For Africa to attain its desired goal in real growth and development, prominent African leaders and top entrepreneurs across the continent have decided to work effectively together towards integrating their economies to enable free trade among its members.
Specifically,Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and president of the Dangote group, who are co-chair of the AfricanChampion Club urged top entrepreneurs in the continent to focus on job creation for their teeming unemployed youths as a way to ensure economic prosperity and poverty reduction in the continent.
Speaking at the launch of AfroChampions Initiative recently, Mbeki emphasized greater integration of African economies for real development and the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibajo urged the private sector in the continent to take the lead in reshaping Government policies and strategies in the continent.
Osinbajo congratulated the initiators of the Africa champions initiative on their visionary action and pledged that the administration was behind them.
“We think that it is the private sector that would do what is required to bring the urgency and the sense of mission to all the plans in the AU. We will like to see greater synergy and collaboration in the Africa champions while all the organs of the AU get involved in economic integration issues”.
He further said the continent: “still have one of the lowest trade integration levels under 20 per cent while Asia is at 40 per cent and European integration is very much further ahead at about 60 per cent. The fact remains that other regions play as a bloc but Africa is still largely splintered into several economies and the ease of doing business across the region remains a significant challenge”.
He said that in the past few years it had become obvious to many African countries that both the momentum and common sense were in favour of the private sector leading the economies of the continent.
Dangote on his part, said the Afrochampions initiative is for African businesses to cater to African needs to accelerate development in the continent and create more jobs to tackle unemployment of youths in the continent.
He acknowledged that it is the first time that leaders from Africa’s multinational companies will meet, not to discuss their sector and ad-hoc investment opportunities, but to exchange views on Africa’s transformation and on what contributions they may have.
Noting that Africa’s young population and a growing labour force are valuable assets in an aging world, he said: “Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion (16 percent of the world’s population) is expected to grow to 3.8 billion by 2100 – accounting for 49 percent of the world population. By 2034, the working-age population is expected to hit 1.1 billion, larger than that of either China or India.”
Dangote promised to work with his colleagues to make the club a unique platform on which “We as African business leaders, can overcome our differences and speak with one voice, to foster reforms facilitating trade between our states with investments in strategic projects and synergies between our countries.”
“We do have to change the dynamics in a way that is more favourable to Africa and Africans because as Africa’s biggest multinationals, we owe a duty towards our communities, towards the next generation of young men and women who now want to become Pan-African entrepreneurs”.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed appreciation and commendation for the initiative and added that while the initiative had put the private and public sectors together it needed to integrate the financial institutions.
He mentioned the Lagos Plan of Action, the Abuja treaty, NEPAD as initiatives which had not achieved their purposes before going under.
“We should not allow this one to sleep; we should continue to fan the flame of Afrochampions initiative and may God help Africa,” the former President said.
Burial date for late Prince Philips announced
The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in a colourful but lowkey ceremony.
Prince Philip, the late husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in a colourful but lowkey ceremony by royal standards.
The Buckingham palace in making the announcement stressed that the funeral service will be held according to the Covid-19 restrictions guideline with the number of mourners to be limited to 30. This means that members of the royal family including the Queen would be expected to put on face masks.
The College of Arms, which handles most of the ceremonial aspects of the royal family’s work, had earlier confirmed that the late Prince Philip would not lie in state anywhere accessible to the public, which could have seen thousands of people lining up to view his coffin.
The funeral service for Philip, who died aged 99 on Friday, will be held at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, and a national minute’s silence would be observed ahead of the ceremony. There will be no public access nor public procession beforehand with the royal family and UK government asking the public not to gather or leave flowers at the royal residences due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman also confirmed that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who had moved to Los Angeles after giving up royal duties, was planning to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but his pregnant wife Meghan won’t be present as she had been advised not to travel by her physician.
In case you missed it
- It can be recalled that the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving consort of any British monarch before retiring from his public duties in 2017, was announced on Friday, April 9, 2021.
- He died peacefully in Windsor Castle on Friday morning and had been married to the Queen for 73 years.
- Since his death, tributes have been flooding in from the UK and all around the world for the duke, who had recently spent a month in two London hospitals, undergoing heart surgery and treatment for an infection, before returning in mid-March to Windsor Castle.
How we source funds to develop handball in Nigeria – Handball Federation
The Handball Federation of Nigeria discusses sponsorships, strides and progress made.
Handball is one of the lesser-known sports in Nigeria, but that doesn’t mean it’s not making strides. Cosmos Chukwuemeka, the media assistant to the President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria, Samuel Ocheho, spoke to Ademola Kadiri in a revealing interview about several issues.
The excerpts are below:
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Cosmos Chukwuemeka and I am the media assistant to the president of the Nigerian Handball Federation. I am also a broadcast journalist with LASU Radio where I head the Sports Unit.
We normally don’t hear a lot about the Handball Federation. What could be responsible for this?
Basically, that has to do with the sporting culture of the country. Football is the king of all sports. Everybody loves football. That has to do with the systemic disparity that keeps football ahead of other sports.
The disparity is like the sun and moon; that’s how far they are from each other. It also has to do with structure, talents and inadequacy of facilities; funding is also a big elephant in the room. Football gets 80% of the chunk while the other federations share the remaining 20%.
It’s not only about publicity. Funding also fuels publicity. All of these are the big issues. Policy defects have affected sports, in general. It is not because other sports are not trying, it is because of the defective policy and the challenges that come with it. It is basically systemic.
How does the Federation source for funds?
When the present president came on board, the sport was almost in comatose. They were not attending competitions and grassroots competitions were not being organized. In the 80s, Nigeria used to be the king of handball, but in the 90s, everything fell like a pack of cards because of a whole lot of issues, mainly maladministration.
But then, Samuel Ocheho came in. He’s someone that played the sport, and as a corporate person, he understood how to drive the sport. The first thing he did was to secure the sponsorship for the league, and that was how Prudent Energy came on board. Prudent Energy and Services Limited is an energy company that sponsors the league for about 4 years now. The first phase of the league will come up in May while the second phase comes up in October.
He also ensured that there is level playing ground for individuals that want to put in their money to develop handball. Since 2018, since he became president, there have been many national and international competitions. Apart from the fact that he puts in his own money, which shows his passion, he and the Board have been able to bring a lot of attraction to the sport, so much that handball can now compete with basketball for relevance.
Do the sponsors get value for money to expand the scope of their sponsorship?
Prudent Energy has expanded the scope of its sponsorship twice in 4 years. They are getting the dividends of their investment in the league. When they started in 2018, they got bigger and bigger. Like most energy companies, people might not know about them. They came in and a lot of people started knowing about them and started understanding what they really do.
They came into the league, and it was a big gain for handball to be able to get Prudent Energy, and the dividends for them has been massive. They have leveraged it and everyone now knows that the National Premier Handball League is sponsored by them.
At the point of the lockdown last season caused by Covid-19, they gave out palliatives to all the teams in the league, the players, and even the referees. If they were not getting Return on Investment, they wouldn’t do that at all.
What will you recommend for improving the perception of handball in Nigeria?
It’s a world of technology, and we are trying our best in that regard. We are on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We churn out content every other time, giving updates about the league, and other competitions we participate in. We stream matches live, so we are trying our best to improve the perception and publicity. We also have some media partners that have been with us from day 1.
They help in propagating the good work that the Handball Federation of Nigeria is doing for the growth and development of the sport in the country. Interviews like this also help, but ultimately, what we seek is for handball to go back to the grassroots, which is the fastest possible way to grow the sport.
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