Saturday, December 17, 2011
Buzkashi is polo played with a headless dead goat. Its quite a spectacle...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
This clip hits the nail on the head: without developing refinery capacity, removing the fuel subsidy is a disastrous idea. The stats 3 minutes 39 seconds in give the game away.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
El Anatsui show at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Tx. More here.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
The Burma Boys, Barnaby Phillips' revealing documentary about the 100,000 Africans who fought the Japanese in the jungles of Burma during the Second World War.
The documentary will be preceded by I Remember When I Was a Soldier, a short film by
Olly Owen, Dan Susman and Robin Forestier based on interviews with surviving veterans in
+ Q&A with Barnaby Phillips of Al Jazeera
Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre,
St Anne's College,
Friday, October 07, 2011
Addis Ababa, 08 July 2011 (ECA) - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) are delighted to announce the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) to be awarded for the first time in February 2012. This prestigious and well-endowed award aims at encouraging innovations that contribute to sustainable development in Africa.
With this award, AIF and UNECA acknowledge, support and encourage innovators and entrepreneurs- the group of stakeholders who till now have been neither considered nor benefited under Africa’s development cooperation agenda.
"Innovation is a combination of identifying problems, and finding groundbreaking implementable solutions; we hope the prizes will contribute to tapping into the ingenuity of Africans to solve Africa’s problems,” says the ECA Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary General, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh.
He adds: “Currently, ideas, innovation and knowledge are what is driving the world, and transforming economies. It is therefore fitting and appropriate that the Innovation Prize for Africa is targeting a unique group of stakeholders - innovators and inventors in the area of ICTs, Green Technologies and Health & Food Security.”
“The AIF is very proud of the cooperation with ECA and expects numerous innovation projects to compete for the prize. There is so much untapped talent on this continent,” adds Mr. Walter Fust, Chairman of the AIF.
The amount allocated towards the winners for the selected innovators and entrepreneurs, in the three thematic areas of ICTs; Green Technologies; Health & Food Security are two generous prizes: First prize USD 100,000; and USD 50000 for the second prize.
The registration deadline for the 2012 prize has been set for September 30th, 2011 with no possibility of extensions.
The organizers expect the prize to promote among young African men and women the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers and business applications. The aims are to:
1. Create a platform for identification of innovative concepts and projects submitted by applicants that could be supported by AIP;
2. Promote innovation across Africa in key sectors of interest through the competition;
3. Promote science, technology and engineering as rewarding, exciting and noble career options among the youth in Africa by profiling successful applicants; and
4. Encourage entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business development service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative business opportunities.
In pursuing those aims, the AIP expects the following outcomes:
1. Increased commercialization of research and development (R&D) outputs in Africa;
2. Increased development of start-up, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerate growth of an innovative and dynamic private sector; and
3. Increased general economic activities that result in long term sustainable development
Over the coming five years, AIP will be targeting innovators/entrepreneurs in different thematic areas to be determined each year by the Technical Advisory Committee.
For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, please visit: http://www.uneca.org/AIP/AIF <http://www.uneca.org/aip/aif>
ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O. Box 3001
Tel: 251 11 5445098
Fax: +251-11-551 03 65
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Web: www.uneca.org <http://www.uneca.org>
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Since last week we have done practically no work at all at the farm due to the terrible situation in the Jos area. Last week's orders were somewhat incomplete as we had problems assembling all items that you requested. We did not have enough onions in stock, and our onion supplier would not come out (like most people in Jos) so we didn't have enough onions for you. On Thursday last week when we were at the farm packing up your orders, people were phoning us from Jos town (30km away) every five minutes or so, telling us that there is gunfire all over Jos and we should come back home. It was not easy to concentrate on assembling the orders under these circumstances, so I apologise for any mistakes that might have been made in the packaging.
On Friday and Saturday we could not get to the farm, as there was a lot of tension in the town, with many roads blocked and security all over. On Monday morning as I was preparing to leave for the farm, one of my workers phoned to tell me that there had been an attack in Sunday night at the residence of one of our security guards (located in a part of Kuru along the Abuja road) and that four members of his family had been killed. At the time he was phoning, they were hearing gunshots near the farm, and I shouldn't come as all the workers were going home. Of course I told them they had better go. (In the absence of any people on the farm on Monday, birds took advantage of the situation to devour most of our sweet corn which was just ready to pick).
