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Inequality, biggest hindrance to ending poverty- Gates Foundation

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Widening inequality in developing countries threatens to slow or even reverse progress in making life better for people, says Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This is according to the third Goalkeepers Data Report co-authored by Bill and Melinda Gates and released on Tuesday in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

The report tracks progress being made on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in addition to the impact of geographical, gender, income and wealth inequality between countries, states and local government areas.

The News of Nigeria reports that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since 2017 produces the Goalkeepers Data Report every year, timing it to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly.

The report is designed to track progress in achieving the Global Goals, highlight examples of success, and inspire leaders around the world to accelerate their efforts.

“Even in the worst-off parts of low and low-middle income countries, more than 99 per cent of communities have seen an improvement in child mortality and schooling.

“Despite this progress, persistent gaps in opportunity mean that nearly half a billion people, that is about one in 15 people still do not have access to basic health and education.

“Gaps between countries, and local governments, boys and girls prove that the world’s investments in development aren’t reaching everyone.

“Where you’re born is still the biggest predictor of your future, and no matter where you’re born, life is harder if you’re a girl,’’ the report showed.

The report showed that in Nigeria, -5 Child Mortality Rate, reduced from 109 per 1,000 birth in 2017 to 104 per 1,000 live birth in 2018 and Child Stunting reduced from 38.14 per cent in 2017 to 36.74 per cent in 2018.

Similarly, malaria death reduced from about 166 per 1,000 population in 2017 to 160.72 per 1,000 population and cases of tuberculosis reduced from 351.8 per 100,000 population to 344.2 in 2018.

Also, the cases of Neglected Tropical Diseases went down from 52,566 per 100,000 population in 2017 to 50,584 in 2018.

It, however, indicated that number of people living in poverty in Nigeria increased from 66.83 million in 2017 to 67.48 million in 2018.

On vaccinations in Nigeria, the report showed that Measles-Containing-Vaccine second dose (MCV2) was low at 39.27 per cent, Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) immunization coverage was 36.39 per cent.

The report also showed that the vaccine coverage for Pneumoccocal conjugate vaccines (PCV3) was at 35.67 per cent.

Meanwhile Bill Gates in a telephone interview with journalists, said that universal healthcare was strategic in achieving the SDGs.

He said that governments should prioritise primary health care to deliver a health system that works for the poorest.

Gates also suggested use of digital governance to ensure that governments are responsive to their least-empowered citizens

“If I had one wish for Nigeria, it would be that the quality and funding of the primary health care system would achieve the level that some lower income countries have attained.

“One challenge that Nigeria has is that the amount of money that the government raises domestically is quite small compared to other countries.

“A lot of countries at that level will be raising closer to 15 per cent of GDP and Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world down at about 6 per cent.

“It’s a huge challenge. If you want to fund infrastructure, health, and education, over time tax collection must go up. Domestic resources are going to have to go up quite a bit,’’ he said.

As in past years, Bill and Melinda Gates plans to host the third annual Goalkeepers events during the U.N. General Assembly, to celebrate progress and highlight the importance of closing the global inequality gap.
RI/IS

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

Economy

Africa Industrialisation Week: EU urges expansion in intra-Africa trade

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The European Union has called for expansion in the volume of intra-Africa trade, if the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are to be realised.

Head of Cooperation, European Union, Mr Thomas Huyghebaert, made the call during a media training on Global Trade, on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The training is holding in conjunction with World Export Development Forum (WEDF) and on the fringes of the 2019 African Industrialisation Week holding from Nov. 18 – 22.

Highlights of the two- day training programme include the AfCFTA agreement; trade between Africa and Europe; trade data for reporting; and trade-led development.

Huyghebaert said despite the heartwarming development seeing 27 African countries ratifying the AfCFTA agreement, more needed to be done on intra-Africa trade.

He explained that the new alliance between the EU and AU was aimed at increased investment in Africa.

According to him, increased investment in the continent is needed, beyond what is currently obtainable.

