3 Nigerians Receive Queen Elizabeth’s Young Leaders Award [2018]

Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom has presented to Hauwa Ojeifo, Isaac Ezirim and Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London in honour of the work they are doing to transform lives in their communities (in Nigeria).

Isaac Ezirim

28-year-old Isaac Ezirim, the founder of  Teens Can Code, received his award for the work he is doing to teach coding to teenagers in low-income areas; currently training 200 teenagers how to build web and mobile applications using the same tools that are used by professionals in the tech industry.

Hauwa Ojeifo

26-year-old Hauwa Ojeifo received her award for the work she is doing to tackle the stigma around mental health, running a women’s support group called She Writes Women, which focuses on mental health support and outreach among some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

In her words:

“It is a rare privilege to receive an Award from Her Majesty The Queen for the work I am doing in mental health in Nigeria. It has been a completely transformative experience being here in the UK getting mentored by world leaders, trained and engaging in top level meetings with some of the most powerful and influential change makers of our time.

Perhaps the most humbling part is being part of a network of fellow young leaders across the Commonwealth whose knowledge and resource base is far reaching. I can’t wait to see what we do with these valuable connections in the future.”

Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph

20-year-old Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph received his award for the work he is doing to promote women’s rights in Nigeria, founding the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights (CYCWR), which supports the rights of women in the areas of female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic abuse, forced child marriage and access to education for girls.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Award

The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates the achievements of some of the most exciting young change-makers from across the Commonwealth. This year’s cohort from 38 Commonwealth countries are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.

As a Queen’s Young Leader, Hauwa, Isaac and Kennedy have gained access to bespoke mentoring and training through the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, designed to develop their leadership skills further and ensure they are best placed to lead the way in the future to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Sir John Major, Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:

“I extend my warmest congratulations to all the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders. Together with our Award Winners from the last three years, they complete a unique, 240-strong cohort of Young Leaders from all across the Commonwealth. This is such an invaluable resource for the Commonwealth that The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will be launching a legacy fund, to ensure that our support and encouragement to our Young Leaders will continue beyond the lifetime of the Trust.

Each and every one of our 240 Young Leaders is a remarkable and exceptional young person, who I have no doubt will play an important role in shaping our future world. It has been an absolute privilege and delight to get to know them.”

The now complete Queen’s Young Leaders network forms a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from 53 Commonwealth countries who will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come. To further support them in their future endeavours, a £200,000 Legacy Fund has been created. It will be open to all 240 Queen’s Young Leaders and 282 highly commended runners-up to apply for grants that will help elevate their work and enable them to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.

Akinwumi Adesina Honored With Togolese Commander Of The Order Of Mono

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has been honored with the Commander of the Order of Mono − the highest civil honor of Togo.

The Commander of the Order of Mono national honour, bestowed on personalities who have shown exceptional merit, was awarded by the Head of State of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, on the sidelines of a visit to Togo for the launch of the Mécanisme Indicatif de Financement Agricole (MIFA), a program aimed at improving farmers’ access to finance.

MIFA is based on Nigeria’s successful experiences with NIRSAL, where it helped de-risk lending by commercial banks to agriculture.

Addressing participants at the ceremony, Dr. Adesina said:

“Transforming agriculture is the key to reviving rural economies and turning them into new zones of economic prosperity. The MIFA initiative you are launching today is another building block in Togo’s agricultural transformation strategy jointly developed by the African Development Bank and the Government of Togo, with the support of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

When fully implemented, it is expected to rapidly increase bank lending to the agricultural sector, reduce interest rates, and reach 1 million farmers with access to credit in the next 3-5 years.”

In attendance at the event were President Gnassingbé and members of his cabinet, including Prime Minister Komi Selom Klassou, members of the diplomatic corps, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, NIRSAL CEO, Aliyu Hameed, as well as representatives from the private sector.

The African Development Bank has helped Togo implement AgriPME, a system that allows farmers to access fertilizer using their mobile phones.

In 2016/2017, more than 77,500 farmers, 38% of them women, received their fertilizers through the system. AgriPME has allowed the government to better target farmers and deliver subsidized farm inputs. AgriPME has also improved transparency, accountability and increased public spending efficiency. A total of 40,000 MT of fertilizer were provided to farmers, compared to 30,000 MT on average over the period 2009-2015, an increase of 45%. The system has also led to CFAF 3.5 billion in savings for the Government of Togo.

Since the beginning of its operations in Togo in 1972, the African Development Bank Group has approved 76 operations representing a total of USD 538.24 million.

