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Le prince héritier Mohammed bin Salman dévoile le plan directeur de Soudah Peaks

RIYAD, Arabie Saoudite, 27 sept. 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Son Altesse Royale, le prince héritier saoudien Mohammed ben Salmane bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Premier ministre et président de Soudah Development, a dévoilé le plan directeur pour développer un nouveau projet dans la région montagneuse de Soudah et certaines parties de Rijal Almaa. Le projet Soudah Peaks prévoit la création d’une destination de tourisme de montagne de luxe à 3015 mètres d’altitude, sur le plus haut sommet d’Arabie saoudite. Situé dans un environnement naturel et culturel extraordinaire dans la région d’Asir, dans le sud-ouest de l’Arabie saoudite, le projet sert d’élément clé des efforts du Fonds d’investissement public (PIF) visant à diversifier l’économie en développant des industries vitales telles que le tourisme, l’hôtellerie et les loisirs, et en soutenant la stratégie de développement d’Asir.

Le prince héritier Mohammed bin Salman, président du conseil d’administration de Soudah Development, a déclaré que Soudah Peaks représentait une nouvelle ère du tourisme de montagne de luxe, dans la mesure où il propose une expérience de vie sans précédent tout en préservant l’environnement naturel et la richesse culturelle et patrimoniale. Ce projet est stratégiquement conforme aux objectifs de la Vision 2030, à savoir développer le tourisme et les loisirs, soutenir la croissance économique, attirer les investissements, contribuer à hauteur de plus de 29 milliards de riyals saoudiens au PIB cumulé du Royaume et créer des milliers de possibilités d’emploi directes et indirectes.

Et son altesse royale d’ajouter : « Le plan directeur réaffirme notre engagement aux efforts mondiaux visant à préserver l’environnement et les ressources naturelles pour les générations futures à contribuer à la diversification des sources de revenus nationaux et à la construction d’une économie solide qui attire les investissements locaux et mondiaux ».

« Soudah Peaks sera une addition importante au secteur du tourisme en Arabie saoudite et placera le Royaume sur la carte du tourisme mondial, tout en célébrant la richesse de la culture et du patrimoine du pays. Les visiteurs auront l’occasion de découvrir la beauté de Soudah Peaks, d’explorer la richesse de sa culture et de son patrimoine, et de vivre l’expérience de l’hospitalité authentique de la communauté locale. Soudah Peaks proposera des expériences inoubliables dans un cadre verdoyant, au-dessus des nuages », a indiqué le prince héritier.

Soudah Peaks vise à fournir des services d’hospitalité luxueux et haut de gamme à plus de deux millions de visiteurs tout au long de l’année d’ici à 2033. Le plan directeur est conçu de manière à refléter les styles traditionnels et architecturaux locaux et à promouvoir le patrimoine culturel et paysager de la région. La destination comptera six zones de développement uniques : Tahlal, Sahab, Sabrah, Jareen, Rijal et Red Rock. Chacune d’entre elles disposera d’une gamme d’installations de classe mondiale, notamment des hôtels, des stations de montagne de luxe, des chalets résidentiels, des villas, des manoirs haut de gamme, des attractions commerciales et de divertissement, ainsi que des attractions en plein air dédiées au sport, à l’aventure, au bien-être et à la culture.

Soudah Development fournira 2700 chambres d’hôtel, 1336 unités résidentielles et 80 000 mètres carrés d’espace commercial pour Soudah Peaks d’ici à 2033. Le plan directeur sera développé sur trois phases. L’achèvement de la première phase est prévu pour 2027 avec 940 chambres d’hôtel, 391 unités résidentielles et 32 000 mètres carrés d’espace commercial.

Soudah Peaks s’étend sur plus de 627 kilomètres carrés surplombant un paysage naturel impressionnant, avec moins de 1 % des terrains acquis à des fins de construction. Il reflète en effet l’engagement de Soudah Development à protéger et à préserver l’environnement, en adoptant les meilleures normes de développement durable, et en contribuant aux efforts de l’Initiative verte saoudienne.

En tant que société par actions fermée appartenant au PIF, Soudah Development vise à développer une destination touristique de montagne de luxe unique en Arabie Saoudite, tout en préservant l’environnement naturel et le patrimoine culturel de la zone du projet répartie sur Soudah et certaines parties de Rijal Almaa.

À propos de Soudah Development
Soudah Development est une société anonyme fermée entièrement détenue par le Fonds d’investissement public (PIF) de l’Arabie saoudite. Elle a été créée pour stimuler le développement d’une destination touristique de montagne de luxe, couvrant Soudah et certaines parties de Rijal Almaa, dans la région d’Asir, au sud-ouest de l’Arabie saoudite. Elle vise à préserver le paysage naturel et à respecter le riche patrimoine culturel de la région, en attirant 2 millions de visiteurs chaque année d’ici à 2033. Le développement de Soudah a été annoncé le 24 février 2021 par SAR le prince héritier Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Premier ministre et président du PIF.

Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez consulter les liens suivants :
Sites électroniques : www.soudah.sa et www.soudahpeaks.com
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn et Facebook : @Soudahpeaks
Ou par email : press@soudah.sa

Le texte du communiqué issu d’une traduction ne doit d’aucune manière être considéré comme officiel. La seule version du communiqué qui fasse foi est celle du communiqué dans sa langue d’origine. La traduction devra toujours être confrontée au texte source, qui fera jurisprudence.

Contacts:
Mohammed A. Alshehri
Press@soudah.sa

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10 areas of the aerospace industry to be disrupted by AI tools

DUBLIN, Ireland, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The use of AI in aviation goes beyond customer support chatbots and price comparison tools for travelers. While these applications will definitely stay and become ubiquitous, the real disruption will come from optimizing the “hard” areas of aviation – from revenue management to evaluating the likelihood of a strike. Chairman of Avia Solutions Group Gediminas Ziemelis shares his predictions regarding the areas where AI in aviation will make a massive difference.

  1. Unlocking true dynamic pricing. In the airline business, revenue management has never been an easy game, but the stakes are even higher in the post-COVID world. According to IATA, the average profit margin per passenger today is truly razor-thin – just $2.25, compared to double-digit numbers in 2019. AI can help improve the tough task of analyzing historical data and calculating the right price, taking into account the client’s location and a myriad of other factors. While larger airlines will probably opt for building their own solutions in-house, there’s already a growing number of carriers partnering with the likes of AirGain – an AI-driven predictive solution with a data lake covering 6 billion price points.
  2. Maintaining engine health. Predictive maintenance has been an integral part of MRO for quite some time now, with sensors helping airlines determine when and what needs to be fixed or replaced. Artificial Intelligence can use both real-time sensor data and predictive historical fault patterns to reduce downtime and overall costs of maintenance. A recent study conducted by the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD) found that predictive maintenance can reduce aircraft operational costs by up to 20%. AI is already disrupting this field. For instance, Lufthansa Technik has leveled up aircraft upkeep with its AI-driven predictive maintenance systems. Their Condition Analytics solution employs machine learning algorithms to analyze sensor data from various aircraft components, predicting maintenance needs with remarkable precision. The creation of so-called “digital twins” – perfect virtual replicas that change their parameters according to the physical component’s wear – MRO technicians use digital twins for predictive maintenance and to detect anomalies by comparing real-world sensor data to the data generated by digital twins.
  3. Planning the most efficient route. According to IATA, airlines will spend $215 billion this year, accounting for around 28% of operating expenses, which can be reduced with more efficient route planning. Numerous variables (including air traffic congestion, quickly changing weather patterns, and fluctuating fuel costs) make route planning a complex and demanding task, which can either improve or damage a carrier’s bottom line, depending on how efficiently it is performed. AI-enabled platforms can accelerate decision-making for operators, helping them harness not just the power of historical data but also of predictive mechanisms that, together, generate an actionable and clear picture. One example of such a platform is Flyways, which uses scheduled and active flight data to map out flight routes that go through less-congested areas and bypass areas with adverse weather conditions. The solution has already been tested out by Alaska Airlines, saving the company 480,000 gallons of fuel and resulting in 4,600 fewer tons in carbon emissions over a six-month period. The results of such AI-operator collaboration are reflected not only in cost savings but also in helping businesses become more sustainable. Once such solutions become commonplace not just among airlines but also flight authorities around the world, we will look back at today and be surprised at how inefficient all of us were when planning routes.
  4. Predicting strikes. While strikes in aviation usually make headlines because of the disruption they have on travelers’ plans (especially around major holidays), the fact that airlines can lose tens if not hundreds of millions per strike is often overlooked. In 2022, for instance, SAS lost $145 million over a 15-day pilot strike. As AI can analyze not just technical but also sociological data, a model could be designed to help airlines predict a potential strike and be better prepared for potential negotiations. Models like this that can predict the probability of individual employees leaving their jobs have already been developed by IBM, producing 95% accuracy.
  5. Improving workflows in-flight. An AI can serve as a helper not just to the staff on the ground but also to the cabin crew. It is not just about making routine tasks easier – a properly trained tool can offer expert advice on managing the aircraft and making quick, informed decisions, especially when the pressure is on and quick decisions are vital. The wheels are already in motion to bring this vision to life, with Level 1 AI applications nearing certification, thanks to EASA’s Trustworthiness of Machine Learning based Systems guidelines established in April 2022.
  6. Helping pilots and crew maintain their mental health. Could an AI model have prevented the suicide-by-pilot disaster of Germanwings Flight 9525 that led to the death of 150 people? While this is an area of much speculation, specially designed regular staff screenings can help predict the likelihood of mental issues exacerbated by exposure to stressful events, such as circadian rhythm disruptions, instances of turbulence, and onboard emergencies. Another promising application, which is already being tested by the UK startup Blueskeye AI, is the use of facial sensing technology to identify fatigue in pilots. Today, fatigue is calculated based on the number of hours a pilot has flown, but in the future, this metric will be highly individualized.
  7. Predicting the probability of Airworthiness Directives. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) for either a part of the frame or the engine can ground a sizeable share of an airline’s fleet, especially one that is not diversified across different models. Knowing the likelihood of such a risk can massively help at different stages of fleet management – from fleet formation to maintenance. Much like AI-driven risk management software in banks and financial institutions, a similar solution could be deployed to calculate and mitigate AD risks.
  8. Improving in-house quality management processes. While no malfunction will ever rival the $20 billion bill that Boeing had to foot because of the crashes and subsequent grounding of the 737 MAX, a QA issue can still bankrupt a company. While quality assurance standards in aviation are already higher than in any other industry due to strict regulation of everything related to safety and security, AI can boost in-house quality assurance protocols within the realms of aviation manufacturing and airline management. At the manufacturing stage, a sophisticated computer vision system enhanced by manual checks can better pinpoint flaws in components. For airlines, an AI-enhanced Safety Management System (SMS) can take into account vast amounts of data from various sources, including performance, weather partners and maintenance information.
  9. Finding the best logistics solution for AOG situations. While every aircraft on ground (AOG) situation is unique, it can cost the airline anything from $10,000 to $150,000, not to mention reputational damage. Figuring out the puzzle of both finding the spare part needed and delivering it in hours, and not days, can be tricky, especially if the AOG situation happens far away from major hubs. An AI solution could help the company quickly locate and ship the part to the aircraft. At the same time, a predictive maintenance solution can help prepare for potential AOG events and make sure that there are always enough critical parts in stock.
  10. Determining insurance pricing. In the post-9/11 world, aviation insurance buyers globally are still encountering escalating prices and diminished availability when it comes to war risk coverage. An AI model can help airlines calculate the risks they are facing more precisely, helping them to understand their “war risk” exposure when they are making insurance-related decisions.

