South Africa likely to produce first EV in 2026: Minister

Reuters News

Signage is seen at an Osprey electric vehicle charging station in Wilmslow, Britain, October 17, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble Image used for illustrative purpose.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s automotive industry will likely produce its first electric vehicle (EV) in 2026, the trade minister said on Monday, as he outlined plans for the country’s green transport transition.

The electrification of transport is one of the key pillars underpinning South Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET) plan for a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.

The JET plan estimates that an investment of 128.1 billion rand ($6.84 billion) would be needed from 2023–2027 for the transport sector to contribute meaningfully to South Africa’s decarbonisation commitments.

South Africa is the largest automotive manufacturing hub on the African continent, hosting global brands such as Toyota, Isuzu, Volkswagen and Mercedes, among others.

It is also highly integrated into the global supply chain, drawing components from across the world and exporting the final consumer product to more than 150 countries worldwide. “We’re already producing hybrids but we anticipate that the first electric vehicles are likely to be produced already by 2026,” Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel told journalists.

Based on discussions his department was having with the automakers, the first batch of EVs will be limited. Growth should then accelerate between 2026 and 2030, with only one manufacturer anticipating moving into battery electric vehicle production after 2030, he added without naming any brands.

In a 68-page EV plan, the government outlined steps to support the transition, such as government incentives, a temporary reduction on import duties for batteries in vehicles produced and sold in the domestic market, and the commercialisation of green hydrogen production as a source of sustainable fuel.

It will also reform network industries, including freight rail and ports and implement energy reforms.

The country’s power crisis poses one of the risks as the country’s state-power utility Eskom struggles to keep the lights on.

The effective bans on CO2-emitting vehicles from 2035 in key markets like the European Union and UK will be profound, as they absorb nearly half of South African auto production, the plan read.

South African economy contracts 0.2% q/q in third quarter

Reuters News

Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters Image used for illustrative purpose only

South Africa’s economy contracted 0.2% in the third quarter of 2023 in quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted terms, compared to revised growth of 0.5% in the previous quarter, statistics agency data showed on Tuesday.

Q3 2023 sees stealthy 4% jump in agriculture export earnings in SA

Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

The latest trade data update from Trade Map shows another impressive performance from the agriculture sector with the value of export earnings jumping by 4% year-on-year to $3.9bn. The increased seasonal availability from bumper harvests in the horticulture and field crops underpinned this stellar performance.

Although slightly firmer in Q2, the rand exchange rate exchange rate depreciated by 14.4% year-on-year in Q3 2023 thus enhancing earnings in addition to the increased volumes and better prices for some of the products.

Major commodities exported included citrus, maize, apples and pears, nuts, wine, soybeans, sugar, and fruit juices. Citrus was already on its way to another excellent seasonal export performance towards the end of Q3 2023 with volumes up by 3% year-on-year at 159.1 million cartons (15kg) as of week 39, which is 96% of the original industry estimate.

Maize continued to enjoy strong growth in exports with an impressive 8.5% year-on-year surge in volumes exported at 1.64 million tonnes in Q3 dominated by yellow maize (81%) followed by white maize (19%) according to the South African Grain Information Services (SAGIS) data.

The path forward

The sector must continue to agitate for gains in market share and expand to new markets. Retaining and growing the export market provides an opportunity for expansion and foreign earnings.

This stellar performance was however not without hurdles and the longstanding trade distortions such as the uncompetitive phytosanitary measures on citrus by the EU, dilapidated roads, challenges at ports and railway infrastructure are yet to be finally concluded. Nonetheless, navigation around these issues with increased collaboration between industry players and Transnet has played a huge role in ensuring this good performance.

Further, the sector is constantly adapting to the changing landscape and has expanded despite tough conditions. More work is needed to unlock new markets and improve logistics in terms of rail and ports all of which are achievable through increased collaboration with government and the relevant State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Seizing opportunities

The long-term outlook is still positive on the back of the renewed impetus to open export markets following the conclusion of deals for exports of avocados to China and the reopening of the Saudi Arabian market for SA meat. The sector should take advantage of the recent success of the BRICS summit in SA to explore this market with 6 additional members.

