Items filtered by date: Friday, 24 May 2019
“Nigeria is the future of not just Africa but of the whole world and mankind” German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Bernhard Schlagheck has said.

Schlagheck said this when he received the delegation of “Follow the Money and Connected Development (CODE)” an NGO, in his office on Friday in Abuja.

He said that Germany and Nigeria shared similarities in diverse areas, adding that Nigerians could contribute toward growth of their country through tracking governance processes to ensure accountability.

Schlagheck said, “there are developments in every society that must be tracked, to achieve that there is need for distinction of people to do such.

“Nigeria as the future of Africa is the future of the world of mankind that we can ask many important questions and of course this is also applicable in places like Germany, in Europe.

“Although there are obstacles in development processes, Nigerians should strive to focus on cross fertilisation of good ideas to bring about meaningful growth in future.”

He commended the delegation for their effort in tracking expenditure of public funds to promote accountability and transparency in governance process in the country.

According to him, this is something that can change things positively, I am quite happy to see many young activists willing to do so.

Earlier, Mr Hamzat Lawal, Founder, Follow the Money and Chief Executive Officer of CODE, said that they were at the German Embassy to appreciate Schlagheck for his support to the organisation.

He noted that the support by Schlagheck had helped young people learn best practices on modern methods to track public fund spending.

According to him, we were in Germany this year and won the SDGs awards under mobilise-category, despite the fact that we applied for our papers late.

“Europe and U.S. are struggling with illegal migration because people from other parts of the world are tired of how governments are not ensuring that the services delivered are efficient.

“We believe that by following the money, Nigeria will be more like Germany and we will not have to worry that people travel illegally, rather to explore such places and come back.”

The high point of the event was the presentation of plaque to the German Ambassador, NAN reports.

Published in World

Nigeria is to undergo a Second African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Mrs Gloria Akobundu, Chief Executive Officer African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development, AUDA-NEPAD has said.

Akobundu, in a statement on Friday in Abuja said, the process comes almost 11 years after the first peer review was conducted.

She said that the review was long over due in order to improve on the nation’s deliberate and strategic developmental efforts.

“The first country’s peer review was conducted in 2008. The process is supposed to be carried out every five years.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is giving maximum support, he has already approved the conduct of the review,” she said.

Akobundu further listed the nation’s step towards conducting a successful and resourceful review process.

“The constitution of the committee to oversee the second PRM is in process.

The AUDA-NEPAD National Coordinator said the peer review will cover all the six geo-political zones of the country and will begin with the Nigeria country’s self assessment Report.

She further disclosed that four thematic areas to be covered in the nation’s self assessment report process include: Democracy and political governance; Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-economic Development and Governance.

She said all the themes would assist Nigeria in drawing up its National Programme of Action (N.PoA).

Akobundu lauded President Buhari for approving the excercise.

She also expressed appreciation to the SGF, Barrister Boss Mustapha for monitoring the processes that led to presidential approval of the process, saying it would greatly aid its successful implementation.

APRM is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union as a self-monitoring mechanism.

It was founded in 2003.

The mandate of the APRM is to encourage conformity in regard to political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards, among African countries and the objectives in socio-economic development as well as to ensure monitoring and evaluation of AU Agenda 2063 and SDGs 2030.

Published in World

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday took note of the decision by British Prime Minister Theresa May to resign “with respect”, saying that they shared a “good and trusting” working relationship.

Pledging to keep working with May in the same spirit as long as she is in office, Merkel noted that Berlin “wishes to maintain close cooperation and a close relationship with the British government,” the German leader’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said.

Fietz declined to comment on how May’s decision could affect Brexit, as “the development depends essentially on domestic political developments in Britain.

Published in World

President Emmanuel Macron wants to see a “rapid clarification” over Britain’s departure from the European Union after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would step down next month, the French presidency said Friday.

Macron hailed May for “courageous work” in seeking to implement Brexit in the interests of her country while showing respect for Britain’s European partners, the Elysee said in a statement.

But it added: “The principles of the EU will continue to apply, with the priority on the smooth functioning of the EU, and this requires a rapid clarification.”

Macron has taken a hard line on Brexit over the last months which has sometimes put him at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has pushed for a more flexible stance.

