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Business

Royal Academy of Engineering invests over £3.5 million in Nigeria, others

The academy has awarded over £3.5 million in 37 projects in Nigeria and across 13 African countries.

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The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded over £3.5 million to 37 projects in Nigeria and across 13 African countries to promote better training and sustainability and diversify economies.

This was disclosed by the Academy via a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday to mark the UNESCO World Engineering Day 2021.

It stated that the Academy’s interest in partnering with partner academic institutions’ projects focused on realizing sustainable development goals.

One of such projects, according to the statement, is the renewable energy project recently embarked on by Engineering students in the University of Abuja, Nigeria.

READ: Investment banking fees earned in Sub-Saharan Africa hits a six-year low of $523.7 million in 2020

It stated, “A new awardee of the HEPSSA programme, the University of Abuja, in a project titled “Renewable energy utilization: Accelerating diffusion of solar power systems”, seeks to address the problem of access to affordable and clean energy with a view to enable accelerated diffusion solar power systems.”

Commenting on the progress achieved in Africa, Nigerian born Engineer in the UK, Yewande Akinola MBE, who is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering GCRF Africa Catalyst Committee, said:

“While we see immediate improvements in skills and innovation through these programmes, the real win is establishing a framework for lasting change. This will equip communities in Africa to anticipate and plan for the challenges posed by climate change, urbanisation and economic development. The continent is transforming rapidly, and those engineering its future need the skills to think on their feet.”

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READ: Analysing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Dollar Remittance Policy

Stressing the need for strategic partnerships and buy-in of stakeholders, she said, “By developing strong alliances between local partners in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, we can enable learning, collaboration and sharing of best practice, which in turn will build skills to boost innovation. But there is much more to be done, which needs the continued support of investors and partners.”

The Academy aimed to support the development of a diverse and future fit workforce across the continent.

It is estimated that fewer than 10% of engineering posts in Africa are currently occupied by women. GCRF Africa Catalyst has worked with Women in Engineering (WomEng) to promote gender diversity across a wide spectrum of professional experience.

“WomEng’s work with Eswatini’s Registration Council for Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Allied Professionals has resulted in seven registered female members where they initially had none. A HEP SSA project with the Institute of Engineers Rwanda also helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% to 2018 to 25% in 2019,” it stated.”

 

Highlights of achievements of the Africa grants:

  • Over 2000 professionals trained by Professional Engineering Institutions across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Over 530 student industry placements since 2013. Number of students obtaining industry internships increased from 40% to 90% over the course of one project in Zambia
  • Diversity & Inclusion initiatives have driven equal gender participation in programmes. A project from the Institute of Engineers Rwanda helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.
  • 50 individual course curricula reviewed and improved as a result of industry-academia partnerships.
  • Almost 50 UK organisations and 400 in-country bodies involved as project partners so far.

What you should know

  • Launched in 2016, with support from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Africa Catalyst initiative allows Engineers to focus on issues of specific importance to their relevant jurisdictions while facilitating good governance practices.
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering is showcasing its impact on enhancing collaboration, education, and diversity in engineering in sub-Saharan Africa, delivered through its Africa grants programmes ahead of the second UNESCO World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on the 4th of March 2021.

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Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper.The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference.The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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    Business

    Lagos says Lake rice will soon be back in the market

    The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture blamed flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic for the disappearance of Lake rice from the market.

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    CBN campaigns for Made-in-Nigeria products Lake rice

    The Lagos State Government has said that Lake rice, which is a collaboration between the Lagos State and Kebbi State Governments, is still in existence and will soon be back in the market on a big scale.

    This follows the sudden disappearance of the Lake rice due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s devastating flooding, which wreaked havoc on rice plantations in Kebbi and other northern states.

    This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, during a ministerial briefing to commemorate the second year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitting that 3 years of seamless record of providing the rice for Lagosians was broken last year, as the brand disappeared from the market.

    What the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture is saying

    Olusanya in her statement said, “It is not that Lake rice is missing to the extent that it will not surface again. Lake rice is still in existence. I think we need to go back to a lot of things that happened last year. Lake rice was available last year in January and February, COVID-19 hit us in March and subsequently, we had issues around flooding, particularly in Kebbi.

    The impact of the flooding was grave on rice farms in the state. So, it is not so much about why it is not available, it is a function of why in the producing state there were so much issues of production and supply, for them to process and send to us,” she said.

    The commissioner further stated, “Kebbi is the number one producer of rice in Nigeria, so it only makes sense for Lagos to partner with the state to get processed rice.

    But part of the agreement also is that if Lagos State is setting up its own rice mill, the agreement is going to shift from receiving processed rice to receiving paddy rice for us to process in our mill. So, it’s not that the partnership has been terminated.

    She announced that once the state mill in Imota, Ikorodu is completed, the state would have its own brand adding that the 32 Metric tonnes per hour capacity integrated rice mill under construction is the biggest in Nigeria and in West Africa and at full capacity is capable of producing approximately 2.4 million (50kg) bags of rice for the over 22 million people in the state and for Nigerians as a whole.

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    Olusanya said that the mill will further create employment of approximately 267,580 jobs in the state at different stages of the value chain, reduce the cost of rice locally, enhance food self-sufficiency and revenue generation in the state and the country at large, as well as, ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs.

    What you should know

    The Lagos-Kebbi Rice christened Lake rice stemmed from the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi State Governments and was launched at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Lagos on December 21, 2016, by the former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.

    The partnership which culminated in the launch was not only designed to ensure food security but also to showcase Nigeria’s ability to become a rice-producing nation. The partnership was also part of initiatives aimed at helping Lagos State succeed in its goal of achieving 40% food security and self-sufficiency status by the year 2023 in addition to being less dependent on other states for food production.

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    Business

    CBN, others move to stop rejection of Nigerian crops by other countries

    CBN, government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.

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    MPR, CBN, GTBank, CBN disagrees with IMF, says land border closure boosting local production, Border closure: Emefiele says Benin, others must engage Nigeria before borders are reopened , bvn 2.0, CBN reveals banks’ foreign assets rise to N14.19 trillion in 2019

    The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.

    This follows the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock which is expected to help achieve zero rejection of commodities exported from Nigeria.

    This disclosure is contained in a communique issued at the end of a one-day workshop organised in Abuja by Harvest Field Industries Limited and IITA, aimed at sharing results of aflatoxin levels in maize sampled nationwide under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.

    The workshop’s theme was ‘Scaling Solutions to Control Aflatoxin in Nigeria’s Crop Value Chain: The test results under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.’

    What the CBN, IITA, Others are saying

    The communique partly reads, “Also, it (the workshop) is to prompt concerted efforts towards the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock as required by global food quality standards.

    “Reduced aflatoxin prevalence will contribute tremendously towards achieving zero rejection of our export commodities and ensure food safety in Nigeria.”

    Other participants at the workshop apart from CBN, IITA and Harvest Field, included the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.

    The list of participants in the workshop also includes the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Federal Ministry of Health, Value Seeds Limited, Maize Association of Nigeria, National Groundnut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, among others.

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    During the technical session, participants at the workshop recommended that the inter-ministerial committee on aflatoxin regulation and enforcement of food safety laws in Nigeria should be revived in addition to calls for the enactment of technical policy regulating the testing and enforcement of allowable aflatoxin limits in food and feed processing and distribution industries, among others.

    What you should know

    Aflatoxins are harmful toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Their presence on some grains grown in Nigeria has prompted the rejection of these agro-products in the international market.

    In a bid to diversify the economy and ensure food security in the country, the federal government through the CBN and other government agencies and ministries have introduced various policies and measures to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, which is arguably the largest employer of labour in the country.

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