Home Blog

The 2023 Conference of Land Policy makes resounding call to action for inclusive and sustainable Land governance to boost Intra-Africa Trade

0
The 2023 Conference of Land Policy makes resounding call to action for inclusive and sustainable Land governance to boost Intra-Africa Trade

Inclusive land governance is critical to achieving the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063. The 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa, which was held from 21-24 November in Addis Ababa, made a resounding call for African countries to develop inclusive Land reforms and land tenure rights, particularly for women and youth to promote Sustainable Land Governance in Africa for accelerated implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), is convened biennially by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). It serves as a platform for African Union member states to deliberate on critical land-related issues and formulate actionable recommendations.

The 2023 conference brought together 500 participants f comprised of a multiplicity of stakeholders drawn from African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), International Organisation, Civil Society Organisation, Academia and representatives of the Forum for African Traditional Leaders (FATA) among others. The conference featured scientific paper presentations, Master Classes, policy dialogues, and side events. The theme of this year’s conference is ” Promoting Sustainable Land Governance in Africa for Accelerated Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”, which is in line with the African Union Declaration of 2023 theme of the year, aimed at generating greater political commitment to accelerate the effective implementation of the AfCFTA to fully benefit the African citizenry and achieve the aspirations and goals of Agenda 2063.

H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson (DCP) of the African Union Commission graced the occasion by addressing the conference. She commended the diverse participation of multiple stakeholder groups comprising of Ministers, Traditional Chiefs, experts and researchers and others that generated great deliberations and exchanges during this conference underscoring the critical intersection between land governance and the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “It is imperative to reaffirm our collective commitment to harnessing the potential of sustainable land governance as a catalyst for economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The success of the AfCFTA hinges on our ability to ensure that land rights are secure, land use is efficient, and land-related conflicts are minimized”. Stated the AUC Deputy Chairperson. She added that the “African Union stands ready to support member states in advancing the land-related objectives outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063, the AfCFTA, the AU Land Governance Strategy, and the African Union Land Policy Framework and Guidelines (F&G), with the view to foster an environment where land is a driver of prosperity and unity”.

H.E. Ambassador Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment, in her speech pointed out that one significant area of progress pertains to the advancement of women’s land rights, in alignment with the African Union’s agenda on land. The commitment to securing women’s land rights has gained significant attention and has translated into concrete actions across various Member States. “In tandem with our progress on women’s land rights, we continue to address the dynamics of large-scale land-based investments in Africa amidst the pressing global challenge of climate change, our recent endeavours have been directed towards integrating climate-resilient land management practices into our policy frameworks as well as the paramount role  sustainable land governance plays in  accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a transformative opportunity for intra-African trade, industrialization, and economic growth, and coherent land governance is fundamental to realizing its full potential” underlined Commissioner Josepha Sacko.

Hon. Judith Nabakooba, Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, Uganda  said that there is a need for Africa to have good land governance policies that strengthen women’s rights to land to achieve fair and sustainable outcomes for all. “Uganda understands the relationship between land, trade and the wellbeing of the people. Effective land governance and management is the cornerstone of sustainable social justice,” She said policies formulated should be visional and must integrate climate change issues and reform land justice systems. The Land on Africa(??) continues to have major historical significance for the people. It lies at the centre of their agriculture activities, Trade, natural resources and other land-based activities that are fundamental to their livelihoods as well as ensuring food security and social- economic development and intra-Africa trade through the AfCFTA.

On behalf of Mr. Claver Gatete, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Robert Lisinge stated that the AfCFTA holds the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. “He said, sound land governance systems and harmonisation of land related policies are essential to facilitating youth, women, communities, and the private sector to engage and benefit from AfCFTA and digitalization.

The representative of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Ms. Leontine Kanziemo, Advisor, Natural Resources Management, at the AfDB, who represented Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director, Africa Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre, underscored that land governance should be an enabler of accelerating the implementation of the AfCTA through contributing to the production, unlocking agricultural potential, promoting gender equality, supporting the development of resilient infrastructure, as well as balanced territorial development. 

H.E Hans Lundquist, the Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia and Djibouti, and Permanent Representative to AU, IGAD and UNECA stated that “Land is a fundamental resource that provides a foundation for the well-being of our societies, our livelihoods, and our economy”. It is the resource upon which we build our homes, grow our food, or conduct our businesses. Inclusive land governance is critical in achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relating to poverty.

