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March 2022



...Harnessing Africa’s Potential

Africa rises to revolutionize Agriculture EURO: €5.00 March, M arrch rcch, 202 2022 022 02 22 CH C CHERRYAFRICA HER HER RRYA RYAF RY AFRI A FRI R CA RICA CA 1 USA: $4.99 NIGERIA: ₦1000.00 GHANA (GHS) 15.00Ma UK : £3.50

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A Grain Phoenix rises in South; Zimbabwe’s return to food security

How Kenya's Political Activist Became East Africa’s Juice King

Page 06


Jewel HowardTaylor: True Champion of Social Gender Equality

Transforming Agriculture With Parish Development Model PAGE 22



A Grain Phoenix rises in South; Zimbabwe’s return to food security


Benue State: An Investment Haven for Agropreneurs


Investment Opportunities In Agriculture, Livestock And Fisheries Sectors In Niger State


Women changing the narrative in battle against cancer

2022 W’Cup: Who Makes It To Qatar From Africa? PAGE 32 March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


Publisher’s Note


As Africa Tackles Its Problems

n the last week of November 2021, the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, met with his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja. The State visit, his first to Nigeria as the substantive President of the Republic of South Africa since he was elected to office, was also part of his four-nation tour to the West African sub-regional market laid the two leaders under necessity to address core issues of mutual interest to Africa’s two largest economies. In diplomatic circles, State visits outweigh official visits, and the weight attached to this underpinned the import of discussions, not only with Nigeria and South Africa, but also indeed, with the other nations of the region visited by the South African leader. The 10th session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) also held in Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power on November 29, springing from the elaborate commemorative 10th anniversary of the Commission in 2009. The idea was to further solidify diplomatic relations established between the two countries since 1994. It feels good that the two biggest markets in the continent have seen reasons to maintain convivial diplomatic relations that are germane for sustainable progress and capable of providing the leadership banner and benchmark for emulation by other African countries. Before now, recurring cases of Xenophobia had threatened the roots of relationships between Nigeria and South Africa. Per reports on the meetings, while the two Presidents have proposed to further strengthen relationships and work together to make big things happen in the continent, South Africa is mulling a ten-year Visa regime for genuine businesspeople from Nigeria. This latest vista, in our opinion, is praiseworthy, and not only needs to be reciprocated by Nigeria, but should also be replicated in other regions of the continent, in accordance with the spirit of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is cheery that President Ramaphosa also visited three other countries during his State tours as expectations remain high that he would have also given priority to issues that could deepen diplomatic ties and sustain the continent’s broader development strides. We believe that Africa as a continent will be the winner when progressive diplomacy gains ascendancy among its countries. There is, therefore, an urgent need for African countries to work in league in tackling the daunting challenges that have hindered sustainable development and progress in the continent. Africa is richly endowed with various natural and energy resources, and it is our strong belief that the continent can latch on this to unlock immense opportunities and possibilities for jobs, investment, and wealth creation. In turn, this should ultimately trigger growth. It also inspires the heart that Nigeria, Liberia, and Zimbabwe, in league with other African nations, will gather in Mashonaland, Zimbabwe, from March 28-, for a strategic conference on agriculture. It is expected that fundamental reforms that would change the narratives in the continent's agriculture value chain would begin to take root at the end of the auspicious event, starting with the participants. The intellectual input of the high-profile speakers and other resource personalities must be made to count after the conference. Not the least, after unlearning the old less beneficial ways and learning newer more valuable templates. It is possible. The continent can. Now is the time. So, let’s begin to walk the talk. The global community is exposed to the effects of such fundamental variables as volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), and Africa must fight and pay the price to adjust and adapt to the harsh realities unleashed by these, as the continent is not, and cannot operate successfully in the utopian autarky concept.

Carolyn Isaac Publisher

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...Harnessing Africa’s Potentials

© 2019 All rights reserved

Chairman Air Vice Marshal Francis Nyoyoko (Rtd) Editorial Team Publisher Carolyn Isaac Managing Editor Murphy Jones Associate Editors Athan Tashobya (Kigali) Morgan Winsor, Patricia Abena-Kissi Contributing Editors Nicholas Newman( London), Jamie Leigh-Matroos (Cape Town) Abdoulie Nget (Banjul) Design and Production Kelechi Okoro – Emmanuels Country Manager Ann Ashiogwu Administration Job Peters Samuel Asiamah Marketing Selasi Appiah (Ghana) Akunna Nworgu (Lagos) Subscription Juliet Joseph Editorial Advisory Board Tony Charles (Chairman) Dare Akpata, Salome Malema, Makwaia Wa Kuhenga, Kede Alhie, Umar Sanni, Peace King Kporvie Office 5, Owukori Crescent, Western Avenue, Alaka, Surulere Lagos Nigeria. Tel: +234 81 7777 7503 Ghana Bureau: 18 Junction, Sprintex Paraku Estates Opposite KFC, Sprintex, Accra-Ghana +233244677080, +233559791583 ISSN: 24657107


A Grain Phoenix rises in South; Zimbabwe’s return to food security Collins Hinamundi writes about Zimbabwean's return to food security


n its 2021 report on the progress of Zimbabwe, the International Monetary Fund appears to be running out of superlatives to describe Zimbabwe, the country everyone had written off a decade ago. Once known as the food basket of Africa until the disastrous Land reforms whose implementation attracted punitive retaliation from western countries and led to defaults on IMF Loans, The same IMF now praises the country’s efforts to stabilise its currency and projects that Zimbabwe will grow at a rate of 6 percent in this financial year. ‘Zimbabwe has shown resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other exogenous shocks. The pandemic, on top of cyclone Idai in 2019, a protracted drought, and weak policy buffers, has taken a severe toll on the economic and humanitarian situation.’ The fund notes in its report. This growth is riding on the back of a spectacular comeback in grain production that saw the country move from a net importer of Maize, to a self-sufficient producer. According to Zimbabwe’s Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report the estimated maize production for 2021 stands at 2.7 million tonnes. This maize yield is estimated to be triple the 2020 harvest. The agricultural sector is projected to grow 34% this year, more than three times the 11%

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projected in the budget given at the end of last year. Just a year earlier, the country imported almost 20 percent of its Maize from South Africa, making it the largest maize export destination for its neighbour. Because of the strategic role of Maize in ensuring food security around most of Subsaharan Africa,

these achievements did not come as a result of Miracles in the sector, it was deliberate investment and planning from the government and the farmers. The crop is grown by more than 90% of the farming households in the country and contributes 14% of the country’s agricultural gross domestic product.

ZIMBABWE Grain has been? As recent as November 2019, UN officials were warning that Zimbabwe was on the brink of starvation, with millions facing food insecurity. Ms Hilal Elver, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food urged the government to make all efforts to reduce Zimbabwe's dependence on imported food and increase self-sufficiency to counter the effects of the struggling economy and recurring drought. Elver told reporters in Harare that Zimbabwe was facing its worst food shortage in years, with 60 percent of the population food insecure and 5.5 million people dependent on food aid.

More than 4,500 cattle died in Matabeleland South Province, a 500 percent increase over last year, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement reported that year, and there were fears that the worst was yet to come

"Child deaths from severe malnutrition have been rising in the past few months,” she said. “Ninety percent of Zimbabwean children aged 6 months to 2 years are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet." She went as far as claiming the disaster was man-made and it would

only be fixed if the government stepped up, "Why I say man-made? … Something happened. Not from nature but from mismanagement, political and conflictual issues that bring people to starvation,” she said. “It comes from a dysfunctional system. Yes, drought is not man-made, but if there is good management, it is possible to survive even during the drought periods, which neighbouring countries did. Zimbabwe used to do it historically, in earlier periods." She says. 2019 had been a very bad time for Zimbabwe, Drought was taking a toll on Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, with farmers in the western region losing their livestock at an alarming rate. More than 4,500 cattle died in Matabeleland South Province, a 500 percent increase over last year, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement reported that year, and there were fears that the worst was yet to come. Zimbabwe’s beef industry had been rebounding from its collapse in the 2000s, when it was devastated by hoof-and-mouth disease, according to the U.N. website Africa Renewal. Like that in Agriculture, the rebound was being threatened by climate change. How did Zim get its grain groove back? As the country was being pummeled from all sides in 2019, Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe's finance minister, said the government was working to address the threat from food insecurity, ‘Given the drought, we need to climate-proof our agriculture, so investment in infrastructure for evacuation of water from dams is critical,” Ncube said. “That's why in the [2020] budget you find this large allocation for agriculture around the infrastructure investment. Because, without this irrigation, then we are exposed to climate change. And we need to deal with that." Eness Paidamoyo Mutsvangwa-Sammie a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria credits the gods for Zimbabwe's good fortunes, and argues in an article, that the country largely received normal to above-normal rainfall during March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA



The government report argues that this formula should be widely adopted, but how does it work?

the past season. Maize and grain production by smallholder farmers is predominantly under rainfed agriculture. However, due to the unpredictability of rainfall, different government interventions appear to have tipped the hand in favour of the farmers including an intervention known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa a scheme that focuses on the efficient use of resources (inputs and labour) on small pieces of land. Zimbabwe adopted the concept in the 2020-2021 farming season to climate-proof agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques on smallholder farming plots and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns. The government report argues that this formula should be widely adopted, but how does it work? According to Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Ministry Secretary John Basera, Pfumvudza means a new season of increased productivity; it is a season of producing more on less land and with fewer resources; a season of climate-proofing our agriculture through … [the] adoption of Conservation Agriculture,” Pfumvudza, he is quoted saying by the Herald, is unique because of the size of the plot used: at just 16m x

