Gov't retreat agenda to focus on transformation, accountability
Rwanda: Govt Invests Rwf2 Billion to Create Jobs Through Short-Term Course Training
Ethiopia: British Museum to Return Lock of Hair from Emperor Tewodros II
Tanzania Postal Corporation to Open Forex Shops Countrywide
Tanzania's Chamber of Commerce Looks to Boost Agriculture
Seychelles: 7 Seychellois Researchers to Explore Waters Up to 500 Metres Deep
Tunisia called to develop quality of its investments rather than volume alone (Zied Laadhari)
Egypt's FM discusses bilateral ties with Somali counterpart in Cairo
Egypt allocates $10 million for African Space Agency operations: Ministry official
The New Times (Kigali)
Government’s bid to ban single-use plastic materials has gained momentum, with the draft law on the matter now under consideration in the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment.
The Minister for Environment, on Monday, appeared before the committee and allayed fears that the country could still not have alternatives to single-use plastics when the legislation comes into force.
As it turned out the Government bets on a several local firms involved in manufacturing non-plastic materials and recycling of plastics to help find alternatives to single-use plastic materials, such as straws, disposable cups and plates, coffee stirrers, among others.
It is an undisputed fact that single-use plastics are harmful to the environment and governments around the world are required to mobilise their people to ditch the materials and embrace alternatives, even where it makes one uncomfortable.
Statistics indicate that some 13 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year, accounting for 50 per cent of marine litter. It is indeed estimated that over a million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by ingesting plastics every year.
In addition, most floods, especially in urban areas, are caused by discarded plastic bags clogging water channels and heaps of plastic litter preventing water from seeping into the ground.
Fortunately, Rwanda is no stranger to bold green growth initiatives, having successfully banned plastic bags more than 10 years ago – at a time when it looked more difficult to find alternatives than is the case with single-use plastics today.
That the country succeeded in banning plastic bags is proof that the efforts to get rid of single-use plastic materials are not far-fetched.
The Government’s move has received support from Parliament and what remains is to fine-tune a few details to ensure smooth implementation.
The development presents an opportunity to the business community and entrepreneurs to think big and come up with viable, affordable and environmentally friendly alternatives even before the law comes into force.
Daily News – Tanzania
ELSEWHERE in this edition, there is a story focused on Tanzania and Rwanda teaming up to maximise tourism potential between the two countries.
Tour operators from Kigali and Dodoma are said to have agreed to join forces in a bid to increase business opportunities in the lucrative sector.
The operators who met in Kigali last week did, among other things, agree to cooperate in maximising the potential offered by the tourism and hospitality sectors in the region.
The meeting saw the creation of a digital Tourism Business to Business (B2B) Trade Portal with the vision of creating linkages among operators in the tourism industry across East Africa.
They were optimistic that the partnership will improve opportunities for the two parties, since Tanzania tour operators were keenly keeping tabs with the Rwandan market.
According to the East African Community (EAC) secretariat, the sector, with steady growth as a tourism destination, still needs world-class tourist facilities, which means one thing: opportunity.
The tour operators’ partnership is interested in diversifying the sources of tourism and adding new ones.
It will also change the way they package their tour offers, thus maximising both sides of the boarder potentials.
Among those potentials is to increase the number of stay days for tourists. This way the operators also maximise revenue.
The Dodoma and Kigali tour operators’ cooperation still faces a number of challenges but they should not backpedal their effort to strengthen their agendas.
They should, on the contrary, consider those challenges as opportunities to further maximise revenues.
Also, the EAC secretariat has done well for showing the bloc tourism potentials and products offered. But they are duty bound to connect the sector, especially tour operators.
Some years ago, Tanzania and Kenya were locked into a squabble whereby Nairobi banned Dodoma tour operators from picking up tourists using cars at Jomo Kenyatta Airport.
Tanzania retaliated by saying it would restrict Kenya Airways frequencies to between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam; the two sides then sat down and agreed to restore cordial ties.
This disagreement between Tanzania and Kenya should not be permitted to recur.
