Friday, January 31, 2014

Power generation in Africa: Transcorp, GE partner to improve power generation in Nigeria

Agreements will dramatically increase capacity at the Ughelli power plant in 2014
LAGOS, Nigeria, January 31, 2014/ -- Transcorp Ughelli Power Ltd (TUPL), the power subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), and General Electric (GE) have signed an agreement to expand the capacity of TUPL’s Ughelli power plant by1000MW over the next 3 to 5 years.
Both parties have also signed a separate agreement to rehabilitate the damaged GT 15 turbine at the Ughelli plant, which will add 115MW to the plant’s output.
Currently, the Transcorp Ughelli power plant generates 360MW of electricity, up from 160MW on November 1, when Transcorp took ownership of the plant. With the additional 115MW, as well as other rehabilitation works planned at the plant, output at Ughelli will increase to 700MW by December 2014.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Productive Jobs for Africa s Youth Vital for the Region's Economic Progress, says New WB Report

Washington, January 27, 2014 With more than half of Sub-Saharan Africa's population now under the age of 25, and as many as 11 million young Africans expected to join the labor market every year for the next decade, creating millions of productive, well-paying jobs will be vital to boost economic growth, significantly cut poverty, and create shared prosperity in Africa, according to a new World Bank report on youth employment in Africa.

 While many African economies have registered impressive economic growth in recent years, poverty levels across the region have not fallen as much as expected and young people looking for better-paying work have been at a great disadvantage. This is partly because many African countries rely heavily on oil, gas, and mineral extraction which boosts economic growth but does little to create new jobs for the region s fast-growing youth population or reduce overall rates of poverty. 

 In a new comprehensive regional report on the subject, Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa notes that close to 80 percent of the workforce will continue to work on small farms and in household businesses in the near future. While the modern wage sector is growing very fast in some countries, it cannot create enough jobs to meet the youth employment challenge now preoccupying governments in every corner of the continent.

Monday, January 27, 2014

BAJ-Gambia National Coordinator off to Kenya for climate change training

Sallah BAJ-Gambia National  Coordinator
Mr Abdou Rahman Sallah an environmental journalist with The Point newspaper who doubles as national coordinator for Biodiversity Action Journalists Gambia on Saturday 25th January left Banjul International Airport for Kenya to join a team of participants from other parts of the world for a two weeks training on Climate Change organized by Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) in Kenya
He has been selected out of a big pool of applicants to participate to this YES course in Kenya, January 28th – February 14th 2014. This is a two week intensive course operated by myclimate, a Swiss Non-Profit foundation together with ACTIS, a Spin-off organisation of ETH Zürich, in cooperation with UNEP, and the Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS) – an environmental research partnership between the ETH Zürich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Tokyo (UT) and the Chalmers Technical University in Göteborg /Sweden.

YES courses have been operated since the year 2000 in different parts of the world with the goal to bring together a diverse group of motivated future leaders (university graduates, PhD students, young professionals) for learning, discussing and debating urgent questions of a sustainable future for mankind, in a global and regional perspective.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

AIS Africa Innovation Summit, Cabo Verde 2014

H.E Jorge Carlos Fonseca Welcomes Organisers AIS Summit
The maiden Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) is a catalyst event. It is an integral part of a much broader effort to build a platform for promoting innovation in Africa. The Summit will lay the foundation for an ongoing multi stakeholder dialogue on innovation in Africa. All stakeholders, including policy makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, academics, and investors will be engaged in a collaborative effort to undertake strategic assessment, seek robust solutions and engage key actors to build a more propitious environment for innovation on the continent.

The three day summit is planned for 04 – 06 February 2014 in Praia, Cape Verde and is expected to will bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, financiers, policy makers and researchers in one place to conduct an extensive dialogue on innovation in Africa.

The President of Cape Verde H.E. Jorge Carlos Fonseca welcomed the organizers of the African Innovation Summit and pledged his support for this initiative.

