Kenya will earmark sufficient resources to promote conservation of vultures amid threat of extinction linked to habitat destruction and retaliatory poisoning by herders, officials said on Saturday at an event to mark International Vulture Awareness Day.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, said that protecting vultures and other birds of prey from myriad threats is key to maintain ecosystem balance and sustain rural livelihoods through tourism.
“We are committed to saving the endangered population of vultures in the country because they provide vital ecosystem services besides attracting legions of local and foreign tourists,’’ said Balala.
Kenya is home to eight out of 15 most threatened species of vultures across the African-Eurasian region but community-led efforts to restore the population of this migratory birds have intensified.
Balala said that Kenya is a signatory to international treaties aimed at strengthening the resilience of birds of prey grappling with threats like climate change, habitat fragmentation, lack of food and electrocution by power lines.
“There is an urgent need for implementation of a national vulture conservation strategy.
This strategy lays emphasis on curbing vulture poisoning and illegal trade in their body parts,’’ said Balala.
He said that contractors involved in the development of energy and transport infrastructure projects should establish buffer zones for vultures and other endangered migratory birds.
Fred Segor, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Wildlife said the government has invested in community-led conservation projects to help restore the population of vultures that has declined in the last five decades.
“We are engaging communities to help protect vultures’ habitats and curb retaliatory poisoning of the animal carcass by pastoralists that have emerged as the leading cause of the death of these birds of prey,’’ said Segor.
He said that by feeding on animal carcasses, vultures have ensured that the spread of disease-causing pathogens is minimised.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Climate change: Kenya to experience higher temperatures, less rainfall – Agency
Kenya Meteorological Department said in Nairobi on Tuesday that the country’s “climate is changing rapidly in response to global warming as is the case in many other countries”.
Director of the agéncy Stella Aura disclosed this in a report dubbed “State of the Climate in Kenya 2019”.
The report noted that annual maximum temperatures in many parts of Kenya would average 32 degrees Celsius by 2050 as rains decreased in regions that currently received more.
“In the recent past, it added, mean air temperature for the country has been increasing steadily.
“Similarly, minimum temperatures are expected to increase over most parts of the country up to the year 2050,” the report said.
The report indicated that rainfall could change considerably by the year 2050 in comparison to the current climatological distribution.`
`”The spatial extent of regions that normally experience high rainfall is clearly reducing.
“The rainfall decrease is seen more during the March to May season,” the report said.
According to the report, climate variability and climate change present many risks to people and communities the world over and more so in developing countries such as Kenya because of limited adaptation capacity.
The Kenyan government is making concerted efforts to adapt to the changing conditions as well as to mitigate future climate change, the report stated. (Xiñhua/NAN)
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Oil steady as United States storm eases but demand recovery fears persist
Oil futures were little changed on Tuesday after sharp overnight losses, as the latest tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico lost strength.
But worries about fuel demand persisted with flare-ups around the globe in coronavirus cases.
Brent crude futures edged three cents 0.1 per cent, lower to $41.41 a barrel at 0637 GMT thus, reversing earlier small gains.
United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for October, due to expire on Tuesday, slipped four cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.27 a barrel.
The more active November contract shed three cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.51.
Crude prices, which fell about four per cent on Monday, won some respite as Texas refineries stayed after a tropical storm was expected to keep losing strength, allaying worries about United States refinery demand for feedstock.
However, concerns about global demand held sway.
“The recovery in sentiment after the rout in risk assets seen a fortnight ago was clearly fragile,’’ said Vandana Hari, an energy analyst at Singapore-based Vanda Insights.
“This week, the market is recalibrating to a likely stalling of the economic recovery in Europe as several countries in the region impose fresh restrictions to contain a surge in the coronavirus.’’
Monday’s price slump was spurred by concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases in major markets could lead to fresh lockdowns and hurt demand.
That raised the possibility that a return of Libyan oil could come when it isn’t needed, as the country looks to ramp up exports.
“We had a pretty punchy risk-off session (overnight) … on fears around the risk that a COVID-19 resurgence starts to have negative impacts on demand again,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research.
Markets are nervous about demand in places like the United Kingdom, where fresh restrictions are being imposed.
United States health officials are also warning of a new wave in the coming winter.
“When the virus resurges, governments lockdown, impose restrictions and individuals and businesses start to retreat.
It’s all bad for demand,’’ Shaw said.
Traders will be watching out for the American Petroleum Institute’s data on United States oil inventories due later on Tuesday.
United States crude oil and gasoline stockpiles likely fell last week, while inventories of distillates, including diesel, were seen climbing, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum
Six states signed a charter on Tuesday for an Egypt-based forum to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed the statute in a virtual ceremony to establish the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organisation.
According to a joint declaration, the forum “will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity’’ through cooperation in the energy field.
It said the forum would be open to any East Mediterranean country applying to join.
Members of the forum have already held several meetings in Cairo since early last year.
Other states or organisations could join as observers.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
African tourism leaders recommend MICE for sectoral recovery
These tourism leaders cutting across countries such as: South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya, gave the advice at the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market’s conference held online.
The roundtable was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is a type of tourism in which large groups usually plan well in advance and are brought together.
Rick Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Business Tourism Company, said that MICE in Africa was pretty new but started in the United States since 1714.
Taylor said that enormous opportunities would be available if MICE was properly developed in Africa.
“We need to work on returning to embrace our meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions because it was observed that an hour of physical meeting is only as effective as 5 zoom meetings, 10 phone calls and 20 emails.
“Some 14 new ideas were likely to be generated during physical meetings but only 7 ideas would be gotten from online meetings,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Alain St.Ange, former Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that the MICE market was an important one in the tourism industry, adding that there was need to discover more Africans who would be dedicated to work in grooming tourism.
He advised Africans to work together to achieve common goals of revamping the tourism industry and create global competitiveness.
“Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy and with a population of 100,000 people, we are able to sustain the country through the returns on tourism.
“MICE is an important market in tourism, it needs to be developed rightly,’’ he said.
Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau, also attested to the fact that MICE was one of the innovative ways for revenue creation which Africans must leverage upon.
According to her, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous events were postponed and the country recorded losses to the tune of $8m.
“Rwanda is open to MICE, domestic tourism and travels now, the government has set up platforms to ensure tourists’ safety, who either come for leisure or business opportunities.
“The Rwandan government has established economic recovery funds, created home grown events that align with our investment priorities; Rwanda is a unique destination for events and MICE is guaranteed,’’ she said.
Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator, Kenya National Convention Bureau, said that the business of MICE had sustained the country as a tourist destination, adding that the Kenyan government was working with the private sector to further grow MICE.
Nzioka said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 97 tourism events were cancelled and over 42,000 jobs were lost.
She said when International travels began, 16 per cent arrivals were recorded to be on purpose of business, which she described as encouraging.
“Currently, we have stimulus packages for the hospitality sector, and recovery funds to restart the industry all put together by the Kenyan government; we see a bright future for MICE in Kenya,’’ she said.
Nzioka advised Africans to work unanimously to complement one another’s efforts in the development of MICE and not for competitive purposes.
Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board, said that the board had prioritised the promotion and development of business tourism to diversify the country’s tourism offerings and encompass more than leisure.
Ochieng said this was expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals, receipt and earnings from business travellers.
He said currently, the board was trying to partner with the private sector to develop affordable travel packages to revamp the industry.
“The MICE industry is an emerging one in the Ugandan economy, the Ugandan tourism board will continue to prioritise both leisure and business travels.
“We want to tell everyone that we are ready for MICE and planning to invest more in hotels, convention centres and all,’’ he said.
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo