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Refugees Worldwide Face Rising Hunger Due to Funding Gaps Amidst Covid-19

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Significant funding shortfalls across East and Southern Africa, as well as the Middle East, have forced ration cuts upon some of the world’s most vulnerable people who rely on WFP food to survive.

In East Africa alone, almost three-quarters of refugees have had their rations cut by up to 50 percent. In Southern Africa, refugees in Tanzania who depend entirely on WFP assistance have had their rations cut by almost one-third.  Significant funding shortages for the Syria Regional Refugee Response mean 242,000 refugees in Jordan may be cut off from assistance at the end of August unless more funding is received.

“What we may be seeing is the impact of COVID-19 on donor government funding and this is negatively impacting our ability to respond and support some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “The lives of the most marginalized people in the world are on the line and we are urging donors not to turn their backs on refugees when they need it most.”

To avoid any cuts in food assistance – either through reduced rations or excluding people from assistance altogether –sufficient funding is needed at least one month ahead of the expected break in the flow of food to the refugee-hosting countries.

The increasing funding gaps intersect with rising food prices and fewer opportunities for refugees to supplement their food assistance as informal economies shrink due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Meanwhile, the number of people in desperate need is on the rise globally as conflict, disasters and economic meltdowns are driving up levels of hunger. WFP and other humanitarian agencies face brutal choices. In Rwanda, WFP has rolled out targeted food assistance prioritizing those most in need. Despite this, funding is so short that even the most vulnerable still aren’t receiving full rations, which come in the form of cash assistance.

“During COVID-19 lockdown, we couldn’t leave the camp and we couldn’t earn anything as all casual work outside the camp stopped,” said Ange, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Rwanda. “The situation got worse when our food ration was reduced. My family started facing a serious food shortage.”

Some of the most underfunded WFP operations are also ones with significant refugee populations requiring support. For example, in Uganda WFP supports more than 1.2 million refugees which is 65 percent of the country operations. A country funding shortfall of more than 80 percent has had significant impacts on refugees who rely on WFP assistance.

As a new WFP report indicates a surge in people teetering on the brink of famine – which has risen from 34 million projected at the beginning of the year to 41 million projected as of June – it’s vital that the world steps forward to support the most vulnerable.

WFP refugee operations impacted by funding shortages:

Chad: New refugee influxes from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) mean WFP may be forced to implement ration cuts and suspend/prioritize activities that will affect vulnerable groups depending on WFP’s support, particularly malnourished children.

Cameroon:  WFP may be required to reduce the food rations for the most vulnerable beneficiaries, including 70,000 Nigerian and 100,000 CAR refugees.

Democratic Republic of Congo: In 2021, WFP has supported about 148,000 camp-based refugees in DRC, including the recent influx of about 92,000 refugees from CAR. Since May 2020, WFP DRC has been applying an average of 25% ration cuts to its refugee assistance programme.

East Africa: Funding shortfalls have forced ration cuts for over 3 million refugees of up to 60%. Rations were cut by 50% in South Sudan, 40% in Uganda and Kenya, 23% in Djibouti, 16% in Ethiopia and 8% in Rwanda.

Malawi: Under its refugee response, WFP Malawi rolled out cash-based transfers and kick-started livelihood support activities to enhance self-reliance for refugees. However, funding shortfalls have led to a 25% ration cut since July 2020.

Republic of Congo: WFP provides assistance to more than 20,000 refugees from CAR. Significant shortfalls have meant that food distribution cycles have been irregular.

Syria Refugee Regional: In the five countries where WFP supports Syrian refugees, USD 408 million is required for the next six months.

  • In Jordan, at least 21,000 refugees will no longer receive WFP’s food assistance starting 1 July. If no additional funding materializes, WFP will have to cut off an additional 242,000 refugees at the end of August. Around 220,000 extremely vulnerable refugees in camps and communities will continue to receive WFP support through September.
  • In Egypt, WFP – through joint targeting with UNHCR – is looking at prioritizing assistance to 110,000 people, reducing the number of beneficiaries by 20,000.