From a volume perspective, the sector should take advantage of increased capacity in terms of prior investment in orchards with the non-bearing equivalent for citrus commodities at approximately 43%, 31%, and 21% for soft citrus, lemons, and grapefruit respectively. Even larger percentages are estimated for macadamias and avocados with non-bearing equivalents of 63% and 51% respectively. South African agriculture is therefore geared for export business and the wheels must continue to turn.

Nigerian banks’ credit to economy rises to in July 2023

Nigerian Tribune

Photo taken in Lagos, Nigeria. Getty Images Image used for illustrative purpose.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) most recent monthly economic report shows that deposit money banks (DMB’s) total credit extension to the economy increased to N38.3billion in Jul 2023 from N37.5billion in the previous month.

Specifically, the report shows that credit extension to the leading services sector was up by 3percent month on month (m/m) to N19.9billion. Consequently, its share of the total credit increased to 52.0percent from 51.6percent the previous month.

On a year on year basis (y/y) basis, their credit lending to the economy grew markedly by 39 percent y/y.

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The modest credit growth quarter on quarter (q/q) is attributable to banks’ tighter risk management framework due to the high-interest rate environment.

According to the report, DMBs’ credit growth to the services, industry, and agriculture sectors saw a slight m/m increase.

With respect to the three economic classifications, analysts from FBNQuest said the services sector has continued to outperform all other sectors for the past ten quarters. Additionally, the sector has been the primary driver of expansion in Nigeria’s economic activity.

The sector’s consistent robust growth has been supported by strong performances in sectors such as financial and insurance, information and communications, and trade.

The industry sector was the second-largest recipient of DMBs credit extension. It grew by a flattish (+1% m/m).

However, its contribution to the total share of credit reduced to 43.5 percent from 43.2percent.

Although DMBs credit growth to the agriculture sector increased by a paltry 1percent m/m, its share of contribution to total credit declined to 4.8percent from 4.9percent.

The report also shows that banks’ loans to consumers decreased by -3percent m/m to N2.6billion. Consequently, its share of the total credit allocation was reduced to 6.7percent from 7percent the previous month.

Underscoring the decline in consumer loans is the weaker demand for household credit caused by the elevated interest rate environment.

Africa’s hydropower plants set for upgrades to boost generation

Reuters News

Chemical symbols are displayed at a hydrogen station in Tokyo, Japan April 24, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose. Issei Kato, Reuters Images

CAPE TOWN – The African Development Bank (AfDB) is drawing up plans for $1 billion of upgrades to a dozen hydropower plants in Africa, bank officials said on Monday, boosting capacity that is often unable to meet the continent’s surging power needs.

Ranging from Nigeria’s largest 760 megawatt (MW) Kainji plant, to South Africa’s 2.7 MW Sol Plaatje, the refurbishments are expected to yield an extra 570 MW across the 12 projects. Work on the first plants is expected to start by June next year.

Plants in Sudan, Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo will benefit.

The upgrades would “accelerate the energy transition” away from fossil fuels, João Cunha, head of the renewable energy division at AfDB, said.

Although only a fraction of its potential is harnessed, hydropower is a cornerstone of renewable energy and water management in Africa, where climate change is worsening droughts and floods and hundreds of millions of people lack access to electricity.

But a lack of spare parts, obsolete components and poor maintenance has hit the continent’s hydropower. Plants, some built in the 1950s, have fallen into disrepair.

An AfDB-commissioned study in August by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) found that out of 87 plants across Africa, 21 with a total capacity of 4,600 MW needed urgent rehabilitation worth $2 billion. Another 31, totalling 10,000 MW, would need work in the next decade.

“Africa is facing an energy crisis, with limited supply, especially of renewable energy,” Anton-Louis Olivier, chairperson of the IHA, told Reuters.

More than 60% of Africa’s hydropower capacity came from plants more than 20 years old that need upgrades as longer-term projects were pursued, he added.

The plan seeks to raise output at Nigeria’s 600 MW Shiroro hydropower station close to Abuja, with an extra 100 MW using floating solar photovoltaics.

A senior official at Shiroro’s operator, North South Power Company, declined to comment as they negotiate with the World Bank, a senior official told Reuters.

