Bring me my Bananas

Bring me my Bananas

Written By: DJ Bwakali | Published: August-14-2015 | Category: Africa's Agriculture
Tagged Under:

‘Umshini wami mshini wami!’ My machine, my machine. With his arms outstretched, his fists clenched, South Africa&rsqu...

Burkina Faso’s Islands of Fertility

Burkina Faso’s Islands of Fertility

Written By: Environmental Africa | Published: August-14-2015 | Category: Africa's Agriculture
Tagged Under:

As Blaise Compaore, the immediate former president of Burkina Fasso fled his country in a convoy of heavy military escort, he left...

Meet Australia's Cash Cows

Meet Australia's Cash Cows

Written By: Claire Baker | Published: December-19-2015 | Category: Africa's Agriculture
Tagged Under:

There doesn’t yet exist an animal that will grow, excrete or secrete money. We can always hope that this will one day be dev...

Ethiopia's Green Miracle

Ethiopia's Green Miracle

Written By: DJ Bwakali | Published: August-17-2015 | Category: Africa's Agriculture
Tagged Under:

With a crucifix dangling around her neck and a big smile on her chocolate face, the middle-aged lady from Abrha Weatsbha community...

One and a Half Acres of Food and Hope

One and a Half Acres of Food and Hope

Written By: DJ Bwakali | Published: August-19-2015 | Category: Africa's Agriculture
Tagged Under: kenya, village

She sighed. Her rough hands clasped the jembe, hoe in her hands tightly as a rapid song replaced the sigh. Every swing of the jemb...

Environmental Africa

Environmental Africa

Environmental Africa uses creative writing to share Africa's Sustainability Promise and Plight

PRETORIA, South Africa, March 23, 2017/ -- Today, activists of the BREAKFREE coalition have taken part in a funeral procession outside the Department of Energy (DoE) in Pretoria to highlight the impacts that coal-fired power stations are having on South African communities. The solemn procession depicted tombstones to which activists were chained with the message “The IRP is our chance to Break Free from fossil fuels” making a call to the South African public to stand up against dangerous and polluting energy options and engage in the electricity planning processes undertaken by the DoE.

“Civil society organisations under the Break Free [1] banner reject the IRP current plans as nothing more than renewed attempts by the Department of Energy and Eskom to promote vested interests in nuclear and coal. The long awaited IRP 2016 is a rigged model that forces nuclear energy and coal into the mix, even though it is clearly not cost competitive. The base case proposes a ridiculous scenario for 20 GW of nuclear and 15 GW of new coal by 2050,” stated NhlanhlaSibisi – Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en).

The purpose of the Integrated Resource Plan, in the DoE’s own words, is to identify investments in the electricity sector that allow the country to meet forecasted demand with the minimum cost to the country. As such coal and nuclear have no place in the IRP base case as renewable energy is by far the cheapest technology and should form the backbone of South Africa’s energy mix going forward.

“What government and the majority of South Africans don’t see are the real costs associated with living with coal on a daily basis [1]. We need to break from coal dependency that has resulted in SA communities living with some of the worst air quality in the world. Children are ill, water resources are polluted, agricultural land is sterilized, all at a time when there are better solutions available through renewable energy,” stated Makoma Lekalakala – Senior Programmes Officer, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg.

Droughts, sporadic rainfall and erratic weather patterns are all indicators that governments should take immediate action to safeguard a future that will sustain future generations.

“The impact of climate change is already felt in South Africa, and it affects the most vulnerable among us. We must reduce our dependency on fossil fuels drastically, starting today. Breaking Free from fossil fuels is possible; it will benefit all South Africans and guarantee a bright future for our children. Renewable energy can supply the bulk of the energy our country needs without further damaging our environment. This shift can be done now and must guide us as we plan our energy future” added Gillian Hamilton, Branch Manager of the African Climate Reality Project.

“The government's case for more coal and nuclear is baseless, ill-considered and destructive. Cost comparisons between coal and nuclear in relation to renewable energy technologies in the Draft IRP 2016 are misleading. The DoE’s lack of political commitment towards renewable energy blocks the country climate action pathway. The urgency could not be more heightened. We are breaking free from rogue industries knowingly perpetuating climate change crisis. The latest math proves that to prevent catastrophic warming, there can be absolutely no expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. That means no new coal mines, no new drilling, no to nuclear,” continued Ahmed Mokgopo, 350Africa Divestment Campaigner.

