Tag Archive: Africa


habitat111 photoUrban youth face unprecedented challenges, from climate change to unemployment to multiple forms of inequalities and exclusion, particularly for youth belonging to vulnerable or marginalized groups. To provide an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals and decision makers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations, the UN Habitat III organized a conference in Nairobi.
The UN Habitat III Urban Youth Campus conference took place on 10th and 11th February 2016, at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya. It brought together key partners and stakeholders that support urban youth initiatives as well as 173 youth from diverse backgrounds to voice their ideas. I was privileged to be part of this conference.
Objectives
The conference, dubbed “The City You Need, the World they want”, was part of a series of other 25 Urban Thinkers Campus’ held between June 2015 and February 2016. The following were its objectives;
• To recognize and build on young people’s present capacities and the valuable contributions they are already making.
• To recognize and listen to youth voices and respond to their challenges and priorities, touching on human rights, migration, displacement, conflict and post-conflict areas, disaster and risk reduction and refugees
• To examine existing policies and programmes so as to assess the extent to which they are sufficiently oriented towards creating a better urban future.
• To make recommendations to the UN-Habitat with respect to the ways that it engages with and exercises its mandate in relations to urban youth especially in developing countries and its engagement with youth in its efforts towards the new urban agenda.
Thematic areas
We were allowed time to openly discuss and learn, share and debate of preselected themes; Youth and Urban Governance; Youth and Livelihoods; Youth and Urban Planning/Public spaces; Youth and Risk reduction and Rehabilitation; and Youth and environment. All the participants deliberated on these themes and outputs provided in Kenya would be used together with those from other conferences conducted in build up to the main event (To take place in Quito August).
Best insights as a youth in agriculture
The subthemes tackled under the Youth and environment theme included; Youth and Agriculture; Climate change; Renewable energy and Green jobs. Under these subthemes participants discussed challenges affecting the youth and gave recommendations.
Youth and Agriculture
As brought forward by the participants, the challenges facing youth in agriculture include; a poor mindset, climate change, lack of access to quality and timely information, insufficient access to financial services, Lack of involvement in policy dialogues and customary laws. Participants brought forward suggestions on how to address these challenges as; Mindset change among the youth, amendment of inheritance laws, provision of credit facilities to youth, youth inclusion in policy dialogues and implementation of policies.
Climate change
The challenges emerging in this sector included; lack of awareness on environmental conservation, nationalization of environmental programs which render them ineffective(Case of Kenya), insufficient finance in capacity building with regards to climate change and environmental conservation and constant and ongoing deforestation, trees being the major source of energy. In tackling them, participants suggested that; individuals should use alternative sources of clean energy as well as taking up individual responsibility on environmental conservation and waste recycling at more extensive levels.
Renewable energy and Green jobs
Some of the challenges that hinder the youth from adopting green energy include; high costs of equipment and lack of knowledge in this field. To tackle them, it was suggested that taxes be excluded from equipment that promote renewable energy (solar panels), to encourage expandability of the practice.
The UN Habitat III Urban Youth Campus conference, being part of a series of other 25 Urban Thinkers Campus’ was very informative.

The huge growth of Chinese interests in Africa is the most significant development for the continent since the end of the cold war. Currently, china is Africa’s largest bilateral trading partner much of which is underpinned by the desire to obtain raw materials and energy for china’s ongoing economic growth. it is of no doubt that china is the world’s second-largest oil importer and second-largest consumer of African resources all of which are abundant in this continent. The question that begs is; is china-Africa a mutually benefiting relationship?
Chinese foreign policy in Africa is based on self interests one of which is ensuring its regime security through access to abundant resources in Africa. To achieve this, it has portrayed itself as the advocate of the developing world in the context of South-South cooperation. Yes, this is a south-south cooperation in which china has emerged as the North of the south. China is now an emerging power that is becoming greater everyday and therefore has to appreciate that it can no longer hide behind the notion of poor developing state.
While china has an African policy for pragmatic cooperation with Africa, Africa doesn’t have a China policy. Lack of a consistent and unified policy hampers Africa’s ability to compete and determine the terms of engagement. Thus, rather than working as a bloc, it continues to negotiate with china on a country-by-country basis which apparently is the preference of china to engage in bilateral dealings. In this regard, as a collective unit, Africa has little negotiating power over china.
Akin to the above problem is the fact that Africa has retained its status of exporting raw materials while importing manufactured products from china. Actually, majority of African markets are flooded with cheap Chinese household products that have discouraged indigenous African manufacturing. It is such scenario that has consigned the African continent to underdevelopment.
Yes, FOCAC as an institution was carefully crafted to give the impression that all is well between the Sino-African relations, but no, all is not well. Unless the African Union heads of States come together in striking a deal towards establishing manufacturing industries in Africa, then dependency and underdevelopment shall continue to be terms coterminous with Africa.

