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Food crisis-hit people in north-eastern Nigeria- WFP Reports

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warns that it may soon be forced to cut food rations to more than half a million women, men, and children in north-eastern Nigeria unless urgent funding is secured to continue life-saving operations in crisis-ridden Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.

The cuts would come just as severe hunger reaches a five-year high in the country in the wake of years of conflict and insecurity – a situation that has been worsened by the socio-economic fallout from COVID-19, high food prices and limited food supply. Moreover, the number of internally displaced surpassed two million in September 2021 – reaching another grim milestone.

“Cutting rations means choosing who gets to eat and who goes to bed hungry. We are seeing funding for our life-saving humanitarian work dry up just at the time when hunger is at its most severe,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa following a recent visit to Nigeria.

If at least US$ 55 million is not received in a matter of weeks, WFP will have no choice but to cut food rations and reduce the number of people it serves – where assistance is already prioritized for the most vulnerable – as early as November.

We are seeing funding for our life-saving humanitarian work dry up just at the time when hunger is at its most severe

“Our food assistance is a lifeline for millions whose lives have been upended by conflict and have almost nothing to survive on. We must act now to save lives and avoid disruptions to this lifeline,” Nikoi added.

The number of internally displaced people – people forced to flee their homes in search for safety – in northeast Nigeria has been rising steadily and reached a new all-time high of over 2 million in September 2021, while current food security analyses show that 4.4 million people in northeast Nigeria do not know where their next meal is coming from. Additionally, over 1 million children are malnourished.

Continued attacks on communities by non-state armed groups, harsh lean season conditions amid an economy dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19, high food prices, and a severe reduction in household purchasing power – all contribute to a bleak outlook for the most vulnerable people in northeast Nigeria.

Despite increasing needs, WFP may soon be unable to sustain life-saving operations in conflict-riddled north-eastern Nigeria. Without additional resources, the food assistance agency will run out of funds for emergency food distribution and nutrition support by the end of October 2021.

“Cutting food assistance will be a painful decision for humanitarians as it will negatively affect children, women, and men uprooted from their homes due to continued violence,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “As we call upon our partners to step up their support in response to the growing needs, I would like to say thank you to those who have stood with us over the years in providing the much-needed humanitarian assistance in the country.”

For five years, WFP has provided life-saving food and nutrition assistance to severely food insecure people, displaced families in camps, and to vulnerable people living in host communities thanks to generous contributions from Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States of America, and private donors.

This year, relying on the continued generosity of donor partners, WFP ramped up its response to address rising food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19, targeting 1.9 million displaced people in Nigeria with life-saving food assistance. To sustain humanitarian operations in northeast Nigeria until March 2022, WFP urgently requires USD 197 million.

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ARC Statement on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

With COP26 around the corner, our focus should be on the devastating impact of climate change as we mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction today, observed annually to raise awareness about disaster reduction risk.

That’s the word from Lesley Ndlovu, CEO African Risk Capacity (ARC) Limited, a specialist insurance company that provides parametric coverage to African countries against extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Alarm bells for humanity have been sounded around issues of climate change, following the recent release of the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change and increased media interest around the UN’s climate talks in November.

In Africa, the UN’s GAR Special Report on Drought warned that drought may well be the next pandemic as Africa faces “exponential collateral damage” posing systemic risks to its economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods, and threatening to undo its modest development gains and slip into higher levels of extreme poverty.

There simply is no time to lose in “acting decisively”.

Shifting the disaster risk architecture

Advocating for a shift in the current disaster risk architecture, Ndlovu believes the response is unacceptably slow, inefficient, and reactive, as climate disasters increasingly threaten Africa, a continent that bears the brunt of climate change, but has contributed the least to climate emissions.

“It takes far too long for African countries to mobilise the immediate resources they need for relief efforts, to save lives and livelihoods. The traditional disaster response is extremely slow and inefficient and, by the time governments and NGOs have raised enough money to respond meaningfully, the problem has become much worse, and more funding is needed,” says Ndlovu.

One of the issues to address is around premium affordability because it’s quite expensive to insure against natural disasters

ARC Group’s role as a parametric insurer is critically important in building resilience and ensuring a country is able to bounce back swiftly after a natural disaster.  “We monitor the rainfall of countries in the risk pool and sovereign insurance pay outs from ARC Limited are triggered when the system reveals that there hasn’t been enough rain, before droughts get to a crisis stage, farmers are left with nothing and people are starving,” explains Ndlovu.

The programme further helps countries build capacity to manage climate-related risks. In this way it attempts to shift the disaster risk management architecture to be proactive, not reactive, says Ndlovu.

