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Aregbesola On Kaunda: The Last Of The Titans Departs – Naijanewsdirect

  By Rauf Aregbesola Curtain fell on the extraordinary and illustrious life of Kenneth David Kaunda, Zambia’s founding father and pan-Africanist, after he died from pneumonia on June 17. He will be buried July 7, after living for 97 years. Kaunda was the last of the titans, the African nationalists that fought for independence from colonial rule, which included the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Nelson Mandela and others. He was a remarkable man in dignity, humility, simplicity, intellect and character – a leader per excellence. Given the role he played as a foremost nationalist, pan-Africanist and anti-colonial and anti-apartheid fighter South of Sahara, it will be difficult for me not to pen this tribute on the transition of this inimitable African leader. Kaunda was born to teacher parents in 1924 and he too started life as a teacher but joined politics in 1949 by becoming a member of Northern Rhodesia Africa National Congress. In 1953, he moved to Lusaka to assume office as the Secretary General of the Africa National Congress. The entire Southern Africa was in colonial fervour. Colonialism there was not just economic exploitation and political subjugation; large swaths of Europeans were moving in with a clear agenda of resettlement, land grab and the remaking of the region in European image for whites. It was in these circumstances that Kaunda emerged as a political leader for his people. It is interesting that he never took up arms, but used nonviolent means of passive resistance to advance his cause. For this he was imprisoned by the colonial government. He came out of detention to be elected the first president of independent Zambia in 1964. His priority in office was education, followed by agriculture. He set a target of total literacy for Zambia and it is not surprising that

The Power Of Human Migration in the 21st Century – Naijanewsdirect

By Johann D. Harnoss, Associate Director, Innovation, BCG Henderson Institute, Berlin Anna Schwarz, Head of Programme - Global Transformation, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union Martin Reeves, Chairman, BCG Henderson Institute Francois Canndelon, Global Director, BCG Henderson Institute Apple’s iPhones, Tesla’s cars and Pfizer’s RNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are some of the everyday innovations that change our lives for the better, but they carry a greater significance as well. Each one was conceived by a small team of boundary-breaking inventors who share something in common: These innovations were driven by immigrant founders—people who had crossed physical borders before advancing the boundaries of what’s possible for all of us.   Humans cross borders and humans create boundary-breaking innovations. Humans crossing borders invariably create global networks. By migrating, people connect the new contacts they form in their destination countries with the ones in their communities of origin. Seen from this vantage point, people do not merely leave one country and arrive at another; they bridge the two. Immigrants drive innovation in both destination and origin countries. Immigrants drive innovation either directly, through entrepreneurial or inventive activity, or through their close collaboration with native workers in companies of all sizes. As the global leader in attracting skilled foreign talent, the United States provides a good magnifying glass to examine migrants’ entrepreneurial and inventive activity.   On the company level, 45% of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and 50 out of 91 startup companies worth more than $1 billion had at least one immigrant founder. As of today, more than 3 million immigrants (skilled and unskilled) have become entrepreneurs, creating a total of 8 million jobs. Immigrants also contribute significantly to economy-wide innovation: Since the 1970s, about 30% of all increases in per capita productivity in the US can be traced back to immigrants innovating closely together

Wheat Development Programme Yield Underscores The Role of Research and Trials – Naijanewsdirect