Break Free is a global movement making a statement to say enough is enough and lending voices to speak for future generations.

[1] Break Free is a global wave of people, communities, local and international organisations taking a firm stance against fossil fuels and calling for an end to dirty energy.

Le Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA) et le Gouvernement de Djibouti ont signé aujourd’hui un accord financier pour remédier aux graves conséquences de la pénurie d’eau que connaît la population rurale djiboutienne.

Le "problème de la soif" continue d’avoir de graves répercussions sur la population rurale à Djibouti. Les zones rurales constituent la majeure partie du territoire du pays et abritent 29% de la population, dont 67% sont des éleveurs nomades.

Le Programme de gestion des eaux et des sols (PROGRES) du FIDA sera déployé dans les régions d’Arta, de Dikhil et de Tadjourah. Il couvrira un total de 13 parcours et bénéficiera à quelque 66 000 personnes.

"Le projet vise à améliorer les conditions de vie et à réduire la pauvreté au sein des communautés rurales et des populations nomades de façon durable", a déclaré le chargé de programme de pays du FIDA pour Djibouti, M. Naoufel Telahigue. "Les bénéficiaires seront tous les ménages dont le camp de base est installé dans les localités situées sur les parcours couverts par le projet et qui vivent dans des conditions extrêmement précaires et vulnérables aux aléas climatiques", a-t-il ajouté.

Le coût total du projet sur une période de sept ans s’élève à 17,05 millions d’USD, dont un prêt de 5,77 millions d’USD et un don de 0,3 million d’USD alloués par le FIDA. Le projet est cofinancé par le Programme alimentaire mondial (1,7 million d’USD), le Gouvernement de Djibouti (2,52 millions d’USD) et les bénéficiaires eux-mêmes (0,7 million d’USD). Un financement à hauteur de 6,1 millions d’USD doit encore être trouvé.

L’accord financier a été signé à Rome par le Président du FIDA, M. Kanayo F. Nwanze, et l’Ambassadeur de Djibouti en France, M. Ayeid Mousse Yahya.

Djibouti figure parmi les 10 pays les plus pauvres en eau et les 20 pays les plus touchés par la pénurie d’eau à travers le monde. Compte tenu de la rareté de l’eau et des sols, ainsi que du climat semi-aride du pays, le secteur agricole est peu développé et la production agricole très réduite. La lutte contre la pénurie d’eau est une priorité absolue de la stratégie mise en place par le gouvernement pour réduire la pauvreté et la vulnérabilité.

Le programme intensifiera, consolidera et complètera les interventions et les investissements du précédent Programme de mobilisation des eaux de surface et de gestion durable des terres financé par le FIDA, en élargissant les parcours existants ou en en ouvrant de nouveaux. Cette approche vise à améliorer les structures de collecte des eaux de surface ainsi que la restauration et la régénération des pâturages.

Depuis 1980, le FIDA a financé sept programmes et projets de développement rural à Djibouti, pour un montant total de 54,4 millions d’USD, dont un investissement du FIDA de 30,1 millions d’USD qui a bénéficié directement à 41 850 ménages ruraux.

2,500 celebrate historic groundbreaking in one of Africa's neediest countries for a $14m solar field to advance economic and social development

Amid the lush and rolling hills of Mubuga, 100 km outside the Burundian capital of Bujumbura, 2,500 people came yesterday to celebrate the festive ground-breaking for a 7.5 MW solar field that will add 15% to the East African country's generation capacity. In a colorful and drum-accented ceremony attended by government officials, international investors, religious leaders and the diplomatic community, Gigawatt Global (http://GigawattGlobal.com), the leading frontier solar and social development enterprise, announced the $14 million pioneering project in one of the world's least developed nation. 

"Empowering economic and social development is at the heart of our green energy business," said Michael Fichtenberg, VP for Finance and Business Development of Gigawatt Global. "This high impact development investment supported by leading international financial institutions signals that Burundi is open for development and business." 

This will be the largest private international investment in the power sector in Burundi in nearly 30 years, with the power being sold for 25 years to REGIDESO, the national electric company. "We are very excited at the groundbreaking of the Gigawatt Burundi solar field," said His Excellency Come Manirakiza, Burundi's Minister of Energy and Mines. "After their success in Rwanda, Gigawatt Global has proven it can be relied on to deliver efficient, clean renewable energy at reasonable cost, contributing greatly to our economy and society. We look forward to the speedy completion of this project, and are thankful for the collaboration and cooperation with Gigawatt Global as energy in Burundi is a clear priority." 

Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch developer, is a founding member of the White House Power Africa initiative and financed and developed the first commercial scale solar field in continental sub-Sahara Africa (outside of South Africa) in neighboring Rwanda in 2014. 

The project has been supported by a grant from the Energy and Environment Partnership (a Finland, UK, Austrian fund) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) to cover the relevant studies. The project is also supported by African-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) and the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), currently engaging in project due diligence. 

"This project is a great example of Burundians, Americans and other international partners working together for the economic development of Burundi," said Anne Casper, U.S. Ambassador to Burundi. "The success of this project will be a positive signal to other potential investors, who are watching Gigawatt Global and the Government of Burundi to see if investing in Burundi is stable, predictable and easy to do. We are working together very hard and very closely -- the U.S., Burundi, the Netherlands, and Gigawatt Global -- to make this project a success -- to enable the whole country to get energy and this will lead to the country's economic development." 

U.S. Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz underlined the importance of Gigawatt Global's work by saying, "As a founding Power Africa partner, Gigawatt Global continues to demonstrate its industry leadership with this investment in Burundi." 

HE Hendrikes Verwein, the Dutch Ambassador to Burundi, said, "The Kingdom of the Netherlands supports Gigawatt Global and commits to assist the company in the pursuit of its investments. The Kingdom of the Netherlands expresses its wish that the contractual commitments included in the agreement protocols for the construction of the solar plant in Mubuga be rapidly implemented." 

"Gigawatt Global is expecting to deploy $2 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa as partners of the White House Power Africa initiative in the coming years as renewables are taking the lead in power generation in Africa and emerging markets," said CEO Josef Abramowitz. "We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas." 

The construction and interconnection of the project to the national grid is expected to be concluded in Q4 of 2017.

La création d’un nouveau réseau destiné à combler un déficit de financement estimé à 150 milliards d’USD qui, dans les zones rurales, empêche les petits producteurs et les entreprises des pays en développement de faire fructifier leurs activités et de renforcer les économies rurales, a été annoncée aujourd’hui.

Cette annonce a été faite par Kanayo F. Nwanze, Président du Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA), et Enrico Morando, Vice-Ministre italien de l’économie et des finances, à l’issue d’une conférence internationale de trois jours qui s’est tenue à Rome en vue d’identifier de nouveaux modes de financement du développement rural.

Dans les zones rurales, la pauvreté et l’absence de perspectives économiques favorisent la migration, vers les villes et au-delà, contribuant ainsi à l’instabilité et à l’insécurité alimentaire à l’échelle mondiale. Dans le cadre du Réseau de financement et d’investissement en faveur de l’agriculture paysanne (Smallholder Agriculture Finance and Investment Network – SAFIN), le secteur privé, le secteur public et les philanthropes ainsi que les agriculteurs et les entreprises se réuniront afin de trouver, moyennant la coordination des initiatives et des investissements, des solutions aux problèmes de financement en milieu rural.

"Nous n’avons pas uniquement besoin de financements, mais de financements plus avisés et plus ciblés", a déclaré M. Nwanze. "Cela aura non seulement pour effet d’améliorer la vie et les moyens d’existence des populations rurales, mais constituera véritablement un bien d’ampleur mondiale plus vaste, favorisant l’avènement d’un monde où la prospérité, le bien-être et la sécurité seront renforcés", a-t-il ajouté.

"La création du SAFIN constitue un pas important", a déclaré M. Morando. "C’est la toute première fois que de hauts représentants de gouvernements, d’institutions internationales, d’ONG, de la société civile et des partenaires privés travailleront de concert pour partager bonnes idées et meilleures pratiques afin de mettre des financements et des services financiers à la disposition des petits agriculteurs."

L’annonce de la création du SAFIN intervient à un moment critique, alors que les changements d’ordre politique et les crises humanitaires – guerres, phénomènes migratoires et catastrophes naturelles – viennent redéfinir les priorités mondiales et risquent de se traduire par la réaffectation de fonds qui pourraient être consacrés au développement rural.

Les trois quarts des populations les plus pauvres du monde vivent dans les zones rurales des pays en développement, et la majorité d’entre elles tirent leurs moyens d’existence de l'agriculture paysanne et d’activités connexes. Faute d’accès aux services financiers, elles ne sont pas en mesure de monter leurs propres activités, de gagner des revenus décents et de faire prospérer leurs communautés et leurs économies.