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39m the plot is small enough to easily prepare, small enough to manage with mulch, small enough to weed, and even small enough to water by hand with harvested rainwater in the event of a mid-season dry spell or drought. The concept has been successful in helping farmers to produce grain including maize, sorghum and millet, while it also encourages the rotation of legumes such as beans, groundnuts or cowpeas. According to John Basera, The government’s objective is to climate-proof the agricultural production of smallholder farmers (who make up 80% of farmers in Zimbabwe) and ensure food self-sufficiency for the nation. However, it has also not been without its challenges, Zimbabwe’s efforts are certainly a step in the right direction, according to Lewis Hove, Head of FAO’s Resilience Hub for Southern Africa “By working more closely with our partners — that is the private sector, governments and local authorities, resource and development partners, and NGOs — we’ll be in a much better position to help farmers incorporate Climate-smart practices into their farming.” The fact that Pfumvudza also relies on Command Agriculture leaves a

bad taste in the mouth for many with fears that this could complicate a programme that had made the beneficiaries of the much-maligned land reforms productive. Ian Scoones argues that large numbers of land reform farmers, often farming on relatively small areas (around 5 hectares of arable) in the so-called A1 areas, have made the difference, and are the major contributors to the harvest success. ‘Twenty years on, they have settled into a rhythm of successful, small-scale production, with selective use of inputs but on areas significantly larger than their communal area counterparts, who may have a hectare or less of land to farm’ He says. However, as the painful experience of the past 20 years has shown so clearly, such gains are not necessarily sustained. A very poor year can follow a good one with disastrous consequences. But efforts to ensure that what was once Southern Africa’s Food basket regains its footing are ongoing and incremental, and the government has not been afraid to experiment with interventions that work, efforts that have so far been successful.


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Benue State: An Investment Haven for Agropreneurs


he World Bank in a recent report, projected that by 2030 agriculture and agribusiness in Africa will grow to be over a trillion dollar industry. For agro-based nations and states who desire to be part of this money-spinning revolution, the challenges may be enormous but the benefits are huge and tremendous. Undoubtedly, among the 36 states of the federation, Benue state offers the greatest investment opportunities for Agropreneurs, and is expected to play a leading role in this transformation. In Benue State, the agriculture and the agribusiness sector remains the backbone of economic activity, employment and improved livelihoods in the state, engaging more than 70 per cent of the working population. This has made the state the major source of food production in the nation, with important cash crops as soybeans, rice, peanuts, mango varieties, citrus.Other cash crops include palm oil, melon, African pear, chili pepper and tomatoes while food crops include Yam, cassava, sweet potato, beans, maize, millet, guinea corn and vegetables. However, the challenges to agribusiness development in the state include low productivity, undeveloped supply chains, high post harvest losses, lack of access to modern technologies and equipment and poor quality of products. These have led to low capacity utilization and have

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hampered the ability of farmers to to compete favourably in the local, regional and international markets. Fortunately, Governor Samuel Ortom, a notable Agropreneur, understands the importance of totally harnessing the immense opportunities and possibilities provided by the state as the Food Basket of Nigeria. Since 2015 when he became the governor of the state, Ortom has always made agriculture one of his focal points. In July 2019, he crowned this dedication with the launching of an all-inclusive state policy on agriculture, described as representing the culmination of a rigorous, multiyear effort on the part of the state government, farmers groups, the private sector, universities and technical experts . The policy with the sole objective of establishing an agriculture value-chain that would turn the state into an investment haven for Agropreneurs, was also meant to transform the state’s agricultural economy by reducing post-harvest losses by 50 percent, increase farmer income by 80 percent as well as create a locally-sourced investment fund. This policy encourages investors through incentive and industrial layouts, with over 100 periodic rural markets in the state connected by seasoned earth roads for easy marketing and evacuation of goods. Other set targets of the policy included improvement on soil quality, land tenure, mechanization, irriga-

tion, extension services, and monitoring and evaluation. The policy explores cross-sector ownership and has an established template and strategy for achieving and sustaining the goals through reinforcement of transparency and accountability. According to Ortom the state government’s agricultural policy focus on the value chain is to maximize the multiple agric benefits and create more jobs for youths of the state as well as encourage private sector investments in agriculture and the value chain in the state. He said Benue, as the food basket of the nation, was aware of the huge responsibilities placed on her shoulders to lead the agricultural revolution of the country, stressing that the current efforts being made by his administration to encourage farmers of the state will be sustained. He said: “Benue has a comparative


Continental Report bags of maize, 4,666 bags of rice, 690 bags of watermelon seeds and 10,000 improved cassava stems. This has become a consistent pattern over the years. Subsidized fertilizer In the last five years, Benue under Ortom has subsidized fertilizer to make the product available to farmers. The state has been doing this in partnership with the private sector and the government-owned fertilizer blending plant was revived and has produced massive fertilizer. The major breakthrough here is in the use of organic Fertilizer as the use of chemical fertilizer on crops causes groundwater contamination and leaves traces of toxic chemicals in food and renders them unsafe for human consumption. These organic fertilizers are distributed and well-packaged and free from harmful pests and chemicals.

advantage in agriculture and our administration is doing everything to ensure that farmers have value for their produce. Our focus is on the agriculture value chain which we are certain has the capacity to create thousands of jobs for the youth.” Distribution of improved seedlings Though Benue is endowed with fertile arable land for the production of crops, tubers, fruits bearing trees, vegetables and other crops, however, as with agricultural production generally, the quality of food or farm produce grown is directly proportional to the quality of seed used in its planting. The focus is to produce quality seedlings which are resistant to disease and safe for human consumption. Recently, the state distributed improved seedlings to 9,844 farmers drawn from the 23 local councils of the state. The seedlings with high germination rate, comprised 230

Benue has a comparative advantage in agriculture and our administration is doing everything to ensure that farmers have value for their produce. Our focus is on the agriculture value chain which we are certain has the capacity to create thousands of jobs for the youth

Loans The government has also been leveraging on the the opportunities provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lending programmes for farm loan to get funds for farmers in the state. This is done through the commercial Agricultural loan, which is a scheme initiated by the Benue state government and funded by the CBN with the objective to encourage genuine farmers to boost food production in the state and country. This is also different from the loans accessed directly by members of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) with 2,264 farmers benefiting in the 2019 farming season. Purchase of tractors One other way in which the state government has been encouraging Agropreneurs is in supporting them to acquire modern agricultural equipment to boost their productivity. Periodically, As part of efforts to enhance mechanized farming in Benue state, it purchases tractors and distributes them to farmers across the state. Also, agro processing plants had also been completed in eight local March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA



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government areas in the state; they included garri processing, packaging plants and orange processing plants. In order to add value to agricultural development, his administration constructed Sesame cleaning plants, Orange cleaning and packaging plants, Soya beans cleaning plants and Garri processing plants in various parts of the state. One other area that has ranked Benue high in providing investment opportunities for farmers and Agropreneurs is in collaboration with the Federal government and other local and international agencies and institutions. He said: We are committed to partnering and collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ensure we provide food security for Nigeria and beyond. “Benue State has 35,000 sq meters of land, more than 95 percent of the land is arable and most of the food produced in the country can be produced in Benue State, and our farmers are able to do all year round farming." Governor Ortom maintains that the political will and commitment of government at all levels in engaging young people in agriculture would address many challenges facing the country including insecurity. “If you ask me, Nigeria’s major challenge is not the security problem alone, but unemployment and agriculture remains the one sector that has the capacity for creating jobs, and wealth for the teeming jobless youths. If we are able to engage the youths, we will have fewer problems in the country." While presenting a paper recently titled “Agriculture: Untapped Business Potentials,” during the Men’s Fellowship Convention 2021. The Governor stated that the agricultural value chain could be harnessed for serious investment, stressing that the agricultural potentials in Benue are enormous. Ortom noted that in order to encourage civil servants as well as political office holders in the state on agricultural activities, his administration usually allows work-free days during

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If you ask me, Nigeria’s major challenge is not the security problem alone, but unemployment and agriculture remains the one sector that has the capacity for creating jobs, and wealth for the teeming jobless youths. If we are able to engage the youths, we will have fewer problems in the country

cultivation and harvesting times. According to the Governor, upon creation, God gave man agriculture as evident in the garden of Eden, where Adam was asked to take charge. He explained that investments in agricultural production and the entire value chain have the capacity to yield huge returns, and encouraged the people to start small and grow in the process. He also charged indigenes of the state to take advantage of the investment opportunities in Agriculture to improve their individual and state economy. These collaborations are already yielding results. Currently, Benue state is a beneficiary of the loan which the Federal Government recently received from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) towards the cost of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), and intends to apply part of the proceeds towards procurement of goods, works and services. The VCDPIs a six years Intervention programme presently being implemented in six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Ogun, Niger and Taraba and three Local Government Areas each in all the States while. The programme has four main cocleaning, agricultural market devel-


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opment which Includes support to value addition and market linkages; support to infrastructure, small holders production enhancement which includes support to farmers organization, support to small holders production and programme management and coordination. These interventions are because of the doggedness and dedication of the state government in providing funds and technical manpower for Agropreneurs in the state. The state government is also exploring an enduring partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). This collaboration will provide a variety of technical cooperation activities to assist the state an add value to the output of its agricultural sector and generate increased employment opportunities for rural communities. This will link resources and markets in the agri-business value chains; strengthen forward and backward industrial linkages to improve employment and income opportunities, and support economic transformation and sustainable livelihoods. Private sector partnership has also yielded much results. Top of this

is the state government collaboration with Synergos, a high-tech agro based concern. In its 2020 Impact Assessment Report, it said: "Benue State, widely known as the food basket of Nigeria, leads the country on scale and diversity in agricultural production, growing more soybeans, citrus fruits, mangoes, roots, and tubers than any other state. Yet it has been producing at far less than full capacity. While Benue’s farmers have the potential to feed all of Nigeria, they have lacked infrastructure, financing, training, technology, legal systems, and other crucial mechanisms to produce to their full potential. Synergos has helped the state create its first-ever coordinated plan to change that. "Staggering levels of poverty and malnutrition persist in communities where agriculture is the leading industry and employer. Mutually reinforcing factors across food systems and society have historically prevented rural communities from transcending extreme poverty. Raising productivity, which requires a new frame of reference and high levels of coordination among many players, is key to breaking the cycle.

