The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Food Programme, and World Trade Organisation have called for urgent action to address the global food security crisis.
This is contained in a joint statement issued by the Director-General, FAO, Qu Dongyu; Managing Director, IMF, Kristalina Georgieva; President, WBG, David Malpass; Executive Director, WFP, David Beasley and Director-General, WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
They said the war in Ukraine continues to worsen global food security and nutrition crisis, triggering higher volatility in energy, food and fertiliser prices.
They said inspite of the reprieve in global food prices and the resumption of grain exports from the Black Sea, food remained beyond reach for many due to high prices and weather shocks.
They said the number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide is expected to continue to rise.
Fertiliser markets, they said, remained volatile, especially in Europe, where tight natural gas supplies and high prices had caused many producers of urea and ammonia to stop operations.
“We welcome the efforts of the Global Crisis Response Group and the Black Sea Grain Initiative: through the Joint Coordination Centre, over three million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have already been exported from Ukraine.
” We are encouraged by the downward trend of trade-restrictive measures implemented by countries and hope that the trend continues, ” they said.
The World Bank is implementing its 30 billion dollar programme to respond to the food security crisis and front loading resources from the IDA20 Crisis Response Window.
The leaders added that the IMF was proposing a new food shock window within the IMF emergency lending instruments.
” The FAO has proposed a series of policy recommendations and launched detailed soil nutrition maps at country level to increase efficiencies in the use of fertilisers.
”Maintaining momentum on these fronts and building resilience for the future would require a continued comprehensive and coordinated effort to support efficient production and trade, and improve transparency.
“Also to accelerate innovation and joint planning and invest in food systems transformation,” they said.
In terms of supporting efficient production and trade, they said, governments in all countries need to urgently re-examine their agricultural trade and market interventions, such as subsidies and export restrictions.
“This would help to identify and minimise distortions.
”In terms of improving transparency, food market monitoring must be supplemented with transparent tracking of financing by the international community to respond to the food crisis.
“Governments should provide necessary data and resources to support Agricultural Market Information System, which enhances transparency in food markets through monitoring the prices and availability of major food crops and promoting policy responses, “they noted.
Addressing both infrastructure bottlenecks and input supply bottlenecks, for example, fertilizers and seeds, they said are critical to an efficient food supply system.
“Effective and sustainable support to smallholder farmers will be vital to ensure they are part of the solution and to localise supply chains.
“We remain committed to working together to address immediate food security and nutrition needs, tackle structural market issues that may exacerbate adverse impacts, and build countries’ resilience to prevent and mitigate the impacts of future.
The President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina would join other world leaders for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Solomon Mugera, the Communication and External Relations Department, AfDB on Tuesday.
Adesina would discuss global issues such as the impact of climate change, Russia’s war in Ukraine and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mugera, this is the first time in two years that the general assembly is being held in person due to the pandemic.
The assembly’s theme this year is, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”.
It reflects the urgent and unprecedented need for global cooperation to confront these issues.
The AfDB delegation, led by its president, is expected to participate in a number of high level meetings.
These include the Global Food Security Summit, and a high-level meeting on the Sahel jointly organised by the UN and the African Union.
Others are a presidential dialogue group on nutrition, a meeting of the Global Crisis Response Group on food, energy, and finance, and an inaugural meeting.
The inaugural meeting would be the Global Leadership Council for the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet.
Adesina is expected to meet with the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation Raj Shah, and other development partners.
He would also attend the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum, a conference for international business investment.
Other participants expected to attend include President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and Aliko Dangote, the President Dangote Group.
Also, Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and Satya Nadella, Chairman, Microsoft Corp, would participate.
The Presidency says Nigeria, in collaboration with the Africa Business Roundtable, will be organising the second edition of the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum (NIEPF) in New York, United States.
NIEPF is a global economic investment platform, and is scheduled for Sept. 22, on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly taking place in the American city.
According to a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, the investment platform is being organised as part of continued efforts to further open up the country’s economy to international capital and attract foreign investment.
”Holding alongside the annual global gathering, the NIEPF is expected to draw the presence of world leaders in politics, economy, media as well as Civil Society Oganisations and international media to focus on the vast economic potentials of Nigeria and Africa’s leading economy,” he said.