Les petites et moyennes entreprises rurales, auxquelles il est fréquemment fait référence comme le "chaînon manquant", sont souvent considérées comme étant trop grandes pour pouvoir avoir accès au microfinancement et trop petites pour se voir octroyer des prêts par les banques commerciales dans la mesure où celles-ci estiment qu’investir dans l'agriculture paysanne et les entreprises rurales comporte des risques.

"Avec ce réseau, le monde viendra à connaissance des problèmes auxquels sont confrontés les petits agriculteurs et des solutions pourront être trouvées", a déclaré Rupinder Singh Sodhi, Directeur général de la Fédération des coopératives de commercialisation du lait de Gujarat, en Inde, qui a pris la parole en faveur du réseau.

La conférence "Investir dans la transformation inclusive du monde rural: approches novatrices en matière de financement" est un événement organisé conjointement par le FIDA, le Ministère italien de l’économie et des finances, la Brookings Institution et l’Université de Warwick.

GOMA, January 31, 2017 — Potential political interference, poor evidence gathering and difficulty accessing remote areas are some of the main challenges to prosecuting economic and environmental crimes related to armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Overcoming these challenges was the focus of a two-day workshop for judges and prosecutors in Goma and Bukavu, organized by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), in collaboration with the United States Institute for Peace (USIP).

The workshops, which took place from January 23-27, explored ways to strengthen the Congolese judicial system and its ability to investigate and prosecute cases of economic and environmental crimes related to conflict, adopting a prudent approach in a context where there is very limited political will to prosecute such crimes. The workshop’s aim was to refine and advance recommendations adopted at a symposium on the same topic held in Kinshasa in 2016, which was also organized by USIP.

The focus was on tackling the exploitation of natural resources, particularly when used to fund armed groups and conflict in the country. Given the complexity of the crimes, an in-depth understanding of the current dynamics surrounding the illegal exploitation of minerals, fauna and flora by armed actors and criminal networks in Eastern DRC is needed, in order to try to dismantle the criminal networks that continue to let them happen.

During the workshop, these dynamics, of organized criminal enterprises enabling the illegal exploitation of natural resources by non-state armed groups national forces and other agents, were described in detail by experts in the field and discussed by participants in working groups.

The event brought together prosecutorial and judicial authorities from the High Council of the Magistrates, the High Military Court, the Military and Civilian Attorney-General’s Office, and the military and civilian courts and prosecutor’s office from Eastern DRC. Representatives of the Ministries of Defense and Justice as well as provincial authorities also took part in discussions, along with representatives from local non-governmental groups.

Although violations of economic and environmental laws related to armed conflict are well known and documented in the DRC, such crimes are rarely prosecuted. Ending armed conflict in the DRC requires removing the sources and incentives fueling them.

“When we examined the judicial aspects of ending these crimes, we found that the low number of prosecutions of economic and environmental violations in the country was due to limited knowledge of the legal framework condemning these crimes as well as a lack of strategy and prioritization in selecting cases,” said Myriam Raymond-Jetté, ICTJ’s Head of Office in DRC.

“Having a targeted approach is essential to ensuring an effective response, especially when resources are limited, as they are in the DRC.”

Participants also examined the applicable national laws and the importance of developing a prosecutorial strategy to specifically tackle these crimes when committed by members of the DRC’s Armed Forces, armed groups and broader criminal networks.

“We are hopeful that these workshops, as well as upcoming initiatives, will lead to an effective deterrence policy and implementation of laws related to economic and environmental crimes in the DRC, and in North Kivu and South Kivu in particular," stated Steve Hege, Senior Program Officer, Rule of Law, Justice and Security, USIP.

As a result of the workshops, magistrates, in consultation with local civil society groups, came up with a set of criteria for prioritizing cases that are specific to the nature of economic and environmental crimes. These criteria include: coverage of the different types of economic and environmental crimes being committed; emblematic cases of violations being regularly committed; and the impact of economic and environmental crimes on affected communities.

Going forward, magistrates will identify priority cases based on these criteria, in closed sessions.

Progressively building experience and capacities needed to investigate conflict-related economic and environmental crimes, participants were hopeful that such an approach would help to open a window of political opportunity to prosecute these crimes. 

