October 2016

Why All the Development in the World Doesn’t Matter if You Don’t Know Your Soul

 Recently, Politico has written some great articles on cities in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. Before I went to Roanoke, one of my good friends sent me this one.

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The number of premature baby deaths is still too high. What can be done about it

A mother holds the foot of her premature baby. Prematurity is the most common cause of neonatal death globally. UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Pudlowski

In 2015 just under 6 million children under the age of five died across the globe. Of these, about 2.6 million died within the first month of being born. And more than 60% of these deaths took place in Africa and South Asia. Just over a third of these babies died as a result of complications because they were born premature.

Prematurity is the most common cause of neonatal deaths globally. Babies are considered premature if they are born before the mother reaches 37 weeks of pregnancy.

In developed countries, the main causes of preterm deaths are well known and studied. Some babies develop infections, others have breathing problems such as birth asphyxia or lung immaturity. They also have feeding problems or experience metabolic and electrolyte disturbances and congenital malformations.

But in low resource countries, the causes of preterm deaths is much less understood. Anecdotal evidence from experts and clinicians in neonatal intensive care units is that infections such as neonatal sepsis and asphyxia are common. But there is no data to back this up.

It is therefore critical to identify the most “treatable and preventable” causes of death in low resource settings. These findings would help inform the tools and interventions that must be developed and included in national programmes to reduce neonatal mortality in the developing world.

Ethiopia's state of emergency: both sides are determined to fight to the finish

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016. Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

Waves of protests have gripped Ethiopia since last November. In response the government has declared a six month state of emergency. In an interview with The Conversation Africa’s Samantha Spooner, Asafa Jalata describes the impact of the state of emergency and what it could mean for the future of the country.

Who are the main players and what are the main grievances of the Ethiopian protest movement?

The Oromo protest movement emerged in November 2015. It has been fomenting for decades because the Oromo consider themselves colonial subjects. They are the largest ethno-national group in Ethiopia and have been denied equal access to their country’s political, economic and cultural resources.

Organic farming gets a bad rap. Why it shouldn't

Organic farming has numerous benefits for people. Shutterstock

Carbon in the atmosphere is dangerous but in the soil it is beneficial. The environmental benefits of organic farming are closely connected to soil carbon. Carbon is the major constituent of soil organic matter, which is vital in holding moisture and plant foods in the soil.

Soil organic matter, when biologically active, is called colloidal humus. Farmers call this compost. It is what earthworms also produce from soil organic matter like dead plants, when soil conditions allow air into the soil. Under these conditions, the soil develops a crumb structure like fresh bread, and the beneficial microbes in the soil are able to thrive. This keeps pathogens that cause plant diseases under control.

For 100 years, organic farmers have been arguing that colloidal humus should be at the heart of agricultural production. It suppresses pathogens, supports beneficial soil microbes, holds soil moisture and keeps plant nutrients available to tiny plant feeder roots.

The word organic has nothing to do with organic chemistry even though carbon-rich soil organic matter is important to organic farming. Organic derives instead from the word organism. Organic farmers try to combine annual and perennial plants, animals, soil micro-organisms and human beings in an efficient, creative partnership.

South Africa has made progress, but deprivation still bears apartheid scars

Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994 with a promise to redress historical in equalities in South Africa Shutterstock

Decades of discriminatory policies have left deep scars across South Africa’s social landscape, creating one of the most unequal and polarised societies in the world. It’s been 22 years since the party of Nelson Mandela came to power with a promise of reversing the racial deprivations. How successful has the ANC been?

Our study examines the enduring spatial and racial dimensions of poverty and deprivation in South Africa. We took a multidimensional approach to assess progress. This enabled us to reflect the reduction in deprivation attributable to the improved affordability and expanded coverage of government services.

Previous studies have tracked poverty trends over segments of the post-apartheid period. None have considered multidimensional deprivation over the past two decades. We developed a poverty index with nine dimensions of deprivation. These included education, employment, dwelling type, overcrowding, access to electricity, water, telephone, sanitation and refuse collection.

Using this multidimensional index as well as census data our analysis found that there was a remarkable improvement in deprivation levels between 1996 and 2011. There is evidence of redress taking place. But it also finds that geography and race continue to play an important role in explaining patterns of deprivation in the post-apartheid South Africa.

City of Windhoek Picks South African Company to Build Houses

By Shinovene Immanuel

THE City of Windhoek has agreed to negotiate with a South African construction company fronted by a Namibian businessman to build 79 houses at Khomasdal.

Details about this deal are included in council documents made available to the public on Thursday.

