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British Council Partners PAU, Cchub, Montfort To Support Innovation In Circular Plastic Economy In Nigeria

plastic

Mismanaged plastic waste and unsustainable plastic production are commonplace in the 21st century.

Challenges include thin capacity and investment in waste collection and recycling, varying levels of awareness of sustainable practices among businesses and consumers, and the niche nature of innovative and alternative models supporting reduction and reuse.

Nigeria generates some 32 million tons of waste yearly, of which 2.5 million tons are plastic according to government data. Due to a poor waste management system and recycling practices, a huge proportion ends up in landfills, sewers, beaches, and water bodies.

To this end, the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) program is supporting a project of collaboration between academics from the Pan-African University Life and Earth Sciences in Nigeria (PAU-LESiN), De Montfort University in the UK, and Co-Creation Hub in Nigeria, which aims to encourage people in Nigeria to explore opportunities for turning waste into wealth.

The partnership is looking at a wide range of ideas, including the production of a machine that can convert waste plastic into filaments for use in a 3D printer. It is believed that this conversion can add up to twenty times the value of plastic waste. 3D printers are expensive to import, so the project team is also working with local skills to enable 3D printers to be produced locally in Nigeria.

At the Pan-African University Life and Earth Sciences, students are studying the opportunities that reusing plastic can bring, not just for themselves but for the whole community.

Speaking on the benefits of the British Council plastic conversion initiative, Esther Akinlabi, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Pan-African University Life and Earth Sciences (PAU-LESiN), said plastic waste is a menace in Nigeria, a huge problem, which has blocked drainage and caused flooding in Lagos and across the country and in the cities. “We are looking at creating awareness to let people become conscious of the fact that we can recycle, and we can reuse plastic waste.”

While 3D printing is not suitable for mass manufacturing, its use for single items such as the wheel on a hospital trolley, is more cost-effective, especially when it uses local plastic waste for the conversion.

Dr. Muyiwa Oyinlola, associate professor of engineering for sustainable development, and director of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University:

“The average man or woman is more interested in how they put food on the table and the other necessities of life, so the plastic challenge is low on their radar. What we are doing is looking at how we add value and make enterprises out of plastic waste. For example, producing affordable 3D printers locally will foster enterprise in filament production as well as 3D printed products even in remote areas.”

Damilola Teidi from Co-Creation Hub said: “Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub, which supports start-ups, has been running entrepreneurship masterclasses and innovation challenges for students. It provides the bridge between innovation and enterprise.

“The best outcome is the students build out solutions to problems, and the private sector puts it into use. That’s the goal. As well as connecting them with other players in the enterprise ecosystem. While not every idea will become a business, the hope is the knowledge gained will help build a circular economy where waste is seen as a potential resource,” Teidi said.

The project is part of the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities programme, which includes partner universities and enterprise and innovation organizations in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and the UK. The programme comprises 24 project partnerships and aims to grow universities’ capabilities for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, developing the skills graduates require to build sustainable industries, companies, and services.

Daniel Emenahor, the spokesperson at The British Council, said: “Through stronger peer-to-peer connections and sharing best practices and knowledge between higher education institutions, the programme aims to enhance students’ employability and support economic development across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa now and into the future.”

Suez Canal announces record $7bn profit in 2021-2022

Suez Canal

The Suez Canal on Monday announced a record profit of $7 billion (about 6.7 billion euros) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, after repeatedly raising transit fees for ships through the crucial passage for world trade.

Between July 2021 and June 2022, some 1.32 billion tonnes of cargo transited through the canal, providing a $7 billion rent in transit fees, the highest in its history, Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said Monday.

He added in a statement that this is an increase of 20.7% compared to the previous financial year (5.5 billion euros).

“The international crises have demonstrated the importance of the Suez Canal for the stability of global supply chains,” Rabie said.

Egypt, caught between inflation of over 15% and a recent devaluation of the pound by nearly 20%, had increased transit fees, particularly for oil and gas ships, by 6% in February and then by 5 to 10% in March.

The Suez Canal handles about 10% of the world’s maritime trade and is one of Cairo’s main sources of foreign currency.

Despite the war in Ukraine and the rise in the oil price which has affected shipping, the canal recorded its “highest” monthly turnover in April, valued at €605 million.

While Cairo is discussing a new loan of nearly €480 million with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its foreign exchange reserves had fallen from €35.48 billion in March to €34r billion in May.

