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AfDB Urges Governments to Prioritize Inclusion of Women in Science & Technology

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On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the African Development Bank calls on African countries to make science, technology and innovation (STI) policies inclusive and to place women and girls at the centre of STI programmes.

Celebrated each year on February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. The day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

“Africa cannot talk about innovations without investing in its human capital. Support and mentorship are essential to increasing the participation of youth and women in science and technology,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank.

“Decision-makers must prioritize the inclusion of youth and women in science and technology. African entrepreneurs and innovators must also be equipped with the right skills to succeed in a rapidly changing workforce.”

Through its numerous interventions in this area, the African Development Bank is pointing the way to how women and girls can be supported to make a difference in science and innovation.

For instance, through the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF), the Bank is providing scholarships to African students to develop and build their capacities in science and technology at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, the country’s capital.

One of the beneficiaries of the scholarship, Sandra Musu Jusu of Sierra Leone, is gaining global attention with her research into an alternative treatment for breast-cancer – an ailment that is prevalent among African women.

Musu Jusu, a Sierra Leonean, said, “I am happy the scholarship came at the time it did, as it helped me remain focused on my goal which is to become a researcher. My Master of Science project is focused on breast cancer − the violent cancer types that kill African women.”

According to María-José Moreno, Chief Gender Officer at the African Development Bank, “In its operations supporting science, technology and innovation in Africa, the Bank has set indicators reducing gender gaps amongst students, and amongst teachers.”

A society needs the talent of all its citizens, men and women, and cannot thrive when half of the population does not develop its potential, she said.

The African Development Bank uses a multi-pronged approach to support girl’s education especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Between 2005-2017, the Bank approved US $2 billion to support more than 70 education projects for Africa. US $ 52 million in support to technical vocational education, training, and teacher education in Tanzania is helping reduce gender imbalance in science and technology related programs where female participation was only 11-19%.

10,800 students, 50% of them female, have benefited from the program.

Through the bank’s support of the Network of African Institutions of Science and Technology (SNAIST) Project, the 510 students graduated from Master’s and Ph.D programmes, with 48.9 % being female. The project awarded 48 scholarships to students, including young women.

The goal of the African Development Bank project is to contribute to the building of high-skilled human capital, especially in science and technology for the technological advancement of the African continent.

One of the graduates – Ufuoma Bright Ighore and her professor – were awarded first prize in the 2nd international Bernard P. Zeigler Discrete Event System Specification modelling and simulation competition in Boston, Massachusetts.

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FG May Include Telcos, ICT Firms in Forex Priority List

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Technology and telecommunications companies may become the latest addition to the forex priority list of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications

 

Shittu, said there are ongoing talks with the CBN to achieve this.

 

He was speaking while inaugurating the ICT, Computers/Devices Service Centre in Abuja.

 

During 2016 recession, the CBN had created a forex priority list to conserve forex and ensure that the same is available for important parts of the economy.

 

Shittu was represented at the event by John Emeawa, director of planning, research and statistics (PRS) at the ministry.

 

“In this regard, I will proudly say that Nigeria has an array of young people with great energies and creative abilities to launch Nigeria into the league of world leading economies by leveraging on ICTs,” he said.

 

The minister said the Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) collaborated with the ministry and its agencies in establishing the centre to ensure a competent workforce.

 

“Our collaboration with CCMON is intended to transform and build the capacity of the workforce in digital literacy and in preparation for a full implementation of the National e-Government masterplan.

 

“ICT Roadmap and also equip benefitting tech-savvy youths with entrepreneurial and job creation skills.

 

“I am happy to inform you that the Computer Service Center aligns with the implementation of the federal government’s Local Content Initiative.”

 

Shittu said the centre will support all systems bought in the public service, saying it was a pilot project of the ministry with plans to be replicated in every MDAs to provide after sales and services support.

 

“Such after sales support will ensure that computers bought by the government are duly maintained. This will stop all incidents of breakdowns and malfunctioning of computers used for government business.

 

“Consequently, the centre is for skills acquisition of staff that will provide services to various MDAs.

 

“The programme, therefore, will save costs for government and eliminate huge maintenance costs in government IT infrastructure.

 

“I wish to state that our ministry will continue to support CCMON as well as other equipment manufacturers to provide policy direction, who may wish to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the future.”

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Electricity Workers Threaten to Shut Power, Demand Sack of TCN MD

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Electricity workers threaten to shut power, demand sack of MD – Electricity workers yesterday in Abuja threatened to shut down power, unless the Federal Government sacks Usman Mohammed, managing director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)

 

The workers, under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), are accusing Mohammed of high handedness and anti-labour practices.