The city directed its property management department to negotiate with the joint venture between South African construction firm Amibex and Oluzizi engineering and construction which is owned by businessman Simon 'Tupac' Andjamba. Even though this project is being lauded by some at the city for doing what the municipality ignored in many years by entering into building houses, there are questions on why the joint venture was hand-picked instead of a public tender in order to test the market for best deals and conditions. In this case, the joint venture made a presentation to council and won the deal to start negotiations, amid allegations that the joint venture won the race for this project because it has connections to a manager in the office of the mayor. In fact, documents show that the proposed negotiations come after the two companies paid an all expenses trip to South Africa on 15 to 16 September 2016 for city councillors Moses Shiikwa, Immanuel Paulus and Brumelda Cornelius to inspect the type of houses built by the company. The city's land delivery executive Steven Hochobeb and building inspector Israel Kahiurika were also part of the trip to the city of Tswane.

READ MORE: http://www.namibian.com.na/47387/read/City-of-Windhoek-picks-South-Afric...

SALGA Celebrates World Cities Day

Pretoria – The South African Local Government Association (Salga) has joined the world in celebrating the World Cities Day 2016, which has been designated by the United Nations every 31 October.

Salga on Monday said World Cities Day was designated to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, and to push forward cooperation among countries in contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

World Cities Day 2016 is celebrated under the theme ‘Inclusive Cities, Shared Development’, which highlights the important role of urbanisation as a source of global development and social inclusion.

“This year’s theme is embraced by the action and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which puts the topic of inclusive cities as one of the main pillars of the urban shift,” said Salga.

Cities represent the most promising sites for governance reforms and innovation to tackle rising inequality, intensifying environmental stress and vulnerability, the continued economic crisis, increasing conflict and unprecedented technological opportunity.

“Throughout the world, cities are growing at an exponential rate. As complexities grow, Salga is assisting municipalities to become smart cities, to be more critical and fully grasp the challenges and opportunities presented by urbanisation.

“Helping municipalities to develop their capacities to innovate, share best practices and knowledge management is part of Salga’s mandate,” said the association.

Salga national chairperson Parks Tau was recently elected to the Presidency of the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), the global representative voice of organised local government.

UCLG is a significant player on the global stage and is poised to become even more important in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

- SAnews.gov.za

The Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda

The Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda

South Africa's #feesmustfall protests: some inconvenient truths

South Africa's student protests are raising difficult issues, some of which are not being debated openly. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

There are a number of inconvenient truths about South Africa’s ongoing #FeesMustFall protests that remain under-stated, or at worst unstated.

High on the under-stated list is the fact that freezing fees, or abolishing them, will make the current higher education system benefit richer South Africans even more than it already does. This has been pointed out and has previously been acknowledged by the government. Tied to this is the fact that, despite statements to the contrary, the country’s poor are not the real priority of the student movement.

There are two further issues that have received little attention. The first is that the majority of young South Africans are being failed by the government and society at large. This begins long before they reach university. The second is that when commenting on how much the government spends on higher education there is too much reliance on “percentage of GDP” as an economic metric, when it is actually nonsensical as a basis for allocating public finances.

Northern Cape Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV project inaugurated

Northern Cape Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV project inauguratedThe 86MW Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV project was officially inaugurated in the Northern Cape at a series of formal events attended by major players in the renewables energy sector.
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Concourt Closes Loophole Used in Municipal Evictions

By Safura Abdool Karim

In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court recently ordered the Govan Mbeki Municipality in Mpumalanga to have meaningful engagement with 200 families it had twice tried to evict in 2013.

The 200 families were living in shacks on agricultural land owned by the municipality. They had been on the waiting list for municipal housing since 2002. Many had been renting private dwellings at a cost above their means, and were subject to sudden and arbitrary evictions.

In September 2013, the municipality evicted the families and demolished their homes. Without a place to stay, the families moved into a community hall and then to a primary school. During this time, they repeatedly attempted to meet with officials.

In May 2014, the homeless residents took occupation of another piece of municipal land, earmarked for a new pre-primary school.

The municipality sought a court eviction order and an interdict to prevent the residents from erecting structures. It also sought a rule nisi which would mean they could obtain an interim order against the residents. This order could be obtained without giving the residents notice of the application or an opportunity to come before the court until the order had already been granted.

The PIE Act

The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 1998 (PIE Act) seeks to ensure fair evictions by regulating how people who are occupying land unlawfully or without the consent of the owners of land are evicted.

PIE requires the court to only grant an eviction order if it is just and equitable after considering all relevant factors - including the rights of elderly people, children, disabled people and households headed by women.