The conference concluded with a call to action that highlighted key recommendations that ably demonstrate the important outcomes of the conference and its role as a convening policy, advocacy and lesson-sharing platform used to shape and improve the implementation of the African Union Declaration on Land, in line with implementation of the AfCFTA as successful continent-wide market for goods and services, business and investment, that presents a major opportunity for African countries to boost growth, reduce poverty, and broaden economic inclusion and prosperity.

All On, GEAPP Commit $15 Million to Expand DART Program and Commission 350KW Mini-grid in Benue State, Nigeria

0
All On, GEAPP Commit $15 Million to Expand DART Program and Commission 350KW Mini-grid in Benue State, Nigeria

On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at COP28, All On and the Global Energy Alliance For People and Planet (GEAPP) announced $15 million in investments on top of existing deployments to expand the Demand Aggregation for Renewable Technology (DART) programme. The announcement was made during the Energy Day at the back of a World Bank event on Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) focused on accelerating universal access to energy in Africa.

The DART program, which began in Nigeria in 2021, is a global aggregated procurement financing initiative for renewable energy companies to decrease the cost of deploying these technologies in communities most in need. To date, according to the announcement, savings of up to 30 per cent for solar equipment have been achieved with the program, spurring standardization of the market and accelerating the sector. With this additional funding from GEAPP, the DART program’s total fund size will increase to $25 million.

Caroline Eboumbou, CEO of All On, expressed excitement about the news, saying: “We are especially excited that this funding will not only unlock economies of scale for renewable energy developers in Nigeria, but will also accelerate the transition to renewable energy access for all and play a pivotal role in unlocking local currency financing for the sector. This investment demonstrates the confidence in the DART program’s success since its inception in 2021.”

The facility is seeded by investments of $20 million and $5 million from GEAPP and All On respectively. Its primary objective is to bolster financing opportunities and stimulate economies of scale for small and medium-sized developers operating in the renewable energy sector.

Joseph Ng’ang’a, GEAPP’s Interim Managing Director and Vice President for Africa said, “Our continued collaboration with All On and Odyssey Energy Solutions is focused on delivering real results for Nigeria’s renewable energy sector: empowering entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and driving economic growth, while addressing the critical gap between energy demand, supply, and transmission. This partnership lies at the heart of GEAPP’s mission – to ignite a green energy revolution that transforms the lives and livelihoods of people and their communities across Nigeria and around the world.”

The DART pilot in Nigeria demonstrates DRE as a scalable, market-driven solution that can reach the underserved with low cost, low carbon power, and faster than a traditional grid.

In conjunction with the expansion of the DART program, we are pleased to announce the commissioning of the largest isolated mini-grid project in Benue State’s Chito Community in Ukum Local Government Area (LGA). This project was executed by Prado Power Ltd under the aegis of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) by the World Bank and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The 350KW mini-grid, backed by $1 million from DART, will connect over 7,000 households and commercial, institutional, and productive use customers in the Community to a reliable and sustainable power supply.

Washima Mede, CEO of Prado Power stated, “Prado Power is excited to have collaborated with All On and GEAPP through the DART programme to deliver this monumental project in Chito community. Prior to this development, Chito had existed without access to electricity and residents found it very challenging to conduct their business activities sustainably. We have no doubt that this mini-grid project would unleash the vast economic potential of the Community as it provides constant electricity, creating an enabling environment for residents to live and carry on their businesses sustainably. This will consequently create a lasting socio-economic impact and significantly boost the livelihoods in the community and its surroundings.”

Prado Power in a bid to catalyse the productive use of electricity in Chito has established an Agro-processing Hub in the Community, in partnership with an agri-tech Company, Farm Warehouse Limited. The hub will facilitate the deployment of ready-to-use Productive Use Equipment on a Lease-to-Own model, primarily focusing on women to promote female gender inclusion and empowerment.

The additional funding allocated to the DART program seeks to broaden its scope. This includes increasing the available investment ticket size per developer, and extending coverage to encompass small-scale Commercial and Industrial (C&I) developers, Solar Energy Systems (SES), and Standalone Solar for Productive Use (SSSPU) deployments.

All On, an independent impact investing company, was seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for unserved and underserved off-grid energy markets in Nigeria, with a special focus on the Niger Delta. All On invests in off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies deployed by both foreign and local access-to-energy companies that complement available grid power across Nigeria and help bridge its significant energy gap.

Innovating Education Africa Expo 2023: Embracing Digital Transformation for Education in Africa

0
Innovating Education Africa Expo 2023 Embracing Digital Transformation for Education in Africa

The Innovating Education Africa Expo 2023 set the stage for transformative actions in the education sector across Africa, emphasizing digital literacy, innovation, and inclusive development.