Shehu discosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would deliver the keynote address at the event.
He said the president would also host a High-Level Presidential Session with fellow Presidents and Heads of delegations on Issues That Need Joint Action for African Countries on the Development Drive such as the Post COVID-19 recovery and financing priorities.
It will also discuss Africa’s Investment Climate and Market as well as De-risking the Continent.
According to him, NIEPF will bring together top Nigerian government functionaries as well as renowned and highly respected global public and private sector players rubbing minds on Nigeria’s Economic Outlook.
He said they would also focuse on Nigeria in The Global Economy; and International Partnership for Nigeria on The Development Drive.
”In view of the wide spectrum of personalities attending the forum, there will be cluster thematic sessions on: (i) Growing Nigeria’s Agriculture for Food Security & Access to Export Market with special focus on Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War which presents opportunities for G720-Nigeria Partnerships in Agriculture.
(ii) Scaling Up International Resources for Financing Education in Africa with emphasis on Making facilities to Link Government, Deal Sponsors and International Pools of Capital in Education.
(iii) Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector: Reforms, Results and the Road focusing on Scaling Up Investment into the Gas Market—Plants, Parks, Cylinders, Reinjection.
”Other issues slated for discussion include: Scaling Up International Resources for Healthcare in Africa bordering on: ”Upgrading and expanding Nigeria’s Healthcare Infrastructure towards making Nigeria the “healthcare hub” for Africa.
”Climate Change and Paths to Clean Environment with emphasis on Paths to Clean Economy, Clean Energy and Clean Development.
”Financing Nigeria’s Infrastructure with emphasis on Developing infrastructures such as Farm to market corridor, Farm to ports corridor, Export transport corridor, Railway network, Road network upgrade and expansion, Airport upgrade, including dedicated airports for exports, Power generation, transmission and distribution.
Speakers and panelists at the event include Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group; Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Satya Nadella, Chairman Business Council of the United States and Chief Executive Officer Microsoft Corp. Others are Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States, Florie Liser, President of the Corporate Council on Africa, and Members of the Business Council of International Understanding and Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; and Abdul-Samad Rabiu, Executive Chairman of BUA Group, Rabiu is also the President of the France-Nigeria Business Council.
Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations will also speak at the event.
At a partners' conference on cotton organized jointly with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in late July, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC) urged donors to mobilize resources for new partnerships.
Building partnerships was essential to boosting the cotton sector in Africa, including the Cotton-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), she said Coke-Hamilton.
In a “Call to Action” signing ceremony attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other partners and authorities, the Cotton-4 countries welcomed the African Bank's commitment to Export and Import (Afreximbank) to grant up to $300,000 in subsidies.
matching funds to support the development of the cotton value chain in African countries between 2023 and 2024.
“Cotton is more than a commodity.
It is more than just transforming the fiber into clothing or home textiles.
Cotton is a way of life and a path to sustainable development”, said the Executive Director.
"It's a way to address broader development concerns to promote decent jobs and green, sustainable and fair-priced products."
By helping cotton farmers add value, ITC works to create better lives and employment opportunities for women and youth, as well as contributing to Africa's industrialization efforts and the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area. ITC projects also seek to sustainably transform African cotton in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Developing better African cotton can reduce the environmental impact of textile and apparel production and mitigate climate change.
When sustainability is more important than ever, African cotton offers a lower ecological footprint than cotton made elsewhere,” she said.
WTO: Cotton is a vital cash crop WTO Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the importance of the event: “This conference is not just about cotton.
It's about people."
Donors need to listen carefully to the needs and priorities of projects submitted by Cotton-4 countries and other least developed countries (LDCs) so that they can provide tangible support to help realize these local projects, she said.
Cotton is a vital crop in more than 30 African countries, generating some $1.5 billion in export earnings, but the sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“LDCs will need our support to mobilize the necessary financial and technical resources so that the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on this sector can see a better life for themselves and their families,” said the Director-General.
A WTO study shows that although cotton production has since recovered to pre-pandemic levels in many LDCs, GDP per capita initially fell by 2.1% on average in ten LDCs. Cotton exports also fell 34% on average in value terms, corresponding to a loss of $500 million in export earnings, although country experiences varied.
