Representatives from African countries are gathering in Mauritius next week to deliberate on measures to counteract Africa’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change and the importance of scientific evidence to enable society to understand and respond to climate change threats.
The Academy of Science of South Africa, in collaboration with the Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and a range of other organisations, is hosting a communication event to introduce a policymakers’ booklet on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Africa. The event will be held on 4 and 5 July 2016 in Mauritius and will be attended by some 60 representatives.
Africa is the most vulnerable continent regarding the impact of climate change and faces innumerable development challenges that are expected to be exacerbated by projected climate changes. Of concern is the direct reliance of a significant proportion of the population on natural resources, particularly, in arable and pastoral agricultural practices, but also through fishing and harvesting of natural vegetation for shelter, fuel, medicines and crafts. Present issues related to food and water security, health and safety are likely to be compounded by projected climate changes.
At the same time, populations continue to grow, placing additional stress on resources. To combat climate change effectively, mitigation and societies’ adaptation to existing climate changes are crucial and need to be integrated into multi-sectorial policies and macro-economic frameworks for these issues to be adequately addressed. The focus must lie on informed, forward-thinking policies that integrate the best understandings of regional risks and vulnerabilities, together with local understandings of the environmental context and cultural needs. The African continent should determine its needs and capacities to tackle climate change impacts and adaptation and plan for sustainable adaptation to realistic future climate change scenarios.
The advisory booklet aims to assess the status and makes recommendations for African governments to consider when dealing with climate change and resilience in Africa. It focuses on why climate change adaptation and resilience is crucial for Africa and provides guidance on effective policy responses for climate change adaptation. It also conveys key messages on addressing the climate change impact through targeted policy actions and interventions specific to water, agriculture and food security, fisheries, coastal and urban zones, and human health.
The communication event will also provide opportunities to bring to the fore perspectives of young scientists, applying a youth lens, as well as considering the vulnerabilities of children to the impact of climate change. A gender lens will also be applied to climate change in accordance with the objectives of the international programme on Gender in Science, Innovation, Technology and Engineering (GenderInSITE), which is a part sponsor of the event. ASSAf is the southern African focal point for GenderInSITE.
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ANALYSIS By Carolyn Logan, Michigan State University and Corah Walker
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 is an ambitious target for Africa. According to new research by non-partisan research network Afrobarometer, nearly half of Africans don’t have access to clean water and two-thirds lack access to sewage infrastructure. Improvements in both of these areas have been made in the past decade, but huge numbers of Africans still live without these basic necessities.
The lack of access to water and sanitation has not gone unnoticed by people living in Africa. Almost half of the continent’s citizens are not happy with the way their governments are handling water and sanitation.
The global Millennium Development Goals’ target for drinking water was met in 2010. About 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water since 1990. Five developing regions met the drinking water target, but the Caucasus and Central Asia, Northern Africa, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa did not. In the area of sanitation, the target was missed by nearly 700 million people. The only developing regions to meet the sanitation target were the Caucasus and Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Western Asia.
Lack of access to water and sanitation is a matter of life and death. Contaminated water and inadequate sanitation help transmit diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid. In Africa, more than 315,000 children die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Globally, deaths from diarrhoea caused by unclean drinking water are estimated at 502,000 each year, most of them of young children.
The situation on the ground
To assess the situation on the ground, the research looked at 36 African countries in 2014/2015 and asked nearly 54,000 citizens about their access to water and sanitation. This was in addition to recording direct observations in the thousands of surveyed communities.
We found that almost half (45%) of Africans went without enough clean water for home use during the past year, while one in five (19%) did so many times or always. One-third of surveyed communities (36%) lacked access to a piped-water system, and two-thirds (68%) lacked access to sewage infrastructure.
The infrastructure situation has improved somewhat over the past decade. Across 18 countries that Afrobarometer has tracked since 2005, the share of communities enjoying piped-water supplies increased by 14 percentage points, and sewerage has been extended to an additional 8% of communities.
Even for those who live in zones with the necessary infrastructure, however, access to clean water and toilets is often difficult. More than half (51%) of those surveyed said they had to leave their compound to access water. One in five had to leave their compound to use a latrine, and another 8% had no access at all to a latrine or toilet, even outside their compound.