The Africa Union Commission (AUC) Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation successfully hosted the Innovating Education Africa Expo 2023 at the AUC headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 14 and 15, 2023. The landmark conference, held under the theme “Africa and the Digital Transformation Opportunity: Innovating for the Transformation of Education on the Continent,” marked a pivotal step in redefining the educational landscape across Africa.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Prof. Mohamed Belhocine, Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the significance of the Innovating Education Africa (IEA) initiative as a multifaceted platform. He emphasized its role in sharing experiences about innovative solutions addressing education challenges in Africa. H.E Belhocine also noted the platform’s capacity to enhance the visibility of these practices for potential support, scaling up, replication, or further development by AU Member States, underlining its strategic importance in the broader context of educational transformation across the continent.

The Education Expo brought together approximately over 100 distinguished stakeholders from various fields, including education academia, innovation & technology, and media from across Africa. These experts engaged in panel discussions and shared insights on critical topics such as Expanding Education Access, Learning Outcomes, Relevance through Innovation in Education, Public and Private Partnership models for Education and Education Infrastructure, Africa’s Digital Development in TVET and Jobs, and Scaling up Citizens’ Participation in achieving the Africa we want through education.

A consensus emerged among speakers on the urgent need to improve digital access and refine digital skills across the continent. The emphasis was also placed on lifelong learning as an integral aspect of Africa’s development agenda.

Sophia Ashipala, Head of Education Division at the AUC, in her opening remarks, stressed the necessity of embracing innovation in the education sector and improving the quality of education across the continent. She highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for learning mobility, recognizing that education extends beyond traditional brick and mortar structures. Ashipala also pointed out the vital need to invest in research and build robust research networks.

The conference also addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the global digital divide. This led to the development of a digital action plan and an improved strategy on education access.

Ms Ashipala mentioned collaborations with stakeholders in about 35 countries to develop 46 capacity-building projects focused on employability. She reiterated the African Union’s commitment, expressed in the February 2023 Summit, to achieving quality, modern education as part of the 2024 AU year of Education.

The AU Youth Envoy, Chido Mpemba, emphasized the importance of developing resilient education systems in Africa, highlighting the socio-economic benefits of innovations in education and the empowerment of youth.

The conference also featured presentations from ten innovators, selected from 600 applicants, showcasing their community-serving innovative products. The winners were announced with Brain Share Tech of Uganda, represented by Charles Muhindo, receiving the top prize of $40,000. Kefilwe Lekane of Kefilwe Tsela Academy, South Africa, and Tech Aide from Ghana won the second and third prizes, respectively. These projects focus on equipping community members with digital skills and supporting lifelong learning cultures.

African leaders push to dismantle patriarchal systems that perpetuate inequalities: AU Men’s Conference

0
African leaders push to dismantle patriarchal systems that perpetuate inequalities AU Men’s Conference

Leaders from various sectors of the society have committed to firmly advocate and push for a change to allow women and girls fully enjoy their human rights. At the just concluded 3rd edition of the Men’s Conference on Positive Masculinity convened in Pretoria, South Africa, African Union Heads of State and Government, adopted a Declaration recommitting to ensure the historical and structural drivers of violence against women and girls on the continent are identified and addressed in the economic, cultural, social and governance spheres.

The Declaration of the Heads of State and Government is informed by pre-consultations held leading to the Men’s Conference by various sectoral groups that reviewed the progress of implementation of existing mechanisms to address the scourge of violence, and made recommendations that would accelerate action to protect and promote the rights of women and girls. The pre-consultations included six different forums facilitated by the African Union for business and the private sector; traditional and religious leaders; academia; youth; civil society organizations; and women leaders who co-created solutions and recommendations to accelerate actions to create an environment for gender equality, women empowerment, and leadership in Africa.

The Men’s Conference on Positive Masculinity is a concept where the African Union is deliberately rallying the support of men who hold decision making positions across different spheres to be gender allies, not only to champion for change at family level, but also to become gender champions in their workspaces and eco-systems. Involving and engaging men in the fight to end VAWG has been proven to be a catalyst in the ending of the vice.