In common parlance, the term human security has been used to refer to freedom from violence and from the fear of violence. However, the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said that security means far more than the absence of violence. He said that we cannot be secure amidst starvation, we cannot build peace without alleviating poverty and we cannot build freedom on foundations of injustice. On the other hand, environmental degradation refers to the deterioration of the environment manifested in depletion of resources such as water, air and soil; destruction of ecosystems and extinction of wildlife.

A polluted River

A polluted River

Human survival is dependent of the well being of the environment. Man extracts environmental resources to meet his needs and given the surging human population, pressure has piled on the environment. Environmental resources are extracted at a rate not sustainable – resulting in environmental degradation whose manifestations lead to famine, hunger, water scarcity, conflict over natural resources, extreme temperatures and increase in pathogenic diseases. All these have a bearing on human security.

Depletion of resources, destruction of ecosystems and extinction of wildlife leads to enormous strain on the population’s ability to meet its needs. The humanity depends on natural resources to meet its needs and thus a struggle over the few remaining resources as everybody tries to get his share. Often, this ends up in escalated violence pitching communities against each other. The struggle for resources leads to inequality in their distribution and ownership.
Food insecurity is a result low agricultural productivity which is caused by poor soils among others. This exposes people to nutritional diseases and thus a security threat – lack of food leads to an upsurge in violent crimes as people struggle to meet their nutritional needs. Due to environmental degradation there is a new type of refugees called environmental refugees – these are people fleeing from hostile environmental conditions to safer ones for their own security.

Environmental degradation has far reaching impacts on human security across the globe and it is upon the entire humanity, you and I to take measures to ensure that the rate of environmental degradation is arrested and even reversed. For this way, human security will be guaranteed.

My country Kenya is breathtakingly beautiful with inimitable cities compared to none the world over – being so because I don’t know about the rest. When asked to choose my favorite among the ones I know, It was not easy for me still because all the Kenyan cities are unique and beautiful in their own ways but after some soul searching and self consultations, I finally settled on Mombasa.
The port city of Mombasa is a Kenyan city – the second largest in the country and is one of the major tourism centers in the country. Being Kenya’s chief port, Mombasa is the commercial and industrial hub lying on the Indian Ocean and is connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. And so, the first reason it’s my favorite is related to its geological orientation.
Beautiful beaches; the city is well known for its beautiful beaches which have been capped with exotic beach resorts and luxurious hotels. Water activities like kite surfing, scuba diving and much more are also a common site on these beaches. Since I am a water person, I get exited whenever I here of the name Mombasa.???????????????????????????????
Hospitable nature of the coastal people; unlike people in the other regions, coastal people are well known for their hospitality nature. Their etiquette is beyond reproach and words like please, excuse me, pardon me, forgive me which are rare in other parts are overly used in this city. It is even said that police officers beg criminals in order to arrest them, ‘Please I beg you, kindly allow me to arrest you’. This is unlike of the other police force in the country who are known for their strictness in handling of criminals.
As described by non-coastal residents, these people are so kind that they cannot even harm a fly. They are the most sociable and welcoming people that people from all over the country have settled there and are seen as brothers and sisters by the locals.
The Local Drink (Mnazi); It is often said that the way to someone’s heart is through his/her stomach. True, and my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their delicacies and for my case, a Mombasa trip is incomplete without the local brew mnazi. Mnazi is a drink made from young coconut fruits just before hardening. While still green, the coconut is cut and the juice inside is what is used to make the mnazi brew. When fermented it becomes alcohol. It is regarded medicinal and a life pro-longer. I intend to live 500 years given my frequent visits to this city.???????????????????????????????

With all these, who would not love such a city? Take your time, visit and tell it by yourself rather than being told.

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