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Sports News: African Rugby is Big Business, Let’s Stop Pretending it is not- Herbert Mensah

African Rugby needs to respect itself and behave in a “world-class” fashion before it can be respected by the rest of the world.

African sports have been forgotten by the world.

More so, it seems that African sports have been forgotten by Africans. In the world of rugby, in particular, there are countries across the continent that haven’t had active rugby leagues in more than three years!

Nothing is more demonstrative of this sentiment than the very view that World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, has of African sports. Last year, World Rugby awarded just $2 million to promote the sport across the whole African continent. This is an absurdly small amount for a whole Continent, but what is more telling is the way it undervalues the African continent more than anything else. We see evidence of this when this same organization is willing to award $5 million, or $6 million dollars per year, to a Rugby Europe country while leaving the entire African continent with scraps to promote Rugby to a population of over 1.2 billion.

This fact alone is telling of how little respect is given to African rugby by the world and it is inevitable that we ask ourselves, if that respect shouldn’t first come from us, Africans. We have the same governing bodies that rich Western nations have, the associations, the managers, the boards, the board meetings, but what is it all for if they are mostly populated by “friends of friends in high places” and if they have no monetary support to act on any of the decisions they might take?

We need to remind ourselves of the power and the value of Sports. It is Big Business ergo Rugby, is Big Business!

I’ve dedicated my life to running various businesses in and outside Africa and if there is one thing that drives any business, it is money. We cannot continue to act like African sport is a charity case in need of aid. I profoundly believe in H.E. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo’s vision of an Africa Post-Aid, and Post-charity!

That is my vision for African rugby, rugby post-aid.

The path to achieving that is no mystery. We all know it, even if most times we are unwilling to admit it. Rugby is Big Business, and it needs to be run like a business. It is that simple. That is the only way there will be capital to promote the sport and make it grow. Capital generates capital. We need to improve our governance track record across the board, get better managers that will drive the business forward, and raise capital to give them the tools to do their jobs right.


The world of rugby sees Africa as one big poor country. This must end.  The diversity of the continent’s nations is manifested equally in its sports cultures. We need to adjust our tactics to the specificities of each market and each region. We need to brand ourselves and promote ourselves to the world, making ourselves worthy of notice and respect. Only then will we be able to demand from global organizations the respect and capital we deserve?

Herbert Amponsah Mensah
Herbert Amponsah Mensah

That starts with changing our practices, with implementing World-standards to what we do, rather than African standards. We have forgotten the positive impact sports, and sports events can generate. Sports competitions are not about entertainment and physical prowess. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that generates advertising revenue, tourism inflows, infrastructure development, and investment in a myriad of different economic sectors. It promotes social growth, and on top of it, showcases a country to the world. Sports help to elevate nations, drawing the spotlight on a country worthy of investment, worthy of visiting, and worthy of doing business with. Sports actively contribute to elevating a nation’s economic development and the lives of its citizens.

This is the true potential value of Rugby, and the potential value of treating it as the Big Business that it is.

We need to change the way the world looks at African rugby, by changing the way we operate, and showing our value and potential for growth. The change must start with us! We cannot go begging rich countries to borrow money to start generating money. We need to lobby, we need to organize, we need to engage the political leadership of each nation and region to engage the continental institutions that can help finance these developments. We need to engage the African Union, Ecowas, African-owned Banks, African Development Bank, and the like.

Once we have professionalized the world of rugby and managed to finance ourselves within ourselves, then, and only then, can we look at demanding more from World Rugby, from global advertisers and sponsors, competing side-by-side to bring major international competitions to Africa.

Treating Rugby as Big Business is not reinventing the wheel. Understanding that image, perception, and branding, is everything when we want to attract capital and visitors is nothing new, and yet it has never been done for African rugby. This has meant a loss of hundreds of millions of Dollars and the direct and indirect benefits that could positively affect hundreds of millions of people across the continent.

That is the vision that I will bring to Rugby Africa if my candidacy for its presidency is successful.

This is the first time that there is competition in the election for the Presidency of Rugby Africa.

Let’s make things differently, let’s make it count.

Let’s Make Rugby Africa a Big Business, for the benefit of all.


 Herbert Amponsah Mensah is a Ghanaian businessman, sports administrator, and the president of the Ghana Rugby Association operating as the Ghana Rugby Football Union and the Candidate for the presidency of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa




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Tourism and Hospitality: Revolutionary Tools To Boost Economy By Adewale Adenrele

Tourism is a social cultural and economic phenomenon that entails the movement of people to a country or places outside their usual environment for personal, business/professional purposes. This person may be a tourist or excursionist, resident or non-resident, and tourism has to do with their activities.

There are kinds of tourism like adventure tourism, cultural tourism, scientific tourism, sports tourism, water tourism, natural world tourism, area tourism, and many others. It is rightly said that. All tourism is travel but all journeys are not always tourism.

Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a hotel. Hospitality is the act or exercise of being hospitable. Tourism and hospitality enterprise is associated with each other. Hospitality is the act of welcoming, receiving, hospitality, or enjoyable the guest. It includes ward and beneficent welcome of the tourist

The terms hospitality and tourism do not exist in the most common international industry classification, so these terms encompass a very wide range of businesses. Hospitality is a subset of tourism.

Within tourism, there are tourism-specific businesses that make most of their money from domestic and international short-term visitors (examples: airlines, hotels, attractions, cruises), and then you have other businesses that make some revenue from visitors (examples: restaurants and shops).

The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.

Hospitality and tourism represent a broad range of career opportunities in industries that include: hotels and resorts, restaurants and commercial food service, meeting and event planning, tourism destinations and attractions, leisure, recreation and sports management, airlines, cruises and other transportation, environmentally sustainable and cultural tourism development, spa and wellness management.

According to United Nations World Tourism Organization celebrating Tourism Day 2019 with the Theme: “Tourism and Jobs — A Better Future for All”. Tourism’s role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism  generates 10% of world jobs and is included in Sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work.

Nevertheless, new policies are needed to: Maximize tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth. Reflect and incorporate ongoing advances in technology. Address the current mismatch between tourism skills that are taught and those that tourism employers need.

Revolutionary tools to boost the economy

Nations of the world have become increasingly aware of the immense benefit derivable from tourism, and are vigorously developing their tourism industry as a result of the positive economic impact in any area of tourism that boost the economy.

