President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called for an urgent need to tackle early child marriage by promoting girls’ education in Africa.
Dr Adesina who was guest at the First Ladies Meeting on Combatting Child Marriage and Promoting Education of Girls in West Africa, Niamey, Niger, added that Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.
“Our challenges are complex – and they require a holistic approach in response. Keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to end child marriage; because an educated girl is an empowered girl.
“Early marriage is a plague jeopardizing the future of girls, as women are fully capable of contributing to the development of their communities and countries.
“It is my conviction that “No bird can fly with one wing. Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.”
He explained that the bank has set up policies that will ensure women’s participation and to achieve the goals need the political will.
“We know what must be done! We have the tools and program delivery models. What we need, however, is a strong political will.
“This is a critical priority for us – not just an Africa issue, but also a global issue. So all of us must come together – public non-governmental institutions, religious leaders, communities, families, and schools – for a sustained multi-stakeholder approach to combat early marriage and promote girls’ education.
“You invest in a man, it’s one thing – but invest in a woman, and you see that investment manifold throughout her community.”
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to assist Nigeria with a $1 billion to help finance the 2016 Budget, especially in cushioning the effects of the economic recession.
The President of the bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who said this after his visit to Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa on Monday said the bank will also provide another $4.1 billion dollar support to Nigeria in many other areas including power, agriculture, infrastructure development and private sector business expansion.
Dr Adesina, who said his visit is hinged on the fact that Nigeria remains the largest shareholder of the bank, said the country is currently facing a difficult time because of the fall in oil price.
He further maintained that the federal government is taking the necessary steps to address the problem, which the bank will now step in to overcome.
He said Nigeria is not in a debt crisis and will therefore bounce back stronger and more diversified from the recession.
He further noted that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria will increase in Nigeria to more than $10 billion dollars over the next three years.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has asked African nations to explore other sources of generating power.
He is also urging countries to device other means to move faster and unlock all the potential energy mix which lie untapped across the continent if Africa must meet the 10 gigawatts of electricity by 2020.
Light Up And Power Africa
Dr. Adesina told reporters on Monday at the 2016 AfDB meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, that Africa was currently seating on at least 11 terawatts of unutilised solar energy, 350 gigawatts of hydro and 150 gigawatts of wind power that must be unlocked.
He said proper planning of Africa’s power development was urgently required and attention must be paid to three key needs for power which are light, base load for industries and clean cooking.
Board of governors and officials from 80 member countries on the continent will converge over the next five days for the 51st AfDB’s annual meeting, with a key focus on energy and climate change. It will also focus on one of the regional bank’s high five priority areas which is to ‘light up and power Africa’.
Ninety-six per cent of Zambia’s nearly 2,400 megawatts of electricity is said to be sourced from hydro-power while Nigeria’s all time high of 4600 megawatts comes from hydro-power and gas.
In both countries, as in other African countries, other sources of power such as solar, coal, biomass, lignite and oil remain largely untapped.
With the 10 gigawatts target for Africa by 2020, African countries must hasten to meet the ‘light up and power Africa’ objective with the support of the African Development Bank.
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Nigeria on Friday for Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to take part in the Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum.
A statement on Thursday by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said the forum would open in the Egyptian resort town on Saturday, February 18.
It is being organised by the Egyptian government under the auspices of the African Union Commission.
The forum’s objective is to accelerate private sector engagement and investment within Africa and promote the development of African ties and partnerships.
President Buhari, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt and the Presidents of Togo, Sudan, Kenya, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia are among confirmed speakers at the forum.
Other confirmed speakers include the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the President/CEO of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.
President Buhari would be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelama.
The President is expected to return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at the conclusion of the forum.
The Federal Executive Council has approved a loan of $152.12 million and a grant of $385,000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the support of the agricultural transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
After the council’s meeting on Wednesday, the minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said that many financial donors were excited with the turnaround in the agricultural sector of the economy and would do all they could to support the efforts of the Federal Government.
Mr Adesina said that the loans would be invested in 14 staple crop processing zones across the country spread over a whole range of commodities like rice, cassava, sorghum as well as oil palms.
According to him, the zones that will be covered include the Adani-Omo in Ebonyi and Enugu States, for rice and cassava, Bida and Badegi for rice, Kano and Jigawa for rice, Kebbi Sokoto.
The seven states that will benefit include Anambra, Enugu, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Niger and Sokoto.