The Heads of State and Government have committed to take the lead to dismantle patriarchal systems that create inequalities, and to foster positive masculinity to rebuild the African social fabric through processes that heal and rehumanize individuals, institutions, leadership, and societies to embody the values of human dignity, equality, freedom, and self- determination. To achieve this, the leadership will provide the necessary resources to address violence against women and girls and ensure sustainability through national budgetary allocations and support African research for evidence-based interventions to end violence against women and girls and implementation of research findings and best practices of positive masculinity in Africa.

The African Union Assembly in February 2023 adopted a decision on the development of the AU Convention on Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls, cementing their commitment to sustainably address the vice through a home-grown continental legally binding framework. At the Pretoria conference, the Heads of State reiterated their support for the process of accelerating the elaboration of the African Union Convention on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, capitalizing on the Circle of champions of Heads of State to mobilize a wider circle of male leaders in various spheres to drive action to end the scourge of violence, paying particular attention to intergenerational dialogues and engagement with young men and boys. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission will report annually to the Conference of Heads of State and Government on the implementation of the outcomes of the Men’s conferences on positive masculinity.

The implementation of these commitments equally aligns to the realization of the set outcomes for the Africa Decade for Women Financial and Economic Inclusion, focused on enhancing efforts to enable women’s economic power and address linkages between lack of economic and financial inclusion with women’s vulnerability to violence. The 3rd Men’s Conference was addressed by various leaders who committed to activate all avenues to enhance the participation and leadership of women in spheres of decision-making at all levels and all sectors of society to fulfill Africa Agenda 2063 promises of a people-centered continent.

Several Heads of State and Government addressed the meeting including, H.E. President Azali Assoumani, President- Comoros and 2023 AU Chairperson; H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President – South Africa; H.E. Sahle- Work Zewde, President -Ethiopia; H.E. Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi, President -Democratic Republic of Congo; H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President- Liberia and the African Women Leaders’ Network Patron; H.E. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Former President – Mauritius; H.E. Catherine Samba- Panza, Former President – Central African Republic. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa; Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa; H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, South Africa, among others.

WATCH all the speeches here.
Download the Declaration in English and French.
Learn more about the 1st2nd, and 3rd Men’s Conferences.

South Sudan signs the African Risk Capacity Establishment Agreement to effectively address the impacts of extreme weather events

0
South Sudan signs the African Risk Capacity Establishment Agreement

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan has taken a significant step in enhancing its climate-induced disaster preparedness and response capabilities by signing the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Treaty. In an era where climate change is taking a major toll on the lives and livelihoods the African population, South Sudan’s move to sign the Treaty goes to secure the country’s sustainable development.

The signing ceremony, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was attended by South Sudan Government Officials, including Ambassador Dr. Riek Puok Riek from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Dr. Banak Joshua Dei Wal from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management. ARC was represented by Mr. Bright Mando, Senior Legal Counsel and Board Secretary and Mr. Koffi Konin, Head of Government Services for East and Southern Africa.

Over the past few years, South Sudan, which is vulnerable to various natural hazards such as floods, droughts, and climate-related epidemics, has been facing some socio-economic challenges which are compounded by the impacts of climate change. In January 2023, recognising the need for effective Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, the country began engaging ARC to explore new approaches to strengthen its national Disaster Risk Management efforts.

In addition to being a signatory to the ARC Treaty, South Sudan is planning to sign the ARC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the margins of COP28 to be held in November 2023 in Dubai. South Sudan aims to collaborate closely with ARC to better plan, prepare, and respond to climate risks. The signing ceremony demonstrates the Government’s commitment to building resilience and reducing its vulnerability to climate-related risks.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Ambassador, Dr. Riek Puok Riek underscored the significant step towards alleviation of poverty and strengthening capacities across different sectors in a country besieged by weather-induced hazards. South Sudan’s engagement with ARC was driven by the need for proactive strategies to address drought and flood risks, which pose significant threats to the national economy.

South Sudan becomes the 39th Member State to sign the ARC Establishment Agreement, giving it access to ARC’s products and tools towards strengthening its Disaster Risk Reduction capacities. The country seeks to utilise its resources efficiently to assist vulnerable populations in the face of climate disasters. The signing of the ARC Treaty and MOU establishes a framework for cooperation that includes training support to relevant government institutions, and the country’s potential participation in ARC insurance risk pools covering droughts, floods as well as outbreaks and epidemics.

Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, ARC Group Director-General lauded South Sudan’s commitment to Disaster Risk Reduction and its decision to become an ARC Member State. “ARC is ready to work closely with the Government of South Sudan and other stakeholders in this space to fully understand the country’s exposure to natural disaster risks and design an effective response strategy that reflects the needs on the ground. Together, we can intensify our effort and complement existing strategies.” Towards this end, he also emphasised the need for a pooled-risk approach and collaboration through smart partnerships.