 Agritourism:  This is where agriculture and tourism meet to provide you with an amazing educational experience, whether it be a tour of a farm or ranch, a festival, or a cheese-making class. Farmers, ranchers, and wineries turn their land into a destination and open their doors to the public in order to teach more about what they do. Agritourism is becoming an increasingly popular industry in almost every state. Destinations across the country offer unique experiences ranging from picking your own fresh fruit at an orchard and trying your hand at calf roping to hayrides at a pumpkin patch. There are tons of unique activities waiting to be explored. This is helping to support the local agricultural economy.

Adventure tourism: This is a type of niche tourism involving exploration or travel to remote areas, where the traveler should expect the unexpected. Adventure tourism is rapidly growing in popularity as tourists seek unusual holidays, different from the typical beach vacation, travel in historic regions, or adventurous sports such as mountaineering and hiking (tramping)

Cultural Tourism: The journey of people to specific destinations that offer cultural attractions, including historic sites and artistic and cultural events and shows, with the aim of acquiring new knowledge and experiences that meet the intellectual needs and individual growth of the traveler. This includes urban tourism, visiting historical or tourist sites such as Osun Osogbo, and Olumo rock, and experiencing their cultural heritages. This type of tourism may also include specialized cultural experiences such as Art museum tourism where tourists visit many art museums during tours

Educational Tourism:  Educational tourism is developed because of the growing popularity of teaching and learning of knowledge and the enhancement of technical competency outside of the classroom environment. In educational tourism, the main focus of the tour or leisure activity includes visiting another country to learn about the culture, study tours, or to work and apply skills learned inside the classroom in a different environment, such as in the International Practicum Training Program

In conclusion, the focus on tourism and hospitality will automatically provide infrastructures to develop any country and Africa at large.  


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OPINION: Lessons from Sierra Leone: How to get girls back to school

Mariamu* did not intend to give birth at school. She had discovered she was pregnant, aged 16, during Sierra Leone’s nine-month Ebola lockdown in 2014. Her boyfriend disappeared and she was consumed by shame and despair. She dropped out of school thinking her education was over.

Then, eight months into her pregnancy, her family received a visit from staff at a new “community learning centre” with a remit to enrol pregnant girls and teen mothers. The centre – one of the hundreds set up in the wake of Ebola across Sierra Leone – was staffed by specially trained teachers who taught there after their regular classes, using accelerated learning approaches.

This means condensing the regular curriculum into a shorter time frame to help students catch up, focusing on the foundations of literacy and numeracy, alongside social and emotional learning. Mariamu was thrilled to be learning again.

One day in class, she started to feel cramps. The centre’s coordinator took her to her office. Before they could arrange transport to a health centre, her baby boy was born.

Just two weeks after giving birth, both mother and baby were back at the learning centre three days a week. Mariamu was given a space to breastfeed and the centre coordinator looked after her baby while she was in class.

Today, eight years later, Mariamu is in the second year of her college degree course, having reintegrated into formal school and completed her secondary education.

While giving birth in school is rare, Mariamu’s predicament is not. The Ebola epidemic gave us a terrible foretaste of the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on adolescent girls. Multiple studies around the world have shown how the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 resulted in heightened levels of gender-based violence, teen pregnancy, child marriage, and child labour. Research in Western Kenya, for example, showed how teenage girls were twice as likely to fall pregnant at this time.

The wide incidence of rape and lack of access to contraception sent pregnancy rates soaring during both COVID-19 and Ebola. A United Nations study showed how Sierra Leone’s teen pregnancy rate surged during the Ebola crisis from 30 to 65 percent, with 14,000 additional pregnancies. In 2020, Save the Children estimated that COVID-19 shutdowns would lead to an additional 23,000 teen pregnancies in the country by the end of the year.

These vulnerable adolescents are the lost girls of COVID-19 – 11 million girls globally who the UN predicted might not return to classes after the pandemic, on top of the 130 million already out of school.

Meanwhile, research from across Africa suggests that it’s older girls, like Mariamu, who are least likely to return now. These girls are among the most marginalised of the marginalised. To get them back, experience shows that we need urgent, purposeful and targeted action: We need what in Sierra Leone is described as “radical inclusion”.

It starts at the grassroots, in the community, where deeply entrenched beliefs and gender norms are often barriers to pregnant girls and young mothers continuing in education. In Sierra Leone, informal learning centres like Mariamu’s conduct intensive outreach with influential community members, including paramount chiefs and local leaders who act as non-partisan members of parliament. They sit with them, listening to their viewpoints and explaining why these girls should continue with their education. The leaders see the value of educating girls and the role they can play in more prosperous families and communities.

It worked. In 2015, with the support of international donors, 14,500 pregnant and breastfeeding girls were enrolled in community learning centres, with 5,000 of these reintegrating into the formal school system in both 2016 and 2017.

Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 response has built on this experience, with dedicated remedial classes in more than 300 community learning centres. Girls have been provided with school bags, shoes, books, writing materials, sanitiser and face masks to cut the costs associated with school. So far this calendar year, the centres have reintegrated more than 800 adolescent girls in four districts into formal schools.

Their ability to reach more has been hampered by financial constraints as international donor support dwindled. Dr Olive Musa, who leads the programme nationally, says much more still needs to be done, especially when it comes to supporting young mothers to generate income to provide for their children. International donor support and coordination across government sectors are critical.

As well as getting girls into school and empowering them to believe in a different future, radical inclusion means addressing the mindsets of men, boys and communities that perpetuate tired stereotypes of what girls can and can’t do. This calls for gender-transformative approaches.

One example is a four-year project that the NGO International Rescue Committee ran in Sierra Leone. As well as education and empowerment activities for girls, it included community dialogues and radio shows that challenged communities’ attitudes to educating adolescent girls. An evaluation showed that this had a significant impact, including a decline in child marriages.

Supportive legal and policy frameworks are also vital in achieving positive change. Sierra Leone made a start by, in 2020, overturning a ban on pregnant girls and teenage mothers attending school and sitting for exams. This was followed, in 2021, by a Radical Inclusion Policy for the education of historically marginalised groups, including pregnant girls, parent learners, children with disabilities, children from rural and underserved areas, and children from low-income families.

The policy aims to strengthen Sierra Leoneans’ access to free quality basic education for all. These important policies must be complemented by other measures – health services and meals in schools, sexuality education, as well as childcare and income-generating support for girls returning to class after giving birth.