An initiative by IHABA under the honorary patronage of H.E. Pedro Pires Former President of Cabo Verde (2001-2011), Laureate of the 2011 Mo Ibrahim Award.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Conference to refocus post-2015 development agenda on poorest nations’ priorities

[IIED press release] New ‘sustainable development goals’ for all nations to adopt in 2015 could deepen problems in the least developed countries (LDCs)  if they fail to take account of these nations’ priorities and the international nature of challenges they face.

So say the organisers of a high-level meeting next week that will enable frank and open dialogue between, on one hand, those in the political process of setting the goals and, on the other, those in LDCs who will need to implement the goals if they are to have any impact.

The meeting, on 29-31 January at Wilton Park has been organised by IIED and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS).

It will bring together politicians, diplomats, civil servants and representatives of UN agencies, research institutions and nongovernmental organisations to explore how the needs of the LDCs can be put at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda. The delegates will include members of the LDC Independent Expert Group, which has published a new position paper to coincide with the meeting.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A united call for action on climate change

Kofi Annan is chair of The Elders, a group of independent leaders who work for peace, justice and human rights worldwide.
Kofi Annan
When Nelson Mandela formed the Elders in 2007 to promote peace and human rights across the world, he challenged us to be bold and to give a voice to those who have none. No issue demands these qualities more than our collective failure to tackle climate change.

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. It threatens the well-being of hundreds of millions of people today and many billions more in the future. It undermines the human rights to food, water, health and shelter — causes for which we, as Elders, have fought all our lives.
No one and no country will escape the impact of climate change. But those with no voice — because they are already marginalized or are not yet born — are at greatest risk. The Elders have an urgent moral duty to speak out on their behalf.

UN Opens Global Call for Nominations of Local Sustainable Development Solutions that Can Change the World

New York [22 January, 2014] – A United Nations-led partnership that “shines a spotlight” on local sustainable development innovations today launched its global call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2014.

Today marks the first step in a worldwide search to identify leading community-based initiatives from across the developing world that advance environmental conservation while fighting poverty.  Nominations are open from 146 countries through March 22, 2014.

“We are looking for local environment and development solutions that are having a big impact,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). “Communities across the planet are coming up with inspiring solutions to environment, climate, and poverty challenges, and we want to bring their efforts to the world’s attention.”   

Climate change increasing vulnerabilities in rural communities,

may threaten people’s jobs and livelihoods- says Earth Hour Champions 2014 #WalktoMali

Author: Mamadou Edrisa Njie reporting from Gusua, Nigeria

Earth Hour Team in Gutsura village, Zamfara State, Nigeria


The most vulnerable groups in Nigerian society that are clashing with climate change are the rural poor as they often depend on natural resources for their livelihoods, for instance from agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
 Now man-made climate change poses an additional challenge, increasing the vulnerability of rural communities; the impacts of climate change currently predicted for rural communities in Nigeria is in the rise and rain-fed grain crops, and a rising number of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods and desertification is the uppermost of climate vulnerability.

These impacts will vary strongly in their extent and form around the country. To cope with the risks, therefore, interventions will have to be specially tailored to suit the different states and regions especially the villagers of Gutsura located in Zamfara State, North-West of Nigeria.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Food Tank, Professor Norman Uphoff on the Productive Use of Land

The System of Rice Intensification, known as SRI, can reduce water requirements, increland productivity, and promotes less reliance on artifical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other agrochemicals, all while buffering against the effects of climate change and reducing greenhouse gases (GHG).

In a recent interview with Food Tank, Professor Norman Uphoff at Cornell, who has been studying the impacts of SRI management for more than 15 years, describes SRI as not a fixed technology, but, instead, as a set of principles and ideas. Ideas that translate into a combination of agroeconomic practices, which might differ depending on agro-ecological and cropping system conditions, but that can have widespread benefits.

Application of SRI practices can raise household incomes, enhance soil fertility, and protect crops against climatic, pest, and disease stresses. 

