General news

Include gender policy in constitution, ex-senator suggests



Ms Binta Garba, former Senator Representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, has advocated the entrenchment of the National Gender Policy into the constitution to improve the participation of women in politics and governance.

Garba made the call at the National Dialogue on Women and Youth Active Roles in Politics organised by the African Union Development Agency; the News Partnership for Africa’s Partnership (AUDA-NEPAD) and Women in Politics Forum (WIPF).

She said that the call became imperative to make right the terrain for women in politics that she described as getting too bad.

It is time for women’s participation to be enhanced because we are the ones who bring in people to office with our population, so when we galvanise that strength, we can increase participation for youths and women,” she said.

Ms Gloria Akobundu, Chief Executive Officer, AUDA-NEPAD, said that the programme was organised to discuss the challenges, achievements of women and youths and to chart the way forward.

Akobundu said that the objective of the programme was to strengthen the partnership between governance and women to look at the gender activities positively from the constructive manner  and see how to help women.

She said that there were a lot of partnerships ongoing that could benefit women  and urged them to take advantage of the partnership programmes to excel  in the various fields .

She said that NEPAD would partner with the National Assembly to put  the issues of women on the table to be able to achieve better participation for them.

She also called for the need for women to have a national contributory purse for the purpose of funding females in politics and to support them to take up government positions.

Earlier, Ms Ebere Ifendu, President, Women in Politics Forum, said that the only thing that would give women affirmation for more participation was strong legislation.

Until there is such legislation like 35 per cent affirmation or there is gender equality which  in the true sense of it, is 50, 50 per cent participation, women’s participation will not increase .

We are advocating  for the amendment of the constitution to include looking at the gender policy and the federal character system  which should be known as federal character and gender commission .

That way, if it says you must appoint a minister from all the states, it will also include that a certain percentage of the ministerial must be women,” she said.

According to Ifendu , until there is such  legislation ,there is little women  can achieve adding that it is time to beging to name and shame leaders who fail in their promises to increase women’s participation.

Ms Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs who was represented by Princess Jummai Idonije, Special Assistance Technical to the minister, reiterated the commitment of the ministry as a mercenary for gender mainstreaming  to educate women.

Edited by: Dorcas Jonah/Kayode Olaitan

General news

NEPAD trains  LG directors from Taraba on  good governance survey



The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on Sunday said it had  begun to train directors of budget, research and statistics from the 16 local government councils of Taraba on ways of conducting  survey on good governance.

Mr Dauda Marafa, the Taraba Coordinator of the partnership, who stated this on Sunday in Jalingo during one of the trainings, added that it was also held at other  locations in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was conducted separately for the three senatorial zones  with directors from Southern zone, receiving training at Wukari, Central zone at  Mutumbiyu and Northern Zone in Jalingo.

Addressing the participants in Jalingo, Marafa said that they had been identified by the Federal Givernment as the focal points for the implementation of NEPAD activities in the 774 local government councils in the country.

According to him, the training is anchored on four thematic areas of Africa Peer Review Mechanism, which he described as a self assessment process.

He said that the thematic areas are: Democracy and political governance,   Economic Governance and Management and Socio-E-economic development and Corporate Governance.

“The questionnaires given to you at this training are to be taken to your various local government areas and to be distributed to various categories of people: the poor, rich, educated, uneducated and others.

“They are meant to assess the President,  governors of the 36 states in the country and the 774 council chairmen across the nation.

“You can guide those that may not understand how to fill them but do not inject your opinions into what they will say,” he advised them.

The coordinator explained that the main objective of the programme was to eradicate poverty, ensure women empowerment, and tackle illiteracy .

Alhaji Abdul-Nasir Bobboji, the Chairman of Jalingo Local Government Council, who was a guest at the occasion,  expressed hope that NEPAD’s activities would promote good governance in the country.

Bobboji pledged the support of the council to the success of NEPAD’s peer review mechanism in the state.

Edited By: Philip Dzeremo/Peter Dada
Source: NAN
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AU-NEPAD to empower smallholder farmers in Nigeria – Coordinator



The African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa`s Development (AUDANEPAD), is to empower smallholder farmers to cushion the effects of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Ms Gloria Akobundu, the National Coordinator of AUDANEPAD, made this known in Abuja during the virtual stakeholders’ induction meeting of the National Steering Committee on innovative to strengthening smallholder farmers` capabilities in Nigeria.