Sierra Leone is also decriminalising abortion to protect young women’s health and choices. Research has shown that 34 percent of pregnancies and 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country are among adolescents.

Finally, to do all this well, governments need robust data that is disaggregated so we can see what’s really happening with different groups of girls, instead of treating them as a homogenous group.

Sierra Leone’s move towards an education system that truly works for everyone is still a work in progress, but we hope the country’s approach of radical inclusion towards girls who have dropped out of school offers valuable lessons for others.

Its example could not only help other nations recover from the ravages of the pandemic, but it could also assist them in building more robust education systems for the 21st century. Mariamu’s story shows what can happen if we get it right.

* Mariamu’s name has been changed to protect her right to privacy.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


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OPINION: We are all guilty- Immanuel Odeyemi

One thing I’ve come to terms with in the past few years is that the Nigerian is psychologically flawed in his general approach to things.

I have always posited that our problem is not only that of leadership but also a commensurate followership problem inclusive. That is why I feel that Professor Kingsley Moghalu appears to be the only person who understands where to start the campaign to salvage this country when he preaches the social re-engineering model. Cultural and social values are almost completely eroded, and many are even oblivious to who we have become as a people. Many are not even conscious of the fact that they’re guilty of the same kind of malfeasance and other ‘crimes’ they accuse politicians of. We are all ready to bend the rules, cut some slack, and look the other way for a crime to go undetected, yet bad leadership is our sole problem! Like those leaders came from the Netherworld.

I watched with amusement as people commenced the search for loopholes in CBN’s cash withdrawal limit policy. Everybody has suddenly become armchair financial analysts of sorts, explaining how kidnappers will circumvent the policy, how it will encourage the illicit trade in currency, and how generally it will not work.

Immanuel Odeyemi
Immanuel Odeyemi

Is there any policy that is 100% foolproof? And this is not about any particular administration or government, I approach this issue with every sense of responsibility as a citizen of Nigeria. We are all sadly allergic to basic civic responsibilities, which are naturally supposed to be catalysts for effective government policies. I don’t know so much, but I’m just rationalizing that what if, just what if we all decide to test any government policy by playing along? I mean, play along in the sense of simply refusing to see the (perceived) negatives, and play our own part as citizens by not engaging in acts inimical to the successful implementation of these policies?

We fondly talk about ‘saner climes’ like those places are annexes of the heavens, completely forgetting that the seeming successes of those climes are a combination of a socially responsible citizenry who have earned the moral right to constantly call their leaders to order whenever necessary.

Sometime around 2014 in Lagos, a fine policeman by the name Bayo Suleiman was the Commander of the Lagos State Taskforce. As a reporter covering the Governor’s Office and Lagos State Government MDAs (Fashola was Governor), I got a call around 6am on Saturday morning to cover some arrests made by the Taskforce. Back then, it was a regular occurrence, so I jumped off my bed, got dressed, and headed for Alausa. Getting there, we were granted access to those who were arrested for various offences in different locations. The one that caught my attention was a man in his mid-30s who looked quite affluent with the way he was dressed and the gold accessories on his neck and fingers.

When I interviewed him with other reporters present, he explained that he was a resident of Malaysia and was on holiday in Nigeria. He was stopped for driving against traffic somewhere in Ikeja, but he got aggressive and was resisting arrest until he was subdued and brought to the Taskforce office. The young man at this point was begging us (journalists) to help him appeal to the Taskforce Commander. We actually did make the appeal, and Bayo Suleiman asked the offender a simple question; “can you drive against traffic in Malaysia?” and chin down, he replied with a quiet “no sir”. When asked why he drove against traffic in the early hours of the morning when the roads were totally free of traffic, he said he felt that since he was in Nigeria and nobody obeys traffic rules…. I was shocked! He was sentenced to 2 weeks of community service, sweeping the roads where he committed the offence (law and order was a big thing during Fashola’s administration).

I ask nobody to agree with me, but these are just random thoughts and I claim absolute responsibility for this conjecture.

Finally, the earlier we all know this truth the better for us as a collective; if Angel Gabriel becomes President of Nigeria today, nothing will change! We are inherently flawed as a people, the way we think, act, and react is horrendously abnormal. How do we expect institutions to work when the people who are supposed to drive them are poised to be cogs in the wheels of progress?

We can shout true federalism, referendum, secession, marginalization, and many other tags we have gotten used to over the years. If we do not embark on a social re-engineering process, we will continue our macabre dance of one step forward, five steps backwards.

-Immanuel Odeyemi is a journalist

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Political Puzzle: Can Nigeria’s northern cabal convince Kwankwaso to partner with Atiku?

With the Nigerian presidential race in 2023 already taking on ethno-religious overtones, speculation has been rife about the deals leading candidates may reach to advance what may wind up becoming a regional agenda.

Millions of Nigerians watching the presidential primary of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on 28 May 2022 were surprised when Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal publicly announced that he was dropping out of the race.

More shocking, however, was that Tambuwal, who was an ally of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike asked his supporters and delegates to vote for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

“I have come to a patriotic conclusion to step down. I appeal to my supporters to take this in stride and (push) for national unity and patriotism – not only that, those that are delegates here should vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,” he said.

Wike had supported and financed Tambuwal’s presidential ambition four years earlier but the Sokoto governor was defeated by Atiku at the 2018 PDP primaries. Many had therefore assumed that in the event that Tambuwal would step down, it would be for Wike.

Atiku went on to garner 371 votes against Wike’s 237. Atiku’s supporters described Tambuwal as the “hero” of the day even as debates on whether Wike could have won had Tambuwal not done what he did, continued to dominate political discourse.

Northern interest

While Tambuwal later explained that he decided to endorse Atiku in order to strengthen democracy, the back story reveals something more interesting.

Days before the PDP convention, the northern aspirants had made a pact that one of them would emerge as the winner of the primaries against the wishes of the southern aspirants who believed the next president must be from the south. However, the northern aspirants could not reach a consensus ahead of the convention.

With time running out, a powerful northern cabal which also includes retired generals had reached out to Tambuwal and other aspirants from the region to ensure Atiku wins the election. More importantly, the northern leaders were against Wike’s emergence because of statements he had made against the north in the past as well as his radical behaviour.