By joining ARC, South Sudan joins other African Union Member States that have access to ARC’s tools and resources in climate response. The ARC Group, comprised of ARC Agency, a Specialized Agency of the African Union (AU), and ARC Limited, the insurance affiliate of the Group, offers capacity building, contingency plans, risk profiling and risk pooling services as its value proposition. Its mandate from the African Union is to work with AU Member States to help them plan, prepare, and respond to climate threats.

This partnership will also allow South Sudan to benefit from the African Climate Risk Insurance Facility (ACRIF) project, an African Development Bank initiative designed to enable effective response to climate change. Under the ADRiFi umbrella framework, the project aims to support resilience activities and enhance disaster response capacities in South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, and Comoros, providing timely assistance to respond to disaster impacts.

The participation of South Sudan in the ARC mechanism and its eligibility for the ACRIF project opens new avenues for building resilience, ensuring the safety and well-being of the population, and promoting sustained socioeconomic development.

CURRENT SA PIX EVENT

0

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Alvin Botes delivers a keynote address on the Programme for United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in Freedom Park, Pretoria. 29/11/2023; photo byline: Yandisa Monakali.

South Africa and Peru hold inaugural Political Consultations

0
South Africa and Peru hold inaugural Political Consultations

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, played host to his counterpart, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Peru, Ambassador Ignacio Higueras Hare, on Thursday, 30 November 2023, in Pretoria.

The visit coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Peru, the Spokesperson for The Department of International Relations and Cooperation, DIRCO, Mr Clayson Monyela, said in a statement.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Peru are cordial and are conducted within the framework of the South Africa-Peru Bilateral Consultative Mechanism at the level of respective Deputy Ministers, which was established in March 2019.

South Africa and Peru share similar values and a mutual commitment to the promotion of democracy, human rights, sustainable development, south-south cooperation, respect for the rule of international law, peaceful resolution of conflicts and multilateralism, according to the statement.

The Deputy Ministers are expected to use the occasion of the inaugural Political Consultations to review the status of bilateral relations between the two countries and discuss priorities for cooperation going forward, especially in the following areas: diplomatic and political relations, arts and culture; agribusiness; mineral resources; science and technology; tourism; trade and investment; and sport.

Deputy Minister Botes and Vice Minister Hare also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern.

”South Africa commends the government of Peru for honouring the late former President Nelson Mandela with a memorial installed in its capital city, San Isidro of Lima. The uniqueness of the memorial and its towering presence is a recognition of the enduring bonds of friendship, solidarity and shared African heritage between the two countries.

”The memorial is also an acknowledgment of the late President Mandela’s contribution to freedom and democracy in South Africa and his tireless advocacy for south-south cooperation and the establishment of a just and equitable global governance system,” the statement said.

Climate Change – Is enough being done to address the global threat?

0
Global threat

Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation (OGRC) supports a stronger, louder voice from Africa, and through its partners, has developed key programmes focused on addressing and mitigating climate change.

Global efforts to limit carbon emissions are falling short, developed countries have not coughed up the $100 billion promised to help developing countries meet targets, and the EU is set to impose carbon taxes that will hamstring Africa’s development ambitions.

Exactly how far countries have fallen short in meeting global climate goals and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will be revealed by the first Global Stocktake due to be presented to delegates at COP28 in Dubai in early December. In spite of these headwinds, OGRC research on ecosystem conservation, financing, carbon credits and wildlife economies will be highlighted at COP28 to show how African countries can put the brake on climate change while keeping the economy thriving.

As the world continues to heat up at an unprecedented rate, scientists grapple with trying to understand the global impact and the historical lack of decisive action. Climate has shifted temperatures and weather patterns, and although some of these changes are natural the dramatic fluctuations in temperatures and sporadic rainfall patterns are of great concern. Scientists have persistently highlighted human activities, particularly the unbridled burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas since the industrial revolution, as the primary drivers behind these observed changes. “Freak weather events” – severe fires, changes in the rainfall patterns in tropical cyclones, heatwaves and flooding – have led to biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and mass extinctions. These changes have damaged commercial agriculture, subsistence farming and household food security.

There is however hope. Government, business and industry are recognising that robust scientific data and recommendations from scientists are the solid base on which meaningful decisions are made.

