Nigeria has been ranked seventh in the latest World Bank's evaluation of countries' performance in agriculture and farming across Africa, behind South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, among others.
This was revealed in World Bank's 'The Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA)' report December 2019.
The report captures steps taken by different governments to help farmers and enhance agriculture and food security. It measures law and regulations that impact the business environment for a sustaining and thriving agricultural development.
The measurement is global with France leading. In Africa, South Africa leads, followed by Kenya and Morocco in the second and third position respectively. Other African countries with higher ranking than Nigeria are Zambia, Mozambique and Ghana.
Nigeria recorded an aggregate score of 49.17, lower than the scores of South Africa and Kenya with respective scores of 68.73 and 64.80. The World Bank used eight indicators to measure the regulation and bureaucratic processes of about 101 countries. The indicators mentioned include supplying of seeds, registering fertilizer, water security, registering machinery, livestock sustenance, protecting plant health, food trading and accessing finance.
Although EBA failed to show data on the indicator's final individual performances of every country, so it is difficult to confirm which particular indicator draws Nigeria backward.
However between 2016 and 2018, the report shows that Nigeria made big reforms in two out the eight indicators; trading food and sustaining livestock.
"Nigeria made its livestock manufacturing processes safer by requiring facilities to be approved prior to the start of operations, and by requiring that monitoring records be kept, also, Nigeria made it easier to trade agricultural products by publishing the official fee schedule of phytosanitary certificates both online and in the legislation," the report said.
Source: Allafrica.com
As efforts to combat climate change gather momentum, the developed world is in high gear about how to cool global warming. But as the pressure mounts for regions, countries and companies to meet the Paris Agreement targets on eliminating carbon emissions, where does Africa stand? Are we getting left behind in an ever-widening “energy divide”?
The International Energy Agency reminds us that while Africa is home to 17% of the world’s population, it accounts for only 4% of global power supply investment. Only half of all Africans have access to electricity and about 80% of companies operating in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from frequent electricity disruptions.
Even as solar power and other non-grid options are being rolled out across the continent, so the population continues to grow, and rapid urbanization is increasing demand for energy.
Reliance on fossil fuels
As the developed world moves into a future characterized by new clean energy sources and driven by technology and innovation, the reality is that millions of Africans are still reliant on charcoal, kerosene lamps, battery operated flashlights, wood and candles for their power needs. Energy demand is a key driver of rampant deforestation and roadside sales of charcoal are providing livelihoods to thousands of people.
The growth of renewable energy is a potential game-changer for Africa but, given its needs, it has a long way to go. Meanwhile, many countries still rely on fossil fuels for their baseload energy supply. Research shows that more than 100 new power stations are planned in a dozen African countries, most of which will be coal- or oil-fired.
Africa’s most sophisticated economy, South Africa, is also the biggest polluter on the continent. It relies on coal for about 80% of its energy needs. The ruling party, the ANC, has previously maintained the dominance of coal-fired state-owned power utility, Eskom, which contributes about 40% of the country’s greenhouse gases. Managed blackouts have become a feature of life in South Africa as the utility battles to keep the lights on.
The country’s much-heralded renewable energy programme stalled during the rule of former President Jacob Zuma. The government has perpetuated the marginalization of independent power producers (IPPs) by refusing to allow them to sell excess energy into the national grid for fear of undermining the viability of the ailing state utility. Increasing blackouts and generation capacity crises forced a change of policy on IPPs in the first quarter of 2020. But coal will continue to dominate the energy mix for many years to come.
Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, has vast reserves of coal but has yet to exploit them effectively. Its economy relies instead on generators using dirty fuels that collectively supply an estimated 14,000 MW of electricity – nearly four times that generated into the national grid from the nation’s abundant gas reserves. The country has a bold plan to generate 30% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2030 but a history of dysfunction in this important sector makes this unlikely. Nigeria is ranked 109 out of 115 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index while South Africa is second from the bottom, just above Haiti.
Meanwhile Europe is leading the charge in the energy transition, using a mix of technology, innovation, legislation and investment to help the bloc transition to a climate-neutral, green economy.
Costs of transition
Addressing carbon emissions requires a shift to a raft of new energy sources, such as hydrogen to replace coking coal, ammonia in ship engines, biofuels and others.
The transition will have significant cost and other implications for the supply chain in decarbonizing industries such as transport. But new maritime fuel regulations that aim to drastically cut the Sulphur content in shipping fuel came into force this year, and if Africa cannot keep up, it may become further marginalized in global trade.
Multinational companies operating in Africa and other underdeveloped regions may have to make difficult choices in where they invest or trade as supply chains adapt to new fuels and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues become increasingly central to investment decisions.
Africa is not standing still. Countries such as Morocco and Egypt are becoming leaders in renewable energy and startups have mushroomed across the continent, providing solar kits to homes and small businesses.
Mini grids are also plugging the huge gaps left by national grids in Africa’s energy landscape. And remote as the hydrogen economy may seem to Africa, in fact the continent offers ideal conditions for it to leapfrog grid power and its attendant inefficiencies.
