Sunday, 24 November 2013

GIZ Media Tour in Ogun State

            GIZ Team with Cassava Farmers and Journalists 

Promoting international partnership among nations helps to reduce poverty and strengthens economic development. Through this kind of partnership, key areas of need are identified and programs and policies are tailored to empower the people.

International partners like the German Development Agency GIZ has been working with the government of three states in the country to promote sustainable development. In 2011, GIZ launched a Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme (SEDIN) the objective of which is to increase employment and income generation for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs). To achieve this, GIZ is partnering with the government of Ogun, Plateau and Niger states to empower local farmers by increasing crops of economic importance. The crops which are cassava, potatoes and Shea butter were chosen because the states are already known for production of these crops but with the GIZ partnership, it is expected that farmers in these states would go into large and commercial production.

Recently, GIZ had a media tour in Ogun state to evaluate the impact of the SEDIN programme on cassava farmers amongst others project.

In Ogun state which is the largest producer of cassava in Nigeria, local farmers have been trained and grouped into clusters to enhance large scale production of cassava for both food consumption and industrial use.

            Town Hall Meeting With Cassava Farmers

During a town hall meeting with commercial cassava growers in Ogun state, The Head of Programme of GIZ in Nigeria Mr. Christian Widmann explained that after field research in Ogun state, GIZ decided to work with local farmers who in the past were mainly concerned with the production of cassava for consumption. But it was discovered that five major starch producing companies were operating in Ogun state but they usually buy there cassava for production from Kwara state and elsewhere. This Mr. Widmann pointed out was not to the advantage of farmers with the largest production of cassava in Nigeria. Through workshop and training, GIZ has worked with the farmers in the area of marketing, proposal writing to companies, value-chain strategy etc. Mr. Widmann observed that cassava farmers in Ogun state have grown from mere local farmers who produce for food consumption to medium-scale production as they now partner with companies in the state to supply cassava for their large scale production of starch.

        AFAN State Chairman, Mr. Olusegun Dasalu

The Ogun state Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria AFAN, Mr. Olusegun Dasalu thanked GIZ for deciding to partner with farmers in the state as farmers have been encouraged to increase their cassava production. According to him since the partnership with GIZ, cassava farmers have improved in cassava production and are learning new skills beyond farming that has made them more presentable for business collaboration with key players in cassava processing  business. 

Mr. Dasalu revealed that some of the starch producing companies in the state require 360 tones of cassava per day for starch production. As a result of this, cassava farmers in the state are now growing cassava like never before to meet up to demand from the industries. 

In his words "Before the discovery of oil in Nigeria, our economy depended solely on agriculture and farmers across the country lived as Kings. We used food crops to build structures like the groundnut pyramid in Kano but the discovery of oil has spelt doom for agriculture. Farmers are regarded as peasants but we thank GIZ for this partnership because cassava is now a gold crop. We the farmers and the large scale processors in industries are now in a partnership to supply cassava to them thereby creating a ready market for our produce".  

Mr. Dasalu appealed to the State and Federal government to make farming equipment available and affordable. According to him "The cost of hiring tractors from the State government is expensive and eat into our profit. Most of our cassava farms are situated in the interior and far from accessible roads. When we hire labourers to work in the farms and transport the cassava, the cost of transportation and tractor hiring cost are expensive. We have enough farming lands in Ogun state but we need loans to boost our production and reduce the human labour on our farms. Some cassava farmers have over ten hectares of land and if we keep using human labour, this would make farming taxing. Mechanized farming is important for large scale production of cassava and farmers in Nigeria should be sponsored to practice farming in that level". I am hereby appealing to the federal and state government to increase budgetary allocation for agriculture because through agriculture unemployment and youth restiveness can be eradicated. Most us farmers in Nigeria are within the average age of 50 and we are growing old. We need people that will take over from us, unfortunately many of the youths including children of farmers are not showing intrest because they see agriculture as labour intensive. 

  GIZ Team with Ogun State Commissioners and Special Advisers

The GIZ team to Ogun state also had a parley with Ogun state officials. The Commissioner for Information disclosed that the administration has established farm settlement that would engage youths in the state. He pointed out that the farm settlements are designed like the ones in the old western region during Awolowo administration, and young graduates with intrest in agriculture are been recruited. He thanked GIZ for choosing Ogun state for there poverty reduction and international partnership project.

Mr. Dirk Schulz of the German Embassy in Nigeria traced Nigeria-German partnership to 1975. He described Nigeria as a strategic country in Africa and believes that if poverty could be reduced in Nigeria it would reflect in other parts of the continent.Many Africans migrate due to poverty, war and food crisis but if there is stability and the people are empowered, they won't migrate unnecessarily to other countries. Mr. Schulz noted that the recent migrant deaths in the Mediterranean could have been averted if there were opportunities for these people. When people migrate to other countries they pose risks and instability to there host. 

