup sites present a technical and institutional challenge at more than 126 000 contaminated locations. Various organic compounds are also used in fracking fluids and therefore represent similar risks to groundwater resources.

Both research reports on shale gas extraction found that it could have an impact on South African groundwater resources. One of the reports found that there were no extra groundwater resources available and that fracking operations would impact existing ones. This report also found that shallow groundwater resources in these water scarce areas may be contaminated by fracking operations.

That's where the groundwater vulnerability map comes in. It gives the location of sites where the groundwater resource is at risk due to a potentially damaging event linked to fracking, which could cause pollution or destruction of this resource.

A groundwater vulnerability map

The groundwater vulnerability map for unconventional oil and gas extraction shows the areas where groundwater is at risk from unconventional oil and gas extraction. The map is classified from very low to very high vulnerability. Areas with high vulnerability should not be used for exploration and extraction.

But it does not mean that areas with low vulnerability is a free for all and that oil and gas extraction can go ahead freely. The map also shows the location of geological structures where groundwater is more vulnerable to oil and gas extraction, because contamination from for instance spillages can enter the groundwater easier at these locations. Protection zones have been drawn around these vulnerable geological structures and no oil and gas development activities should occur within these zones.

The interactive map has already helped researchers in performing the strategic environmental assessment for shale gas development. It could also be useful assessing water use license applications, oil and gas extraction permit applications and environmental impact assessments. The map presents the relevant groundwater vulnerability information in a central location and in a comprehensible manner.

The interactive vulnerability map will also help regulators with risk assessment. It will ensure consistent interpretations of groundwater vulnerability by different users, if they all use one standard map. And it will enhance the transfer of scientific information to government, consultants and academia.

The map may also be used to guide policy development for unconventional oil and gas extraction for fracking in South Africa. It may assist with the development of effective oil and gas extraction regulations to ensure sustainable development.

Lessons for South Africa

Most international vulnerability maps for oil and gas extraction have been produced after fracking operations have already started. They don't represent baseline maps which show areas that are vulnerable to fracking before the process starts. This is because when fracking was first used to extract oil and gas, information on its possible impact on natural resources, was not yet available.

The value of baseline vulnerability maps was therefore not yet understood. Baseline vulnerability maps could however reduce uncertainty in understanding the risks to humans and wildlife from oil and gas extraction and could be used in adaptive management. It could also present an impartial scientific base for resource management during extraction of oil and gas resources.

Countries that are planning to go ahead with fracking and shale gas extraction have a unique opportunity to address data needs and perform crucial baseline vulnerability mapping before extraction starts.

Such a map should also be linked to an active public access database, much like the Fracktracker database. This is an interactive map that shows information on where extraction takes place by showing well sites, gas pipelines and shale gas deposit localities. And, where available, it shares information on volumes of water and chemicals used and wastewater recovered. Such a map shows information in real time and will lessen data gaps. It will enhance transparency and access to information. This would enable government to better protect natural resources during extraction and could enhance citizen stewardship.

By Hamisu Muhammad

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries of excessive debt services in the respective economies.

According to IMF regional outlook unveiled in Abuja yesterday, debt servicing costs are becoming a burden especially in oil-producing countries, noting that such costs are expected to absorb over 60 per-cent of government revenues in 2017 in Nigeria, Angola and Gabon.

The IMF said in 2016 public debt rose above 50 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 22 sub-Saharan African countries.

The outlook titled "Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Diversification" was unveiled by the Senior Resident Representative and Mission Chief for Nigeria (Africa Department) Mr. Amine Mati said fiscal consolidation plans needed to be implemented in the region, adding that diversification offers a path to growth.

"Fiscal pressures pose risks to the weakened financial sector in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa countries," it said.

Noting that debt stocks have risen throughout the region, the IMF stated that exchange rates pressures have eased in many countries, siting the case of Nigeria.

The IMF stressed that the economies in the region are driven by large fiscal deficit and depreciation while debt stocks have risen throughout the region.

But the IMF noted that the region recorded a modest growth recovery but added that the recovery is not sufficient to raise the gross domestic product (GDP) per capital in many countries of the region.

Photo: Joseph Kiggundu/Daily Monitor

One of the sand mining sites operated by Porch Group at Bukolwa village, Nkumba Parish in Katabi Town Council, Entebbe Municipality.

By Paul Adude

Residents of Nkumba, Bwaise in Katabi Town council were left in shock after one of their colleagues, Jessie Kiddi, a Nigerian national and manager of Porch mining company fell and drowned into a mining trench.

Eyewitness told this reporter that Kiddi fell in the trench as he was running away from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) security officials led by Officer in Charge of Environment at Entebbe Main Police station, Sgt James Odong, who had gone to stop the sand mining in the area.

Mr Issa Asiimwe, an employee with Porch mining company said they were chatting when they saw NEMA officers prompting Kiddi and his Nigerian friend Mr Ashim Izukwo to take off in the direction they used to mine sand.

"When they realized that the officers were running after them with guns and handcuffs, they headed for the area with deep trenches. Ashim was able to make it out but unfortunately, Kiddi drowned," he said.

