Widows cry out for help as UNIC Lagos, Partner, mark Int’l Widows’ Day

Former Chair, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri; Director UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja; Prof Grace Alele-Williams; Executive Director, Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru and National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun

Former Chair, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri; Director, UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja; Prof Grace Alele-Williams; Executive Director, Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru and National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun

As the world marked the 2015 International Widows’ Day on Tuesday, 23 June, over 100 widows in Lagos Nigeria have cried out for help against discrimination and social exclusion directed at widows by family members of deceased husbands.

Lamenting, Mrs Risikat Abiodun (38 years) disclosed that since her husband died seven years ago, his crashed car was sold and his family collected all the money and never showed up again to look after her and the children. For Mrs Ibidun Amusa, a 69-year old widow whose husband died 28 years ago, ‘My late husband’s family ejected me and my children from the house. I have been moving from one house to the other. We are currently homeless… as I could not pay rent as and when due. Feeding is hard and life is difficult.’

They therefore, called on all family members of deceased men in Nigeria to show love and care to widows in their families. The widows were speaking at the programme organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in collaboration with Hope For Life Initiative to commemorate the Day.

Drama presentation by secondary school tudents

Drama presentation by secondary school tudents

Earlier, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, emphasised the need to ‘erase the social stigmatization and economic deprivation that confronts widows; eliminate their high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation; and remove the barriers to resources and economic opportunities that constrain their future.’

The Secretary General in his message presented by the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, and translated into Yoruba language by the Centre’s National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, further called for advancement of widows’ equal rights to inheritance, property, land and other assets.

Group pixDelivering the keynote address, the immediate past Chairperson of the House committee on Daispora at the House of Representatives, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged the widows to commit themselves to educating their children, adding that it would be a double jeopardy should their children dropped out or failed to attend a school.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director of Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru, asserted that the challenges of widows and widowhood are challenges of all. Therefore everyone should join hands together to alleviate their hardship, abuse, discrimination and human rights violation.

The occasion was chaired by the first female Vice Chancellor in Nigeria, and a senior citizen, Prof Grace Alele-Williams.

Benue gets UN village for displaced persons, Governor gives kudos

IDP camps under construction in Mbawa community - 200 housing units for 200 familiesFollowing incessant conflicts in Benue State and the attendant increase in the number of displaced population, the United Nations in Nigeria through its Agency for Refugees, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has commenced the construction of 200 housing units tagged, ‘UN Village’ to accommodate 1000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State.

Located at Mbawa community in Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, the Housing project which is funded by UNHCR, is being implemented by Benue Non-Governmental Organisations Network (BENGONET), and supported by the Benue State Government and the host community. RC and UNHCR Rep

Speaking during a visit to the site by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), the UNHCR Representative in Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ms Angele Dikongue-Atangana, disclosed that the project was a pilot one which would soon be replicated in the North-east of the country. She added that a unit of the 2-room apartment cost only N95, 000 which according to her, was less than the cost of a temporary tent.

RC at IDP housing siteIn his remarks at the project site, the Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Nigeria, Mr Daouda Toure, noted that the project would improve protection of IDPs and enhance their wellbeing.

Receiving the UNCT members at the Government House, the Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom acknowledged the life-saving contribution of the UN system to Benue State, citing the UN village, the Primary Health Centre support by UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO; provision of boreholes as just few of the numerous interventions of the UN in the State.

 

UN@70 echoes at UNCT Retreat

UN70 presentation slideIn consultation with the Resident Coordinator’s Office and in continuation of its commitment to promoting the UN 70th anniversary as a one UN event in Nigeria, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has presented to the UNCT an update on activities so far in Nigeria and proposed events for the rest of the year.

He noted that the Foreign Affairs Ministry had responded to the letter on UN@70, written by the Resident Coordinator, Mr Daouda Toure, on joint activities with the Federal Government of Nigeria.UN70 presentation by Ronald

Mr Kayanja proposed a formal launch of UN@70 with the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs which will be succeeded by monthly events until December 2015. However, according to him, there would be one week of activities which would climax on 24th October 2015 when the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is expected to be Chief Guest of Honour.