About Gediminas Ziemelis

Gediminas Ziemelis (born April 4, 1977) is an accomplished Lithuanian entrepreneur, business consultant, and the founder and current Chairman of the Board of Avia Solutions Group, the largest global ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) provider, operating a fleet of 196 aircraft. He was selected twice among the top 40 most talented young industry leaders by Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Gediminas is known for his cosmopolitan mindset and exceptional management skills, which have contributed to his success in various business fields. Over his 26-year-long career, Gediminas has founded more than 100 start-ups, 50% of which are still in operation, led companies through 4 successful IPO/SPO processes, and raised over 800 million euros in global public capital and bond markets.

In December 2022, Gediminas Ziemelis was listed as the richest Lithuanian by TOP Magazine, with estimated assets worth 1.68 billion euros.

Gediminas is the largest donator of Rimantas Kaukenas Support Group, a charity and support fund, that provides help to children with oncological diseases and their families. He is also the biggest shareholder in the leading basketball club Wolves.

Media contact: 
Silvija Jakiene 
Chief Communications Officer 
Avia Solutions Group 
silvija.jakiene@aviasg.com 
+370 671 22697

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000841364

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HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prime Minister, and Chairman of Soudah Development has launched the masterplan to develop Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa into Soudah Peaks – a luxury mountain tourism destination set 3,015 meters above sea level on Saudi Arabia’s highest peak. Situated within an extraordinary natural and cultural environment in the Aseer region (southwest Saudi Arabia), the project is a key part of the Public Investment Fund (PIF)’s efforts to diversify the economy by expanding vital industries such as tourism, hospitality, and entertainment, and supporting Aseer development strategy.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of Soudah Development’s Board of Directors, stated that Soudah Peaks represents a new era of luxury mountain tourism by providing an unprecedented living experience while preserving the natural environment, cultural, and heritage richness. It is strategically aligned with Vision 2030 goals of expanding tourism and entertainment, supporting economic growth, attracting investments, contributing more than SAR 29 billion to the Kingdom’s cumulative GDP, and creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities.

HRH said, “The masterplan reaffirms our commitment to global efforts in preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations and aims to contribute to diversifying national income sources and building a strong economy that attracts local and global investments.”

HRH added, “Soudah Peaks will be a significant addition to the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia and place the Kingdom on the global tourism map, whilst highlighting and celebrating the country’s rich culture and heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the beauty of Soudah Peaks, explore its rich culture and heritage, and experience the authentic hospitality of the local community. Soudah Peaks will offer unforgettable experiences amidst lush greenery, above the clouds.”

Soudah Peaks aims to offer high-end luxurious hospitality services to over two million visitors throughout the year by 2033. The masterplan is being designed to reflect the local traditional, and architectural styles, and will promote both the cultural and landscape heritage of the region. The destination will be home to 6 unique development zones: Tahlal, Sahab, Sabrah, Jareen, Rijal, and Red Rock. Each will offer a range of world-class facilities including hotels, luxury mountain resorts, residential chalets, villas, premium mansion sites, entertainment and commercial attractions, as well as outdoor attractions dedicated to sports, adventure, wellness and culture.

Soudah Development will deliver 2,700 hospitality keys, 1,336 residential units, and 80,000 square meters of commercial space for Soudah Peaks by 2033. The masterplan will be developed over three phases, with 940 hotel keys, 391 residential units, and 32,000 square meters of retail space expected to be completed in 2027, within Phase one.

Soudah Peaks is set across more than 627 square kilometers of awe-inspiring nature, with less than 1% of the land being acquired for building, reflecting Soudah Development’s commitment to protecting and preserving the environment, following best-in-class sustainability standards, and contributing to the efforts of the Saudi Green Initiative.

As a closed joint-stock company owned by PIF, Soudah Development aims to develop a unique luxury mountain tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, whilst preserving the natural environment and cultural heritage of the project area spread across Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa.

About Soudah Development
Soudah Development is a closed joint-stock company fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. It has been established to drive the development of a luxury mountain tourism destination, covering Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa, in the Aseer region in southwest Saudi Arabia. It aims to preserve the natural landscape and respect the rich cultural heritage of the region, whilst attracting 2 million visitors every year by 2033. Soudah Development was announced by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prime Minister, and Chairman of PIF, on February 24, 2021.

For more information, visit the links below:
Website: www.soudah.sa & www.soudahpeaks.com
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook: @Soudahpeaks
Or by email: press@soudah.sa

Source: NewsBeatWire

Contacts:

Mohammed A. Alshehri

Press@soudah.sa

A Media Snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking on the image or link below:

HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

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NALPGAM urges FG to ensure gas price stability

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has appealed to the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the rising price of cooking gas in the country.

Mr Abideen Olatunbosun, National President, NALPGAM, made the appeal during the 36th Annual General Meeting of the association held in Ibadan on Tuesday.

Olatunbosun expressed the concern that if the rising gas prices are not addressed, gas might become a commodity only affordable to the affluent.

“It is very vital for me to state that continuous increase in the price of gas in recent time stands as a big challenge to LPG marketers.

“The government needs to find ways to ensure stability of gas price as well as make gas available to common Nigerians.

“As a country, we need to improve on our gas utilisation level and if we all adopt gas, it will save our forest and improve quality of our lifestyle and the economy will grow.’’

According to him, the hike in price of gas is a concern to all.

Olatunbosun called for collaborative effort between the government and the private sector to establish critical gas infrastructure.

The guest speaker, Prof. Sunday Isehunwa, Department of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan, said that LPG offered a huge promise for increased domestic gas utilisation in Nigeria.

He said that cooking gas also served as the country’s energy transition to net-zero carbon emission by 2060.

According to Isehunwa, there is need for increased LPG supply to meet rising demand and curtail sharp practices by some operators.

“The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has been the major supplier of LPG, however, additional supplies are essential through functional refineries, and adequate natural gas processing facilities.

“Removal of difficulties in importation when necessary is also essential for additional supplies.

“Adequate infrastructure development is highly necessary to enhance access to LPG by rural communities.

“Accessibility will increase through increased economic empowerment of consumers and relatively low costs of products,’’ the don said.

Also, Mr Ogbugo Ukoha of the Nigerian Midstream And Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), said that the recent deregulation policy would result to a reflective petroleum products pricing.

Ukoha, who is the Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, noted that current data had shown that the domestic gas supply had overtaken the import supply.

He said that necessary infrastructure investment must be put in place to address challenges of gas reserve so as to achieve smooth distribution of the product.

“Our focus is to make necessary investment in gas infrastructure to increase LPG supply so as to force its price down for Nigerians,” Ukoha said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference also featured dissolution of the current governing council of NALPGAM, election of new national executives and presentation of plaques. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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NAFDAC sensitises Ibadan stakeholders on online products registration

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday sensitised producers and marketers of its new online products and company registrations.

The Oyo State Coordinator, NAFDAC, Matthew Adeoye, said during a stakeholders’ meeting in Ibadan that NAFDAC Automated Products Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) offered significant reduction on the timeline for registration.

Adeoye said that the online registration was part of the Agency’s efforts to facilitate faster processes and remove bottlenecks associated with traveling for follow-ups.

“NAPAMS provides a medium for the application for products registration with NAFDAC and data capture of all existing and current products it has approved.

“It also offers stage-by-stage status feedback to applicants regarding update on the application.

“The process is seamless that an applicant can monitor (online) all the processes from registration, payment, status/stages of registered product at the applicant’s zone due to decentralisation ,” he said.

Also, Mrs Roseline Ajayi, Director, NAFDAC South West Zonal Office, Ibadan, said the meeting sought to interact and update the stakeholders on the direction of the agency and to clarify issues with navigating the portal.

Ajayi said that product quality, safety and wholesomeness must not be neglected due to the country’s current economic crises.

“We are all witnesses to the current economic crises and the consequential threats to business stability.