He said Kiddi who had spent two years in the country mining at the same site had recently told them to cease operations at the site after receiving a notice from NEMA.

"I nearly survived falling into the water but Sgt Odongo and his officers should have acted better than showing up with guns and handcuffs which frightened us and we ran leading to the death of our good boss," he said.

Mr John Mulumba, the area Chairman called for the arrest of Sgt Odong whom he said knew the deceased and therefore should not have tried run after Kiddi and his colleagues.

Recently, the Entebbe Municipality Deputy town clerk, Mr Dan Fred Lutaaya requested NEMA to stop sand mining activities in the area citing destruction of the wetland to which NEMA complied and issued a letter to Porch mining company to stop sand mining. The mining company complied after receiving the letter.

Kiddi's body was retrieved by the police marine unit on Wednesday on orders of the Officer in charge of Mpala Police Station, Mr Joseph Sekitoleeko and taken to Mulago hospital for postmortem.

In a related development, a yet to be identified woman's body was on Wednesday found floating on water at Missed Call Beach in Katabi Town Council.

Marine Police was able to retrieve the body of the woman believed to be in her early 20s and took it to Mulago for a postmortem.

By Alex Isaboke

Nairobi — When one hears the name Kakuma, what comes into the mind is the Refugee Camp located in the North-western region of Kenya, however, David Majak has painted a different picture as the lanky South Sudanese youngster shone to leave a mark at the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Rift Region Finals held at the Narok Stadium on November 5.

Majak, 18, who has grown up in Kakuma Turkana County, scored a brace to inspire his Kapenguria Heroes to a 2-0 victory over Nakuru All Stars and book a slot in the nationals of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom where they will represent the Rift Region in March 2018.

His super touch, accurate passes and clinical finish left him the talk of the day at a packed Narok Stadium, attracting the eyes of scouts who attended the match. He was recognized for his effort in the two day competition where he was the top scorer with seven goals and named the Most Valuable Player.

Majak reveals the hardship that he has undergone to peruse his passion of becoming a superstar, training at the dusty murram fields in the County of Turkana and lack of facilities, but he remains focused, hoping to break through one day and play for his dream club Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.

With the unfavorable hot conditions for training, Majak together with his team-mates or sometimes alone, usually trains in the evening when the weather has cooled down after being inspired to fall in love with football by his elder brother who was also a player.

-Dream to play for Gor-

His immediate wish is to play for record 16-time Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia after being attracted with K'O'galo's style of play.

"I started my football career in Kakuma, Turkana County in 2014, I started as a goalkeeper but now I am a deadly striker and I believe I will go far. The journey has not been smooth because Turkana is a difficult place to play football because of the heat," the striker narrated to Capital Sport.

"Sometimes we don't go for training, we only wait for games to go and play but if you have talent you can train alone and that is if you are determined... that is what I usually do. The challenges however are the facilities. The fields are of murram so you have to play very carefully or else you will badly get injured," he revealed.

Interestingly despite being a Tottenham diehard fan, Majak is nicknamed 'Cazorla' deriving from Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla.

He disclosed that his desire is to be a role model for other aspiring footballers in Turkana County who believe they cannot defy the odds and achieve their dreams.

"It's not that our team (Kapenguria Heroes) is that good, it's a matter of team spirit and believing in our selves. Since the days I was a goal keeper I have been admiring Gor Mahia because I like the way they play and I believe I will play for them one day. There is nothing impossible in this world," Majak said.

"In five years from now I have faith that I will board an airplane and go play abroad. Who knows maybe I will replace Harry Kane one day... haha," Majak with a genuine laugh underscored.

Majak underwent his Primary Education in Kakuma before enrolling at Chewoyet Boys High School where he is currently in Form Three.

He will see his dream come true to travel to London at his favourite White Hart Lane club Tottenham Hotspur, and have a chance to meet Harambee Stars captain, Victor Wanyama if his Kapenguria Heroes team emerges the champions of the boys' Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom champions in March 2018.

The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom tournament is aimed at identifying and developing football talent from the grass root.

Springbok backline coach Franco Smith believes it's an incorrect perception that the side's back three struggles both defensively and in dealing with the high ball.

It's been well-documented that right wing Raymond Rhule - since dropped from the side - slipped nine tackles in the 57-0 loss to the All Blacks in Albany two weekends ago.

But there has been concern over the ability of Courtnall Skosan in the air, too, and with Australia expected to kick on the Springbok back three in Bloemfontein this weekend, Smith was asked on Tuesday to respond to the criticism that the Bok back three is an area of defensive weakness.

"That's a perception. If you look at the detail, and we work with it every day, then that's a perception that is actually wrong," Smith said.

"If you see how much the ball has been dropped by other teams and our predecessors, you will see that it's not much different to what we've been doing.

"In fact, I think we've been working really hard at it and generally there is a big improvement.

"You can't judge a guy if he drops one ball and points come off it. The other three that he handled well must also be noticed as well."

The Bok back three has been unchanged up until now in 2017 with wings Rhule and Skosan, and fullback Andries Coetzee all making their debuts in the first Test against France back in June.

"What must also be noted is that we still sit with one of the most inexperienced back threes in rugby at this stage on the international scene and we've just got to work through this period," Smith added.

