May 10th, 2013 12:10 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
In a few weeks, the UK government will host a major international event in London called Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science. Happening just days before the 2013 G8 Summit in Lough Erne, it will bring together governments, businesses, scientists and civil society to examine strategies that could improve the quality and quantity of food available to the world’s poorest people.
Back in March I attended a highly energised meeting of African civil society organisations in Ethiopia, who had gathered for Africa’s biggest annual forum on agriculture and where we launched our report A Growing Opportunity. We all agreed an urgent message needed to be sent to the international community before the June summit in the UK.
As a result, ONE together with 36 other African organisations have written to UK Prime Minister Cameron asking his government to ensure that African-led agriculture is at the heart of the Nutrition for Growth event, and specifically the existing CAADP plans.
CAADP stands for the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program. It has already created momentum to reform agriculture in 40 out of 53 African countries and many more are joining. This makes it the single best existing framework that would support the G8 to deliver excellent results from their food security and nutrition investments on the continent.
CAADP will also become the central organising vehicle for the African Union year of Agriculture in 2014. African states have committed themselves become more accountable to their people on accelerated progress in fighting hunger and helping small-holder farmers access better investment, technology and markets to sell their produce.
African leadership, political will and investment is critical to realising the poverty reducing potential of African agriculture. The private sector and international community also has a very important supporting role to play in investing in African-led agriculture.
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, has said, “Africa has potential, but it cannot eat potential. More coordinated action is needed”.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, the G8 must build on the momentum growing across Africa and fund the agriculture plans already in place.
May 9th, 2013 5:35 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
ONE US Policy Manager David Hong and ONE Africa Deputy Director Nachilala Nkombo look at the progress made by Grow Africa in the last year.
Today, five African heads of state, four G8 development ministers, and over 100 private sector companies will meet in Cape Town, South Africa at the World Economic Forum on Africa to assess Grow Africa’s work in 2012, the partnership’s first full year in business.
First, here’s a little background. Two years ago, the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency, and the World Economic Forum combined forces to create a new partnership, Grow Africa, which aims to reduce poverty by accelerating private sector investment in African agriculture.
The partnership is led by the organisations above, and includes eight member countries and various stakeholders such as host governments, companies involved in investment, civil society, research institutions, and farmer organisations.
Here at ONE, we’re taking this opportunity to weigh in on Grow Africa’s first annual report. Overall, the initiative made significant progress last year, especially given the small size of its team. ONE hopes for further and more robust reporting in the coming years so the partnership can demonstrate its value and defend its model. Annual reporting gives Grow Africa an opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned over the past year and what challenges lay ahead.
Here are the headlines:
Obviously, there is a lot to commend here. Thousands of smallholders are being incorporated into commercial food supply chains where they’re growing more food and generating more income for their families. If Grow Africa adds further measures to increase transparency and expand reporting of poverty reduction indicators, the partnership could change the game for farmers and businesses.
For more information on Grow Africa’s report and ONE’s analysis, check out this policy brief.
May 7th, 2013 3:57 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
Africa is a continent in transformation. With almost half of its countries now classified as middle-income, it is fast becoming a hub of global growth. It is also contending with an economic slowdown amongst its traditional trading partners, and an upsurge in economic interest from the world’s leading emerging economies.
Africa’s extractive resources are central to that interest. Growing demand from emerging markets and robust prices mean that African governments can expect resource revenues to continue growing. Over forty African countries are now involved in exploration for or production of extractive resources. Africa is poised as the new gas frontier: the west coast holds over 32 percent of natural gas reserves and countries across East Africa, from Tanzania to Mozambique, are gearing up to pump and export huge new reserves.
In many cases, extractives revenues vastly exceed inflows of aid. In 2010, Africa’s exports of oil and minerals were worth roughly seven times the amount of international aid to the continent. The ongoing global commodity boom offers exciting opportunities for Africa to convert its natural resource wealth into much-needed infrastructure, and to build healthy and educated societies.
