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The New Times – Rwanda
It was just a matter of time before businesses raised their voices against the proposed phasing out of single-use plastics.
The most vocal was definitely plastic manufacturers and firms that produce mineral water and soft drinks.
Though some welcomed the ban, they want more time to adapt as they argue that the two-year grace period will lead to major financial losses.
Yes, it is a major blow to those who invested in single-use plastic manufacturing, and they will be wondering what to do their soon-to-be-obsolete machinery. While the grace period is subject to negotiations, the final outcome will be final.
So, concerned parties should take this time to outsource new ideas, experiment with new types of packaging, transfer their businesses outside or sell their equipment to some of the neighbouring countries.
It is a natural reaction; people are always averse to change. The same fear of the unknown first greeted the plastic bags ban. They were wondering how they would survive without something that had accompanied them throughout their lives.
Today they have moved on, alternative packaging manufacturing firms have cropped up and filled the void of the plastics and helped keep the city and country at large in spick-span conditions.
Recycling plants have also found a niche market and transformed a terrified-of-change state of mind into a win-win situation for all. It just needs taking the first step and everything else will fall into place.
There are many bigger things at stake, especially the future of our planet.
By Adama Wade
The 6th edition of the Africa Development International Forum (# FIAD2019) opened on Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Casablanca with a remarkable address by Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio, whose country is the guest of honor. “Africa is a land of opportunity, growth and expansion with one of the highest concentrations of natural resources in the world,” says President Maada Bio at the opening of the forum “When the East meets the West “, placed firmly under the sign of continental integration.
Welcoming the leadership of King Mohammed VI for the development and integration of the continent, the Sierra Leonean president calls for political stability as a necessary condition for investment and growth. And to invite his peers to join efforts to fight corruption and improve the business environment of their respective countries.
Sierra Leone has a single window overseen by the Vice President to save time and procedures for project leaders. “The goal is now to diversify our economy,” says the president who mentions agri-business and tourism in addition to the mining sectors, main suppliers of foreign currency.
In the coming years, the focus will be on education and human capital development, continues President Maada Bio in a marquee of 2000 businessmen and policy makers from 34 countries.
Speaking at the meeting, Attijariwafa Bank President Mohamed El Kettani recalled that 8,000 African operators have held 17,000 B to B meetings since the launch of the forum in 2010. “The FIAD is a place for dialogue and usability, “continues El Kettani, who paints a global geopolitical picture of uncertainties but where Africa is an island of stability. Nevertheless, worries the president of the leading bank in North Africa, West and Central by assets, the level of African debt, which reaches 53% of its GDP, calls for reforms. On the other hand, President Kettani calls for strengthening African integration through concrete projects linking East to West. “Africa’s future will be with its women, who make up 70 percent of the agricultural labor force,” says Kettani.
The Africa Development International Forum offers a conference area, B to B meetings and a market place to meet countries and investors. The event is organized by Attijariwafa Bank (subsidiary of the pan-African investment fund Al Mada) through the Africa Development Club, a vast network of influence including 3,000 economic operators from all sectors that interact through a virtual space accessible to members.
The New Times - Rwanda
By: George Lwanda
Ultra-fast 5G wireless technology has been widely touted as a potentially transformative development, on par with the advent of electricity. This is not mere hyperbole. One area where 5G will play a decisive role is in progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted unanimously by the United Nations in 2015.
Consider Sustainable Development Goal 4 – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – which affects the achievement of all other SDGs, beginning with ending poverty (SDG 1). As the UN Development Programme’s Multidimensional Poverty Index shows, of all of the deprivations that affect the poor – from inadequate nutrition to lack of access to clean water and sanitation – lack of quality education is among the biggest obstacles to upward social mobility.
The adverse effects of educational deprivation intensify as a person ages. And, because the children of uneducated adults are less likely to attend school, deficient education is a leading contributor to intergenerational poverty.
It is easy to see how this can undermine the achievement of other SDGs. An uneducated workforce is a low-skilled workforce, ill-equipped to secure productive employment (SDG 8), close income gaps (SDG 10), or build strong institutions (SDG 16). UNESCO estimates that in low-income countries, each additional year of education adds about 10% to an individual’s average lifetime earnings.
Ensuring quality education is also closely tied to the goal of achieving gender equality (SDG 5). In Africa, women lag men in educational attainment by one year, on average. In the more challenged countries – such as the Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger – women are expected to complete six years of schooling. In Eritrea, that number falls to just four years. Unsurprisingly, men earn an average of 1.6 times more than women.
More educated women have better health practices, marry later, and have fewer children. This leads to better maternal and child health. Furthermore, the children of educated mothers are more likely to attend school themselves, creating a virtuous cycle of intergenerational progress.
The obvious question is how to achieve universal quality education in a region like Africa, where schooling can be prohibitively expensive for many. With 85% of the multidimensionally poor living in rural areas, access represents a major challenge. To serve all of Sub-Saharan Africa’s children, a new primary school would need to be completed every hour between now and 2030.
Even if the region’s governments had the money for such rapid construction (which they don’t), they would have to secure the needed land and ensure its accessibility to enough students – efforts subject to complex procurement processes with rigid timelines. Teachers would also need to be trained and deployed.
This may not be impossible, but it is not really feasible either. A better approach would take advantage of 5G technology to offer improved remote-learning opportunities. This would eliminate the need for large-scale land use and construction, while keeping procurement processes confined largely to investments in the technology itself. These investments should not be too difficult to secure, given that 5G’s applications extend well beyond the education sector.
Remote learning has already begun to take off in some parts of the world. But 5G would greatly improve the quality of such learning, because of its sheer speed – up to 100 times faster than 4G – which would allow for instant interactivity, without much energy consumption. This means that, rather than watching videos of distant teachers, students in remote African villages would be able to participate in classes in real time.
This would vastly expand the pool of qualified teachers available to educate young Africans. With volunteers able to teach from wherever they are, there would be no need to train local teachers or attract foreign teachers to underserved areas, with all of the bureaucratic challenges that entails.
Beyond facilitating the delivery of traditional schooling, 5G is creating opportunities for entirely new approaches to learning. For example, haptic gloves could be used to track and record the movement of an expert – from a pianist to a surgeon – in real time, using 5G technology. That information could then be uploaded into a skills database, accessible to students.
Similarly, Chinese doctors are already working on procedures for using virtual reality technology and 3D imaging to allow a surgeon to aid in an operation taking place thousands of miles away. Some types of remote surgery have been possible for a while, but the speed of 5G connectivity creates important new opportunities – not just to save the lives of patients who cannot access a surgeon with the relevant expertise, but also to train aspiring doctors.
The challenge of achieving the SDGs is daunting. But a powerful tool for overcoming that challenge is already here. African governments must come together not only to invest in building 5G networks, but also to seize all of the opportunities those networks make possible – including quality education for all.