"It's seven games we've been together.

"Coach Allister (Coetzee) decided that for us to be competitive there are certain things that must happen. We were spoilt for selection back then."

Smith was referring to the decision from Coetzee and SA Rugby to back more local players, with the rule that no player who is overseas-based and capped less than 30 times at international level can be selected for the Boks.

"We need more players in every role with enough experience and then we need to have the best guy out there," Smith offered, adding that he wanted the Wallabies to test the Boks aerially.

"We know that if we get that ball in the air, we're going to play rugby. We hope they give us a lot of high balls so we can play off it."

Rhule will almost certainly be replaced by Dillyn Leyds on Saturday, and the hope is that the 25-year-old's experience will see him dominate the aerial battle.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.

Follow Sport24's @LloydBurnard for live updates from Bloemfontein...

Source: Sport24

The team that wins the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 will have to be clinical when attacking from open play, says Springbok backline coach Franco Smith .

In the past, defence has been seen as critical in winning a World Cup and the scores in the majority of the tournament finals over the years confirm that.

But with the game continuing to evolve, sides are looking to launch attacks from anywhere and everywhere and Smith believes that perfecting the art of attack from open play will be hugely important in 2019.

"I think the team that gels the best at the World Cup in general attack is going to score the tries ... not the best drives or the best lineout," he said from Bloemfontein, where the Boks are preparing for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies.

"It's going to be who keeps the ball and who gets over the line. To me that is what makes a good team ... when teams start to understand who is going to carry and who is going to pass, how deep we must stand ... there are a lot of factors.

"I believe winning the World Cup in 2019 will be about the team whose general attack is best developed. Because 90 percent of the game consists of general attack from anywhere."

It is a philosophy that the Boks have been looking to implement since the beginning of the year, Smith says.

The emphasis remains ball-in-hand rugby, but Smith knows that it will not happen overnight.

"We will really need to develop as a group in that," he said.

"I know it takes a bit of time, and obviously at Test level we don't have that time, or that luxury. So every moment's training, or even in the games ahead we need to gel together as a team and get our shape as quickly as possible."

Defence, though, would still be key for the Boks in Japan.

"If you look at the scoreboards lately across the world, it looks like scoring tries has become the main emphasis. The rules of the game at this stage lean slightly towards that," Smith said.

"I still believe that the team with the best defence will give himself the chance to win the game, but they will not score tries."

Two weekends ago, the Boks were kept scoreless against the All Blacks in Albany in a performance that did little to suggest they were on the right track attack-wise.

On Saturday against the Wallabies, only tries will do.

Follow Sport24's @LloydBurnard for live updates from Bloemfontein...

Source: Sport24

Passionate about the game, newly appointed Nelson Mandela Bay Stars chief executive Sean Morris will be aiming to add his own brand of expertise as the franchise strive to make an impact on the inaugural T20 Global League.

Initiated this year in South Africa as an answer to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia's Big Bash, the T20 Global League is poised to change the face of the game in the country.

With high quality international representation and leading South African players among the eight franchises, cricket authorities are confident the new competition will capture the fans' imagination.

And Morris, with a rich cricketing background, will be doing his utmost to ensure Nelson Mandela Bay fans are provided with an experience that will transform them into permanent members of the greater Eastern Cape franchise family.

Born in England, the 49-year-old Morris played professionally for Hampshire in domestic cricket, scoring 101 not out when the county played Kepler Wessels' touring South Africans in 1994.

After his retirement from the game in 1997, he became involved in sports marketing, working for the Dunlop-Slazenger cricket brand. He later became chief executive of the Professional Cricket Association in England, followed by a two-year stint as CEO of the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

Although he has only visited Port Elizabeth once previously, Morris has a strong connection with South Africa, having played league cricket in Cape Town for five years in the 1990s, soon after the country was invited back into the international fold.

He is now looking forward to ensuring the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars are placed firmly on the map, with a growing excitement about working alongside legends such as ex-Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Boucher and Zimbabwe fast bowler Heath Streak.

"The thing that particularly attracted me was the appointment as coach of Mark Boucher, whom I know through a number of very close friends," said Morris.

"Working with Mark will be very interesting for me, while Heath Streak is a former team-mate of mine and we worked together only 18 months ago.

"So when you look at the cricket management team, I immediately knew that's grade A - sorted."

Morris said his vision for the franchise was that it was all built around the fan.

"The model is built on the media and sponsorship, but you are only as valuable as your fan base. So, as an investor, your top priority is to grow your fan-base."

He added that the T20 Global League franchise was a huge opportunity for the Nelson Mandela Bay region to promote itself to a massive world audience.

"There is fantastic potential here," said Morris, who jetted into the city over the weekend.

"I guess it's just about the level of confidence. There is a feeling here that we could do something amazing, but are we going to do it?

"It's more than just rocking up for seven games of cricket," he said. "If we get this right, we can get into a position where we can help youngsters, help EP cricket and get the community behind the team.

"We have the potential to do that and we have to find a way of delivering that."