Are Dams causing solutions or challenges to rural communities? Keta villagers’ question

Mamadou Edrisa Njie reporting from Goronyo, Sokoto state, Nigeria #WalktoMali

The Goronyo Dam
It was completed in 1984 and commissioned in 1992, the Goronyo dam, which today has been causing flooding to the local community of Keta a small village under Goronyo local government, Sokoto state, Nigeria- says Alhagie Garba Jingilma village head.

Given background information of the dam, Jingilma who is in his 80’s said that Dams and reservoirs in Nigeria are used for irrigation, water supply, hydro-electric power generation or some combination adding that they are of particular importance in the north of the country, where rainfall is low. 

Jingilma was speaking today [ 21st January, 2014] with Earth Hour Nigeria #WalktoMali champions whose names are written in gold on Earth Hour website. 

Gutsura Residents Need Safe, Clean Water

Mamadou Edrisa Njie reporting from Gusau with Earth Hour Nigeria #WalktoMali Champions

Earth Hour Nigeria team at the village well
Residents of Gutsura village located in Zamfara state Northwest, Nigeria has strongly appealed to the Federal, State and Local government[s] to provide them with safe and clean drinking water for their local community.

Speaker after speaker in the village told Earth Hour trekking champions that in their local community, they are lack safe drinking water and only rely on well water for drinking, cooking and other basic needs.

 “For about forty years now, we only drink from well water. We don’t have taps or boreholes in this community,” said Turku Muhammed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Youths to make history, trek to Mali from Abuja

By: Greg Odogwu journalist with The Garki Gazette, Abuja, Nigeria #WalktoMali 

Mamadou Edrisa Njie interview with Greg Odogwu Abuja, Nigeria
Some West African youths are set to make history as they embark on a two months long walk to Mali and back, covering about 3,500 kilometres, from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Saturday, 18th January.

The GARKI GAZETTE gathered that the youths are made up of about twelve youth activists from seven West African countries of Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin; they will traverse the cold-by-the-night and hot-by-the-day climate of sub-Saharan Africa in their quest to attract the world’s attention to the poverty ravaging the communities they would visit along the route.

This journey is under the auspices of Earth Hour, an environmental initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) kick-started in 2007 to draw the world’s attention to the menace of global warming and encourage global citizens to take definite action to stem the menace.

Zamfara flood affected community seeks assistance to relocate site

Etta Michael Bisong reporting from Gusau with Earth Hour Nigeria #WalktoMali

Gutsura, a local village in Zamfara state northwest, Nigeria affected by the flood that divided most parts of the country has appealed to the government for monetary assistance to enable the habitants build resilience and adaptation strategies to mitigate climate change impact.
Due to the increasing water level of the upper Niger River, the small agricultural dependent community has witness unprecedented flood over the past ten years and continue to threaten the people's primary source of livelihood.

After several attempts to approach the government for assistance to combat this environmental epidemic that threatens the peaceful co-existence of the villagers, ''Only this year that the government accepted and gave us new site,'' the Nasarawa Gutsura, Alhaji Umaru Nasarawa told Blueprint reporter when the #WalktoMali team visited the community to map and assess the flood impact.

''Our immediate need now is accessing fund to move to the new site, because raining seasoning is coming,'' Alhaji Nasarawa lamented.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation to gather 120 youth delegates on ‘Accelerating Youth Employment in Africa’

The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation is a UK based charity established with the vision of advancing human security in Africa, has committed itself to organise a two days session that will bring together African Heads of State, partner organisations, policy makers, experts, private-sector representatives, academics, members of civil society and youth representatives from Africa and other continents to discuss their experience, focusing on concrete examples to facilitate knowledge sharing with the theme “Accelerating Youth employment in Africa”.

The two days event will be held at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, The youth conference on 29th January 2014 and working lunch on the 30th January 2014 is jointly organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation and the Africa Union Commission.

Taking the Next Step

"Africa and EU are tackling energy challenges together"

African and European Ministers, Commissioners, business leaders and more than 400 other high-
level delegates will define the priorities for the energy collaboration between the two continents
at the Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership, coming together 12-13 February 2014 at the AUC Headquarters in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.