At COP28, UAE, NGOs, politicians, scientists, youth, business, investors, civil society and frontline communities will engage in critical discussions and decision-making about global climate change. The key themes to be addressed will include transforming climate finance by delivering on old promises, putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action and fast-tracking the energy transition to slash emissions before 2030. The aim is to limit the global temperature rise to below 2°C, preferably below 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. However, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that even with our best possible mitigation efforts, the chances of us limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees will not be achieved.

The Global Stocktake (GST) will provide a comprehensive assessment of progress made by countries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide support to developing nations in these endeavours. Unfortunately, the developed world has fallen short of fulfilling its financial commitments of $100 billion in annual funding to assist developing countries reduce their emissions and manage the impacts of climate change. The failure to fulfil financial commitments has further derailed the world in the ambition to reduce its emissions by 43% by 2030. The financial commitment required to reach these reductions far outweighs what already heavily indebted developing countries require – yet undershoot the financial capacity the combined developed countries have the capacity to provide.

Yet, instead of meeting their obligations, the European Union has introduced the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a policy that imposes a carbon cost on certain imports based on the carbon emissions associated with the production of those goods. The implications for African exports to the EU are substantial, potentially hindering the continent’s development ambitions and causing an annual GDP loss of around $31 billion. The justification for the policy is to level the playing field for industries within the EU that are subject to strict emissions reduction requirements. We have to question how this reasoning coming from nations that have benefited from fossil fuel use for over 250 years is justifiable, when they are yet to fulfil their commitments to ensure that we have the capacity to explore alternative greener technologies and transition from coal heavy industries to renewable energy sources.

In this context, it becomes evident that for any meaningful change to occur, Africa, where feasible, must assume a leadership role in shaping policies that not only articulate our needs but also position us advantageously in the global fight against climate change.

Recognising that climate change is a collective responsibility, Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation (OGRC) has committed to contributing to the global effort to combat the adverse effects of climate change. We view COP 28 as an invaluable platform to showcase the innovations and climate research done by our partners.

Our Future Ecosystems for Africa (FEFA) programme, in collaboration with AGNES (African Group of Negotiators Expert Support) and OGRC, has recognised the need to mobilise African climate science and evidence on the continent, to feed into important discussions and provide an integrated, technical summary of the potential synergies and trade-offs between climate actions and sustainable development. This work focuses on developing viable and pragmatic solutions to contemporary climate-related challenges, derived in collaboration with numerous other research partners, with the overarching goal of enhancing decision-making processes in relation to climate change and development on the African continent.

In line with COP28’s core theme of “investing in climate solutions by committing and investments in nature-positive projects, policies and practices, OGRC has partnered with the African Wildlife Economy Institute (AWEI) to address these aspects. Conserving Africa’s biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides should be central to climate change responses, given the high dependence of people on these services. The key finding of the Africa chapter of the last IPCC report was that reduced species representation in protected areas is predicted due to climate-induced range shifts, with range shifts impeded by increasing land transformation and fencing. African countries urgently need complementary conservation strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on biodiversity. Wildlife economies present one such strategy, which involves increasing the extent of conserved ecosystems and their connectivity, while also contributing to livelihoods and food security through sustainable wildlife use, including hunting, harvesting, meat, and tourism. Our research also shows that wildlife economies have more diverse revenue streams than conventional agriculture, which builds their resilience to disturbance and change. Wildlife economies can simultaneously contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa through sequestering carbon while conserving biodiversity and promoting resilient livelihoods.

Another OGRC-supported programme, the African Leadership Universities (ALU), School of Wildlife Conservation, states “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. The key concept here is to gather consistent, comparable data on the impacts of climate change on wildlife economies across Africa. In Africa, climate action alone is unlikely to succeed, but if combined with development in a way that wildlife is seen as a key strategic asset, it will encourage investment and finance in conservation.

OGRC has further invested in Rewild Capital, a carbon credits company. Experts from Rewild Capital use their knowledge of international carbon market dynamics and integration into global networks to reduce transaction information asymmetry and secure the best prices and terms for landowners across the continent. Their carbon and rangeland scientists deal with the complexity of meeting international carbon standards requirements. From start to finish they take care of soil carbon measurements and analysis.

These measures ensure that Africa can lead in the mitigation of climate change, while securing livelihoods in non-forested African ecosystems. Some of the major messages that will emerge from COP28 are on workstreams that will attract climate investment and finance, as well as assessing mitigation and adaptation response measures. Research tells us that finance gaps across Africa are huge and that new, additional money is needed.