Other proposed activities include an international conference on the UN@70 organised in partnership with the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs proposes; Peacekeeping Command of the Nigerian Military to honor fallen combatants during Peacekeeping operations; Public lectures on the UN and Nigeria organized in collaboration with Covenant University, Ota Ogun State; School Arts Exhibitions and essay competitions on the work of the UN by a School in Abuja and another one Ogun State; and a Photo exhibition which would probably be the world’s longest photo exhibition organized with Femi Arts Warehouse and planned to be staged at the Bar Beach, Lagos, among others.

In his contribution, the Resident Coordinator observed that the 70th anniversary provided a platform for the UN system to highlight its works in the country. He, therefore, called on all Head of Agencies to communicate UN@70 during their activities.

 

UNDAF III implementation in 2014 cost $316.5m

UNDAF III Cover pictureEighteen months into the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF III) 2014 – 2017, signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria, the United Nations system in Nigeria has spent $316,594,365.00 in the country in 2014. This amount represents the expenditure on various activities of the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes under the Framework in Nigeria.

According to the UNDAF III Annual Report 2014, the performance delivery status which stands at 34% in the first year, covers four thematic areas: Good Governance, Social Capital Development, Economic Growth and Human Security and Risk Management. The Report further states that over $268.7 million, representing 48% of total expenditure, was spent on activities under the Social Capital Development thematic area while over $32.1 million (28%) was spent on activities promoting good governance in Nigeria.

Others are Equitable & Sustainable Economic Development with expenditure of $10.7 (8.7%) and Human Security and Risk Management with expenditure of $2.9 million which represents 3.5% of total expenditure.

Speaking, the Resident Coordinator reaffirmed the commitment of the UN system to the realization of the fifty-two outputs of UNDAF III.

Consume goods that use less energy, water, and waste less food – Ban Ki-moon

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Mrs Adeola Adedeji (UNIC Lagos) addresses the audience

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UNIC and partners lead cleaning exercise at Iddo Market, Lagos

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A group picture

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A sensitisation session in the market

A call has gone to all Nigerians and other peoples of the world to shift their consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.  “In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make,” the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has said in his message on the occasion of the 2015 World Environment Day.

Delivering the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of the observance, at a symposium held at the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) office, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja represented by Ms Adeola Adedeji, further called on people to ‘let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact,’ and hoped to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change.

Awareness  walk, 'Green Walk'

Awareness walk, ‘Green Walk’

Activities for this year’s event, organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) and the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), also included the cleaning of Iddo market in Lagos and an awareness road walk.

The cleaning exercise, which involved the traders in the market, was meant to strengthen the culture of maintaining a clean environment, especially in the various markets where the rate of wastes generation is high.

Sensitising the traders, the representative of LAWMA, Mrs Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun, stressed the health benefits of a clean environment and the importance of tree planting as no tree was sighted in the market. She added that the traders should eschew the habits of disposing wastes into the drainage as this could block the channels and lead to flooding with possible loss of lives and property.

In his keynote address, Mr. Olayiwole Onasanya, who spoke on sustainable consumption and production, emphasised the minimal usage of resources, the purpose and benefits of re-usage, recycling and reduction of material in use.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Lagos State Chapter, Dr Eugene Itua, in his remarks urged everyone to contribute to ensuring cleaner air and a greener environment in Nigeria.

The awareness walk tagged, ‘The Green Walk’ and held earlier today, was organised by the International Living Africa in collaboration with the All Nigeria United Nations Students’ Association (ANUNSA) and UNIC Lagos.

Keep abreast of your child, be social media smart – Parents told

Director, UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the audiencre

Director, UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the audiencre

As the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with Tehila Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (TWYEF) joined the rest of the world recently to mark the Global Day of Parents, one issue that has remained on the front burner of public discuss is the challenges of parenting digital savvy children. At the Panel Discussion programme organised to mark the day in Lagos, Nigerian parents have been urged to keep abreast of their children and be social media smart.

Speaking on ‘Contemporary Parenting and the Social Media’, Dr Ifeoma Amobi of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, warned that interaction of young people on social media platforms should no longer be dismissed as a ‘waste of time’, but must be acknowledged by parents as a part of contemporary communication.

‘The new way of life, brought on by the spread and development of communication technology, demands different ways of parenting due to the altered fabrics of parent-child relationships,’ Dr. Amobi contended, ‘Parents should be their children’s best friends and should do so by becoming “social media smart”. She added that in order to fulfil parents’ duty of protecting their children, online activity should be treated with the same diligence as offline activity.