“When dealing with risk mitigation and management, one needs to examine the reason why governments don’t act. On the insurance side, one of the issues to address is around premium affordability because it’s quite expensive to insure against natural disasters and payment of premium competes against other national priorities,” explains Ndlovu.

Sovereigns which participate in the ARC programme must also develop a contingency plan which sets out at a very high level how the government would spend any insurance pay out they receive from ARC Limited.

“Through this plan, we ensure the funds get to the intended beneficiaries. Having a plan increases dramatically the speed of execution because at a point the government received the funding, it already has a plan on how to disburse this,” he says.

Insurance builds resilience

Emily Jones, Climate and Disaster Risk Financing Advisor for WFP, highlights the challenges of convincing authorities to be more proactive than reactive when preventing human suffering and hardship when events like drought occur.

“Unfortunately, no one person or organisation can make the necessary shift alone. Change starts with building resilience and insurance plays a significant role in that, particularly in climate change,” says Jones.

Governments pay a premium every year and receive their agreed-upon pay-out if and when a predicted disaster occurs. “This money can then be used to help those people affected, with the remainder of the pay-out going towards covering other consequences that might not have been expected, such as conflict or a loss of progress in terms of important local development projects,” she says.

“Humanitarians are working on highlighting the need to predict crises and act before they manifest to avoid human suffering. After all, why wait if you don’t have to?”

ARC Limited is the first African company to join the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. With US$100 million in its kitty, the organisation has the largest balance sheet dedicated to climate risks in Africa.

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President Samia Congratulates Tanzanian Novelist for Winning Nobel Prize

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has congratulated Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah who scooped 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday.

The prestigious award scooped by the novelist was the honour to both Tanzania and Africa

On her congratulatory message to the Tanzanian icon born in the Isles, the President said: “The prestigious award scooped by the novelist was the honour to both Tanzania and Africa.”

“Congratulations, Mr. Abdulrazak Gurnah for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021. This award is an honor to you, our Nation of Tanzania and Africa,” President Samia tweeted.

The Novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah was granted the award on Thursday by the Swedish Academy which is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million) equal to 2.6bn/-.

The English Professor wrote 10 novels and several short stories.

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Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah awarded Nobel Prize of Literature

Today, we will celebrate the fifth African to join the illustrious lists of Nobel literature prize winners. Yes… you heard me right, the 2021 Nobel prize for literature has been awarded to the Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah, he is only the fifth African recipient behind Wole Soyinka of Nigeria (1986), Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991) and J.M. Coetzee (2003) both of South Africa. He is in good company.

To be honest, I had never heard of Abdulrazak Gurnah before the Nobel prize announcement, even though I try to keep up with African authors. Now, I will make sure to check out his most famous book Paradise which had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994.

   Flag of Tanzania

Gurnah was born on the island of Zanzibar in 1948, before it was joined with Tanganyika to become Tanzania upon independence from Great Britain. He fled his country at the age of 18 and settled in England where he has lived since then. He is the author of numerous short stories and essays, and of as many as 10 novels. Some of his books have been shortlisted (Paradise) or longlisted (By the Sea) for the Booker Prize. He also writes in Swahili. The main focus of his work has been on the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees as they reach new countries, continents, and cultures.

Cheers to another proud winner of the very prestigious prize, and this proud son of Mama Africa. For more on him, please check out the announcement on the Nobel Prize page, the Guardian, and NPR articles.

Written by DR. Y.

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Over 5,000 migrants detained in Libya, according to NGO

The Norwegian Refugee Council claims thousands of migrants have been detained in Libya

The NGO says it’s the fierce crackdown launched so far by the Libyan authorities targeting migrants.

A human rights worker for the Norwegian Refugee Council claims that up to 5,000 refugees may have been detained in Lybia since Friday as reported by Africanews.

The allegations were made on Sunday following a crackdown Friday by the Libyan police force against migrants.

“This is the largest crackdown on migrants in Libya that we’ve seen in recent years. This is not the first time that there have been large numbers of arrests, we’ve seen this happen a bit on a smaller scale over the last few weeks and months and over the course of the last year there were upwards of 5,000 migrants and refugees in Libyan detention centers at a time, so this is not a new practice, but certainly, these are the biggest numbers that we’ve seen in a single 24-hour or 36-hour period”, said Alexandra Saieh, Libya advocacy manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

According to the UN, the operation resulted in at least one dead migrant and 15 injured.

The Libyan authorities claimed at least 4,000 detentions, including women and children.

The Libyan Interior Ministry described the crackdown as a security operation against illegal migrants and drug trafficking.

“High-income countries, particularly those in Europe, must do more. This is really a wake-up call to the dire situation that exists in Libya for migrants and refugees and the international community must step up”, Alexandra Saieh.