Tanzania: The WFP refugee operation faced significant funding shortfalls leading to ration cuts of up to 32 percent of the minimum calorie requirement since December 2020. Photos available here.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Africa Business Heroes Announces Top 50 Finalists; 12 Nigerians Qualifies

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The Top 50 finalists have been chosen from 12,000+ entries, selected by a prestigious pool of 233 judges; 16 countries from Africa represented in the Top 50; 38% of Top 50 candidates are female entrepreneurs; 10% are Francophone; Top 50 finalists will progress to an ABH virtual boot camp and further judging. Top 20 to be announced in August.

Among the 50 finalists, 12 Nigerians qualified are Adebowale Odulana of Doctoora E-Health Ltd, Ebinabo Ofrey of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, Oghenetega Iortim of Gricd, Abiodun Adereni of HelpMum, Olorunishola Aje of IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED, Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Ige Atiba of Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited, YETUNDE OYALOWO of Market Doctors-Social Enterprise, Chidi Nwaogu of Publiseer, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited, OLAGOKE BALOGUN of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Limited, and Godwin Benson of Tuteria.

Africa’s Business Heroes the flagship philanthropic program for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa has announced the top 50 finalists for the 2021 ABH prize competition.

These 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their Africa Business Heroes journey.

Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa.

During this first round, judges were looking for visionary entrepreneurs who are providing innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. They were focused on identifying passionate professionals that demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, financial sustainability and growth potential.

Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation noted, “in the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation.

The top 50 of the 2021 Africa Business Heroes competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact.”

Sixteen countries are represented in the Top 50, 10% of which are Francophone. They include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with 12 in the Top 50. Women are well-represented, making up 38% of the Top 50.

There is an enormous diversity in the type of businesses, with sixteen different sectors, represented including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail and transportation.

From here, the Top 50 will participate in an ABH virtual boot camp to engage with and learn from business leaders as well as previous ABH winners.

The boot camp will prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.

The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the USD 1.5 million prize pool.

For more information on 2021 Top 50, please visit the dedicated section on the Africa Business Heroes official website. To join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs on their ABH journey, visit here.

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The Voice Nigeria Honours Late Sound Sultan as Race For N10m, Other Prizes Enters Final Stage

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Late legendary Nigerian rapper, singer and lyricist, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi popularly called Sound Sultan who passed on July 11 was honoured with a medley performance of his songs by the celebrity coaches and their talents as a glowing tribute in recognition and celebration of his contribution to the music industry. 

Sound Sultan, a highly influential but jovial and unassuming singer is renowned to have mentored many award-winning musicians and wrote many hit songs.

The grand finale of the Voice Nigeria Season 3 is billed for this weekend, with the top six talents seeking viewers and fans’ votes to win the N10m grand prize and other mouth-watering gifts.

Meanwhile, Episode 17 saw great vocalists Anu and Nuel Ayo exit the show while Naomi Mac, Esther, Dapo, Kitay, Kpee and Eazzie continued the race as the last six out of the 25 talents who scaled the Auditions and started the contest.

Kitay in Team Yemi-Alade, Dapo and Naomi Mac in Team Falz, Eazzie in Team Waje with Esther and Kpee in Team Dare all survived by numerous votes from their fans.

The race to the finals of the Voice Nigeria season 3 continues to heat up as the six finalists gun for the N10 million cash, a car, and a record deal with Universal Music Nigeria.

During Episode 17 last weekend, the last six vocalists performed various songs and are hoping with their powerful performances to get maximum votes from fans for a chance to remain in the competition.

Esther opened the weekly show with a beautiful performance of Beyonce’s Love on Top, then Dapo with Michael Bolton’s When A Man Loves A Woman, followed by Kitay with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Naomi Mac sang Brenda Fassie’s Vuli Ndlela, Kpee with Fireboy’s Vibration while a very emotional Eazzie closed out with I’m Not Telling You by Jennifer Holiday before Host, Nancy Isime announced that Season 4 will be coming soon.

Episode 18 which comes up this weekend will have only four talents perform and fight for the grand prize via the highest viewers votes while the two talents with the least votes are dropped.

To keep their favourite vocalists on the show, viewers have to dial *894*7*talent’s code#.

The voting code of your preferred contestant to win the competition is in the embedded Instagram post below:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRjP3zwpOzJ/?utm_medium=copy_link

Voting, which opened on Saturday at 9:00 pm, closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday (today).

For over three months, with an electrifying mix of pulsating musical performances, music training, glamorous fashion and awesome entertainment, The Voice Nigeria 3 continues to dazzle to the very grand finale.