The loan facility will support infrastructure development, production, irrigation, social infrastructure like rural roads, portable water, sanitation, health care. It will also cover 27 Local Government Areas and it will be developed in close partnership with the state governments.
The government is looking to fully move agriculture from subsistent level to real business level.
While enumerating the benefits of the loans under the crop processing zones, Mr Adesina gave the assurance that every loan taken must be accounted for.
One of the major benefits the government is targeting is job creation, having considered opportunities that agriculture can create. The government is already encouraging young Nigerians to go into farming.
The council believes that with the loan, the rural infrastructure needs of the country will be experiencing a face lift and that wealth will be kept at home, placing Nigeria at the forefront once more.
Ministers of Agriculture from D-8 countries have been asked to establish Seed Sector and Investment Funds to stimulate accelerated joint investment in fertilizer and seed production in their various countries.
At the forth D-8 Agricultural Ministerial Meeting on Food Security in Abuja on Friday, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, pointed out that the promotion of all instruments that would boost agriculture productivity across the countries would help in the elimination of poverty.
The D-8 member countries are Nigeria, Turkey, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan.
The eight developing countries’ ministers are looking at four priority areas – agriculture productivity, manufacturing, trade and export.
The focus is on the meat, seed and fertilizer industries and scientific research and development.
Ministers and key players in the agricultural sector also addressed the challenges and task of putting food on the tables of citizens of member countries.
Their task, in terms of what must be done is made easier with the uniting factors – they make up 13 per cent of the world’s population and 60 per cent of the world’s Muslim population.
Their drive is also hinged on the fact that no country can assert itself or be termed truly sovereign unless it can feed itself.
Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has been awarded the prestigious Forbes Africa Person of the Year defeating four other prestigious nominees for this continent wide prize.
Adesina was nominated for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector ahead of other nominees, Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group and Chairman of the Zenith Bank Group, Jim Ovia, Strive Masiyiwa, founder of global telecoms group, Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe and South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe.
Adesina’s initiatives have empowered more than six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace agriculture as a business.
He has been described as a passionate defender of African farmers, relentless in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa’s narrative on agriculture to wealth creation, away from poverty reduction.
“I am truly honoured and humbled by this prestigious award, which I dedicate to Africa’s farmers and the new cadre of young business entrepreneurs who have discovered the hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation on our continent – Agriculture,” Adesina said reciving the award.
The Nigerian minister had made commendable impact in the Agriculture sector within two years of his taking office.
He turned agriculture away from being a development program into a business activity generating wealth for millions of farmers.
The minister had stressed that Africa, with its huge potential, could not be ‘a museum of poverty.’
“My passion is using agricultural business and finance innovations to turn Nigerian and African farmers and agribusinesses into millionaires and billionaires. Nigeria must become a global powerhouse in agriculture,” he said.
His Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) ended four decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector, eliminating the middlemen and scaling up food production by nine million metric tonnes in the first year -almost half of the 2015 production target.
To further enhance this process, he introduced an Electronic Wallet System which allows smallholder farmers to receive electronic vouchers for subsidized seeds and fertilizers directly on their mobile phones and enable them to pay for farm inputs from private sector agricultural input dealers.
The system has reached over 6 million farmers and enhanced food security for 30 million persons in rural farm households.
With the success of the electronic wallet system, Nigeria has become the first country in Africa to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs through their mobile phones.
The impact is already being noticed beyond Nigeria with several African countries, Brazil, India and China now expressing interest in adopting the electronic wallet system in their agriculture sectors.
In recognition of Nigeria’s reforms and progress, global and domestic investors have signed over USD 4 billion of executed letters of investments to boost Nigeria’s agriculture.
The World Bank, African Development Bank and other global development finance institutions have put up over USD 2 billion in support of his bold initiatives.
“Adesina has totally revolutionized agriculture into a business, and banks and private investors are all moving to the agriculture sector. He has made agriculture very exciting, turning it into Nigeria’s new oil” said Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings.
Often referred to as ‘Africa’s leading development entrepreneur’, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as one of the 17 global leaders, along with Bill Gates, to help the world to achieve the Millennium Goals.
Bill Gates, who sits on the Eminent Persons Group that advises President Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria’s agriculture, called Adesina’s policies and reforms of agriculture “extraordinary”.
Sharing his vision for a food secured continent, Adesina said he dreams of a future where Africa’s vast savannas are revived with crops, where large commercial and smallholder farmers co-exist and both prosper. Where rail, road and port systems are improved.