L-R: Dr Ifeoma Amobi (University of Lagos), Mr Ronald Kayanja (UNIC Lagos), HRH Abiola Dosunmu (Erelu of Lagos), Mrs Stephany Nwanma (TWYEF), Oluseyi Soremekun (UNIC Lagos) and Mrs Chinyere Anokwuru

L-R: Dr Ifeoma Amobi (University of Lagos), Mr Ronald Kayanja (UNIC Lagos), HRH Abiola Dosunmu (Erelu of Lagos), Mrs Stephany Nwanma (TWYEF), Oluseyi Soremekun (UNIC Lagos) and Mrs Chinyere Anokwuru

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2012, the Global Day of Parents is observed on the 1st of June every year to honour parents around the world. It acknowledges that parents of every race, religion, culture and nationality in all parts of the world are the primary caregivers and teachers of their children, preparing them for a happy, fulfilling and productive life.

The Panel Discussion programme chaired by the Erelu of Lagos, Her Royal Highness, Abiola Dosunmu, attracted men and women, literate and non-literate, from all walks of life they gathered just to commemorate the Day3 in Nigeria.

Welcoming the participants, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, highlighted the importance of parents to the development of the child, the community and the nation. He observed that the success of the United Nations’ mission to promote international peace and security, ensuring a world free from war and conflict, was dependent on the direction parents provided for their children and the society.

High TableQuoting from the preamble of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Kayanja observed that “Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed”.  He added that parents played an integral role in peace building through teaching values of tolerance, respect for one another, hard work and integrity among others.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of TWYEF, Mrs Stephany Nwanma, re-emphasised the importance of education and restoration of values through parenting and urged parents to rise up to the challenges of contemporary parenting.

Speaking on “Critical Issues and Challenges with Parenting in Nigeria”, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Medical Director and Director of Total Health Trust, observed that peer pressure from an early age, the excessive use of technology and gadgets, being subjected to bullying, a sense of entitlement, drugs and substance abuse, sexual experimentation as well as sibling rivalry were the challenges children and parents face at this time in the global development. ‘The parenting skills needed to tackle these challenges are not taught in schools or homes rather parents need to devise a more practical approach to navigate the challenges,’ he added.Cross-section

Her Royal Highness addressed the issue of gender equality and women’s empowerment stating that fathers and mothers should be equally responsible for parenting, as “women have always been working side by side to create a happy home for children”.

In her ‘Testimony of a Parent’, Mrs Chinyere Anokwuru, the former Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos state on women ethnic groups, recounted how her parents upheld integrity and values in the face of  hardship and poverty to raise her. She added that the values handed down to her by her parents had brought her to where she was at the moment.

Participants called on UNIC Lagos and TWYEF to organise a similar programme but for a larger audience. They also requested that the presentations be published for wider circulation of the issues and for references purposes.

Post-2015 Development Agenda and Youth, the vision of Dutch cyclists

Director UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the youths

Director UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the youths

The imminent end to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by end of 2015 has generated the question, ‘What next?’ which has also elicited the response, ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ being a component of the ‘Post-2015 Agenda’. The SDGs are structured to build on the achievements of the MDGs while strengthening some other aspects. The momentum of the MDGs must be doubled and sustained under the Post-2015 Agenda. One of the ways is to sufficiently equip the youth through sensitisation and awareness of their roles and opportunities inherent in the framework of development as captured in the Post-2015 Agenda.

It was in the light of the above that the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) New York, in January this year, organised a sensitisation video conference for a number of UN Information Centres (UNICs) including UNIC Lagos. Briefing the UNICs at the conference were the Youth Ambassador of The Netherlands to the UN General Assembly, Mr Jilt van Schayik and his partner, Mr Teun Meulepas, representing the Building Bridges Project. They have decided to ride a bicycle across two continents to promote youth development within the framework of the UN Post-2015 Agenda.