PIASA, one of France’s most distinguished auction houses, will hold its third sale of Contemporary African Art, “Origins and Trajectories” on November 17 in Paris, featuring the work of 50 African artists.

PIASA’s ambition to own part of this increasingly valuable market is well within reach, says Christophe Person, who heads the Contemporary African Art department at PIASA in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. A financier turned art specialist, Christophe has the ability to match big figures and powerful images.

Person comments: “African art is taking a long overdue turn in the spotlight of world interest. There is a growing understanding of the  relevance of the continent’s artists whose themes are universal. And there is also a groundswell of interest from collectors and investors who have seen the prices climbing steadily.”

PIASA’s auction is part of a very busy schedule in Europe for African Contemporary art. After the 1:54 Fair in London in October and the AKAA Fair in November, next year (2017), will be very busy with an exhibition scheduled at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, and another at La Villette “Aperta Africa”, curated by Simon Njami of Revue Noire. And the Art Paris Art Fair at Le Grand Palais in March will be dedicated to Africa.

PIASA is determined to carve out a significant market share by using its powerful relations with Francophone Africa.

France and Africa have a long-intertwined art history. As early as the time of the ‘cabinets de curiosité’, artefacts from Africa were collected as these objects were seen as symbols of the African culture. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the Surrealists and the Cubists saw the intrinsic art value of these African artefacts. Today Classical African art remains a powerful component of the French art market, opening the way for the development of this new trade in Contemporary African Art which is being integrated into the global art market that still has its centre of gravity in Paris.  

With PIASA’s “Origins and Trajectories” auction on November 17th, it is not the ‘otherness’ of African art that the auction house is showing but the avant-gardism of African artists - in the way that it is produced by artists combining their African identity with their personal stories and exposure to the world.

The sale on November 17 includes artists who already have an international profile and a growing reputation. These include: Aboudia, Armand Boua, Ghada Amer, Godfried Donkor, Romuald Hazoumè, Oumar Ly, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Esther Malhangu, Gonçalo Mabunda, Dominique Zinkpè, Chris Offili, Wagechi Mutu, Mahi Binebine, Youssef Nabil and Nnenna Okore.

The sale reflects the diversity of the work of artists across the continent, some of whom move between Africa and the United States, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. The sale is organised into sections including migration; the place of women artists in Africa and the Diaspora; and the way contemporary artists interpret classical African art in a new way; and a group following in the wake of EL Anatsui taking their lead from him.

It also offers young artists such as Goncalo Mabunda and Nnenna Okore, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga and Wallen Mapondera, who are leading the way in interpreting classical African culture and putting it at centre stage for the wider world.
The evidence that African art is on the march is all around us.  The Venice Biennale has most recently placed it centre stage, giving unprecedented visibility to a whole number of artists from Africa and its diaspora. Institutional interest and initiatives are multiplying too. The Bienniales in Marrakech, Dak'art, Bamako, Lubumbashi, Kampala and Luanda offer an invitation to discover the artists on the continent who are exporting more and more.

On a continent where public institutions have so far invested little in museums, there are passionate private collectors and collections that haven’t missed the opportunity to gather works from movements that will certainly establish themselves in time. The most emblematic are in Morocco, Benin, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa. Outside of Africa, we have seen exhibitions at the Tate in London and the Armory Show in New York, while Africa 1:54 at Somerset House in London offers art from every one of the 54 countries in the continent.

Now collectors have the opportunity to bid at PIASIA’s latest sale on November 17 in Paris. The sale provides a snapshot of all that is best of Africa’s artistic offering to the world.

Leading French art and design auction house PIASA has a 1,000 sq metre hotel particulier on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the heart of the city's art market district. Innovative auctions have established its reputation with specific themes or devoted to a single artist or designer, or covering such specialist collectables as furniture & objets d’art, haute epoque, 20th century design and modern & contemporary art.

Source: Piasa Press Release

Caboz, a writer for Forbes Africa, in South Africa, won for his piece ‘40 Years of Mozambique - The Dead Port that Rose Again’ which was chosen from entries spanning 38 nations across the African continent
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, October 19, 2016/ -- Jay Caboz, from South Africa, has been awarded the GE Energy & Infrastructure Award, presented by Thomas Konditi, President and CEO GE Transportation Africa & GE South Africa, at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016 Awards ceremony.  

Caboz, a writer for Forbes Africa, in South Africa, won for his piece ‘40 Years of Mozambique - The Dead Port that Rose Again’ which was chosen from entries spanning 38 nations across the African continent.