Severe and persistent supply chain disruptions continue to put millions of jobs at risk.
“Policymakers should aim to sustainably boost productivity, strengthen competitiveness, and add value to cotton products to build resilience to future shocks,” concluded Dry Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Dynamic New Partnerships “With the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa must embrace industrialization and fully engage its human capital and unique craftsmanship in this sector,” said Babajide Sodipo, Senior Manager at Afreximbank.
“The cotton and textiles sector provides an opportunity to foster local content and identity.” WTO Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam, who moderated the event, encouraged participants to start acting on priority projects highlighted by beneficiary countries.
They should establish a work schedule that will lead to dynamic associations and operationalize the projects that have been presented.
Teresa Moreira, Chief of the Competition and Consumer Policy Section of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) called on governments and development partners to redouble support for cotton and cotton by-product projects for new sources of income for farmers.
She said this could help address development priorities "such as poverty reduction, value addition and economic diversification."
Escipión Oliveira, Deputy Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACP) called for urgent support for project funding requests submitted by African cotton-producing countries, submitted by ministers and senior Cotton-4 trade officials.
Committing to the SDGs Cotton-4 Ministers noted the challenges they face, including food insecurity and climate change.
Difficulties in accessing finance and information also prevent small farmers from improving cotton production and participating in international trade, they said.
Chad's Minister of Trade and Cotton-4 Coordinator, Ali Djadda Kampard, emphasized that development partners play "an essential role" in allowing the country to develop its cotton production, improve its quality and ensure that production in crude is transformed into finished products with higher added value.
Mali's Industry and Trade Minister Ould Mohamed said adequate funding for cotton development projects "would go a long way to improving the income and living conditions of the most vulnerable populations" in producing and exporting LDCs. of cotton.
It would also represent "a concrete commitment" toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, he added.
Representatives from the European Union, the United States, Brazil, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, the Enhanced Integrated Framework, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and Better Cotton also welcomed the project proposals presented at the meeting.
Call to Action The heads of the three agencies launched a “Call to Action” on cotton, which recognizes the challenges hindering the competition of cotton-producing LDCs. The Call to Action commits signatories to continue seeking solutions for Cotton-4 countries to improve their competitiveness, achieve higher yields and greener production, and add value to both fiber and by-products.
The document was signed by ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton and both representatives of the WTO and UNCTAD, who co-sponsor the Call to Action.
The Cotton-4 conference participants, UNIDO, the OACPS Secretariat, Afreximbank and Better Cotton also signed the Call to Action.
The document remains open for signature before World Cotton Day on October 7, 2022.
This article is based on an article previously published by the WTO.
To read it, click here.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Governorship Candidate in Ebonyi, Dr IfeanyiChukwuma Odii, says he will utilise the huge potentials in the creative industry to create wealth and develop the economy.
Odii said this on Saturday in Abakaliki during the launch of this year’s August Meeting in the state.
The meeting is tagged “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow”.
It is organised by Ebonyi Women’s League (EBWOL) to enlighten women on the need to take their rightful position in politics.
He said that he would pursue four major programmes of action, including human capital development and wealth creation, when elected.
According to him, there is a huge hope in the land of Ebonyi ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“When we come on board in 2023, we shall go beyond 35 Affirmative Action for women.
“We will increase the empowerment for our women.
“When you empower a woman, you have built a nation.
“A new dawn has come to Ebonyi and the people will not remain the same again, when I emerge as governor,” Odii said.
He further promised to promote the girl child education in the state.
“Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is now known all over the world because she had education,” he said.
The governorship hopeful also assured his supporters that PDP would have landslide at the polls.
The Chairperson of the event, Mrs Patricia Nwankpagu, assured the governorship candidate of their unflinching support.
The National President of EBWOL, Mrs Victoria Ogudu, urged the women to always see themselves as change-agents in the state and country at large.
“Women should understand that they are no more second class citizens to men.
“The days have gone when women were limited to the kitchen.
“A woman that does well in her field is not only a pride to her husband but entire womanhood and the nation,” Ogudu said.
Mr Clement Agba, Minister of Budget and National Planning, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the promotion of women and girls’ rights.