Africa has around 300 new hydropower projects planned. However, Matthias Wildemeersch, senior researcher at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, said water shortages linked to climate change would harm “the economic viability of new hydropower projects across Africa”.

Addressing climate change and related environmental issues in Nigeria

Nigerian Tribune

Photo Taken In Lagos, Nigeria. Getty Images

“Climate change is the greatest threat to our existence in our short history on this planet. Nobody’s going to buy their way out of its effects.” – Mark Ruffalo

From north to south, Nigeria is blessed with rich biodiversity and an enviable climate. It possesses one of the largest land masses in Western Africa, with a boisterous population of over 213 million. Increased population growth, technological advancement, and unnecessary exigencies have resulted in the abuse of its precious natural resources, thereby setting the stage for climate change’s entrance into Nigeria’s ecosystem. It is no news that Nigeria serves as a prime example of this circumstance, contending with a notable deterioration of its environment. Rising temperatures, deforestation, and flooding, among others, present undeniable evidence of the eroding effects of climate change, which are apparent in the day-to-day lives of average Nigerians. According to USAID’s Climate Risk Profile 2019, key climate impacts on agriculture, human health, water, and energy are expected.

Nigeria faces notable vulnerabilities in terms of climate security, particularly in its environmental aspects. Coastal states such as Ondo, Bayelsa, Cross-Rivers, Delta, Lagos, Ogun, etc. are at risk of flooding, while the southwest and southeast regions are relatively less susceptible compared to other parts of the country. Among the southern regions, the south-south (Niger Delta region) is the most exposed due to factors like sea level rise, increased precipitation, coastal erosion, and flooding. These conditions have led to the displacement of numerous living settlements. On the other hand, frontline states like Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, etc. are prone to desertification as a result of the combination of rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, which has accelerated desert encroachment, resulting in the loss of wetlands and a significant decrease in surface water, flora, and fauna resources on land. Droughts have become a recurring occurrence in Nigeria. The drying up and potential disappearance of Lake Chad and other lakes in the country are also attributed to these droughts. Climate projections for the upcoming decades indicate a substantial temperature increase across all ecological zones. Additionally, the vulnerability pattern to climate change aligns with the prevalence of climate-sensitive agricultural activities. The northern regions of Nigeria, which have a higher degree of rurality, are more predisposed to the impacts of climate change.

From a socioeconomic standpoint, slow adaptation responses to changing temperatures, unpredictable rainfall patterns, storms, and rising sea levels have the potential to expose certain regions of the country to the risk of violent conflicts for resources. These conflicts, in turn, generate negative secondary impacts such as increased illness, hunger, displacement, and other consequences, thereby creating an environment conducive to conflict and social disorder. The indirect effects of climate change can manifest themselves in various ways, including economic instability, political unrest, and social inequality. For example, as extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, agricultural productivity may decline, leading to food shortages and price hikes. This can intensify existing inequalities and tensions within communities, potentially sparking conflicts over resources and exacerbating social divisions. Additionally, the displacement of populations due to climate-related disasters can strain already fragile social systems and lead to competition for limited resources, further fueling conflict. Ultimately, addressing the socioeconomic impacts of malnutrition caused by food shortages, the spread of infectious diseases and illnesses transmitted through food and water (e.g., typhoid fever, cholera), escalated air pollution, and higher temperatures associated with a rise in meningitis cases. Specific social groups are particularly vulnerable to these crises, including female-headed households, children, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, ethnic minorities, landless tenants, migrant workers, displaced individuals, sexual and gender minorities, older people, and other socially marginalized groups. The underlying causes of their vulnerability stem from a combination of factors such as their geographical locations, financial and socioeconomic status, cultural background, gender dynamics, access to resources and services, decision-making power, and justice. These unique circumstances make it challenging for the Nigerian government to effectively manage natural resources, maintain ecosystem stability, and address societal unrest. Consequently, this leads to a decline in agricultural productivity, which adversely affects women and youths who rely on it as an unstable source of livelihood.