The minister for Agriculture attributed the huge achievements his ministry ministry had made to the immense support of Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
As Nigeria gears up to harness bio-technology to increase its food production with the use of Genetically Modified (GM) crops, organic farmers have called for caution noting that the nation is blessed with rich and fertile soil that can feed the nation and the sub-region.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, is leading the planned revolution of Nigeria’s agriculture and according to him; the risk of GM crops and bio-technology must be taken to assess what can be useful to the country.
He notes that regulatory system will be put in place to adequately test the technology just as the bio-safety act passed by the Senate and yet to be signed into law by President Jonathan, will also play a role.
This week’s edition of Earthfile takes a look at the pros and cons of GM crops as we feature commercial farmers in the US who decried the use of GM crops.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has stated that agriculture has generated over 2.2 million jobs in under one year of the implementation of the new programme in the sector.
Briefing State House correspondents on the development, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina declared that within one year, 13 new rice mills have been installed in the country while the distribution of seeds to farmers has taken a new and improved dimension never seen before in the country.
He listed seeds that are effectively distributed are cassava, cocoa, rice, maize, oil palm and cotton
According to the Minister, the progress is recorded following the clean-up of corruption in the procurement of fertilizer using the e-wallet system.
Dr Adesina noted that private sector investment in the agriculture sector from the World Bank is in the tune of $500 million.
Giving a further breakdown of investments from the private sector, the Minister stated that an investment of about $80 million has come in from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The USAID is said to have has invested $60 million while the Bill Gates Foundation has invested $5 million in the nation’s agriculture sector.
This revelation is coming, after a directive from the President that Ministers will henceforth give an assessment of the progress report of their performance since the inception of the administration.
In a bid to fulfill his pledge that recommendations made by the controversial Ribadu Report would be looked into, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up white paper committees to prepare Draft White Papers on the reports of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and two other reports on the nation’s oil sector.
The others are reports presented by the National Refineries Special Task Force and the Governance and Controls Special Task Force.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati on Thursday announced the appointment of the latest committee to probe the nation’s oil sector.
According to Dr Abati, “the committees are to study the reports, review the issues raised and prepare Draft White Papers for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council within two weeks.”
The white paper committee on the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report-now known as Ribadu report-will be chaired by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, with the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Minister of State for FCT, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed as members.
It will be recalled that President Jonathan, after the rancour between members of the committee during their submission of the report, gave the assurance that despite the rancour , his administration will look into the report and prosecute any one alleged of misappropriation in the nation’s oil sector.
The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and a member of his team, Steve Oronsaye traded words at the presentation of the committee’s report to the President with the latter alleging that the report was flawed with unconfirmed figures.
The white paper committee on the report of the Governance and Controls Special Task Force will be chaired by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple.
Other members of the committee are Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Bukar Tijani.
The white paper committee on the report of the National Refineries Special Task Force has Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Mohammed Sada as chairman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate and Minister of State for Education, Mr. Ezenwo Nyeson Wike as members.
According to the statement, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide a secretariat for the committees.
The statement further adds that the President has made the move “in furtherance of his declared commitment to doing all within his powers to ensure greater accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”
The Federal Government has distributed the first batch of 3.6 million seedlings of high-yield cocoa varieties free to farmers for this year’s nursery season at Owena village near Owena village, Ondo State.
The distribution was supervised by the South West Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Julius Odeyemi, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
Odeyemi explained that the exercise was part of efforts aimed at improving the country’s cocoa production capacity.
He said the country dropped from being the second largest in the world, when it accounted for 20 per cent of global cocoa production, to its current distant fourth position with an abysmal 250,000 metric tonnes, and only five per cent of the world output.
He further said the first batch of the hybrid pods were expected to be reproduced by farmers to form the seedlings of the next generation of high-yield cocoa plantations.
He said they were provided free to the beneficiaries with counterpart funding from the cocoa-producing states.
Odeyemi noted that the production of high-yield and early maturing varieties was approved by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.
He said it was “part of the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government, which was being done in partnership with all the cocoa-producing states in the country.”
The minister said with the high-yield seedlings planted in cocoa farms across the country, “the era of government neglect of the agricultural sector is over.”
He said, “Nigeria has a history of a prosperous, viable and vibrant cocoa industry in the past. The cocoa industry provided us with foreign exchange and revenue, which built for us our enduring infrastructure, institutions and edifices.”