Zoning game

Apart from Atiku of the PDP the three other frontline candidates are Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Atiku and Kwankwaso are both from the north while Tinubu and Obi are southerners.

Alh. Atiku Abubakar


Both Tinubu and Obi are banking their ambition on the belief that after the eight-year term of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, the presidency should automatically go to the south in consonance with a gentleman agreement that power should rotate between the two regions in the spirit of fairness.

This agreement is buttressed by the Federal Character Rule in the country’s constitution. This rule stipulates the fair and equitable representation of different ethnic and regional groups in the composition of all tiers of government.

But this line of argument has not been without its antagonism. Politicians and political analysts against this position have hinged their arguments on the calculation that since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999, the south has ruled Nigeria longer than the north. They also argue that no law precludes anyone from contesting. Atiku, a former Vice President, and Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano state, are hinging their ambition loosely on this thin line.

Kwankwaso’s game

Eager to actualize his ambition, Kwankwaso joined the relatively unknown NNPP in March and convinced several notable politicians in Kano State, including his arch nemesis Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, to join him in the party.

Kano State has the second largest voting population in Nigeria and produced the largest number of votes for the APC with President Buhari polling 1.9 million votes and 1.4 million in the 2015 and 2019 elections respectively.

Kwankwaso, who enjoys a cult following in Kano State, sought to leverage on the huge votes in Kano and a few other northern states coupled with a strong partner in the south to win next year’s election. However, talks between him and Peter Obi broke down in June. He has been unable to make inroads into the south.

This handicap has weakened Kwankwaso’s chances thereby fuelling speculations that he would most likely negotiate with another candidate who stands a chance of winning.

Losing footsoldiers

Last month, Senator Shekarau dumped Kwankwaso and openly declared his support for Atiku, a development that the PDP has been celebrating. Some of Kwankwaso’s footsoldiers have also dumped his party and returned to the APC.

With his chances of victory waning coupled with a lack of national appeal, speculations that he would work for either Tinubu or Atiku are rising.

So will Kwankwaso partner with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje – his former deputy turned foe – to actualize Tinubu’s ambition? Or will he work with his arch nemesis – Shekarau – to work for Atiku’s victory in the spirit of northern brotherhood?

mutual distrust and personal ambition … will make it very difficult for them to come together”

But Atiku and Kwankwaso have a history that may not make this relationship work out. A professor of political science from Bayero University, Kano, Kamilu Sani Fage said it was widely reported that in 2019, Kwankwaso got election ‘ mobilization money’ from Atiku but did not use it during the presidential election. Atiku would end up polling 391,593 votes against Buhari’s 1.4 million votes in Kano state.

Rabiu Musa Kwankaso

“That was one of the reasons they fell apart. So, I think there is that mutual distrust and personal ambition, which will make it very difficult for them to come together. Also, if Kwankwaso joins Atiku in PDP, it will rekindle the battle for supremacy with Shekarau,” he said.

Fage, a former Vice President of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), however, added that “as far as Nigerian politics is concerned, there is nothing impossible or surprising because politics is primarily of self-interest not of principles or ideologies.” He, therefore, argues that it is unlikely that Atiku and Kwankwaso will work together.

Preferred candidate

But an associate of Atiku, Dr. Suleiman Yusuf Dambatta, who is the deputy governor candidate of PDP in Kano, told The Africa Report that though it would be difficult to convince Kwankwaso to abandon his presidential ambition at this time, the PDP family would welcome him if he decides to team up with Atiku.

Kwankwaso’s recent Freudian slip during a TV interview where he said if he does not make the presidency, he would support Tinubu, the ruling party’s candidate, had also brought to light his preference for Tinubu. However, he later claimed he didn’t mean he would be stepping down.

as far as Nigerian politics is concerned, there is nothing impossible … because politics is primarily of self-interest not of principles.”

Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, who also supports Tinubu, told The Africa Report that this televised position of Kwankwaso, coupled with the fact that there is no assurance that Atiku is even the preferred candidate of the ‘so-called Northern cabal’, makes a union between Atiku and Kwankwaso almost impossible.

He said even if the union materializes “it is not Kano (alone) that will determine the outcome of the election. My calculation is that whoever gets 25 per cent of votes in 24 states and works hard to get the majority of the total votes will emerge the winner.”

Merger talks

Also, Aminu Abdussalam, the deputy governorship candidate for Kwankwaso’s NNPP in Kano state and one of Kwankwaso’s closest associates, told The Africa Report that all the talks of a merger portray Kwankwaso as someone who cannot make it “and I think that is a terribly wrong and baseless permutation.”

“Kwankwaso will never step down or work with Atiku. We are all out for the challenges. No retreat, no surrender,” he said.

Similarly, Kwankwaso’s campaign spokesperson, Ladipo Johnson in a statement titled ‘Kwankwaso is in the race to win’ dispelled speculations that the candidate is considering backing other candidates.

But the voting pattern in Nigeria has shown that the 12 Muslim-dominated states in the north have always voted in the same direction in all Presidential elections since 1999.

Northern unity

Political associates of both northern heavyweight politicians (Atiku and Kwankwaso) believe that the union, though difficult, may not be off the table going into the election which is still five months away.

“Historically, the north has always been more united than the south. That’s why the motto of the dominant northern party in the 1960s was ‘one north, one people. Never say never when it comes to Nigerian politics,” a PDP Presidential aspirant who wished to remain anonymous, tells The Africa Report.

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The Canon-Ishara Mara Partnership

A game changer for Kenya, Africa’s  eco/community tourism

Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra

Community, cultural and eco-tourism together constitute an important integral part  of Africa’s wider tourism sectorial endowment  potential.

National tourism development frameworks in African countries should have strategic  Investment in tourism infrastructure and its marketing in order  to unlock it’s fullest employment and revenue generation potential.

The desert country,United Arab Emirates(UAE),offers an important case study from which  Africa could  draw useful lessons. The UAE stands dwarfed when compared with  the average African country in terms of eco-tourism potential.

The country can only boast, desert coastal and non-coastal ecosystems without any appreciable amount biodiversity other than well managed beeches  plentiful sand dunes, the date tree, camels and a few surviving plant species native to the country.

She cannot compare her self to the average African country  in terms of quantum of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem biodiversity via abundant river systems,lakes,wetlands,waterfalls,wildlife species of all kinds,etc.