According to the World Bank’s projection for 2023, Nigeria’s economy is expected to experience an average improvement of 3.4% between 2023 and 2025. This positive trajectory can be attributed to the implementation of newly adopted reforms, leading to a progressive recovery in the agriculture and services sectors, as well as increased government spending on development initiatives. However, it is important to acknowledge that climate change is likely to have severe impacts on low-income and marginalized communities in Nigeria. These effects pose significant challenges to poverty eradication efforts, as they negatively impact economic growth, the livelihoods of the poor, and their assets. The agricultural sector holds immense importance for both livelihoods and the overall economy of Nigeria. Problems related to crop yields and productivity can have adverse consequences for the country’s gross domestic product. Extreme weather events, such as floods, can undermine economic growth by causing damage to production and infrastructure, which often requires additional and unplanned expenditures. Furthermore, the long-term and short-term effects of carbon emissions and deforestation will harm Nigeria’s national output growth. While Nigeria’s economy is expected to improve in the coming years, it is crucial to address the challenges posed by climate change to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic development, particularly by safeguarding the agricultural sector and reducing carbon emissions and forest depletion.

Agriculture plays a vital role in Nigeria’s economy, serving as a significant contributor to the country’s GDP, second only to the oil industry. Unlike oil, which benefits a limited portion of the population, agricultural activities provide livelihoods for many Nigerians. With over 70 percent of the population engaged in agriculture as their primary occupation and source of income, the sector holds immense importance. However, climate change poses significant challenges to agriculture in Nigeria. Higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, droughts, and desertification lead to the contraction of farmlands, decreased agricultural productivity, and negative impacts on crop yields. In the coastal regions, increased rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, flooding, and erosion further contribute to the decline in agricultural production. It is worth noting that agriculture in Nigeria largely depends on rainwater for irrigation, making it difficult for farmers to plan and manage their operations due to unpredictable variations in rainfall patterns. The effects of climate change also extend to the fisheries sector, which is crucial for many Nigerians. Climate change alters the characteristics of freshwater resources, affecting fishing activities. Sea level rise and extreme weather events pose challenges to fishing operations, while inland fisheries and aquaculture face threats from flooding, increased salinity, and the shrinking of rivers and lakes. Unpredictable variations in rainfall, heat stress, and drought have adverse consequences for food production and can lead to food shortages. Meanwhile, the high susceptibility of northern states to climate change poses a significant threat to food security across the country. Additionally, drought conditions in parts of northern Nigeria have resulted in reduced access to drinking water. For these reasons, addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture and fisheries is crucial for ensuring food security, sustainable livelihoods, and economic stability in Nigeria.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) was established with the primary responsibility of overseeing environmental management and protection in Nigeria. In 1999, the Federal Ministry of Environment was established through the merger of FEPA and relevant departments from various ministries. However, there was a notable gap in the effective enforcement of environmental laws within the country. To address this deficiency, the Nigerian Federal Government established the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) on July 31, 2007. NESREA operates as a subsidiary of the Federal Ministry of Environment and currently plays a leading role in combating climate change in Nigeria. Even though Nigeria’s policies and targets demonstrate a reasonable commitment to curbing global warming using its resources, international assistance will be needed to achieve decarbonization of its economy while necessary emissions reduction remains consistent with a 1.5ºC limit. Here are some adaptive strategies that key stakeholders can apply to provide Nigeria with a competitive advantage in the climate change battle for survival:

