UNCTAD Report launched in Lagos, warns on debt: Africa should find new ways to finance development

unctad - report presentation

African Governments should add new revenue sources to finance their development, such as remittances and public–private partnerships, and clamp down on illicit financial flows, an UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report (EDAR) said, warning that debt looks unsustainable in some countries.

The Report which was presented to the Nigerian Media at a launch organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, on behalf of UNCTAD, on Thursday 21 July 2016, was reviewed by Prof AKpan Ekpo of West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) and co-presented by the Director, UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja.

The UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 finds that Africa’s external debt ratios appear manageable, but African Governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“Borrowing can be an important part of improving the lives of African citizens,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi says. “But we must find a balance between the present and the future, because debt is dangerous when unsustainable.” unctad - report presentations

At least $600 billion will be needed each year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, according to the report which is subtitled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa. This amount equates to roughly one third of countries’ gross national income. Official development aid and external debt are unlikely to cover those needs, the report finds.

A decade or so of strong growth has provided many countries with the opportunity to access international financial markets. Between 2006 and 2009, the average African country saw its external debt stock grow 7.8 per cent per year, a figure that rose to 10 per cent per year in 2011–2013 to reach $443 billion or 22 per cent of gross national income by 2013.

Several African countries have also borrowed heavily on domestic markets, the report finds. It provides specific examples and analyses of domestic debt in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. In some countries, domestic debt rose from an average 11 per cent of gross domestic product in 1995, to around 19 per cent at the end of 2013, almost doubling in two decades.

“Many African countries have begun the move away from a dependence on official development aid, looking to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with new and innovative sources of finance,” Dr. Kituyi says.

The report argues that African countries should look for complementary sources of revenue, including remittances, which have been growing rapidly, reaching $63.8 billion to Africa in 2014. The report discusses how remittances and diaspora savings can contribute to public and development finance.

Together with the global community, Africa must also tackle illicit financial flows, which can be as high as $50 billion per year. Between 1970 and 2008, Africa lost an estimated $854 billion in illicit financial flows, roughly equal to all official development assistance received by the continent in that time.

And while Governments should be vigilant of the borrowing risks, public–private partnerships have also started to play a more prominent role in financing development. In Africa, public–private partnerships are being used especially to finance infrastructure. Of the 52 countries considered during the period 1990–2014, Nigeria tops the list with $37.9 billion of investment, followed by Morocco and South Africa.

Leadership, peace and security take centre stage at symposium and photo exhibitions on Nelson Mandela Day

High table - standing“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself” – Nelson Mandela

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership” – Nelson Mandela

The above two quotations by Nelson Mandela captured the mood and the focus of the symposium, film   screening and photo exhibitions organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos; the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA); the South African Consulate General, Lagos and the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) as part of activities marking the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Day in Nigeria.CG and Exhibition curator

July 18 every year was declared by the UN General Assembly in November 2009, as the ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ in recognition of his contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. Whilst the General Assembly (UNGA) resolution of 2009 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity; the UNGA resolution of 2015 on the Nelson Mandela Rules extends the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day to also promote humane conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance. No doubt, the Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations.CG cuts the tape to exhibition

As over 150 participants comprising of representatives of NGOs, media organisations as well as university and high school students were conducted around the exhibitions; and as they were also later treated to very instructive presentations during the symposium, they took some good lessons on Mandela’s leadership. The unwavering commitment of Mandela to his promise to serve for a single term as the South African president was flagged as a leadership lesson for African leaders. Similarly, his decision to forgive and reconcile with his jailers even when he became the President was noted as a major step responsible for a stable and peaceful post-apartheid South Africa.student participants

The photo exhibition titled, ‘Life and Times of Nelson Mandela’ and held at the front lobby of the NIIA, Victoria Island Lagos, was curated by one of its Deputy Directors, Mrs Pamela Momah. Over 60 exhibits of photographs and newspaper cuttings were on display. The exhibition, declared open by the Consul General of the South African Consulate General, Lagos, Mr Darkey Africa, touched on his early childhood, the period of the struggle, his incarceration, his release from the prison and his ascendancy to the presidency of South Africa. Similarly, two short films were screened to the admiration of the audience. They were ‘Nelson Mandela’s Life Story’ and ‘Nelson Mandela: Carrying On His Legacy’.audience