Agba made the pledge on Tuesday at the official launch of the “Promote My Sister” campaign by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Abuja.
The campaign is a call to action by the UNFPA aimed at protecting girls and women while supporting them to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
Agba said that Nigeria, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, would not relent in addressing the menace of Gender-Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation in the country.
Mr Mathias Schmale, UN Resident Coordinator, said that the UN was working to improve the lives of women and girls while aiming at empowering them.
Schmale called for commitment to a future where women and girls would be safe and live their lives to the fullest.
According to him, women need to occupy prime positions across the globe.
He commended Nigerian women whom he said were exceling around the world, citing the likes of Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
On her part, Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said that the essence of the campaign was for girls and women to protect each other.
Mueller, who expressed hope for brighter and better future for women and girls, said that women should be supported to make choices about their reproductive rights.
Meanwhile, Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, commended UNFPA for the launch, saying that it was apt and timely in view of the rising wave of Gender-based violence.
Tallen was represented by Dr Asabe Bashir, Director General National Centre for Women Development.
The minister called for an end to male preference in families and situations where girls were not encouraged to go to school.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has approved the establishment of African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation for Africa’s access to technologies.
According to the bank, this is for the manufacture of medicines, vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.
In a statement by the bank”s Communication and External Relations Department on Monday in Abuja, the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina described the development as a leap for Africa.
He said, with Africa importing more than 70 per cent of all the medicines it needs and consuming 14 billion dollars per year, the establishment of the Foundation was a major development.
Adesina said “Global efforts to rapidly expand manufacturing of essential pharmaceutical products including vaccines in developing countries, particularly in Africa, to assure greater access, had been hampered.
“This has been hampered by intellectual property rights protection and patents on technological know-how, manufacturing processes and trade secrets.
“African pharmaceutical companies do not have the scouting and negotiation capacity, and bandwidth to engage with global pharmaceutical companies.
“They have been marginalised and left behind in complex global pharmaceutical innovations.”
He decried that of 35 companies which recently signed a licence with America’s Merck to produce Nirmatrelvir, a COVID-19 drug, none was African.
According to him, no institution exists in Africa to support the practical implementation of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on nonexclusive or exclusive licencing of proprietary technologies, know-how and processes.
He expressed optimism that the Foundation would fill existing gaps when fully established.
“It will be staffed with world-class experts on pharmaceutical innovation and development, intellectual property rights, and health policy.
“It will act as a transparent intermediator advancing and brokering the interests of the African pharmaceutical sector with global and other Southern pharmaceutical companies,” the statement said.
It quoted Adesina as saying, “Africa must have a health defence system, which must include three major areas.
“Revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure.”
The statement said that African leaders had called on AfDB to facilitate establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.
It said that the AfDB president, who presented the case for the institution to the African Union at the Summit in Addis Ababa in February, said it was a bold initiative.
“Africa can no longer outsource the healthcare security of its 1.3 billion citizens to the benevolence of others.
”With this bold initiative, the African Development Bank has made good on that commitment.
“The decision is a major boost to the health prospects of a continent.
“A continent that has been battered for decades by the burden of several diseases and pandemics such as COVID-19, but with very limited capacity to produce its own medicines and vaccines.”
The statement noted that the World Trade Organisation WTO)and the World Health Organisation (WHO), welcomed the bank’s decision to establish the Foundation.
It quoted the Director-General of the WTO Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as saying, “the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is innovative thinking and action by the African Development Bank.
“It provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”
The statement also quoted the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus as saying “establishing the Foundation was a game changer”.
It also quoted him as saying it was a game changer “on accelerating access of African pharmaceutical companies to IP-protected technologies and know-how in Africa,”
On activities of the Foundation, the statement said that it would prioritise technologies, products and processes focused primarily on diseases that were widely prevalent in Africa.
It noted that the Foundation would build human and professional skills, research and development ecosystem, while supporting upgrade of manufacturing plant capacities and regulatory quality to meet WHO standards.
According to the statement, the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is being established under the auspices of the AfDB,
It stated that the Foundation would operate independently and raise funds from various stakeholders including governments, development finance institutions, philanthropic organisations among others.