  Nigeria’s aspiration for wheat production self-sufficiency is being pursued on diverse fronts by stakeholders in the value chain including government, policy makers, farmers, researchers, scientists, institutions, millers, etc. under different aegis and initiatives. For the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), that initiative would be its Wheat Development Programme (WDP). Under the auspices of the FMAN WDP, millers have continued to invest over N500 million annually to support local smallholder wheat farmers amongst other activities aimed at boosting local wheat production in Nigeria.   This intervention included a scaled out-grower programme that provided high-yielding seed for smallholder wheat farmers in the wheat-producing belts of Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Zamfara States. It also included a sustained working relationship with the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN), funding of the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) located in Maiduguri and the expansion of the seed varietal testing and multiplication sites in Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, and Jigawa States.   The outcome of all of these efforts underscores the efficacy of research and trials, which today is glaring for all to see. According to the latest wheat harvest yield data released for the 2021 harvest season, the average wheat harvest yield across the Wheat Farmer Service Centres established under the WDP in Jigawa, Kebbi and Kano rose from 1 ton to an average of 4 ton per hectare. Going by the harvest yield data, the aggregate total yield derived from the 15 wheat collection centres located in the wheat farming belts of Northern Nigeria stood at over 800 tons. The leap in wheat yield per hectare in the current harvest season is expected to rise even more to a remarkable aggregate sum when the harvest season rounds off this June 2021. The current improved harvest yield is in stark contrast to the previous experience recorded in the wheat production

Encouraging Girls In Science To Bring Fresh Perspective To Problem-Solving – Naijanewsdirect

By Tolu Oyekan, Partner, BCG Over the years, the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has increasingly gained grounds across the world. Nigeria is not left out as many young people are becoming more interested in studying science subjects at secondary and tertiary levels of education.   This is no surprise as our world today is largely driven by technology. Technology encompasses practically every facet of our lives. Life has become easier through the application of technology. For instance, Information and communication technology (ICT) has proven to be invaluable as the world tries to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The application of ICT tools kept people connected, made essential services accessible and sustained businesses.   The 21st century brought about lots of scientific innovations which have propelled the need for students at different levels to become more proficient in the knowledge of STEM. Besides Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics; other STEM subjects include Actuarial Science, Statistics, Psychology, Robotics, Information Science, Atmospheric Sciences and Educational Research.   Experts have discovered that early exposure of students to STEM and technology-related subjects will help young people develop a passion for technological pursuits and eventually help them pursue a job in a STEM field.   Right now, the fastest growing job categories are related to STEM with recent studies indicating new jobs in areas such as data analysis, software development and data visualization, virtual reality, artificial intelligence etc.   However, girls are highly under-represented in STEM and ICT classes; globally the percentage of young girls undertaking ICT courses range from 8.9% in Switzerland to 20.0% in United States, except for India with 50.5%. What this means is that except this trend changes, women will remain under-represented in the future workplaces.   This year, the International Girls in ICT Day held on April 22 with the theme: ‘Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures’. On this day every

X-raying COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chains – Naijanewsdirect

By: Camille Egloff, Senior Partner, BCG Athens Delivering vaccines to a large percentage of the global population is a Herculean task. The more vaccines that receive regulatory approval, the more complex the logistics. Yet our research indicates that the essential stakeholders in the global supply chain are ready and have already taken on their tasks.   Efforts to defeat the COVID-19 virus have taken a giant leap forward as some pharmaceutical companies have made vaccines which are now available across the world. No doubt, there are still concerns about successful vaccine production and delivery, so Boston Consulting Group researched some of the most complex issues around the vaccine supply chain, from air freight capacity and the dry ice supply to cold chain resources and the cost of vaccine distribution. And our findings were surprisingly reassuring.   The overall costs of the vaccine are relatively low vis-à-vis the toll of the virus on the global economy—and the supply chain costs represent just a fraction of the total. Already, some vaccines are being administered to people around the world; namely, Pfizer-BioNTECH, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Janssen and AstraZeneca-Oxford which have already reported high levels of efficacy.   Manufacturing enough vaccines to reach a large percentage of the global population by the end of 2021 will be a Herculean task. Complete success will depend on a few “must believes:” no delays in starting vaccine production, no major quality problems, and very limited vaccine waste.   Nonetheless, various pharma companies and conglomerates already had dedicated significant manufacturing capacity to supplying their vaccine candidates once approved. In fact, the producers of the seven US government-supported vaccine candidates have each announced the capacity to manufacture 1 billion to 3 billion doses by the end of 2021, totaling approximately 11 billion doses, of which 50% have already been contracted by various nations.   Along the length of the potential vaccine

Digital Payments And The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement – Naijanewsdirect

  By: Olabisi Famojuro Humans are built to trade. Across eons, trade has connected people and communities. It unlocks human productivity. It is the precursor of commerce and the harbinger of development. Payments drive trade. In today's information society, digital payment is an indispensable enabler of trade. This is precisely why experts have more or less hinged the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement on the success of digital payments. “We need to put as much effort as we are putting into getting the operational blocks of the agreement and secretariat going into getting the African payments regulatory landscape similarly integrated. Payments across the continent could probably be made seamless today. The technology is there,” says Dr. Augustina Odame of the Ghana Chamber of Technology. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which formally commenced operation in January 2021, has been in the works since 2018. AfCFTA was created essentially to boost trade within the African continent and among member states through the provision of comprehensive and mutually beneficial trading opportunities for both exporters and importers. The agreement covers everything from trading goods and services to investments and intellectual property rights. It equally includes competition policy between and within African countries, guidelines and framework to drive trade across the African continent. Experts of various shades in analysing the emergence of AfCFTA see promise of a truly connected single pan-African market. With a population tipping just over a billion people, Africa is ripe for trade. Cross border trade holds incredible potential. It can also be opportunities for the continent; opportunity to build new and enduring infrastructure, boost e-commerce and fast-track digital payment. Existing players in this space would provide the requisite leadership to drive digital payments across Africa thereby boosting trade. Interswitch, for instance, is providing leadership here. Interswitch is not just creating platforms and

Covid-19, Technology And The New Face Of Small Businesses – Naijanewsdirect

    By Akeem Lawal, DCEO, Payment Processing, Interswitch The outbreak of coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has had devastating impact that the world is still dealing with. Apart from the negative health implications, the COVID-19 pandemic has also crippled economies and businesses across the globe.   Suffice to say that, the resultant effect of the pandemic has led to job losses, pay cuts, travel restrictions and consequently fall in foreign trade and general business activities. The businesses most hit is the Micro Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).   A recent survey by the International Trade Centre (ITC) revealed that the pandemic has strongly affected nearly two-thirds of micro and small businesses - compared to about 40% of large companies - with 20% of MSMEs feared to shut down permanently at some points soon.   Interestingly, the survey revealed that 40% of the companies that came out strong from the pandemic were mainly technology driven businesses. In the financial services industry, fintech companies including Interswitch, Flutterwave, Paystack have fared very well. For instance, the National Bureau of Statistics report shows that digital payment transaction grew from 10.3 trillion Naira in January 2020 to 20 trillion Naira in December 2020.   The SME sector remains a potential game changer for economic growth globally, including Nigeria. This is why it is important for stakeholders in the economy to provide simple solutions that will enhance their ability to generate economic activities that will boost community and national economy.   Knowing the importance of small businesses to national economies, many governments implemented support programmes to assist MSMEs following the pandemic. In Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) earmarked $136.6 million as credit relief for MSMEs businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.   The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the frailties of many SMEs in terms of little or no digital infusion. However, the pandemic has not been all gloom as it has

Tinubu At 69: Nigeria Is Blessed With A Human Gift, Says Obasa – Naijanewsdirect

  The national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is one of the blessings God has endowed Nigeria with, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, said on Monday. Obasa made the declaration in a congratulatory message to Tinubu who just clocked 69. "In you, Nigeria has a human gift from God and I dare say that your potentials are yet to be fully harnessed by our great country. "A leader of leaders, almost 21 years after leaving office as governor of Lagos State, you have not only remained a reference point, you have become a phenomenon, one of the most important factors in the politics of Nigeria and parts of the world as well as a consistent topic for political players, analysts and stakeholders in the Nigerian project. "Your passion for the unity of Nigeria is incomparable. No wonder you are held very high across the country and constantly described as a unifying force for the nation's continued growth and progress," Obasa said in the statement issued by his media office. The Speaker described Tinubu as a 'political mathematician' whose ability to solve equations with deftness and sagacity has resulted in major successes including the presidential elections of 2015 and 2019 recorded by Nigeria. He also noted Tinubu's intelligent contributions and advice to the country's government at intervals, especially at periods when solutions are needed to resolve biting national challenges. "It is absolutely difficult to find any area of positive growth and development in many parts of Nigeria without your imprint. You are a hunter of men and talents and we remain proud to be associated with you. "A father figure, we know that every of your activity, action, thoughts and words are geared towards a better Nigeria for us and for generations unborn. This