The extractive industries in Africa are also closely associated with the so-called “resource curse” or paradox of plenty, where countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have lower economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer resources. Oil, gas and mineral exports have frequently led to distorted exchange rates caused by dependence on a single economic sector. Resource-rich countries have also been plagued by weak governance and corruption. This has led many citizens to view their rich natural resource endowments as sources of conflict and suffering, rather than growth and prosperity.
The Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of influential global leaders, has long been calling on the world to do more to tackle these problems. As the APP’s Chair, Kofi Annan, has emphasised how we need action not just from African governments but also from the foreign companies that pay bribes and distort their accounts for profit at the expense of Africa’s people. Combating corruption is a matter of both political and corporate will.
These issues are at the heart of the APP’s 2013 Africa Progress Report, to be launched this week at the World Economic Forum for Africa. Entitled Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s Natural Resources for All, the report highlights key challenges plaguing the extractive industries in Africa, and presents a series of policy recommendations geared towards creating a more transparent and equitably managed extractives sector.
The report makes clear that transparency is critical. The international community must demand tougher anti-corruption and transparency regulation from its oil, gas, and mining companies. Donors must support civil society with training and capacity-building to monitor government revenues. And companies need to disclose their final beneficial owners, and their payments to governments. Revenues from oil, gas, and mining companies cannot be a state secret. If a country is serious about using resource wealth for the benefit of its population, then its government must be fully transparent about how much money its resources are making.
Extractive resource sectors can be managed though systems that favor opaque budget management, corruption and environmental destruction, or they can be managed through open processes that are transparent and equitable. The first way cannot sustain our continent’s growth. The second way can truly transform Africa into a global powerhouse of wealth and wellbeing for all.
ONE will be at the World Economic Forum this week – follow @ONEinAfrica on Twitter for all the latest news and views from the event.
Apr 29th, 2013 1:49 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Mike Drachkovitch, manager of marketing and external relations at ONE, shares his interview with one of the creators of a magazine and brand that is challenging the accepted understanding of Africa. Photos: AITF.
Part conceptual magazine, part clothing company, AFRICA IS THE FUTURE, or AITF, is more of an ever-evolving creative project in time travel than anything else.
And that’s exactly what its co-founder and creative director, Nicolas Premiere, had in mind. Nicolas was born in France to a French mother and a Congolese father. He and his business partner Patrick Ayamam launched AITF with an important vision in mind: to change the way you think and talk about Africa.
We think he’s done just that.
Tell me about how you came to found AITF and the team behind it?
A cultural center organizing one of my exhibitions offered to print my t-shirts for the opening. I chose to print [AFRICA IS THE FUTURE] on 30 t-shirts. But it was two years later when AITF was born. There was another exhibition, another opening, where at least ten friends came with the famous t-shirt which led to the audience talking about the slogan, its meaning and Africa.
My friend Patrick and I were pretty surprised by all the discussions that the t-shirts generated.There were new angles, perspectives and ways to talk about Africa. We wanted this to happen again more widely and more often, so we reprinted more t-shirts! In recent years we’ve generated discussion in ways other than the t-shirts-AITF Magazine is the most recent example of this.
Let’s talk about your homepage. I’m intrigued by the teaser: everything you want to know about AITF but never dared to ask. Then, clicking through, it says: now you know. What was your reasoning behind this?
Now you know means there is no hidden truth or magical secret behind AITF-it’s a creative work that is crucial but surely not sufficient-we are not the solution. We do not pretend to change the world or Africa.
You also mention on your homepage how AITF questions how the world is told to us and renews the way Africa is represented. In your view, how is that world told to us and what’s the image of Africa you’re renewing?
AITF Magazine, with its fictional content, requires the reader to ask himself questions because everything that normally seems self-evident is reversed. Particularly the traditional image of Africa in the media: poor, sick, plagued by war. By giving Africa the leading role, AITF Magazine places the continent in a position that is nearly the same as the US today.
Your conceptual magazine is published 20 years from now in 2033. Why did you pick 2033?