“The Foundation will boost the African Development Bank’s commitment to spend at least three billion dollars over the next 10 years.
“This is to support the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing sector under its Vision 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan.
“The Foundation’s areas of work will also be an asset to all other current investments into pharmaceutical production in Africa.
“Rwanda will host the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.
“It will have its own governance and operational structures, while promoting and brokering alliances between foreign and African pharmaceutical companies.”
The statement further pointed out that the Foundation would strengthen local pharmaceutical companies to engage in local production initiatives with systematic technology among others.
The Foundation according to the statement, will work with African Union Commission, European Union Commission, WHO and other stakeholders, for collaboration in developed countries and developing countries.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) approved the establishment of the African Foundation for Pharmaceutical Technology, a pioneering new institution that will significantly improve Africa's access to the technologies that underpin the manufacture of medicines, vaccines and other pharmaceutical products. products
African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “This is a breakthrough for Africa. Africa must have a health defense system, which must include three main areas: renewing Africa's pharmaceutical industry, developing Africa's vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa's quality healthcare infrastructure."
During the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in February 2022, the continent's leaders called on the African Development Bank to facilitate the establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation. Adesina, who presented the institution's case to the African Union, said: "Africa can no longer outsource the security of health care for its 1.3 billion citizens to the benevolence of others." With this bold initiative, the African Development Bank has delivered on that commitment.
The decision is a huge boost to the health prospects of a continent that has been battered for decades by the burden of various diseases and pandemics like Covid19, but with severely limited capacity to produce its own medicines and vaccines. Africa imports more than 70% of all the medicines it needs, spending $14 billion a year.
Global efforts to rapidly expand the manufacturing of essential pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in developing countries, particularly in Africa, to ensure greater access, have been hampered by the protection of intellectual property rights and patents on technologies , know-how, manufacturing processes and trade secrets.
African pharmaceutical companies do not have the scouting and bargaining power, nor the bandwidth to engage with global pharmaceutical companies. They have been marginalized and left behind in complex global pharmaceutical innovations. Recently, 35 companies signed a license with Merck in the United States to produce nirmatrelvir, a drug against covid-19. None of them were African.
There is no institution on the ground in Africa to support the practical implementation of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on non-exclusive or exclusive licensing of proprietary technologies, knowledge and processes.
The African Foundation for Pharmaceutical Technology will fill this important and obvious gap. When fully established, it will have world-class experts in pharmaceutical innovation and development, intellectual property rights and health policy; acting as a transparent broker that promotes and negotiates the interests of the African pharmaceutical sector with global pharmaceutical companies and others from the South to share proprietary IP-protected technologies, knowledge and processes.
Adesina said: “Even with the TRIPS Waiver decision at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying, and most likely will continue to die, for lack of vaccines and effective protection. The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation provides a practical solution and will help tilt access to proprietary technologies, knowledge, techniques and processes in favor of Africa.”
The World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, respectively, welcomed and praised the African Development Bank's decision to establish the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.
World Trade Organization Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is innovative thinking and action from the African Development Bank. It provides some of the infrastructure needed to secure an emerging pharmaceutical industry in Africa."
World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “The establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, by the African Development Bank, is a game changer in accelerating access for pharmaceutical companies African companies to technologies and knowledge protected by IP. like in Africa.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will prioritize technologies, products and processes focused primarily on diseases that are widely prevalent in Africa, including current and future pandemics. It will also develop human and professional skills, the research and development ecosystem, and support the improvement of manufacturing plant capabilities and regulatory quality to meet World Health Organization standards.
While the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is established under the auspices of the African Development Bank, it will operate independently and raise funds from various stakeholders including governments, development finance institutions, philanthropic organizations, among others.
The Foundation will drive the African Development Bank's commitment to spend at least $3 billion over the next 10 years to support the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing sector under its Vision 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan. The Foundation's areas of work also they will be an asset to all other current investments in pharmaceutical production in Africa.
Rwanda will host the African Foundation for Pharmaceutical Technology. As a common benefit entity, the Foundation will have its own governance and operating structures. It will promote and negotiate alliances between foreign and African pharmaceutical companies.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will empower local pharmaceutical companies to engage in local production initiatives with systematic technology learning and plant-level technology upgrading.