Meanwhile, in retaliation for the attack, the people of the area came out on Monday morning and blocked the main round-about on the Abuja-Jos road at Marraraban Jama'a. They attacked the soldiers who tried to disperse them, burned four big trucks and a car that were trying to pass into Jos, and killed any Muslim travelers they could find. Several people were killed there, and many more just escaped with their lives. The road to Jos was closed for most of the day.
In the midst of this, we have managed to put together your orders for today's delivery and as I write, Audu is on the road to Abuja for deliveries. We hope he will arrive safely. Last week they were delayed for four hours on the Keffi-Abuja road due to checkpoints, and they didn't managed to get into Abuja until almost 4pm, and had to rush around to make deliveries. Apologies to those who got very late orders, but it was due to circumstances far beyond our control.
The situation here has created really impossible conditions for us on the farm. Our young crops need constant attention and care. They need weeding, manuring and generally looking after. When workers can't come to the farm, or when they say they don't sleep at night for fear of attack, and have no peace of mind, of course they cannot concentrate on their work. Our production has suffered seriously, we are running at a loss, and feel really terrible that we are unable to provide our customers with the quantity and quality of vegetables they have come to expect from us.
Since the crisis of January 2010, our farm has been just a shadow of its former self, and I feel very sad when I think of how it used to be. For 10 years before the crisis, we managed to run a relatively successful business. We paid salaries on time, we had a group of skilled and dedicated workers who were eager to learn new things and apply them, and who worked together as a family regardless of ethnic, linguistic and religious differences. We grew a wide range of produce which we believe our customers appreciated. During the crisis, some of these workers were killed, and the rest had to leave and have not been able to come back because of the situation in the area. In the past few months, we had made plans to bring them back, but due to the new flare up of hostilities, this seems completely impossible. We had been encouraged by the recent few months of peaceful conditions and by the progress we had made in renovating the farm. We were happy to see things growing so well on the rejuvenated fields.
But now it is obvious that we have finally come to the end of the road. I will spare you the very gruesome details, but the level of barbarism which we witnessed in Jos over the past few weeks (including even cannibalism) has, I believe, so poisoned the environment here that I truly believe we will not see any normality returning to the area in my lifetime (I am now 68). I don’t feel I should spend my remaining years in a fruitless exercise. We have persevered as long as we have mainly because of the support and encouragement from our customers, who have been wonderful in all of this. But none of us have been able to lead any semblance of a normal life since January last year. People cannot visit us. All of my friends, Christian and Muslim, are afraid to come to Jos. By 6pm everyone is indoors, there are no social activities at all and people don’t go out at night. In the area where I live in Jos, which used to be a mixed area but is now almost entirely Christian, if any person obviously a Muslim comes to see me, all the neighbours come out to see the person and ask me what they are doing there. In the area of the farm, any person who associates with Muslims is considered an enemy who is part of the attacks and is under suspicion. Every time Audu and our delivery team go to the farm early in the morning to load up your orders I just hold my breath and hope that nothing will happen to them before they get onto the road to Abuja. And also hope that nothing will happen to them on the road through some of the villages of the state.
Since the crisis began there has been no statement from any government official, either at the Federal or State level, about the situation, despite daily headlines in all of the newspapers, and gruesome reports in the local and international news media. The Governor has been absent all of this time, and the highest official to make any statement has been the Commissioner for Information. The various security agencies are not on good terms with each other. No efforts are being made for any sort of peaceful settlement of the problems, and a military solution can only be very temporary. Even that has not been successful.
All of this has finally led us to take a decision to close Zamani Farms in its present location and relocate to another state. At this point, we are in the early stages of finding land in Zaria, where I lived for many years as a lecturer at the university, and where I still have many friends and colleagues. Various individuals are offering us land, and since we are looking only for about 2 hectares, this shouldn’t be a problem. Our problem now is finance. All of the resources we have are invested in the present farm site, which we have developed to an appreciable level over the years, including a lovely brick and stone house where I had intended to live which is about 80% completed, an administrative block and cold room, and many outbuildings. Our total land is over 3.5 hectares. At present, no one is buying any property in Plateau State, and we are unlikely to be able to sell the present farm in the near future. We are looking for finance for the infrastructure we will need on the farm, including a cold container, storage and packing facilities, and funds to erect some net houses. We intend to have a small farm mainly under shade netting, which should moderate the hotter climate in Zaria and make it possible for us to grow our complete range of products. It will also offer protection from insects so that we will be able to grow more products organically than we are now doing. The soil in Zaria is much richer than that of Plateau State, and will support our vegetables admirably. The main problem we will face is a sufficient water supply, and we might have to invest in boreholes.