Despite the foregoing eco-tourism limitations of the country,she  embarked on  substantial investments in innovative artificial tourists attraction spot  infrastructure projects like the world’s tallest hotel building in the sea,artificial islands,world’s tallest tower,shopping Malls, among others.

Driven by a tenacity of purpose and employing state of the art technology,,the country worked to  position herself as the hob for global tourism today and which is never in question.

According to both UAE official sources and that of the World Travel and Tours Council,the United Arab Emirates’s Tourism Revenue reached 25 USD bn in Dec 2020, compared with 38 USD bn in the previous year.

Tourism now contributes 11.5 per cent of Dubai’s GDP, an official UAE  statement said, adding that Dubai has been named the third-best city for capturing direct international tourism spend in the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2019 Cities report.

On the part of the African continent as a whole, for the same period,in 2019, the industry accounted for about seven percent of Africa’s GDP and contributed $169 billion to its economy—about the size of Côte d’Ivoire’s and Kenya’s combined GDP. Africa’s travel and tourism sector employed more than 24 million people in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

It is therefore against this background that the recent announcement of the  Canon-Ishara Mara partnership deal  to launch the Canon Experience Centre in Kenya, dedicated to supporting  education and empowerment of people,is a welcome news.

Canon’s Experience Centre aims to raise awareness about  nature and wildlife whilst empowering the indigenous Maasai people by providing a unique and immersive photography, video and print experience at the national reserve.

The importance of environmental protection and conservation awareness creation among African ethnic communities cannot be over emphasized  since they are the custodians, direct and immediate beneficiaries of the ecology and its biodiversity.

In the same vein, they are equally those who would feel the immediate adverse impact of ecological degradation be in terms of wildlife or plant life which serves their food, medicinal and other needs.

Transforming local community members into content creators on various topics such as Human Coexistence with the environment and Wildlife, Maasai Tribe and Culture, Wildlife Photography, Wildlife Beauty, Protection, Preservation and Environmental Conservation is indeed a game changer.

Likewise, the initiative of  promoting and empowering women to become Maasai tour-guides by providing various training and educational opportunities.

Further supporting  the trained guides to purchase official Canon equipment through its exclusive packages designed for the Maasai tour guides as well as a referral scheme from Canon that will allow the Maasai tour guides to earn an added commission should a Canon customer visit the experience center is lot  more laudable.

While we of the African Development magazine, wish to specially commend Canon for its important youth and tourism focused initiatives in Africa as part of its CSR,we also world like to call on African governments to take a cue from the UAE and invest heavily  in tourism development infrastructure, destination branding and tourism marketing.

Granted Africa’s relatively endowed diverse forms of tourism endowments, the continent could do a lot more better to provide more employment for the youth and to derive more revenue for developing funding as a means of scaling down the continent’s much lamented debt burden.

We dare  add that, beyond the Canon Experience Center initiative in Kenya, moving on, Africa’s tourism Ministries and promotion agencies could may be consider well crafted strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships with Canon Africa.





















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Achieving AU Agenda 2063

Mr. Mabingwe Ngom

“Africa’s Year of Nutrition 2022 is Opportune and Timely”-Mr.Mabingwe

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),  welcomes the vision behind the African Union (AU) theme for 2022: ‘Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of Human, Social and Economic Capital Development’.

World hunger has been on the rise since 2015 and saw a dramatic increase as a result of COVID-19. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says the number of food-insecure people rose by 318 million in 2020, 86 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of food insecurity – 66 per cent of the population.

Malnutrition is linked to poverty, low levels of education and poor access to health, including reproductive health services and family planning. The Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) study has demonstrated a direct link between poor nutrition and economic development, estimating that countries lose between 2 to 16 per cent of their annual gross domestic product (GDP) because of childhood stunting. These challenges threaten the realisation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’. Food security is essential to achieve the continent’s long-term goals.

With the 2022 theme, the AU highlights the paramount importance of adequate nutrition for health and wellbeing, stimulating human capital development and the socio-economic potential of individuals, families and communities.

2022 presents an opportunity to invest more effectively in nutrition and accelerate the march towards people-driven development that harnesses the power of women and youth. As the continent with the youngest population in the world, Africa can experience a ‘demographic dividend’, as seen in Asian Tiger countries, when the economically active population became larger than the dependent population, leading to increased growth and prosperity. When food security improves, health, well-being and productivity follow, increasing the likelihood of achieving a demographic dividend.

Nutrition and food security are a springboard for a positive health outcome and sustainable economic development. The impetus, driven by the top level of Africa’s governance, will improve the nutrition of millions of young people, who will become more productive as a result, as well as further reduce maternal deaths; thousands of pregnant women die each year from severe iron-deficiency anaemia.

Nutrition and food security programs will also transform the lives of more than a third of Africa’s population under the age of five years and these will, in turn, curb the enormous losses caused by malnutrition on the continent’s GDP.

Timely, integrated interventions

The focus on nutrition is timely, when according to the Ecological Threat Report 2021, climate change and demographic growth are driving increased food insecurity across the globe, with two ‘hotspots’ on the continent – southern Africa (from Angola to Madagascar) and the Sahel-Horn of Africa – both regions with weak socio-economic resilience, extreme ecological risk and a rapidly growing population.

By reinforcing the connection between nutrition and other key priority areas, this year’s theme is further evidence of the AU’s determination to tackle development challenges through integration.

Collaboration is key

There is a powerful multiplier effect when partnerships are built to upscale successful interventions. 2022 is an opportunity for new generation partnerships and UNFPA is committed to working closely with the AU and other partners to act to achieve priorities and implement the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN SDGs, as detailed in the UNFPA publication ‘GOAL 17: Partnership: UNFPA’s approach for the transformation of Africa and the world’.

 Good nutrition is fundamental in securing the Africa we want. Throughout this Africa’s Year of Nutrition, the UNFPA calls on the international community to support the AU and the efforts of His Majesty King Letsie III, the AU Nutrition Champion, to invest in African solutions that eradicate food insecurity on the continent.

For more information about the UNFPA visit

Editor’s Note: Published unedited






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Oil & Gas

We Need to Talk About Africa’s Energy Crisis: Why is Production Waning? Its Exploration By Bigstock

The final frontier for oil and gas exploration, a range of untapped resources awaiting exploitation, and opportunities across the entire energy value chain all represent key components of Africa’s hydrocarbon market. For years, resource rich nations have been capitalizing on their resources, driving exploration and production alongside global players. Now, producing markets across the continent have started to dramatically underperform, with countries such as Nigeria missing production targets by a large margin. What will these production declines mean for the African continent and what can be done to mitigate this trend?