The Foundation will work with African governments, research and development centers of excellence to strengthen the regional pharmaceutical and vaccine innovation ecosystem for Africa and develop the skills needed for the pharmaceutical sector to flourish.
It will also promote closer coordination of the various drug and vaccine manufacturing initiatives underway at the regional level to increase collaborative linkages, harness synergies and partnerships in a pan-African context.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will work closely with the African Union Commission, the European Union Commission, the World Health Organization, the Medicines Patent Fund, the World Trade Organization, philanthropic organizations, agencies and bilateral and multilateral institutions, and will foster collaboration among the public. and the private sectors of developed and developing countries.
The Federal Government has reiterated the need for countries with emerging economies to adopt measures geared toward addressing the difficulties they are facing in food production and improved livelihoods.Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the director, Information in the ministry.According to Katagum, this can be achieved through provisions that will foster economic recovery as well as building resilient health and economic sectors.The statement said Katagum spoke at the just concluded 12th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC 12) held in Geneva, Switzerland.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister of state led the Nigerian delegation to the conference.She also urged Ministers of Trade to develop an institutional framework that would foster discussions toward the delivery of outcomes that would address the needs of Member States.Katagum reiterated Nigeria’s position on agricultural trade reform, especially with respect to the key areas of Domestic support, Market Access, Public Stock Holding for food Security (PSH).“Discussions on WTO reform needs to adhere to the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, fairness and equity within the balance of the rights and obligations of all members under the covered Agreements.“Member States should ensure that any future discussions on reform should focus on reaffirming and strengthening the multilateral character of the WTO.“As part of the Conference’s outcome documents, a total of (ten) Ministerial Decisions and Declarations were adopted by the Trade Ministers at MC12. “Seven of them including MC12 outcome document were considered and adopted by the MC12, while three (3) were considered by the General Council (GC) and brought forward to MC for adoption by the Ministers,” she said.Katagum said history was made at the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference with the adoption of the 20 years outstanding agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.“Other decisions and declarations adopted at MC 12 included, Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement, Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency waiver response to food insecurity.“It includes the Ministerial Decision on World Food Programme, Food purchases Exemption from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions, Ministerial Declaration on the WTO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and preparedness for future pandemics. “According to her, it took decision on Work programme on Electronic Commerce, E-commerce Moratorium, MC Outcome Document, Decisions on TRIPS Non-violation and situation complaints, GC Declaration on Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary and Ministerial Decision on the work programme for Small Economies.On Fisheries Subsides Agreement, she said MC 12 agreed that no member shall grant or maintain any subsidy to a vessel or operator engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing or fishing related activities in support of fishing.On Emergency response to food insecurity, Katagum said that the ministerial conference agreed that trade and domestic production played a vital role in improving global food security in all dimensions as well as enhancing nutrition She said that the conference would also commit to take concrete steps to facilitating trade and improve the functioning and long term resilience of global market for food and agriculture, including cereals, fertilizers and other agricultural production inputs.According to Katagum, particular consideration will be given to the specific needs and circumstances of developing countries.The minister of state also commended Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General WTO, on the way the sessions were structured, which she said provided members with constructive engagements, adoptions and decitions on identified priority areas.The Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision making body of WTO which meets every two years and it brings together all members of the WTO to take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.NAN recalls that Kazakhstan was originally scheduled to host MC12 in June 2020, but the conference was postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.This is the first conference held since the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala as the director- general of WTO. (