Instead, the two sides, or in the entire region, stakeholders should seat down and exchange notes on challenging areas and turn them into potentials.
Thus, the mutual cooperation entered between Kigali and Dodoma should be supported not only by the two sides but also the entire tourism fraternity in the region.
The New Times (Kigali)
By Dr Jaya Shukla
The world's population is expected to increase by about 3 billion by 2050 and it is forecasted that nearly 80 per cent of that population will live in urban centres. The urban growth rate in Africa is 3.5 per cent which is highest among all continents.
Rapid urbanization in developing countries is accompanied with problems of urban poverty and urban food insecurity. Lack of employment, high food prices and malnutrition further the problem of urban food insecurity in Africa.
Most countries have developed agriculture as a solution to urban food insecurity. Through urban agriculture it is possible to help poor people cope with food scarcity and hunger through the growing of plants, raising of livestock within and around cities, community gardening, rooftop gardening, urban forest gardening, green walls, vertical farms, animal husbandry, urban beekeeping etc. It will also offer urban poor a viable income.
The importance of urban agriculture is increasingly being recognized by international organizations like UN-Habitat and FAO (World Food and Agriculture Organisation).
Urban Agriculture and Africa
According to the United Nations human settlements programme, UN-Habitat, Africa is the fastest urbanizing continent in the world. By 2050, 60 per cent of all Africans will be living in cities. Urbanization in Africa is accompanied by the growth of urban poverty and urban food insecurity.
Urban agriculture is becoming prominent in many African cities. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, urban gardens in some communities are practiced as a part of urban agriculture. In Dar es Salaam, urban agriculture forms at least 60 per cent of the informal sector and urban agriculture is the second largest urban employer (Mr. Majani, Dar es Salaam, 2001).
In Lusaka, Zambia, over half of the residents of urban areas practice urban agriculture to grow their own food.
In Yaounde, Cameroon, many urban households raise livestock including poultry, dairy cattle, and pigs. According to research (Maxwell, Levin and Csete 1998), in Kampala children aged five years or less in low-income farming households were found to be significantly better-off nutritionally than counterparts in non-farming households.
According to Bowyer-Bower and Drakakis-Smith in Harare, sixty percent of food consumed by low-income groups was self-produced.
In Nairobi, Kenya various groups and agencies have helped popularise the "vertical farm in a bag" concept in which city dwellers create their own gardens using tall sacks filled with soil from which plant life grows.
FAO is supporting initiatives of urban farming in Africa. According to the projection of FAO at there will be 35 million urban farmers in Africa by 2020. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for example, FAO's Urban Horticulture Programme is building on the skills of rural farmers who have come to the cities.
In Rwanda, urban agriculture was officially incorporated into the Kigali conceptual master plan (KCMP) in 2009. The Kigali city government accepted the recommendation of the FAO to focus on urban agriculture, which it deemed to have the potential to aid in the city's transformation to commercial export of food, generate income, and bolster the urban food supply.
As a drive to food security urban agriculture is becoming a practice all over the world. It is widely practiced in Australia (Queensland), Cairo (Egypt), Havana (Cuba), Harare (Zimbabwe), Bangkok (Thailand), cities of China, America etc. Apart from food security green growth strategy is also pushing countries to adopt and promote urban agriculture.
With more poor people living in African cities, support and strengthening of urban agriculture programmes will be critical to food security and nutrition.
Urban agriculture can provide people with a primary or supplemental income. Income from urban agriculture is significant in many African cities. In African cities including Bamako, Mali, and Dar es Salaam, the economic return to urban farmers has been estimated to be comparable to the income of unskilled construction workers.
For strengthening urban agriculture there is also need for implementing some fundamental changes including defining the land use plan in urban areas granting some property rights to community for urban wasteland to be used for agricultural purposes. Also urban dwellers with space for garden could be guided on how to use it effectively for growing vegetables and fruits.
To make urban agriculture sustainable research is needed to be supported for innovative techniques of farming in small pieces of land.
Conclusively Policy, infrastructure, finance, training, awareness are some of key areas that could prove helpful in strengthening urban agriculture in urban areas.