Since the fall of Moammar Ghadhafi’s regime in 2011 that Libya has become a major transit point into Europe for migrants escaping war and famine in Africa and the Middle East

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The Killings Must Stop – Pope Francis Tells Buhari

Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to find ways to stop the killing of Nigerians across the country.

Lamenting what he described as the senseless killings of Nigerians by suspected jihadists, the Pope called on the Federal Government to guarantee the safety of all citizens.

The Holy Father expressed his sentiments of prayerful solidarity with Nigerians over last weekend’s killing of over 40 people by armed religious militia in Southern Kaduna during his usual Wednesday General Audience at the Vatican City.

He said it was not only in Southern Kaduna that people were being massacred, stressing that everywhere in the country, but Nigerians are also being killed.

“I learned with pain the news of the armed attacks that took place last Sunday against the villages of Madamai Abun, in northern Nigeria.

“I pray for those who have died, for those who have been injured, and for the entire Nigerian population. I hope that the safety of all citizens in the country will always be guaranteed, the Pope added.

He urged the Federal Government to provide adequate security for Nigerians in every part of the country.

Northern Nigeria has endured several years of violence, with herders and farmers competing for natural resources while sporadic violence by heavily armed bandits often lead to endless reprisals between communities.

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Buhari to attend 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Sunday for New York, United States of America, to participate in the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

This was announced today by media adviser, Femi Adesina

The UN session opened on Tuesday, September 14. And Buhari is expected to address the assembly on 24 September.

The theme for this year’s UNGA is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalize the United Nations.”

President Buhari will address the Assembly during the General Debates and will speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

In the course of the Assembly, the Nigerian leader and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as; The High-Level Meeting to Commemorate The Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action on the theme “Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.

The delegation will also participate in Food Systems Summit; High-Level Dialogue on Energy; and The High-Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The President will also hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of International Development organisations.

He will be accompanied to New York by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN); and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

Also on the President’s delegation are National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

President Buhari is expected back in the country on Sunday, September 26.

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ECA, ICC to launch centre of entrepreneurship in Africa

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Chamber of Commerce have jointly launched Centres of Entrepreneurship in Africa, under the theme, ‘Creating Livelihoods for Inclusion’.

With strategic locations across Africa, the ECA – ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship will work with various stakeholders, including businesses, chambers of commerce, academic institutions, intergovernmental and governmental agencies, to connect local entrepreneurs to global markets and enhance regulatory conditions for SMEs to thrive.

The entrepreneurship centres will develop the skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects to mentoring local start-ups and entrepreneurs. The centres are expected to develop the next generation of African business leaders.

Speaking during the virtual launch on 16 September 2021, Oliver Chinganya, Director of the Africa Centre for Statistics at the ECA, said “the launch of the Centres of Entrepreneurship comes at the right time when Africa is trying to build back better from the effects of Covid-19. We believe that these Centres, based in different regions of the continent, and with tailored-made solutions, can mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurship in Africa.”

Mr Chinganya said the Centres will provide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the tools and pathways to expand their business and play an effective role in the goods and services supply chain. They will also provide pathways to accelerate women and youth empowerment a necessary action to accelerate Africa’s growth and recovery from the pandemic.

ECA data shows that MSMEs, often women and youth-owned, account for approximately 98 per cent of all firms and 60 per cent of private-sector employment in African countries. They are a fundamental part of the economic fabric of African economies. The youngest and smallest SMEs contribute to 22 per cent of net job creation on the continent.

According to Mr Chinganya, Africa has the highest rate of new business creation, and that youth on the continent are 1.6 times more likely to be entrepreneurs, addressing challenges of high youth under- and unemployment. “They play a critical role in supply chains, cross-border trade, and therefore food security on the continent.”

The launch of the Centres of Entrepreneurship comes at the right time when Africa is trying to build back better from the effects of Covid-19

He noted that the entrepreneurship centres will inspire future entrepreneurs through skills development, digitalization, and mentorship critical for women and youth to overcome traditional barriers to accessing networks

John Denton AO, ICC Secretary-General, said the entrepreneurship Centres are an important platform to scale globally the most successful local and regional entrepreneurial initiatives driven by chambers of commerce and innovative partners.

“SME plays a major role in the economy and are contributors of employment and 40% of national income. But they are the most challenged on the continent. Their contribution could be higher if informal SME are included and are supported to thrive in the market,” said Mr Denton.

He cited the lack of proper training on digitalization, excessive business regulations in most countries, and poor infrastructure as some of the challenges faced by MSMEs and entrepreneurs in Africa.

