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U.S. trains 300 Nigerian schoolgirls on coding, web design

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U.S. Consul General in Nigeria Claire Pierangelo

The United States has commenced training of 300 Nigerian schoolgirls in Osun State as part of its effort to spur them into future careers in computer science, robotics and artificial intelligence and other related fields.

In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. consulate said the 300 girls will receive training on coding, web design, and product creation for six months under the “Osun girls can code” program.

Funded by a public diplomacy grant from the U.S. Consulate General, the project will be implemented by a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Dayo Adeniyi.

The U.S. consulate said the program will also equip the students with all key skills needed to thrive in the corporate world.

“The 300 schoolgirls will receive training on coding, web design, and product creation, all key skills needed in today’s increasingly competitive job market.  The goal of encouraging the role of girls and women in STEM fields has been the cornerstone of the technology-learning programs supported by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria,” statement by the U.S. consulate read.

U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo at the inauguration of the project said that the capacity building program will foster a supportive community where the young girls can be mentored and share internship opportunities in STEM fields.   

The  Osun Girls Can Code is one of the initiatives of the U.S. Mission geared towards ensuring gender parity and providing women and girls with opportunities to contribute to creating sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity for Nigeria.    

The project will end with a pitch competition to showcase the participants’ achievements, with U.S. Consulate representatives taking part on the panel and the winning schools receiving prizes.   

The U.S. government in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Education in October completed a five-day training program for teachers in the state. 

They were introduced to various aspects of implementing an integrated approach to teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the classroom.

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Official appeals for integration of para-soccer in national competitions

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The president of the Para-Soccer Federation of Nigeria (PFN), Misbahu Didi, has urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to include para soccer in national competitions.

Mr Didi made the call on Friday at the closing ceremony of the maiden edition of the International Disabled Day Para-Soccer Championship which was held at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Abuja.

“My appeal to the ministry is to help us return para soccer to the National Sports Festival (NSF) and also include it in the NYG.

“We have football in the festival we also want to have para soccer to feature in the NSF and NYG.

“We also need sponsorships which have been the key to the success of every sporting organisation. Without support or sponsorship, it will be difficult for us to organise any events as a federation.

“I am also calling on the ministry to continue to support the Para-soccer Federation with subvention so we can continue to engage our athletes for better performance in the future,” he said.

He noted that the championship was organised to mark and celebrate the International Day of Persons Living with Disabilities.

“I thank the National Commission for supporting us and also encouraging us to organise this event.

“We are going to organise many national competitions next year in partnership with the National Commission for Person with Disabilities,” he stated.

He sought government’s intervention in other areas especially in the education of the athletes after sports.

He also urged the commission to assist the athletes to get support from corporate bodies, national and international groups.

“The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons Living with Disabilities has promised to give us 100 health insurance covers for the athletes,” he disclosed.

The Para-soccer Federation of Nigeria, in collaboration with the commission, organised the first edition of the championship.

Tagged “ABUJA 2021,” the celebration aimed to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities.

It also sought to increase awareness of the gains to be derived from the integration of people with disabilities in every aspect of society’s political, social, economic and cultural life.

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NMA backs mandatory vaccination of Nigerians

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), South-West caucus, has expressed support for the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The mandate requires that all workers in the federal civil service be inoculated.

Bolaji Salako, scribe of the NMA caucus, stated that the current available COVID-19 vaccines were safe, effective and would ensure the protection and wellbeing of all those inoculated.

Mr Salako said that herd immunity could be reached when enough people have been vaccinated against the virus.

He said that vaccination made it possible for people to protect not only themselves but also their loved ones.

Mr Salako also expressed worry over the disregard for COVID-19 safety measures in public places.

“Preventive measures which include washing of hands and use of face masks have been abandoned by many people and this can contribute to the spread of the new Omicron variant,” he lamented.

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ECA proposes $7.1trillion ‘New Deal’ for Africa

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A ‘New Deal’ worth $7.1 trillion is the only pathway to reviving Africa’s economy that has taken a downward spiral since the outbreak of COVID-19, says the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

ECA Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro made this disclosure at the ongoing African Economic Conference (AEC) to chart a new path for Africa’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

He likened the proposed deal to a similar deal by the U.S. between 1933 and 1939 during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.

He pointed out that the American deal then was worth $41.7 billion, an amount which he said now equalled $653 billion.

Mr Pedro said that the new deal for Africa would form part of the external funds required by Africa to, among other things, address the rising risk of African debt defaults amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On the external front, Africa needs a new deal to recover from the ravages of the pandemic. Roosevelt’s New Deal cost $41.7 billion at the time it was instituted.

“Given Africa’s current population of 1.37 billion, a New Deal would have to deliver $7.1 trillion in financing to equate the U.S. New Deal on a per capita basis.

“The resources required to finance a New Deal are enormous and cannot be funded exclusively through public resources. Private funding will be critical.

“Yet we are all aware the cost of private financing is high. At the same time, private direct capital investments are motivated more by economic rates of return than by social welfare considerations.

“Blending public financing with private resources can redirect more private investments and financing to social and other orphaned sectors through risk-sharing and risk mitigation,” he said.

He said that the ECA had partnered to launch the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF) at the margins of COP26 to lower the cost of portfolio investments in emerging markets and crowd in a new class of investors into the continent.

He said that the LSF seeks to use on-lent SDRs to leverage private financing by making it possible for holders of African sovereign bonds to access short term financing using such instruments as collateral. 

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