Paris fears that repeated delays to Brexit — which is now scheduled to take place by October 31 — are interfering with the smooth running of the EU and Macron’s own plans for reforming the bloc.

The statement said that while France was ready to work with Britain’s new prime minister, “it is too early to speculate over the consequences of this decision” by May to step down.

May said she would quit as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party.

The leader of the party automatically becomes prime minister. Her plan to leave the European Union with a deal she thrashed out with Brussels had been repeatedly rejected by parliament.

A crowded field is expected to contest for the leadership, with hardline Brexit supporter and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson making no secret of his ambitions.

The Elysee warned: “At a time of an important choice, votes of rejection that do not offer an alternative project will lead to an impasse.”

Johnson has repeatedly said Britain should not fear a so-called no-deal Brexit

Published in World

Botswana has reinstated trophy hunting after a 5-year moratorium on the practice.

In the wake of evidently declining wildlife numbers, former president Ian Khama imposed the ban in early 2014. Elephant numbers had plummeted by 15% in the preceding decade. The hunting industry had been granted a total quota of between 420 and 800 elephants a year during that time. Evidence of abuse was prolific and communities were not benefiting from the fees that hunters were paying.

Over the past five years Botswana has earned a reputation as the continent’s last elephant haven. It harbours just over a third of Africa’s remaining savanna elephants.

Khama’s successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has been in the job for just over a year. He’s promoted a conservation doctrine that is diametrically opposed to Khama’s.

Masisi recently hosted a conference in Kasane that brought together heads of state and environment ministers from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its pretext was to formulate a common vision for managing southern Africa’s elephants under the banner of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). But the conference was used to drum up support for Botswana’s intended reversion to elephant hunting.

Tourism and Environment Minister, Kitso Mokaila, claimed that the country has too many elephants. This “overpopulation” narrative has also fuelled the idea that hunting – and even culling – will reduce growing human and elephant conflict.

But many believe that elephants have been reduced to a political football in Masisi’s election campaign to curry favour with rural communities who feel aggrieved over the hunting ban. The elections will be held in October this year.

A cabinet sub-committee report produced earlier this year recommended that the hunting ban be lifted. It therefore comes as no surprise that Masisi has done so.

At the conference, he gave elephant footstools to his fellow heads of state, a symbol of support for “consumptive use”. This is a conservation doctrine that endorses the exploitation of wildlife in the form of either trophy hunting or trade in derivative parts such as ivory.

A turn for the worst

The narrative that Botswana’s elephant population is exploding and has exceeded the country’s carrying capacity is repeatedly used to rationalise trophy hunting and the ivory trade. Mokaila claimed, for instance, that Botswana’s elephant population was at 160 000, nearly three times the “carrying capacity” of 54 000.

But a scientific aerial survey of northern Botswana – where the country’s elephants are concentrated – conducted in 2018 disputes this. The survey estimated a national population of 126 114, indicating stability since 2014. It also revealed a sharp increase in poaching. The survey report noted:

These results suggest there is a significant elephant-poaching problem in northern Botswana that has likely been going on for over a year.

The survey also found that nearly all carcasses suspected of being poached were bulls. Bulls are targeted for their large tusks. This suggests that Botswana is fast becoming a poaching hotspot for the growing demand for illicit ivory in East Asia.

Botswana’s elephants are being used as a political campaigning tool. Provided by author.

If the country’s not careful, poaching will take root in the same way it has in Tanzania and Mozambique over the last decade.

The numbers

Proponents argue that hunting “surplus” bull elephants reins in elephant numbers and provides direct jobs (and bushmeat) to local communities who live in the daily reality of growing human and wildlife conflict.

Arguments in favour of hunting invariably appeal to the obsolete idea of “carrying capacity” – that a landscape can only withstand the impact of a certain maximum number of elephants. But conservation scientists aren’t convinced that this applies in large, unfenced and highly variable ecosystems such as Botswana’s. Arguing, for instance, that an area can only sustain 0.4 elephants per square kilometres is arbitrary.

Adult bulls are also not surplus to herd requirements; they only breed successfully beyond the age of 35 and sire most of their young after 40. Hunting of a few select trophy males hardly contributes to population control. It is similarly unlikely to mitigate human and elephant conflict as it forces elephants to concentrate in smaller areas, making them more aggressive.