Source: Sport24

Toto Riina, Mafia 'boss of bosses', dies in jail aged 87

  • 17 November 2017
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"Toto" Riina in his 1993 police mugshotImage copyright Reuters
Image caption "Toto" Riina was finally captured in 1993

Notorious Sicilian Mafia "boss of all bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina has died from cancer in jail, aged 87.

Riina was serving 26 life sentences and is believed to have ordered more than 150 murders.

The head of the feared Cosa Nostra spent nearly a quarter of a century on the run before being jailed in 1993. He ordered more murders from jail.

As well as kidney cancer, he was said to have been suffering from a heart condition and Parkinson's disease.

Riina had been in a medically induced coma and his family had been given special permission to visit him in the prisoners' wing of the hospital in Parma, northern Italy.

How did Riina become the 'boss of bosses'?

Riina was born in 1930 to poor farmers in Corleone, Sicily - the birthplace of Don Corleone, the fictional Godfather in Francis Ford Coppola's film trilogy.

His father was killed when he was 13 and at 19 he joined the local Mafia, committing murder to gain entry. He spent six years in prison.

When he got out, he helped local mobster Luciano Leggio kill Corleone's Mafia boss. Along with childhood friend Bernardo Provenzano, he then led a hit squad targeting Mafia boss Michele "the Cobra" Cavataio in Palermo, giving the Corleone clan a foothold in the Sicilian capital.

When Leggio was arrested in 1974, Riina became boss.

Under his leadership, the clan came to dominate the Cosa Nostra crime group in the 1970s, as its fortunes blossomed, buoyed by a booming trade trafficking heroin to North America.

He was a wanted man, but evaded justice for 24 years, remaining all the while on the island of Sicily.

What marked him out?

The Mafia is notorious for brutality, but Riina was the most savage of all, earning him the nickname "The Beast".

"He was the fiercest and the nastiest mobster in the mafia probably in history," Francesco Bongarra, a journalist with Italian news agency Ansa, told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Judge Giovanni Falcone, second from left, earned Riina's wrath by jailing scores of mafiosos in the 1980s
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The judge was killed in a 1992 bombing that left this wreckage of a police car - ordered by Riina

While his cruelty propelled him up the ranks it was also key to his downfall, and to a pivotal point in Mafia relations with the Italian state.

In 1981, Riina began a two-year drive dubbed "The Slaughter" to eliminate his rivals, causing many mobsters to fear for their own lives and those of their families.

Many broke their code of silence and began to co-operate with investigators, resulting in a breakthrough case which saw hundreds of mafiosos convicted.

Riina did not take this lying down. In 1992, within two months the two leading judges in the case, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, had been blown up.

But six months later, Riina was arrested.

What has happened since his incarceration?

In detention, Riina's savagery continued.

He ordered the murder of a 13-year-old boy kidnapped to try to prevent his father revealing information about the Mafia. The boy was strangled and his body dissolved in acid.

And, partly in protest at his arrest, his associates carried out a series of bombings in Rome, Milan and Florence in 1993, leaving 10 people dead.

Riina had been imprisoned under the "Article 41-bis prison regime" imposing tight security measures on Mafiosos intended to completely cut off prisoners from their criminal contacts.

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption In his final days in jail, Riina was recorded saying he "regrets nothing"

The regime includes strictly limited visits from his family. Petitions for him to be released into house arrest for his last days were met with angry protests from the relatives of some of his many victims.

Earlier this year, Riina was recorded on a wiretap saying he "regrets nothing... They'll never break me, even if they give me 3,000 years" in jail, reported AFP news agency. And indeed he has never broken his silence.

Riina leaves behind a wife, Antonietta, and four children, including his eldest son, Giovanni, who is serving a life sentence in jail for four murders.

Sylvester Stallone denies sexually assaulting 16-year-old fan

  • 17 November 2017
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Sylvester StalloneImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stallone's spokeswoman said the story was "categorically false"

Actor Sylvester Stallone has denied reports that he and a bodyguard sexually assaulted a 16-year-old fan in Las Vegas in the 1980s.

The Mail Online has published what it says is a police report dating from 1986, which detailed the allegations.

The young woman did not press charges, the report said, because she was "humiliated and ashamed", as well as being "scared". No action was taken.

The Rocky star's spokeswoman said the story was "categorically false".

Michelle Bega described the allegation as "ridiculous", adding: "No one was ever aware of this story until it was published today, including Mr Stallone.

Image copyright Getty Images

"At no time was Mr Stallone ever contacted by any authorities or anyone else regarding this matter."

The alleged victim said she became intimidated and frightened when the star's bodyguard became involved in the incident in a hotel room, according to the 12-page police report.

The report says the girl alleged they met in July 1986 in what was then the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel when she got an autograph from Stallone, then 40.

She claimed a bodyguard gave her keys to a hotel room, where she later had sex with both men.

The officer wrote: "She said that after she got dressed, Stallone made the comment to her that they were both married men and that she could not tell anybody about the incident and if she did, that they would have to beat her head in."

Case dropped

A separate report from the sexual assault unit stated the men then laughed, "and she took it as a joke also", but after the alleged victim left the room she "became very distraught and frightened, and wasn't sure that that threat had been a joke after all".