“While this experience has become a serious concern, the quality, safety and wholesomeness of regulated products cannot be negotiated,” she said.

Ajayi said that the agency would ensure continuous engagement with stakeholders, as it recognised the need for interaction with the different stakeholders at all the levels either at national, state and grassroot.

“Today, our focus is on the water and bakery sectors. These sectors constitute the highest number of the agency’s stakeholders and their members are engaged in the provision of the basic needs of life.

“Water and bread are two household commodities that are essential for life hence, they are not sectors to ignore.

“The agency’s mandate as detailed in the enabling law is to regulate and control all activities, importation, production, advertisement, distribution, sales and use of regulated products.

“This is why we all have a common interest of ensuring that both the regulator and the regulated have understanding of the dynamics of the regulatory environment,” she said.

Responding, Mr Oladejo Adegboyega, the Chairman, Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP),Oyo State Chapter, expressed the stakeholders’ readiness to support the agency in its quest to ensure production, supply and distribution of quality products in Nigeria. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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FCTA set up 6-man committee to resolve NULGE, Area Councils dispute -Wike

The FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, says a six-man committee has been set up to resolve the lingering dispute between local government employees and the six Area Councils in the FCT.

Wike stated this while addressing newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the council’s chairmen in Abuja on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the disputes bother on unresolved allowances and deductions due to local government employees, who planned to to embark on strike on Oct. 2 in solidarity with primary school teachers.

The FCT Wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) had on Sept. 11, embarked on indefinite strike, over unpaid 40 per cent peculiar and other outstanding allowances.

Other concerns of the teachers include non-payment of 25 months arrears of the 2019 approved national minimum wage, non-release of some promotion letters to beneficiaries and non-implementation of released promotion letters.

Other issues are non-payment of promotion arrears, non-upgrading of concerned teachers, non-implementation of salaries for upgraded teachers and non-implementation of annual salary increments in some councils.

They also alleged non-compliance with the agreement on payments of the backlog of teachers’ entitlement amongst others.

The minister said that the committee was given two weeks to submit its reports on the modalities to resolve the problems.

“We believe that NULGE is satisfied with the arrangement put on ground to resolve the issues and I believe that in the next 48 hours, NULGE should do the needful for the interest of the entire FCT,” he said.

The minister commended the NULGE officials for attending the meeting with open mind for a quicker resolution of the problems.

Mr Bitrus Garki, Secretary, Area Council Service Secretariat, FCT Administration, told journalists that the meeting was to resolve the 40 per cent unpaid peculiar allowance, hazard allowance and other deductions.

Garki said that some of the issues dated back to 2006.

“What happened today was basically to understand what the issues are and the challenges the areas councils were actually facing.

“The minister has intervened and set up a six-man committee, made up of members of NULGE, directors of finance in the six areas councils and officials of the FCTA.

“From our discussions, NULGE applauded the minister for speedy intervention and responding to their letter.

“We all agreed that the strike should be called off, pending when the report will come out from the committee, and we will meet again to find lasting solutions to the problem,” he said. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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EWEI empowers 50 girls with digital gadgets, virtual learning skills

A Kaduna-based NGO, Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI) has empowered 50 adolescent girls with digital skills and access to virtual learning as supplementary education platform in Kaduna state.

The founder and Programme Director, EWEI, Mrs Safiya Ibn-Garba said that the girls were empowered under the NGO’s Learning without Limit (LWL) project.

Ibn-Garba said at the project’s closeout in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the 50 teenage girls were selected from eight public secondary schools in the state.

She identified the schools as Government Girls Secondary (GSS) Kabala-Costain, GSS Babban Saura, GSS Rigachikun, GSS Television, GSS Doka, GSS Rigasa, GSS Goni-Gora and GSS Barnawa.

She explained that LWL, a two-year project, was supported by the Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA), a programme of the Obama Foundation that seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education.

She said that the LWL was designed to reduce the digital divide and gaps in access to virtual learning for adolescent girls in Kaduna state.

The programme director said that the project also provided additional opportunities for adolescent girls to access quality and wholesome education and improved their performance in some subject areas.

She further said that with the emergence of technology and the innovation of virtual learning, the girls were supported with technology gadgets.

She identified the gadgets as computer tablets, power banks and earpieces for supplementary education in five key subject areas.

“In addition, the beneficiaries also enjoyed capacity-building in digital marketing, graphic design, climate action, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and basic life skills using UNICEF curricula.

“The essence is to improve their performance in specific subject areas and demonstrate a community inclusive approach to improving access to quality education for girls through the involvement of states and non-state actors,” she said.

She encouraged the girls to remain focused, work hard and maintain the high standard they have exhibited.

Hajiya Sa’adatu Mahmud, the Director, Gender, Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development urged the girls to remain focused in their quest for education.

Mahmud called on parents to provide a conducive environment for their female children to enable them to have a brighter future.

She thanked EWEI for empowering the 50 girls and called for more supports to equip young girls with the needed education and life skills to live a quality life.