Even at the start of 2022, producing nations in Africa continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand fluctuations, price instability, and the global reduction in fossil fuel directed capital expenditure have left many oil-reliant nations scrambling. While attempts to diversify economies have been noted – specifically through developments in natural gas, renewables, and associated sub-sectors such as transportation and logistics – in the short- to medium-term, oil continues to be a critical asset for many African countries.

Africa’s oil and gas resources are a blessing for the continent’s socio-economic development, and yet production figures towards the end of 2021 represent a growing challenge. Nigeria, for example, with over 36 billion barrels of oil in place has the potential to produce upwards of 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Yet, during December 2021, the country was only producing 1.1 million bpd – resulting in an estimated 2.4-million-barrel loss for the month. Similarly, despite production targets of 1.8 million bpd by 2022, during December 2021 Libya also underperformed, producing on average 1.06 million bpd. However, this was largely attributed to blockades at key oilfields due to political conflict, and the country’s production is starting to increase again.

The impacts of underperformance on African economies will be significant. Notably, with Africa contending with its own energy crisis – whereby over 600 million people are still without access to electricity – a production downturn could further accentuate the crisis. As Dean Foreman, Chief Economist at the American Petroleum Institute describes, “African crude oil and natural gas production adds value to the economy and is an engine for employment, investment, economic growth and innovation.  When this production underperforms, as it has recently, producing nations across the continent lose these benefits, and their global oil market position weakens. Moreover, nations that import refined petroleum products could end up with greater dependence and higher prices to attract products from global markets.”

On the other hand, underperformance in Africa could impact production quotes. Energy Board Executive, Abdur Rasheed Omidiya, extends on this notion, stating that, “Continuous inability to meet OPEC production quota means OPEC may at some point review down the African countries quota and source increase in other member countries which will directly impact the economy as crude oil sales made up to one-third of some government budget revenue and 90% of export earnings.”

These production trends, if continued, will have significant impacts on refineries, as well as domestic energy supply, in Africa. Omidiya describes the current situation as a “double-edged sword, as the shortfalls may impact crude supply with the current increase in demand pushing the crude price higher. This is good and bad news for a country like Nigeria, which should ordinarily earn more foreign exchange from the sale of crude, but now has to deal with paying more subsidy since there’s a positive relationship between the international prices of the commodity and how much Nigerians get the product at the pump.”

One of the primary reasons contributing to continent-wide production declines is the lack of adequate investment across the upstream market. COVID-19 coupled with the global push for an energy transition has led to many international investors pulling out of hydrocarbon projects, diverting capital to green energy. However valuable for the renewables market, this move has proved disastrous for African oil and gas dependent nations.

Demand fluctuations, price instability, and the global reduction in fossil fuel directed capital expenditure have left many oil-reliant nations scrambling

Sebastian Wagner, Managing Director of DMWA Resources, credits the production decline to a combination of factors, stating that, “The year 2021 brought along multiple divestments in the African upstream sector, which have since impacted production. In addition, the impacts of the pandemic are still being felt as the multiple shutdowns caused snags with restarting oil wells. A disturbing trend has emerged over the years. There has been a decrease in investments in the exploration and development of oil and gas, thus impacting infrastructure and hampering oil and gas production.”

So, what needs to be done to mitigate this trend? Wagner notes that, “In anticipation to becoming a principal supplier and reviving crude oil output, African governments and policymakers can counter the pressure by attracting more investments into the upstream sector.” Accordingly, the solution lies in the upstream market. Recent developments worldwide have not only emphasized the need to scale-up capital expenditure in African exploration, but have reaffirmed the role oil and gas continues to play in the global energy space. Europe’s energy crisis, for example, and the European Union’s decision to label gas as green could represent both a challenge and opportunity for African markets. While the new label could usher in a new wave of investment in Africa, trickle-down effects from Europe’s crisis poses a new challenge.

Foreman explains by stating that, “The short-term spillover effect of Europe’s energy crisis has been to raise natural gas and other energy commodity prices, and short of government intervention in markets that could have a cooling effect on prospective investments the current cycle likely needs to work itself out.  Longer-term planning across the African continent could have beneficial effects, both to develop greater resources for African consumption and exports but also potentially to position some producers as pivotal future suppliers to Europe.  Europe’s energy crisis could motivate parties to develop African resources, elevating their market position as a counterbalance to supplies from Russia and global liquefied natural gas (LNG) that could be relatively more expensive to develop and transport.”

In the meantime, the need for accelerated investment in Africa has never been more prominent. “The struggle to increase production is due to years of underinvestment in the upstream oil and gas sector with ageing infrastructure magnified by the recent pandemic and call for no new investment in fossil fuels. The government and oil and gas operators need to find a new way of stimulating investors’ confidence and appetite with 3C’s: Certainty and Consistency in policies and regulatory law and Competitive in business friendliness,” states Omidiya.

The polarizing and misleading campaigns by powerful western groups like Greenpeace against Shell’s 3D seismic survey off the Wild Coast South Africa is wrong. The science does not back their misleading claims and blocking Shell hurts South Africa and many poor people. Exploring for energy oil and gas reserves in South Africa does not hurt the country. South Africa is a net importer of oil and gas and depends on foreign countries. Its energy security, development and beating energy should be prioritized. When a responsible and leading explorer is being demonized, it sends the wrong message to investors, creates a volatile market and hurts everyone. Namibia has showed amazing maturity when it comes to Shell’s work in the country and should be commended. We are confident that Shell’s exploration well in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia will be successful. The Graff-1 well is located in Block 2913A in the Orange Basin where Shell is the operator and its partners are QatarEnergy and the national oil company of Namibia, Namcor.

Accordingly, as a whole, Africa needs to ensure both an enabling and attractive environment for investment. There is no need to wait until African Energy Week in October in Cape Town to find solutions. Despite the progress made to date in this area, more can be done to entice global players and international investors into Africa’s market. In line with this, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) – a leading voice for energy in Africa – firmly believes in the role and value that oil and gas play in Africa’s economies. A lot of changes are necessary to give oil and gas companies the incentive to explore in Africa during the current downturn. But we can’t stop there. We need to consider other pain points that discourage foreign operations in Africa and find ways to eliminate those challenges as well. So why not remove this hurdle? Negotiating with trusted explorers would help them avoid unnecessary delays and bureaucratic red tape. Making these changes would still allow them to emphasize their own priorities, and it might also make IOCs more likely to keep exploring within their borders.

