Nigeria: President Obama Praises the Country’s Economic Development

The US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum, hosted by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDOA), has been taking place in Washington, D.C.  On August 27th, Ambassador Eunice Reddick spoke on behalf of President Obama praising the economic growth of the country and encouraging the continued cooperation between the US and Nigeria. The United States has actively aided Nigeria in further solidifying the country’s democratic institutions and free trade mechanisms, particularly through the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The speeches made at the US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum confirmed that the future of the relationship between the two countries will continue to be strong and mutually beneficial. In particular, there was mention that the US would provide aid to strengthen the agricultural sector in Nigeria through improved infrastructure and technology. This is of particular importance since approximately 70% of the Nigerian population is employed through agriculture. The US has also confirmed its commitment to helping the energy sector in Nigeria prosper through a focus on private investment.

Nigeria is clearly still developing economically, but it has shown clear signs of progress that have been noticed by the United States. This recognition of Nigeria as a future economic powerhouse can only further help the country realize its full potential.
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President Goodluck Jonathon and President Barack Obama


Tanzania Holds Its Fifth Census Count

The Population and Housing Census, which began Sunday August 26th, is Tanzania’s fifth post- independence census count. The main objective of this census is “to contribute to the improvement of quality of life of Tanzanians through the provision of up to date and reliable data for development planning, policy formulation, planning and service delivery, as well as for monitoring and evaluating population programs.”

The past censuses in Tanzania have been less successful than hoped, and most censuses done in colonial times were actually used mainly to identify adult tax payers. The recent censuses in post colonial Tanzania have often been tainted with discrimination and prejudice.

This census is being held by the National Bureau of Statistics and the Zanzibar Office of the Chief Government Statistician. The more specific goals of this census include district profiling to provide planners with more accurate data, social and economic development planning, and providing data for researchers in various fields of study.

Malawi: World Bank Agrees to Help Fund Shire River Basin Management Program

The World Bank and the Malawi Ministry of Finance have signed an agreement under the Shire River Basin Management Program for 125 million USD. This agreement is part of Malawi’s long term plans to have safe environmental and economic growth on the Shire River Basin. The Shire River Basin Management Program is intended to last 15 years with a total budget of 400 million USD. This significant contribution from the World Bank will help further the program’s agenda to help 430,000 people in Malawi that rely on the Shire River.

The program is being led by the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation, but will encompass many different government sectors. The main focus is to improve the sustainability of irrigation, hydropower, and  flood mitigation projects on the Shire River. Since the Shire River is such an important part of the environment within Malawi the government has realized the need to protect it from degradation and pollution. The river serves as a source of electricity and drinking water for many nearby Malawians and with this project in place even more will have the proper access to these resources.

According to Ritchie Muheya, the Minister of Water Development and Irrigation, the initial phase of the program will be working towards an improvement in land and water resource management to aid those people that are located in the middle and lower shire. Muheya has also reported that between July 2011 and August 2012 a total of 1.5 million USD has been received as an advance to survey and assess the current situation on the Shire River Basin in preparation of the project.

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View of the Shire River

Mozambique: Maputo Hosts the Southern African Development Community Meetings

This week the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is meeting to discuss the problems facing the region as well as potential solutions for the success of the member nations’ future. The SADC is made up of 15 states: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The goal of this regional body is to help the entire region prosper by integrating with each other in political and economic capacities.

Specifically, the Committee of Finance and Investment Ministers from SADC met on Tuesday in Maputo in order to deliberate the ways in which they can secure new funds to promote development in the region. The Angolan Finance Minister, Carlos Alberto Lopes, is the acting chair of the committee. He spoke of the region’s need to continue complementary projects that will ultimately held reduce famine and poverty. The conclusions made by the representatives at the meeting are to be submitted to the Council of Ministers for review.

The SADC summit in Maputo will conclude on Friday with the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government. This brings together all of the leaders of the member nations to discuss their combined future and the work of the SADC.

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Senegal: Hard Loss to Mexico in the Olympic Soccer Quarter-Finals


Senegal, having gotten all the way to the quarter-finals this past week, lost to Mexico, who is now geared to face Brazil in the finals.  However, Senegal was able to make two goals against Mexico, who up to that point had not been scored on.  The second half of the game was very intense with teams making goals back and forth, but Mexico was able to take advantage of a few defensive errors, which gave them a 2-shot lead before the end of the game.

Senegal is competing in a few of the different events in the Olympics this year, but their soccer team was by for the most successful.  As Senegal’s infrastructural continues to grow and greater economic stability is brought to its region, hopefully its chances in the Olympic games continue to improve as well.