The symposium chaired by a former Ambassador of Nigeria to Ethiopia, Ambassador Olusegun Akinsanya, featured four key presentations: International Terrorism and Maintenance of Global Peace by Prof Charles Dokubo; Nelson Mandela as a ‘Great Personality of Peace’: Lessons in Leadership for Global Peace and Security by Mr Sunday Olubejide; Awareness and Prevention of HIV/ AIDS: The Role of International Personalities by Dr Chinwe Nwanna as well as presentations on ‘Students and Maintenance of International Peace and Security by a student each from Leads University, Ibadan Oyo State, Lagos State University, and the University of Lagos.Video screening

In his presentation, Professor Dokubo of NIIA advocated for a stronger cooperation between the international community especially the United States, and the African Union (AU) to hone a national or bilateral counter-terrorism strategy that offers comprehensive solution to tackle contemporary terrorism.

Mr Olubejide also of NIIA, noted in his presentation that Mandela was supposed to be released in 1985, but he refused because the terms and conditions of such freedom was to cage his liberation struggle and never to return to the African National Congress (ANC), and therefore released a statement through his daughter, Zindi saying, ‘What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remained banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner can never enter into contracts.’Ronald Kayanja speaksTime to serve inscription

Presenting a paper on “Awareness and Prevention of HIV/AIDS”, Dr Chinwe Nwanna of the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos acknowledged the significant contribution of Nelson Mandela to the fight against HIV/ AIDS. At the international AIDS conference in July 2000, according to Dr Nwanna, he issued a passionate and powerful demand asking the world to get on with the use of tools such as information, life skills, abstinence, safe sex and condoms which have been proven to save lives.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day, remembered Nelson Mandela as a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement who worked tirelessly for peace and human dignity. The message was delivered by the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja.

 

 

Cooperation among agencies in the justice sector key to implementation of Nelson Mandela Rules on the treatment of prisoners

Mandela Day - High Table

Head of UNODC Lagos Office, Mr Glen Prichard; Secretary General of UN Association, Engr. Ganiyu Owolabi; Counsellor Political, South African Consulate, Mr Peter Makwarela; UNIC Lagos Director, Mr Ronald Kayanja; Controller of Prisons, Lagos, Mr Olumide Tinuoye; the Consul General of the South African Consulate General, H.E. Mr Darkey Africa; and the Human Rights Adviser to the UN Nigeria, Dr Martin Ejidike.

Tuesday 19 July 2016: Coordination and cooperation among agencies in the justice sector is a critical success factor in the implementation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, otherwise known as the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’.

This was the major resolution reached yesterday, 18 July 2016 after the discussion of the Nelson Mandela Rules with scores of Prison Officers drawn from the five prison facilities, including the female medium security prison, in Lagos State, as part of activities marking the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Day in Nigeria.Mandela Day - NPS CP

Organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the South African Consulate General, the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) and the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), the dialogue generated a lot of interrogations and contributions by the Prison Officers who noted that operational cooperation amongst the Police, the Prisons, the Judiciary and the Bar needed to be improved for any meaningful implementation of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).Mandela Day - Glen and the audience

According to the participants, the rules which were presented by the Head of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Lagos Office, Mr Glen Prichard, would require an enabling environment and improved political will to implement in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon has urged everyone to be inspired by Nelson Mandela as a lifelong example of someone who never ceased working to build a better world for all.Mandela Day - South African Consul Gener

He made this call in his Nelson Mandela International Day message presented by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre, Mr Ronald Kayanja. “We remember a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement who worked to build a better world for all”, the Secretary General said.

Welcoming the participants, the Controller of Prisons, Lagos State Command, Mr Olumide Tinuoye expressed the gratitude of the Nigeria Prisons Service to the United Nations for the training on the Nelson Mandela Rules. He observed that the Nigerian Prison Officers were reputed for their professionalism and retreatment of prisoners with dignity. However, he added that more capacity building initiatives would be welcomed by his Command.Mandela Day - Group

The Representative of the South African Consulate General, Mr Darkey Africa in his opening remarks said, “we want to thank all the United Nations member states for renaming these rules after Nelson Mandela in 2015”. He stressed that the rules were therefore a testimony of his respect for human dignity and the fact that no person is irredeemable.Mandela Day - Cross-section of participants

In his presentation, the Human Rights Adviser to the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Nigeria, Dr Martin Ejidike called for more frequent visits of the Chief Judge to the prisons to see how awaiting trials inmates, who constitute 72% of total inmates could be freed.