Urbanisation - Will Historic Buildings Survive?

By Steven Muvunyi

The government, through the Institute of National Museums, has been trying to preserve natural and cultural sites, but some people believe that the government has turned a blind eye on historical structures as they are facing destruction or renovation that would leave no trace of history.

This is due to the bid to improve cities that comes along with crackdown on old and outdated structures. Some structures that depict history of the country in different sectors might face extinction.

There is a debate on whether these structures should be preserved to tell the history or be eliminated and give way to modern structures.

READ MORE: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-10-30/204897/

Benue Begins Construction of Cargo Airport

Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Saturday flagged off the construction of a N38 billion cargo airport at Dauda in Guma Local Government Area of the state.

Ortom said the project would provide a platform for quick evacuation of farm produce from the state to markets abroad.

According to him, the effort would be beneficial to rural farmers, boost agricultural activities and cut post harvest losses.

READ MORE: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/10/benue-begins-construction-n38bn-cargo...

Tanzania's social media policing increases the risks of government abuse

John Magufuli after he was declared president in 2015. His distaste for social media has heralded a national clampdown in the digital space. Reuters

Access to digital information and communications technologies has increased dramatically over the past decade across Africa. In Tanzania, 87% of urban residents report using a mobile phone every day. In addition, 34% of the population access the internet. The vast majority use their mobile phones to do so.

Prepaid bundles offered by service providers have made data more affordable. They sometimes include free access to social media platforms for subscribers.

Africa’s “mobile revolution” has generated much debate about the potential for new technologies to contribute to economic development, improve service delivery and foster political change. The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report, for example, explores the relationship between “digital dividends” and development.

However, widening access to technological innovations can also expose people to risks. Governments across the region are debating how to respond to new challenges. These include online fraud and the dissemination of hate speech through SMS or social media.

Root causes of limp economic growth in South Africa are not being tackled

South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is fighting against economic predators. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Protecting and growing the formal economy is important. But so too is changing it in ways which enable many more to enjoy its benefits. This was the most important message in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Medium Term Budget Policy statement.

Since there seems to be some confusion on what this statement is meant to do, it is worth pointing out that it is not a “mini-budget”. It is a statement of broad budget policy, whose details are filled in by the annual budget speech. So its impact should not be judged on whether it provided a detailed account of government tax and spending plans but on whether the approach it spells out is what the economy needs.

To illustrate this, the speech made it clear that student protests have pushed higher education to the front of the spending queue (confirming that inevitable political reality, that those who shout loudest usually manage to push to the front of the spending line). But it also seemed to confirm that free tertiary education for all is not on the cards: this is a broad policy goal so, if the government had embraced it, it would have said so.

Looking at the speech as a broad priority-setting exercise, it does meet the demands of the hour –- although it is not yet clear how the National Treasury hopes to turn intention into reality.

South Africa's finance minister is caught between a rock and a hard place

South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas have their work cut out Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, presented the 2016 mid term budget in a politically toxic and economically challenging environment. The Conversation Africa business and economy editor Sibonelo Radebe asked Fatima Bhoola about key highlights of the speech.

What is your general impression of the medium term budget speech?

This certainly has to rank as one of the most difficult speeches the minister has had to deliver to date. Despite the controversy related to the allegations brought against him by the National Prosecuting Authority, his speech was promising in trying to meet some of the key economic challenges faced by the country.

South Africa faces a myriad of challenges. These include near zero growth in output, political uncertainty, inflation that has breached the upper limit of the country’s inflation target, and a possible credit downgrade.

Could he have done better and how?

How an Ebola campaign in Nigeria discouraged bushmeat consumption

Countries like Nigeria affected by Ebola have launched campaigns to curb the consumption of bushmeat like fruit bats. Shutterstock

Bushmeat trade is a regular feature in many parts of Africa. People rely on it for livelihoods and, more importantly, for food. Trade in bushmeat is particularly common in west and central Africa where people regularly eat antelope, wild pigs and boars, large rodents, fruit bats and monkeys.

But bushmeat presents a problem for public health. Research has linked the consumption of bushmeat to the Ebola outbreak that spread across west African countries in 2014 and 2015, and led to over 11 000 deaths. According to most authorities fruit bats were involved in the contagion.

Since the Ebola outbreak has been brought under control a number of governments in countries affected by Ebola have launched massive media and propaganda campaigns to curb the consumption of bushmeat. These include Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. The campaigns have included distributing information door-to-door as well as promotions on radio, newspapers and television.

Expressions of concern by UCLG members worldwide concerning detentions of Mayors in Diyarbakir

UCLG Statement

26 de de Octubre de El año 2016 , la Secretaría Mundial de CGLU se Hace eco de las Preocupaciones Y Puntos de vista de numerosos Miembros de Ciudades y o Gobernadores Locales Unidos en Los Ultimos detenciones de los Compañeros de Alcaldes de la ciudad de Diyarbakir. Los Miembros Piden la Protección de la Democracia Local en Todo El Mundo y, en particular, de los Representantes Electos locales Que Han Recibido ONU Mandato Democrático, Asi Como el respeto del DEBIDO Proceso. Los Miembros de CGLU expresar Nuestra Solidaridad con Los Que ACTUALMENTE Detenido y Llamar a la Garantía de su Bienestar.



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UCLG Public Space Policy Framework by and for Local Governments in Bogotá and Quito

UCLG Public Space Policy Framework

The Networking Hub within the Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Bogotá became the perfect platform for the launch of the Public Space Framework by and for Local Governments. 

Sibusiso Sithole, the City Manager of eThekwini Municipality, Cézar Busatto, head of the Secretariat for Local Governance of the City of Porto Alegre and Miguel Uribe Turbay, Government Secretary of Bogotá were in charge of the presentation of the framework, while Adrian Michael Peters, Chief Strategy Officer of eThekwini Municipality moderated the event. 

Learning is instrumental to shape the future we want!

The UCLG World Secretariat celebrated the 3rd Learning Forum in the framework of the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders that took place in Bogotá in October 2016. As it was the case in previous occasions members and partners gathered to work collaboratively on the UCLG Learning Agenda for cities, local and regional governments.

The Summit was a unique opportunity to explore diverse learning methodologies and further develop a common understanding of the importance of learning, as well as, the challenges we face as a learning network and the link to decentralized cooperation. Deriving from the discussions and the collective work with members and partners, the UCLG Learning Agenda was further shaped and some main learning activities were programed to be developed during 2017.

In total six sessions comprised the 3rd Learning Forum and four different methodologies were tested: world café, temporary think-thank, gallery of good practices and peer review:

Whatever the Weather: A Guide to Resilient Design

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently released a guide on resilient design, aimed at helping communities better weather these events, and rebuild quicker when destruction does happen.

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Demolitions Leave 3,000 Families Homeless in Zimbabwe

By Freeman Razemba

More than 3 000 families were left homeless yesterday after their houses built on land belonging to BAK Storage Company along Harare-Masvingo Road were razed to the ground by the Sheriff following a High Court order to evict the illegal occupiers. The houses were built on 70 hectares of land belonging to the storage company.

Heart rending scenes were the order of the day as hapless residents watched their houses being pulled down to the ground. Those that delayed removing their property were counting their loses yesterday afternoon as bulldozers knocked down the structures along with their contents. Some of the residents were seen hastily removing some valuables such as doors, door frames and roofing sheets before the bulldozers flattened the structures.

READ MORE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201610280609.html

We are celebrating World Cities Day by making a call to action for sustainable urban development

On  World Cities Day, as the world organization which brings together the highest number of local and regional governments from around the world and which has been bringing this group's voices to the global debate for decades, UCLG reaffirms the commitment of the level of government closest to the people to co-creating inclusive and sustainable cities.

Following the recently adopted Urban Agenda at Habitat III and the document adopted in Bogotá during the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, local elected officials and local government professionals representing metropolitan governments, intermediary and peripheral cities, small towns and regional authorities have shown the world their commitment to co-creating our cities together with states, the international community and civil society with the sharing of responsibilities and resources. 

Construction suggests property resilience

Construction suggests property resilience
© Romolo Tavani – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>Newly released data, outlining the dynamics of South Africa's construction industry, provides an informative perspective of the real estate chain through tough economic times - and also indications of optimism and resilience.
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Construction settlement pact leaves BEE waters murky

Construction settlement pact leaves BEE waters murky
© Leon Swart – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>Far from making things clearer, the government's so-called settlement agreement with seven major construction groups has further muddied the waters with regard to its proposed R4tn infrastructure spending programme over 15 years.
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The 2016 SA Women in Property Award winners announced

At a glittering event held at the Monte Casino Ballroom last night, the Women’s Property Network (WPN) celebrated the 2016 South African Women in Property Awards.

Lesotho water project phase II to be completed in 2025

By User:Beest –
By User:Beest – [[https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=912299 Wikimedia Commons]]</span>The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II is envisaged to be completed in 2025, says Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.
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