"Since 2016, Synergos has led a community-wide collaboration in Benue State to build its most comprehensive agriculture investment plan to-date." Sadly, the huge investments the state has made in giving out incentives and creating an enabling environment for agropreneurs and other farmers towards attaining freedom through using agriculture have been hampered by insecurity. Activities of herdsmen, gunmen and other hoodlums have remained a major stumbling block and have continued to frustrate both government and people of the state, threatening food security and the very essence of human existence. In February, a 140 hectares mangpo plantation belonging to former President Olusegun Obasanjo was burnt down by hoodlums at Howe community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue state. Governor Ortom has taken the lead in ensuring the safety of lives and property in the state and has recently expressed his willingness to partner with the British government in improving security around farming communities and to intensify peacebuilding initiatives. March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA



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Investment Opportunities In Agriculture, Livestock And Fisheries Sectors In Niger State About Niger State • Located in the North Central Zone of Nigeria • Lies between latitudes 8020’N and 11030’N and longitudes 3030’E and 7020E • 5.562 million population (2018 Projected) comprising of 51.5% male, 48.5% female • 25 Local Government Areas • Climate is subtropical i.e. guinea Savannah with distinct dry and wet seasons. • Diversified agro-ecological condition making possible the production of a wide range of agricultural products. • Availability of land for prospective investors • Abundant raw materials and cheap labour • Availability of Hydro Electric Plants (Kainji, Shiroro Jebba and Zungeru). • Many Rivers e.g Niger, Kaduna, Gurara, Chanchaga etc. • Good Governance. • Largest producer of Rice, Sheanuts and Locust bean seeds. • Presence of Research Institutes/ Higher Educational Institutions such as National Cereals Research Institute Badeggi, National Institute of Freshwater Fisheries Research, IBB University, Lapai; Federal University of Technology, Minna; Federal Polytechnic, Bida and College of Agriculture, Mokwa. What Makes Niger State Unique? • Rich and vibrant Arts & culture capable of making the State a tourist destination • Huge and expansive arable land for

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mechanized farming • Conducive environment for the rearing and management of livestock • Huge potential for excellence in Athletics and other sports. • Large deposit of abundant solid mineral resources unexploited • Receptive and lovable people cohabiting and existing in peaceful envi-

ronment • Large expanse of wetland most suitable for the development and sustenance of rice farming • Huge forest resources • Amenable and liberal tax system suitable for the growth of SMEs and informal sector enterprises • Proximity to Federal Capital Territo-


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ry (Abuja) • Expanding education sector to serve adult learning, skills training, and foreign student markets • Continued attraction for retirement living based on quality of life and healthy lifestyles Basic Agricultural Resources • Total Arable Land – 5.5 million hectares (70%) of total Land Mass • A total of 2.3million Hectares is under cultivation • 2.68m total farming population • 813,000 farming families (2015)

Niger State agricultural sector is open to Private Sector participation in entire Agricultural Value Chain involved.

Production Storage Processing Marketing Opportunities/Production Scale Commercial Farming)


1.Production • Large Scale Commercial Production • Input Service delivery • Fertilizer manufacturing 2. Storage • Community Warehousing 3. Processing • Cottage Industries • Agro Industrial Parks • Farm Settlements 4. Marketing • Specialized market development • Region Cattle and Produce Market • Airport City – Project • Packaging and Branding especially rice • Integrated Retail outlets. 5. Research 6. Biofuel Development • Crops Rice, Cassava, cotton, maize, sorghum, millet, cowpeas, soybeans, sugar cane. Groundnut, Beniseed (SESAME seed). • Rice o Niger State consumes over 1.0 million metric tons per annum. o National consumption outstrips production o Rice consumption in the sub-region doubles every nine (9) years. o Abundant large water bodies (Rivers Niger and Kaduna).

• Over 700,000 hectares of flood plains • Sound Agric. Policy framework (Available Niger State Policy on Agriculture and Niger Agricultural State Investment plan documents) • Favorable` environment for Private sector and Development partner Interventions.

• Cassava o Niger State is one of the largest producers in the country o Food and industrial sectors growing rapidly o Large domestic import substitution market o Domestic markets very lucrative.

• Cotton o Growing national demand by textile factories, oil mills and animal feed industry. • Maize o Growing world demand o Growing national demand • Sorghum o Increasing global demand driven by: o Ethanol Production o Food grade alcohol production o Animal feed industry • Sugar Cane o Growing utilization for Ethanol o Nigeria imports about 1.5 million metric tons a year o About 20,000 Ha of land available for sugar cane production o Increasing National demand for sugar. • Benniseed/Sesame Seed o Growing world demand o Growing domestic demand o Abundant arable land • Grazing Reserves o Niger State has 23 Grazing Reserves with a combined total of over 123,000hectares o Two No (2) at Irri and Bobi gazetted and developed o Six (6) undergoing final processes of gazettment • Irrigation o Potential area of 682,000Ha. o Fresh surfaces water of 84 million cubic metres o 19 available irrigation schemes (Five developed) and over 21,000Ha (underutilized) o Mambe and Badeggi flood plains of the State for available development. o Potential for3 Cycles of Rice Production Annually o Potentials for Dams Development • Livestock (cattle, fish, poultry, sheep and goats)




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• Drivers o Demarcation of appropriate stock routes o Development of Grazing reserves with essential infrastructure o Provision of Animal health facilities and livestock Extension services. o Dairy development o Feed lot development o Abattoir development o Ranching Development opportunities o Genetic improvement of local breeds, through Artificial Insemination (AI). • Fisheries (Inland, Aquaculture) o Significant biodiversity o Abundant natural and human resources o Fish imports stand at about 700,000 metric tons annually. o Modern Fish Fingerlings Production Hatchery (2.5million capacity) available for private partnership o Modern fish feed mill (2.5MT/Hr capacity) available for partnership Production (Input Service Delivery) • Provision of tractors and implements Very limited Private managed tractors available in the State. Planned increase of at least 300 tractors per annum to be managed by Cooperative farmer groups. Encourage mass use of women/ youth friendly Agricultural Equipment such as power tillers • Establishment and operation Agro Service and Training Centres (ASTCs) in all the 25 Local Government Areas in the State • Encourage private sector managed Fertilizer, Agro Chemicals, improved seeds, veterinary drugs and equipment supply networks. • Extension Services – (Farmers Education and Training) Target Extension staff- farmer ratio of 1:500 against the current 1:3,000. • Drivers o Deregulation of service delivery schemes o Efficient subsidy management o Establishment of Farms settle-

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Presence of Research Institutes/Higher Educational Institutions such as National Cereals Research Institute Badeggi, National Institute of Freshwater Fisheries Research, IBB University, Lapai; Federal University of Technology, Minna; Federal Polytechnic, Bida and College of Agriculture, Mokwa

Fertilizer Manufacturing o Nigeria imports over 700,000 metric tons annually o Niger State is geographically located in the center of Nigeria. o Niger State consumes over 35,000 metric tons each year o Two Fertlizer blending plants (Morris and Zungeru Blending Plants) o Domestic demand in the State is about 70,000mt annually o Available deposit of rock phosphate o Petroleum by products available in large quantities. Storage o Reactivation, upgrading and management of 5 No. 4,000mt capacity silos. o Construction and management of 1 No. 5,000mt capacity and 6 No. 2,000mt capacity silos. o Construction and management of 9 community warehouses and conditioning centers. o Annual average production of grains in the State is about 1.55 million metric tons. Processing o Construction and Management of 3 Agro-industrial parks: crops, Livestock, Fish, Rice, Cassava, Cotton,


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Vegetables and Tomato. Drivers: o Inadequate capacity to process available paddy rice. o High global demand for processed products. o Over 70% of daily need imported o Unsatisfied demand for fish and beef as well as low domestic production. Market Development o Specialized Market Development o Construction and Management of Regional Cattle and Produce market at Mokwa. o Management of other specialized markets for grains, livestock, fish and other commodities. o Establishment of Export Markets (Minna Airport City Market ad proposed Commodity Export Processing Zones). o Packaging and branding o Establishment of packaging plants/ o Integrated Retail outlets o Establishment and management of retail outlets such as large scale supermarkets and shopping malls. o Establishment of grazing reserve/ ranching o Establishment of irrigation schemes for dry season farming o Large-scale crops/livestock farming Research And Development o Development of high yielding, disease resistant crop seeds as well as high producing, fast growing brood stock and cattle breeds improvement. o Biotechnology Drivers o Current average yield of most crops below potentials o Law milk production and poor beef quality o High demand for animal and fish protein o Very limited biotechnology exposure. Biofuel Development • Niger State is set to maximize the potentials of cassava and jatropha as feedstock for the growing national and international biofuel markets.

