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New Africa’s Sustainable Development report urges improved planning to leverage potential of urbanization and address attendant environmental challenges

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The latest report on Africa’s sustainable development urges governments to strengthen their urban planning capacities to manage the potential of the region’s ever-expanding cities and address environmental challenges including climate change, droughts and floods.

The 2018 Africa Sustainable Development Report titled “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient continent” was launched on Tuesday 4 December during a special event held at the 13th Africa Economic Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

In one of its key findings, the report indicates that the proportion of Africans (excluding North African) with access to safe water was 23.7 percent, barely one third of the global average of 71 per cent, which is generally low by global standards and characterized by wide disparities between and within countries.

The 2018 ASDR finds that access to electricity in Africa is increasing, albeit at a pace lower than the population growth, and that the continent’s abundant renewable energy potential remains largely untapped.

Africa is the fastest urbanizing region globally, but the potential benefits are not yet fully exploited; Efficiency in energy use is improving but reliance on biomass poses a challenge to progress. Africa outperforms most of the world’s regions in the conservation and sustainable use of its mountain resources.

The report finds that countries such as Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, which rank high on science and innovation in Africa, invest a relatively higher share of their GDP in research and development than their peers and provide higher incentives for the private sector to carry out research than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

The report is a joint annual publication of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme – Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP-RBA).

Speaking on behalf of the various organizations that co-authored the report, various distinguished panellists present at the launch made the following comments.

Victor Harison, AUC Commissioner for Economic Affairs: “There is an urgent need to sustainably manage Africa’s diverse natural resources, including land and water for agriculture, forests, minerals, oil and gas.”

Chidozie Emenuga, Divisional Manger, African Development Institute of the African Development Bank: “This definitive report clearly documents the extant trends, opportunities and challenges facing the continent as it marches towards attainment of its development goals. The Bank’s input in the report aligns with our role as a knowledge partner, fostering the development of our regional member states.”

Adam Elhiraika, ECA Director of the Macroeconomics and Governance Division: “Africa has made progress in the six areas targeted by the report though much more still needs to be done. The report is crucial as it points us in the right direction as we seek to accelerate progress on the SDGs to eradicate poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030.”

Ayodele Odusola, UNDP Africa Chief Economist and Head of Strategy and Analysis said: “Robust innovation systems that drive urbanization and sanitation require a sound infrastructure that connects the science community and researchers to the private sector and the government. This in turn is vital for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.”

This year, the report cast its focus on five of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation; SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy; SGD 11 – Sustainable cities and communities; SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production; and SDG 15 – Life on Land; and the related objectives contained in Agenda 2063, the African Union’s development framework. The 2018 ASDR also includes a chapter on the role of Science, Technology and Innovation as an important means of implementing Goal 17: Partnership for the goals.

The annual Africa Sustainable Development Report is the only publication that simultaneously tracks the continent’s performance on both agendas using the Continental Results Framework endorsed by the African Union Heads of State and Government.

African Development Bank

NGOs - SDGs

Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020 open for submissions from African Innovators

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Zayed Sustainability Prize 2019 finalists.

UAE’s pioneering global award issues global call to organisations and high schools to submit their sustainability solutions and projects

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, February 7, 2019/ — The Zayed Sustainability Prize (www.ZayedSustainabilityPrize.com) submissions for the 2020 edition are open to applicants from across the African continent. The UAE’s pioneering global award for rewarding innovation, impact and inspiration in sustainable development solutions has announced that from 30thJanuary to 30thMay, it will be inviting organisations and schools to submit their entries in one of its five categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools.

Building on the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and since being established in 2008, the Prize’s winners have delivered direct and indirect positive impact to more than 318 million people around the world. Formerly known as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, a strategic refocus, in April 2018, has seen the Prize broaden its scope from an initial focus on energy, to address global sustainability priorities.

The Prize’s five categories are designed to closely align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reward global organizations that empower and enhance disadvantaged communities – while also inspiring schools to nurture the next generation of sustainability leaders.  While the scope of each submission may vary, examples of winning solutions and school projects include: the facilitation of access to healthcare technologies in rural regions, improving food security and encouraging sustainable agriculture, delivering greater access to energy for off-grid communities, offering affordable clean drinking water and sanitation solutions, as well as enhancing education, training and advocacy.