I will not burden you with details now, but we are busy making our plans. Ideally we would like to be able to begin operations in Zaria by early next year, but this depends on how fast we are able to implement our plans. I am appealing to any of our customers who work for any development agencies or governments who are in a position to help fund such a venture to please consider us if at all possible. We have investigated bank financing, but there are many problems with this, as most banks here don’t really appreciate the problems of investment in agriculture. If you are in a position to help us we would very much like to hear from you.
Meanwhile, of course we will not abandon our customers. We will continue working at our present site until we are able to start farming in Zaria and we will do our best to continue to provide you with the best vegetables that we can. But we know we can do better in terms of quality and quantity if we are able to concentrate on the farm without all of the distractions and stress of the Jos environment.
We had intended to go to Mubi next week to finish our landscaping project there, but due to the insecurity in Jos we feel it is not possible to leave at the moment. So we are delivering (hopefully) next week on Thursday 15th. Please place your orders in time so that we can organize things carefully. We will probably go to Mubi the following week, and are not planning to have any delivery on the 22nd, but this depends on whether there is some relative calm here in Jos.
I will not give you a crop report this week, since there is not much new from next week. Please consult the attached order form for details of all items available. We still have nice things for you, but not as much as we would like.
By the way, we have beautiful baby new potatoes (small in size and delicious). If you need them, please specify. Otherwise we will send you the regular or big size ones.
Thank you so much for all the concern you have expressed for all of us here in Jos. As I noted, this is what has been keeping us going on the farm up to this point, but it is clearly time for a change. We honestly think that this will being our customers a vastly improved choice of vegetables, and better quality as well, in addition to causing our staff a lot less stress and anxiety.
I will write again next week. If you have any suggestions for us, please do let us know.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Barnaby Phillips' documentary on the Burma Boys - Nigerian vets who fought in the Second World War for the Allied Forces. Well worth a watch, here.
The third annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa will be held at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA from 3-4 December, 2011.
The themes of the conference will include: The Arab Spring: Challenges to Democratization and Nation Building; Darfur: Toward sustainable peace; and Southern Sudan: Obstacles facing the world’s newest nation. On Day two the conference continues with a focus on China and its presence in Africa, Zimbabwe and its tethering democracy and Literature and the power of the written word.
The Achebe Colloquium will bring together officials from African governments, the United Nations, US government, the European Union, members of African civil society, international human rights organizations, elections monitoring groups, writers and opinion leaders, and research and policy institutions to deliberate on the importance of sustaining Africa’s fragile democracies.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
The first bottle house is under construction near Kaduna. Bottle-bricks made by local children are then assembled in to buildings by masons who are being trained in the bottle-build technique. The houses will be energy autonomous and almost totally recycled and could stand for 1000s of years!
The Emir of Zaria came to the site to lend his support. The next project is a bottle school in Suleja. Thanks to Katrin Macmillan for the pictures!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
A team is looking to revamp the finance section of an established media organ in Nigeria, and they are looking for a senior financial journalist for a semi-editorial role.
The main professional requirements are - familiarity with and ability to write well about financial-sector issues, understanding of the Nigerian financial sector and how it fits into the global and emerging-markets picture, experience and ability in print journalism, and familiarity with expectations of global investor readership.
It's likely to be a Lagos-based opportunity, and the team are happy to consider expatriate as well as national candidates. The package has not yet been finalised but will be globally competitive. If you are interested, or know of anyone else who is, please put them in touch with me at this email address, and I will put them in touch.
Thanks and take care,
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
His wife Maud is also buried there. As I took the picture, I wondered whether Flora Shaw (later to marry Lord Lugard) really was his mistress.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
I hope you are all well. Could you please help me to distribute the advertisement below?
I am running some video and film production training courses over the next couple of months and we are looking for participants.
PLEASE NOTE - participants must be from the Niger Delta Region ( Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.) The courses will be run in Warri.
There are two one week courses directed at two groups. The first are youth (18-35) who have a flair/interest in video production and the second is geared towards professionals already working in the field.
The places are limited and the application process is competitive (see advertisement for details).
The youth course will also serve as a potential trial for some of them to be hired on a full time basis, where they will receive further training and complete video productions for PIND and its partners in the Niger Delta region. The positions will be based in Warri, Delta State.
