By Abdullahi Mohammed
Africa should be the breadbasket of the world, has no reason spending US$ 35 billion a year importing food, Adesina tells Agriculture conference in U.S.
The President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina, has made an urgent call to give farmers across the continent new technologies with the potential to transform agricultural production. Adesina said the technology transfer was needed immediately and that evidence from countries like Nigeria demonstrated that technology plus strong government backing was already yielding positive results.
”Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist, but are mostly just sitting on the shelves. The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers,” Adesina said during a keynote speech delivered at the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C August 5, 2018.
Adesina cited the case of Nigeria, where policy during his tenure as the country’s Minister of Agriculture, resulted in a rice production revolution in three years.
“All it took was sheer political will, supported by science, technology and pragmatic policies…Just like in the case of rice, the same can be said of a myriad of technologies, including high-yielding water efficient maize, high-yielding cassava varieties, animal and fisheries technologies,” Adesina said.
The African Development Bank is pointing the way to how this can be done, and is currently working with the World Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to mobilize US$ 1 billion to scale up agricultural technologies across Africa under a new initiative called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
TAAT is taking bold steps to bring down some of the barriers preventing farmers from accessing latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity.
“With the rapid pace of growth of the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and block chains, agriculture as we know it today will change,” the President said. “It is more likely that the future farmers will be sitting in their homes with computer applications using drone to determine the size of their farms, monitor and guide the applications of farm inputs, and with driverless combine harvesters bringing in the harvest.”
Adesina used the opportunity to advocate for African universities to adapt their curriculum to enable technology-driven farmers and to focus on agribusiness entrepreneurship for young people, emphasizing the need to rise beyond theories to application.
Through its innovative Enable Youth initiative, the African Development Bank has in the past two years committed close to US$ 300 million to develop the next generation of agribusiness and commercial farmers for Africa.
Adesina stressed the Bank’s resolve to change the face of agriculture in Africa to unleash new sources of wealth.
AAEA President Scott Swinton said Adesina and the African Development Bank exemplify the use of economics that makes a difference in people’s lives.
“If applied economics is economics that make a difference, I think that there is no better example of someone who has used that than Akinwumi Adesina,” Swindon said.
Adesina told delegates at the 2018 conference attended by over 1,600 agricultural and applied economists from around the world: “There is no reason why Africa should be spending US$ 35 billion a year importing food. All it needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers, and assure lower food prices for consumers.”
Adesina, who was the 2017 World Food Prize winner, is advocating for the creation of staple crops processing zones across Africa (SCPZs): vast areas within rural areas set aside and managed for agribusiness and food manufacturing industries and other agro-allied industries, enabled with right policies and infrastructure.
“I am convinced that just like industrial parks helped China, so will the SCPZs help to create new economic zones in rural areas that will help lift hundreds of millions out of poverty through the transformation of agriculture- the main source of their livelihoods- from a way of life into a viable profitable business that will unleash new sources of wealth,” he said.
The African Development Bank has already begun investing in the development of processing zones in a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique, with a plan to reach 15 countries in a few years.
To help Africa transform its agriculture, the Bank is investing US$ 24 billion over the next ten years to implement its Feed Africa Strategy.
Oradian and ANMFIN launch new cloud-based microfinance solution in Nigeria
By Abdullahi Mohammed
The partnership will enable ANMFIN to promote access to financial services for Nigerian clients on a larger scale by using ANMFIN Cloud Express
As part of their shared mission to boost financial inclusion throughout Nigeria, Oradian and the Association of Non Bank Microfinance Institution of Nigeria (ANMFIN) have launched a strategic partnership.
Princess Adesola Ogunleye, the President of ANMFIN, commented on the partnership saying, “We are extremely pleased to partner with Oradian. Together we align our shared vision and leverage the success delivered to date. The partnership will enable all of our MFIs to move to Oradian’s cloud-based solution, helping our members to save time and money through more efficient, digitised processes – no more manual input of data. We and our members are very excited to improve administrative process, reduce high operational costs and offer digital financial services across the country.”
Launching ANMFIN Cloud Express expands the range of solutions that Oradian offers in Nigeria. As stated by Antonio Separovic, CEO of Oradian, “Nigeria was Oradian’s first market when we started Oradian six years ago and we remain committed to solving the financial inclusion challenge here. This partnership is a long-term partnership that is an important step towards this goal”.
The partnership will enable ANMFIN to promote access to financial services for Nigerian clients on a larger scale by using ANMFIN Cloud Express, a core banking system specially built for ANMFIN and its microfinance institution (MFI) members. ANMFIN Cloud Express, powered by Instafin, is a cloud-based toolset tailored to enable smaller Nigerian microfinance institutions (MFIs) to benefit from a cloud-based solution.
According to Oradian’s Programme Director for Africa Onyeka Adibeli, “ANMFIN Cloud Express enhances MFIs’ ability to manage all operations including client relationships, transactions, portfolio management and reporting in the same way that large banks do – but at a fraction of the cost. We are removing the barriers that prevent MFIs from using the right technology to serve their clients and to strengthen their operations.”
With a cost and a system tailored for the needs of smaller MFIs, Oradian’s partnership with ANMFIN enables more financial institutions to take advantage of technology to become more efficient, grow and reach more unbanked individuals in rural communities.
Vantage GreenX Note II provides R2bn of funding to six renewable energy projects in South Africa
By Abdullahi Mohammed
GreenX Note II is Vantage GreenX’s second generation renewable energy debt fund
Vantage GreenX Fund Managers announced today that through its second renewable energy fund, Vantage GreenX Note II, it has provided R2.05bn of funding to a combination of six solar and wind energy projects with a combined capacity of 433MW. All the projects form part of Round 4 of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (“REIPP”) procurement programme.
The GreenX funding was provided to four projects developed by BioTherm Energy and two projects developed by OMLACSA and ACED. All six projects reached financial close in the last two weeks of July 2018. The four BioTherm projects are the 86MW Konkoonsies II solar PV project (Northern Cape), the 45MW Aggenys solar PV project (Northern Cape), the 120MW Golden Valley wind project (Eastern Cape) and the 32MW Excelsior wind project (Western Cape). The two OMLACSA projects are the 75MW Droogfontein II solar PV project (Northern Cape) and the 75MW Zeerust solar PV project (North West).
GreenX Note II is Vantage GreenX’s second generation renewable energy debt fund. The R3bn fund has a mandate to provide Consumer Price Indexed (“CPI”) linked senior debt to sustainable projects that form part of the REIPP, Small Projects Independent Power Producers (“SPIPP”), Co-Gen and Gas procurement programmes run by the South African Department of Energy. CPI-linked debt, although not new to the local market, has for the first time provided a significant portion of the total senior funding to projects in this round. Due to the way it is structured, CPI-linked debt provides a hedge against inflation and it allows projects to bid lower tariffs for similar equity returns. In doing so it has ensured that affordable electricity tariffs are passed on to consumers.
Alastair Campbell, Managing Director of Vantage GreenX, said “It is with great pleasure that we announce that we have supported these six projects. Each of these projects has strong, experienced sponsors and solid project fundamentals. Together they represent a geographically diverse portfolio of assets. Despite the difficulties experienced by stakeholders in the industry over the last two years, we hope that the conclusion of this round of projects represents a watershed moment for the South African renewable energy industry and provides forward momentum to the sustainability of the domestic energy sector as a whole.”
The R2.1bn GreenX Note I is fully invested across eight solar and wind projects located in the South African provinces of the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. The completion of the six GreenX Note II transactions takes the total number of investments made by GreenX to fourteen across the two funds. Vantage anticipates lending the remaining R1bn in GreenX Note II before the end of this year.
African Daily Voice (ADV), a new panafrican news agency is born
By Abdullahi Mohammed
African Daily Voice (ADV) will provide comprehensive coverage in text, photo, video and computer graphics of African news
The African Daily Voice Group announced on Monday the launch of a new continental news agency: ADV
Based in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the multinational company specialized in content, and the media, has a newsroom in Casablanca (Morocco) and offers multilingual services (French, English, Arabic).
“Information networks remain dominated in our countries by Western media. Their stories of African events do not always reflect the true identity of our people, our cultures, and our languages,” says Toussaint Alain, African Daily Voice CEO’s. “They impose their own vision of the world, anxious above all to preserve their interests.”
Alain believes that “this situation is not without risks. We can no longer leave these agencies alone to inform the African public of what is happening in Africa or elsewhere. Events, their genesis and evolution are rarely presented to the outside world objectively and accurately. Images of a miserable Africa continues to persist in the Western press.
That said, “the independence of information, and the plurality of sources are of the same importance today as the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism. They play a vital role in the process of political, social, economic and cultural liberation of our continent,” Toussaint Alain says
Driven by a long-term vision for Africa, the founders and investors of the new media group rely exclusively on African skills to develop two-way content, based on pure information, but also on interaction between people and institutions.
To take up the challenge in a very competitive market, ADV has structured around ten regional desks: Algiers (Algeria), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Douala (Cameroon), Kinshasa (DRC), Bangui (RCA), Johannesburg (South Africa), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal) and Antananarivo (Madagascar). These pools are responsible for collecting, processing and disseminating information in the regions concerned.
ADV teams will be covering African events around the clock with professionalism. “Our reporters will strive to ensure that reliability, objectivity and neutrality are respected. Our vocation is to become a strong brand, which will highlight its pan-African and civic role, “says Toussaint Alain.
Through its network of correspondents, ADV will provide comprehensive coverage in text, photo, video and computer graphics of African news. All themes will be covered: politics, economy, environment, culture, media, high-tech and technology, social events, major continental or world sports events, etc.
Available in French, English and Arabic, ADV products and services will be available via a website, a newsletter and an application on tablets and smartphones. ADV will also be present on social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. The agency will also use instant messaging applications to communicate with users via these platforms.
Last but not least, ADV aims to consolidate its continental and international presence. “Thanks to cooperation agreements, we are considering the full deployment of our agency worldwide, particularly in Asia, Europe and America. We will therefore rely on a network of media partners in Africa and outside the continent,” concludes Toussaint Alain.
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