El Nino happens every 3-7 years. How can Africa be better prepared?

31 Aug 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, UNDP Africa

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO
Some 60 million people’s lives have been affected by the 2015-2016 El Niño phenomenon in the Horn and Southern Africa. It was the strongest El Niño since 1950. Severe droughts have led to crop failure and food insecurity, massive livestock and wildlife deaths and loss of livelihoods. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have all declared drought emergencies. In South Africa, only one province, Gauteng, has been spared the emergency.   A total of 40 million people, or 22 percent of Southern Africa’s rural population, became food insecure. About 23 million of them needed immediate humanitarian assistance at a cost of US$2.7 billion. In the Horn of Africa, close to 24 million people were facing critical and emergency food insecurity levels as of June 2016. Ethiopia is the most severely impacted by the drought with about 10.2 million people in need of food assistance and emergency funding requirements of US$1.4 billion. The 2015-2016 El Nino was predicted and early warning data made available in most countries, yet little action was taken, exposing both a lack of political will and a resilience deficit.  Only half of the affected countries have updated disaster risk reduction contingency plans, while the rest have outdated plans … Read more

African countries need institutions that will direct investment to where it is needed most

29 Aug 2016 by Andrew Chipwende, CEO, Industrial Development Corporation, Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia. Zambia underwent major structural reforms in recent years to attract investment.
International investment has helped Zambia, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, become more integrated into the global economy over recent years. Inward investment flows have doubled since 2008 and Zambia has even started to generate some modest foreign direct investment outflows. Although the country has undertaken major structural reforms over the past two decades to make it a more attractive location for investment, the Zambian government realised that this was not enough. Research has shown that foreign direct investment in mining remains dominant, although flows to manufacturing and services have also shown an upward trend. And while the investment in mining has brought with it new technologies, there has been little impact on job creation. The government of Zambia created the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in January 2014 to help diversify investment away from mining. It aims to play a catalytic role in deepening and strengthening Zambia’s industrialisation capacity, supporting the creation of jobs and domestic wealth across all key economic sectors. The IDC evaluates, assesses and lowers investment risk by serving as a co-investor alongside private sector investors, thereby facilitating long-term financing for projects. The IDC’s initial investments in Zambia’s growth sectors are helping to increase foreign direct investment … Read more

Unleashing the entrepreneur spirit for economic growth in Jordan: Let me count the ways

24 Aug 2016 by Jennifer Colville, Team Leader, Innovation, UNDP Arab States

UNDP sees entrepreneurship as a central driver of economic stability and supports initiatives that tap into local skills. Photo: UNDP Jordan
There's nothing quite like having a bunch of entrepreneurs in the same room to generate off-the-charts energy and inspiration for economic development and social progress.  I was fortunate to host a social innovation workshop in Amman, Jordan, with a collection of business starters and supporters to generate ideas for strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem in the country.  The workshop was held on the occasion of the visit to Jordan of the UN Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC), a group of eight luminaries from around the world who support those creative and bold enough to start new businesses.  The Council, chaired by Ashish Thakkar, was in Jordan to better understand the issues facing local entrepreneurs, particularly those affected by conflict, including in host communities and refugees. UNDP sees entrepreneurship as a central driver of economic and social stability, and supports initiatives that tap into local skills, expertise, and resources to foster entrepreneurial spirit and success.  Entrepreneurs in Jordan currently face challenges of growth (how to migrate from micro to small, small to medium, etc.); and sustainability (how to keep their businesses going after initial support).  The ecosystem has seen many business development service providers emerge over the past several years, presenting an opportunity to make these services … Read more

Turning the Paris Agreement into action requires ‘boots on the ground’

22 Aug 2016 by Jazmin Burgess, Global Coordinator, Boots on the Ground, UNDP

Years of changing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for decades. Photo: UNDP
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are on the frontlines of climate change. With populations often heavily reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry to drive their economies, the impacts of climate change are amplified. One erratic storm or years of changing growing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for years or decades.  This has immense social and economic impacts that reduce opportunities, reinforce inequalities and potentially reverse progress toward reducing poverty. Charting a development path that integrates climate change action is therefore essential for true sustainable development and that requires direct capacity-building. UNDP’s ‘Boots on the Ground’ programme, established in 2010, does just that. Through technical and policy advice and guidance to 26 countries in Africa, Arab States, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, ‘Boots’ aims to strengthen national capacities to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate change. The successes of this on-the-ground support is already visible.  In Mali, ‘Boots’ officers have helped the Government prepare the National Climate Change Policy; in Kenya, we’ve worked with national partners to develop the National Climate Change Action Plan. In Nepal we’ve helped climate proof the national agriculture plan and develop a joint Gender and Climate Change strategy.  In … Read more

Sport for SDGs: a journey from Sudan to Rio de Janeiro

19 Aug 2016 by Saeed Zaki, Media and Multimedia Associate, UNDP Sudan

Sudanese athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: UNDP Sudan
Sport is not usually the first thought that comes to mind when talking about achieving sustainable development. Nonetheless, it has been an instrumental tool in the promotion of peace and development for many years and I was able to witness it for myself at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since the inception of the Millennium Development Goals, sport has been essential in implementing development targets as recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which emphasizes “the growing contribution of sport […] in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities…" For this reason, many organizations have been promoting peace through sport. The International Olympic Committee, is an organization encouraging collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family to promote Olympic values such as excellence, friendship and respect. The Committee established a strategic roadmap for the future, highlighting the potential of sport to help achieve at least four of the Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16). In Sudan, the power of … Read more

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Egypt 
Go to UNDP Global