Anyway that's the plan. Please send me your best and your brightest. We are looking for people who can specialise in any of these areas editing, filming, producing, directing and sound recording.
For more information on PIND please visit pindfoundation.org
Thanks, hope to see you all sometime soon.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Where oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in Nigeria - 55 years ago. In a way, this place marked the beginning of modern Nigeria...
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Excellent lecture by Michael Watts at Berkeley recently.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
For more info, email Ada Nwanguma: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Celebrations are afoot in Abuja. On May 19, the two Houses of the Nigerian National Assembly finally passed the National Health Bill into law, after 7 years of inaction and procrastination. The controversial bill, which promises to provide all Nigerians with a basic minimum package of health services, was originally proposed in 2004 and passed in May, 2009, before being withdrawn for bureaucratic reasons. It has effectively lain untouched since. The Nigerian Medical Association estimates that 7 million children and 385 000 mothers have died in the interim.
As the most populous country in Africa (one in four Africans live in Nigeria), providing universal health care is no easy task. But even allowing for the difficulties posed by providing health care to a large population, the country still underperforms. Life expectancy at birth averages just 54 years for both sexes. Maternal mortality is 608 per 100 000 livebirths, and the mortality rate for children younger than 5 years is more than double the global average at 157 per 1000 livebirths. Nigeria is the only country in the African continent to have never eradicated poliomyelitis, and only 3% of HIV-positive mothers receive antiretrovirals. Just 6% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on health and there are enormous inequalities in its allocation between the rich and poor areas of the country.
The bill provides a framework for the regulation and provision of national health services, defines the rights of health workers and users, and stipulates guidelines for the formulation of a national health policy. Its promises will not change everything for Nigerians, but the bill does allow them to finally hold the government to account for their right to health, including equitable access to care. Never before has there been such momentum towards making a real commitment to improving health in this country.
The bill pledges to develop a national health policy that includes 60 billion naira (about US$380 million) devoted to primary health care each year, commitments to the provision of essential drugs, and comprehensive vaccination programmes for pregnant women and children younger than 5 years of age. It rightly devotes a whole section to strategies to reduce the crippling effect of the brain drain on health care; there are as many Nigerian doctors working in the USA as there are in the public health-care sector of Nigeria. The bill thus commits to providing adequate resources for ongoing education and training of doctors, including a continuing professional development programme. The health bill stipulates the need for measures of accountability, which are central to the bill's success. The country's performance and the state of citizens' health need to be assessed by an independent authority, and the government must be accountable for delivering on their promises.
On May 29, many Nigerians celebrated again as Dr Goodluck Jonathan was inaugurated as President for the next 4 years. The zoologist succeeded President Umaru Yar'Adua after his death last year, and in April, 2011, Jonathan was re-elected in what is widely considered the most transparent and legitimate election Nigeria has ever held. This is an exciting time for the country: it has a leader with a clear mandate, its economy is flourishing (it is predicted to have the highest average GDP growth of any country over the next 40 years), and efforts are being made to reduce its sporadic civic and religious tensions and endemic corruption.
However, until now, health has been lamentably absent from Jonathan's declared priorities. Although progress has been made in poliomyelitis eradication and health-systems strengthening since he came to power in May, 2010, these are only two of hundreds of indicators in dire need of improvement. Many societal groups grew concerned over his neglect of a health agenda. On May 18, thousands of women protested about the delay in the passage of the health bill outside the National Assembly. Their efforts were rewarded with the passing of the bill the very next day. At the time of going to press, all that remains outstanding is presidential assent to make the National Health Bill a federal law.
This auspicious turn of events gives cause for hope. Perhaps President Jonathan is more devoted to rectifying the appalling state of health in Nigeria than has been apparent thus far. If he really is committed to providing equitable and affordable universal health care for all of his people, he should sign the National Health Bill immediately. There is no better way to say thank you for electing him.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
I like the look of this conference coming up this Saturday. Contemporary Pan Africanism is the next big thing, I reckon.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Monday, May 02, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Yes, we are angry now but 1) How much longer will that anger last before we all go back to our merry lives and forget all about this? 2) How will anger actually lead to any solutions unless we do something?
The government has promised compensation for the families of those like Ukeoma AikFavour and Obinna Okpokiri who lost their lives, but this is not enough. Their deaths should not be in vain – it should lead a fundamental change in the way that the youth corps scheme is implemented.