Media Release: Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy in a world of dwindling resources is one of the core challenges for the 21st century. Energy powers economic development to provide a livelihood for millions. Energy is needed to pump, clean and desalinate water, to produce fertilizer and grow food, to maintain and improve a modern infrastructure not only for transport, but also for sharing knowledge and educate the coming generations. It is a prerequisite for modern schools and universities, for communal services and health centres, for productive uses (for instance food cooling and healthy cooking facilities) – and for political participation through modern communication and information technology.

How vulnerable are our societies and economies when energy prices rise or energy supplies are interrupted? Can we curtail and in future avoid wars over energy? Can we change our energy use to
reduce the environmental impact on our planet and counteract climate change?

UN Declares 2011-2020 as the 'International Decade for Biodiversity’

By Mamadou Edrisa Njie

Biodiversity provides humankind with food, fuel, medicine, shelter and a cultural and spiritual connection to nature. In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment studied the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being, delivering a state-of-the-art appraisal of the trends in the world's ecosystems, the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.

Therefore, forming BAJ-Gambia an environmental and natural resources professional journalists organisation, established in December, 2010, with technical support from Department of Parks and Wildlife Management is in line with the UN resolution.

The idea which came about after a study tour to Senegal by Abdou Rahman Sallah, BAJ-Gambia National Coordinator, through a project called Niumi-Saloum Transboundary Biosphere project. Jointly implemented by Senegal and The Gambia, the project is supported by IUCN and UNESCO, under the Man and Biosphere (MAB). BAJ-Gambia is a registered charity  (Registration number: 102/2012).

Minister Gaye - Biodiversity Is Threatened By Climate Change

Minister Gaye
The Gambia’s minister for Environment, Parks and Wildlife, believes that it is now widely recognised that climate change and biodiversity are interconnected.
Ms Fatou Ndeye Gaye said there is evidence that climate change is affecting biodiversity with negative consequences for human beings. 

“Biodiversity makes an important contribution to both climate change mitigation and adaptation through the ecosystem it supports,” she said.

Minister Fatou Ndeye Gaye made these remarks at the opening ceremony of a three-day national workshop on Protected Area Resilience to Climate Change (PARCC) West Africa, officially known as Evolution of Protected Area Systems with regards to Climate Change in West Africa Region.

She added:  “There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is mainly human-induced, forcing global warming to increase, while species and their habitats are on the decrease with chances for ecosystems to adapt, diminished naturally.

Value of the world’s carbon markets to rise again in 2014

The first annual increase in carbon market trading values since 2011 will owe much to European Union action to delay allowance auctions

The value of the global carbon market will reach EUR 46bn in 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts. This will be up 15% from last year but leave it well below the historical high of EUR 98bn in 2011.

The primary driver of this year’s increase will be the plan to postpone, or ‘backload’, auctions of European Union carbon allowances that would otherwise have taken place in 2014-16, into the later years of the decade. Backloading was approved by the European Parliament and Council late last year.

Clean energy investment falls for second year

Global investment in clean energy was $254bn last year, down from a revised $286.2bn in 2012 and the record $317.9bn of 2011, according to the latest authoritative figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The reduced volume of investment in 2013 reflected two main influences – a continued sharp reduction in the cost of photovoltaic systems, and the impact on investor confidence of shifts in policy towards renewable power in Europe and the US.

The two biggest investing countries, China and the US, both saw their dollar commitments fall in 2013. China invested $61.3bn in clean energy last year, down a modest 3.8% from $63.8bn in 2012.
This was the first reduction in Chinese clean energy investment in over a decade. The US saw investment slip a more significant 8.4% from $53bn to $48.4bn.

Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013

Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013 is the sixth edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report. Based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it has become the world’s foremost reference document for renewable energy investment statistics, and for the examination of trends by region, country, sector and investment type.

Report from UNEP-Frankfurt School examines in detail how investment flows into renewables are evolving around the world, and the reasons for those changes.