Niger State with abundant human and natural resources, diversified agro-ecology and private sector driven agricultural development policies, has also established the Niger State Investment Promotion Agency (NSIPA) to fast track the process of Investments in the State

Cassava (for ethanol) Drivers o Niger State currently produces about 300,000mt of cassava per annum. o Estimated ethanol domestic demand of 4b litres/annum. o Growing global market. o Guaranteed 10 years off-take contract from NNPC. o 10 years income tax holiday with possible extension for five years. o Withholding and capital gains tax exemption on dividends, foreign loans and for services produced by foreigners to the bio-fuel firms. o Exemption from all import and custom duty in respect to importation of all equipments, inputs, chemicals for

use in bio-ethanol production. Jatropha (for Biodiesel) o About 5,000Ha of degraded land available in the State for immediate use. o Increased global demand for edible seeds. o Global food crises. o With holding and capital gains tax exemption on dividends, foreign loans and for services rendered by foreigners to the bio-fuel company. Some Incentives For Private Sector Investment In Agriculture Under the Federal Government of Nigeria’s (FGN) Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP), the intended outcome is to promote Agriculture as a business, integrate agriculture value chain and make agriculture the key driver of Nigeria’s economic growth. To achieve this, the FGN put in place the following measures. Incentives By Federal Government Of Nigeria o New fiscal incentive to encourage domestic import substitution. o Removal of restrictions on areas of investment and maximum equity ownership in investment by foreign investors o No currency exchange controls-free transfer of capital, profits and dividends. o Constitutional guarantee against nationalization/ exportation of investment. o Zero percent (0%) duty an agricultural machinery and equipment imports o Pioneer tax holidays for Agricultural Investments. o Duty waivers and other industrial related incentives e.g based on use of local raw materials. Niger State with abundant human and natural resources, diversified agro-ecology and private sector driven agricultural development policies, has also established the Niger State Investment Promotion Agency (NSIPA) to fast track the process of Investments in the State. The State is an emerging agribusiness economy, with viable and unlimited opportunities in all facets of the Agricultural value chain. March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA






KENYA How Kenya's Political Activist Became East Africa’s Juice King


By Collins Hinamundi

992 was a very tiring year in Kenya’s public affairs, the then President Daniel Arap Moi after years of sustained pressure and a coup attempt, had finally agreed to open up the political space, and it was supposed to be pay off time for popular Political activist Kimani Rugendo who was Chairman of Moi’s closest challenger the Ford Asili Party, Asili means Original and this Forum for the Restoration of Democracy claimed to be the Original after a split with Independence Era Doyen Jaramogi Oginga Odinga father of current Presidential contender Raila Odinga. Kimani’s Ford Asili went into this election with Kenneth Matiba as its presidential candidate, and Rugendo was contesting for MP to represent his home town of Langatta, when the violent election ended, FORD Asili had come a close second to Moi’s KANU, and Rugendo was devastated, he had thrown himself and his life to the service of Kenya, and democracy, and democracy or the closest they could get, had turned its back on him and his ambitions. It was time to re-strategise. “I was never born free. I was born during colonial times where we were not allowed to think for ourselves. Somebody had to think for us.’’ he says about his time in politics. At the time, he ran a popular bar called Jeans bar and owned Sterling Craft which manufacturers pips and regalia for the Kenyan Military. It was this base, and support from friends that saw him raise start-up capital of over 25 million Kenyan shillings which would be over 200,000 USD in today's money, he started Kevian Limited, and his first brand in

1995 was the Mt Kenyan mineral water. He insists fear did not play a part in his journey, arguing instead for the need for bold decision making and a laser focus on the customer. “People are always very skeptical about new products. But you always remember, your customer and their comments are vital to you to keep on making your product better and better so that it appeals to the customer daily.” He told the Entrepreneurs Im-

pact group. From bottled water, the company diversified to Pick ‘N’ Peel and Afia ready-to-drink juices. With increased demand, Rugendo built a second factory in 2005, increasing the hourly production capacity of Peek ‘N’ Peel to 20,000 litres from the original 5,000 litres. Afia is now produced at the rate of over 40,000 bottles per hour, up from 10,000. Rugendo has now started




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producing eight carbonated variants of non-alcoholic malt drinks, including Plain Malt, Energy Malt, Lemon Malt and Orange Malt. In June 2017, Kevian Kenya expanded its product portfolio with a new 17 million dollar investment. It has seen its own brands of coffee, tomato sauce, and packed vegetable soups targeting middle-class shoppers and high-end hotels. The fresh investment was been funded from Kevian’s internal cash flow, and the Thika-based plant now produces 250 tonnes of different beverages per day. This growth has been supercharged by Pick N’ Peel’s popularity across the East African region where its different flavours fly off supermarket shelves and force supermarkets to have stockouts. Rugendo puts the successes of his products and his business on the fact that he puts his staff at the centre in all his planning. The culture you build in your organization is the motive for your staff to stay or leave. And this is not very easy. We all come from different backgrounds, and because of that, we react to criticism differently. “My wealth is built on good people, clear conscious thinking people, because that is the basis of a good business.” Kevian Kenya employs more than 800 direct employees, along with thousands of small-scale farmers who supply the juice manufacturing company with fresh fruits, and a realm of distributors, retailers and wholesalers through partnerships. He is always iterating, and has an innovation centre at his head office for young people to test out different recipes, and find what works or won’t, and from this, they get real-time customer behaviour especially because he is in an area where consumption of his products is driven by family, and the children’s consumption habits. “A single miscommunication can spoil your reputation. We are living in a time where information will travel very first, and you have to remember that your reputation is your most important asset.” He says.

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• Rugendo

Kevian Kenya employs more than 800 direct employees, along with thousands of small-scale farmers who supply the juice manufacturing company with fresh fruits, and a realm of distributors, retailers and wholesalers through partnerships

Running a family business… While there are no available valuations on his wealth, This journey has turned Kimani Rugendo; this pioneer in the bottled water business into one of Kenya’s richest men. But as it happens with all post-colonial tycoons at a time like this, the fear that they will not always be around sets in. A family tragedy in 2016 saw his first son and heir apparent Chirs Munange murdered in a robbery, and Rugendo has not spoken about the episode in public, he has also kept the rest of his family out the public eye, but in a family business, he needed a hand and partner and this he found in his wife Hellen. Hellen and Rugendo are the public faces of Kevian, with Hellen taking a more public role. Agriculture as Africa’s backbone… Kimani nowadays makes the case for family-owned farms as production units, arguing that these farms can be a solution to rising food insecurity. “In Ireland, this model has ensured that the country is food secure as the farm is passed from one generation to another,” he offers. With the model, the issue of land subdivision or the fight for wealth among children, which is rife in Ken-


Continental Report sharing out the land, why can’t they share the money coming from it?” he poses. As Pick N’ Peel conquers supermarket shelves in the region, Kimani Rugendo is only just beginning, it remains to be seen what he can do.

ya does not arise. “Here, a man has to split his land among his five to ten sons and daughters. If he had 10 acres, the subdivision makes sustainable farming uneconomical because of the small plots. It is one of the reasons Kenya is struggling to produce food.” Rugendo, however, acknowledges

that the culture of farming as a family must be nurtured through the generations so that the children can be prepared to take over. “It is time we teach our children how to farm as a family if we are to be food secure. This will also curb cases of land subdivision and enable them to co-exist as they farm. Instead of

EXCERPT Kevian, which started producing beverages in 1995, is based in Thika, an industrial town north of Nairobi. It is one of the largest beverage companies in East Africa. The company produces bottled water, fruit juices, malt drinks, coffee, and tomato paste. The company has more than 800 direct employees and revenues above $20 million. Apart from Kevian Kenya, Kimani Rugendo, one of East Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs, is the founder of Sterling Craft Ltd, a company that manufactures industrial equipment and military regalia. Sterling Craft supplies berets, medallions, ceremonial swords, medals and other symbols of office to the Kenya Police and Kenya Defence Forces among others.




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Transforming Agriculture With Parish Development Model Uganda is betting on parish development model to Transform Agriculture. Collins Hinamundi writes


o Political watchers, Dennis Ssozi Galabuzi is a lucky man, in his political career. He helped the ruling party to uproot a popular but renegade Vice president in a constituency where he had become as entrenched as a baobab tree. A decade later, he lost the same seat in a Robert Kyagulanyi aka BobiWine-driven wave that has now come to be called the red wave. This was supposed to be the end for him, but like a phoenix he has risen out of his burnt ashes, this time as a point man in President Yoweri Museveni’s 470 Billion shillings or 136 million dollar plan to transform household incomes in the country’s smallest unit of governance and production. The programme known as Parish Development Model is an extension of the approach to development as envisaged under Uganda’s Third National Development Plan, with the parish as the lowest administrative and operational hub for delivering services closer to the people and hence fostering local economic development. There are over 10,594 parishes in the country. Under the initiative, each parish is supposed to get about 4000 USD dollars in the current financial year to start the implementation of the programme and according to the plan,

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the parishes will each receive 100 million Shillings or 27000 US dollars with effect from the next financial year. The launch of the programme also operationalized parish Savings and

Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS) through which people will be able to obtain financing for development. Speaking during the launch, President Museveni said that the Parish

UGANDA Development Model is centred on alleviating poverty through agriculture, even though he acknowledges that this is not the only way out of poverty. He is optimistic that since the chain of bureaucracy has been broken by taking money closer to the communities, the government will see better results. The first time a devolved production unit like this made it into the national conversation, Uganda’s former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi was running for President in 2016, and one of his big ideas, was something he called the Advanced Sub-county Model, whose sole focus was on turning the sub-county into a unit of production, the parish devel-

opment model takes it further to the smallest unit, and finally gives purpose to the much-maligned job of a parish chief who role was to be the technocrat of the parish. What’s new?