The Executive Director of Crime Victims Foundation, Barrister Gloria Egbuji, in her remarks, observed that the discussion of the Nelson Mandela Rules could not be complete without the gate keepers who are the police.

Invest more in young people – Ban Ki-moon

WYSD - Art works WYSD - UNIC Nat Info Officer Oluseyi Soremekun speaksThe Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban- Ki Moon has urged everyone to invest more in empowering young people. He said this in his message on the observance of the World Youth Skills Day organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with ‘Yes I Believe Academy’ (YIBA) and held on July 15th 2016 at the Library Auditorium of UNIC Ikoyi Lagos.

In the speech delivered by the National Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, the Secretary General stated that “Empowering young people through skills development strengthens their capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, including poverty, injustice and violent conflict.”WYSD - Audience

According to him, there is no better investment than helping a young person to develop their abilities. “Successful skills programmes,” he continued, “link young people with opportunities to gain experienc17e and jobs. It is especially critical to cultivate girls and young women with skills in science, technology and innovation.”

Mr Ban emphasized that too many youths in developing countries were trapped into working poverty stemming from the irregularity of jobs. He said “Young people are understandably searching for the financial security, personal satisfaction and sense of purpose that come from meaningful employment. Leaders have pledged to assist them in this effort.”

Speaking, the Executive Director of ‘Yes I Believe Academy (YIBA), Mr Niyi Adekunle, urged the participants who were mainly members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), to develop skills in other areas different from their course of studies in the universities. This, he stressed, would widen their economic options as they seek for employment and business after their national service.

Other speakers and skills training facilitators included Mr Jaiye Owolabi (Fashion); Mr Henry Arogundade (Guest Speaker); Mr Tobi Asheinde (Guest Speaker); Mrs Nneoma Effange (Makeup); Mrs Ore Solana (Crystal Design); Mrs Yetunde Ifebogun (Interior Design); Mrs Ikeolu Biobaku (Cake); Mrs Temitope Ogunniyi (Anchor); Mr Biodun Folawiyo (Shoe Making); Mrs Peace (Bead Making); Mrs Jennifer Oyebola (Art Works).

Model United Nations (MUN) organisers urged to work together

MUN - DirectorThe Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has urged organisers of Model United Nations (MUN) in Nigeria to work together and with the United Nations Information Centre, to increase awareness of the MUN in the country and build the African Model United Nations.

Mr Kayanja said this while welcoming participants to the one-day capacity building workshop on ‘Model United Nations’ held at the Library Auditorium of UNIC Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday, 14 July 2016.MUN - group

He noted that the workshop had become necessary in view of the widespread misrepresentation of the UN Rules of procedure that are simulated during the various MUN being organised around the country. The Director urged the participants drawn from three organisations: Value For Tomorrow Initiative; University of Lagos Model United Nations and the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), to get acquainted with the actual rules guiding the operations of the UN organs.MUN - Seyi

The workshop which was facilitated by the National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun; a MUN expert from Ghana, Ms Precious Klinogo and another specialist from India, Ms Abhilasha Singh, was attended by 35 people.

Speaking on the use of the UN emblem, Mr Soremekun explained that ‘Use and display of the United Nations emblem is highly restricted and essentially limited to the activities of the United Nations.’MUN - participants crosssection

‘If a Model UN wishes to obtain authorization to use the UN logo or the crossed olive branches for the specified duration of a Model UN conference, a written request to the Secretary of the United Nations Publications Board should be submitted. Use of the logo on a permanent basis will not be authorized,’ he added.

Sharing her opinion about the workshop, a participant, Ms Aisha Odekunle said she has learnt ‘basically what happens in the United Nations, what needs to be done and what should not be done and I am looking forward to future workshops’MUN - participants

Another participant, Mr Shittu Rilwan answering said “most of us already had the experience so most of the things were not strange to me but for the leadership position was very explanatory and very strange to me and I am very happy I took part in it”.