Trade Advisor, Embassy of The Netherlands, Mr Taco Westerhuis addresses the audience

Trade Advisor, Embassy of The Netherlands, Mr Taco Westerhuis addresses the audience

In February 2015, the two Dutch Cyclists, van Schayik, and Meulepas, took off from Amsterdam, The Netherlands and would ride a distance of 17,000 kilometres over a period of-six months to arrive at Cape Town, South Africa in August. By that time, they would have ridden their bicycles across 22 countries in two continents. The two young Cyclists are members of the “Building Bridges Project”, an international youth initiative, which pictures the United Nations post-2015 agenda from a youth perspective, focusing focuses on the priorities of young people and women at the grassroots level and their vision of the world in 2030.

A group picture

A group picture

Interestingly, as they moved from one country to the other seeking to improve the relationship between young people on the ground and decision makers at the United Nations, they engaged and inspired the youths to aspire to greatness by participating in UN activities in their neighbourhoods and by contributing to their nation’s development. On each occasion the youths were engaged, the cyclists left a footprint of excitements and a group of young people fired up to excel in life and support their communities. This was probably one of the reasons that when scores of young Togolese welcomed van Schayik, and Meulepas to Togo, one of them, Mr Julio Atti, opted to accompany the two Dutch cyclists to Lagos Nigeria.

Stopping over in Lagos, the cycling team, now three, two Dutch and one Togolese, were received by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Of course, fifteen Nigerian cyclists and over sixty other youths from three higher educational institutions and a secondary school were also on hand to welcome the ‘cross-continent’ cyclists whose triumphant entry to UNIC premises received a spontaneous applause by the waiting audience. No doubt, the young cyclists have conquered weather elements, from snowy Europe to around 47 degree Celsius in the Sahel region of Africa.

A cross-section of Nigerian cyclists who welcome the Dutch cyclists to Nigeria

A cross-section of Nigerian cyclists who welcome the Dutch cyclists to Nigeria

In his welcome remarks, the Director of UNIC in Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, acknowledged the resilience and commitment of van Schayik and Meulepas, for channeling their youthful energies into constructive engagement of other youths in Europe and Africa as well as building bridges between and amongst youths across the continents through cycling. He called on Nigerian youths to reposition themselves for the Post-2015 development even as the global community transits from MDGs to the SDGs. ‘Towards this end’, he continued, ‘youths need to acquaint themselves with the seventeen drafted SDGs and the scores of associated result areas’. Kayanja added that “In September this year in New York, member states of the United Nations will meet to agree on these goals (SDGs) we shall use as our target for the coming 15 years.

Cross-section of audience as one of the Dutch cyclists speaksIn his remark, the Trade Advisor, Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Lagos, Taco Westerhuis, commended the cyclists for the courage to undertake the journey; and their Nigerian counterparts for their team spirits and for daring to ride bicycles on the busy Lagos roads. He urged Nigerian youths to connect with every developmental initiative in their neighbourhoods.

Explaining the rationale behind the journey during the interactive session, van Schayik pointed out that his team sought to involve young people in policy making and bridging the gap between young people and policy makers. The Building Bridges project, he continued, ‘connects, shares and inspires youths in Africa and Europe through youth consultations, debates and conferences to raise awareness for the urgent challenges that exist around the United Nations’ post-2015 development agenda and gender equality.’

Responding to the National President of the All Nigeria United Nation Students Association (ANUNSA), Ms Elizabeth Ukoha’s question on mobilising youth for development, Meulepas, “But what we have realised is that, in all these things, young people are either not interested or are not well informed about what is going on. So their participation is minimal.”

There is so much in the UN Post-2015 Agenda for youth that it will amount to socio-economic suicide for any young person not to be involved. Nigerian youth must key into global scheme of things and draw inspiration for personal and national development. The laid-back ones cannot excel. Only the hard-working ones will reach the top. The two Dutch cyclists are worthy of emulation by all the youth around the world. Key into Post-2015 Agenda, develop yourself and do something for others.

 

Media and people living with HIV in sensitisation on ambitious treatment target

UNAIDS-logo-FFADFA3139-seeklogo_comAbuja, 25 May 2015 — Journalists that cover health issues and representatives of people living with HIV/AIDS will come together in Abuja, Nigeria, on 26 May 2015 to take part in a sensitisation workshop on the ambitious UNAIDS treatment target – the 90-90-90 – and share ideas on how best it can be achieved by 2020.