Over the past decade participation from Africa has been growing and for the 2019 edition of the Prize, Africa received more entries than any other world region, reflecting the continent’s rapidly-growing innovation ecosystem. Additionally, African innovators won in two of five categories including Food and Global High Schools. To build on this, more innovators from the continent that create positive and sustainable solutions for the region’s people, are encouraged to enter into the 2020 edition of the Prize.

Speaking ahead of the launch, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “The Prize’s broader recognition of sustainability solutions marked a significant milestone in the Prize’s evolution, in line with the UAE leadership’s vision to support ideas and efforts aimed at building a sustainable future. Inspired by Sheikh Zayed’s vision for global sustainability and humanitarianism, the Prize now recognizes more innovations, reaches more communities, and further underlines the priority of human impact, in everything we do.”

“Building on the Prize’s 11-year track record of awarding exceptional innovations, we hope to continue attracting and rewarding the world’s foremost sustainability pioneers, while encouraging an agenda that supports an integrated approach to resolving global sustainability challenges,” he added.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize has a three-stage evaluation process, beginning with the due diligence conducted by a reputed international research and analysis consultancy. Following this, the shortlisted entries undergo evaluations by a Selection Committee to determine the finalists. From these finalists, a Jury selects the winners, in all five categories, including winning schools from six world regions. The regions are: The Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Europe & Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia & Pacific.

The evaluation criteria for the Health, Food, Energy and Water categories are:

Impact: Significant and tangible outcomes on the quality of people’s lives.

Innovation: Distinctive characteristics to change the “status quo” and potential to catalyse opportunities that will have a disruptive positive impact and transformative change.

Inspiration: The potential to scale up project outcomes, in the next decade, and the ability to inspire others.

For the Global High Schools category, their projects should be designed to deliver positive educational impact, including providing access to quality education and ensuring students are given key skills and enhanced abilities to achieve their goals. Similar to the other categories, each project should ideally demonstrate new and innovative approaches and be inspirational to others.

Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020 will be announced at the annual awards ceremony held during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, in January next year.

Winners of each category will receive US$600,000 in prize funds to enhance and develop their existing solution. In the Global High Schools category, six schools from six world regions will receive up to US$100,000 each, to create or enhance a school or local community project.

For more information go to www.ZayedSustainabilityPrize.com.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zayed Sustainability Prize.

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NGOs - SDGs

Facebook partners with more than 20 African NGOs for Safer Internet Day 2019

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The campaign covers most of sub Saharan Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 4, 2019/ — In line with its commitment to building a safer online world for all, Facebook (Facebook.com) is supporting Safer Internet Day (5 February) with a campaign spanning 15-plus African countries. Aligning with the Safer Internet Day call to action – “Together for a better internet” – by joining hands with more than 20 non-profit organisations and government agencies, the campaign aims to raise awareness about Internet safety and security concerns such as cyber bullying and cyber-crime.

Facebook is supporting the Safer Internet Day by:

  • Sponsoring the printing of online safety awareness booklets.
  • Facilitating training sessions.
  • Creating a family-friendly animation to help raise awareness of the Facebook Safety Centre (https://www.Facebook.com/safety)

“We know that safety is a shared conversation, which is why we are excited to be working with so many stakeholders around the continent to make the Internet a better place,” says Sherry Dzinoreva, Public Policy Programs Lead at Facebook Africa. “Together, with Safer Internet Day as a platform, we can address emerging online concerns, so that people and especially children and the youth, can get the most from their Internet experience.”

The campaign covers most of sub Saharan Africa, including Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Facebook’s highlights for the week of Safer Internet Day include:

South Africa
Facebook is partnering with The Film and Publication Board (FPB), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), Google, Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) to launch the Web Rangers Programme 2019. Facebook is also supporting this effort with educational content. Facebook’s Emilar Gandhi will participate in panel sessions to talk about how Facebook strives to keep its community safe.