New pilot initiative in Kaduna will boost inclusive growth in African food industry

UNSustainableDevelopmentGoals_Brand-02United Nations SDG Fund, FG, Kaduna Government, chefs Roca Brothers and Sahara Group launch a joint platform to create jobs, promote gender equality and reduce food waste

Jere, Kaduna (Nigeria), 14 July 2016. As Nigeria embraces a challenging economic diversification process, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) is working in Kaduna to pilot an innovative approach aimed at revamping the food sector to creating new jobs for young people, increase farmers’ revenues, improve productivity, enhance nutrition and reduce food loss through more sustainable production practices.

UN Goodwill Ambassadors, brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca of restaurant El Celler can Roca, ranked among the best chefs of the world, UN Agencies, the Sahara Group and Nigerian government authorities will partner on the Food Africa project. Launched in Jere, the initiative is set to revolutionize the food industry in Kaduna and beyond. For the project kick-off Josep Roca met with young women and men that will be the driving force of this programme. A Center of Excellence, specialized on agriculture and agro-processing training, will contribute to expand it to other regions in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa through regional exchange of best practies.

Food for SDGs

Nigeria has been an avid proponent and early adopter of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were approved at the United Nations in September. Under the leadership of Princess Victoria Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, plans and policies are now underway to achieve these goals by 2030.

In Africa, agriculture remains a vital source of employment and income generation. In Nigeria the sector contributes to an estimated 70% of employment in Nigeria, but only 22% of GDP, thus indicating a significant potential for productivity gains. Despite a strong reliance on farming and agriculture, malnutrition is often prevalent in many regions and invariably an estimated 50-70% of   harvests can be lost due to the lack of appropriate storage facilities and limited market information.

On top of that, climate change, could result in falls in output of up to 30%, according to the World Bank estimates. The recent state of emergency declared in Kaduna over tomato shortages and soaring prices caused by the moth tuta absoluta exemplifies climate and environmental pressures to agricultural production to come.

Revolutionizing the food industry

In order to tackle these pressing challenges, the SDG Fund, a mechanism established by the UN to advance the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is engaging governments, UN Agencies, civil society and the private sector on issues critical to enhancing food security and nutrition.

The pilot Food Africa project in Kaduna will provide a backward and forward integration approach for food supply chain management. The program will introduce more sustainable practices in the value chain, reduce crop waste and improve smallholder farmers’ profitability. Recognizing the link between the gaps in skills and structural unemployment in the region, the project will promote income generating opportunities and technical support to promote trade of local goods and services.

The program will feature an agro processing facility and serve as a Center of Excellence to increase farmers’ receipts and reduce food loss. The center will provide training in the food industry on issues linked to food safety, business planning and product diversification. Designed as a hybrid public-private facility, the program will eventually be sustained and managed by the communities local farmers.

Unique collaboration

UN Goodwill Ambassadors Master Chefs Roca Brothers will contribute their valuable knowledge in sustainable conservation, food preparation and distribution techniques. The Rocas will provide skills training for young women and men as well as providing technical oversight and sharing best practices. The renowned chefs will play a key role in showcasing how local food production can be cultivated for new markets and consumers. “It is an honor for us to be part of this vibrant, promising and collective project and contribute with our cooking, our imagination and our passion to advance the sustainable development goals”, Josep Roca affirmed while in Jere. He added “we are doing this on behalf of all chefs, not only ourselves”.

 

Several specialized UN Agencies will provide expertise on food production (FAO), labour and employment (ILO) and international trade (ITC). An early warning Geographical Information System (GIS) will also be available to connect farmers with agricultural extension services and provide real time market data.

 

Sahara Group, a leading African energy conglomerate and member of the SDG Fund Private Sector Advisory Group and major co-financer of the project will bring its business perspective to the program to ensure the viability of the facility’s operations. “We are excited to showcase this new project which will go a long way to shine the spotlight on the links between agricultural training, food security and improving nutritional livelihoods in our communities” said Tonye Cole, Executive Director and co-founder of the Sahara Group.

Kaduna State Government will provide the land for the constructed facility as well as farmland and personnel. The state government will collaborate with other state-level stakeholders to improve local infrastructure including rural roads to allow greater access to the facility and farmland.