One of the beneficiaries, Miss Bright Mathew, a student from GSS Kabala-Costain said that beyond the digital skills, she now have access to many text books to study.

She thanked EWEI for the digital devices which enabled her to access virtual learning platforms and materials.

The visibly elated Mathew promised to study hard to become great in the future. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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NEDA tasks VP, governors in Northest on innovations to restore region

The North East Development Association (NEDA) has called on stakeholders in the Northeast especially Vice President Kashim Shettima , Governors and legislators to come up with sustainable innovations for the restoration of the region.

The Secretary General of NEDA, Bitako Umar, made the call on behalf of the association during a news conference tagged` `Conference on Politics and Development in the Northeast Sub-region on Tuesday in Abuja.

Umar said that NEDA as an advocacy and socio-cultural group serving as the mouth piece of the sub-region, met and reviewed the political trends and developmental activities in the sub-region.

He said the association therefore, decided to draw the attention of critical stakeholders on issues on ground with the view to strengthen the path towards the recovery of the region from the devastations experienced due to insurgency, conflicts and other related criminal tendencies.

“The Association resolves as follows: That, it is pertinent for critical stakeholders of the sub-region to constantly bear in mind that the region was a big hub for agricultural and business activities.

“This was before the advent of the so-called Boko-Haram, communal and ethical clashes that befell the region.

“Hence, the dare need for collective and supportive collaboration in bringing back the lost glory of the region, bearing in mind the fight towards the restoration of peace and security of all forms in the region.

“To achieve the above, political and traditional leaders most agree to come together, work together and establish the political will, coupled with sincerity of purpose, devoid of political, religious affiliations and ethnic backgrounds.’’

According to Umar, by so doing, institutions, policies and programs of government would be implemented without hitches.

He said the association also resolved that the people and leaders of the region should recognise and fully support the Vice President, Kashim Shettima as the Political leader in the sub-region and in extension Northern Nigeria to succeed.

He said that NEDA is also reminding the good people of the region that North East Development Commission (NEDC) had recently launched massive developmental programs in the six states of the Sub-region.

He listed the activities to include palliative items to capital projects and distributed to all the six state governments ,18 Senatorial Districts, 48 Federal Constituencies as well as the six State Houses of Assembly.

Umar said the Commission was equally constructing the 22.5 Km Jere Bow road networks and other critical roads in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States respectively.

He said that all these would enhance security and facilitate free movement of goods, services of the people.

“In view of the above, NEDA is appealing to VP Kashim Shettima , the six State Governors of North East Region, Traditional Fathers, Senators and Members ,House of Representatives among others in the region to as a matter of patriotism help and support the Commission.

“This is in implementing its programs devoid of distraction and cheap blackmail.’’

Umar said in the same vein, NEDA is urging the Commission to fully implement their educational endowment program enacted to cater for less privileged students, especially those at IDP Camps.

He said that the NEDA also called on the commission to complete, equip and put into use their Special Mega Science Secondary Schools under construction in all the six states of the region.

He said that NEDA appealed to the North East Governors to be proactive in the discharge of their responsibilities and fulfill their campaign promises.

Umar said that was the only way they would earn the respect and confidence of the electorates.

He said that NEDA also urged the prompt payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities and other wages because it would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the masses in the Sub-Region.

He said that NEDA called on the Management team of NEDC to always adhere and strictly operate within the acts that established the Commission, while, encouraging them to be proactive in their operations.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
General

UNICEF integrates 20,800 Almajiri to social register in Katsina

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has supported the validation and registration of 20,800 Almajiri children to the social register in Katsina State.

Hajiya Rabi Mohammed, the Head of Operations, State Operation Coordination Unit (SOCU), disclosed this in Katsina on Wednesday at the quarterly Social Protection Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting.

She further explained that the exercise was carried out in three local government areas for future interventions.

According to her, no fewer than 5,882 Almajiri children were registered in Kafur LGA, in Mani LGA 8,318, while in Safana LGA they registered 6,106.

She added during the exercise that they had also captured about 131 Almajiri from Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Gombe, Bauchi, and Zamfara.

The SUCO head of operations further revealed that out of the almajiri children integrated, 43.97 per cent are males, while the females are 56.3 per cent.

“During the exercise, we have also captured almajiris living with special needs and their needs, and also their sources of food, especially those that fed themselves, by their parents or by their teachers.

“Among them, those with Junior Secondary Education (JSE) certificates are 1,397, those with no qualifications are 12,362, those with primary certificate 6,311, and those with Senior Secondary Education (SSE) 221.

“Age distribution of the children, 5-10 years of age are 8,208, 11-15 years, 10,309 vulnerable children, 16-20 years, 1,671, and those between the ages of 21-25 years are 103.

“During the exercise, we had sensitisation and mobilisation activities for the stakeholders, and also training of the enumerators,” according to her.

