PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013
Nigerian SME's will get a helping hand - Canadian envoy S By Abdulkadir Isa
mall and Medium Enterprise (SME's) in the country need "just alittle helping hand", and will get such from Canadian companies the envoy to Nigeria has said."Most Nigerian entrepreneurs are not driven by demand" rather supply which hinders efficiency and optimal performance of the entrepreneurship development he affirmed. The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Chris Cooter made this statement during a press briefing at the chancery in Abuja to highlight the outcome of the Canada-Nigeria Investment Conference which took place from 2nd- - 4th May 2013 in Toronto Canada. According to the envoy, the conference was the biggest of its kind to both countries as representatives of businesses from manufacturing, SME, tourism;Government and education converged on Canada to fashion out modalities in a bid to boost trade and investment within both countries. Mr Cooter expressed optimism on the outcome of deliberations and pledges made at the conference with possibility of doubling trade between both
countries from the present $3 billion dollars to $6 billion dollars by 2015. At the conference he said, Canadian company Zaphs and Labs - specialist in Banking software had fruitful discussions with representatives of some Nigerian banks with among
others. Responding to questions on specifics on deals reached, the envoy did not specify the number and volume involved but expressed willingness to follow-up as agreements were still at a too premature stage for public knowledge.
Mr Cooter also expressed his satisfaction with the cloudy nature of transactions between the Canadian company Manitoba hydro and the Federal Government on the electricity distribution contract saying "we have every indication that the program is on track".
High Commissionerof Canada, Chris Cooter (R) with Political Counsellor of the commission, Alexandra MacKenzie (L).
New technology to enhance farmer's income launched in Kenya
new technology using mobile phone to help improve the livelihood of small-scale farmers has been launched in Kenya. The solution, dubbed Farmforce which was launched by Syngenta Foundation, is set to ensure food quality and increased farmers' income across the East African nation. "The new platform is due to help boost the number of farmers who earn a descent income from their produce to processors, exporters and across developing countries," Syngenta Foundation Executive Director for Sustainable Agriculture Dr. Marco Ferroni told journalists during launch of the product at Thika town in central Kenya late Wednesday. He said that the tool has been developed to help manage production by small scale farmers and also
monitor their compliance with food safety standards. Farmforce is the first tool of its kind that employs mobile phone technology that field agricultural agents of horticultural exporters can use to update their records and monitor quality standards. The technology manages production process, provides real time traceability from small scale farmer's farms and also monitors compliance with food safety and sustainability standards. "New approach towards science-based knowledge towards the provision of seed system is required to help improve farmer's income," Ferroni added. Ferroni called on a strong partnership between private and
public extension service to help modernize agriculture for small scale farmers, adding that all farmers irrespective of what size of land they own deserve best technology. Kenya's Agriculture Ministry's Secretary Dr. Wilson Songa noted that the technology can help make farming a business since it makes it easier for agribusinesses to source from small scale farmers. "This not only helps small scale farmers earn a descent income but also increases food production and food security," he added. Songa said the achievement of Kenya's double digit in food production can only be attained once both small scale and large scale farmers adopt new opportunities and innovations.
He announced that the government is in the process of minimizing its role in agricultural sector so as to enable the private sector to take lead in championing the development of the sector further. "Given that 70 percent of farmers have cell phones, the technology is set to revolutionize farming through the inclusion of the youths who have knowledge of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in the sector since farmers grow on less than two acres," Songa noted. He called on Kenya Plant and Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) inspectors to conduct their audit correctly at individual farmer level to avoid a blanket ban on Kenya's products. Source: Xinhua
Libya crisis deepens as rebels expand demands
ibya's political crisis has deepened as armed groups surrounding two
Eritrea jails 10,000 political prisoners Amnesty International
ministries in the capital said they had formed an alliance to present an expanded list of six
Vehicles owned by protesting group with mounted GPMG's parked at the entrance of the Ministry of Justice.
demands that included the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. The armed groups initially demanded that parliament pass the "political isolation law" banning senior officials, who held a senior position under late Muammar Gaddafi, from office, and members had hoped the vote would be enough to dislodge the gunmen from their positions at the government ministries. Instead, the groups have settled in and expanded their list of demands, which they presented to Reuters news agency on a printed notice late on Wednesday. The additional demands included Zeidan's resignation, the
freezing of a recently released state budget and the right to form a committee to take charge of the Foreign Ministry. In a separate development, a rival coalition that said it supported the government warned those stationed at the ministries it was prepared to use force to dislodge them. "If you do not respond to our demands, we will form a common national force from all the cities of Libya to handle this situation," the group said on Wednesday. Its members included federalists in eastern Cyrenaica and leaders of former rebel groups in a number of towns including Benghazi in the east.
housands of political prisoners are being held by Eritrea in "unimaginably atrocious conditions", says Amnesty International, and not one has ever been charged with any crime. The rights group says at least 10,000 people have been jailed for political reasons since President IsaiasAfewerki came to power 20 years ago. It says torture is widespread in a network of detention centres. Eritrea has so far not responded to Amnesty's new report. Some of those imprisoned are journalists or critics of the government, Amnesty says. Others have practised an unregistered religion, or tried to flee the country or avoid conscription into the army. In most cases, prisoners' families are not informed of their whereabouts, and often never hear from their relative again. "The government has systematically used arbitrary arrest and detention without charge to crush all opposition, to silence all dissent, and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the repressive restrictions it places on people's lives," said Claire Beston, Amnesty's Eritrea researcher. "Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world." The facilities used as detention centres include underground cells or shipping containers, Amnesty says. The group says some prisoners are left for days in what is known as the helicopter position - lying face down with their hands and feet bound together. It says it has received many reports of deaths in detention resulting from torture, the bad conditions or suicide. A former detainee held in a detention centre in Barentu told Amnesty: "The room was about 2.5m by 3m [8 by 10 feet] and we were 33 people. It is very, very hot. The door is closed, the ceiling is low, about 2m. The temperature was about 50C. "A boy, about 17 years old, was about to die. We were not permitted to speak, but we banged the door. They [the guards] told us they would kill all of us if we did not stop shouting. We couldn't do anything to help him." Amnesty is calling for all prisoners to be either immediately charged with a recognisable crime or released.
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 10, May, 2013 Edition