The awards, which rotate location each year in tribute to their Pan-African credentials, were held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at the Gallagher Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The judging panel said: “This is a beautifully written story about the main port in Mozambique that had all but died – being brought back to life 40 years later. The writer weaves into the story the lines and events that took place in Mozambique over that period to bring us to where we are today, a vibrant port. It is indeed a great story straight out of Africa.”

Greg Beitchman, VP Content Sales and Partnerships, CNN International, said: “Powerful journalism has shone through once again at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards – from uplifting storytelling to hard-hitting investigations. Congratulations to all of tonight’s finalists and winners.”

The Director of Communications & Public Affairs for GE Africa Patricia Obozuwa said “Jay Caboz’s award winning entry is a typical example of the power of journalism to redirect public focus on the topical issues. We are glad to be associated with the Energy and Infrastructure category of the CNN Awards.”

Tim Jacobs, CEO Multichoice Africa, said: “Congratulations to all the winners, your words and images reflect the reality of our world and attest to the important role the media plays in Africa’s development. As a good corporate citizen, together with our partner, CNN and other sponsors we will continue to invest in the CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards to ensure increased development and advancement of outstanding journalism across the continent.”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of M-Net, congratulated the winners of this year's awards: “Thank you to each of you for telling the stories of Africa and its people to the world. We’re proud to play a role in amplifying your voices and the voices of other journalists across the African continent.”

Source: Press Release from GE

Judge dismisses ‘unnecessary’ law suit by environmental activists

KAMPALA, Uganda, September 27, 2016/ -- The High Court of Uganda has cleared Bidco (http://www.BidcoAfrica.com) against claims of deforestation in the Vegetable Oil Development Program in Kalangala district.

The public interest case filed by three environmental groups alleged that Bidco coerced the Government through the National Forestry Authority to de-gazette forest reserves on Bugala Island for the growing of oil palm. 

The court rejected this claim.

“The defendants have never asked the Government of Uganda to de-gazette any forest reserve as claimed in the plaint, no forest reserve has been de-gazetted as a result. The land was provided on Lease to Bidco by the government for the project was not a de-gazetted forest, therefore, the issue of de-gazzetation should not have arisen,” Judge J. W Kwesiga said in his ruling.

The court also rejected the claim of deforestation.

“None of the defendants (Bidco) have entered or cleared any forest reserve and claims to the contrary are false,” the judgment continues.

In the ruling the court said it could not find any evidence that the company’s activities violated the right to a clean healthy environment.

“The plaintiff should have further produced evidence to establish that growing of palm trees would be harmful to clean and healthy environment rather than being accredit to a clean and healthy environment by growth of palm trees.”

The court said the lawsuit was unnecessary and the environmental groups could have acquired the truth by simply contacting the company.

Martin Lugambwa Chairman of the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Association welcomed the ruling.

“This is great news. Let them leave us to enjoy the fruits of Oil Palm with our families. Our lives have changed, our children are going to good schools and we are happy. Let them leave us alone.”

Nelson Basalidde the General Manager of the Palm Growers Trust echoed the sentiment.

“The court has validated what we have always said and known. The forest reserves on the island are intact. There have been four separate environmental impact assessments. I think we need to focus on the remarkable transformation that is happening in the lives of small holder farmers and the economic impact on the Island.

Bidco Uganda Managing Director Kodey Rao who testified during the trial also lauded the ruling. 

“This project has gone out of its way to maintain the environment and transform the community. The small holder farmers are happy and the community is happy. Kalangala has become a beacon for progress. We thank the court for making the truth known.”

About Bidco

Bidco Africa Ltd (http://www.BidcoAfrica.com) is Kenya and East Africa’s leading manufacturer of edible oils, fats and hygiene care products. Established in 1985 the company has manufacturing units in Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar and a footprint in 16 African countries.

Bidco Uganda is a separate legal entity with different shareholding and management.

About the Palm Oil Project

The Vegetable Oil Development Project benefits 1800 farmers in Kalangala district, Bugala Uganda and is a partnership of Bidco Uganda, the Government of Uganda and the International Fund for Agriculture IFAD.

The farmers get loans over a period of four years to plant and nurture oil palm until they begin harvesting. When they do they are guaranteed a market for their fruits at a pre-determined price formulated by the World Bank. Oil Palm fruits for 20 plus years. 