UN1TY Limited and Livespot360, producers of the global talents reality series, also emphasised that public voting has become very crucial at this final stage to keep participants on the voice Nigeria season 3, as sponsored by FirstBank, Baba Ijebu and Airtel.

Scores of vocalists have performed on the highly competitive musical TV reality series but dropped out going through the Auditions, Blinds, Knockouts, Battles and Live Show stages.

Whoever emerges as the winner will automatically make his or her coach the winning coach of the season. Waje, who has been part of the show since its inception, won the inaugural season.

Apart from versatile singers including Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz who doubled as both celebrity coaches and judges, Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa, co-hosts of the show have added great colour to the third season.

The first season of The Voice Nigeria was broadcast on Africa Magic from April 10 to July 31, 2016.

Agharese Emokpae popularly known as A’rese, a 28-year-old stage actress, won the first season while Daniel Diongoli, professionally known as Idyl, won season 2.

The music reality TV show is designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars.

Lead show sponsor, First Bank in a statement by its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, reiterated that The Voice Nigeria 3 is a Reality TV show designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars which aligns with First Bank’s commitment to providing a platform for nurturing

and showcasing talents and driving social cohesion.

The Financial giant added that its support for The Voice Nigeria 3 is a demonstration of First Bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.

For more details on the show, do visit the Bank’s official website https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/the-voice-nigeria/

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The Growth of Digital Gifting in Nigeria

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Over the past decade, Digital gifting has significantly evolved. This can be heavily attributed to technology which has created awareness and attractiveness about them. The growth in the gift card market is due to the rise in demand for gift cards in various sectors, including the corporate sector.

What is Digital Gifting?

You may be wondering, “what exactly is digital gifting?” What does it entail? and how does it work? Digital gift cards are Electronic gift cards sent by retailers usually to your Email after payment. Electronic gift cards perform the same function as physical cards, they both have     Gift codes and can both be used as an alternative means of payment the major difference is Digital gift cards cannot be held unless it’s printed.

Thanks to technology, everybody can get their hands on an E-card from the comfort of their homes and offices. Retailers are all over the internet, all you need to do is search for the particular brand you want and amount on secure websites.

Many brands over the years have incorporated digital gift cards to avoid being left behind. Recently, Card owners now enjoy funding their Digital cards due to the ease it provides when it comes to making payments. Also, some of these E gift cards have high cashback value when considering selling the gift code. Which has created a bit of confidence in the minds of Card owners. The fact that purchasing these cards is not permanent provides a sense of relief. However, you should ensure to watch out for the fakes and trade on trusted platforms. A recent gift card survey stated that consumers tend to go for reloadable gift cards over regular gift cards as they can reuse them.

The request and sales for digital over paper ones skyrocketed in the past decade. Studies have hinged this on environmental issues as regards plastics. It is also projected that physical gift cards may soon be outdated.

Analysis

A gift card survey once said ‘The growth in e-gifting sales, from $300 million in 2012 to an expected $3 billion this year, supports a healthy trajectory of growth for the market as a whole.’

The e-gifting trend has helped propel continued growth in the gift card market. Over $140 billion in sales since 2016. E-gifting has topped $10 billion and filled a niche for customers looking to buy and send their gifts to recipients they do not have to meet in person.

In 2020, the adoption of e-Gift cards increased tremendously during the global pandemic; covid-19.

This trend boosted the continued growth in the gift card market with an excess of $140 billion in sales since 2016. Digital gifting is advantageous and eliminates the process of having to meet the recipient in person before the gift card can be received.

Due to its convenience and flexibility, digital gifting has added a significant impact to the gift card industry. It has also brought about various considerations to limit or reduce the number of physical card productions.

In the United States alone, the gift card industry is expected to record a compound annual growth of 9.2% during 2020-2024. The market is expected to increase from US$ 163,050.7 million in 2019 to US$ 221,146.6 million by 2024. These numbers are estimated on the continued adoption of physical and digital gift cards by millennials, rising e-commerce, and an increase in demand for cryptocurrencies in the USA.

Conclusion

We are now in a time where the world is conforming to Blockchain technology, digital currencies and gifting. People are finding alternative and easier methods of making payments. As a brand to further provide convenience for your customers, you should seriously consider how to incorporate Gift cards into your business if you are not already on board.

 

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