She also revealed that during the validation and integration, they understood that most of the children don’t want to stay out there, but have no option because their parents insisted.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives from the state’s ministry of education, agriculture and emergency management agency also made their presentations. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
General

Minister hosts VCs, pledges to address fundamental issues in education

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has made commitments towards addressing fundamental issues in the nation’s education sector.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Secretary-General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mamman assured the delegation that President Bola Tinubu, a visitor to all federal universities is very serious about turning the nation around through education.

He noted that the president’s approach to governance is business-like and that all his ministers would be subjected to quarterly performance reviews.

“The ministry under his watch will address the fundamental structural issues from primary to tertiary education and work with all stakeholders to ensure that the sector is turned around.

“A key focus for the universities will be aligning educational outcomes to national productivity, research innovation and entrepreneurship among graduates to promote self-reliance and reduce dependence on white-collar jobs,” he said .

He expressed the ministry’s commitment to improving university education in the country.

In his response, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, highlighted the security issue in Nigerian universities and referred to the recent kidnapping of students at the Federal University Gusau.

Sununu acknowledged the seriousness of the matter and expressed government’s commitment to addressing it adequately.

Also, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Lilian Salami, conveyed her appreciation to the minister for allowing the delegation to officially congratulate him on his appointment as the first serving Vice-Chancellor to become a Minister of Education.

Salami highlighted some key challenges faced by universities to include funding, recruitment of staff, universities’ autonomy, aspects of university laws that conflict with other laws, and unending industrial disputes with university-based unions.

While presenting the committee’s study report on “Challenges, Opportunities and Sustainable Models for Nigerian Federal Universities”, she said this would help to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing public and private universities.

She, therefore, formally invited the ministers to the diamond jubilee celebration of the committee, which will take place from Oct. 9 to Oct.11 in Abuja.

Some of the Vice Chancellors who were part of the delegation included Prof. Kabiru Adeyemo, of Lead City University; Dili Dogo of Nile University; Prof. Ibiyemi Bello, of Lagos State University (LASU), Fatima Tahir, of Bauchi State University and Prof. Allen Agih, of Niger Delta University.

Others are: Prof. Barnabas Qurix of Bingham University, Prof. Mu’azu Abubakar of the Federal University, Gusau and the Secretary-General, CVCNU, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
Business

Nigeria’s forex market needs restructuring-Tinubu’s aide

The Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr Tope Fasua, has called for a structural reform of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

Fasua made the call at a roundtable organised by the National Policy Advocacy Centre (NPAC) of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The theme of the event was “Unification of Foreign Exchange and the Effect of Fuel Subsidy Removal on the Business Community’’.

“I believe we should reform the Bureau De Change (BDC) sector and make it stronger. You cannot manage over 5,000 BDCs selling money on the streets.

“If we can do the structural reforms in the BDCs sector and the banks and supervise them well, the CBN with our reserves can incentivize that sector, allowing people to get money much quicker.

“And you have to define the illegal market and by then we will be able to find stability,” he said.

Fasua said that Nigeria spends over $45 billion annually importing refined petroleum products, milk, chemicals and fish, among others.

He said: “I hear things like scarcity of forex. What is scarcity of forex, as if the world owes us any forex.

“The world does not owe us any forex. The forex you get is depending on the trade that you do.

“If you look at Nigeria’s import and export profile, over 20 items that we import in Nigeria are in the billions of dollar range.

“Our biggest import, fuel and diesel take about $25 billion to $30 billion every year.

“We have things like cars, which is about four billion every year; sugar, fish, milk one billion each; wheat four billion; chemicals, three billion dollars; pharmaceuticals two billion dollars.”

Fasua listed crude oil and fertiliser as two things that Nigeria exports in the billion dollar range.

“The first is petroleum and gas, you will see a figure like $57 billion, but out of that only 30 per cent is ours, according to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

“The international oil companies that have the technology that do production own most of that money,’’ he said.

The Director, Policy Advocacy Centre, ACCI, Mr Chidiebere Onwumere, said that foreign exchange unification held promises of increased transparency, improved access to forex and reduced market distortions.

He, however, said that it raises questions about exchange rate stability, inflationary pressures and the cost of imports.

“We must carefully consider how these factors will affect the competitiveness of our industries and the purchasing power of our citizens.

“Fuel subsidy removal, on the other hand, is expected to free up fiscal resources, reduce government spending, and potentially lead to increased investment in critical sectors.

“Yet, it also raises concerns about the immediate impact on transportation costs, inflation, and the welfare of our citizens, especially those in vulnerable communities,’’ he said.

Mr Oscar Onyema, Managing Director, Nigerian Exchange Group (NEG) PLC, said collaborative dialogue was essential in formulating policies that balance short-term challenges with long-term benefits.

Highlighting the effects of both policies on the economy, Onyema said that immediate transition could disrupt businesses and the economy in several ways.

Represented by Mrs Cordelia Ihedioha, Onyema said that businesses that were heavily reliant on imports may face short-term disruptions due to the sudden shift in exchange rates.