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They have to show us the research they have done, they must give us the data on how many households there are in a parish, how the money is going to benefit the households and the interventions,

According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Parish Model is a strategy that will organise and deliver public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the economic planning unit. “By lifting these households from the subsistence economy, we increase the tax base, we increase our revenue mobilization strategy and the general quality of life which is the ultimate goal of the government,” David Bahati the then Minister of Finance in charge of Planning told a dialogue on local governance in 2021. However, experts at this dialogue insisted then, that there is nothing new the minister was saying, and that the proof will be in the pudding.

Uganda Local government Association, the lobby group that brings together local government leaders, has also queried the structures of the Parish development model, arguing that the local governments already have structures up to parish level. ‘’The main question looming at the back of these Local Government actors is whether the PDM structure will be any different from the Parish Development Plans and the Parish Development Committee structures that were once famous in early to Mid2000.’ The group said in a statement. This was also raised on the floor of parliament as the minister of finance presented a budget for the parish development model. “They have to show us the research they have done, they must give us the data on how many households there are in a parish, how the money is going to benefit the households and the interventions,” Patrick Isiagi, the MP for Kachumbala County in the eastern district of Bukedea said on April 13 2021, the day the Finance Minister and his technical staff appeared in Parliament to defend the Parish Model Fund. A research paper from the Advocates Coalition on Development and the Environment also suggests the top to bottom approach has been the bane of these economic transformation programmes, and also caused their demise. ‘ Citizens have severally noted that they were not consulted. It was also observed that citizens were not engaged in some government programmes.’ ACODE argues. The other fear was on the politicisation of the programme, a fear the state tried to calm, but when the national secretariat for the parish development model was introduced, the critics’ fears was confirmed, the leadership of the secretariat was in the hands of Ssozi Dennis Ssozi Galabuzi, a former minister who had lost his MP seat, deputised by Jovrine Kaliisa also a former MP, experts would have preferred a Development Economist but instead, this secretariat would be supported by technocrats and direcMarch, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


UGANDA tors from the different implementing agencies of government. Economists from the government’s Think Tank the Makerere based Economic Policy Research Centre have also warned about politicisation arguing that this will expose the projects under parish development to the same problems and challenges that choked the other programmes. What next? Speaking at the launch of the Parish Development Model in Eastern Uganda, President Museveni said his government had laid the foundation for socio-economic transformation by securing the entire country, building roads, hospitals, schools, water sources, dams to generate electricity and other public services. “During the recently concluded elections, we promised you that the 2021-2026 term is going to be a Kisanja for creating wealth, jobs and incomes for all Ugandans,” Museveni said. The President said that the Parish Chief is going to be the coordinator of all Government efforts at each of the 10,594 parishes and will report to the Sub-County Chief. Each Parish, he added, will have a cooperative society through which Government support will be channelled. There are still questions, however, on the infrastructure which the Parish development model will run. In his Advanced Sub county Model, Amama Mbabazi who has since returned to the fold and has been seen hobnobbing with president Museveni, had proposed a complete onestop centre at every sub-county, but in its case, the parish development model looks like a quick injection of a lot of cash into the smallest unit of government. Where’s the infrastructure? For the parish model to work, experts are asking the government to make a deliberate investment in the physical and social infrastructure at the parish level. ‘For the PDM to achieve its transformation agenda, it is critical that more investment be made in the road, water and sanitation, rural electrification, post-harvest handling, market,

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and ICT infrastructures’ Mark Otile a researcher at the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment advises. Otile insists that these are the issues that afflict local governments, and cash injections will be wasted if the issues that increase the cost of the post-harvest process are not handled. ‘A road user satisfaction survey conducted by Uganda Road fund in 2019 revealed that local governments had the lowest overall service provision rating in 2019 compared to Kampala City Council Authority and Uganda National Roads Authority’ He says. Time for inclusive growth The Parish development model, however, has found support in Academic circles where development economists believe for the first time, the government has struck the right cord in its effort to foster rural trans-

formation. ‘The local government, particularly the parish that is near to the people and therefore capable of enforcing such regulations and achieving the set objectives,’ Professor Augustus Nuwagaba says. Professor Augustus Nuwagaba a development economist argues that with all its projected challenges the Parish Development Model, may be the solution the country is looking for, and it will need all the support it can get, to be a success. ‘it will be futile for Uganda to continue with exclusive and jobless growth, where the majority continue wallowing in deprivation when a few enjoy benefits of so-called growth,’ he says. For now, Mr Galabuzi’s task is cut out. Will he transform the lives of Ugandans, or will this be another economic transformation project that could have been?


Jewel Howard-Taylor:

True Champion of Social Gender Equality


hat the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Jewel Howard- Taylor is Guest of Honour at the Strategic Agricultural Summit in Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe is apt, baring her antecedents. During the Summit, there will be special recognition of Honour and Award for her support and encouragement to the womenfolk in Liberia, most especially her efforts in promoting women in Agriculture thus alleviating poverty and bringing about

food security in line with Goal One of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Vice President Taylor has used her various public and private positions to advance humanity, especially for the female gender. A classic example is a foundation she has been running for 22 years now and counting. The Jewel Starfish Foundation (JSF) was founded by her in the year 2000 as a springboard of opportunities for female empowerment, through the provision of interventions that ensure that JSF beneficiaries obtain the

proper skills and tools needed in the 21st century to learn, grow, succeed and inspire others; and to show by example, that if you educate females, you secure the future of the next generation. This has included: scholarships for females from 7th grade to university, mentorship for grooming young female leaders, entrepreneurship and capacity building, sexual and gender based prevention programmes, social inclusion and protection, and micro credit programmes. As of January 2020, there were March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


LIBERIA more than 1,391 scholarship beneficiaries on the JSF Scholarship programme nationwide. The expected outcome of the initiative is to reduce the rate of school dropout due to early pregnancy and marriage; improve graduation rates (keep retention rates at 90% or above), and at least 60% of students will successfully pass the WACSSE. The real outcome is that 79.1% of students graduated from high school within this time frame (110 out of 139). In establishing the Foundation, the avowed advocate for the empowerment of women and girls saw it to be about belief and opportunity, an undertaking that is now unleashing the potential of currently over 1,500 adolescent girls living in poverty across the country, so that they can lift themselves and those around them out of poverty. The Foundation seeks to keep girls in school, helping them develop career paths providing mentorship program and implementing training programs (with a training-of-trainer component) for women leaders with the objective of creating diverse networks and building the needed technical and professional skills. The Jewel Starfish Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that is creating a ‘new normal’ for girls – helping create champions of a world in which girls can reach their full potential and the intergenerational cycle of poverty can be broken. Howard-Taylor is inspired by the fact that oftentimes when parents cannot afford school fees, they give male children priority over the girls to attend school. This anomaly, she noted, moved her Foundation to undertake the task of supporting and empowering young girls across the country. VP Howard-Taylor added: “When a girl has self-belief and is supported by her family and community; when she’s empowered with skills, ideas and knowledge; when she has access to services, role models and other girls, when she is visible and vocal – she can demand to stay in school, to get healthcare, and to get married

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The Jewel Starfish Foundation is a notfor-profit organization that is creating a ‘new normal’ for girls – helping create champions of a world in which girls can reach their full potential and the intergenerational cycle of poverty can be broken

and have children when she chooses.” Vice President Jewel Cianeh Taylor has had an illustrious private and political career. In 2005, she was elected to the Senate of Liberia in Bong County as a member of the National Patriotic Party. She served as the Chairperson of the Senate Health and Social Welfare Committee on Gender, Women and Children. While her husband was president, she held a number of official posts in the Liberian government, including Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Liberia (forerunner to the current Central Bank of Liberia), President of the Agriculture Cooperative and Development Bank (ACDB) and Mortgage Financing Underwriter of the First Union National Bank. In addition, she focused on educational,

health and social projects. Taylor holds a graduate degree in banking and two bachelors' in banking and economics. On 21 December 2011, she graduated from the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law of the state-owned University of Liberia. Two days later, she was crowned with a new holder of the title "Madam Suakoko", an honorary Bong County title memorializing the namesake of the Suakoko District. In 2017, Jewel was chosen by George Weah as his running mate on the newly formed Coalition (CDC) ticket. Following a run up in late 2017, she became the first female Vice President of Liberia when her party won the elections. She has demonstrated exceptional capabilities and proven to be a role model in her new role.