By Carl UmegboroThe profound role of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom on girls’ education in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. As a big brother to Nigeria, the United Kingdom has continued to show exemplary leadership by funding the Girls’ Education Project (GEP) considering that poverty in any society cannot be utterly eradicated without paying critical attention to child education, particularly girls.Understandably, the concern is borne out of the commitment that education is a fundamental human right that every child should enjoy, and no child should be left behind. The attention to girls’ education is premium and synchronizes an adage; when you educate a girl, you educate a nation!Unfortunately, common gender norms continue to put girls at a disadvantage, lead them to drop out of school at higher rates as well as engage in harmful practices such as child marriage. Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility, and many others. In developing nations including Nigeria, tradition pushes parents to prioritize the education of their sons over their daughters and reduce them to mere child-bearing and housekeeping.These are misnomers. Educated girls are emphatical, healthier citizens who raise healthier families to contribute to the economic growth of the countries. Globally, women play critical roles in the economic growth of nations when properly educated. Examples are Ms. Amina Mohammed and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Deputy UN Secretary-General and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) respectively, among other high-profile women in key positions around the world.From records, there are 18.5 million out-of-school children currently in Nigeria, 60 percent of these out-of-school children are girls – that is over 10 million girls are out of school. It is also held that 1 in 5 of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria.Data also shows complex and multidimensional constraints in accessing and completing secondary education for adolescent girls in northern Nigeria. Meanwhile, education remains the most impactful way to empower girls and eradicate inequality. It must be noted that educating a girl changes many things - her destiny, as well as those of her future children, and ensures that she can contribute meaningfully to the economic life of her community.According to a World Bank report in 2012, “Girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is consistently found to not only positively influence girls’ lives, but also drive other positive development outcomes, including a reduction in child and maternal mortality rates, improvements in educational outcomes of offspring, and reducing poverty and promoting equitable growth”. Malala Yousafzai, a renowned Girls’ Education Rights activist and Nobel laureate underscored this position.“Girls have the power to boost economies, create jobs, make communities safer, and drive change… If leaders are serious about building a better world, they need to start with serious investments in girls' secondary education. When 130 million girls are unable to become engineers or journalists or CEOs because education is out of their reach, our world misses out on trillions of money that could strengthen the global economy, public health, and stability”, Yousafzai stated. However, through the FCDO-funded interventions, access to education for girls is gradually being expanded, resulting in no fewer than 1.4 million girls currently having access to education in northern Nigeria. The interventions on girls’ education in Nigeria termed GEP (Girls’ Education Project) which is present in the third phase is comparatively yielding positive results.In Kano State, for example, through GEP-3 funded by FCDO, 300 SBMC members have been trained, and selected schools have developed School Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats on schools.At Ja’en Special Primary School in Gwale LGA precisely, the school which used to record low school attendance in classrooms is now in dire demand of more teachers and classrooms to cope with the upsurge as a classroom and teacher now cater for as many as 180 pupils and even leading to morning and afternoon class sections. The PDM (professional development meeting) for upgrading and retraining teachers is pertinent. The encounters from a field trip recently are reassuring.Nonetheless, a lot still needs to be done to ensure that every girl in Nigeria is enrolled, attends school, and completes her education. The female enrolment ratio according to NPA/UBEC Survey by grades (2017/18) shows that girls' enrolment and sustenance in schools are gradually picking up through the interventions.UNICEF, with funding from FCDO, collaborates with the government in building the capacity of School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and Community-Based Management Committees (CBMCs) on enrollment drives, school safety, and security, and to make communities more resilient. Also, the unique integrated approaches - involving mothers as well as girls-for-girls are creditable.Now, the unpleasant part is that the GEP-3 which started in 2012 will round off on September 22, 2022. The project currently covers the five states in northern Nigeria viz. Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara, (and later Kano from 2018) have the highest proportion of out-of-school girls. It is therefore dangerous, and ill-timed for FCDO to pull out at this point. By the said figures of out-of-school children mainly girls, a lot still needs to be done for a desirable future.Instructively, education is a powerful agent of change which improves health and livelihoods, contributes to social stability alongside drives long-term economic growth. On the other hand, the costs of not educating children, particularly girls, are titanic. Let’s not go there. It literally affects the entire society in the long run. The uneducated populace often manifests through public nuisances, banditry, kidnapping, religious extremism, and other social vices as prevalent in Nigeria presently.Thus, FCDO and other stakeholders should considerably do a review towards sustaining the momentum. It should be seen further than ‘Nigeria’s internal affair’ considering that the beneficiaries could migrate to other countries including the UK, the USA, and others when they grow up. Thus, the investments in children will certainly produce good harvests wherever they may find themselves as adults. So, teamwork remains the way forward.
Umegboro is an Associate of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom), public affairs analyst and social advocate.