We are aware that many initiatives have been undertaken in the past – but we believe it is time to move from anger and protest and to make this a broad-based national campaign. It is also a fine opportunity for us to put our hard won democracy to work – to move from protest and activism to advocacy and productive democratic lobby.
SO, over the next nine-months, we are implementing a solution-oriented approach that involves 1) Engaging government on a policy level to restructure and reform the NYSC in order to protect corps members in the interim and then to completely overhaul the scheme in the long term so that it is actually useful to the nation. 2) Supporting this Policy Engagement with a wide-ranging public and media campaign to ensure pressure is sustained on the government.
Starting from tomorrow therefore, we are activating a #ProtectTheCorpers campaign that will involve both online and offline strategies to engage the authorities, the media and young people.
The strategy is simple –
1) We are gathering 100, 000 signatures for a petition that is going to the Presidency with a 7-point demand (see demand below) to restructure the scheme and protect the corps members.
2) Request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Youth and the Director-General of the NYSC to implement immediate action points.
3) Begin an aggressive lobby at the legislature, especially the Senate and House Committees on Youth, towards include the deletion of the programme from the section of the Constitution and placing it as an Act of Parliament with a revamped structure, as recommended by the Senate Spokesperson, Ike Ekweremadu.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1) Read the demands below and sign the petition on www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers – and get at least 20 of your friends, family and associates to sign the petition.
2) If you have any direct influence with any legislator who can help with introducing and facilitating this bill, please get in contact with us at email@example.com
3) Use the #ProtectTheCorpers Hashtag on your Twitter and Facebook Accounts Daily, Use the Avatar/Display Picture on Your Facebook/Twitter/BBM Accounts and Send this Message To All Your Contacts.
4) Support this initiative with resources or donation to sustain the publicity and lobbying drive over the next 9 months (our working time-frame.)
5) Join the ProtectTheCorpers group on Facebook as well as the ProtectTheCorpers group on Yahoo.
6) Send us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on with any suggestions or how you can or want to help.
7) Visit www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers for more information.
7-POINT DEMAND TO #PROTECTTHECORPERS
1. Hotspots - Identify violence-prone “hot-spots” states and/or districts and ensure that corps member posting to these areas is voluntary. This voluntary posting must also come with an institutionalised incentive.
2. Emergency Fund – Institute an NYSC Contingency Fundthat is easily accessible in pre-crisis situations. This Fund should be easily accessible at crisis periods.
3. Decentralisation – The command structure of the NYSC should be devolved in terms of accommodation, welfare, wages and security to avoid red tape during times of crisis. State governments should be primarily responsible for welfare as well as security – including evacuation – at moments of crisis.
4. Compensation - Corps Members posted out of their states of residence should be beneficiaries of a comprehensive life insurance policy as a compensation structure in time of unavoidable loss.
5. Data Management – Digitise the database of corps member with location, contact information and total number per state. This is to ensure easy pre and post-crisis accessibility and tracking.
6. Representation – Institutionalise an alternate platform for corps members to interact with administration on welfare and security. This structure will interface directly with the corps commandants and state level and the Director-General at federal level.
7. Full-scale Reform – Constitute a National Youth Service Corps Reform Committee that will recommend full scale structural and policy reforms for the scheme and make binding recommendations to the Federal Government to be implemented into a National Youth Service Act.
Let’s ensure that we put our government under pressure immediately after the elections. This is a good place to start making our democracy work! Those ‘corpers’ cannot die in vain.
The Future Project, Nigeria.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
The graphic of the results of the Presidential elections on Saturday on Nigeriaelections.org provokes much thought. In a way, it reminds immediately one of the two Nigerias of colonial times - the north ruled on the QT via the convenience of the native authorities, the south heavily focused on Lagos as the commercial hub, with a completely different kind of colonial officer in each place. In the north, enthusiastic slightly waify Oxbridge-types, keen to learn hausa and wander around their domain on horseback. In the south, altogether more mercantile brutal deal-cutting types.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Its long since time that a full-on campaign to challenge sex trafficking in Edo State began with civil society groups joining forces with the Edo State government and NAPTIP. Their may need to be punitive state-specific legislation passed.
We are all allowing this to happen, by looking the other way and dismissing Benin women as promiscuous and enthusiastic to do the work anyway. We were in denial in Germany, 70 years ago, just as we are in denial today.