Thursday, October 25, 2012

Malawi oil: A blessing or a curse?

The prospect of oil under Lake Nyasa (known as Lake Malawi in Malawi) holds great promise for one of the poorest countries in the world. With an economy dependent on agriculture and one of the world's lowest GDP per capita, oil wealth could revolutionise the fortunes of Malawi's economy.

At the same time, however, the experiences of some other oil rich nations on the continent point to a different possible ending, courtesy of the so-called 'resource curse' whereby instead of contributing to a stronger economy and prosperous society, the valuable asset facilitates the rise of fat cat oil barons, institutionalised corruption and environmental catastrophe while the general populace is left in the same, if not greater, poverty as before.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Couple Jailed for Growing Marijuana for Charity

A British couple in their sixties have been jailed for growing marijuana in their back garden. Michael Foster, 62, and Susan Cooper, 63, from Little Sutton in Lincolnshire had been growing the illicit plant on their property for six years undetected by the local police. In fact, the only reason for their arrest was that an officer happened to be chasing a burglar nearby and detected the familiar smell of cannabis.

The couple, who made about $650,000 from selling the drug, dedicated large amounts of their profit to supporting a poor Kenyan village. They paid for the life-saving surgery of a young man who needed his leg amputated, they bought computers for an eye hospital in the village and they helped support children at a local school. The case was described by the Lincoln Crown Court as “the most unusual cannabis growing case of this type”, as the Guardian reported.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Entrepreneurship No Longer A Necessity In Africa?

The “Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa” study conducted by Monitor Group in partnership with Omidyar Network has revealed that despite significant challenges, entrepreneurship is gaining credibility as a vocation in Africa because individuals no longer see being an entrepreneur as a decision of necessity but one of aspiration.

The survey, which was carried out on entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, shows that more than half of the respondents (57 percent) consider entrepreneurship a desirable career choice.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Red Cross Red Crescent Prioritize Africa

Hundreds of Red Cross Red Crescent leaders representing African National Societies and their partners today united in Addis Ababa for the 8th Pan African Conference (PAC).

Held every four years, the conference is an opportunity for delegates from across the continent to come together to discuss humanitarian and development challenges facing Africa, to exchange ideas and experiences, and to pave a way forward for the coming years.

‘If religion was taken Away, I’d be happy’ - Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka
The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, spoke this week at the Hay Festival in Mexico. In an extract from his talk, he tells Peter Godwin that now is the time to tackle militants in Nigeria

Professor Soyinka, you’re not an ivory-tower kind of writer. You are not a stranger to danger, and in fact you’ve been imprisoned on at least two occasions, once in solitary confinement. Can you tell me what that was like?
Writing in certain environments carries with it an occupational risk. When I was imprisoned, without trial, it was as a result of a position I took as a citizen. Of course I used my weapon, which was writing, to express my disapproval of the [Biafran] civil war into which we were about to enter. These were people who’d been abused, who’d undergone genocide, and who felt completely rejected by the rest of the community, and therefore decided to break away and form a nation of its own.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apps Revolutionizing Agricultural Worldwide

The 16th of October is World Food Day with the main objective being to increase public awareness of global food problems that countries are currently experiencing, as well as to strengthen unity amongst nations in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Smartphones and mobile apps play an important role in helping countries overcome some of these problems.

In fact, today with the advancements in technology, what we are witnessing is that these improvements are allowing a sector, like the farming community, the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and insight all through an application that can be downloaded on their smartphones.

CPA or MBA: Overcoming the Dilemma

A few weeks ago, a student walked up to me and said: “Mwalimu (teacher) I’m confused”.

I did not understand what she meant so she continued: “A CPA or MBA programme? 

You see, I am good in math but I am not sure my analytical skills are sufficient to pursue financial analysis. I also do not think I would like to get into banking.

Will I have to be an accountant my entire professional life?”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

China desires Peace in Africa

China Africa
China could soon expand its involvement in peace and security issues in Africa, according to government officials, researchers and academics from both the Asian giant and resource-rich continent who met at the second China-Africa Think Tanks Forum in Ethiopia.

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, the director of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia that organised the forum, told IPS that it should not come as a surprise that China is interested in peace and security on the African continent.

“There is nothing that is not touched by peace and security. Whether you’re (looking) for investment collaboration, economic operation or anything else. Peace and security has to be in place. Because that’s the central instrument that keeps the environment for any other interaction and collaboration together,” Gebrehiwot said.

Monday, October 15, 2012

AUC launches the Pan African University Steering Committee

African Press Organisation
The Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Professor Jean-Pierre Ezin. on 13 October 2012, inaugurated the Pan African University Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a precursor of the PAU Council and consists of representatives from key stakeholders including PAU hst governments, host universities, Regional Economic Communities, Youth and Women’s organisations, the 
Association of African Universities, Private Sector and Civil Society. The Steering Committee is to oversee the process towards opening the first three PAU Thematic Institutes in November 2012. These are the PAU Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation in Kenya; PAU Institute for Life and Earth Sciences in Nigeria and the PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences in Cameroon.