Zimbabwe to introduce gold coins to tame inflation

gold coins

Zimbabwe’s central bank said it would start selling gold coins this month as a store of value to tame runaway inflation, which has considerably weakened the local currency.

The central bank governor John Mangudya said in a statement on Monday that the coins will be available for sale from July 25 in local currency, U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies at a price based on the prevailing international price of gold and the cost of production.

The “Mosi-oa-tunya” coin, named after Victoria falls, can be converted into cash and be traded locally and internationally, the central bank said.

The gold coin will contain one troy ounce of gold and will be sold by Fidelity Gold Refinery, Aurex and local banks, it added.

Gold coins are used by investors internationally to hedge against inflation and wars.

Last week, Zimbabwe more than doubled its policy rate to 200% from 80% and outlined plans to make the U.S. dollar legal tender for the next five years to boost confidence.

Soaring inflation in the southern African country has been piling pressure on a population already struggling with shortages and stirring memories of economic chaos years ago under veteran leader Robert Mugabe’s near four-decade rule.

Annual inflation, which hit almost 192% in June, cast a shadow over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to revitalise the economy.

Zimbabwe abandoned its inflation-ravaged dollar in 2009, opting instead to use foreign currencies, mostly the U.S. dollar. The government reintroduced the local currency in 2019, but it has rapidly lost value again.

Somalia licences first two foreign banks since 1970

Somalia

The Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) has licenced the first two foreign lenders since 1970. Central Bank Governor Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi said Egypt’s Banque Misr and Turkey’s Ziraat Katli can now operate in the country after the Board endorsed their applications.

“CBS Board concluded that the two banks have fulfilled all bank licencing requirements of the CBS, and their applications have been approved,” he said.

“After an extensive process, we are happy that the Board has approved the licencing applications of Ziraat Katlim Bank and Banque Misr.

“They are both solid banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” he added.

In the 1960s, foreign commercial banks that operated in Somalia included Italy’s Banco di Napoli and Banco di Roma, Egypt’s Banque de Porte Saide and UK’s National Grindley’s Bank. But, when the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) overthrew the civilian government in October 1969, all foreign banks in Somalia were nationalised under an order of the SRC on May 7, 1970.

The junta then formed the Somali Commercial and Savings Bank, using assets of the nationalised lenders, in 1972 that operated until its collapse in 1988.

So far, the Central Bank of Somalia has licensed 13 locally owned commercial banks, among them Salaam Somali Bank and Dahabshil Bank.

Business people have welcomed the move, saying the new banks would make it easy to access capital for huge projects.

“Somalia is rich in resources, and tapping them, innovative people need capital and financial injections that large banks can afford,” said Abdullahi Nur Guled, a Somali Tanzanian businessman, said to The EastAfrican.

He added that people who take their deposits to lenders outside the country can now bank locally.

“No society can develop, create jobs and fight poverty without banks that can invest in businesses, government services and projects.”

Liberia, World Bank Sign US$44.6M Financing Agreement

World Bank

Liberia’s Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the World Bank have signed financing agreements for two projects totalling US $44.6 million.

The first project is the Liberia Women’s Empowerment Project (LWEP) in the amount of US $44.6 million, of which US$17.8 million is an International Development Association (IDA) grant and US$26.8 million is an IDA credit.

The second project is the additional financing for the COVID-19 emergency response project in the amount of US $9 million, of which the US$6.2 million is an IDA grant and the US$2.8 million is an IDA credit.

“I will always say that and I think this is the most transformative cooperation and coordination that we have had in the history of our relationship with the World Bank in Liberia, especially with what we have seen in the last three years,” the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, said.

“The best way to reduce poverty in any country is to focus on women’s empowerment and, by doing “so, the government or country will achieve its potential in poverty reduction.”

He added that the project is not about building roads but hugely investing in human capital in various ways, including access to finance for women and vulnerable groups within the informal economy of Liberia, which is very important.

“[This project] will help our women a lot and I hope that it will be sustained and should deliver the results. This is one project that I am going to be focusing on, next to education, health, and other sectors,” Tweah stated.

Both projects’ primary goals are to provide grants to women and girls to start or expand women-led businesses across various sectors, as well as support them with training and mentoring.

It also supports positive changes in social norms, behaviour, and attitudes that create a conducive and safe social environment for women and girls and empower them to make individual and collective life-changing decisions, including access to economic opportunities, education, and health services.