The German Development Agency GIZ has been partnering with the Federal government in the area of development interventions in Health, Business Promotion, vocational and natural resource management.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Open Letter to Goodluck Jonathan: Take Action Now By Hamzat Lawal

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Hamzat Lawal, a proud Nigerian citizen, passionate about the environment and transformative change. I am writing you today as a concerned youth whose future and that of generations yet unborn is being threatened by the effects of climate change.

I humbly appeal to you as the Leader of Africa’s most populous black nation, a father who loves his children and an environmentalist who is passionate about the well-being of the people. You should positively influence the ongoing climate talks and inspire other world leaders in taking actions especially in Africa.

Climate change will define our present and future existence, and you can be part of history by directly contributing to the world's response. At this crucial moment, political leaders are required to take bold steps in shaping our existence by protecting the ecosystems that hold up our societies. I strongly believe your leadership role would inspire other African and world Leaders.

A bill to establish the Climate Change Commission is currently awaiting your Presidential ascent; this bill, if passed into law, would coordinate Nigeria’s response to climate change and would give a positive signal to the global community while putting Nigeria at the forefront in tackling this menace.

Last year, many states in our dear country were ravaged with floods leading to the death of over 100 people. Millions were displaced, infrastructures worth millions of dollars destroyed leading to temporary economic collapse, children were unable to go to school and water borne diseases increased. You immediately made a provision of N17.6 billion in direct financial assistance to the affected states and some federal government agencies for disaster management; funds that could have been directed to economic growth if we had a legal and institutional framework in place.

In your inaugural speech on May 29, 2011, you said, ‘We must grow the economy, create jobs, and generate enduring happiness for our people. I have great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform this country.  The urgent task of my administration is to provide a suitable environment, for productive activities to flourish. I therefore call on the good people of Nigeria, to enlist as agents of this great transformation’.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that Africa will suffer the most from climate change compared to the other continents. We are particularly vulnerable because our current capacity to adapt to climate change is considerably limited.

In recent years, average temperatures have soared. They are projected by scientists to increase three to four degrees Celsius within the next century if nothing is done now. The extreme weather that comes with temperature rises will destroy infrastructure and have undue impacts on agriculture and disease risk rates. Currently, agriculture accounts for over 60% of our labour and contributes to our GDP, both of which are threatened by climate change.

You promised transformative growth, development and ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’. Now is the time to act on your promises by signing the Climate Change Commission bill into law.

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has invited you to join other Heads of State in bringing climate change commitments to the Climate Change Summit in New York in September 2014. If you ascent to this bill before going, you would put Nigeria on an enviable pathway toward building a low carbon economy; strengthening our resilience and bringing together the public and private sector, academia and other critical actors to chart a roadmap for sustainable growth and development for our great country, socially, economically and diplomatically with a guaranteed future for all.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

African Business Professionals massively migrating towards Mobile Devices

The African business community is adopting the use of mobile devices very rapidly. This is the main conclusion drawn from the survey conducted by the Africa Business Panel. 1776 African business professionals did participate in the survey.

The survey demonstrates that only 67 percent of Africa business professionals are using a desktop, versus 94 percent using laptops. The tablet, a relatively new mobile innovation, is already adopted by 47 percent of the African business world. 76 percent use a smartphone, which is more than the use of the classic mobile phone (64%). 9 percent possess both a private and a company smartphone.

types of mobile devices


Laptops are best protected. 87 percent of the laptop owners in the survey had software security installed. Of users of desktops, 76 percent made use of security. For tablets, 46 percent, and the least protected are smartphones (44%).

The main reasons for not installing security software are high costs (39%), the lack of urgency (32%) and complexity (17%). The most used software security is McAfee (31%), followed by Microsoft (30%), Kapersky (28%), AVG/Grisoft (28%) and Symantec (16%).

types of security software


Smartphones are used most frequently. 65 percent of the participants in the survey use their smartphones several times a day, 54 percent use their laptops just as frequently, with users of tablets following at 44 percent. 22 percent never use their personally owned mobile phone for work related communication as opposed to the smartphone, of which 6 percent of the owners say they never use it.

use of work related mobile devices

Future use

Asked about expected future use, the rise of mobile devices is confirmed by the survey participants. 60 percent expect a strong increase in the use of smartphones. For the tablet and the laptop, response in perceived increase was 58 and 44 percent respectively.

On the other hand, asked about which devices the participants expected a strong decrease in use, 32 percent indicated the desktop, versus only 4 percent for both smartphone and tablet.

use of work related mobile devices

Blackberry still a big brand in Africa, iPhone comes third after Samsung

Samsung is the leading smartphone brand in Africa. 30 percent of respondents that have a personal smartphone, have a Samsung. Blackberry is runner-up (22%), iPhone comes in third place (19%), prior to Nokia (11%), HTC (6%), Sony Ericsson (2%), LG (1%) and Motorola (1%).