Trophy hunting

Either way, trophy hunting is in decline and its conservation efficacy is increasingly being questioned. Nonetheless, Masisi appears to have bought the narrative that well governed hunting is the silver bullet to conservation.

But hunting is hardly ever well governed and unethical players undermine the rationale behind a quota system. In an open system, incentives to over exploit one’s hunting quota are stronger than incentives to stick to the rules. This tends to result in a tragedy of the commons – over-exploitation of natural resources beyond the ecosystem’s maximum sustainable yield.

On top of this, the voices of communities benefiting from photographic tourism have not yet been heard. Photographic safaris are fundamentally more sustainable than trophy hunting. In 2018, tourism (mostly photographic and with no hunting) supported 84 000 jobs. By contrast, at its peak in 2009, hunting only supported 1000 jobs.

In conclusion

Botswana is at risk of losing its sterling conservation reputation. Support for trophy hunting and the ivory trade is regressive and may damage its tourism reputation.

For a country that has been overly dependent on diamond rents, which are now in decline, Botswana cannot afford policy decisions that undermine its second largest economic sector.The Conversation

 

Ross Harvey, Independent Economist; PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Travel & Tourism

As Angola works in attracting foreign investors from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, its closest African neighbours are also entering the race to tap into vast investment opportunities in Africa’s second biggest oil producing market.

Beyond the traditional African oil players, most of them coming from Nigeria, South African companies have increasingly showed interest in regionalizing and expanding their businesses beyond their home country. President João Lourenço chose South Africa as his first state visit destination as President, which was followed in 2018 by a South African trade and investment mission to Luanda.

While Mozambique’s LNG mega projects are seen for many South African construction, services and supply companies as very attractive and nearby opportunities, a sizeable and expanding market like Angola has also appeared on their radar in recent years.

It is notably the case of South Africa’s state-owned giants like the Central Energy Fund (CEF), in charge of both developing a robust domestic energy market and securing the energy supplies South Africa needs to support its growing economy. Under the Integrated Resources Plan set to be adopted by the country this year, 8,100MW of additional gas-to-power capacity is to be added in South Africa by 2030. South Africa also remains sub-Saharan Africa’s largest refiner and is planning additional refining and petrochemicals units that will all require crude oil and natural gas supplies that do not exist domestically.

It is hence no surprise that Angola, with its lucrative opportunities and reformed business environment, will be hosting a strong delegation of South African companies during the upcoming Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, set to be held in Luanda on June 4-6. The summit is organized by Africa Oil & Power and endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum of Angola.

“The economic reforms passed by President Lourenço and the opening of wide swaths of oil and gas acreage constitute the single biggest exploration opportunity in the history of Angola,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power. “This is a new era for Angola that will herald the arrival of several new entrants to the market.”

Amongst the new entrants, the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), a CEF group company, will be present to look into the various licenses and blocks Angola has to offer. The state-owned entity already recently became owner and operator of South Sudan’s Block B2 under an exploration & production sharing agreement (EPSA) signed in Juba this month, and is keen to continue securing additional assets and reserves across Africa’s key oil markets that can benefit South Africans.

“The Strategic Fuel Fund seeks to invest in and acquire key oil & gas assets across Africa that can be of important interest to the host countries and South Africa” declared Godfrey Moagi, CEO of the SFF. “In our quest for attractive assets with vast resource potential, we believe Angola offers the right kind of environment, mature fields and political leadership needed to realize successful ventures.”

Angola has indeed just released a new oil licensing strategy up to 2025, and is about to launch for the first time a bidding round that includes marginal oil fields with an attractive fiscal framework. Oil concessions are now overseen by a new and independent agency, the ANPG, which took this responsibility over from state-owned Sonangol in a move to make the process more efficient and transparent.

“The ambitious reform agenda of President João Laurenço and Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum Dr. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo is proving successful in building up investors’ trust and confidence,” said Centurion Law Group CEO and AEC Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk. “It is very encouraging to see major African players coming to Angola from across the continent. This is very promising for the growing African energy cooperation and the development of our industry.”

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is the only Africa-wide association that represents all aspects of Africa’s oil and gas industry. The AEC represents more than 120 partner companies involved in all aspects of the African energy industry. Its Angola operations are overseen and represented by Sergio Pugliese.

Published in Engineering
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