It is expected that 5,000 women and men of Kaduna will be directly impacted with new job prospects, increased income and additional skills to compete in the thriving food industry. In addition, an estimated 500,000 residents will indirectly benefit from the Food Africa Project which is designed to be scaled-up in the region and eventually replicated in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo and video materials of the visit available at: Kick off pictures

Contact Information:

Bethel Obioma – bethel.obioma@sahara-group.com – +2348113936140

Raul de Mora – raul.de.mora@undp.org – +1 631 464 8617

 

 

Reduced inequalities possible with individual action & comprehensive government policies

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own” – Cesar ChavezGoal - 10

The world as a whole is becoming richer. According to the Pew Research Centre analysis of data from the World Bank database (2015), the share of the population defined as poor has actually fallen by nearly half since 2001, dropping to around 15%, and income inequality between countries is in fact diminishing. However, whilst income inequality between countries is declining, inequality within countries is on the rise. UNDP report, 2013, ‘Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries’ notes that on average, income inequality increased by 11% in developing countries between 1990 and 2010.

It seems that the global economic growth failed to take everyone with it, leaving behind marginalised people and communities, from women and girls, and people with disabilities to indigenous groups worldwide (UNFPA). Inequality is a global problem that requires a global solution, and that is exactly why it was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and occupying number 10 of the 17 goals.

In the spirit of the Millennium Declaration of 2000, SDG10 endeavours to continue reducing poverty, yet with a positively more comprehensive insight than its predecessor, recognising that it is simply not enough to offer equal opportunities; we must also strive to equip each and every person with equality of outcome, as the UNDP report  ‘Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries’ (2013) highlights. In layman’s terms, an individual needs Goal 6 (water), Goal 8 (power), Goal 3 (healthcare), Goal 2 (food), and Goal 3 (education), simply to be able to take advantage of equal opportunities, and eventually reduce inequalities as a whole.

SDG10 hopes to tackle the structural factors that cause these inequalities: discrimination, lack of representation, and lack of appropriate policies by aiming to eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices and encouraging governments to adopt policies of fiscal, wage and social protection. And with the same UNDP report concluding that policy makers from around the world acknowledged that inequality in their countries is potentially a threat to long-term social and economic development, it is no surprise that efficient policies are on the agenda. Achieving this would hopefully allow for both equality of opportunity, and equality of outcome, allowing the most disadvantaged to prosper.

The success of these targets is more essential than ever for Nigeria. Despite the prediction that by 2030 it will be amongst the world’s top 20 economies, the country is facing an increasing wealth divide fuelled by corruption and extortionate governance costs (and one of the largest in the world at that), Income redistribution is such that the majority of the population are not reaping the benefits of the country’s rich supply of natural resources, however, there is hope that the SDG10 target of increasing the income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population (globally) at a rate higher than the national average will help Nigeria to narrow this gap between the rich and the poor.

But why should we care? If we push aside the human-level responsibility to care about the wellbeing of our neighbours, inequality is closely related to “poverty, environmental degradation, persistent unemployment, political instability, violence and conflict”, according to the World Economic Forum’s report ‘Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015’. So for a better country, a better world, and a better Nigeria, these shocking disparities should be the wake up call that pushes forward the implementation of SDG10.

Besides reducing the wealth divide, SDG10 endeavours to give a voice to developing countries like Nigeria, making them heard in global international economic and financial institutions, and endeavours to give these countries greater development, assistance, and investment in order to fuel equality.

The message is loud and clear – inequality matters, and it affects each and every one of us, if not directly, indirectly. And we must not be put off by the magnitude of Goal 10. It aims for the arguably unthinkable – to tackle inequality, be it “income, consumption, wealth, gender, employment, (or) health variables” (Asian Economic & Financial Review, 2015, p443). It aims to provide for everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, disability, in the challenging, judgemental and discriminative world we live in. And it wants equality of income in a world rife with greed. It wants what Goal 1, Goal 7, and Goal 9 promote combined. But with so many demands and so many challenges comes great opportunity.  It may seem far out of reach, but reduced inequalities within and among countries is certainly possible with individual action, comprehensive government policies, and higher wages to kick-start the journey.