Women changing the narrative in battle against cancer Stories by Orji Onyekwere


arly this month, precisely March 8, 2022, International Women's Day (IWD) was celebrated; it was a global day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marked a call to action for accelerating women's equality. The theme of International Women’s Day 2022, is #BreakTheBias with several missions including but not limited to celebrating women’s achievements and forging positive visibility of women. In line with the theme and missions of IWD 2022, Giving Tide celebrated all women who have contributed in no small way, to the improvement of healthcare globally and call on all wom-

en particularly in Nigeria to enhance their visibility by joining the effort to cause positive change in the health care of all Nigerians. Indeed, there is no better way of #BreakingTheBias and improving one’s visibility than being a force for good. This is particularly important because Nigerians now have the 7th lowest life expectancy in the whole world. Most of these needless premature deaths are due to poor healthcare infrastructure particularly in the area of cancer care where the gap in Nigeria health infrastructure is most prominent. Each individual that dies prematurely is a loved one of a woman - her husband, her son or daughter, her parent,

and so on. Therefore, Nigerian women must play a pivotal role in reversing the current trend, by taking a cue from the exemplary efforts made by their fellow

IWD: Fighting gender bias throug


ecently, Nigeria women joined other women around the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day with the team #BreakingTheBias. There are lots of movies that highlight sexual and gender-based violence, amplifying the realities of the dangers that millions of women and girls face on a daily basis. To highlight the team, we shall look at some Nigerian and African movies that showcased physical,

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sexual and psychological traumas, our mothers, sisters, mothers, sisters, daughters and daughter in-laws, go through every day of their life. ‘Maria Ebun Pataki’ The movie was shot in Nigeria and directed by Damilola Orimogunje, this movie talks about a painful experience a woman went through during child birth and the experience after. The main character Derin played by

Meg Otanwa, goes through the throes of childbirth, with some dire and lasting consequences to her body. The movie reflects on child birth and the pains women go through to give birth and how the society over look this humongous sacrifice. ‘Maria Ebun Pataki’ is a movie that looks at an aspect of life, in women that has not really been touched. ‘This is just your first kid’, ‘something is definitely wrong with your life’, she


women in other parts of the world. For instance, in 1884 when the very first Comprehensive Cancer Centre

(CCC) was established in USA (the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center or MSKCC, New York), a woman (Mrs. Charlotte Astor) was the prime mover. Charlotte convinced her husband (John Astor) to provide the funds for the first phase of MSKCC, by drawing his attention to the plight of female cancer patients, who were then being rejected as hopeless cases by the Women's Hospital, New York, where she was a board member. Furthermore, the massive public awareness on cancer that was championed by the American Cancer Society (ACS), gained momentum through the effort of the “Women’s Field Army” (WFA). In 1936, Mrs. Marjorie Illig, a field rep of the American Cancer Society (a foremost USA charity), initiated a legion of women volunteers whose sole purpose of waging war on cancer. The WFA recruits donned khaki uniforms, complete with insignia of rank and achievement, and went out into the streets to raise funds and educate the public. This resulted in an increase in the number of volunteers of ACS from 15,000 in 1935, prior to the initiation of the Women’s Field Army, to about 150,000 by the end of 1938. Moreover, this extraordinary movement by the American women contributed significantly to the improved cancer survivorship both in USA and globally.

The last shining example to inspire women as we mark the IWD is the founding of the world’s largest standalone children cancer hospital - Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (CCHE), in Cairo, Egypt. The CCHE was spearheaded by a female paediatric oncologist, Dr Sherif Naga, after she lost 13 of the 16 paediatric cancer patients under her care, in one day. The CCHE was built solely by donation and is sustained entirely by donation. All children who present at the CCHE are treated FREE irrespective of their race, creed or class. Nigeria definitely needs a “Women’s Field Army” to champion the BIG WAR against Cancer. Our women have risen up to the challenge to #BreakTheBias before and can do it again but this time in the area of health care. In 1929, our celebrated heroic women were involved in an uprising (the Aba Women Riot) which is seen as the first major challenge to the colonialists authority in West Africa. They forced the British authorities to drop their plans to impose a tax on the market women, and to curb the power of the warrant chiefs. GivingTide uses the opportunity of this year’s IWD to celebrate our women and once again call on everyone, collectively and individually, to commit to the effort towards improving the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.

ugh movies said. This also compounded by Derin’s attitude towards the child. Moreover people around her, especially the women folk were far from understanding her predicament as they continued to look at her situation based on their individual experiences displaying that superiority. Her husband played by Gabriel Afolayan, did not help matters with his attitude which suggests that for him, all is well ‘let’s do something else to distract you’ and so he did not understand what March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


Entertainment his wife is going through. Maria Ebun Pataki communicates the direness and sense of isolation that comes with that. The movie also features Gabriel Afolayan, Tina Mba, and Judith Audu. ‘Dry’ — Nigeria The film centers on 13-year-old girl, Halima (Zubaida Ibrahim Fagge), whose poor uneducated parents marry off to Sani (Tijjani Faraga), a 60-year-old man who frequently rapes her in the socalled marriage. Dry is a Nigeria movie shot in Nigeria 2014. The movie directed by popular actress Stephanie Okereke- Linus is a true life account that focuses on the impacts of child marriage. Halima becomes pregnant and suffers Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) after child delivery. She starts to experience continuous lack of voluntary control over her urination, and consequently, is abandoned by her husband and discriminated against in her community. Zara (Stephanie Okereke), a medical doctor who had a similarly traumatic childhood, meets Halima and tries to help her including other young women and girls facing similar experiences. The movie was supported by Ford Foundation and the movie received international coverage which helped to drive home the important conversations about gender inequality in Nigeria and beyond. ‘October 1’ — Nigeria The film October 1, by the Nigerian filmmaker Kunle Afolayan; is an exceptional work of cinematographic expertise and creativity. The movie was set in the lead up to Nigerian independence, which came on Oct. 1, 1960. The film’s theme focuses on unraveling the story of the rapes and murders of women in Akote Town, in Ibadan, perpetrated by the only son of the Oba [King] of Akote Town. The movie further explores the story of the prince, who himself was subject to sexual abuse at school, while amplifying the very real issue of perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly those in positions of power and authority, walking away unpunished. ‘Our Voices Matter’ — Democratic

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The movie directed by popular actress Stephanie Okereke- Linus is a true life account that focuses on the impacts of child marriage. Halima becomes pregnant and suffers Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) after child delivery. She starts to experience continuous lack of voluntary control over her urination, and consequently, is abandoned by her husband and discriminated against in her community

Entertainment Republic of Congo Our Voices Matter, a 2012 film co-produced by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice; advocating against gender based violence, features women and girls from North Kivu, South Kivu, and Province Orientale who have experienced sexual violence come forward to tell their stories. For decades, the DRC has experienced war and widespread insecurity. Women and girls are the most affected in this instability, as with many crises. According to the NGO Mercy Corps, 1 in 10 women and girls in the DRC experienced sexual violence in 2016. The film is a call to action, demanding justice, medical and economic assistance, and the effective implementation of legislation to prevent and address sexual and gender-based violence. ‘A Girl from Mogadishu’ — Somalia “A Girl from Mogadishu is a true life story of Ifrah Ahmed, who is from war torn Somalia. According to Ahmed, it is also the story of the 200 million women and girls worldwide who have suffered the consequences of female genital mutilation. She said, “While the movie is intended to focus attention on the barbarity and scale of the practice, its ambition is also to empower all young women and girls to have the courage to stand up and speak out.” Ahmed (played in the movie by Aja Naomi King) while fleeing from the war torn Somalia in 2006, is trafficked to Ireland. A traumatic medical examination is conducted as she seeks for asylum and it reveals the extent of her genital mutilation as a child. Traumatized by the memory, she channels the experience into a force for change. According to the movie director, Mary McGuckian, A Girl from Mogadishu is the story of how real-life social activist Ifrah Ahmed “came to understand, develop, and employ the most potent of campaign tools — her own true story — and use it to empowering and extraordinary effect.” Ahmed is now one of the world's leading international activists against gender-based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The movie trailer ends with this powerful statement from King, as Ahmed: “Whether black or white, we are all women. Women who are entitled to the same human rights, no matter where we come from.”

There’s also the role of the mother-in-law, who sees Derin’s situation as the usual thing every woman passes through during and after child birth. Her support is with mixed sense of aloofness. January, 2019 CHERRYAFRICA



2022 W’Cup:

Who Makes It To Qatar From Africa?


his week will be very decisive for Africa as far as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is concerned. This is because the first leg matches towards the emergence of the continent’s five representatives for the quadrennial event will go down in various centres in Africa. After a competitive ten-group second round of the qualifiers, the ten top countries emerged. The countries include Algeria for Group A, Tunisia for Group B, Nigeria for Group C, Cameroon for Group D and Mali for Group E. Others were Egypt for Group F, Ghana for Group G, Senegal for Group H, Morocco for Group I and DR Congo for Group J. Consequently, a draw was conducted for the ten countries and before the draw, five of them who are top on FIFA ranking were put in Pot 1 while the rest were in Pot 2 for playoffs for Africa’s five representatives. At the end of the draw, the pairing threw up some exciting fixtures for African places at the World Cup as both Egypt and Senegal will rekindle the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final.