The - smaller - market for company owned smartphones is led by Blackberry (31%), followed by Samsung (25%) and iPhone (23%).

brands mobile devices


This survey was conducted in the period of August and September, 2013. In total, we had 1766 Business Professionals from the continent of Africa participating in this research. 73 percent of these participants were either senior managers, executives, directors or business owners. The participants represent a wide range of African countries, with the main contributors coming from Nigeria (19%), South Africa (18%), Kenya (14%), followed by Ghana (5%), Tanzania (3%), Zambia (3%) and Angola (3%).

Women Should Be Involve in The Managing of Natural Resources: UN Report


Giving women access to and control of natural resources such as land, water, forests and minerals is essential to ensure war-torn countries can achieve long-term peace, according to a recent United Nations report.

“At a practical level, women form the majority of resource users and managers in peacebuilding settings, but this responsibility seldom translates to the political or economic levels. This has to change,” said the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner.

“Peace and development can only be achieved when both men and women access and benefit from natural resources in an equitable and sustainable way.”

The report, Women and natural resources: Unlocking the peacebuilding potential, states that while women in conflict-affected countries are often primarily responsible for meeting the water, food and energy needs of households and communities, they are largely excluded from owning land, benefiting from resource wealth, or participating in decisions about resource management.

This exclusion often extends to negotiations over the way that natural resources are allocated following a peace deal, with the result that women’s specific needs are rarely met during the peacebuilding process.

“Women bear the brunt of conflicts in many ways. They often have to become the sole caretakers of their families and communities and are agents of peace and recovery,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

“Sustainable natural resource use is the cornerstone of development. Women’s full participation and access to natural resources are urgent priorities for rebuilding peaceful societies.”

Women are also insufficiently targeted in post-conflict recovery programmes that aim to support natural resource-based livelihoods and small businesses, such as agriculture. The report argues that failing to seize the opportunity presented by women’s roles in natural resource management can perpetuate inequity and undermine recovery from conflict, as women have untapped potential as engines of economic revitalization.

In contrast, research by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that giving women farmers the same access to assets and finance as men could help increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 per cent. In conflict-affected countries, where women’s roles in agriculture tend to expand, this could raise total agricultural output and significantly strengthen recovery and food security.

“Natural resources, such as mineral wealth, have the potential to provide significant sustainable employment opportunities for women in conflict-affected settings,” said Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator and Director of the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. “However, in reality, women are frequently unable to take advantage of such opportunities. Barriers that prevent women from accessing the benefits of these resources, such as low-literacy rates, marginalization and limited mobility need to be addressed.”

The report urges Governments and the international community to invest in the political and economic engagement of women in natural resource management and to end discrimination that women face in accessing, owning and using critical natural resources in sustainable and productive ways.

“Women continue to be disenfranchised across the globe particularly in countries that have endured violent conflict,” said the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), Judy Cheng-Hopkins.

“This research shows that when women have a seat at the table and their concerns are taken into account in the management of natural resources, the impacts on families, communities and peace are positive and significant.”

Typhoon tragedy shines light on need for action at Warsaw climate negotiations

The major UN climate negotiations of the year opened today against a backdrop of tragedy with more than 10,000 people expected to have been killed in the most extreme Typhoon to have ever hit the Philippines. 
According to the IPCC, such typhoons are expected to become more frequent and more extreme if the climate continues to change. 
Speaking at the Climate Action Network opening press conference, Dr Alicia Ilaga from the Filipino delegation, said the devastation caused by the Typhoon highlighted how important it was that these talks agree to establish an mechanism in the UN to deal with the loss and damage caused by climate change.
“I bleed for my country, I bleed for my people who have been buried and washed away,” Dr Ilaga said. “We are investing in renewable energy, we are trying to adapt, but we cannot bear this burden on our own.” 
Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. That industry is having unprecedented access to these negotiations at the behest of the coal-dependent Polish Government, through corporate sponsorship and the  Coal and Climate Summit being held next week.
Julia Michalak EU policy officer from CAN Europe said that if the Polish Government wanted to be taken seriously on the international stage, it needed to prove it deserved to host this year’s climate negotiations. 
“The Polish Government can show it cares about future generations by abandoning plans to build new coal mines, ceasing to block EU climate action including discussions around an ambitious 2030 carbon pollution reduction target,” Michalak said.
While the tragedy of the Philippines disaster cast a pall over the opening of the climate negotiations in Warsaw, it should give parties a wakeup call to come up with concrete steps to urgently reduce carbon pollution and provide funds for poorer countries to take their own climate actions.
“The Polish government’s flagrant fossil fuel agenda should not deter parties from pushing hard for positive outcomes in Warsaw. This is no time for low expectations. We expect vision and leadership on the path to Paris in 2015,” said Tasneem Essop, WWF Head of Delegation to COP19.