The workshop organised by UNAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) is meant to sensitise participants on the target which aims at fast tracking the HIV response. The target will ensure that, by the year 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral load suppression.

“Our intention is to ensure that the journalists at the forefront of reporting HIV/AIDS issues continue to have a meaning role in helping the public to understand, own and support the drive to achieve the 90-90-90 target by 2020. The participation of representatives of people living with HIV in this endeavour gives us an opportunity to listen to new ideas that will keep Nigeria on the path of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” said Dr Bilali Camara, UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS).

“When people living with HIV understand the 90-90-90 target and drive the process, it will send the message down to the communities and ensure that more Nigerians will be tested for HIV and the ones who need treatment will access it. Also, this target motivates those who are already on treatment to adhere to it so they can suppress the virus and continue to live a healthy and productive life,” said Edward Ogenyi, the National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN).

The 90-90-90 treatment target was launched at a high-level political session of the 20th International AIDS Conference held in July 2014 in Melbourne, Australia, when the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, called for a new set of treatment targets by 2020.

This is the second workshop of its kind in Nigeria. A similar workshop involving vulnerable women and girls took place in March 2015.

NACA, UNAIDS and UNICEF will facilitate this workshop.

About NEPHWAN

The Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) was established in 1998 as a non-governmental organization to serve as a collective voice of People Living with HIV in Nigeria.

About UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response. 

Media Contact:  Charles-Martin Jjuuko | tel. +234 (0) 806 809 2984 | email: jjuukoc@unaids.org

Africa: making growth more inclusive hinges on unlocking potential of local economies

ADBAbidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 25 May 2015 – With Africa’s population set to triple by 2050, modernising local economies will be vital to make the continent more competitive and to increase people’s living standards, according to the African Economic Outlook 2015, released at the African Development Bank Group’s 50th Annual Meetings.

Surpassing most regions in spite of the global financial crisis, African economies will grow by 4.5 per cent in 2015 and may reach 5 per cent in 2016, converging with Asia’s current growth rates. However, lower oil and commodity prices, uncertain global conditions, the consequences of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and domestic political uncertainties could delay an expected return to pre-2008 levels of growth.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is forecasted to reach USD 73.5 billion in 2015, underpinned by increasing greenfield investment from China – which remains Africa’s largest trade partner after the European Union. The report also shows an increase in intra-African and outward FDI flows. South African companies are the leading investors on the continent.

“African countries have shown considerable resilience in the face of global economic adversity. For future growth to be sustainable and transformative will require that its benefits are shared more equitably among the population and that governments continue to pursue policies that promote economic stability,” stated Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank.UN-Emblem 2

Human development levels in Africa have increased since 2000, with 17 out of 52 countries reaching middle or high levels of development. But the region’s poverty rates remain stubbornly high while progress in health, education and income are uneven. Huge inequalities persist between and within countries, and between women and men. In many areas, low productivity and investment, the absence of infrastructure and rural-urban networks and too few jobs outside of the agricultural sector are holding back economic and development progress.

The continent’s demographic boom is exacerbating these challenges. By 2050, both cities and rural communities in Africa will see their population grow drastically, with the countryside gaining an estimated 400 million people.

For instance, the report states that over the next 15 years, 370 million youth will enter sub-Saharan Africa’s labour markets, making it necessary to create many more jobs and opportunities for savings and investment. In addition, that population growth, combined with climate change, will exert increasing pressure on natural resources, such as food, water and land.

Find Nigeria Country Note here

Projected workforce growth in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, China, India, Europe and the United States, 2010-50

Source: UNDESA (2012)

The report argues that past efforts to promote regional development through territorial management, infrastructure development and decentralisation have been scattered and had limited impact. As a result, the potential of Africa’s regions, which includes river basins, border areas and key rural-urban corridors, remains unfulfilled.

“African economies could benefit from mobilising the wide and extraordinary untapped potential of their diverse regions. Putting people and places at the centre of policy-making may improve Africa’s competitiveness and the well-being of Africans” said Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre.

Transforming economies will require exploring more productive sectors, through promoting manufacturing, developing services, creating strategies for green growth or modernising the agricultural sector.

In addition, tackling spatial inequalities would require implementing policies that cut across sectors. These include diversifying rural economies and linking them with cities, through the promotion of value chains and trade corridors. They also include unlocking domestic financing, developing transport and communication and investing in basic social services.

“Inclusive and sustainable growth is a fundamental aspect of Africa’s post-2015 development agenda for economic and social transformation,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Director of the Regional Bureau at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “We need to invest in building economic opportunities, including at the local level. And especially those of young women and men who are the architects of tomorrow’s Africa.”

The report calls for strengthening skills and education, addressing exclusion through the development of targeted social protection measures, and promoting universal access to sustainable energy and technology.

About the report:

The African Economic Outlook is produced annually by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

For the full report, including statistics and 54 individual country notes, please visit www.africaneconomicoutlook.org. For more information on the African Development Bank’s 2015 Annual Meetings, visit www.afdb.org/am. Official hashtags: #AfDBAM2015 and #AEO 2015.

 

UN@70, Post-2015 Development Agenda Echo at Women empowerment workshop

 

A participant, Ms Kofoworola Olaitan Anidugbe is excited to learn head-gear (Gele) tying.

A participant, Ms Kofoworola Olaitan Anidugbe is excited to learn head-gear (Gele) tying.

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Library auditorium of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, where over 152 women gathered yesterday to aspire to be ‘A Better Me’, the theme of the Homemakers Lifestyle and Empowerment Workshop organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and Brightlight Studios as part of activities marking the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations (UN) as well as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Defying the biting fuel scarcity in Nigeria and the status of Sunday as a rest day, the women clad in beautiful dresses turned up in their numbers to be a part of the programme which also contributes to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3: Promote Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addressing the participants

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addressing the participants

In his welcome address the Director of UNIC Lagos, Ronald Kayanja, represented by the Centre’s National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, reiterated that women remained a priority group for the United Nations and reassured that the organisation would continue to make a positive difference to the lives of millions of people especially in terms of vaccinating children; distributing food aid; sheltering refugees; deploying peacekeepers; protecting the environment; seeking peaceful resolution of disputes and supporting democratic elections, gender equality, human rights and the rule of law.

Quoting the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, Kayanja noted that “The theme of this anniversary year, ‘Strong UN. Better World’ captures the importance of multilateralism. This is a time of test but far more one of tremendous opportunity.”

Executive Director, Brightlight Studios, Ms Lanre Anjola-Oyebode addressing the participants

Executive Director, Brightlight Studios, Ms Lanre Anjola-Oyebode addressing the participants

He added that the empowerment workshop aligned with the message of the UN Secretary General on UN@70 that the United Nations looks forward to working with people everywhere to build lives of safety, prosperity and dignity for all.

The Homemakers Lifestyle and Empowerment Workshop featured the business side of beauty which included Make-up skills and head-gear (Gele) tying lessons; Marriage/Relationship Counselling; Building a Successful Fashion Designing Business; and the Art and Science of making Desserts, Cocktails and Mocktails. The programme also featured exhibition of women’s products from the cultural industry; beauty products; Cakes and Pastries and women wellness products among others.

Cultural Industry Exhibition

Cultural Industry Exhibition

Having been asked to bring along their ‘Gele’ for the lesson on Head-gear tying which is gradually developing to be a thriving business in the country, the women brought out their different and colourful head-tie to go through the process of tying elegant, head-turning ‘Gele’. The ‘Gele’ tying session appeared to be the climax of the workshop as all the women looked upbeat and determined to learn the art of tying the head-gear.

A participant, Ms Olaitan Ajilogba, who conspicuously battled to get the tying right for a long period during the session expressed her delight that she eventually mastered the process and ‘tied a beautiful and glamorous head-gear.’

'Gele' tying lesson in session

‘Gele’ tying lesson in session

Commenting, another participant, Ms Aisha Joy Omosun, noted that the Make-up session was very instructive and educating and would add both social and economic values to the women.

The Executive Director of Brightlight Studios, Ms Lanre Anjola-Oyebode, had earlier explained the rationale behind the programme saying it was meant to grow the number of women who are economically independent and sufficiently empowered to support their husbands in raising educated and morally upright children.

Brightlight Studios, she added, would continue to collaborate with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos to empower and improve the wellbeing of women in Nigeria. UNIC Lagos and Brightlight Studios plan to make the Homemakers Lifestyle and Empowerment Workshop an annual event in Nigeria.