NAN reports that smallholder farmers are farmers who produce relatively small volumes on relatively small plots of land.

They may produce an export commodity as a main livelihood activity or as one of many activities.

The meeting had in attendance Gov. Abdulraham Abdulrazaq of Kwara, who is also the Chairman of the steering committee and other stakeholders.

On the importance of the empowerment programme, Akobundu said the initiative was in line with the agency`s mandates and the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify the nation`s economy via agriculture to create jobs.

“If you check, the initial agenda of Mr President has been to diversify economy of the country via agriculture, create jobs and as well grow the economy of Nigeria.

“Which is the summary of the entire agenda is economic growth and development and now is moving to 9-point agenda which includes consolidation.

“And the summary of the 9-point agenda again is job creation, economic growth and development, consolidating on the gains, finding the gaps and building it back.

“Based on that we have designed, the three “Ps”, which is prosperity, partnership and productivity and based on these three Ps, we are driving this project, “ she said.

According to her, the preparation is to implement the outcome of NEPAD`s white paper aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19, which has taken the country`s economy backward.

Akobundu also revealed that based on the outcome of the previous meetings of the stakeholders, other key issues emerged.

She said the issues were articulation of implementation strategies, need for identification of projects and constitution of national steering committee, among others.

Abdulrazaq in his contribution, applauded AUDANEPAD for its previous programmes ,which he said had impacted so many lives in Nigeria.

“The role of NEPAD is something that has been impacting for over the years, and with its peer review mechanism, I am glad to say that the role has stepped up, taken down to many communities in Nigeria.

“Its activity is important for national development – state, local governments,” he said.

Abdulrazaq explained that since 90 per cent of Nigeria`s population were farmers and rural dwellers, the target of the programme would focus on the grassroots via collaboration with state governors.

“The whole idea is to make sub-national government committed;how do you commit somebody, make him part of the programme, providing part of funding to show seriousness to the projects,” he said.

According him, engaging governors will create access to land, seedlings and other developmental asset to the farmers.

He, therefore, appealed to state and local governments to adopt NEPAD’s programmes, as it could contribute immensely to job creation, eradicating poverty, among others in the country.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: African countries should not lose sight of AfCFTA agreement—ECA



The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has urged African countries not to “lose sight” of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Stephen Karingi, the Director, Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division UNECA, made the call during the presentation of an ECA report tagged: “Facilitating Cross-Border Trade and Transport amid COVID-19’’ on Thursday.

Karingi, during a webinar said that African economies should not let the pandemic undermine regional integration and “must maintain the momentum and ambition of the AfCFTA process”.

The director said the pandemic was an opportunity to overcome long-standing cross-border trade challenges and would help member states identify areas that needed strengthening to boost intra-African trade.

He said that combating the virus required regional coordinated actions to contain the its spread at the same time as facilitate safe cross-border trade.

“By magnifying Africa’s cross-border inefficiencies, the COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to reinvigorate efforts targeted at overcoming long-standing challenges.

“This has increased the urgency to do better and find innovative solutions to facilitate safe and efficient cross-border trade.

“It will be important for Africa to maintain and upgrade these solutions post COVID-19 to lower trade costs, boost competitiveness and support more resilient cross-border trade in the face of future shocks,” he said.

He said that various tools and interventions to respond to Africa’s trade facilitation challenges had emerged in recent years, of which many had been successfully piloted at specific borders.

Highlighting the tools, he said that they could be tailored and extended to respond to COVID-19 border challenges.

“The one-stop border post concept refers to the legal and institutional framework, facilities and associated procedures that enable goods, people and vehicles to stop in a single facility in which they undergo necessary controls following applicable regional and national laws to exit one state and enter the adjoining state.

“Moving forward, efforts will be required to fully operationalise one-stop border posts that have already been constructed but are not yet functional, and to roll them out across the continent.

“Functioning one-stop border posts can be used to coordinate the implementation of COVID-19 health checks and regulations, reducing additional time and monetary costs.”