It added that she said she was not physically forced to have intercourse but felt "intimidated".

Stallone was in Las Vegas at the time making the film Over the Top. His bodyguard, Mike de Luca, was shot dead by police in California four years ago.

The allegations were previously published by the Baltimore Post-Examiner last February. Ms Bega declined to comment further when asked if Stallone was aware of them.

The Mail said retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective sergeant John Samolovitch vouched that "the copy of the police report is in fact a true copy of the original report". The force is yet to comment.

Stallone's denial comes in the wake of allegations made against key Hollywood figures including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis CK.

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Italy Berlusconi: Ex-wife to pay back €60m in alimony

  • 17 November 2017
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Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his wife Veronica Lario are seen in Rome on 4 June, 2004Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Lario and Mr Berlusconi, seen here in 2004, broke up in 2009

An ex-wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been ordered to pay him back €60m ($70m; £53m) in alimony after a court ruled that she did not need the money.

He will also no longer need to pay €1.4m a month to Veronica Lario, mother of three of his children.

His lawyers said Ms Lario was wealthy enough to support herself with her €16m fortune. She has not commented.

They split in 2009 after he was seen at the 18th birthday of an aspiring model.

A court in 2012 initially awarded Ms Lario, 61, alimony of €3m a month. That was cut to €1.4m in 2013, but Berlusconi, 81, complained it was still too high.

An appeals court in Milan voted in his favour, saying she did not need additional income. Her wealth includes cash deposits, jewels and a real estate business.

The decision followed a ruling by Italy's supreme court this year that divorce settlements should no longer guarantee spouses the standard of living they had during the marriage but rather ensure their financial sufficiency.

Berlusconi is Italy's fifth richest man, by US magazine Forbes.

The couple met in a dressing room in 1980 after Berlusconi saw Ms Lario perform in a Milan theatre.

They wed in 1990 and were married for 22 years. In 2007, Ms Lario demanded an apology for one of his flirtations in a letter carried on the front page of national newspaper La Repubblica.

She began divorce proceedings in 2009, accusing him of consorting with minors. Before Ms Lario, he was married to Carla Dall'Oglio for 20 years.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Berlusconi is the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party

The four-time prime minister, who remains the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party, has been embroiled in financial and sex scandals.

In 2013, he was convicted of tax fraud and ejected from the Italian Senate. He was also banned from holding public office ever again.

In 2015, he was acquitted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute after initially being convicted in what became known as the "bunga bunga" case.

He has two other children from his first marriage and is currently engaged to 32-year-old Francesca Pascale.

  • 17 November 2017
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Cameroon main parliament building engulfed in flamesImage copyright Camer24

The main parliament building in Cameroon's capital Yaoundé has been badly damaged by fire which ripped through four floors.

Firefighters managed to put out the blaze before it could reach the parliamentary chamber.

There has so far been no indication of any casualties and the cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.

In this week's session, the national assembly had been discussing the budget.

Pictures and video posted on social media show the upper floors in flames, hours after it first took hold.

Fire fighters overwhelmed by the flames.
The building is still on fire. The fire broke out at 9:50pm Cameroon time

— Mimi237 (@Mimimefo237)

End of Twitter post by @Mimimefo237

: Members of , administrative and security officials at the National Assembly for first hand appraisal of the flames that have devastated parts of the building.

— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web)

End of Twitter post by @CRTV_web

: l'Assemblée nationale littéralement coupée en deux par les flammes cette nuit.

— Mathieu OLIVIER (@MathieuOlivier)

End of Twitter post by @MathieuOlivier

An AFP new agency photographer said the fire was fully extinguished by dawn today.

Image copyright AFP

press release

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has announced the establishment of the 'Akufo-Addo Programme for Economic Transformation' (AAPET) to accelerate investments in Agriculture, Strategic Infrastructure and Industrialization.

Mr Ofori-Atta made this known when he presented to Parliament the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

Under the programme, Mr Ofori-Atta said, government would modernize agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security and increase profitability for farmers while creating new businesses and job opportunities in the sector.

AAPET, he said, was, therefore, a three-pronged economic development programme that would see government investing in infrastructure that supported the opening up of the major agricultural zones of the country and in energy, and related infrastructure to accelerate the industrialization agenda of government.

"Significant investments will be made in the road and rail sectors of the economy to: facilitate trade and the movement of goods and people and abolish duties on some agricultural produce processing equipment and machinery; support the development of agribusiness start-ups; provide a Gh¢ 400 million Fund to de-risk the agriculture and agribusiness sector through sustainable agriculture financing and crop insurance schemes; increase the pace of agricultural mechanization; provide specific technical assistance and tax incentives to support agro-processing, packaging, and market access; launch a major pension scheme for cocoa farmers; ramp up investments under the Planting for Food and Jobs (seeds, subsidized fertilizer, etc); develop modern storage facilities through the "One District, One Warehouse" programme; implement a grant funding facility for agribusiness start-ups; launch the commodities exchange and open up key food basket zones through road construction and irrigation projects."

Mr Ofori-Atta announced that government was proposing the Nation Builders Corps, as a major government initiative to address livelihood empowerment and graduate unemployment to solve economic and social problems.