What about the Addis Abeba Panthers?
Your brand utilises some timeless images and design work. Tell us your creative vision behind the look and feel of AITF.
How about U.R. Doctors for America – an American child vaccinated in our backyard of Virginia?
What’s your creative process like?
One of the statistics I find most exciting about Africa is that 65 percent of Africans are under the age of 35. I couldn’t help but think that AITF is trying to connect with this up-and-coming, change-making generation. Why?
Finally, if you could share a message with ONE members young and old, what would it be?
Big thanks to Nicolas for sharing his ideas with us. Check out the website and tell us what you think in the comments below.
Apr 24th, 2013 11:56 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
You might have seen her perform it when she closed out the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations here in Johannesburg back in February. Yvonne has recorded this version with Denis Dowlut, Michael Abdul and Themba Mhinga.
World Malaria Day is an important moment to focus global attention on the scourge of malaria. This completely preventable and treatable disease is transmitted by the bites of a specific species of mosquito. Yet as our partners at United Against Malaria note, it continues to kill a child every 60 seconds and causes 655,000 deaths every year—with the vast majority of these occurring across Africa.
ONE is fighting this disease through our campaign for the full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which finances medical treatment and prevention measures for malaria all over the world.
In addition to funding the fight, it is also essential to educate communities at high risk of exposure to malaria on how they can prevent it and seek treatment immediately if anyone in the family shows symptoms. UAM is working with some of Africa’s biggest football stars to raise awareness about malaria, as well as celebrated artists like Yvonne Chaka Chaka to carry the message through music.
And take one minute to sign our petition calling for world leaders to scale up their support for the Global Fund.
Apr 22nd, 2013 1:33 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Dr. K.O. Antwi-Agyei manages the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Ghana, where he oversees the day-to-day work to ensure vaccines reach children across the country.
Ghana’s health care system has put a lot of its resources into vaccines. Why?
Our communities have also been great because they embrace vaccination. They even testify that “Oh, our children used to die from measles. Now with vaccination, we don’t see measles.” And of course, they allow our staff into their homes. There is trust. We can now return to the communities with other vaccination campaigns. It’s marvelous.
What impact have vaccines had on the health of Ghana’s population?
For example, measles used to be the number two killer of children. Now it’s no longer a cause of death for the past 10 years in Ghana. So a lot has been achieved through immunisations.
Last year, you were the first immunisation chief in Africa to simultaneously roll out two vaccines, one protecting children against pneumonia and the other against rotavirus. Why did you decide to do that and, and what was the result?
Our desire to reach the Millennium Development Goal to reduce childhood death was a very big motivating factor. Apart from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea are the two highest killing diseases. So we thought, if there is no vaccine against malaria now, and there are vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea, then it’s worth fighting. So we decided to fight the two together. We thought it would be difficult, but not an impossibility. And with careful planning, we could succeed.
How important are Ghana’s community health workers in delivering the vaccines?
How does Ghana use data collection to improve immunisation coverage?
What is your long term goal for Ghana’s immunisation program?
This week is World Immunisation Week. Find out more about how ONE is supporting access to vaccinations.
Apr 19th, 2013 5:13 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
World Malaria Day is on Thursday 25 April, we’re marking it by inviting you to our Google+ Hangout where you can hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world.
If no have no idea what a Google+ Hangout is and are about to click away, WAIT! It’s a really easy way to get people in different places all talking to each other on your screen. You can interact by posting questions and comments, or just sit back and enjoy. You can watch the conversation live on either Google+ or YouTube. Still with us? Good.
Together, our guests will cut through the clutter and answer questions like:
We promise there will be no jargon or complicated science—just the truth about this incredible global battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
Our resident global health expert Erin Hohlfelder will be hosting some special guests and talking about how we can eradicate malaria, the technology that’s available, current on the ground projects, the progress already made and the challenges ahead.
If you have a question for any of our guests, leave it as a comment below and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can during the event.