Karingi said that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) traffic light system under the MoveAfrica programme, assessed and ranked performances of border posts, and documents corrective actions for replication to other border posts.

He said that UNECA was collaborating with African Union Development Agency (AUDA) and NEPAD to update the traffic light system to make it COVID-19 relevant and inclusive.

He said that the pandemic offered the opportunity to fast track the rolling out of the Africa collaborative transit guarantee schemes to reduce transit costs at the regional level and eventually, the continental level.

The scheme was recently launched by the African Export-Import Bank and will allow for goods to move within regional economic communities under a single transit guarantee.

The director said AfCFTA negotiations had continued online via a secured electronic platform and urged the secretariat to continue its recruitment of members of staff and also operationalise a functional online office.

“National planning for the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement (and supporting institutions) should continue so that countries will be ready for implementation once the crisis eases.

“The African Union Commission should consider accepting electronically ratified versions of the Agreement until the pandemic subsides.”

Karingi said that member states could not conclude negotiations on the AfCFTA due to the pandemic but hoped the agreement would be implemented in Jan. 2021.

He recommended that regional economic communities contributed to the common African Union COVID-19 protocol on trade and transportation to ensure coordination.

Karingi also urged member states to fast track the establishment of a continental simplified trade regime as part of the AfCFTA process.

He further suggested that digital solutions should be deployed to combat the spread of COVID-19 along trade corridors, and support safe and efficient trade.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN
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General news

Banker lauds Ecobank, AUDA-NEPAD on partnership for MSMEs



Mr Tony Okpanachi, the Managing Director of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), has commended the establishment MSME Academy, an initiative of Ecobank, African Union Development Agency (AUDA) and NEPAD.

Okpanachi, who was speaking at the virtual launch of the first Pan-African MSME Academy, said the AUDANEPAD and Ecobank partnership must be lauded as an entrepreneurial potential.

He said that DBN would continue to collaborate with financial institutions to assist small-scale industries with all necessary support to play their roles in the economy.

In his presentation on “How MSMEs can access funding – opportunities from financial Institutions/banking sector”, Okpanachi said that MSMEs must have accurate financial statements, collaterals, good credit history, viable business model and sound corporate governance, among others, to be bankable.

Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, pledged the bank’s support for small businesses operating in the country, stressing that the MSMEs sub sector was the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the sub-sector needed to be supported in revamping the nation’s economy.

Akinwuntan described MSMEs are drivers of post COVID-19 economic recovery for Nigeria and advised that the sub sector should take advantage of technology, financial services and support from the government to drive the survival and growth of their businesses.

He said that the MSME Academy was providing easy access to practical training and resources on financing opportunities in various countries in Africa on how to build digital presence for businesses.

Akinwuntan said the academy was also providing opportunities to MSME on how to adapt business operations in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“ As an MSME-friendly bank, we have been helping them with capacity building; providing simple and easy access to loans in various sectors including agriculture, creative industry, healthcare and commerce amongst others; access to markets via our e-commerce solutions and simple but robust digital platforms for collections and payments.

“We have also provided a channel to enable MSMEs to open various accounts via self-service on our webpage. I encourage all MSMEs in the country to avail themselves of this opportunity to grow their business. ”

Amine Idriss Adoum, a Director in AUDANEPAD, said that the MSME Academy aimed to build the capacities of MSMEs across Africa through a combination of relevant content library, a network of institutions specialized in MSME support such as incubators and accelerators, and a community of peers, mentors, and advisors.

He said that the key objectives of the academy were to radically expand access to finance by aggregating smaller financial institutions such as micro-credit institutions and credit unions that had access to micro-enterprises, standardising their processes, and building trust in their capabilities.

“The MSME Digital Platform is a one-stop-shop for all MSMEs across Africa to access all these three programmes which jointly address MSMEs’ challenges with access to capacity building, markets, and capital.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the first Panafrican MSME Academy is open to medium, small and micro enterprises in Nigeria and across Africa .

The programme provides support to African MSMEs and is structured along three pillars – the MSME Academy, MSME Marketplace, and MSME Financing Support to be delivered through an MSME Digital platform.


Edited By: Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)
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