He said the focus of the initiative would be resolving challenges in public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, sanitation and drive revenue mobilization and, collection.

Under the Nation Builders Corps programme, he said, 100, 000 graduates would be hired in 2018, trained and equipped with the necessary work tools, and deployed around the country to be engaged as graduate teachers in a "Teach Ghana" programme; sanitation inspectors hired in a "Clean Ghana" programme; trained nurses and other healthcare workers recruited in a "Heal Ghana" programme; trained agricultural extension and other allied workers deployed in a "Feed Ghana" programme; and tertiary graduates mobilized in a "Revenue Ghana" programme to collect taxes that had been difficult to mobilize and enforce collection for the development of Ghana.

Mr Ofori-Atta announced that government, in fulfillment of its campaign promise, had reviewed the tariff setting methodology and cost structure of power production.

In that regard, he said, in 2018, efforts would be geared towards keeping the lights on at affordable rates to consumers, particularly industries and small businesses, through reform and policy interventions over a two-year period.

He said if government recommendations to PURC were accepted, consumers would be expected to benefit from reductions in electricity tariffs with an average reduction between 13 per cent and 21 per cent from the residential consumer to the high voltage mines.

Touching on business development, the Minister announced that government would develop and implement a comprehensive National Entrepreneurship Policy in 2018 and continue to facilitate and support private sector business entrepreneurial development.

On interventions to ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as stated in United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament that in 2018, government would increase the installed generation capacity by about 487MW (Cenpower; 340MW, Early Power Phase 1; 147MW) to meet the growing demand of electricity.

In addition, he said, government would embark on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) Solar Rooftop Programme to reduce expenditure on utilities.

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)

By Yohanes Jemaneh

The presence of a water weed, locally known as Emboch, at Lake Tana was first found in 2011 by Dr. Ayalew Wonde, a biologist from Bahir Dar University. Since then, various efforts have been conducted to get rid of the weed traditionally using human labor.

Despite the large scale campaigns to weed it out, the hyancith (Eichhornia crassipes) has kept on spreading on the lake as it has developed ability to revive quickly. Hence, the efforts exerted by the public have not brought about significant impact.

The major problem is that the weed revives within a short period of time unless it gets chopped, grinded and burned. According to studies, it takes more than 30 years to get rid of the weed. Ninety per cent of its body surfaces on the water.

Currently, the weed infested 50 thousand hectares of the lake. A study conducted by Dr. Solomon Kibret, a Bilogyist at California Uninversity, indicated that the major cause behind the quick re-emergence of the weed is that 90 percent of its body is comprised of water. It consumes plenty of water and has the ability to totally dry out the lake, unless quick measures are taken, the study stressed.

There are assumptions that the weed was imported either with agricultural technologies or fish traps, though it still needs further studies. The weed has also been observed in Sudan before it showed up at Lake Tana.

Tana is among the world's 250 lakes that are listed for having numerous biodiversities. It contains about 28 fish types, of which 21 of them are endemic. In the other way, the lake is also home to more than 30 historic monasteries, aged over 700 years. They host long historic and religious heritages, which are visited by numerous tourists.

According to the study, following the water weed infestatation, the number of fish in the lake has significantly decreased. The weed has infestated some 500 hectares of farmland in the surrounding area. Unless immediate solutions are taken, the water weed might cause massive disaster on the huge biodiversity and the surrounding community. It might also damage the nation's economy by affecting tourism and development projects including the Grand Rainassance Dam. Currently, the country is applying traditional weeding as well as other biological and technological methods. A prevention strategy has also been designed to remove the water weed until 2018.

But it seems difficult to achieve with little and unorganized efforts. Even some of the aforementioned methods have their own shortcomings. The shortcoming of using a machine can't mow more than 10 hectares per day. This means that with ten machines, it would take more than one and half year, to eradicate the the entire weed from the lake.

Though using chemical is the finest immediate solution, it could damage the biodiversity of the lake. The study indicates that biological method is the best solution from the available schemes to avoid the weed once and for all. And it has been implemented in 30 countries that have faced similar problem. For instance, the weed appeared on Lake Victoria is expected to be gotten rid of within 2 years with such method.

Therefore, as technological and biological methods are results of critical studies, universities need to maximize efforts to produce more efficient solutions. Accordingly, universities found in the nearby cities of Lake Tana, including Bahir Dar, Gondar and Debre Tabor have been putting hands to support the efforts to save the lake. Before two weeks, Gondar University has released its first machinery, mainly invented to mow and grind the water weed.

Similarly, Bahir Dar University is prompting to find out biological and technological methods, according to Dr. Mulunesh Abebe, University Research and Community Service Vice President. Together with Mulat Industrial Engineering, the University is exerting efforts to produce machinery at a cost of 19 million birr that could chop and grind the weed.

In 2015/16, the University facilitated opportunities for Ethiopian experts to draw Uganda's lesson in getting rid of the water weed from Lake Victoria. The university currently is trying to apply this experience at Lake Tana. "Uganda managed to control the invasive weed by applying biological methods and we are trying to do the same."