Apr 10th, 2013 6:09 PM UTC
By Mzwandile Sibanda
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Chris Hani, the South African Communist Party General Secretary and Chief of Staff for the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
A hero to most South Africans, the anti-apartheid activist was tragically assassinated on 10th April 1993. It is truly sad that a man who worked so tirelessly in pursuit of seeing a democratic South Africa never got the chance to see the first democratic general election in 1994. It is in this respect that we honour the legacy of Chris Hani today with a heavy heart.
Chris Hani’s killer, Clive Derby-Lewis, made headlines two days ago by stating that he wanted to personally apologise for his crime. This request has been met with little sympathy from the public and Hani’s family. Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, has distanced herself from this and asked for people to respect her privacy on this day. Whether Derby- Lewis’s apology is genuine or not, it has been viewed as ill timed, coming days before the 20th Anniversary of Hani’s death. Many feel that it takes away from the day and sparks and ignites the wrong type of discourse on a very emotional occasion for many.
Lindiwe Hani, the daughter of Chris Hani said, “Chris Hani was always my hero, but I did not realise he was the whole country’s hero”.
I would like to add to that – he was not only a country’s hero, he was a continent’s hero too. Rest in peace Chris Hani.
Apr 10th, 2013 5:29 PM UTC
By Warren Nyamugasira
Earlier this year, government actually refunded some of the money it had lost to donors such as Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, at their insistence, but this has not been enough to appease donors collectively.
To do more, it has formed an inter-ministerial High Level Government Financial Management Reform Action Plan. The plan presented to donors includes better financial management, better investigations into corruption cases, indictments of those implicated in scams, and actual prosecution of those culpable.
The Bank of Uganda has already closed 165 dormant accounts which were among the avenues through which public funds were channeled to private accounts; accountants are to be rotated so that they do not build the necessary networks through which to steal; the leadership code, under which senior public servants declare their wealth and liabilities every two years, and which for long had not been used to challenge anyone’s wealth, is now being used by the police to match actual wealth with that declared by implicated officers. Special audits have also been conducted where there is suspected illicit activity. So far, over 100 case files have been opened by the police.
While quietly donors are pleased with the action and feel that if they stay away much longer they could leverage more and deeper reforms, they are not unaware of the unintended consequences and backlash of their actions. For example, as a result of the suspension of aid, some front line public servants such as teachers and health workers have not been fully paid their already meager salaries.
Furthermore, the government has just announced that it will phase out the lowest levels of health outlets (Health centre II) so as to save some money, thereby depriving those who are unable to get to higher centers. So when the government refunded money to donors and it was actually accepted, there was a chorus of condemnation of the donors by the public for inflicting double tragedy on the innocent. They also realise that they might have inadvertently reinforced the accusation that the government is more responsive to donors than its citizens.
They also realise that while government has moved, uncharacteristically swiftly, to put quite tough measures in place to reverse the rot, implementation is selective. Already one of the high profile culprits, who was found guilty and sent to jail over the GAVI funds, has already been released on some quaint technicality that confounds even the Inspectorate of Government that pinned him down in the first place. But perhaps the most unexpected consequence has been the introduction of the Internal Security Organization (ISO), a spy arm of government, into schools to undertake head count of pupils and teachers to unearth ‘ghost pupils and teachers’, all in the guise of pleasing donors. This ‘trust creep’ could lead to the militarisation of civil service and in future spell enduring disaster on the strength of our institutions.
President Museveni is an interesting man. Those who have studied him carefully will tell you that you can tell who is and who isn’t in his good stead from the way he shakes hands when he arrives to a waiting line of important officials. Those he greets almost in passing when his focus is already on the next person will know they are not that important to him. It would seem that even in this case, he is ‘greeting the donors’ with his face looking at China and the emerging partners.
In particular he is looking to China’s sovereign funds to fund important infrastructural projects. He has also developed a strategy to creatively leverage the future on oil reserves, in which partners like China will be more than willing partakers, has according to The EastAfrican, created “a unique moment in the country’s relations with its traditional donors”.
How will traditional donors position themselves on withheld aid? We shall soon know.
Apr 10th, 2013 1:00 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
This post is by ONE Chief Executive Officer Michael Elliott and was originally published on the Skoll World Forum website.
In 2008, ONE launched its first call for applications for the newly created ONE Africa Award. The award was the brain child of ONE’s good friend and now board member, Howard G. Buffett, who charged us with recognising innovative, dynamic, African-founded organisations, groups and individuals that are engaged in life-changing, innovative efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in their local communities, regions and countries. Five years later, we have been overwhelmed with the depth of creativity, enthusiasm and innovation coming from the continent; awarding the prize becomes more difficult each year.
Through this process, certain applicants have stood out. We’re particularly interested in recognising organisations that can tie direct service delivery elements—let’s say providing pro bono legal knowledge to women fighting for their rights —to innovative advocacy efforts that will result in systemic transformation of their nation’s prospects.
ONE’s unique role is spotlighting these organisations and helping them overcome a common challenge of social entrepreneurship – bringing projects to scale. All too often, a brilliant idea or system stays local when it has potential for a much broader impact at the state, country or regional level. But that’s where an award is useful — along the way, we do identify a number of “finalist” organisations so that we can feature their stories on our websites and social media streams in words, pictures and videos. These organisations often have budgets of only tens of thousands of dollars a year so even if they’re not a winner, we can often raise their profile enough in order to sustain and develop their efforts.
For example, 2011 Finalist Sylva Food Solutions, a Zambian social enterprise, comes to mind. From just an initial review of their application, they seemed like quite a successful catering and processed foodstuff business based in Lusaka. But we quickly learned about their efforts—through very sophisticated advocacy tactics—to change how Zambians ate.
The founder, Sylvia Banda, lamented that Zambians had turned their backs to the local, indigenous foods that surrounded them in favor of Western style foods, often processed so much that these foods lacked nutritional value. What did Sylvia do? She worked to create a market for local foods by engaging the government to do media campaigns on television and radio to promote local foods—even the then-First Lady of Zambia took up the mantle.
When Sylvia realized that she didn’t have enough quality produce to meet rising demand, she went out and recruited new farmers and taught them how to raise and select great produce that she could sell. And then she also worked to create a strong brand image around Sylva Food Solutions so that it is sought out by Zambians and the country’s diaspora. In short, Sylvia and her crew over the course of a few years created an entirely integrated supply chain and market that allows Sylva Food Solutions to scale up and compete successfully.
And that’s just one example. We keep finding social enterprise and civil society organizations all over the continent that have developed smart, effective solutions to development challenges. In 2012, we had two social enterprises make it in our top five finalists. One of the organizations, Muliru Farmers Conservation Group of Kenya, commercialized a traditional medicinal plant in order to tie the conservation of Kenya’s last rainforest to the economic interests of its surrounding human communities. Muliru worked with scientists to determine the extract (camphor) and consumer product specialists to create a range of Naturub® products that are sold throughout Kenya to treat colds and aches.
Just next door in Uganda, we found SOVHEN, a social enterprise that has found a way to manufacture sanitary pads from agricultural waste of bananas in order to help Uganda’s girls stay in school. The manufacturing process employs women from the local communities while another set of women then sell those pads within the communities, creating a social marketing arm for SOVHEN’s “Bana-pads.” SOVHEN also USES student groups to change the image of girls in school by spreading messages about the benefits of girls in schools.
While ONE still campaigns and advocates for the life-saving aid that the developed world sends to many African countries, the ONE Africa Award is a constant reminder to us that Africans are working every day to develop and bend the arc of its future to one of prosperity and opportunity. We know very well that Africa’s transformation won’t come because of what’s done from the outside; its citizens must demand change for themselves, and are increasingly doing so. But we’re still proud to acknowledge and recognize local heroes such as those who compete for the ONE Africa Award each year.
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The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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