Written by Rebecca Church (Intern)

Promoting decent work and economic growth, a task for all.

decent workPoverty eradication is enhanced through stable and well-paid jobs. Nearly 2.2 billion people live below the US$2 poverty line. Global unemployment increased from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012, of which about 75 million are young women and men.470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the GDP contracted by 0.36 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2016, compared to a 2.11 percent expansion in the previous period and way below forecasts of 1.7 percent growth. It is the first contraction since the June quarter of 2004 as the non-oil sector contracted, mainly due to a slowdown in the services sectors due to a weakening naira while lower oil prices keep dragging the oil sector down. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Nigeria averaged 4.12 percent from 1982 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 19.17 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004 and a record low of -7.81 percent in the fourth quarter of 1983.

The importance of ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ was underscored by its inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Occupying number 8, it targets build-up of decent work and economic growth in the societies; sustained per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries; achievement of higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors and promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Other targets of this SDG 8 include the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services; improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead.

By 2030, SDG 8 targets to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

No doubt, if the work force enjoys decent work in terms of environment and wages, they would be able to work optimally and stimulate economic growth. Let all promote decent work and economic growth for the sustainability of future generations.

Written by Nicole Chukwuka (intern). Graphics by Daniel Femi Macaulay

Clean water and Sanitation for all, a 2030 agenda

clean waterWater is a major component of not just the earth but every form of living. According to various statistics, it makes up for about 70% of the earth. There are various uses of water; it is used for feeding, bathing, drinking, transportation etc. Water is useful across all works of life and is an essential resource for living and for survival. The whole earth is filled with abundance of water but despite the availability, it’s been a big issue of concern as such a vital resource is not being well managed as it should be and the lack of proper protection of its various forms cannot be overlooked.

The criticality of water to life, no doubt, informed the inclusion of ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). Thomas Fuller said, ”we never know the worth of water till the well runs dry”. That saying emphasizes the precarious attitude we have towards this resource, through our various actions or inaction. The challenge poor hygiene and sanitation has not helped either.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says, “Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease world-wide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in households and across communities. The word ‘sanitation’ also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal.”

According to analysis from Water.org “about  663 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water, 2.4 billion People – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet. Twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water, 1/3 of the global population lives without access to a toilet. More people have a mobile phone than a toilet. A review of rural water system sustainability in eight countries in Africa, South Asia, and Central America found an average water project failure rate of 20 – 40 percent. Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation. In low and middle-income countries, 1/3 of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source. The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015”.

The agenda of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, is to uniquely ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and there have been several goals targeted towards the achievement of this goal, one of which is to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes by 2020. This can be achieved through a united effort and adequate dissemination of information to help protect and ensure a sustainable clean water provision and management as well as sanitation, which can only be achieved by developing a united front.

World Health Organisation (WHO) analysis on Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH), ”If we were able to provide basic, low cost water and sanitation facilities to countries in need, the world would save around US$263 billion a year. If everyone in the world had access, the reduction in diarrhoea-related disease alone would save $11.6 billion in health treatment costs, and would generate $5.6 billion in labour spending”. This further goes to show that not only are we saving and maintaining this resource but we are also protecting ourselves and building a better future. Also, we are saving funds that can later be spent on other things as well as creating opportunities and making better health.

Written by Oluwasina Fowowe (an intern). Graphics by Daniel ‘Femi Macaulay

 

Achieving gender equality by 2030 – Don’t be left behind

Gender EqualityIn 1985, Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Optional Protocol in 2004. In 2005, the country ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. In September 2015, Nigeria was also one of the 193 countries that signed off to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These give an indication of commitment of the government of Nigeria to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

However, despite the above acceptance of the conventions and protocols, gender equality is still a major issue in Nigeria today. Cases of gender discrimination are still abound in the country. The United Nations, therefore sees the entrenchment of gender equality in the SDGs as a call to duty by all. Occupying Goal 5 among the 17 goals of the SDGs, gender equality as a sustainable development goal, seeks to put an end to all forms of discrimination against women and ensure that women as well as men are given full and equal rights as to how they live. The goal notes that “all humans are equals and therefore should and must be treated as such.” It also calls for reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, particularly seeks to enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women; as well as to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

The SDG 5, is not just about empowerment of women, it also targets “Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life; as well as “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.”

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 has therefore provided an opportunity for everyone to put an end to every form of gender discrimination so the country as well as the world can be a much better place to live. Do not be left behind in this race towards achieving gender equality by 2030!

Written by Ezinne Eke (An intern). Graphics by Daniel Olufemi Macaulay (An intern)