Last word: Rape is not an African problem

Rape in Africa
I've just finished reading Gypsy Boy – an autobiographical work by Mikey Walsh where he documents harrowing childhood experiences.

In this vivid and moving account of his formative years as a Romany gypsy, he describes the sexual abuse he suffered at six years old when he was repeatedly raped by his own uncle.

Reading such a book reawakened my anger about sexual abuse in Africa, in particular my country Nigeria.
Rape itself is not an African problem; it is a human menace. However, in Africa, the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

EAC losing billions on wheat imports

Wheat in Africa
Proper use of rainwater and fertiliser for wheat farming in the East Africa Community will save an estimated $1.4 billion used every year on wheat imports, regional researchers said.

This money could then be invested in boosting investments in rainwater harvesting, irrigation and bulk buying of fertilisers.

Researchers estimate that the current wheat production in the EAC is about 25 per cent of the regional potential, leading to imports of 1.6 million tonnes of grain every year.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad now a Bankrupt Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad
A U.S. District Court jury ruled Zanker and the Annex were entitled to a certain percentage of the profits from those engagements.

Zanker told the New York Post he was responsible for making Rich Dad, Poor Dad into the global name it is today.

‘I took Kiyosaki’s brand and made it bigger. The deal was I would get a percentage and he reneged,’ Zanker said.

‘We had a signed letter of intent. The Learning Annex is the greatest promoter. We put his ‘Rich Dad’ brand on a stage. We truly prepared him for great fame and riches. But when it was time for him to pay up, he said no.’

Review of ‘There Was A Country’ by Achebe

Chinua There was a Country
In our house in Nsukka, the small university town in eastern Nigeria where I grew up, my parents’ bedroom harboured a cupboard, reached only by standing on a stepladder. In that cupboard lay a battered brown leather satchel, filled with memorabilia from Biafra. I remember Biafran stamps, currency notes and coins, photographs, receipts, letters and a small green hard backed pamphlet: The Ahiara Declaration.

From time to time, under conditions of great secrecy, the satchel would be brought down and my brothers and I would be allowed to rummage through it as my parents told us stories of their harrowing experiences during the war. We would look at photographs of friends and family “lost” in the conflict, or during the massacres of Igbos that preceded it. We would marvel at the lightness of the Biafran coins. I don’t remember my parents explicitly saying it, but somehow it was communicated to us that the satchel and its contents were not things to be discussed outside the family home.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Libya has evidence to try Kadhafi son, say lawyers

Gaddafi's Son Seif Al Islam
Libya has enough evidence to charge Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam with crimes against humanity, lawyers told the International Criminal Court on Tuesday amid a dispute over where he should face justice.

The ICC wants Seif, the only son of the slain Libyan leader in custody, to be tried in The Hague, but Libya's post-revolutionary authorities insist he should stand trial in his home country.

A probe "has already produced considerable results," Libya lawyer Philippe Sands told a two-day hearing on Seif's fate. "There is a wide range of evidence that will constitute an indictment the same as that presented by the ICC's prosecutor."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Obama’s brother banned from taking son to US

George Obama
A Nairobi court has stopped US President Barack Obama’s half-brother from taking his three-year-old son to America and ordered him to produce the child in court.

Mr George Obama, 30, was sued by his girlfriend who claims that he forcefully took away the boy on September 6 from her Huruma Estate home in Nairobi where they were celebrating the child’s birthday.

FYI: Twitter and Facebook Are Better Than Sex and Booze

I do agree that the youth of today are a little different from we were when we were young but I’m afraid that I really don’t believe this particular piece of research. Which seems to be claiming that checking Twitter and Facebook is better, or perhaps more addictive, than sex, booze or even tobacco.
"Checking social networking sites is more tempting than sex and cigarettes, a study has revealed.Researchers at Chicago University’s Booth Business School used BlackBerrys to log reports about participants’ willpower and desires over seven days.

Kenyan MPs raise taxes, take a Heavy Bonus

Demonstrators marched through Nairobi’s capital today to protest another attempt by Kenyan lawmakers to boost their pay, after it emerged the officials had voted for a $25 million bonus for when they leave office.

In a quiet amendment added to the Finance Bill late Thursday, members of Parliament approved a golden handshake of $110,000 each to be paid after their term ends early next year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Sexual Abuse in Prisons

“Here is the mess,” the warder said when he shoved Michael Adams* into an overcrowded cell in Allandale Prison, near South Africa’s Cape Town, 10 years ago. That first night, Adams was raped by two men, and he was repeatedly assaulted during much of his time behind bars.

“Two gangsters came over to me and made me stand naked in front of the gang,” he said recently, now out of prison and working at a hospital. “They did things to me.”