“Exploration, Exploration and Exploration. You can’t produce oil and natural gas if you don’t explore. You can’t let radicals stop exploration campaigns and you can’t let bureaucrats kick out companies with poor regulations like the CEMAC forex rules.  Let’s face it, look at Algeria, where oil and gas production rates were already declining in 2019, before the pandemic, largely because of repeated project delays caused by, among other challenges, slow government approval. During four licensing rounds, Algeria saw minimal interest from investors” Stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

“Nigeria, too, is known for the less than speedy pace at which it sanctions exploration projects. Even before COVID-19, its slow movement on this front contributed to a decline in oil production over a 10-year period” Concluded Ayuk.

As the year begins and new opportunities across the continent emerge, the AEC remains committed to helping African producing states accelerate project activities, improve production, and usher in a new era of socio-economic growth and well-being.

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OPINION: Who Owns Nigeria’s Oil?

This article by Dr Kayode Ajulo is about the question of the ownership of Nigerian Oil, as raised by Chief Edwin Clark and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo; and the borderline between Ownership and Trusteeship of Natural Resources in Nigeria


I have read and keenly observed with great trepidation, the grotesque drama which has ensued from the battle of the pen with little or no truce, however uneasy, between two of Nigeria’s greatest political bigwigs and nationalists, on the backdrop of the Summit organised by a group, Global Peace Foundation, on December 13, 2021, where President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR was alleged to have exhibited hatred and disconcertedness against the Niger Delta Region.

As could be gleaned in an Open Letter from Chief Edwin Clark to President Olusegun Obasanjo, titled “My Disappointment Over Your Unapproved Outburst Against the People of the Niger Delta Region”, the Elder Statesman, among other things noted that the Niger Delta Region has been marginalised by past regimes of the Government and that he was appalled at that same Government attitudinal disposition towards the minority groups of the Niger Delta was exacerbated by the former President, after the latter allegedly openly interjected and contradicted the submissions of both Engr. Wodu and Mr O’Mac Emakpore were Chief Clark’s representatives at the Summit.

Chief Edwin Clark while emphasizing the constant marginalisation of the people of the Niger Delta Region further noted that despite the facts that these natural resources are found within the preserves of the Niger Delta Region, succeeding governments have not been committed to ensuring the development of the region, and have not used the money got from the resources of the region for its development, as done for other regions.

Underscoring his argument, Chief Clark further noted that by the principle of derivation as enshrined in Section 140 of the 1960 Constitution, natural resources found within regions in the country were controlled by the people of the regions.

In his response, President Obasanjo while denouncing the notion that he had any hatred for the Niger Delta Region, noted that he had no such grudge for the region and placed more emphasis on the fact that by the dint of the Constitution, all natural resources in any part of the Federation is owned by the Federal Government, and within the exclusive legislative list of the National Assembly.

He further noted among other things, that the territory of Nigeria is indivisible, inclusive of the resources found therein. “No territory in Nigeria including the minerals found therein belongs to the area of (sic) location, and this remains so until the Federation is dissolved”.

I have always dreaded to criticise these Elder statesmen, as these two men are among the four persons I hold in great esteem and awe in my heart when it comes to national issues and political discourse. The other two men are, Bishop Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi and Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, OFR, CON. Only those who know the enervating particularity and the indelible contributions these men have exerted to ensure the attainment of a better Nigeria, can appreciate my choice of same.

If we must allow memory to be our guide, it must be noted that Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON is a Nigerian elder statesman of high repute and integrity, who has throughout the course of his political career which has spanned over seven decades, fought and still fights for the emancipation of the people of Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole.

Similarly, except by some perverse logic and political sentiment, it is an undeniable fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, is one of our greatest leaders who have guided the sail of the Nigerian Ship in both the military and democratic dispensation.

Be that as it may, I am obliged to note that this clash is nothing but a jiggery-pokery pastime of ancient war lords, in which the former, with respect, may be said to be emotionally incautious,, while the latter, respectfully, was merely engaging in cheeky and specious sophistry to put his points across.

President Olusegun Obasanjo interestingly and surprisingly anchored his argument solely on law, whereas the answer on the ownership is found in the extant provision of our laws and could as well be viewed from the geo-political perspectives of the Nigeria of today’s tenuous existence.

De jure and De facto Ownership of Natural Resources in Nigeria

Beyond the above red-hot dialogue and pantomime, it suffices to note that Section 44(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Land Use Act of 1978 and the Petroleum Act vest the exclusive control and management of oil and gas in the Federal Government, and not the State or Local Government where the oil and gas are found. It can therefore be said that, the Nigerian Federal Government is the “de jure” owner of the oil. However, the indubitable and undeniable reality is that, the Niger Delta region where the oil is found is the “de facto” owner of the oil.

In the consideration of our geo-political aspect including the security consideration, it is patent that by the circumstance of composition of Nigerian Federal Government, the oil and gas resources are held in trust by the Federal Government on behalf of the Citizens of Nigeria for the overall benefit and development of the nation.

Quite frankly, our extant laws also give credence to the real owners of these natural resources, hence the provision for derivative funds for host communities, particularly, the Niger Delta. In that payment of derivative funds is an implicit recognition of the primary ownership of the people of the land in which the oil resource resides, which position is further and more explicitly buttressed ex cathedral by the Apex Court of the land to the effect that a State shall be entitled to natural resources emanating from within its boundaries, so as to qualify for the allocation of funds from the Federation Accounts. See the cases of A G Federation v A G Abia State & 35 Ors (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt.763) Pg.542; AG Rivers State v AG Akwa Ibom & Ors (2011) LPELR-633(SC).

Doctrine of Public Trust of Natural Resources and Equitable distribution of same

In order to bring the present discourse into specific perspective and for the enlightenment of those who might have been swayed by the perspicacious lustre of charm which serenaded President Olusegun Obasanjo’s reply that natural resources are owned by the Federal Government, it is crucial to state that, rather than being the owner of natural resources, the Federal Government is a trustee of these natural resources for the benefit of the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Hence, the Government is a steward/custodian of these natural resources to be harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good. The beneficiaries of a trust are the true owners of the same, even if by the very nature of trusts, another may manage and oversee it on their behalf.