 

The union threatened to ground the entire power structure, if the government refused to heed its advice to relief the managing director of his appointment.

 

The workers’ threat followed the alleged administrative irregularities and high handedness of the Mohammed-led management.

 

TCN emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), following the merger of the Transmission and Operations sectors on April 1, 2004.

 

TCN represents one of the 18 unbundled business units under the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and was issued a transmission licence on July, 1, 2006.

 

The development prompted workers of the organisation to picket the TCN premise where they disrupted vehicular and commercial activities for several hours.

 

The workers, who spoke through Umar Abubakar, SSAEAC’s general secretary, accused Mohammed of allegedly flouting most of the administrative procedures, which they claimed were inimical to their welfare.

 

According to them, the MD allegedly single handedly conducted examinations for staff due for promotion without recourse to input from other management staff.

 

They alleged that the MD had defaulted in remitting taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), a development that also led to the sealing of the organisation even before the workers staged their protest.

 

The workers also claimed the MD had hijacked some funds provided by the World Bank for projects in the power sector, including his alleged interference in union activities by his attempt to polarise the union.

 

They also alleged that the MD cleared a large consignment of electrical materials from foreign donors at the ports but failed to deliver same to the warehouse of the organisation for proper accountability, before distribution to the relevant sections.

 

The protesters said efforts by Sen. Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Employment, and Babatunde Fashola, his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to intervene in the matter, proved abortive as Mohammed failed to turn up in several meetings.

 

“Our grievances stem from the fact that the MD on his own handled the promotion exercise and started to conduct it in his own way through the aid of consultants that to us is not the ideal process.” the angry worker said.

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LSETF & Coca-Cola System Sign MoU to Empower 1,000 Women under Coca-Cola 5by20 Programme

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The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd and its bottling partner, Nigeria Bottling Company on Wednesday signed a partnership agreement to empower 1,000 women in Lagos State.

 

Through this partnership framework the selected women will receive training in financial literacy and business skills as well as start-up capital to integrate them into the Coca-Cola value chain as retailers of the Company’s beverage products.

 

This partnership is anchored on Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Programme which is the Company’s global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the its value chain by 2020.

 

Akintunde Oyebode, representing Lagos State Employment Trust Fund at the MoU signing ceremony, stated that LSETF’s mandate is aimed at creating an enabling environment for Lagos residents to realize their business aspirations by providing leverage & access to finance for them to thrive, while ensuring employment and innovative opportunities for all residents of the state.

 

He said that” partnership with an organisation such as Coca-Cola assures us that we are working in the right direction and strengthens our commitment to building entrepreneurs within the state.

 

“We understand that to empower a woman, is to empower a whole generation.

 

“We will continue to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women as they seek to start or expand their businesses; because when we do, we create wealth and employment that alleviates poverty.”

 

Mr Bhupendra Suri, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, reiterated the company’s commitment saying, “Now more than ever, we are certain of our commitment to the well-being of our communities, a critical part of which are our women.

 

“As pillars of their communities, women invest a sizable portion of the income they earn on the health and education of their children and in their local economies, creating a tremendous economic impact.

 

“Lagos State Employment Trust Fund is our partner of choice for this initiative considering our shared vision on women empowerment and its vast network across the State.”

 

He further stated that realizing the vision of enabling the economic empowerment of 5 million women by 2020 depends on building scalable models and powerful partnerships, across business, civil society and government, which is vital to maximizing the impact of their programs and making them more sustainable.

 

Mrs Sade Morgan, Legal and Public Affairs Communication Director, Nigeria Bottling company, in agreement, said, “As a part of The Coca-Cola System, we understand the importance of partnerships.

 

“Our business and its growth in Nigeria are a result of strategic partnerships with distributors, retailers and our consumers.

 

“Whenever there is a call to collaborate for sustainable impact, we ensure we are there to support it with our expertise.

 

“We will work to position each beneficiary in strategic locations that are profitable and link them up to our distribution network, so that the ripple effect of individual growth can be felt across our society.”

 

Coca-Cola and its bottling partner, Nigeria Bottling Company, will provide access to Coca-Cola trade assets (including coolers, tables, umbrellas and Coca-Cola beverage products); peer networks, funds for training and support beneficiaries in the set-up of retail outlets in commercially viable locations; linking them to the nearest Coca-Cola distributors.

 

LSETF will fund the trade assets and co-fund the programme implementation while also leading the identification and recruitment of participants to the programme.

 

This timely and welcome public private partnership is the second one between Lagos State Government and Coca-Cola System, the first one having been launched in 2012 and has so far empowered 300 women in the State.

 

 

 

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