- A two day workshop sponsored in part by the Swedish Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) targets creating strategies dealing with Climate Change and prevention and management of food crises and other natural disasters in the countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) The commissioner in Charge of Agriculture, Science and Water Resources for ECOWAS Dr. Marc Lapodini Atouga has stated that “It is imperative for West African countries to maintain the role and importance of agriculture to ensure food security” he also noted that questions need to be asked regarding the types of agriculture and livestock and other factors that are practical to meet the needs of an estimated 290 million population residing in the countries of the institution. It is estimated that the population of the regional organization will rise to 400 million by 2020 and 500 million by 2030.
- A beauty pageant held in Port Harcourt, capital of River’s State in Nigeria, saw the crowning of Hyeladzirra “Zirra” Banu as Miss ECOWAS peace ambassador 2012. Zirra, who holds honours degrees in International Relations, Political Science and Communications competed as Miss ECOWAS Nigeria. Her goals as peace ambassador is to execute development projects working with ECOWAS and their partners. She has a vast experience with international organizations and think tanks such as Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. Zirra is the founder and CEO of DorcaSapel Foundation which focuses on projects that address development challenges. For her, the ECOWAS Peace Ambassador represents an opportunity to promote peace and champion youth empowerment initiatives in the immediate region.
- The Open Society Justice Initiative has presented recently it’s report on secret detention and extraordinary rendition done by CIA with several members of South African Development Community being involved. The report documents some 136 known victims and the implication of some 54 governments worldwide. The report slams Malawi, South Africa and, ironically, the anti-western, anti-imperialistic Zimbabwe for detention, torture and deportation of individuals of foreign nationality.
- Education levels are on the rise in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). According to the SADC Gender Protocol 2012 Barometer, the Southern Africa Gender and Development Index (SGDI) has an average regional score of 94% compared to the average Citizen Score Card (CSC) of 68%. Compared to the year before (2011), the score was 93% for SGDI and 55% for CSC respectively. Out of all the members of the regional organization, Mauritius achieved the highest CSC score of 85%, while D.R. Congo had the lowest at 45%. It is important to note that SGDI measures only enrolment at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education and doesn’t account for school dropout rates, gender biases in curriculum and the engendered dimension of career choices. This gives explanation to the big difference between SGDI and CSC.