Hence, after bringing 150 beetles that only eat water hyacinth from Wonji Sugar Factory and conducting extensive research, the University is set to test its experiments practically at the Lake. As to her, the invasive weed threatens the surrounding biodiversity and major development projects of the country. The university has been also working to protect the biodiversity in and around the lake through conducting studies innurturing papyrus grass.

Blue Nile Water Study Institute Researcher and Biology Department Assistant Professor at the University, Dr. Getachew Beneberu said that biological method is the best available method to save the lake and its biodiversity. "We have been conducting researches on beetles for the past five months."

The beetles eat only the weed as their main source of food and the university is still conducting additional studies to prevent possible side effects, he noted. The 150 beetles were reproduced in laboratory. Currently, their number has reached 2000 and in each life cycle, they consumed the water weed. Once all precautionary measures are taken, this biological method would be tried on the lake within a month. "It is possible to release 250 to 1000 beetles in highly affected areas and they are expected to consume the weed in very short time."

The labor force that has been exerted so far to weed out the hyacinth could be worth about 16 million Birr. Recent study conducted by FAO indicates that 19 million USD is required to bring the weed to an end once and forever. But so far, only little amount has been secured. The federal government allocated not more than two million Birr. Therefore, allocating sufficient amount of budget and assisting the overall efforts of the universities' research and innovation programs should be given due attention by all stakeholders and the government to save the lake and its biodiversities on time.

Photo: Kiro'o Games

A Kiro'o Games programmer tests a build of video game the Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan for bugs (file photo).

THE ICT sphere has undergone distinct stages of evolution and has lately been focussing on going digital, which means shifting the paradigm from traditional business to an intelligent society.

Huawei President, Southern Africa Region, Mr Li Pengon has based on recent studies, seven out of 10 of the world's fastest growing companies are in Africa, the beginning of a trend that will give rise to new digital economies.

"Digital strategy is generally best seen as a tripartite engagement between the government as enabler, carriers as promoters and technology partners as solution providers in a win-win context.

However, based on statistics from Hoot-suite, Africa is a relatively distinctive continent with only 29 per cent of internet penetration and 14 per cent active on social media.

Nonetheless, Africa is known to be the technological renaissance. He said that in 2016, GSMA has shown that 300+ hubs have emerged in the African Tech Startup ecosystem. Investors are recognising the potential as well, and so, going digital is a strategic decision for any African enterprise.

It does not only boost macro-economic growth but also solve legacy enterprise or carrier issues in terms of time to market, shrinking traditional revenue streams, controlling costs, driving new revenues, monetising investments, and achieving convergence," he said.

He added that there are substantial benefits of digital versus the traditional way of conducting business, in the likes of improved efficiency, slimmer cost structure, faster time to market with focus on the customer, new services and openness.

Hence, he said cloud can be depicted as the stairway of digital strategy. The most optimal way to go about this change from legacy IT mode of operations to the digital world is by adopting modular and converged cloud architecture.

Mr Peng said choice of infrastructure is paramount to allow for future flexibility, scalability and evolution supporting all flavours of cloud, whether public, private, or hybrid. He said that many enterprises including banks have adopted cloud by initially moving internal and non-business critical applications before shifting the critical applications.

By Michael Eboh

THE Nigerian Nuclear Radiation Agency, has predicted that in the near future, companies would start producing cars that run on fuels from nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Director General of the NNRA, Mr. Lawrence Dim, who stated this at the Second National Technical Meeting on Personal Dosimetry for Dosimetry Service Providers and Radiation Safety Advisers in Abuja, declared that this would be driven by the current rate of industrialization across the world.

Dim, who was represented by Mr. Timothy Akpa, General Manager, Department of Nuclear safety, Physical Security and Safeguards, further stated that industrialization is also fuelling the use of nuclear fuels and radioactive materials.

He said, "We are now starting to see how we can use radiation in producing electricity. In many countries, radioactive materials are being used for heating purposes. As I once said, it may likely be that in the future, as safety consciousness grows all over the world, we would soon begin to have vehicles running on fuel of radioactive materials.

"Nigeria cannot afford to be behind. As long as we are building more industries, the refineries and so on, we need radiation to monitor what we are doing. The most important is even in health.

"All aspect of medical services - diagnosis, interventional radiology, radiotherapy and even nuclear medicine, all require radiation; and anywhere there is radiation, there is also the possibility that we would also have to be sure that the use conforms to the internationally recognized dose limits."

He explained that the technical meeting is a requirement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, that every country must have a system of dosimetry that they would use as a benchmark to know how much radiation that the people are getting, and that people are not over-exposed in the course of their work in the industry using ionizing radiation.

Radiation dosimetry refers to the measurement, calculation and assessment of the ionizing radiation dose absorbed by the human body.

He further stated that Nigerians are exposed to radioactivity in many areas of the economic life of the country, especially in the oil and gas industry, mining, beverages and in the consumption of certain goods imported into the country.

Dim disclosed that irrespective of the fact that the country does not have a nuclear power plant, ionising radiation exists in critical economic activities in various industries, which if not properly regulated, might pose serious challenges to the country.