The report, commissioned by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, can be downloaded from

The figures used in the report are the latest drawn from the BNEF database, and they reflect some modest adjustments in investment totals from the numbers announced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance on 15 April. Investment in renewable energy, as shown in the Global Trends report, was $244.4bn, down 12% on 2011’s record of $279bn.

Clean energy investment, including renewables but also energy smart technologies such as smart grid, efficiency, power storage and advanced transportation, is now put at $266.9bn in 2012, down 12% from the previous year’s $303.1bn . If you include asset finance of these energy smart technologies, including the roll-out of smart meters and distribution automation equipment, then the clean energy investment total for 2012 reaches $281.1bn, compared to $317.2bn in 2011.

Powering Gambia on solar energy can lower electricity bills

The use of solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuel can greatly reduce heavy electricity bills on Gambian consumers, a report by the International Energy Agency states.

The report has it that the development of reasonably priced, inexhaustible and clean solar technology will have significant long-term benefits for The Gambia’s electricity tariffs.

Solar energy could be Gambia’s predominant source of energy for decades to come and perhaps a lasting solution to the country’s energy problems, the report added.

It also states that solar energy will increase the country’s energy security, reduce pollution, lower costs of tackling climate change and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Basse: Women Exposed to Fuel-Efficient Stoves

If the cliché that ‘seeing is believing’ is something to cling to, then the women of Basse, the capital of provincial Upper River region of the Gambia, should no longer have doubt in shifting to energy-efficient cooking stoves.
For, they were recently made to see firsthand how one can prepare meals using the stoves, which compared with the traditional firewood and charcoal cooking devises, save more time and emits insignificant amount of smoke, thereby keeping cooks from exposure to health risks associated to smoke. 
“Engagement is needed for more women in URR so that we can all resort to the use of fuel efficient stoves and do away with firewood,” says a woman Astou Jobe, who witnessed the demonstration.   
Organised by the renewable energy association of the Gambia, REAGAM, in partnership with the ministry of Energy, with funding from the UNDP, the public demonstration on the use of the stoves was witnessed by women leaders, TAC members, police officers, community development workers and market women vendors. It was held at the Basse police station, situated right opposite the main market in that town.

NBR Governor Challenges Environmental Journalists

By Haruna Kuyateh in NBR

NBR Participants
The governor for North Bank Region, Mr Lamin Queen Jammeh has challenged journalists in Gambia to be proactive in the protection of the environment.

He was speaking at a day-long capacity building training for journalists, forest users and wood loggers in his region. This was organised by BAJ-Gambia, an association of environmental journalists.

Yet, Governor Jammeh, whose area is hit hardest by deforestation, believes that environment journalism could do more.

”Building public awareness on environmental issues is essential” he said. “As environmental journalists, more is needed [from you] to bring about positive behaviourial change to ensure that communities take ownership and contribute to the regeneration forest species and natural habitat.

Climate diplomacy can build the trust needed to secure our common future

Author: Pa Ousman Jarju, Special Climate Envoy for The Gambia and former chair of the Least Developed Countries group at the UN climate change negotiations.

For the past decade I have travelled to meeting after meeting of the UN climate change talks as a national negotiator for The Gambia, as chair of the Least Developed Countries group, and now as Gambia’s Special Climate Envoy. This journey has taught me that diplomacy is the key that can unlock the treasure chest of ambition we need to tackle climate change.

The talks, now in their 20th year, are meant to lead to a new international climate treaty for all nations to adopt in 2015. But they are going nowhere fast. Negotiators are entrenched. These civil servants work to defend national interests at all costs, and so progress towards an effective agreement remains woefully slow. What’s lacking is political leadership.

Pa Ousman Jarju Banjul, The Gambia
In November 2013, it was Warsaw's turn to host the talks. It was a grim meeting. The atmosphere of suspicion was so severe that I thought we would leave without conclusions. While some nations backtracked on their commitments to reduce emissions or provide poorer countries with finance, other nations’ efforts to reduce emissions went unacknowledged. Clearly so fractured an environment does not catalyse compromise – the necessary foundation of any UN agreement.