According to him, this could result in increased costs for imported raw materials, leading to potential price adjustments for end consumers.

“To mitigate these disruptions, businesses may need to explore alternative sourcing strategies and adjust their pricing models,” Onyema said

Mr Dele Alimi, Director General, Institute of Directors of Nigeria appealed to the Federal Government to take total control of the mineral sector.

He said: “The mineral sector over the years has been poorly handled by previous governments as host communities have been left impoverished by illegal mining activities.”

Alimi described the subsidy removal and unification of the foreign exchange as bold steps by the Federal Government, saying that it was a necessity for economic revival.

He urged more emphasis should be placed on efficiency of governance than cost of governance.

Dr Chijiokr Ekechukwu, Vice President of ACCI, urged the Federal Government to fix the refineries and dvocated alternative sources of energy for cars to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal.

According to him, 60 per cent of cars in the United States run on electricity, adding, “that is where we should be headed for.”

He expressed concern that while the unification of foreign exchange rate brought checks and balances and better accountability, saying, “the high exchange has affected prices of goods and services.

“The inflation rate continues to coast upwards and there is a high cost of production, criminality, low standard of living and unemployment has risen above 33 per cent to 35 per cent.’’

Mr Asishana Okauru, the Director General of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, represented by Olarenwaju Ajibasile said the cost of governance needed to be channelled to the local sector.

“Patronising locally made products will bost the local economy,’’ he said.

Olasupo Agbaje, General Manager Economic Regulations, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said that efficiency in the downstream operations was key in sustaining the petrol subsidy removal.

“What we hope for and where we want to be is not just the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) being the sole supplier.

“We want other operators, the private sector coming in and this is one of the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Act,” Agbaje said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
Sports

40 teams jostle for trophies at 1xBET maiden football tourney

1xBET Sports Betting Company has entered into a partnership with Match International Company to develop football at the grassroots in Lagos State.

Its Chairman, Oluwafemi Babalola, who made this known at a news conference in Lagos, said that 40 football teams had been invited to compete for a trophy.

Babalola explained that the 40 teams, drawn from the 37 Local Government Areas of the state would be divided into five conferences.

He disclosed that Daniel Amokachi and Austin Eguavoen, former Super Eagles players had been appointed ambassadors to motivate the young talents that will be discovered at the tournament.

” These young players will be given a platform to showcase their talents and have the opportunity to be under the tutelage of outstanding ex-internationals.

” We are glad to be throwing our weight behind this laudable project, I’d like to thank Akanni for this brilliant initiative,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tournament, which will last for six weeks, is scheduled to kick-off on Oct. 3 across the Local Government Areas.

Earlier, Wahidi Akanni, the Chairman of Match International, said grassroots development remained the only sustainable way to discover and groom future champions.

” We started this partnership four months ago, and we’re glad to be here today. We believe in the talents, hidden gems in our country. But how do we nurture them if we don’t discover them?

” The only way we can identify these talents is by organising tournaments like this with ex-internationals as our ambassadors to train and motivate these talents.

” That’s why you see the chairman of Nigeria National League (NNL) here, we want a synergy whereby these players move to the next level from grassroot to the senior team,” he said.

Also, one of 1xBET’s ambassador, Eguavoen Austin, urged participants to make the best of the opportunity.

” We didn’t have these many opportunities during our time; this platform is a great platform to start growing from.

” 1xBET and Wahidi Akanni have sown a seed that will manifest in the near future. No doubt, there are talents in this country, but we need to put in structures to groom the talents discovered.

” Football remains a unifying tool in Nigeria; we should utilise it to save our country,” he said.

NAN reports that the winning team will go home with N1 million, while the first runners up gets N500,000 and second runners up N300, 000.

Amokachi fondly called ‘the bull’ said developing football at the grassroot remained the only sustainable way to guarantee continuous development of the game.

” It is an honour to be a part of this, watching football in its rawest form will be truly entertaining, and being able to discover new talents will be something to look forward to.

” Football unites us. Growing up as a child football was an escape root for us. I applaud Wahidi and 1xBET,” he said.

NAN reports that 40 ex-internationals in various Local Government Areas will train and mentor the five conference teams.

Fanny Amun, former Super Eagles, said he would like to see winners of 1xBET tournament in Super Eagles.

” The icing on the cake will be to see stars that will emerge from this tournament in the future Super Eagles where they can make reference to the fact that they were discovered here.

” I appreciate the fact that 1xBET has taken its Corporate Social Responsibility seriously and they will be remembered for it,” he said.

George Aluo, Chairman of NNL, who applauded the company, appealed to the betting company to partner with the NNL as sponsors.

” This is commendable, supporting the grassroots because the young shall grow tomorrow. How we preserve tomorrow is by working in partnership with the NNL and the Nigeria Premier Football League.

” Our domestic football development is crucial and with the calibre of people at the helms of affairs the future of Nigerian football is, indeed, very bright,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria