Climate Change and Environment in Africa

Climate change is a global phenomenon. However, it has had and continues to have a bigger impact on African countries despite the fact that they emit relatively lower percentages of greenhouse gases. Also with an estimated annual population growth of 2%, the continent becomes increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts. This is due to the fact that, the more the population increases, the more impacts of climate change are magnified as resources obtained from the environment are stretched to meet the needs of the population. It poses a unique challenge to Africa as much of its economy relies on climate sensitive natural resources such as rain-fed agriculture.

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The impacts it has had on the African continent include irregular precipitation levels with areas such as semi-arid regions of south Sahara experiencing a decrease in rainfall whilst other regions like east central Africa experiencing an increase in rainfall. With most African communities relying on agriculture as a source of income, the irregular precipitation levels as a result of climate change has been and will continue to be stressful.  Botswana as a semi-arid country is more susceptible to the impacts of climate change. These impacts have manifested through drought which has left the country with an issue of increasing water scarcity. Botswana has relied a lot on food imports however; farmers who have made it their mission to help the country overcome its food insecurity have also found themselves in a tight corner as a result of extremely insufficient rainfall. Another example is Zambia which is a country known for its secure supply of hydro-electric power but it has also experienced drought hence low amounts of rainfall which affected the amount of power the country is able to generate resulting in blackouts. 

As a result, some businesses made losses leading to them closing down. Climate change also poses a threat as adverse changes in temperature and rainfall patterns are likely to increase the risk of insect-borne diseases such as malaria and may also create conflict over water and grazing resources.

Because African countries contribute less man-made effects of climate change their voice in terms of mitigation and adaptation negotiations have been rather minimal.  However, the continent could take serious continent-specific mitigation and adaptation measures. These include educating people on climate change and mitigation as well as increasing the use of renewable energy resources such as solar power and the use of bio-technology.

The writer of this article is Lebogang Motlalekgosi, a 26 year old from Botswana. She has passion for writing as well as issues concerning the environment. Connect with her on Facebook as Lebogang S A Motlalekgosi.

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Celebrating International Youth Day 2016

The International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 annually. The theme for this year is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.” The theme focuses specifically on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 12). According to un.org, sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.

With a population of over 1.8 billion youth, the world has never been this young. Youth are powerful agents of positive change, essential to taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.“

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“I invite governments, foundations, civil society organizations, and the youth movement to mark the day by highlighting the positive contributions of youth in development and by pledging to engage with youth as partners in the implementation of the SDGs,” said the UN Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi ahead of the event.

Happy International Youth Day 2016!

Nigeria’s 1st Olympic Rower Puts Medical School on hold and Self-financed her Rio Trip

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Chierika Ukogu

Many athletes head to the Olympics thinking all about gold. For Chierika Ukogu, a 23-year-old Nigerian rower, simply getting to Rio is an incredible feat. She’ll soon be the first rower to ever represent Nigeria in the Olympics, and had to put off medical school and self-fund her trip to do it. The chance to win a medal is simply a bonus on top of what Ukogu’s already accomplished.

Just suiting up for Nigeria as a rower in the Olympics, which Ukogu will do in the single scull event, is a special thing. The country only recently set up its Nigeria Rowing, Canoe and Sailing Federation. The hope was to have Nigerian athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but nobody had been aiming to participate in 2016. Well, nobody except Ukogu.

When she emailed the Nigerian Olympic Committee a few years ago asking about representing the country as a rower in Rio, she got ignored.

“Just emailing them and telling them, ‘Hey, I want to do this,’ meant nothing,” said Ukogu in a recent feature by Philly.com. “They ignored me because I didn’t have a plan.”

Now she’s preparing to be Nigeria’s first Olympic rower, and it’s not because she followed a traditional plan. A dual citizen of the U.S. and Nigeria who’s based in Philadelphia, Ukogu’s path to Rio has to be among the most unconventional. Many Olympic athletes are trained from a young age, with countless dollars poured into maximizing their potential. Ukogu is entirely self-funded and had to put off medical school for two years to pursue her dream.

When it comes to travel, training, equipment, coaching and whatever else goes into becoming an Olympic athlete, Ukogu has been footing the bill. She has no financial backing from Nigeria. Instead, money saved from a full-time job and a GoFundMe page have provided Ukogu the resources, such as training and an actual boat, to become one of the world’s best rowers. She’s trained at Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia, one of the most prominent boat clubs in the country.

“She’s earned this,” said John Parker, her coach at Vesper. “When she first said she wanted to row in the Olympics, to row for Vesper, I said she wasn’t good enough. … But she’s responded really fast. This whole year has been a steep learning curve.”

Ukogu rowed in high school and in college at Stanford University, but didn’t start thinking about the Olympics until four years ago. That’s when she saw another African rower, Hamadou Djibo Issaka of Niger, get mocked after a poor showing at the 2012 Games in London. The International Olympic Committee had decided to open up a spot in the single scull competition — the Olympic individual rowing event — for a country with a developing program. Issaka won the spot, but finished in last in London. Ukogu was so bothered by the way her fellow African rower was treated that she decided to make the Olympics a life goal.

“I was so riled up by watching him [and] people coming for him,” Ukogu said. “I didn’t want this to be the representation that people have of African rowers in general. I said, ‘I have dual citizenship. Yeah, I’m going to do this.'”

And what Ukogu established after committing herself to rowing was that she’s good enough. In October, she earned her spot in Rio by finishing third at the ISA African Qualification Regatta. In June, she quit her job as a research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania to focus on training for six hours per day. Even now, after so much training, she’s still learning and improving.

“There’s a certain strategy to rowing in a single that I’m still starting to grasp,” she said. “It’s more of a mental game than an eight, when you have a coxswain dictating what to do and that allows you to shut off your brain.”

Ukogu isn’t expected to win a medal, but she knows that simply wearing Nigeria’s green and white on the water in Rio will mean something to young people everywhere. She’s made incredible sacrifices in order to accomplish something nobody had done before. With or without gold, that’s something she hopes people will be proud of.

“If I show people that nothing is impossible, if I can spread that message, I’ve done my job,” she said. “A lot of people say, ‘How do you do all these things? How are you so determined?’ I know being in the U.S. has given me amazing opportunities, and I have to take advantage of them, not only for me, but for other people.”

Source: sbnation.com

Youth Up for the Environment

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The environment is important for the survival of mankind; therefore mankind must ensure the survival of the environment. The environment has the ability to sustain itself but the action of man keeps posing constant and continual threat to the environment. The use of machines resulting in the release of excess carbon to the atmosphere, production processes that leaves many pollutants, and indiscriminate waste disposal contribute to the environmental degradation.
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The African Youth Corner (AYC) collaborated with Standing for Environmental Restoration (SOFER) in carrying out an environmental sustainability project. The project which held in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, saw members of both organisations working hand-in-hand to collect waste from traders at a neighborhood market and educating the traders and locals on how to properly package and dispose their waste. Adopting the method of recycling, reducing and reusing, the team broke into smaller groups and went on to collect waste materials in the different categories. The climax of the exercise was when the team took control of a popular dump site in front of the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH). The dump site which had been filled to the brim was a sanctuary for flies and other vectors. The teams scrubbed up, wearing gloves and nose mask and took the pains of properly packaging the waste in bags before the  agency in charge of final disposal would come to take the waste away. Other highlight of the exercise included distribution of waste baskets to traders and shop owners in the area and further engaging the beneficiaries in discussions that were aimed at effecting behavioural changes.

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As the founder of the African Youth Corner, Jude Ogar says: “It is our collective responsibility to ensure a cleaner, safer and sustainable environment.”

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25 Facts You Never Knew About Africa

1. Gambia has only one university.

2. Equatorial Guinea is Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country.

3. South Africa is the most visited African country.

4. Nigeria has the richest Black people in Africa.

5. Samuel Eto’o is the highest paid Footballer of all time, he received about £350,000 weekly in Russia in 2011.

6. A person from Botswana is called a Motswana, the plural is Batswana.

7. A person from Lesotho is called a Mosotho.

8. A person from Niger is called a Nigerien. A person from Burkina Faso is called a Burkinabe.

9. Nigeria has won more football cups than England.

10. Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the world’s most educated President with 7 degrees, two of them are Masters.

11. Al-Ahly of Egypt is the richest club in Africa.

12. Didier Drogba is Chelsea’s highest goal scorer in European competition.

13. Johannesburg, South Africa is the most visited city in Africa.

14. Zinedine Zidane wanted to play for Algeria, but the selector rejected him, saying they are already many players like him in the team.

15. President Jacob Zuma was once a referee in prison.

16. President Robert Mugabe was jailed for 11 years for fighting for freedom.

17. President Robert Mugabe is Africa’s oldest Head of State and the world’s second oldest Head of State. He was born 1924.

18. The Seychellois are the most educated Africans. Seychelles’ literacy rates (Adult: 92%, Youth: 99%) Zimbabwe is 2nd (Adult: 91.2%, Youth: 99%).

19. Rwanda is a better country for gender equality than England and USA.

20. Somalia got its first ATM on October 7, 2014.

21. South Africa has the most Grammy Award winners in Africa.

22. Ethiopia has the most airports in Africa.

23. Ethiopia’s economy is growing faster than China’s.

24. Eritrea’s President, Isaiah Afwerki is the least richest President in Africa.

25. Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country.