Earlier, Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia, disclosed that the project seeks to support one of the key priorities in the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)—empowering women and girls.

According to him, the financing agreements will address, in a comprehensive way, the various key constraints and barriers that women and girls in Liberia face in realizing their full potential. He recalled that women in Liberia have not shared equally in the dividends of peace since the end of the civil conflict.

Nthara maintained that large numbers of women have been excluded from the country’s economic development by persistently high gender disparities.

“Ranked 156th out of 162 countries on the 2019 Gender Inequality Index, Liberian women and girls are disadvantaged in practically all spheres of society, and throughout their lives,” Nthara said. “Women have fewer, less stable, and less lucrative job opportunities and fewer choices.”

Within this context, he said, social norms are a significant barrier to women’s empowerment, limiting women’s and girls’ ability to pursue economic opportunities and access quality social and livelihood services.

“Studies have shown that nearly half (45.5 per cent) of Liberian women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence from a husband or partner within the past 12 months. The second additional financing for the COVID-19 emergency response project seeks to consolidate the gains that Liberia has made in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This second additional financing, whose financing agreement we are signing today, in the amount of US $9 million, was approved on June 30th. Therefore, under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, a total of US $24.5 million has been extended to Liberia.”

Nthara indicated that in addition, “we had re-purposed the US $9.9 million under the Regional Disease Surveillance Project, bringing the total financing package for the health response under COVID-19 to US$34 million.”

“Having signed these financing agreements, we must now focus on implementation. As always, you can count on our continued support,” he concluded.

IMF, Ghana to Discuss Possible $3bn Loan to Support Economy

IMF

The IMF will send a team to Ghana this week to begin discussions about a possible $3 billion bailout loan, the fund announced Tuesday.

The visit, which will run between July 6th and 13th, comes as the West African nation faces protests against spiralling inflation and other economic woes.

The nation’s President Nana Akufo-Addo had previously rejected calls to seek financial assistance from the IMF, but last week authorized the step as the country faces soaring inflation.

“On the basis of a request from the Ghanaian authorities, an IMF staff team will in the coming days’ kick-start discussions on a possible program to support Ghana’s homegrown economic policies,” Carlo Sdralevich, IMF mission chief for Ghana, said in a statement.
“We are at an early stage in the process, given that detailed discussions are yet to take place,” Sdralevich said.

The announcement followed two days of protests in the capital over the rising cost of food and fuel after the country was hit with inflation of more than 27 per cent in May — the highest in almost two decades.

Brawls have erupted in the hung parliament as the government tries to push tough policies it believes could salvage the economy.

Data from Ghana’s central bank indicates the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 80.1 per cent at the end of last year, and fuel prices have shot up as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The IMF stands ready to assist Ghana to restore macroeconomic stability, safeguard debt sustainability, promote inclusive and sustainable growth, and address the impact of the war in Ukraine and the lingering pandemic,” said Sdralevich.

Education for Employment

Moses Anibaba, Regional Director, British Council, Sub-Saharan Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 6 July 2022 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/-Africa has the youngest population in the world, representing an enormous opportunity for the continent’s growth and the opportunity to become leaders as global citizens – provided these energetic, creative young people can achieve their true potential.

In a region where millions of people remain excluded from basic amenities such as education, social and creative entrepreneurs are leading the way for positive transformation. Social and creative enterprises offer a route to self-sufficiency by providing training and education, and harnessing skills – all elements that improve access to jobs.

Research by the British Council indicates that, not only have social and creative enterprises created a significant number of jobs across the region, but they also create them for people from underserved communities.

The creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the global economy, offering new and high growth opportunities, especially for developing countries. As developing nations generate and sell a wide variety of creative products (including films, art, music, fashion, cultural crafts, and computer games and apps), they contribute to the home nation’s gross domestic products, exports, and growth, ultimately boosting development outcomes. Throughout Africa, revenue from digital music streaming is expected to reach $500 million by 2025, up from only $100 million in 2017, according to the World Bank. 

The growth of creative and social enterprises is a means of addressing some of Africa’s most entrenched and complex challenges, specifically those arising from youth unemployment and unequal economic growth. By helping to build sustainable businesses in the creative and cultural industries worldwide, and sharing our knowledge and experience through skills workshops, mentoring and peer networks, the British Council aims to help grow this important sector of economies in Africa.