• The government should finance agencies such as NEST (Nigerian Environmental Study and Action Team), NCCN (Nigerian Climate Change Network), and other environmental organizations to target all stakeholders and sensitize the public on the effects of climate change and practical strategies they can employ.• In a bid to encourage the shift towards sustainable energy, it is crucial for the government to actively motivate and provide incentives for the adoption of renewable energy sources. This action sets the tone to substantially reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources such as firewood and charcoal, which will greatly reduce deforestation.• Enhanced involvement of agricultural extension experts is crucial for the enhancement of local agricultural practices. The active engagement of agricultural extension services plays a vital role in elevating agricultural productivity through the provision of valuable farming insights, weather updates, and skill-building training to farmers. These services contribute significantly to augmenting farmers’ productivity by mitigating the effects of climate change while improving their proficiency in agricultural activities.• Corporate organizations should endeavour to innovate sustainable (eco-friendly) goods and services. They should ensure that they embrace sustainable practices as a fulfillment of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) by embracing sustainable practices throughout their operations. This entails adopting various measures such as emission and waste reduction, recycling initiatives, and investing in renewable energy sources.• Insurance: This can serve as an effective strategy for adaptation, offering several ways to mitigate the impact of climate change on policyholders. However, Nigerian insurers have not sufficiently acknowledged the significance of climate change, as there is no evidence to suggest that they have actively explored the incorporation of climate change and weather-related losses into their industry practices. There seems to be a general uncertainty about undertaking climate-related risks. To address this issue, the Nigerian government needs to provide support to private insurance firms through policies that foster public-private partnerships to incentivize insurance companies to offer coverage for climate-related impacts on agricultural businesses. By fostering such collaborations, the government can promote greater enthusiasm among insurance companies to address climate risks in their operations and expand coverage to those affected by climate change.• To fully incorporate climate change adaptation into all aspects of Nigerian society, it is crucial for Nigerians to possess awareness, knowledge, and accessible information regarding climate change, its impacts, and adaptation strategies. Additionally, individuals and communities need to acquire specialized skills to effectively tackle climate change risks and implement adaptation measures. It is essential to improve climate change knowledge infrastructure in Nigeria to effectively reach policymakers, community-based organizations, students, and researchers who play a frontline role in delivering adaptation projects. Therefore, as individuals, thereis an unspoken responsibility that falls on us to the environment to be responsible caretakers and adopt sustainable living conditions, which includes saving energy at home, throwing away less food, cleaning up your environment, and patronizing local products. Valuable information can be disseminated to citizens to strengthen their knowledge, thus equipping them with the necessary tools to address climate change challenges and implement successful adaptation initiatives within the community.

By adopting these adaptive strategies, Nigeria can position itself advantageously in the global fight against climate change and enhance its resilience to its impacts. In a nutshell, climate change is no doubt a daunting challenge that is a global issue. While the current rate of adaptation in Nigeria is alarmingly sluggish, all stakeholders must swiftly embark on coordinated efforts to effectively combat climate change and desertification. It is essential for Nigeria, and indeed the entire African continent, to take the lead in this urgent crusade for our collective future.

South Africa’s resilience revolution

Johannesburg City Skyline. Aerial View Of Illuminated Buildings In City At Night. – stock photo Photo taken in Johannesburg, South Africa. Image Courtesy: Getty Images Image for illustrative purpose
Getty Images/EyeEm

Employee engagement is the key to success amidst crisis.

Impacted by significant challenges, including a global pandemic, civil unrest, economic hardships and environmental disasters, South Africa stands at a crossroads. In this complex landscape, one spotlight-stealing factor cannot be ignored – employee engagement. The secret to navigating this arduous situation lies in the hearts and minds of its workforce. Employee engagement isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the linchpin of success. It’s the pulse that defines success or failure in these turbulent times.

In 2023, Bateleur Brand Planning, a recognised authority in market research and employee engagement, conducted the Vantage Point survey1, revealing that the key to thriving amidst adversity, the antidote to stagnation, and the catalyst for growth are engaged employees, the lifeblood of a resilient South Africa.

Impact of remote work

Remote work has become a prominent part of the South African work landscape. In this survey sample, 20% of the respondents worked from home, 47% from their offices, and 33% enjoyed a hybrid model. They spanned diverse industries, including education, health, retail, ICT, civil services, banking, insurance,

The research indicates that work-from-home employees are more satisfied with their working arrangements (74%) compared to those required to work at the office (54%). Hybrid workers fall in between, with 67% satisfaction.

Engagement levels vary significantly based on working style. Remote workers are the most engaged (62%), followed by hybrid workers (60.5%). Conversely, employees in entirely office-based roles have the lowest engagement (43.9%).

Older employees are generally more engaged than younger counterparts.

Engagement correlates positively with education and income, with better-educated and higher-income employees exhibiting higher engagement levels.

Interestingly, employees living in neighbouring countries have significantly higher engagement levels at 69.5%, raising questions about South Africa’s engagement challenges.

Engagement levels are less than ideal

In South Africa, current employee engagement levels fall short, with 53% of employees engaged, 27% neutral, and 20% disengaged.

