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The New Times (Kigali)
There has been an ongoing hot debate on a plan by city authorities to create new car-free zones in Kigali neighbourhoods.
The loudest argument is that while there are ecological dividends to be gained, they come with economic sacrifices. It is an argument that someone can poke many holes into.
Some not so long time ago there had been talking of partnering with a Singaporean firm to exploit the car-free zone in the city centre to make it vibrant and productive, but nothing has been heard since then.
Once in a while, the area is turned into an open-air art market or concert venue, but it is very occasional. New ideas need to be generated, not only by city engineers but including stakeholders as well, especially those with property in the area that might be affected by the changes.
One popular idea has been opening roadside cafes and refreshment centres; some kind of street food culture that is very popular in many cities. Small stalls could be installed conforming to city standards and regulations selling an assortment of services. But car-free zones need to retain their vibrancy.
The idea floating around is turning a street near Kisimenti in Remera, an area that teems with many bars, entertainment spots and lodgings, into a no-go area for cars. The stretch is longer than the current car-free zone in town.
The logic behind it is lacking. For one, the area is semi-deserted during the day and only comes alive in the evenings. Secondly, there is a lack of secure parking anywhere in the proximity and, definitely, people who earn a living along the street will see a drop in their clientele and might ship out. And that is not factoring in the drop-in property prices due to a drop-in income.
Decongesting our streets is a smart move but thorough planning is needed in order to satisfy the anticipation and needs of everyone.
The New Times (Kigali)
By: Anne-Marie Slaughter & Fadi Chehadé
Governments built the current systems and institutions of international cooperation to address nineteenth- and twentieth-century problems. But in today’s complex and fast-paced digital world, these structures cannot operate at “Internet
Recognizing this, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last year assembled a high-level panel – co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma – to propose ways to strengthen digital governance and cooperation. (Fadi Chehadé, a co-author of this article, is also a member.) It is hoped that the panel’s final report, expected in June, will represent a significant step forward in managing the potential and risks of digital technologies.
Digital governance can mean many things, including the governance of everything in the physical world by digital means. We take it to mean the governance of the technology sector itself, and the specific issues raised by the collision of the digital and physical worlds (although digital technology and its close cousin, artificial intelligence, will soon permeate every sector).
The issue is rapidly rising to the top of the global agenda. At this year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the leaders of Japan, South Africa, China, and Germany called for global oversight of the technology sector, while acknowledging the difficulty of designing a workable governance system.
Some business leaders also accept the need for digital rules and conventions. Microsoft President Brad Smith has called for a “Digital Geneva Convention” to protect citizens from peacetime cyber-attacks, while Apple CEO Tim Cook argues that the United States needs its own version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation regarding personal data. Both recognise that a continued lack of norms will hit business growth and further erode trust in their companies’ stewardship of the digital world.
Because the Internet is a network of networks, its governing structures should be, too. Whereas we once imagined that a single institution could govern global security or the international monetary system, that is not practical in the digital world. No group of governments, and certainly no single government acting alone, can perform this task.
Instead, we need a digital co-governance order that engages public, civic, and private leaders on the basis of three principles of participation. First, governments must govern alongside the private and civic sectors in a more collaborative, dynamic, and agile way. Second, customers and users of digital technologies and platforms must learn how to embrace their responsibilities and assert their rights. Third, businesses must fulfill their responsibilities to all of their stakeholders, not just shareholders.
In the digital order we envisage, representatives of governments, businesses, and civil society would form peer-to-peer, self-governing horizontal networks. A central hub would activate these groups to address specific digital issues – such as the use of facial-recognition data, the sharing of patients’ health records with insurance providers, and hidden advertising aimed at children – and ensure that relevant experts are included.
Participants in these networks would co-design digital norms, or actionable rules and implementation guidelines that give companies and citizens clear incentives to cooperate responsibly in the digital world. These co-designers should produce the best possible solutions at Internet speed, and make them available for anyone to adopt voluntarily.
In some cases, national or international authorities may adopt new laws and regulations to ensure that digital norms are implemented and enforced. But such “top-down” actions should be only a last resort, and would ideally use the co-designed digital norms as blueprints.