After his ordeal, a nurse told him, simply, “This is what happens in prison.” When he complained, the warder laughed at him.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Messi Vs Ronaldo: In-depth Analysis

When Barcelona meet Real Madrid the biggest subplot is the battle of Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo is the world’s most expensive player, Real having signed him for $131 in the summer of 2009. Prior to that he had been signed by Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon as an 18-year-old.

They are two of the highest paid soccer players in the world game.

Messi has a release clause of $400 million and his rise to the top could not

Appreciate your Beautiful Breasts

As a woman, I can tell you that I’m in a relationship with my breasts. After all, they’ve always been there for me. And God willing, they will never leave me. On a good breast day, I look in the mirror and appreciate my beautiful twin towers. On a bad day, the can look like they’ve been the unlucky victims of a terrorist attack. Most days, I just appreciate them for what they are and we carry on our business like an old married couple.

It might seem like every woman has a pair, but being blessed with breasts is not a given. So many women around the world have lost their breasts to the terror of cancer. Many have even lost their lives.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Air Force Captains Steal Eritrean Presidential Jet, Defect to Saudi Arabia

Presidential Jet
In an event that is sure to embarrass Eritrea’s long-time ruler, two pilots of that country’s armed forces fled the country on Tuesday, flying in none other than the presidential jet. According to Jazan News, on Tuesday the air force captains flew the aircraft at low altitude across the Red Sea towards Saudi airspace, and were met by two Saudi F-15 fighter jets before landing at a regional airport in the Southwestern city of Jizan.

The two pilots have been tentatively identified as Yonas Woldeab and Mekonnen Debesai -- a witness at that airport reported seeing two men disembark from the aircraft, and multiple sources report they’ve sought political asylum from Saudi authorities.

Facebook Surpasses 1,000,000,000 Users; East Africa Lagged Behind!

As Facebook announced that it hit the 1 billion users mark last week, becoming the world’s third largest “country,” penetration remains relatively low in East Africa and much of the rest of Africa.

However, this could be the next frontier for the social networking site to grow its business.

The rate of new users joining Facebook has been slowing down globally over the past few years, a new report by research analysts Jeffries Group shows.

The slowdown has been most pronounced in North America and Europe — in Norway, for example, nearly two-thirds of the entire population already have a Facebook account.

Has God relaxed his standards?

Church Going
The culture of disregarding norms has reached the inner sanctums of holiness throwing old assumptions under the grind of progress

“Do not open your mouth in church unless to sing, receive sacrament, and say a respectful Amen.” Those were some of wise words of my grandmother the first time I whispered in church right after she let me know that there was a very hot place that awaited people who disrespected God by talking in church. It stuck in my young mind mainly because her sermon was served together with a very sharp pinch to the thigh and I still find it hard to say anything in church even if we are asked to do so by the reverend.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Obamas Celebrate their 20th Wedding Anniversary

Obama & Michelle Wedding DayMichelle Obama famously forgot her first wedding anniversary to her hubby, Barack. The week of the couple's first marriage milestone, as Michelle recalled on "The View," "He asked me, 'Well, what are we going to do on Saturday?' And I go, 'What's Saturday?' And it was our anniversary -- I forgot." Barack's response? "Cold."

The first lady has gotten better at remembering the special day, particularly this year: it's the Obamas 20th anniversary, marking two decades since the pair got hitched at Trinity United Church in Chicago on October 3, 1992. Mazel tov!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Malawi stops talks with Tanzania on Lake Nyasa/Malawi Dispute

* Africa's third largest Lake may have oil, gas reserves
* Malawi has exploration deal with UK-based Surestream
* Tanzania claims 50 pct of lake, Malawi all of it

Malawi has cut off dialogue with Tanzania in a long-time territorial dispute concerning Lake Malawi, thought to sit over highly coveted oil and gas reserves.

Malawi claims sovereignty over the entirety of Africa's third largest lake, while Tanzania says 50 percent is part of its territory. The row, which goes back half a century, could worsen if significant oil and gas discoveries are made.

Sperm Business on Boom

Sperm has become one of the hottest commodities being sold in Ghana and many parts of the world. The target market for this new booming venture are couples suffering from male infertility, lesbian couples, and single women who pay huge amounts of money to access it.

“Selling of sperm is gradually becoming the new business frontier booming in Ghana because it has many uses in today’s society: making babies, sperm banks, and putting volume in limp hair in order to make it long,” a medical student at the University of Ghana Medical School, who sold sperm five times to a Fertility Centre in Accra.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Is poverty a choice African leaders have made for their people?

Children, Africa, Poverty
Poverty is a choice Africa has taken and will remain so as long as the mindset of our leaders remain the same, i.e. putting self-preservation above the people’s interests. That these leaders have managed to get away with it, is testimony to the apathy of the African people...

I recently read a book titled: Why Africa is poor – and what Africans can do about it by Greg Mills, a white South African with a lot of experience working in Africa. Mr Mills argues, quite convincingly, that sub-Saharan Africa has remained poor because its leaders have opted for actions leading to poverty while their counterparts in Asia chose the high road to wealth creation.

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