Millions of Children Lacks Access to Education – UN
The United Nations has said that one-third of students around the world lack access to virtual education amid COVID-19 pandemic and wide closure of schools.
The UN disclosed that about 1.5 billion children worldwide have been affected by lockdown or school closings caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
In a report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it was revealed that an estimated 463 million children lack access to distance learning at this period of school closure.
The report said even children with adequate access to distance learning may face challenges in getting distance education.
UNICEF indicated challenges like lack of a good workspace at home, pressure to do other work for the family, or a lack of technical support when computer problems arise.
A break down of the report showed 67 million of the students are in Eastern and Southern African, while 54 million students are in Western and Central Africa.
Students that lacked access to virtual education in the Pacific and East Asia are estimated at 80 million; the Middle East and North Africa 37 million; South Asia 147 million and Latin America and the Caribbean 13 million.
No figures were given for the US or Canada.
Henrietta Fore, the Executive Director, UNICEF, said “The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency.”
“The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.”
UNICEF, therefore, urged governments to prioritize the safe reopening of schools when they begin easing lockdown restrictions.
It added that governments should arrange for compensatory learning for lost instructional time if reopening of schools is impossible.
Kidnapping Spree Hits Northern Nigeria: Eight Abducted in Dan Honu Attack
Gunmen targeted the Dan Honu community in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state, abducting at least eight people in the latest incident of kidnapping for ransom in the region.
This form of criminal activity has become increasingly prevalent in northwest Nigeria, where armed gangs, locally known as bandits, have been wreaking havoc, targeting schools, villages, and travelers.
As a result, it has become perilous to travel by road or engage in farming activities in certain areas.
The attack occurred late on Tuesday in the Chikum local government area of Kaduna state. While the police are actively investigating the incident, residents shared harrowing experiences.
Mohammed Danjuma, a resident who narrowly escaped the abduction, reported that approximately 16 people were taken, but eight managed to evade capture.
During the attack, a vigilant member of the community fired a shot into the air, creating enough disturbance to unsettle the bandits, who subsequently left.
Malam Suleiman, another resident who was initially kidnapped, seized an opportunity to escape while being led into the bushes. Unfortunately, his teenage sons were among those taken by the assailants.
These incidents add to the pervasive insecurity in Nigeria, which includes a longstanding 14-year Islamist insurgency in the northeast and ongoing deadly clashes between farmers and herders in the central region.
Authorities are grappling with the multifaceted challenges posed by these security threats, seeking comprehensive solutions to safeguard the well-being of the population.
Fidelity Bank Set to Host 2 Days of Family Entertainment
In the spirit of the Yuletide, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host the maiden edition of the Fidelity Family Weekend.
Scheduled to hold on Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 December 2023 at the Fidelity Grounds, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event is designed to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for children to play, parents to relax and young adults to unwind during the festive season.
“The Yuletide season is all about coming together and spending quality time with loved ones especially as we wind down the year in anticipation of a new year. As a bank committed to providing memorable experiences for its clients, we pioneered the Fidelity Family Weekend to
fete host our customers and clients to two fun filled days of family entertainment. We believe this is one more way of thanking our customers for a successful year,” noted the Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Meksley Nwagboh, Ph.D. in a chat with journalists.
The Fidelity Family Weekend would run from 10am to 10pm daily and would feature dedicated fun activities for children including dancing competitions, bouncing castles, train rides, Santa’s Grotto, balloon games, amongst others.
Similarly, the programme for the adults’ section would feature exciting activities like karaoke competitions, games arcades, couple games, musical performances and so many more fun games that are geared towards providing a memorable experience for guests.
Entry into the event is free but guests are required to pre-register at www.fidelitybank.ng/family-weekend before 12 December 2023.
Commenting further, Dr Nwagboh said, “As a bank dedicated to helping individuals grow, businesses thrive and economies to prosper, we boast of an array of products and services for our diverse client base. These include the Fidelity SWEETA account for young children below the age of 17 years, Fidelity Flex for teenagers and undergraduates; and even the Fidelity Vintage Account for senior citizens; all tailor-made to meet our customers specific needs. The Fidelity Family Weekend is therefore another demonstration of this devotion to provide platforms for our customers to fulfill their lifestyle requirements”.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
Egypt Eyes Tourism Boom Despite Regional Tensions
Despite the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, Egypt’s tourism sector remains optimistic about meeting its target of 15 million arrivals in 2023 with expectations of further growth in 2024.
The North African nation is gearing up for a hotel-building initiative to address the pressing need for additional capacity, aiming to add at least 25,000 rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the following year.
Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa emphasized that the scarcity of hotel rooms is the primary challenge, prompting the government to consider incentives such as tax breaks to expedite construction.
“The No. 1 challenge that Egypt faces today is the number of hotel rooms. We need at least 25,000 additional rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the year after,” said Issa.
Tourism, a crucial component of Egypt’s economy, is gaining increased significance amid the country’s fiscal challenges.
Despite concerns raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict impacting nearby countries, including Egypt, the relative containment of the conflict and the favorable exchange rates due to currency devaluations have made Egypt an attractive destination.
In the past financial year, tourism revenue in Egypt reached a record $13.6 billion, with a focus on attracting higher-spending tourists and solid visitor numbers from countries like Germany and Russia.
The government is also looking to tap into the vast potential of Chinese tourists, aiming for 1 million Chinese visitors between now and 2028. While Red Sea cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada continue to be popular, efforts are underway to promote tourism in the northwestern Mediterranean coast.
To encourage further development, the tourism and finance ministries are proposing incentives for hotel builders, including rebates for funding costs and potential tax holidays on capital expenditure.
Issa stated, “We’re going to seek the approval of the cabinet over the coming couple of weeks” and expects to announce the incentives “before the end of December.”
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