The central hub or clearing house would loosely coordinate the networks and ensure that the entire co-governance order operates according to principles of openness, inclusivity, subsidiarity, resiliency, and innovation. Furthermore, the hub would serve as an exchange for different networks’ digital norms, thereby encouraging their spread and adoption. This would also help to increase cohesion and limit unnecessary duplication.
In time, the hub might actively help governments, businesses, and user groups, as well as other relevant national and international organisations, to participate in the design – and, crucially, the adoption – of digital norms. But it would push resources and power to the participants rather than acting as a top-down authority.
Horizontal networks are a practical design for governing the digital world. At the same time, they draw heavily on the successes (and failures) of existing networks of national regulators, such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Financial Stability Board, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Instead of spending another year debating the perfect digital governance system, it would be wiser to start with a functional and proven approach and adapt along the way.
By Nontobeko Mlambo
Praia — allAfrica's Nontobeko Mlambo is in Praia, Cabo Verde, for the second WHO Africa Health Forum. This year the focus is on attaining universal health coverage for the continent - here she speaks with Dr Abel Kabalo, director in Zambia's department of health, who was on the panel discussing Multisector Collaboration to Improve Health Outcomes.
With a population of over 16 million people, Zambia continues to suffer from malaria and the HIV/Aids epidemic, as well as a significant growth in non-communicable diseases. Although medical care in Zambia is free many still can't afford the best quality care they desire because good and quality medical care is heavily subsidized. Zambia is piloting a National Health Insurance scheme in an effort to improve quality health.
"Our resolve it to ensure that each and every Zambian is covered in terms of health care needs without any catastrophic assault on their income," Dr Abel Kabalo, director of the department of health promotion environment and social determinants in Zambia.
As one of the panelists to discuss Multisector Collaboration to Improve Health Outcomes at the second WHO Africa Health Forum in Praia, Cape Verde, Kabala says he positive that his country will achieve UHC by the year 2021.
His department is responsible for health promotion, prevention, and control of diseases for improved health outcomes. It also coordinates health promotion and prevention and control of diseases at provincial and district levels.
In 2018, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya presented the National Health Insurance Bill to Parliament, saying the bill is aimed at providing for sound financing of the national health system and universal access to quality insured healthcare services. Kabalo says the national health insurance that the country is in the process of implementing which is compulsory will ensure that the country pulls resources in to the health sector that can be used to respond to any health needs.
Kabalo says strengthening Zambia's systems and healthcare financing is key in insuring that the country attains UHC as the country continues to see improvements on domestic funding.
Despite efforts by the government to end prevent all malaria deaths, three million of Zambians were diagnosed with malaria in 2016, according to the WHO malaria report in 2017.
"We are resolved to eliminate malaria by the year 2021 and we are moving in that direction. We have seen some good progress over the years in terms of the malaria incidents and we have seen that for the past 10 years we have definitely reduced those malaria incidents by 50% and we can see that if we pushed in efforts in an integrated manner with indoor spraying, mosquito nets, effective treatment and then mass drug administration in low incident areas we will find that we can definitely meet the 2021 goal.
"Countries that are succeeding in achieving UHC have proved that multi-sector collaborations and private sector partnerships with governments can eliminate policy implementing barriers holding back UHC coverage for countries," Kabalo said.
'We have repositioned ourselves, we are a ministry of health not ministry of sickness'
Everyone in Zambia is on board and believes that the Social Health Insurance that the government is implementing, which is compulsory, will make sure that each citizen contributes a little towards provisional health services in the country, he says.
Zambia is using an integrated community-based primary health care approach which means Zambians at a smallest unit in the household unit should be responsible or take it upon themselves to contribute towards the wellbeing of the nation by contributing financially and insuring that they keep themselves healthy and not sickly all the time,
"We have repositioned ourselves, we are a ministry of health not ministry of sickness so our entry point in to the health service delivery system is health promotion and diseases prevention so we ensure that we promote health and healthy living, we prevent diseases and for those that fall through the cracks we will treat them and we are ensuring that we up the quality of care that we offer for the curative stage."