Nigerian Youths: Solution To Our Nation’s Problem ***By Mukhtar Sagir Dambatta – Naijanewsdirect

  Nigeria as a state consists of many tribes, languages, cultures, religions, and ethnic differences but remains a single entity with a common name “Niger and Its Areas” Our assumption about the Nigerian youth may debar us from certain truths we should know; facts that we should hold on what the youth exercise, as Nigeria may never witness the major change if care is not taken. The United Nations has postulated that the people within the age range of 15-24 are the youths. But in some countries, like Nepal, the National Youth Council Act 2015 of the country has categorised people between ages of 16 to 40 as youths, in which I believe such age declaration is valid in Nigeria. Before I go deeper, let me remind you of three Nigerian youths of the last century, focusing on their impacts and how unfulfilled we the youth of this century are. These people are; 1. General Yakubu Gowon. He became the Head of State at the age of 31. He was born on October 19, 1934. Following the assassination of Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, the second Nigerian president and the first military Head of State on July 29, 1966, Gowon took over. 2. General Murtala Muhammed. He became the fourth Head of State at the age of 37. He was born on November 8, 1938. After criticising General Aguiyi-Ironsi’s leadership and serving as a federal commissioner under Gowon, he stepped into office on July 29, 1975. General Muhammed was assassinated ten days after creating nine new states – Bauchi; Benue; Borno; Imo; Niger; Ogun; and Ondo. The creation occurred on February 3, 1976. 3. General Olusegun Obasanjo. He became Head of State at the age of 39. He was born on May 5, 1937. The Supreme Military Council appointed him as the Head of State on Feb 13, 1976. Obasanjo is the first

IWD 2021 & Protein Deficiency: Women To Save The World **By Elvis Eromosele – Naijanewsdirect

Women are the bedrock of society. They, very literally, feed, clothe and inspire the world. It is not far-fetched to see how women are the sinew that holds families and the globe together. In many homes, women make the most important buying decisions, particularly as it relates to what to eat. Women ensure that the world is fed. At every point in time across the world, regardless of the time of day, a woman is shopping for household supplies of food. Every day they struggle with the choices, labour over the cost and agonize over portions. It is between what is available and affordable, quantity and quality, ease of preparation (read convenience) and value. It is a never-ending struggle. The Nigeria Protein Deficiency Report 2019 supports this assertion. The report of the survey, which was designed to empirically determine the current status and dimensions of protein deficiency in Nigeria, sheds light on food consumption patterns among Nigerians. According to the report, “51 per cent of respondents do not have adequate protein-rich foods due largely to high cost.” The report also showed that the fundamental factors determining the necessity of meal items consumed across the country are availability (79%) and affordability (68%). It also reveals something that most Nigerians would probably expect, that carbohydrates are the most consumed food amongst Nigerians. Rice topped the list with 91%, closely followed by ‘swallows’ (such as eba, amala, fufu, pounded yam, etc.) at 83%. 58% of sampled institutional providers (dieticians and nutritionists) insisted that the protein intake of Nigerians is generally quite insufficient. The challenge is that when people do not get adequate amounts of protein from their diet, it leads to protein deficiency. Protein deficiency is today a major cause of malnutrition, especially among children. In Nigeria, several reports indicate that protein deficiency poses not only a major health problem