In other words, the Federal Government is holding the natural resources in trust for public use, including the communities where such natural resources are found. A careful perusal of Section 17(2)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly dictates that “in furtherance of the social order, exploitation of…natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community shall be prevented”.

Hence, Federal Government’s trusteeship of these natural resources should not under any guise be equated to outright ownership of the natural resources by the Federal Government. This critical relationship between ownership and trusteeship of natural resources is a vital point in the Nigerian polity and socio-economic development of the nation.


From whatever angle this issue is being considered, worthy of note is that there are certain, almost predictable similarities and convergence between the positions of these two prominent Elder statesmen which is the ardour and candour, their impatience with Nigeria’s millennial lassitude, their strident clarion call against marginalisation and mis-governance.

Without much ado, it is my humble admonition that a nation is held together not just by the aggregate of its human and natural resources, but by a qualitative and progressive harnessing of those resources for the betterment of both the regions where these resources are found, and the nation at large.

Dr Olukayode Ajulo, FCIArb, UK, Founder/Executive Director of Egalitarian Mission of Africa

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Rethinking Strategies to Achieve the SDGs By Dr. Hanaa Albanna

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define the world we want. They apply to all nations and mean, quite simply, to ensure that no one is left behind. … The 17 Sustainable Development Goals ARE the 2030 Agenda, the map of the world we seek.

Rethinking Strategies to Achieve the SDGs

We currently find ourselves a third of the way through the Sustainable Development Goals timeline. Recently, ‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020’ painted a disturbing picture of the stagnant progress towards achieving the SDGs by their 2030 deadline. The report also highlighted the damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SDGs progress. The strides towards sustainable and inclusive economic growth, energy provision, and infrastructure development were all falling short before COVID-19 even existed. Now, in the wake of a global pandemic, insufficient progress in achieving the SDGs has been amplified.

Across the globe, 190 countries and territories have planned, introduced, or adapted social protection measures in response to COVID-19. The reactionary measures are in place to address the pandemic’s socioeconomic impacts; however, it has created a unique opportunity to reinforce attempts to build a more sustainable and fair system and achieve the SDGs commitments. Each country will attempt bespoke solutions to overcome the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the pandemic, where local-level recovery efforts will need to be reinforced and supported. Meanwhile, the collective responses must equate to coordinated action that matches the global scale of COVID-19 to counter the universal risk of falling short on the SDGs.

These are the specific priorities that must be addressed to enable the world to build back sustainably and in a unified manner, with the multilateral system being crucial to supporting their implementation.

(1) Maintaining past progress made towards eradicating basic deprivations

Regressing on the existing progress towards the SDGs not only endangers the opportunity to eradicate basic deprivations; it also reduces the ability to respond to future shocks, especially for the most vulnerable global populations. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to ensure that the progress that has already been achieved continues by supporting those at immediate risk of poverty, hunger, or disease while facilitating their safe return to work or education and access to health care.

(2) Accelerating the universal provision of quality essential services

Ensuring universal access to services such as quality healthcare, education, and basic income security, coupled with access to clean water and sanitation, clean energy and the internet must become core to strategies of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, guaranteeing the delivery of such core services and continuing the support to marginalized groups including women will create an environment that promotes the economic empowerment of women and ensure that COVID-19 response intentionally, strongly, and permanently redresses the long-standing inequalities.

(3) Strengthening official development assistance

The International Development (Official Development Assistance ODA) is still a core component of the financial responsibility to achieve the SDGs. The leaders in the donor community must maintain their efforts to encourage other nations to fulfill and strengthen their ODA commitments.

(4) Encouraging private investment

Incentivizing the private sector to achieve SDG progress, support job creation, increase incomes into developing nations and those with fragile state systems should be considered a priority. Therefore, a nation should only select the investments that will contribute towards the progression of the Goals.

(5) Empowering and building the capacity of civil society organisations

Civil society organisations have a major role in accelerating the progress toward the SDGs, by communicating and implementing the goals and holding governments to account.

Governments should work alongside civil society organisations (CSOs) and the global community to help toward SDG progression and to create the opportunity for universal cooperation ensuring that no one is left behind.

A focus on civil society funding mechanisms is needed to ensure that civil society organisation particularly small ones in the Global South have the needed knowledge and skills to align their initiatives with the SDGs.

(6) Encouraging private sector involvement

Governments and civil society organisations should take on a leading role to communicate the SDGs to a wide private sector audience. 2030 agenda is relevant to all businesses, from large cooperations to SMEs, and there is still a long way to go to get all companies engaged. Governments should encourage the private sector to incorporate the goals into their strategic business plans and their usual practices.

We need an impact-focused model involving all stakeholders. Impact-based business models can be developed, where the delivery of positive impacts is a driver of business success. This model can play a major role in bridging the financing gap for the SGDs, while their digital components can help reduce costs.

(7) Domestic implementation of the SDGs

There must be a strategic and comprehensive policy approach and commitment to ensure proper implementation of the SDGs. Governments must ensure that all their departments engage with the SDGs and fully understand the implications of the Goals on their department’s policies and programming to ensure domestic implementation is on track.

(8) Data for development

Data plays a vital role in enabling national governments to track progress against the SDGs, and for citizens and civil society to hold the government to account on areas where they are falling short.

Additionally, it is essential that gender data remain a priority commitment of the global community, to enable the design of gender-fair bailouts, subsidies, and other economic recovery measures.

(9) Reporting against the SDGs

Governments should report annually on their contribution to SDG progress. This would be a helpful internal process for governments, to assess where they are successful and where their efforts are falling short, and thus where they need to take further action or reprioritize their efforts.

There is no magical solution to overcome all challenges at once, but there are a number of strategies that must be taken immediately to get us back on track. Achieving the transformative vision of the SDGs by 2030 requires a major realignment of most countries’ national priorities toward long-term, cooperative, and drastically accelerated action, design a ‘human-centered’ COVID-19 response and recovery that tackle these challenges and build a ‘better normal’.


Dr. Hanaa Albanna
SDGs, CSR, and Charity Expert
International Initiatives Manager – Global One UK



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