Aliko Dangote Named UNWTO’s First African Ambassador For Responsible Tourism

Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), has named Aliko Dangote an Ambassador for Responsible Tourism in the framework of the 61st Regional Commission meeting for Africa, celebrated in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to Zurab Pololikashvili:

“With this appointment, Mr. Dangote is added to the list of personalities named by UNWTO as Ambassadors for Responsible Tourism, whom we hope will act as messengers of our legacy and vision across the globe.”

Considered one of the most successful businessmen in Africa, Aliko Dangote founded the Dangote Group 30 years ago and turned his enterprise into the largest business conglomerate in West Africa.

Mr. Dangote also set up the largest Foundation in Africa, the Dangote Foundation, devoted to providing nutrition, health and education to the continent’s most vulnerable people.

Tourism is an activity with enormous economic importance, which favours an approach that links countries. UNWTO is committed to making well-managed tourism a source of sustainable and responsible development, and of growth opportunities for communities and economies.

Recipients Of 2018 Nelson Mandela African Leadership Awards

West Africa Health Examinations Board (WAHEB) Registrar/CEO, Dr. Gladys Nchelem Ihunda, has received the 13th edition of the Nelson Mandela African Leadership Award on Administration and Humanitarian Services Per-Excellence. The event held at Central Medical Laboratory Hall, Yaba, Lagos.

African Youth Parliament (AYP) Speaker, Hon. Bamikole Oladele Babs, leading the conferment of the award, said AYP’s quest seeking outstanding humanitarianism, found all the qualities required to win the international award in Dr. Ihunda.

He said:

“We seek to find ourselves role models, outstanding and mentors in life as we found in Dr. (Mrs.) Gladys Nchelem Ihunda, an erudite peace builder, experienced woman of invaluable intellectual prowess, a proven public and  private sector leader par-excellence.”

According to Hon. Bamikole Oladele Babs, Dr. Ihunda ranked among 12 African leaders, who earlier received the international award. They included, former President of Ghana, Mr. John Agyekum Kuffor, Founder, Afe Babalola  University,  Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Aare Afe Babalola, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former World Court Judge Bola Ajibola and CEO, Peace Connect  Multinational  Companies, Freetown, Sierra-Leone, Professor Clement K. Dzidonu, etc.

Hafsat Abiola-Costello Appointed Executive President Of Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative

Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, has been appointed Executive President of Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative. She is the first African to lead the organisation.

According to her predecessor, Aude de Thuin:

“This is the stage of maturity. Since the beginning of WIA Initiative, I have always said that I would give my place to an African woman, because it is in the logic of WIA to have an African President. It is with women that Africa will develop in trust and in complementarity with men.

Mrs. Abiola-Costello is appointed first because of her personality. She was one of the first WIA Ambassadors, and joined WIA Council a year ago.

Secondly, because of her career as an activist for human rights, civil rights and democracy, and values so close to ours made her the ideal candidate.

Finally, for her analysis and her vision of the role of women in the economy. All this combined made it obvious that she is the right person at the right place.

Hafsat will be in charge of the “vision” for Women in Africa and, as such, in charge of the programmes and all the contents of the summits, whether global or regional, and the digital platform.

She will be the spokesperson and interface with the pan-African and global partners who accompany us. She will chair the Council and expand the network of our ambassadors.

She will be accompanied by the team in place, composed of seasoned professionals, and she will complete this team as WIA grows. In the short term, in addition to being the spokesperson for WIA Marrakech 2018, Hafsat will contribute to the programme whose generic theme is ‘Watch Africa with confidence and Believe in its talents’.

Hafsat will also put together the second regional summit to be held in Lagos at the end of the year with the WIA team.”

Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello accepted the post stating:

“Women are the greatest untapped resource the continent has. So I want to help lead the organisation that is working to harness their potential. It could very well be the game-changer that unleashes the long-anticipated rise of the continent.

My goals for 2018 are understandably modest. It is primarily to learn. To learn how the organisation currently operates, to meet our partners and listen to their vision and interests, to engage with our members across the continent and learn what they see as the biggest opportunities and the toughest challenges. In the coming year, my focus will be on building out the structure for the future and beginning to tie that structure to performance.

I’ll be focusing on ensuring that we have ambassadors in all the countries of Africa, that we have active councils in at least a third of these, and that we expand the network of partners that we engage on behalf of our members.

As a result of these experiences, I have built quite a broad network of relationships with global and local leaders, organisations, foundations, and governments from Washington DC to Ouagadougou that will be useful to WIA Initiative now as it seeks to expand its footprint and impact.”

Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello is the daughter of Moshood and Kudirat Abiola and is at the moment an official of the government of her home Ogun State.

WIA is a network of women across Africa and around the world. It has strong relationships with companies and organisations, especially in Europe. It is dedicated to economic development and supporting women, mostly in Africa; but has always been headed by non-Africans.