Rural residents are far worse off than their urban counterparts when it comes to access to water and sanitation. Two-thirds (66%) of rural respondents had to go outside their compound to access water, compared with 30% of urbanites. About 27% had to go outside the compound for a toilet and 11% had no access at all to a toilet. This is compared with 12% in urban areas, where just 3% had no access to toilet facilities.
Experiences vary widely across countries. Almost 74% of citizens in Gabon and 72% in Liberia reported going without enough water at least occasionally, compared with 8% in Mauritius and 15% in Cape Verde. Going without enough water many times or always affected more than one-third of citizens in Madagascar (42%), Gabon (39%), Guinea (38%) and Togo (37%).
By region, Central Africa had the highest proportion of respondents who said they went without enough water at least once (55%), while North Africa recorded the lowest (33%). Rural residents were more likely than their urban counterparts to experience water scarcity (50% vs 39%).
Where water ranks as a priority
Water supply ranked fifth in importance across 36 countries when citizens were asked about the most important problems facing their country. It followed unemployment, health, education and infrastructure/transport. But it was well ahead of concerns about political violence, corruption, electricity, crime and security, and agriculture. And water supply was the top problem identified in water-poor countries like Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger.
On average, a majority (55%) of citizens rated their government’s performance in handling water and sanitation services as fairly bad or very bad. These negative appraisals were the majority view in all regions except North Africa, but even there, 46% rated their government’s handling of water and sanitation services as bad.
And public dissatisfaction is increasing. Across the 18 countries that Afrobarometer has tracked over the past decade, negative public ratings of government performance in providing water and sanitation services increased from 41% in 2005/2006 to 55% in 2014/2015. They worsened dramatically in Madagascar, where there was an increase of 47 percentage points in fairly/very bad ratings, followed by Ghana (28-point increase in negative ratings), Senegal (23 points), Botswana (16 points), Mali (15 points) and South Africa (13 points).
These declining performance ratings should be a red flag for democratic governments that are still unable to provide their citizens with these most basic services. Safe and readily available water is a human right and an important contributor to public health. Improved access to safe water and sanitation boosts economic growth, contributes to poverty reduction, and is fundamental to achieving the goals of improved health and education, greater food security, and improved environmental sustainability.
So modest improvements in coverage of water supply and sewerage systems are set alongside significant declines in government performance ratings. Perhaps this seeming incongruity indicates that citizens’ expectations about the quality of infrastructure and services that they should receive (or even demand) from their governments are rising.
Other questions still require further exploration, for example the question of whether progress can best be realised through local control and/or nongovernmental organisations or foreign investment, or whether centralised government investment, management and control of water infrastructure is the better approach.
The successful development of the giant Kibali Gold Mine in the northeast province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has demonstrated the capacity of mining to boost the economies of African countries and improve the lives of their people, says Randgold Resources chief executive, Mark Bristow.
Bristow was speaking to local media on a facility visit to the mine shortly after arriving there with his Boyzon Bikes fundraising motorbike ride.
Titled “Safari Kwa Afrika Bora” Swahili for Journey for a “Better Africa” the more than 8 000km charity ride is crossing the continent from the east coast of Kenya to the west coast of the DRC through dense equatorial jungle, Randgold said in a statement on Sunday.
The fourth of its kind Bristow had undertaken, it aimed to raise US3 million for the independent charitable foundation Nos Vies en Partage which Randgold established in 2014.
The foundation planned to donate this to programmes which supported neglected children and abused women across Africa, with this year’s focus being the widows and orphans of past conflicts and the rehabilitation of child soldiers.
With a resource base of 20 million ounces of gold and reserves of 11 million ounces, the Kibali mine ranked as one of the largest gold mining projects in the world. While it would only be completely developed by 2018 when its underground operation came into full production, it was already producing more than 600 000 ounces of gold annually and employed more than 4000 people, almost all Congolese nationals, Randgold said.
Bristow said Kibali represented an investment of US1.8 billion to date of which some US1 billion had already been spent with Congolese contractors and suppliers, many of whom had established local operations leading to the creation of a new economic frontier in this remote region of the country.
“Kibali has brought new life and opportunity to this province, resettling more than 20 000 people from very basic villages in a model town with comprehensive amenities, including provision for healthcare and education, building an effective infrastructure and attracting the providers of the goods and services required by a developing society,” he said.
“That so much has been achieved in such a short time is a tribute to the co-operation Randgold has received from our DRC business partners, central and local government as well as the community. And we should not forget the vital role played by the international investors who were prepared to risk their capital on this venture.
“There have been stresses and strains along the way but by working together towards a common goal Randgold and Kibali’s stakeholders have been able to overcome these. It is in this same spirit of partnership that Randgold is now working with the authorities and the community to unlock the potential of the northeast province’s great mineral and agricultural resources. A number of projects are already in an advanced planning stage,” he said.
“The palm oil project, initiated by Kibali, progressed this week when the government issued an arrêté granting the project full exoneration from duties on all capital items needed in the milling and refining operations as well as the plantation establishment. A further two arrêtés regulating all fiscal and land matters are expected shortly to complete the agreement with the government regarding the project’s investment framework,” Bristow said.
In a related move, it had launched a “good citizen” initiative, in which Kibali was working closely with local stakeholders, security forces, and civil society, to establish a structure for peaceful conflict resolution and the maintenance of public assets and infrastructure.
The company was also making a significant investment in the development of the country’s human capital by training Congolese as professional managers in line with its policy that all its operations should be run by local nationals.
“We’re not just creating jobs, we’re creating careers, and for generations to come Kibali will be managed by Congolese citizens with world-class skills,” Bristow said.
WITH most African countries diversifying from traditional sources of income, entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a key to economic growth. So far, it has yielded huge returns for entrepreneurs, and experts say there is great untapped potential to drive the African continent into its next phase of development.
A June 2015 study by UK-based Approved Index ranked African countries among those at the top of the entrepreneurship charts.
The Entrepreneurship around the World report listed Uganda, Angola, Cameroon, and Botswana among the top 10 countries.
The group regards entrepreneurship as a “necessity”, saying in its report: “When unemployment is high and the economy is weaker, people are forced to start small businesses to provide for themselves and their families.”
Today, entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job-generation tools in Africa.
A 2013 study by Brookings Institution, a Washington DC-based think-tank, found that African youth (15-24 years) constitute about 37% of the working-age population.
At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi in 2015, and attended by US President Barack Obama, entrepreneurs from more than 100 countries and a group of US investors discussed the role entrepreneurs could play to tackle youth unemployment in Africa.
According to Evans Wadongo, listed by Forbes Africa as one of the most promising young African entrepreneurs, many African governments have not been keen on developing policies to deal with youth unemployment.
“Governments are not doing enough. The private sector is trying, but most goods brought into the African market are from China. This denies the youth much-needed manufacturing jobs, which are more labour intensive,” he says.
Kenya’s cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Adan Mohammed, however, defends the policies of most African governments, saying that their efforts have been spurring confidence in the continent, and are enabling more young people to turn towards entrepreneurship.
“Success breeds success — as many entrepreneurs make headway, others get on board. Also, technology-based inventions are pulling entrepreneurs,” he says.
Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda says his government’s efforts to promote entrepreneurial culture have produced “remarkable results”. For instance, the state-run Youth Venture Capital Fund trains and provides money to young people with good business ideas. Most importantly, with youth comprising more than 75% of its population, and 83% of its unemployed, Uganda has remodelled its education system to include entrepreneurship as one of the subjects in secondary schools and colleges.
With the help of the private sector and development agencies, the Ugandan government has established information, communication, and technology innovation hubs that help entrepreneurs to launch start-ups.
Lack of access to working capital has hampered entrepreneurship in Kenya. Even though the government has created the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Uwezo Fund to support youth entrepreneurship, budgetary constraints limit their effects.
Andrew Wujung, an economics lecturer at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, attributes the country’s entrepreneurship effort to its unique poverty-reduction strategy. Unlike other countries in Africa, Cameroon’s poverty-alleviation strategy is linked to entrepreneurship.
The government is organising robust skills-acquisition and training programmes for entrepreneurs, and making credit facilities easily accessible to people with innovative technological and business ideas.
For entrepreneurship to boost Africa’s economy, governments must tackle some of the greatest challenges that impede its progress, including lack of funds, mentorship, and poor government policies.
African governments should consider giving the private sector incentives to create more jobs through tax relief. Laws and regulations should favour entrepreneurs, and effective strategies and policies are required to create more employment within small and medium enterprises.
This is the warning issued on Wednesday by the African Marine Waste Network‚ to be launched in July‚ as African countries join hands to stem the torrent of plastic waste entering the oceans.
“International organisations now fear that Africa may soon become as badly polluted as South-East Asia‚ which has the foulest record on the planet‚” said Stephane Meintjes of the Sustainable Seas Trust‚ one of the founders of the network.
“The exact amount of debris entering the sea from South Africa or any other African country is not known. What is known‚ however‚ is that the rapid development of Africa‚ coupled with poverty‚ has seen waste accumulation outpace management.
“The network urgently needs to find out how serious the African problems are‚ where they are and how to address them.”
Meintjes said that worldwide‚ 270kg of plastic entered the sea every second. Plastic washed into rivers and estuaries and then carried to the sea was the main problem.
“By 2045 the flow of plastic into the sea will be 600kg per second … if present trends continue. This situation poses a serious threat to humans‚ to animals and plants and to ecosystems.”
The network‚ to be launched in Port Elizabeth‚ was “an African cross-boundary initiative supported by the private sector which aims to make a contribution to solving a global crisis”.
The Sunday Times recently reported that South Africa’s beaches are awash with plastic – as many as 400 items per metre‚ according to scientific data due to be released by industry body Plastics SA‚ a partner in the network.
Plastic accounts for well over 90% of beach litter‚ with plastic packaging items the most common.
Chemicals and pharmaceuticals company Bayer has joined forces with the Howick-based Future Farmers Foundation to show its support for the Future Farmers initiative. This reinforced Bayer’s commitment to local agricultural development through sustainable food production, skills development and job creation. Participants of the Future Farmers programme would gain real-world experience on local commercial farms for two to five years to ensure that they had a full understanding of what farming entailed. Once ready, trainees were given the opportunity to hone these skills through international mentorship opportunities or to share their knowledge within their communities to transfer skills, boost agricultural productivity and promote a system of sustainable food production.
“Bayer is committed to the development of the agricultural industry in South Africa, and this partnership will enable us to contribute to the sector in a meaningful way,” said Bayer communications head Tasniem Patel. She noted that Bayer’s support of the foundation’s vision to develop commercial farming skills for sustainable food production not only helped create jobs but also created opportunities for skills transfer and the development of the overall industry. Ultimately, this could contribute to increased farm output in the future, as farmers were learning to use Africa’s agricultural resources more effectively.
Patel added that the sustainable production of high-quality food should be a top priority on Africa’s development agenda, not only for the continent to meet the needs of its growing population, but also for African countries’ economic trade commitments and growth potential. “Addressing some of the major challenges in modern agriculture requires fresh answers and we are committed to helping tackle these challenges through our expertise and partnerships,” concluded Patel.
Producing electricity from urban solid waste could provide energy for up to 40 million African households in 2025, according to a study co-authored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC).
In a report published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, JRC researchers determined the potential of recovering energy from trash by using landfill gas and waste incineration, and found that it could have provided more than 20 percent of the continent’s total energy consumption in 2010.
Where there are humans, there’s trash, and an awful lot of it, too. Over the past century, we somehow managed to increase our annual waste generation 10-fold, going from producing 110 million tonnes per year in 1900, to 1.1 billion tonnes in 2000. By 2025, household trash could amount to a staggering 2.2 billion tonnes each year globally.
With its booming population, economic growth and increasing urbanisation, Africa is currently struggling to tackle the growing amounts of refuse that accompany development – a lack of infrastructure and environmentally friendly options is hampering the efforts countries take to make sure trash doesn’t become a massive problem in Africa’s future. Especially in rural areas, garbage is often simply burned without regard for pollution, or dumped in landfills without protecting groundwater.
“The poor waste management in Africa has important consequences for the disposal of uncollected waste in dumps and the associated severe environmental and health related problems,” the authors note. “Improvements in waste management are needed [and] the use of the energy content of waste could be one of the leading ideas for such progress.”
There are two ways in which urban waste in Africa can be used for energy production, and both involve fire. Waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration plants use burning trash to produce steam for generator turbines. They are especially popular in Europe, which boasted 472 such facilities back in 2010, out of over 600 found around the world.
However, they are not suitable for all African cities, because WTE plants are expensive to build and require stringent emissions controls to avoid polluting the atmosphere with toxic by-products.
For now, most cities in Africa generate large amounts of organic waste, and bury them in landfills. As stuff decomposes, these landfills generate a cocktail of polluting gasses – especially methane and carbon dioxide. If these gasses are captured and filtered, they can be burned in gas turbines, internal combustion engines, and steam boilers to generate electricity.
In their report, JRC researchers estimated that through proper waste management a whopping 83.8 TWh of electricity required by the continent in 2025 could be generated from trash.
While the information is theoretical and actual numbers would depend on the type of waste collected, as well as how efficiently the energy recovery was performed, it’s clear that smart use of trash could alleviate energy poverty in many African countries, where millions of people still don’t have access to the grid.
PRETORIA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Foreign ministers from African countries on Thursday said bilateral ties with China have a promising future given the political goodwill and sincerity from both sides.
The foreign ministers whom spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the 6th ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Pretoria, South Africa said Beijing will be a critical partner in the endeavor to accelerate Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the ministerial conference that was a precursor to the FOCAC Heads of State summit to be held in Johannesburg from Friday to Saturday.
African foreign ministers who attended the forum emphasized that strong bilateral cooperation with China is key to achieve long-term growth and shared prosperity in the continent.
In her opening remarks, South African Minister for international relations and cooperation, Nkoana Mashabane, said that Sino-Africa cooperation has evolved to cover issues that address poverty alleviation, peace, security, health and ecosystems protection.
“Our relationship with China has addressed major issues ranging from education, health, tourism and infrastructure development. Ours is a true friendship that has stood the test of time,” Mashabane remarked.
She added that China’s involvement was crucial to help African countries realize the UN sustainable development goals and the African Union’s agenda 2063.
The blossoming Sino-Africa cooperation provides a durable solution to the continent’s endemic challenges like poverty, infrastructure and skills gap alongside an under-developed industrial sector.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that China’s assistance was crucial to boost industrialization in Africa.
“We have a nascent industrial sector and require China’s help in areas like capacity development and technology transfer to enable us establish industrial parks,” said Ghebreyesus.
He added that China’s model of rapid economic transformation in the last two decades was an inspiration to African states aspiring to transition from agrarian to industrial powerhouses.
“We can borrow China’s best practices like manpower development and harnessing of innovations to drive industrial growth,” Ghebreyesus told Xinhua.
The landmark FOCAC summit to be held in Johannesburg will strengthen Sino-Africa bilateral cooperation in strategic areas like industry, infrastructure development, energy and cultural exchanges.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said that China is a critical ally that will help African countries realize peaceful and inclusive development.
“There is no question China is an important ally for the African continent. The country has global influence and FOCAC summit presents us an opportunity to review our friendship with Beijing,” Mushikiwabo remarked.
She was upbeat Sino-Africa cooperation will be elevated to new heights in order to help address the continent’s pressing challenges.
“We look forward to major undertakings between China and Africa. We expect China to help us develop infrastructure and link up the continent,” Mushikiwabo told Xinhua.
The theme of the sixth FOCAC summit to be held for the first time in the Africa is in tandem with the continent’s ambition to realize prosperity, peace and cohesion.
Somali Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer said the landmark summit will lay a strong foundation for future cooperation with China.
“Our expectations for the FOCAC summit are high. We expect China and African countries to come up with a blueprint to guide future development of this continent,” Omer remarked.
He added that in future, Sino-Africa cooperation should focus on development of modern infrastructure alongside social amenities like education and health.
The fear of insecurity in the country has created a hole in the profit margin accruing to the tourism sector, which is why so much needs to be done and hurriedly too.