Kabalo believes that 90% of all the disease cases in Zambia are preventable, he considers malaria to be one of the "most easily preventable". If you were to be sleeping under a mosquito net and they are not being bitten by those malaria transmitting mosquitoes, it is very easy for them to prevent themselves from getting malaria, he says.
"Flu and diarrhea can be prevented by mere washing of our hands and drinking good water, that you are sure is treated and safe for drinking. With regard to NCDs, we can prevent diabetes and the most common one which is type 2 which comes in mostly because of lifestyle, hypertension is also mostly lifestyle-related, cancer can be prevented by early screening and early treatment. also reducing on bad lifestyle choices like alcohol abuse and smoking."
This is Africa (Hilversum)
By Kelechukwu Iruoma
In December 2018, Nigeria's unemployment stood at 23.1% affecting 20.9million people, the majority of which are young people. But two programmes initiated by the Delta State government is addressing youth unemployment in that state
Unemployment has become a major problem that bedevils the lives of Nigerians, especially the youth, resulting in cybercrime, increased militancy, kidnappings, robberies and other violent crimes. The lack of work affects the mental and psychological wellbeing of a large percentage of Nigerians. Many young people have given up hope and some have committed suicide, leaving their families devastated.
Nigeria's unemployment rate has increased from 18.8% in 2017 to 23.1%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released in December 2018. The report revealed that Nigeria now has 20.9 million people who are unemployed, a figure that rose from 17.6 million.
Of the 20.9 million people classified as unemployed, 11.1 million did some form of work but for few hours a week (less than 20 hours), while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing, the NBS said.
Due to the unfriendly economy, some companies in the country have been laying off their staff. According to the report, 9.9 million people were unemployed after they had lost their jobs.
"Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for two years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for three years and more," the report states.
Rise in youth unemployment
The majority of the people affected are young people. According to the NBS, unemployment in the age bracket of between 15 and 35 stood at an alarming 52.65%, while in some African countries the rate is lower. Youth unemployment in Liberia stands at 4.7%, Kenya 18.7%, Egypt 26.3%, South Africa 27.7%, Lesotho 31.8%, Libya 43.8% and Ghana 48%.
The federal government tried to address this by establishing Npower. The aim was "to foster productivity through skills development and valuable knowledge sharing and acquisition for economic growth and social development". The impact has not been felt much.
YAGEP and STEP to the rescue
State governments also started churning out various programmes to reduce the rate of unemployment in their states by training the unemployed to become self-employed. The Delta State government is one of the states that established two programmes, namely the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP). YAGEP is focused on fish, rice and vegetable production, while STEP is focused on nine skill acquisitions. These include fashion design and tailoring, plumbing and audiovisual services, among others. The state government's aim is to provide job opportunities and empower the youth.
Launching STEP shortly after his inauguration as the governor of the state in 2015, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa said, "We are not training you to remain one. We are training you to become successful entrepreneurs who would train and employ other unemployed youths."
Cynthia Ehire is the Chief Executive Officer of Omas Events and Makeovers, based in Sapele, Nigeria. She was a beneficiary of STEP's 2015/2016 cycle. She enrolled and learnt to bake cakes and pastries and to do makeovers. Now she is fully into cosmetics.
"I have never experienced anything like this before. My eyes were opened to the opportunities in decoration and events management before I diversified into catering, makeovers and skin therapy." Cynthia has trained and graduated nine apprentices while more than 15 people are now undergoing training in her enterprise.
YAGEP has also been impactful. At its launch in 2017, the government allocated 154 YAGEP fish ponds, located at Ugbokodo in the Okpe local government area, to 77 YAGEPreneurs. Each young person was allocated two fish ponds to enable them to start their fisheries enterprise. The government has since established four more fish pond clusters, at Egbokodo-Itsekiri, Mbiri, Anwai and Alao-Ossissa.
Annually, more than 10 000 young people apply for both these programmes. In the 2017/2018 cycle, 15 000 people were reported to have applied, when there is space for about 800.
So far, more than 2 300 young people have been trained, nurtured and established in their choice enterprises under the STEP and YAGEP programmes of the Delta state government. Graduate trainees have in turn trained and nurtured thousands of entrepreneurs to become self-employed and economically viable.