Social and creative enterprises are more than just businesses; they help to sustain livelihoods and build strong and inclusive communities, supporting groups who are often left on the side-lines by traditional business models. Forty-one per cent of social enterprises have a woman in charge – significantly more than in other businesses. More social enterprises aim to create jobs (78%) than profit-first businesses (27%). Seventy-three per cent deliberately employ people from poor communities, compared to 56% of profit-first businesses. We estimate the number of jobs created in Africa by social enterprises to be between 28 million and 41 million.

It is worth noting that the sector has innovated rapidly, following the pandemic. During lockdown, many public and private providers moved content on-line for free to keep audiences engaged and satisfy the increased demand for cultural content. This has opened the door to many future innovations. To capitalise on them, there is a need to address the digital skills shortages within the sector and improve digital access beyond large metropolitan areas.

What can be done to grow this sector?

As Africa’s workforce increases, the pressure for job creation rises along with it. Better employment opportunities for Africa’s youth call for a better understanding of Africa’s overall social and economic challenges and how to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to thrive.

The British Council supports social enterprise. The organisation also understands that to focus on youth employability, there is a critical need to address gender inequalities in education in Africa. Girls’ access to education is sorely lacking in several Africa countries and gender disparities in learning outcomes are also a critical concern across the region.

Our success stories in education

As the African social and cultural enterprise movement grows, our programmes continue to focus on accountability, collaboration and training to enable the sector to scale. The British Council’s projects, some examples of which are outlined, are designed to be sustainable and easily scalable – across communities and geographies.

Coreskills for TVET 

  • In South Africa, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has put an emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to enable a skilled and capable workforce, who meet the demands of the labour market. The British Council is working with the DHET to improve the quality of teaching and learning at TVET institutions to achieve just that. 
  • In 2019, we trained TVET practitioners to become facilitators of the Coreskills for TVET training programme. The group consisted of Regional DHET officials, TVET Deputy Principals in Academic, Curriculum Managers and Lecturers. We also delivered Coreskills for TVET virtual training to TVET lecturers and trainers in 2020. The trained lecturers are now champions of the programme in their colleges and regions and will help support the capacitation of colleagues and partners. 

Skills for Employability 

  • Our Skills for Employability programme builds the skills of young people and adults, so they are able to work and compete in today’s globalised world. We encourage closer links between educational institutions and industry with a focus on strengthening the TVET sector and developing industry-led curricula across a wide range of sectors. 

I-WORK 

  • Our I-WORK project (Improved Work Opportunities – Relayed Knowledge), promotes collaboration between policymakers, public and private organisations and the vocational education sector in developing and piloting new approaches to demand-led education, specifically apprenticeships. This was a collaborative project across Ghana, India, Malaysia, South Africa and the UK. 
  • New approaches to employer-led training and employability of young people were implemented by six of South Africa’s TVET colleges resulting in upskilling of the young people who participated and a digital guide to provide young people with information on apprenticeship.

The way forward

Improvements in education go hand-in-hand with employability and the development of social enterprises that create jobs for those who need them most.

Despite the potential impact of social enterprises on job creation there is still relatively little policy or investment to support social enterprise. There is a profound need for Africa governments to recognise social enterprises in policies and legislation as a priority for young people. We are committed to creating an enabling environment for social enterprise through policy makers, enterprise hubs and other intermediaries and investors.

Social and creative enterprises provide a unique opportunity to solve many of the prevalent social and environmental problems in the region, while at the same time contributing to economic growth and job creation and improving the social fabric.

For these reasons, private sector companies need to reassess their social investment and sustainability plans and provide proactive support, tangibly and consistently, to gender parity in education and to social and creative enterprise initiatives in Africa.

Importantly, programmes must be driven by Africans themselves. It is an absolute imperative that this continent and its young people possess the power and potential that will shape world order now and in future. We and they have what it takes.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Enamen Consulting

About the British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding, and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education, and the English language.

We work in two ways – directly with individuals to transform their lives and with governments and partners to make a bigger difference for the longer term, creating benefits for millions of people all over the world.

We help young people gain the skills, confidence, and connections they are looking for to realise their potential. We support youth to learn English, get a high-quality education, and gain internationally recognized qualifications. Our work in arts and culture stimulates creative expression and nurtures creative enterprise.

We are on the ground in over 20 African countries and deliver impact working with local institutions and partners.

For more information or media enquiries please click here.