“Together for a Better Internet is a call to action for every government agency, private company, civil society organisation and citizen of South Africa. A force for good, the digital world also holds some dangers. But these dangers are all created. In and of itself the internet can only cause harm if it is used expressly for that purpose. We all need to respect the rights of others on the internet, as much as we expect our rights to be respected,” says Film and Publication Board spokesperson, Lynette Kamineth.

Kenya 
Facebook is supporting Watoto Watch’s Safer Internet Day event for students at Ngunyumu Primary School in Nairobi. The event is the launchpad for the “A Million Campaign”, which seeks to raise awareness about online safety among schoolchildren. Facebook is providing ad credits and safety booklets for the event.

“The Internet enables us to connect with friends and family, access a wealth of knowledge and information, and express our thoughts and creativity,” , says Lillian Kariuki, Executive Director at Watoto Watch. “Along with these positives, children also need to understand how they can manage online risks as they make use of the Internet’s resources. Our aim, with the help of Facebook, is to equip children with this knowledge.” 

Nigeria 
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria is running workshops on safer internet use as part of its LIFE program in Kano, Lagos and Aba. Facebook’s Safe Online trainers will run two-hour workshops in both PIN’s LIFE Centers and at schools in Kano and Lagos for this initiative.

“Working with Facebook on online safety aligns with our focus on driving digital inclusion and educating the youth about their digital rights,” Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programs at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria “This programme promises to equip the children who participate with skills and knowledge that will enable them to make confident use of the Internet in their day to day lives.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Facebook.

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NGOs - SDGs

SAHARA GROUP, CHERIE BLAIR QC, CBE, DISCUSS PROMOTION OF SDGS IN AFRICA

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Davos, Switzerland, February 4, 2019: Leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group is set to explore opportunities with Cherie Blair in a bid to enhance sustainable development in Africa through access to technology, education and food security.

Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina, Director, Governance and Sustainability, Pearl Uzokwe and Head, Corporate Communications, Bethel Obioma, met with Cherie Blair and her Omnia Strategy team in Davos at the recent 2019 World Economic Forum where both parties acknowledged the need for sustained collaboration and involvement of the private sector in the quest to leapfrog Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Speaking at the meeting, Adesina said Sahara Group, in line with its vision of bringing energy to life, was constantly seeking opportunities to partner reputable institutions in its quest to give wings to the aspirations of individuals and businesses in Africa.

According to him, “Sahara has a remarkable precedent of being at the forefront of private sector participation in driving sustainable development. We are currently working with the United Nations on promoting food security in addition to our interventions through the Sahara Foundation. We are strongly focused on building an ecosystem that will make Africa competitive, improve the quality of life of our people, and create wealth through alignment with global partners who share our vision and passion. We look forward to exploring possible intervention projects with Cherie and Omnia Strategy.”

Mrs. Blair noted that Africa would need to embrace technology to accelerate development and create systems that will sustain transparency in business and empower the people, especially women. She added that a commitment to good corporate citizenship and focusing on the relationship between business and human rights is increasingly critical to not only companies but consumers and politicians.

“I think technology plays a huge role in the development of Africa. We have witnessed a marked improvement in the ease of doing business since the inception of mobile money platforms in Africa. This has improved access to funds for small businesses and seamless payment for services without the intervention of middle men. Enhancing access to funds through technology is critical to achieving economic development and prosperity. I believe there are many interventions we can establish working with the Sahara Group,” Mrs. Blair said.

Mrs. Blair also said the fact that the development of mobile apps is becoming commonplace in everyday activities is indicative of the role technology can play in driving sustainable development in Africa. I have seen through my own foundation (Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) how mobile technology is helping farmers till the land better in Africa and find the best price for their produce using mobile apps. These apps are also being used to deliver primary health care options and information to mothers, making people healthier and more productive.

Mrs. Blair said the three most pressing issues Africa needs to focus on include: education, infrastructure development and food security

Uzokwe said the above were issues that Sahara Group remained passionate about, adding, “we believe that more than ever before, cooperation is needed to transform Africa and Sahara Group is delighted to explore how we can deliver the SDGs in Africa, working with Cherie Blair and her Omnia Strategy team, as well as other stakeholders.”

Both parties will have follow up meetings to determine the terms of reference for the partnership amongst other deliberations.

@SaharaGroup

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