Huyghebaert also stressed the need for increased role of the private sector.

“We also must reinforce our joint efforts, especially in investing in Africa’s young people. The continent has the largest population of youths.

“Coincidentally, as we began this training you would notice young Ethiopians here set to benefit from the fair on education in Europe.

“We also have this programme where we already have 20,000 African students going every year to Europe.

“We are intending to increase the number further, as this is about skill sharing and building the economy,” he said.

He said the latest AU-EU partnership was informed by the need to understudy how continental single trade works.

“The African Union is coming closer to us, because of the experience we have had over the last 70 years in building the EU single market.

“And so, we are here, really as peers and sharing experiences.

“What has been achieved so far was only the easy bit, the task is now in negotiating the terms of trading, and then what happens afterwards.

“There are lots of other things, including how do we overcome the barriers from the customs, amongst other things.

“We are here as a long term partner in this transformation, and eventually as a future step, to have the continent to continent free trade between Africa and Europe.

“The first step, however, is to integrate more intra-Africa trade and enhance trade between.

“It is then that African countries would be in a better position to transform their production capacities to meet global standard and export to the European market,” Huyghebaert said.

He said journalists would play crucial roles in spreading the advantages of AfCFTA before the actual implementation of the agreement.

The training programme was jointly organised by the International Trade Centre, the AU, EU and the Enhanced Integrated Framework.

Other speakers at the programme were Vittorio Cammarota,

Chief of Commmunications

and events at the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Deanna Ramsey of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

Also in attendance was Rongai Chizema, Chief Technical Advisor at the Department of Trade and Industry, African Union.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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Economy

Embrace skills acquisition to secure your Future: Taraba NYSC Coordinator tells Corps Members

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Mrs Florence Yaakugh, the Taraba Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Saturday urged corps members to embrace skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development in order to secure their future.

Yaakugh said this  during the official launch of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development  (SAED) training for 2019 Batch ‘C’ Stream 1 corps members at the ongoing orientation course at the NYSC camp in Sibre, near Jalingo.

The coordinator described skills  acquisition and entrepreneurship  as the surest paths to a life of self dependency and financial security for corps members.

Yaakugh, who noted that white collar jobs were becoming increasingly scarce, said that SAED training was the NYSC’s panacea to the challenge of unemployment.

She urged corps members to take advantage of the rare opportunity to acquire skills other than their areas of specialisation.

“I want to urge all of you to take ample advantage of the skills acquisition programme to guarantee a life of self-sufficiency and insulate yourselves from the frustration that comes with fruitless search for unavailable white collar jobs,” she said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that some of the training areas for corps members in Taraba include ICT, Food Processing and Preservation, Film and Photography, Fashion and Design, among others.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Economy

Cooperative societies want review of cooperative Act to meet international best practices

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The Cooperative Rating and Award Society of Nigeria (CRASON) has appealed to the National Assembly to review the Nigerian Cooperative Act of 2004 to meet international best practices.

The President of CRASON, Mr Victor Oyegoke, made the appeal at the 2nd National Cooperative Awards and Symposium organised by the society in Abuja on Saturday.

Oyegoke noted that the law was outdated and was no longer in tandem with current realities in the sector.

He also appealed to the Federal Government to support cooperatives, adding that they were contributing enormously to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

According to him, cooperative is contributing over one trillion Naira to the GDP; they also create more than 600,000 employments both directly and indirectly in the country.

“This is a very vital sector that the government needs to see how they can key into; we have over 30 million individual members and over 300,000 cooperatives.

“Our law is outdated, we need to review it to accommodate the realities on ground and the government can help us.

“There is a law reviewed already that has been sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“FEC should help us send to the NAtional Assembly for scrutiny and passage.

“There is need for a platform to call stakeholders to review the Act to meet up with the current realities of global best practices,’’ he said.

Mr Akintola Akintoye, the Chairman CRASON Advisory Board, said the objective of the society was to rate the operations of cooperative societies and proffer awards.

Akintoye noted that the move was targeted towards encouraging deserving cooperatives.

“Cooperative in Nigeria is a bit down because the sector is not 24th century compliant.

“To be 24th century compliant, the knowledge base of practitioners need to be upgraded.

“We need massive injection of funds for capacity training,’’ he said.

Mrs Shimite Bello, the Chief Executive Officer of the Quintessential Women Association, said that adequate information and technology was crucial to boost the operations of cooperatives in the country.

Bello, in a lecture entitled, `Strengthening Cooperatives to serve as Catalyst for Nigeria’s Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’, called for more training for cooperative members to ensure proper management of loans.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that no fewer than 40 different cooperatives and individuals would bag the 2019 CRASON’s award for their outstanding operations.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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Nigerian, Colombian win the WorldRemit and Arsenal “Future Stars” coaching programme

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Online money transfer company WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) and Arsenal today announce that Chinasa Ukandu from Nigeria and Luis Alejandro Castañeda from Colombia are the winners of the 2019 Future Stars coaching program.

The two youth coaches will now prepare to travel to London for a personalized training session with Arsenal Football Development coaches, and their trip will be sponsored by WorldRemit.

Chinasa and Luis were among eight finalists, four women and four men, who were selected by a panel of judges from WorldRemit and Arsenal for their commitment to using football to empower young people and benefit their communities.

They emerged as the winners following a public vote on www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com. Almost 40,000 votes were cast in less than three weeks – Chinasa received the highest number among the female coaches and Luis received the highest number among the male finalists.

About Future Stars

The Future Stars program was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Now in its second edition, the Future Stars program received over 1,400 applications this year from across Africa and the Americas.

The Future Stars winners

Chinasa Ukandu – Chinasa coaches boys and girls aged 5 to 16. Together with her friends, she helps provide young people with an opportunity to develop football and life skills at Help The Talent Academy in Lagos State. She completed phase three of the Premier Skills Coach Educators Course (an initiative by the English Premier League and British Council) in 2015.

Chinasa commented: “I’m so excited to win the training session in London and can’t wait to meet the Arsenal Football Development coaches. I love a challenge and will use this global coaching opportunity to take new skills back to Nigeria and give back to my community.”

Luis Alejandro Castañeda – Luis is a volunteer coach for a blind boys’ football team from Bogotá and the surrounding area. The team was set up by his father, who is blind, 20 years ago to help young people develop their mobility and independence.

Luis said: “I’m so grateful to WorldRemit and Arsenal for this opportunity. I’ve always dreamed of travelling to London and will use the experience of training with Arsenal Football Development to help develop and raise awareness of Paralympic sport in Colombia and even globally.”

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said: “At WorldRemit, we are inspired every day by our customers, who work hard to send money home to support their communities.

“Through our partnership with Arsenal and the Future Stars program, we are delighted to celebrate the stories of inspiring individuals such as Chinasa and Luis, who use sport to make a difference to the lives of the young people they train. Congratulations to the winners and our team look forward to welcoming you to London!”

Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, said: “Through our programs in London and across the globe, our Football Development coaches are dedicated to helping set young players up for success both on and off the pitch.

“The Future Stars winners’ work within their communities shows just how powerful football can be and the importance of promoting diversity within the sport. We are excited to meet Chinasa and Luis and support them in amplifying their contributions to grassroots football in Nigeria and Colombia even further.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WorldRemit.

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Economy

Experts mentor female entrepreneurs on turning passion to profit

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More than 40 young female entrepreneurs on Friday in Lagos participated in a business seminar which focused on helping women to recognise their potential and turn their passion into profit.

The Nigeria News Agency (NAN reports that the “Excelling in Business for Women” seminar,  organised by Holivent Nigeria, attracted established female SMEs who inspired and mentored participants on prospects, challenges and opportunities for women in business.

Mrs Olanibi Olumide-Fusika, who spoke on “Nurturing from Boot to Branches” said she started her business, Fussytech, by selling phones in her car boot at Computer Village in Ikeja.

“Never despise a small beginning, there is money on the street if you are not ashamed, so try as much as possible to convert your time into money,” she said.

The Fussytech CEO also advised prospective entrepreneurs not to venture into business on the basis of emotions because emotions could not overcome the cold dictates of the market.

According to her, women should not be attracted to business by considering only the potential for profit without giving thought to possible pitfalls.

She said: “In a business that survives on regular cash flow, never indulge in sale on credit and ensure you have good relationship with your partners and colleagues in business, as they keep you going during trial times.”

Also speaking, Mrs Ope Tejuoso, Managing Director, Opindos Brasserie and Bakery, told participants that the best time to start a business is now, no matter how small.

Tejuoso, also a trained lawyer, said that ideas are everywhere but they come as disguise in form of a challenges, hardship or lack.

“Opportunities come wrapped as problem, so shine your eyes, start now, be courageous and life will push you beyond your desire.

“Don’t be afraid of a humble beginning almost everybody has a story of starting small, ” she said.

Mrs Tope Olagbegi, Managing Director, Sixth Sense and Publisher, International Living Daily Planner, also urged the participants to recognise what they are good at doing in life, as this would set them apart in the business they venture into.

Mrs Tope Olagbegi, Managing Director, Sixth Sense and Publisher, International Living Daily Planner, urged women to be careful in choosing a life partner and not allow their love relationship to affect their ambition in life.

“No matter how gifted you are, if your love relationship is not working, you cannot give in your best.

“God has endowed you with so much, don’t go down six feet without fulfilling your purpose in life,” she said.

The Convener of the business seminar, Mrs Olaide Orangun, said the event was organised out of her curiosity to help women recognise their potential and turn their passion into profit.

Orangun said that not everything in life was about making money but fulfilling purpose.

“This is why women must not let setback define them, because setbacks are actually a set up in real sense,” Orangun said and called for more support from philanthropists towards empowering more women in business.

NAN reports that the event provided opportunity for young women entrepreneurs to meet and network with established entrepreneurs towards expanding their frontiers.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Economy

Anambra govt, Zik varsity partner to train 300 youths in different skills

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No fewer than 300 Anambra youths are to benefit from the first edition of state government’s Youth Entrepreneurship Start-up (YES) programme, Mr Afam Mbanefo, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, has said.

Mbanefo said this at a news conference to mark the official commencement of the programme on Friday in Awka.

Mbanefo said the YES programme, which is being organised in collaboration with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School, Awka, was an arm of the Inventor, Investor Tripple ‘I’ project of the Ministry.

He said that it was designed to equip youths in the state with employability skills and also make them employers of labour.

According to him, the youths will be taught how to identify viable businesses, make good plan, nurturing and executing the business, write grant winning proposals and gain exposure to donor agencies and business management by scholars and entrepreneurs.

He said the participants, who would be selected through electronic process, would be trained by experts in NAU Business School, mentored at the end of the programme and given take off grants.

The Commissioner said those who were finally selected and had workable business proposals would be given start-up grants up to N5 million.

“This programme is made to produce 300 youth entrepreneurs annually, who would also become employers of labour.

“These youths must be creative and innovative with good business potentials and prospects.

“At the end of the programme, up to 100 participants with the best business plans, would be selected and funded up to the sum of N5 million,” Mbanefo said.

He said that the grant would be disbursed in tranches upon the satisfactory execution of the agreed business implementation plan.

Mbanefo said the successful ones would also be recognised as friends of NAU, while urging youths to apply by logging on www.anambrayouths.ng.

The Director of the business school, Prof. A. U. Nonyelu, described the high level of youth unemployment in Nigeria as a huge challenge.

Nonyelu said that arming youths with employability skills to create job was a priority for the school.

He said that a lot of business with high potentials closed because of lack of plan, adding that the school would provide the young entrepreneurs with mentorship.

He lauded the state government and the ministry for the partnership, saying that the programme would be rewarding to Anambra youths and the state economy.

(Edited by Saidu Adamu/Sam Oditah)

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