He said, "Whether we have nuclear power plants or not, the use of ionizing radiation; the use of imported products, produced elsewhere, from those plants that are using these radioactive materials, it means we are also exposed to such radiation.

"They are very few industries -starting from industries that produced beverages, like Coca-Cola, they use radiation to make sure that the quality of their products is sound. In bigger industries, like in the oil industry, there is no well-logging without radiation. You cannot know when you have hit oil if you do not use radiation. The oil is far deep inside the ground.

"The same thing with any other mine; you would use radiation to know when you have met with the correct minerals that you are looking for. For example, if you want to dig for gold, you can use radiation to know when you have hit gold and so on and so forth."

He, however, assured that the NNRA is working assiduously to eliminate any threat from the use and exposure to radioactive materials, through adherence to strict standards.

He said based on the peculiarities of the country, Nigeria has its own standard which was in conformity to international standards that are well-tested and calibrated at the Primary Proximity Centre in the United Nations laboratory in Vienna.

Also speaking, Mrs. Modupe Oresegun, Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Safety Consultants, declared that Nigeria is doing great in areas of radiation, adding that the NNRA is one of the few regulatory bodies that are effective..

"It is not as if they have covered all operators, but they are doing so well and surely in the more important areas of oil and gas and industry. This is because they partner with international bodies and nobody can import any radiation sources into this country without a license. There is cooperation with the other side and that makes it very effective," she noted.

Moçamedes — Young people aged between 16 and 25 years are participating in the provincial fair of inventors and innovators in south-west Namibe province, under the initiative of the Foundation of Inventors and Innovators of Angola.

Several products will be displayed, with stress to those linked to culture, handicrafts, telecommunications, electricity, among others.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the deputy governor for economic, political and social area, Rebeca Camgombe said the initiative is meant to raise the scientific, technological and innovative culture of society.

Rebeca Camgombe said the country needs young innovators and inventors to help the State improve some social and economic projects aimed at the well-being of communities.

The chairperson of Foundation of Inventors and innovators, Desiderio Costa, called for the need to bet seriously on the youth.

According to him, betting on young people allow to discover talents in the different areas of knowledge.

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has expressed satisfaction with the operations of the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant, at Adjen Kotoku, explaining that the Plant is helping in bringing to bear an efficient, modern model of sanitation disposal.

At a visit to the Plant, on Friday, 10th November, 2017, President Akufo-Addo noted that "what we are witnessing here is the modern way of providing service, the collaboration between the State and private sector to deliver public goods. And, in this case, the most important in any city is sanitation."

With Greater Accra's population estimated at between 5 million and 7 million people, the President noted that "if we do not have an efficient, modern way of dealing with waste disposal, then we will have a city that will have major troubles with hygiene and an egress of cleanliness."

The Plant, the President added "is an eye opener for me. It is about what is possible, about what collaboration can do, and what is possible, with encouragement and proper policy framework, if we have confidence in Ghanaian entrepreneurs.

"Ghanaian entrepreneurs have to be at the forefront of the social and economic transformation of the country. This sort of facility, seeing it work in detail, is extremely encouraging."

Particularly, the President was excited "about the idea that out of here too, it is making an important contribution to our balance of payments, by being able to export products out of here to neighbouring countries and afar. If you put all of these things together, we are seeing the best kind of collaboration between the State and the private sector."

To Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, operators of the Plant, the President stated that "more grease to your elbow, and the contribution you are making to our social life is inestimable. We have to encourage you."

He continued, "When you are at the forefront of doing things, like you are, you will be the subject of controversy, it goes with the territory. I know you a little bit, and I know you are capable of handling it. Stay focussed."

On his part, Dr. Siaw Agyepong told the President that the company has invested some US$98 million in three different waste processing facilities across the country, employing some 700 permanent workers.

"Your presence here, Mr. President, reminds us of your commitment to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is a first step in that commitment. We see this as a smart and achievable vision, and we are happy to make this reality," he added.

The Plant, Dr. Siaw Agyepong said, has a designed capacity to process 600 tons of waste per day.

The Compost and Recycling Plant is an integrated waste processing and recycling company, established to receive, sort, process and recycle solid and liquid waste to produce organic compost for agronomic purposes in Ghana and in West Africa.

President Akufo-Addo also visited Zoompak Ghana Limited at Achimota, which specialises in the construction and management of waste transfer stations, collection and management of healthcare waste, amongst others.

Visit to Abossey Okai

President Akufo-Addo also visited Abossey Okai, to interact with spare parts dealers and business owners, as part of his tour.

He thanked them for the support offered to him and the NPP in the run-up to the December 2016 elections, adding that "had Abossey Okai not thrown its support behind the NPP and myself, winning power would have been extremely difficult, so I am grateful to you."

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that his government has started to implement several of the pledges made to the Ghanaian people ahead of last year's elections, i.e. Free SHS, the revival of the NHIS, restoration of allowances to nursing and teacher trainees, amongst others.

He reassured them that the 2018 budget, which will be read on 15th November, "will make you in Abossey Okai very happy", and thus, urged them to be patient with government, stressing that all the promises made to them and Ghanaians will be fulfilled in the course of his tenure of office.

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