In 2014, the World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism comprises of about 11 percent of the global GDP. The organisation also declared that the worth of expert of tourist provisions is nearly 6 to 7 percent of complete exports of services and goofs. Assessment has it that tourism industry hires nearly 6 percent of the global professional population staff includes railway employees, travel agents, airline employees, taxi workers, hotel employees, bank personnel, insurances, tour or travel guides, vendors, photographers, life savers, potters, as well as individual in control of locations visited by tourists like art, museums, shops, galleries, parts and theatres. Therefore, tourism is a function that cuts across the majority of the economic activity of a country.
Counting the many blessings of tourism in the recent years, there has been improvement in the protection of Nigerian culture, tradition and historical legacy. The significance of tourism development thus in protecting both natural and manmade context cannot be over-estimated especially in the preservation and protection of several historic, archaeological and cultural destinations from destruction due to its positive utilization in such areas. The several natural resources such as national games and parks resources are instances of such positive utilization. Tourism has expanded the country’s economic baseline and assets of foreign exchange through the development of global tourism and made more employment options to accept an ever raising work force.
However, the security situation in the country is dashing the gains of tourism to pieces presently.
In her journal, tourism scholar and enthusiast, Mojúbàolú Olufunke mentions that
“The Boko Haram sect has infused so much fear and anxiety on the legal enforcement agents and institutions of Nigeria. In reality, relocating to the northern area of the state has become abhorrence to, particularly members of the police force from the southern region of Nigeria going by the persistent killing and assaults conducted by members of this group who are sternly averse to all forms and nature of education or civilization”
In a recent interview with the Conservator- General of the National Park Service (NPS), Haruna Tanko, he decried the level of insecurity and infrastructure which is responsible for the deficit in revenue.
“The NPS currently operates seven national parks across the country covering a land area of 24, 000 square kilometers. The National Park Service has been playing a crucial role in intelligence gathering for the country’s military in the Northeast and the forest bothering Chad and Cameroun,
“Since we have been upgraded to a para- military agency by the President, we have been working closely with other security outfits as well as have a joint border patrol.
“National parks are located in the rural areas and mostly in the borders between Nigeria and other African countries. In most cases, when there are cases of insecurity, especially coming from those areas, there is always collaboration between us (and other agencies in terms of patrolling the areas.
He regretted that insecurity and infrastructure deficit have been a challenge to maximizing the potentials of the Parks, “The Park realised thirty-two million naira as against the forty seven million naira, he added.
Furthermore, Mr. Tomi Akingbogun, Vice President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), has ascribed the drop in the influx of tourists to the country to the ineffective management of the county’s image, adding that the increase in bills; insecurity and other economic challenges made visits to tourist sites in the country difficult.
“The government is not giving the right attention to development of tourism. Dubai works on tourism, Kenya, South Africa; see how many billions they are making; why are we allowing Nigeria to just go down.
He explained that if there was no movement of tourists within the country, there would be no influx of tourists from outside the country, a situation, which he said, had undermined Nigeria’s ranking as a tourist destination.
However, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, the Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation argues that Nigeria is not the only country that is dealing with terrorism or insecurity, it is a global issue.
“It’s a global issue. Our job is to create awareness, to let people know where is safe and not safe. There will be tourism police and guard. For example look at South- West, South-West is safe, tourism industry is booming, Lagos is doing very well and all the others as well as other Geo-political zones so security is not a barrier.
Supporting Mrs. Mbanefo’s claim, Mrs. Sola Olumeko, said that there is no place that is actually free of vices
“There is no place that is actually free of vices. So for our tourism industry to thrive, we should focus more on positive than negative reports that will scare tourists away”.
“Other countries have excelled in tourism because they don’t look at their bad sides, they look at the good sides of their country and that should be our orientation in Nigeria as well”. She added emphatically, “Security is a very sensitive issue in tourism; I would rather prefer you talk about tourism and the potentials of what we have that can attract tourists which can also help to enhance our own image. I don’t think it is only Nigeria that has security challenge, it is all over the world”.
Throwing more light on what can be done to convince people that Nigeria is still safe and secure for tourists visiting the country, the Director of Tourism described Nigerians as warm and hospitable people who accommodate any tribe or foreigner, no matter the religion. She discloses further on cultural diversity and tourist sites that can attract foreigners to the country.
“Nigeria comprises 36 states with diverse cultures and big festivals that are internationally-recognised. We also have interesting sites to visit like Obudu Ranch Resort, Tinapa and various artefacts. The civil servant agreed though that the country should focus more on providing necessary infrastructural facilities.
However, Mr Boris Bornman, the General Manager, Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers argued further that there is no guarantee for safety in the country as lots of people abroad see the country like the old Soviet, where many believe that there is an iron curtain and until that curtain of insecurity is removed, people won’t come.
“Without doubt, the more violent the situation gets, the more people will stay away from Abuja and Nigeria at large. Do not forget that Nigeria is not a tourist destination yet, but a business market. Again, in spite of the huge potentials of Nigeria’s cultural tourism that can attract tourists, they will all stay away because of insecurity. As I speak with you, lots of people abroad see the country like the old Soviet, where many believe that there is an iron curtain and until that curtain of insecurity is removed, people won’t come.
“To be honest with you, we now have to spend more money on security than ever before in the history of our operations. We have to import detective equipment, spend extra money on CCTV cameras, and the list goes on and on in other to provide at least minimum security for our guests.
“Regrettably, Nigeria is a beautiful country and you have wonderful things that people want to see, but the fear of insecurity and violent keeps people away. Imagine Zimbabwe with the entire international political buzz, tourists from UK and around Europe still go there. Zambia and their likes too also have a fair share of international arrivals because they have been able to guarantee safety of visitors to their countries.
He added that in those countries, tourism accounts for between 15-20 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and the tourists’ dollars spent in their countries matters.
“Like you know too, it’s not compulsory that the entire country is promoted as tourist zone, but those sections that can be promoted be done because Nigeria has some unique cultures that most people around the world have not seen and they would want to see such.”
At UNCTAD’s 17th African OILGASMINE Conference and Exhibition, taking place in Khartoum, Sudan, from 23 to 26 November 2015, governments, the private sector, and civil society will discuss redefining the role of extractive industries in job creation, both within the sector and in the broader economy.
Conference participants from all over the world will analyse the potential for exploration and production of oil and gas, and investment opportunities, in Sudan and other African countries.
The oil, gas and mining industries – currently employing around 1 per cent of Africa’s workforce – can do more to create more stable, direct and indirect wage-paying jobs that not only promote economic growth but also protect the environment and foster social inclusion.
In Africa, only around 5 million new jobs are created for more than 12 million young women and men joining the labour force every year, but an International Finance Corporation study in Ghana found, for example, that the creation of one direct job in the mining sector could generate 27 additional jobs in the wider economy.
Africa holds 8 per cent of world oil reserves and gas reserves, and the United States Geological Society ranks the continent first or second in its share of world reserves of a long list of metals and minerals, such as bauxite, chromite, cobalt, ilmenite, industrial diamond, manganese, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals, rutile, soda ash, vermiculite and zirconium.
The benefits that the extractive industries could bring to developing countries include revenues for host countries through production sharing arrangements, royalties and income taxes. The development of the extractive industries could also generate wider economic benefits and promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The extractive industries, given their capital intensive nature, may not create many direct jobs, but their linkages with the broader economy may help generate additional jobs. Through these linkages the sector is connected with the suppliers of inputs; outputs are processed into added-value products; demand is generated for locally produced goods and services; and an enabling environment is created for new industries using skills and capabilities acquired from the extractive industries.
To compare Africa’s potential with developed country experience, a recent survey of the United States’ oil and gas industry revealed that the industry as a whole generated over 9.3 million permanent jobs across the nation, among which are 3.1 million jobs in retail trade, and half a million jobs in health services.
Such jobs are not created automatically. Targeted policies such as developing linkages, removing entry barriers to specific industry value chains, building the necessary infrastructure to attract investment, improving access to finance and developing workforce skills needed, are crucial to expanding job opportunities and increasing employment.
Artisanal mining, as a labour intensive mining process, is, for example, well known to generate more direct and indirect jobs than large-scale mining. In Africa artisanal mining is estimated to create about 8 million direct jobs which support over 45 million people.
The conference, organized by UNCTAD and the Government of Sudan, is being held in the context of the new development agenda: Sustainable Development Goal 8 calls for action “to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030”.