– Engaged employees: Typically exhibit positive, committed, focused, and motivated behaviours with a ‘we’ mentality.

– Neutral employees: Tend to be passive, freewheeling, and content with achieving ordinary outcomes, exhibiting an ‘I’ mentality.

– Disengaged employees: Are often negative, rebellious, distracted, and indifferent, wishing they were elsewhere, displaying a ‘they’ mentality.

These results have remained relatively consistent over the past five years, with a slight increase during the initial Covid-19 pandemic. However, they have since regressed. This underscores the need for improvements in fostering a more engaged workforce, which is crucial for organisational success.

Factors influencing employee engagement

Leadership and organisational culture play a pivotal role in driving employee engagement. Purpose-driven leadership, characterised by vision, long-term objectives, and strategic planning, emerged as a critical factor. Effective leaders should exhibit emotive and personality skills, such as empathy and appreciation, while also possessing rational and functional skills, like decisiveness and guidance.

The urgent need for change

Gordon Hooper, Bateleur’s managing director, said: “South Africa’s economy and society face numerous challenges, and employee engagement plays a crucial role in addressing these issues. Achieving a highly engaged workforce requires inspirational and inclusive leadership. The statistics reveal a strong link between employee engagement, general happiness, and optimism for the country’s future.”

Call to action

South Africa’s economic future hinges on a substantial increase in employee engagement, which calls for a shift towards inspirational and inclusive leadership. Organisations should prioritise leadership development and foster cultures that emphasise empathy, appreciation, setting a good example, purpose-driven leadership, decisiveness, and guidance.

By prioritising leadership development and creating an inspirational and inclusive environment, South Africa can unlock the potential of its workforce, driving progress and prosperity for the nation.

Africa’s economic growth to slow in 2023, AfDB says as it slashes forecasts

The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016.
Reuters Images/Luc Gnago

Africa’s economic growth to slow in 2023, AfDB says as it slashes forecasts.
Real GDP growth is set to fall to 3.4% this year from 4% in 2022, before rising to 3.8% in 2024, the AfDB said in a report. In May, it predicted the economy would expand 4% in 2023 and 4.3% in 2024, after growing 3.8% in 2022.

The “scarring long-term effects” of the Covid-19 pandemic combined with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sending food and energy prices shooting upwards in 2022 have held back Africa’s initially strong economic recovery from the pandemic, the bank said.

“These factors have been compounded by…pockets of political instability across the continent, weak export demand due to tepid global growth, monetary policy tightening and associated increased cost of borrowing,” it added.

Most African countries have been locked out of international debt markets by prohibitively high interest rates since early 2022, with Ghana defaulting and Ethiopia stating it intends to restructure its single overseas bond.

The AfDB’s biggest cut to a 2023 growth forecast was for central Africa, where there has been a coup in Gabon and ongoing conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, to 4.1% from 4.9% in May.

East Africa’s growth forecast was cut by 0.7% to 3.4%, amid civil war in Sudan and with Kenya under pressure to repay or refinance a $2bn bond maturing in June 2024. North Africa’s growth forecast was also cut by 0.7%.

Southern Africa is set to record the continent’s lowest growth in 2023, at 1.6%, as rolling powercuts constrain output in the region’s largest economy South Africa.

Countries that don’t export commodities are expected to experience a higher rate of economic growth, even as that for commodity exporters falls.

Kenya calls on African Leaders to launch Green Industrialization Initiative

WAM (Emirates News Agency)

Image used for illustrative purpose. Getty Images

William Ruto, President of Kenya, and the UAE have joined to convene African Heads of State and other prominent personalities in a landmark event at COP28 to accelerate Africa’s Green Industrialization.

The launch event was attended by the Heads of State for Angola, Burundi, Djibouti, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia; COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber; Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt; Principals from leading green developers as well as industry, multilateral development banks, and key institutions from across the UAE and Africa.

Kenya’s Africa Green Industrialization Initiative aims to accelerate and scale green industries and businesses across Africa, promote climate mitigation and adaptation, and catalyze economic green growth on the continent.