“These are issues that need to be resolved in order for the entrepreneurs in Africa to compete with the others at the global market,” he said, adding that “ICC is committed to take a leadership role through these centres of Entrepreneurship to help SME and entrepreneurs in the region by raising awareness for potential opportunities.”

Mr Denton said that ICC is expanding its presence in African to prepare and mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs, from developing skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects, to helping catalyse local entrepreneurship and the jobs of the future. The main goal is to enable individual citizens to build meaningful livelihoods and to ensure they do this in a functioning market economy.

At a roundtable with African Business leaders and SMEs, Chepkemoi Magdaline, Founder and Executive Director of EldoHub said the majority of young entrepreneurs require soft skills, which can be acquired through proper training and mentorship programmes.

Ms. Magdaline said the majority of the young people face the challenges of low access to financing, poor financial literacy, poor market. “Digitalization of MSMEs is key and can only be attained through capacity building, mentorship, enabling young people to have access to affordable financing, she noted.

Kojo Sam-Woode, CEO, Adroit Bureau, Ghana Ltd, said digital skills should be taught at an early age so that young Africans can start identifying opportunities in the ICT sector very early.

ECA estimates show that the potential of the digital economy in the next 20-30 years could be $47trillion, 20 times the GDP of all of Africa today. With a population of 1.3 billion, Africa has the world’s youngest population, with 70% under the age of 24 and more than 750 million under the age of 35. Given the right opportunities, we know that youth could drive inclusive economic growth across the continent.

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Facebook Marketplace Rolls Out to 37 Countries & Territories Across Sub-Saharan Africa

Facebook (www.Facebook.com) today announced the launch of Marketplace to 37 countries and territories in Sub-Saharan Africa, including: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe.

Currently available in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, Marketplace is a convenient destination where people can discover, buy and sell items from others in their local communities, simply by tapping on the Marketplace icon or visiting https://bit.ly/3Dn4Uz8 to browse and search for items, or filter by distance or category.

Commenting on the launch, Facebook Director of Public Policy Africa Kojo Boakye said, “Increasing the availability of Marketplace to 37 more countries and territories in Sub-Saharan Africa reinforces our ongoing commitment to helping connect communities and support buying and selling through one simple online destination. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact people and businesses, the expansion of Marketplace will provide more people with a convenient destination where they can discover new products, shop for things they want, or find buyers for the things they want to sell.”

Facebook advises all buyers and sellers to follow local guidelines to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus

Discovering things on Facebook Marketplace is simple. To get there, people can look for the Marketplace icon in the Facebook app or visit https://bit.ly/3Dn4Uz8. They will be able to browse listings that interest them and filter them by distance or category. They can also use the search box to find exactly what they are looking for.

Listing an item for sale is just as easy as browsing for one on Marketplace. Sellers can share a photo of an item, enter a product name, description and price, confirm their location and select a category. They can also choose to post their listings to Facebook Buy and Sell Groups. Interested buyers will find the item they are looking for and message the sellers directly through Messenger. They can decide on the payment method depending on their own preferences.

Tips on buying and selling responsibly on Facebook Marketplace – https://bit.ly/3sINJTz

  • Commerce Policy: Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with our Community Standards (https://bit.ly/3B9Y4e7), as well as our Commerce Policies (https://bit.ly/3ydHgkO). Sellers are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Choose Your Preferred Payment Method: Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash, Cash on Delivery (COD) or person-to-person (P2P) payments. If you choose to pay electronically using bank transfer or money order solutions, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website. Keep in mind that personal checks or bank drafts can be counterfeit.
  • Meeting in person: If you’re meeting someone in person, we recommend arranging your meeting in a public, well-lit area. If you choose to meet at someone’s home, consider bringing another person with you or share your meeting plan with friends or family.

Facebook advises all buyers and sellers to follow local guidelines to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Buyers and sellers can find tips (https://bit.ly/3zdN0MG) on how to use Marketplace responsibly and access the Help Center (https://bit.ly/3mtQA1t) for more informa

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Maldives’ Abdulla Shahid elected as 76th President UN General Assembly

The foreign minister of the Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, was on Monday elected the president of the upcoming 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

According to reports from the UNGA website. He was elected by secret ballot in which he defeated his challenger, former Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul. Shahid won the support of 143 of the 191 UN member states present and voting. Rassoul won 48 votes. A candidate needs at least 96 votes to get elected.

Shahid promised “a presidency of hope” in his campaign. In his speech to a General Assembly plenary session after his election on Monday, Shahid said his first priority as president of the General Assembly will be recovery from COVID-19.

Shahid will take up his new post in September 2021. He will replace the current General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir of Turkey.

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