Tanzania: From Least Developed Country to Middle Income

Tanzania Minister for Industry and Trade Dr. Abdhallah Kigoda has high hopes that the country will move to the middle income status. He hopes Tanzania can achieve this by improving industries, trading with partner states, and finding market access for their products.

Kigoda made these statements during the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation day in Dar es Salaam last week, and wanted to assure the private sector that he recognized their contribution toward the national economy. Kigoda spoke of the benefits of the commitment by the private sector and the  government in this time of economic growths. The overall goal of private and public support seemed to be attracting investment to Tanzania to drive economic growth.

Kigoda also spoke of the need for the private and public sectors to work together, and trust each other. If the private sector trusted the government more, they could work together as one and have a stronger voice on development issues.

The idea here seems to be a good one, and cooperation within the economic sector is important for any type of growth in the future. This will be particularly attractive to investors- a public sector that is stable with the support of private sector companies would be much more likely to receive the investment that Tanzania needs to drive economic growth into the next class.

Liberia: President Johnson-Sirleaf Proposes Further Cooperation with the Peace Corps

On August 3rd, 44 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn into service in Liberia. This was the largest group of volunteers since the beginning of the program in 1962 according to the Peace Corps-Liberia Country Director, Mr. Vincent Groh. President Johnson-Sirleaf was present at the ceremony for these volunteers and thanked them for their commitment to helping Liberia prosper. She also further voiced her hopes to create an initiative that will increase cooperation between the Peace Corps volunteers and recent college graduates in Liberia.

The President ideally would like to create a national service program in Liberia for those who have graduated from university, but remain unemployed. This would allow them to be placed with Peace Corps volunteers in high schools and work together the improve the education system across the country. This concept was initially mentioned by President Johnson-Sirleaf in 2011 at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. while delivering a lecture there.

The Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Liberia, Michael Arrietti, has welcomed the initiative presented by the President. He hopes to have the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) work closely with both the Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education in Liberia to make her vision a reality. The goal is to have this program begin its implementation by the summer of 2013.

Another goal of the Peace Corps in Liberia to to have reached all 15 counties by the start of the 2013 academic year. Right now there are volunteers serving in 9 out of the 15 counties. They teach English, Math and Science in 39 government run high schools. With an expansion to all 15 counties the Peace Corps will be able to reach all 55 public high schools outside of Montserrado.

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Nigeria’s First Olympic Canoeist Bidding for Glory in London

Canoeist Johny Akinyemi, is the first athlete to paddle for Nigeria at the world’s major sport event. Born and raised in the UK to a Nigerian father and a British mother, Akinyemi’s path to the 30th Olympiad has been as winding as the whitewater courses he navigates. He first started canoeing aged 12 in northern England and in 2006 he emerged as the junior British national champion. But a year later he gave up his top ranking in the country of his birth to compete for the country of his heritage following a visit to his father’s homeland. “It was just such a great experience,” remembers Akinyemi of his time in the West African country. “Just to see where your roots are, to see your heritage and what makes you a person — there’s a Nigerian boy within me and there’s a British boy within me, I’ve only seen the British side of things until I went back to Nigeria and saw my Nigerian heritage and that’s something I’m proud of.”

Akinyemi says people in Nigeria “welcomed him with open arms,” making it easier for him to embrace his roots and change his Olympic allegiance. “It made a lot of sense to me because there’s always been questions about my identity which has been unanswered until I started to look into my family and my family history and stuff like that and gone back to my roots.”

A talented athlete, Akinyemi wants to leave his mark in this year’s Olympics. In 2008 Akinyemi came agonizingly close to going to the Beijing Games but missed out on qualification by a single place. That failure made him more determined to train even harder to improve his power, technique and speed and be able to compete at the top level in the physically demanding sport of canoeing.

In February this year his Olympic dream finally came true when he made Nigerian history by winning the 2012 African slalom championships and securing a place for London. Now, just days before his quest for Olympic success gets underway, Akinyemi admits he is “pretty nervous” but adds that he is looking forward to his first Olympiad. He says he’s determined to give his best and try to win for his country and make his father proud. “If I won a medal it would mean everything, all the hard work would be worth it,” he says. “My dad would be so proud because he was proud of me for qualifying for the Games and he spent a lot of time in Africa helping me get to where I am today. So I think it would be really good, it would almost be winning it for him.”

But win or lose, Akinyemi, who is also studying to be an accountant after his sporting career is over, wants to make sure that Nigeria stays on the canoeing map. He says there is a lot of potential in Nigeria for the sport and many more athletes can follow on his footsteps.