In his remarks, President Ruto underscored that “the Initiative marks a concrete step toward the realization of the Nairobi Declaration, activating private sector-led scaling-up of green industrial clusters.”

African leaders unequivocally embraced the Africa Green Industrialization Initiative as the definitive pathway for their nations’ developments. Leaders discussed their plans to activate end-to-end socioeconomic transformation through the rapid growth of green industrial clusters, the strong role of regional and global export markets for value added green products and technologies, crucial for global clean energy value chain.

“We are forging a green pathway for Africa. Through strategic collaborations with industrial and energy developers across the continent, we have set in motion a virtuous cycle, fostering economic growth and sustainable job creation” stated, Macky Sall, President of Senegal.

The initiative of the Kenyan President underscores the importance of green industrialization to harness the African continent’s vast and high-quality resources to secure prosperity for all. Attendees at the event also stressed that Africa’s green industrialization is critical for the achievement of the world’s collective climate ambitions.

COP28 President, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, lauded the initiative as an opportunity to elevate the ambition of the COP28 Presidency’s Clean Energy program launched at Africa Climate Summit. “The UAE not only wants to support countries’ green industrialization: we want populations in those countries to have access to high-quality jobs and opportunities. This is the spirit of green industrialization.” He further emphasized that the challenge the African continent faces is not in the scarcity of resources but in the scarcity of “action”.

Participants at the event witnessed the strong progress of the USD 4.5 billion Africa Green Investment initiative, launched during this year’s African Climate Summit in Nairobi. Spearheaded by UAE’s Masdar, AMEA Power, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and Etihad Credit Insurance, with Africa50 as the strategic partner, this initiative has already allocated nearly USD 2.6 billion for green energy projects in 8 countries that will add about 1.8 GW of clean power to the African grid.

During the event, attendees learned of the UAE-led initiative’s project pipeline. Initiative’s partners also made several ambitious announcements that will not only contribute to clean energy generation, but also stimulate green growth and economic diversification, marking significant strides in Africa’s journey towards green industrialization.

Among announcements were Masdar’s plans to develop a 150MW solar power plant in southern Angola, a milestone project in Masdar’s wider commitment to deliver 2GW of renewable energy in the country. As the UAE’s flagship renewable energy company, Masdar is also exploring a collaboration with International Resource Holding, an affiliate of Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company, to decarbonize mining operations across the continent, starting with Zambia. AMEA Power announced, amongst other projects, a 300MW onshore wind power project in Ethiopia, the first IPP project in the country. They also announced the expansion of the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed 70MW solar PV project to 100MW, including 4MWh of battery storage in Togo. Finally, the company is also developing a 1 GW green hydrogen project in Mauritania.

Africa50, the strategic partner to the Africa Green Investment initiative, announced three projects to be developed in Mozambique amounting to 260MW of clean power including the first utility scale floating solar project in Africa, together with 400km of high voltage transmission lines enabling green power generation.

COP28 President and President Ruto sent out a strong call to action for more countries and partners to join the two initiatives, laying the foundation for sustainable growth at the heart of Africa’s economic future.

Nigeria’s FG pledges healthcare transformation, advanced diagnostics

Nigerian Tribune

Getty Images Image used for illustrative purpose.

The Federal Government has pledged a robust health sector transformation as it emphasised on diagnostic medicine and collaborative pathology advances in Nigeria.

It said these align with the key priorities and initiatives of the government’s four-point agenda promises which are significant advancements in governance, population health outcomes, the healthcare value chain, and health security.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate disclosed this at a three -days joint 3rd African Assembly of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP) and 14th Conference of the West African Division of IAP, (WADIAP), on Thursday in Abuja.

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The conference which was organised by the International Academy of Pathology has the theme, Evolutionary Trends in Modern Pathology Practice, while the sub-themes are: The Role of Pathology in Personalised Cancer Care.

The conference also highlighted the Value of Artificial Intelligence in Anatomical Pathology practice, Multi-specialisation in Pathology practice in low and medium-income settings, Biorisk Management (BRM) in the era of emerging and re-emerging infections and Finance management dexterity in pathology in low-income settings.

Pate who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollum stressed the key priorities and initiatives, of the government’s four-point agenda promising significant advancements in governance, population health outcomes, the healthcare value chain, and health security.