The post Education for Employment appeared first on African Media Agency.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

2023 Africa Cup of Nations Postponed to 2024

Africa Cup of Nations

Confederation of African Football president, Patrice Motsepe, has announced the postponement of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast to 2024.

Motsepe confirmed the postponement in Rabat, Morocco’s capital on Sunday.

The tournament was to be hosted in June-July 2023, which is the height of the rainy season in Ivory Coast, the host country.

It is the second consecutive time that the AFCON is being postponed, after the last edition of the tournament in Cameroon, where Senegal emerged the winners after defeating Egypt on penalties in the final, was equally postponed.

The tournament was originally scheduled for April 4 to 25, 2020 before CAF announced on March 17, 2020, that the tournament had been postponed to a later date due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

After suffering several changes in date, the 33rd edition of the AFCON eventually took place in 2022.

The 34th edition of the biggest African football showpiece, which had been initially scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, in Ivory Coast has also suffered the same fate as the CAF president said it would not go according to plan due to the weather conditions in the West African country.

“The 2023 AFCON will now be played between January and February 2024,” Mostepe told the media during a press conference in Morocco.

“This is one of the issues we discussed during our congress meeting here in Morocco and the official dates will be communicated later.

“It is after deliberations we came into the decision, we have partners and even though we make decisions, it is out of respect that we take the advice we are getting that we cannot take a risk (to host the tournament) and so that is why we have made the necessary announcement today (Sunday).

“It is not good for African football to play a tournament that can be washed out, it is not good for Africa and the continent at large and so we have to postpone it.”

Motsepe, however, lauded Ivory Coast for the preparations they have already put in place to stage the tournament.

“I am happy and impressed with the infrastructure put in place by Ivory Coast in readiness for the tournament and I am sure they will host a very good tournament,” Motsepe continued.

EU rolls out $1.3 billion to help Nigeria diversify its economy

EU

The European Union (EU) and its development finance institutions will provide Nigeria with 1.29 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to help Africa’s most populous country diversify its economy away from oil, a document from the bloc showed on Monday.

Nigeria has been trying to broaden its economy and exports outside the oil sector, which accounts for about 7% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and 90% of its foreign currency earnings.

The funding will be provided until 2027 under the EU’s “Green Deal” initiative and will, among other things, focus on enhancing access to renewable energy and boosting the development of the agricultural sector.

“In parallel, the EIB (European Investment Bank) sovereign lending will support the agri-food sector access to markets by financing rural roads, as well as climate adaptation and mitigation efforts,” the EU said.

About 57 projects, including nature-based measures to reduce climate change vulnerability, combating deforestation and desertification, and a waste-to-energy initiative in the southern Cross River state will receive funding, the EU said.

Leaders of Congo and Rwanda to meet for talks in Luanda – officials

Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi will meet his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, for talks in Angola this week, officials said Monday.

There were no details on what they would discuss, but the neighbours have been at diplomatic loggerheads since a surge of attacks in eastern Congo by the M23 rebel group — which Kinshasa accuses Kigali of backing.

Rwanda denies supporting the rebels and has, in turn, accused Congo of fighting alongside insurgents — a faceoff that has raised fears of fresh conflict in the region.

The meeting is likely to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday in Angola’s capital, Luanda, according to the officials — two of them from Congo and one from Rwanda — who did not wish to be named.

Earlier on Monday, Kagame said he did not mind Rwanda being excluded from a regional military force set up in April to fight rebels in eastern Congo, removing a potential stumbling block to the initiative.

Congo had welcomed the plan but said it would not accept the involvement of Rwanda.
“I have no problem with that. We are not begging anyone that we participate in the force,” Kagame told Rwanda’s state broadcaster in a wide-ranging interview.

“If anybody’s coming from anywhere, excluding Rwanda, but will provide the solution that we’re all looking for, why would I have a problem?” Kagame said.

At the end of March, the M23 started waging its most sustained offensive in Congo’s eastern borderlands since capturing vast swaths of territory in 2012 and 2013.

Rwanda accuses Congo’s army of firing into Rwandan territory and fighting alongside the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an armed group run by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide.

Recent attempts to stop the violence militarily have proven unsuccessful, and in some cases backfired, security analysts and human rights groups say.

Despite billions of dollars spent on one of the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping forces, more than 120 rebel groups continue to operate across large swaths of east Congo almost two decades after the official end of the central African country’s civil wars.