However, the sheer scale of the energy deficit means these interventions are still a drop in the ocean compared to the energy needs of the future. Demand is expected to be almost 40% higher in 20 years’ time than it is today and already population growth is outpacing efforts to improve access to energy services.
The hope that technology alone will come riding to the rescue and deliver an energy transition is flawed. It requires the active participation of policymakers, regulators and companies. The process is possible and achievable, but it will require a massive orchestration by industry and governments to make it happen.
Concerns about job losses in fossil fuel industries can be addressed by absorbing retrained workers into renewables with state support and incentives – an example shown by Germany, which is rapidly retreating from dirty fuel while preserving jobs.
Setting goals
But particularly key, and part of the strategy being employed by countries such as Sweden and Germany and African countries such as Rwanda, is setting goals on energy transition, backed by targets and timelines. Transparent public-private partnerships with an emphasis on local content are also important.
Governments need the courage to break away from old models, to embrace new technology, and to loosen the reins of the state to allow the private sector to be a partner in moving forward into this new world.
Source: Africa Business Magazine
Informal settlement de-densification, a mass rollout of water tanks, an increase in social services and local manufacturing of the chemical reagents needed for Covid-19 tests - these are some of the plans the government has to protect SA's most vulnerable from the Covid-19 outbreak and the effects of the lockdown.
The South African government is working with the institutions to start locally producing the reagents needed for Covid-19 tests, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Tuesday.
Nzimande said his department was in discussion with three institutions - Biovac, the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research and Afrigen Bio - to repurpose facilities and labs to start producing the reagents locally.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of reagents and South Africa currently relies on imports. The government plans to significantly increase Covid-19 testing during the 21-day lockdown, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening.
"It has become very urgent to locally manufacture reagents for testing kits. These are currently being imported and the lockdown may threaten access to supply," said Nzimande.
"Once we are able to establish how long the supplies will run out that we currently have, we can be able...
Source: Daily Maverick
Mchinji — In an effort to ensure that community access to financial services is promoted, through Malawi Household, Food Security and Resilience (MHFSR) programme, World Vision has trained community members on enterprise selection, one of which was soap making.
The program is targeting community members through village banks called Saving for Transformation Promoters (S4T) in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Mavwere in Mchinji district.
Food Security Development Facilitator for World Vision in Mchinji, Patrick Namvai, said in an interview on Monday that they organized the training as one way of empowering the community members financially.
"The training is aimed at equipping participants with entrepreneurship knowledge on how to run a successful soap making enterprise and also marketing and branding the subsequent products," said Namvai.
Chairperson for Ndife Amodzi Promoters, Dyness Kamwendo, described the training as important saying it would help her and other village bank members in saving enough money for their families.
"The training will help us produce high quality soap that will match the quality of the soap products made by branded companies. Currently, we have received a huge demand for the soap, and we hope to make huge profits from the soap making business," she said.
The training targeted over 105 participants with 73 females and 32 males where apart from soap making, they will also be making candles. The training participants are also expected to brand their products before channeling them to formal markets.
Source: Malawi News Agency (MANA)
 
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, says increased collaboration between productive sectors is critical for the country to boost domestic production and effectively substitute unnecessary yet costly imports.
As a result of subdued domestic production, which has seen manufacturing capacity utilization drop to 36,4 percent in 2019 from 48,2 percent in 2018, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe is heavily reliant on imports for both raw materials and essential consumer goods.
For instance, the country's merchandise imports clocked US$4,8 billion in 2019, compared to cumulative export estimate of US$4,5 billion, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe reported. The apex bank noted that exports were largely weighed down by lower agriculture and mineral exports, tobacco and gold in particular.
Sustained power outages, persistent fuel shortages, foreign currency challenges and high operational costs amid rising inflationary pressures, among other factors, adversely affected production in the mining sector and consequently mineral exports.
The trend persistently piles pressure on forex requirements at a time when foreign direct investment and diaspora remittances through formal channels are also minimal.
A combination of reduced local output, limited exports and prevailing exchange rate distortions, have compounded the situation, thereby frustrating viability of local producers and heightening the plight of consumers.
Due to shortages in supply of some basics, Government last November relaxed import regulations to allow individuals with free funds to buy basic goods from outside the country.
In an interview, Minister Nzenza admitted that this duty-free import window has created new complications in the form of sprouting of and thriving informal sector, which has stacked pressure on registered players.
She noted that in her engagement with industry stakeholders, big corporates have raised complaints over unregulated informal activities that are squeezing out their operations.
"I have spent the last three months consulting captains of industry and key stakeholders to hear their concerns and what is working well or not.
"I have met CZI, retailers, millers, small and medium enterprises and different private sector players.
"In 2020, we are saying industry's role is to promote growth. We went to Inyanga for a review of our strategy and we are working on promoting local production, which buttresses the thrust of import substitution," said Dr Nzenza.
Source: Allafrica.com