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The two countries were paired. This fixture between Egypt and Senegal is very significant because on account of this, one of the two, who are among the best footballers in the world, Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, both of Liverpool, will miss the greatest football fiesta in Qatar in November. Another interesting fixture after the playoff draw is that which will rekindle the age-long rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana. Both countries have been rivals and after the draw placed them to go head-to-head, this very match is highly anticipated. Also from the playoff draw, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon were drawn against the Desert Foxes of Algeria, while Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR) will go head-tohead with Morocco and in the war of eagles, the Eagles of Mali will face the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia. Below is the preview of the games that will go down this week and next week where African five countries for Qatar will emerge. GHANA VS NIGERIA Both Ghana and Nigeria were abysmal at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. The Black Stars

failed to win a single match and exited the competition, which they won last in 1982 when it was hosted by Libya, at the group stage. The Black Stars had a worst-ever AFCON outing in history, picking only a point from three matches. Ghana ended their AFCON adventure with a 3-2 defeat to the less-fancied Comoros side, debuting in the biannual competition. In what looked like a similar scenario, Nigeria made mincemeat of their group stage opponents with three wins in as many games. They defeated Egypt 1-0, beat Sudan 3-1 and ended the group stage with a 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau. But when it mattered most, the three times African champions capitulated and were piped 1-0 in the round of 16 by the then highly depleted Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, thus exited the competition at the round of 16. So both countries will have the opportunity to redeem themselves from the poor AFCON campaign in Cameroon in January. The dismal performance by Ghana led to the sacking of Serbian trainer Milovan Rajevac weeks after the tournament. Former Ghana international Otto Addo has been given the nod to execute the World Cup qual-

ification against Nigeria, and English/ Irish coach Chris Hughton was named technical advisor. Ghana, without their captain, Andre Ayew, following his straight red card against Comoros after a reckless challenge on goalkeeper Salime Ben Boina, will be attempting to qualify for their fourth World Cup after appearances in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010 where they raced to the quarterfinal, and 2014 in Brazil. However, Ajax star Mohammed Kudus’ having returned to full fitness will be a significant booster for Ghana for this crucial tie. He missed the AFCON through an injury. Southampton defender Moham-

med Salisu, though reportedly injured, is expected to recover on time for the playoffs. But the Black Stars are also depleted as a number of first teamers had been absent because of injury The Super Eagles also need the World Cup qualification as compensation for their failure at the 2021 AFCON. Having won all group stage matches against Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea Bissau, Nigeria was shocked by an uninspiring Tunisian team in 16. Augustine Eguavoen will continue to lead the team to face Ghana despite the disappointing AFCON campaign. Eguavoen replaced German trainer Gernot Rohr a few weeks before the

start of the tournament. Former player Emmanuel Amuneke will join him for the Ghana double-header. The Super Eagles have been boosted by the return of SSC Napoli star Victor Osimhen who missed the AFCON due to injury, as well as current top scorer in Saudi League, Odion Ighalo. Osimhen scored four goals in 6 games during the group stages of the qualifiers. As he has admitted recently, the coach of Nigeria will only worry about selection as he has quality players in all the departments of the team. “We have two tough games against Ghana next month, but I’m not too worried because we have a squad that knows it’s a mountain that we have to climb,” Eguavoen stated. “We have a good headache to deal with – which is a surplus of good players. I want to thank the Government and the NFF for all the support during the AFCON; we will need even greater support for the World Cup play-off.” Despite not having hitherto regular, Everton’s Alex Iwobi, in the team, Eguavoen handed maiden call up to Leicester Ademola Lookman after FIFA approved his nationality switch to Nigeria. While Nigeria’s rivalry with Ghana dated back to an international friendly match on October 16, 1950, where the latter defeated the former 1-0, it March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


Sports could be recalled that towards qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Nigeria did double over them to finish as group winners and qualified. It was a 3-0 win in Port Harcourt and 1-0 defeat in Accra. But in their last four meetings, Nigeria has not beating Ghana, with three losses and one draw. Of the four times, two were friendly matches while the other two were Africa Cup of Nations games. Meanwhile, on Friday, March 25, Ghana will host the first leg of the two legged World Cup playoff tie at 9pm, while the reverse fixture comes up on Tuesday, March 29 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja at 16:00 GMT. EGYPT VS SENEGAL This will arguably be the most anticipated game of the playoffs. This is not because it will rekindle the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals, as both teams went head-to-head just in January in Cameroon for who would then win the top prize of Africa’s flagship football tournament. On the other hand, this match, no matter the angle the pendulum swings at the end of the day, will surely produce mixed feelings to fans, particularly those of Liverpool, as one of their prized assets and one among the two of the best footballers on the planet earth today will be missing the showpiece in Qatar. Mane threw friendship to the ground and embraced the 2021 AFCON title as Mohamed Salah was left downcast after his team lost to his Liverpool team mate via penalty after full and extra time could not separate Egypt and Senegal in January. The question will be whether this will be the time of Salah to pay his friend back and win the World Cup ticket. However, statistics favour Senegal to still go past Egypt as the North African country had lost in their past three meetings before this playoff, and the losses were at the Africa Cup of Nations. Meanwhile, the first leg of this dual playoff game will be in Cairo while the second leg is billed for Dakar for a place in Qatar.

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CAMEROON VS ALGERIA Entering the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon as the reigning champions, a lot was expected of the Desert Foxes but a dismal performance, which saw them exited the tournament at the group stage said so much about the depth of the team that navigated and beat all-comers three years ago to win the title in Egypt. Thus, Algeria would want to quickly put aside their embarrassing Africa Cup of Nations campaign by securing the FIFA World Cup qualification. But that won’t come easy as they have to see off Cameroon in a stern playoff test. The Desert Foxes had a shambolic experience in Cameroon, losing two matches and drawing the other against Sierra Leone. Algeria was on a 35-game unbeaten run going into the AFCON and was bizarrely torn apart with the defeats to Equatorial Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire. The Greens finished top of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Djibouti with an un-


defeated record in the group stages es of the qualifiers. Djamel Belmadi will want his side to get the winning moods to ensure hiss return to the country where it all started in his coaching career. Belmadi handled Lekhwiya FC and the Qatari national team before his appointment in 2018 as head coach of Algeria – gone ahead to conquering Africa in 2019 with the AFCON triumph. Algerians prefer a ticket to the he World Cup in November as a cover-up p to their shameful AFCON outing. The he unavailability of defender Youcef Atal al for the double-header against the he Indomitable Lions remained a headdache to Belmadi. Algeria missed out in the World Cup p in 2018 but had previously particicipated in 2014, 2010, 1986, and 1982 82 editions. The latter has never beaten n Cameroon in any competitive fixture, e, significantly worrying to them. Cam-eroon couldn’t achieve the host--

and-win target at the end of the 2021 AFCON but had a bronze medal to celebrate after coming from three goals down to beat Burkina Faso in the 3rd place play-off. This should be an additional inspiration to the Indomitable Lions ahead of the double header. The Indomitable Lions have qualified for the Mundial seven times, more than any other African side (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, and 2014). Cameroon’s last appearance at the World Cup was in 2014, and they are poised to reclaim a spot in Qatar later in the year. The striking combination of AFCON top scorer and captain, Vincent Aboubakar, and Karl Toko Ekambi will come to the fore if the Indomitable Lions overcome Algeria. The duo scored 13 goals for Cameroon at the AFCON. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting won’t be available for the play-offs following his fall out w with Conceiçao, which saw the Bayern Munchen star miss the 3rd place p play-off game. The two previous World Cup qualification clashes between Ca Cameroon and Algeria have seen the In Indomitable Lions prevailing with a 1-1 d draw at away and a 2-0 win at home. Cameroon has a good record Cameroo against Alge Algeria. They two teams have met nine ttimes in all competitions with Camer Cameroon having the edge with six wins. A Algeria has managed only a single wi win against Cameroon with the other tw two encounters ending in a draw. Came Cameroon are also unbeaten in their last fiv ve matches against Algeria, with 3 wins and 2 draws. The last and only time Cameroon lost to Alge Algeria was in November 1995 and it was a 4-0 bashing.

•Riyad Mahrez and Youcef Atal

DR CONGO VS MOROCCO DR Cong Congo last appeared at the World Cup over four decades ago and this time, tthe hurdle they must overcome if they hope to make a return t are the Atlas Lions of Morocco. The last time they appeared, they went with the name ‘Zaire’, and it was the first ‘Za Sub-Saharan African team S to qualify for the Mundial in 1978. At the ten-group secMarch, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA


Sports ond round, the Leopards needed a controversial penalty and another goal in the last round of the group stages to beat Benin 2-0 to pick a place in the playoffs. Hector Cuper’s prime target when he took over the DR Congo job in May 2021 was to guide the Leopards to a World Cup berth, and that would be quite possible if they manage to get past Morocco. Cuper has a quality squad to seal a spot at the Mundial in the Gulf region in November with Dieumerci Mbokani, Chancel Mbemba Mangulu, Gael Kakuta Theo Bongonda, Cedric Bakambu, Christian Luyindama are all available. For Morocco, they had a clean sweep in the qualifying group stage after recording a 100% winning rate. They won all six matches against Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sudan. The Atlas Lions scored 20 goals and conceded just once as they amassed 18 points – more than any other country across that period. Morocco hoped to translate the scintillating form at the AFCON 2021 by going for the ultimate. However, they exited the tournament in the quarter-finals losing to Egypt. Congo DR can benefit from impasse in Morocco team. For example, Vahid Halilhodzic’s tenure will immediately end if the Atlas Lions fail to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar next week. This is because the impasse between Halilhodzic and star man Hakim Ziyech continues as the Chelsea player has announced his retirement from the national team. The Bosnian gaffer left out Ziyecht from Morocco’s squad for the AFCON tourney in Cameroon, leading to his quitting. Sofian Chakla and Sofiane Boufal are suspended for two matches for “their violent behavior” against Egypt at the AFCON. They will not be playing for the playoff games against the Leopards. Ajax fullback Noussair Mazraoui is expected in Halilhodzic’s squad to face DR Congo following his remarkable season in the Eredivisie. He has five goals and two assists for Ajax this campaign. Mazraoui made his last appearance for the Maghrebian side in November 2020 against the Central Africa Republic in an AFCON qualifier.

36 January, 2019 CHERRYAFRICA

Morocco has faced the Congolese on three occasions in all competitions; they have won once, drawn once, and lost once. Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa will host the first leg encounter on Saturday, March 26, 2022, kick-off at 13:00 GMT.

Algerians prefer a ticket to the World Cup in November as a cover-up to their shameful AFCON outing. The unavailability of defender Youcef Atal for the double-header against the Indomitable Lions remained a headache to Belmadi.