There is a strong feeling that new, multinational, scaled finances for long-term goals are required. So, there will be focus on securing new financial pledges, while encouraging fulfilment of old promises. There will be a focus on adopting high level targets with clear delivery indicators, including the enhancement of adaptive capacity, with a hope of doubling finance. Negotiators will also be pushing for a clear roadmap to achieve these outcomes. There will be a focus on developing countries and ensuring that all are supported through delivering on promises made at COP27, with a focus on compensation and provision for historical loss and damage.

BY Duncan MacFadyen and Rendani Nenguda.
Duncan MacFadyen is head of research, and Rendani Nenguda research associate at, Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation.

African Union Hands Over Military Equipment to SADC’s SAMIM in Mozambique

0
Mozambique

A Delegation of the Political Affairs Peace and Security Department led by the Director of Conflict Management, Dr. Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, arrived on a three-day field mission in Pemba, Mozambique, on 15 November 2023. The mission is being undertaken within the context of the AU Commission’s provision of support to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to enhance engagement and joint efforts in supporting the Government and People of the Republic of Mozambique in addressing the crisis posed by terrorist groups operating in parts of the Cabo Delgado Province. Accordingly, the African Union Commission donated equipment and materials to the SADC to support the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). The donated equipment includes protective assault vehicles, military utility trucks, mine detectors, generators, personnel protective gear, tentages, sleeping bags, beds and mattresses, computers, printers, cameras, conference furniture, projectors, sound systems and other accessories. During the field mission, the AU Delegation officially handed over the donated equipment to SADC, represented by the SAMIM Head of Mission, Professor Mpho Molomo and the senior mission leadership.

The AU Delegation further held discussions with the SAMIM leadership on progress made on implementing the mission’s mandate and additional support the AU could provide, among other areas of possible collaboration. The conduct of the field mission is a testimony of the AU Commission’s commitment to work closely with the regional economic communities and regional mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to address peace and security challenges on the continent. The donation is thus part of efforts by the African Union to discharge its mandate of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.

The AU expresses its gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for the one hundred million dollars ($100 million) military aid grant to the Africa Union which made this donation possible.

NAICOM Reboots Insurance Sub-sector

0
NAICOM Reboots Insurance Sub-sector

The insurance industry in Nigeria is set for far-reaching experiences of expansion and innovations as the industry regulator, NAICOM, responds to current market needs with the 2023 National Insurance Conference, Jeph Ade reports.

It is no more news that Nigeria’s economy is battling various risk factors with heightened concerns of how to surmount them. Inflation rate has crossed the 25 per cent threshold, threatening savings and investments, especially as households now spend most of their income on food items following soaring prices of food commodities.

Also, if the official exchange rate of the Naira of between N700 and N750 coupled with the Black Market exchange rate of N1000 to the Dollar as of the 10th of October 2023 have affected businesses adversely, the high interest rate on borrowing has left everything gasping for breath. The unending tales of woes by investors and manufacturers tell the story better.

What’s more? The debilitating impacts of subsidy removal that have recalibrated the socio-economic frontiers and variables of our national life seems to be the last straw. It has given a clearer picture of how tough it is for citizens to cope.

Analysts are of the view that only pragmatic innovations, out-of-the box solutions, and timely actions can ease the present economic tension in the nation.

These sad realities notwithstanding, there’s good news in the offing as NAICOM is responding with a needs-based national conference aimed at addressing present realities, stabilizing businesses, supporting commerce, and minimizing losses by the insured public, especially in the construction industry.

The apex insurance regulatory agency is responding timely and aptly using the veritable platform of the conference which is slated for 22-24 October 2023 in Abuja with the theme: “Redefining Safety – Insurance Solutions for Public Buildings and Buildings under Construction”.

The host and Commissioner For Insurance at NAICOM, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas sees the conference as a strategy to promote insurance solutions through innovation and collaborations.

Commissioner For Insurance at NAICOM, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas
Commissioner For Insurance at NAICOM, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas

In his words: “Insurance is a key driver for economic growth and as NAICOM, we continue to seek collaborative ways to grow the sector and enforce critical and compulsory insurance policies. From financial inclusion to new products development and market expansion, we believe insurance will accelerate Nigeria’s infrastructural and national development.”

He added that “This year’s conference is of special importance owing to the various events that have taken place, especially the successful transition to a new Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR; President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking further, he said, “For this year, we have chosen a theme that is of paramount importance to Nation Building, and our collective prosperity. It is apt and timely. The Commission is honoured to host this pivotal gathering which is expected to bring together leaders, experts, and forward-looking policy makers in the industry. Our aim is not merely to discuss but to usher in a new era of collaboration – one where insights are transformed into actionable strategies to redefine safety standards.”