He said that a focal point of the government’s strategy was the emphasis on unlocking the healthcare value chain, particularly in diagnostic medicine.

“This includes a strong push for local manufacturing of health products, such as drugs, vaccines, laboratory reagents, and equipment, “she said.

While speaking further, the Minister cited Professor Martin Hale’s insights on the future of pathology labs in the next decade, urging a critical examination of these advancements for Africa.

Acknowledging challenges within the medical community, he urged professionals to avoid rivalry, stressing that efficiency and service quality are compromised when interprofessional conflicts persist.

“The Ministry of Health plans to conduct a diagnostic inquiry into interprofessional rivalry, to foster cordial working relationships and enable environments for better healthcare service delivery,” she said.

Despite economic challenges, he said that the government was resolute in its commitment to positive changes in the health sector.

“Concrete actions and strategies are being implemented to improve the welfare of health workers in Nigeria, demonstrating a proactive approach to overcoming fiscal constraints,” she said.

He said the assurance of support from ECOWAS, as articulated by the Chairman, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu highlights a broader dedication to regional health improvement.

“The commitment to bilateral and multilateral cooperation aims to enhance healthcare delivery across the region.

“The declaration of the third joint International Academy of Pathology African Assembly signifies a collaborative effort to advance pathology and healthcare.

“This assembly aligns with the broader goal of fostering cooperation and knowledge-sharing among pathologists and healthcare professionals.”

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association(NMA), Dr. Uche Ojinmah, emphasised the urgency for pathologists to take over hospital laboratories, he envisions a transformation in the practice of medicine.

Ojinmah said that the contentment with the current trend of pathologists assuming a more significant role and the subsequent digitalization.

He said the call for increased collaboration among pathologists reflects the desire for a more entrenched and broadly participative practice of pathology.

The Director General, National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), Prof Usman Malami Aliyu, emphasised the Institute’s pivotal role in spearheading efforts for global cancer improvement, including leadership in prevention, diagnosis, research, and treatment.

Aliyu underscored responsibilities such as policy drafting and collaboration with the government for effective implementation.

He said that the institute recognised the significance of pathologists, the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation unit, and the commitment to qualified personnel highlight its comprehensive approach to managing cancer and contributing to policy-driven decisions in the country.

Prof. Martin John Hale, IAP President, called for initiating the third African Assembly of the IAP, emphasising its integral role in education activities and regional collaboration.

Hale, who is also the converter IAP Africa Assembly and President South Africa Division, mentioned the successful past meetings hosted by different commissions demonstrate the continuity and significance of these gatherings.

He underscored the importance of anatomical pathology in future healthcare and the need for adaptation to new paradigms.

He recognised the organizing committee for a relevant program and highlighted the potential opportunities for medical specialists while cautioning against risks posed by advanced technology if not embraced.

He urged participants to be mindful of the future and acknowledged their contribution, including government dignitaries and ministers of health, noting it added a sense of collaboration.

The President, Prof. Edwin Wiredu, WADIAP, said that the Generalized Scientific Conference and the Africana Summit emphasised the Evolutionary Trends in the body of Pathology Practice.

Wiredu said that the themes, covering personalised cancer care, artificial intelligence, water specialization, biologist management, prenatal integration, and finance management, underscore the conference’s relevance to contemporary healthcare challenges.

He mentioned that the certificate program highlights the commitment to professional development, and the reference to Cambodia and the encouragement to network add a cultural and collaborative dimension.

Earlier, Prof. Saad Ahmed, Chairman of the local organising committee of the conference, called for intentional and collaborative efforts to address the challenges faced by pathology services in Africa.

Ahmed emphasised the need for a shift from traditional approaches, highlighting specific issues in histopathologic capabilities and practices.

“The focus on reviewing past work, examining ongoing progress, and proposing lasting recommendations reflects a commitment to advancing pathology for better healthcare outcomes, he said.

Additionally, he underscored the historical context and the urgency for governments and academia to address disparities in manpower distribution and improve the quality of pathology practices.

He said that the overall goal was to stimulate introspective analysis and encourage multisectoral interventions for the advancement of pathology services in the region.