SOURCE: Bidco Africa

Njeri will be leading Greenpeace Africa into a new wave of environmental justice for Africans by Africans
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 25, 2016/ -- Kenyan born Njeri Kabeberi, has been named as Executive Director for Greenpeace Africa (www.GreenpeaceAfrica.org) after an extensive search for a combination of skills required to drive the organisation towards a people –powered movement.

According to the Greenpeace Africa Board, Africans are hungry for a new story, one with a better take on nature, on humanity, their livelihoods, their future and their connection to the earth. “It was critical to find someone who embodies passion, activism and understands the context of environmental justice in Africa and we are confident that Njeri represents that” said Greenpeace Africa Board Chair Brian Kagoro.

Greenpeace currently runs campaigns on four key issues on the continent, to protect the Congo Basin from large scale deforestation, stop overfishing in West Africa, promote ecological farming in the horn of Africa as well as demand a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in South Africa in order to reverse the impacts of climate change.

With a long history in human rights activism, Njeri will be leading Greenpeace Africa into a new wave of environmental justice for Africans by Africans.

“We will continue to work on our flagship campaigns but more so, we shall be working closely with communities to ensure that our campaigns speak to the local realities on the continent and can effect change in the day to day life of our people” said newly appointed Greenpeace Africa Executive Director Njeri Kabeberi.

“Africa has a major role to play in the global efforts to reverse climate change, protecting its vast natural forest and safeguarding its rich ocean resources is centre to the continent’s contribution in averting the catastrophic effects of climate change. It is important that the continent works together to push for an end to illegal logging, unsustainable fishing and a shift from industrial agriculture to ecological farming to ensure that our biodiversity is protected” added Njeri.

Njeri joins Greenpeace after serving as CEO of the Civil Society Reference Group and as the immediate former Executive Director of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy.  She is also a member of the board of advisors of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and chairs the board of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict.  

Njeri is passionate about social justice and women’s rights, and in 2010, amongst others, received the ILO Wedge Award.  She also has extensive INGO leadership and management experience and was on the Board of the Kenya Human Rights Commission for many years.  

 Source: Greenpeace

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 28, 2016/ -- More than one million trips have been made using Uber (www.Uber.com) since our launch in Kenya’s capital in January 2015. Added together, that’s roughly eight million kilometers, or enough to go to the moon and back ten times. Those trips didn’t happen on a space rocket though - they happened right here in cars on the streets of Nairobi, with more than 1,000 local drivers earning money as a result.

The reason we offer such good value prices is because our advanced technology means there are fewer minutes wasted for drivers. With Uber, drivers don’t sit idle in a queue waiting for their next passenger. And they don’t travel as far, or as often, with an empty car.

Now we want to get even more business for our partners - by dropping prices by 35%. After years of experience, including in cities like Lagos in Nigeria, we have learnt that price cuts boost demand so more people request more rides with Uber, meaning drivers spend more time earning.

It’s a virtuous cycle. We can keep prices low for everyone, while maximising the amount of time drivers have a rider in the back seat.

Nate Anderson, Uber’s General Manager in Kenya, explains, “We are committed to making Uber the most affordable and safest option to move around Nairobi. Our experience shows us we can make that happen while making Uber the best way for drivers to earn. This also means riders can ditch their car keys and travel with Uber more often. For some it will make Uber cheaper than owning a car. This means fewer cars on the road, less traffic, and fewer issues trying to find parking.”

To help drivers using Uber, Uber has also partnered with Total to provide some great deals on fuel. This partnership allows Nairobi driver-partners to receive a great discount off every litre of fuel and as an added extra they can get a power wash for KES200.

“We believe these changes will help, but while the city adjusts to the new prices, we are putting in place minimum payment guarantees for drivers to ensure they don’t lose out. And if the amount they make on the road isn't what we expect, we’ll reassess this price change,” says Nate Anderson.

Uber is all about making sure people have a safe, reliable, affordable and convenient way to get from A to B. With these changes, Uber hopes even more people in Nairobi will let Uber help them get where they need to be.

Old fares vs New fares

  • Old uberX fares: KES 100 base, KES 60 per KM, KES 4 per minute, KES 300 minimum, KES 200 cancellation
  • New uberX fares after Price Cut: KES 100 base, KES 35 per KM, KES 3 per minute, KES 200 minimum, KES 200 cancellation

Press Release from Uber

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