For intending participants, his expectation is that, “As you prepare for the conference, get ready to navigate through enlightening sessions, engaging discussions, and fruitful exchange of ideas that will shape the future of insurance and our dear nation, as a whole.”

He went on to note that “Every contribution that will be made, every question that will be asked, and every idea that will be shared have the potential to spark positive changes that will resonate far beyond the conference.”

To further underscore the importance of the conference, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) is expected to grace the epoch-making occasion as the Special Guest of Honour.

Other dignitaries expected at the august event include His Excellency; Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State as the Guest Speaker. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Olawale Edun as the Chief Host and the Chairman of Heirs Holdings & UBA Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu will be the Speaker at the conference and the Theme Paper Presenter.

Chairman of Heirs Holdings & UBA Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu
Chairman of Heirs Holdings & UBA Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu

The epoch-making occasion will equally play host to the President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV); Mr. Johnbull Amayaevbo, and Chief Executive Officer, FSD Africa Mr. Mark Napier as Speakers, respectively.

Furthermore, the Conference will welcome other esteemed attendees including Federal Ministers, State Governors, State Commissioners of Works and Housing, as well as distinguished Royal Fathers and Traditional Leaders in the country.

With endorsements by dignitaries who had been previously visited to secure necessary buy-in to the programme, expectations are high that the drive for compulsory insurance with focus on public buildings and buildings under construction would receive a boost during and after the conference.

NAICOM is of the informed opinion that the alarming rate of buildings collapse in Nigeria in recent times underscores the urgent necessity to implement comprehensive insurance for public buildings and buildings under construction, adding that the two types of insurance are part of the compulsory insurance policies of the industry regulatory agency which will give succor to Nigerians in the event of a building collapse or other risk factors.

Information made available to CherryAfrica from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, reveals that at least 62 catastrophes in 2022, causing 84 deaths and injuring 113 persons. A closer look shows that Lagos state alone had 20 cases, while Kano and Anambra States recorded five building accidents each, then Delta and Jigawa had four each.

Also, 135 cases were reported between 2007 and 2013.

Overall, the collapses, whenever they occur, not only result in the loss of human lives but also lead to significant financial burdens for the government not leaving out affected persons and communities.

Poised to lessen such losses in the future, NAICOM submits that, “As a nation, as landlords, as project managers, site builders and users of public buildings, there’s need to start taking the two insurance policies very seriously namely, “Public Buildings Insurance” and “Insurance of Buildings under Construction”.

The Commission further assured the public that the two policies, when diligently implemented and strictly adhered to, will provide financial protection against such unforeseen disasters, enabling swift recoveries, reconstruction, and restoration of critical services. They further stated that by insuring public buildings, Nigeria can safeguard her infrastructural investments, ensure continuity of essential services, and promote safer and more resilient environments for her citizens whenever buildings collapse.

This upcoming conference is bringing stakeholders together to forge a way forward for creating expanded awareness and compliance with the two policies.

The conference Keynote Address and launch of the Insurance Industry Strategic Plan, and Guidelines for Insurances of Government Assets will be done by the President and Commander-In-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces; His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

Designed to give more insights into how insurance practices influence and are influenced by environmental considerations and sustainability goals, the conference will also equip participants to forge modern templates for sustainable building practices, appropriate risk assessments, and effective insurance solutions. It will offer opportunities to explore the dynamic relationship between insurance, the environment, and the sustainable future the nation strives to build.

The conference also promises to afford unique opportunities for the nation to explore the insurance sub-sector of our economy and to effectively engage there in.

NAICOM concludes that ” The event will provide a unique platform for insurance companies to shine as they present their cutting-edge products and solutions to the Nigerian public and the world at large. As such, NAICOM invites all and sundry to partake in the forthcoming conference and accompanying exhibition where industry leaders, innovators, and forward-thinkers will gather to share their visions for the future of insurance in Nigeria.

It is earnestly expected that participants will have the auspicious opportunity to showcase their services and cutting-edge insurance solutions that distinguish their brands. Bearing in mind that every square foot is a spotlight on one’s journey of progress and a testament to the dedication that propels any given organization forward, both individual and corporate participants will find the conference to be not just an invitation to collaborate but also to create, innovate and shape the future of our nation’s insurance industry.