MALI VS TUNISIA Mali will face off Tunisia for a place in Qatar and the West Africans have never been at this global football stage before. The West African side proved too strong for Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, having finished as toppers with an undefeated run in the group stages, leading to the playoff. Despite having all their home games played in Morocco, Mali recorded five wins from the group games and drew the other without conceding a single goal. The Eagles couldn’t live up to expectations at the AFCON in Cameroon. This was because they were tipped by many to go farther than the round of 16. The latter was before crashing out by Equatorial Guinea on penalty shootouts. Booking a World Cup ticket could be celebrated more than a semi-final spot of the AFCON since Mali has never been to the Mundial. Tunisia will like to appease the disappointment of 2021 AFCON by grabbing one of the five African spots at the Mundial in Qatar this November. The Carthage Eagles were eliminated at the quarter-finals of the AFCON in Cameroon, losing narrowly to Burkina Faso.



How to attract the best talent in your industry


n my over fourteen ourteen years of experience as a Human uman Resources professional and consultant, onsultant, I have interacted with different organisations and employer yer brands. Through these interactions, ctions, one thing has become very clear ar to me—there are attractive employers yers and there are not so attractive ctive employers. There have been instances when great candidates have declined placements ts in certain organ-isations because they saw them as “unattractive”” organisations. Inndeed, there are some ome organisations thatt have positioned themselves selves so well that they attract ract the best talents in their industry. dustry. It is obvious that there iss war for talent in the world of work today; and it is only employers yers who attract the best talents who win this war. Such employers are also known as employers off choice or best employers. According to Forbes’ orbes’ 2021 list of the world’s best employers published in October 2021, the top ten best employers in the world are: Samsung Group which is ranked the number one,, followed by IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, n, Apple, Alphabet (Google), Dell Technologies, hnologies, Huawei, Adobe, and BMW W Group in that order. In Africa, the top employers for 2021 include: Unilever nilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Huawei Technologies (Pty) Ltd, Pernod Richard ard South Africa, EY South Africa, Vodacom acom (Pty) Ltd, Nestle South Africa (Pty) Pty) Ltd, Olam South Africa, DHL International, national, and Orange Business Services (South Africa). Again, according to Forbes, es, the top employers here in Ghana are: e: Unilever Ghana Ltd, Vodafone Ghana Ltd, International SOS Ghana, Nestle Central entral and West Africa Ltd, Olam Ghana Ltd, and DHL Ghana

Ltd. what do The question is, wh all these companies have answer in common? The a their emis their care for the well-beployees and their w makes their ing; and this make employees happy to work for them. Indeed, these top em employers put their em-

ploye e s first, on focus their w well-being, and satisfy their need for work-life ba balance. Not surprisingly, surprisingly Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for® corroborates 2020, corrob positing the foregoing po that, employees of top they feel employers say the recognised cared for, recog their emand valued by the ployers. foregoing, From the fore it is no surprise that intangibles like ccareer progression and learning opportunities, work/ recognition, life balance, recog with reand being treated w valued by spect are highly valu looking employees when lo work for. for a company to wo Although no precise fformunoticed la exists, it has been n that employers, who are able to attract the top ttalents in their industry, inspire their employees to do the best job, motivate them to stay, promote and inspire them to pro

the company to their friends, family, and customers through placing a high priority on their needs. In fact, as was earlier stated, employees are more engaged when employers offer an environment where their needs are satisfied. This is a goal that many businesses strive for, especially those that want to be successful in the long run. Thus, what must organisations do to attract the top talent in their industry and become employers of choice? Based on our experience and research about the best employers around the globe, we believe that for organisations to attract the best talent, the following are imperative:

1. Provide Inspired Leadership

For any organisation to attract the best talent within their industry, their executive team must be committed to the success of all parties involved and set an example of dedication to their companies and employees. CEOs and senior executives must believe in and demonstrate that their employees are their most valuable asset. In doing so, they must be actively involved in the development of top talent, interviewing new employees, and expressing the company's goals to staff. Leaders must maintain visibility throughout the firm in order for this to be achievable. Employees must be communicated with on a frequent basis by their leaders. Being extremely visible and accessible to employees as senior management, will aid in the development of trust among all employees. Again, leaders must also provide clarity and focus to all employees. Leaders must keep employees informed on the company's direction, business strategy, goals, and progress toward these goals at all times. They will be able to clearly communicate where the firm is going and what role employees should play as a result of this. To provide inspired leadership, executives and senior leaders must encourage openness and involvement. This way, the leaders will aid in the development of a company culture that encourages employees to offer their thoughts and suggestions for service improvement without fear. In fact, when it comes to problem January, 2019 CHERRYAFRICA


HR DISCOURSE solving and strategy building, leaders should use a consultative approach that makes employees feel part of the company’s decision-making process.

they are capacitated to ensure a high performing organisational culture for the continuous growth and development of the company.

2. Let Your Employees Feel Valued

4. Focus on Growing Talent

Your employees will not care much about your company and its business unless they know how much you care. A careful study of all best employer brands indicate that they demonstrably care about their employees. Thus, if you want to recruit the top talent in your business, you must do everything you can as a firm to look after your employees. You must be concerned about their personal and professional well-being. Indeed, when you say you care about your employees, you should demonstrate it in your actions. Employers should take care of their staff just as they would their families. Definitely, employees should be made to feel wanted and valued as individuals at all times. They should be trusted and treated with respect; and not abused physically, verbally, psychologically, or emotionally. Undoubtedly, the contributions of employees should be appreciated.

3. Establish a Unique Company Culture

You must be clear about your organization's distinctive culture and hire employees who are a "cultural fit" to attract and retain the right calibre of employees for your business. Undoubtedly, a company can achieve higher performance and financial success by leveraging an organizational culture, processes and practices that support these worthy objectives through hiring the kinds of employees— who possess the skills, motivation, and mindset required—to support a high performing culture to help your company succeed. You must spend time and effort explaining your company's culture and principles to employees. Your workforce must be aligned and united around a common set of values and ideas. Furthermore, you must have a proper onboarding process in place to assist new recruits in assimilating into the business culture. An important benefit of choosing the best fit for your organisation is that, employees' values are better matched with the company's ideals, and thus they are more likely to remain at the organization for the long haul. Again, to attract and develop the greatest talents in your business, your company must create a culture that recognizes and celebrates their contributions and achievements, and makes a conscious effort to continually develop their talents, through implementing leadership development programmes to ensure that

38 March, 2022 CHERRYAFRICA

Provide more opportunities for employees to develop and grow professionally and personally. Your company's talent pipeline must also be well-understood and prioritized. Identify high-potential employees and make sure they have access to expedited training and development as well as frequent meetings with top management. Your company must also be willing to spend more time and money on training, actively developing high potentials, and providing other avenues for career advancement. This focus can be fulfilled through a commitment to training and development, paid membership in professional organizations, the creation of a company library, and coaching and mentoring to help individuals manage their careers.

5. Have a Strong Sense of Accountability for Employees

You must instil a strong feeling of responsibility in your staff if you want to attract and recruit top talent in your business. You must show respect for your staff by keeping them accountable for their results and celebrating their accomplishments with enthusiasm. To ensure that employees understand what is expected of them, leaders must communicate with them constantly about business direction and company goals. As a result, employees will have a better awareness of the company's vision and their tasks. Further, establish and implement a strong performance management system to ensure that personal, corporate goals, and performance expectations are all aligned. 6. Align HR Practices and Excellent Execution You may not have more people programmes than other organizations, but in order to recruit the finest individuals in your industry, your HR programmes and practices must be linked with business strategy and implemented effectively and efficiently. Make sure your HR policies and programmes are both business-relevant and beneficial to employees. High-value programmes that encourage employee engagement and corporate success must be identified and promoted. Also, make sure to properly execute programmes, ensuring that HR programmes are carried out successfully through thorough planning, devoted resources, effective communication, monitoring, and control.

7. Provide Challenging and Exciting Work that Delivers Impact

Challenging work may be a terrific motivator for employees, especially top performers, because it keeps them engaged and interested in their jobs. Many people prefer the challenge of overcoming some amount of difficulty in their work over the dullness of a simple, undemanding job. Therefore, to attract top talent in your industry, it will be important for you to provide challenging and exciting jobs for your employees. Encourage employees to solve problems on their own rather than relying on management for all solutions. For example, you may demand that, to come to top management with a problem, they would have to come along with their proffered solutions for the problem for discussion with management. It will help people become more invested in their roles rather than merely depending on others to handle problems. Again, set challenging goals for employees that will bring the best out of them. Consider the various tasks involved in completing a project and discuss with employees how quickly they could do them without sacrificing quality. Also, set learning and development objectives for employees to ensure their continuous development. Make employees responsible for their own professional development and motivate them to step outside of their comfort zones through the challenging tasks you give them to carry out; and the opportunities you give them to put their newly acquired skills and competencies into practice. As discussed above, to be an employer of choice and to attract the best talent in your industry, you must position yourself well to: Provide inspired leadership; value your employees; build a unique company culture; focus on developing and growing talent; have a strong sense of accountability for your employees; align HR practices and excellent execution for your organisation; and provide challenging and exciting work for your employees that gives them the opportunity to grow. If your employees feel valued and cared for, they will be the ones to promote your brand, and recommend you to their family and friends, and other potential employees of choice. If this happens, you will know that you are on your way to becoming an employer of choice. Patricia Abena Kissi (Mrs) CEO, SEDAT Consult Ltd +233 (0) 24 4629245

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