Παρασκευή 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Ban Monsanto's new super poison!

Monsanto is launching a super poison that kills plants in its path -- except for Monsanto GMOs. It even flies through the air onto neighbouring land!
But in days we can shut it down.
After a massive outcry from 1,000 affected farmers, a key US state could now ban this poison. This will set a precedent to influence regulation around the world.
Monsanto is mounting an intense pressure campaign, and hoping to keep it to a local fight. But if one million of us sign this petition now, we’ll submit it to the official process and show that the whole world wants this toxic chemical out of our fields and off our food! Add your name
This miracle weed killer was supposed to save farms. Instead, it’s devastating them.

Clay Mayes slams on the brakes of his Chevy Silverado and jumps out with the engine running, yelling at a dogwood by the side of the dirt road as if it had said something insulting.
Its leaves curl downward and in on themselves like tiny, broken umbrellas. It’s the telltale mark of inadvertent exposure to a controversial herbicide called dicamba.
“This is crazy. Crazy!” shouts Mayes, a farm manager, gesticulating toward the shriveled canopy off Highway 61. “I just think if this keeps going on . . .”
“Everything’ll be dead,” says Brian Smith, his passenger.
The damage here in northeast Arkansas and across the Midwest — sickly soybeans, trees and other crops — has become emblematic of a deepening crisis in American agriculture.
Farmers are locked in an arms race between ever-stronger weeds and ever-stronger weed killers.
The dicamba system, approved for use for the first time this spring, was supposed to break the cycle and guarantee weed control in soybeans and cotton. The herbicide — used in combination with a genetically modified dicamba-resistant soybean — promises better control of unwanted plants such as pigweed, which has become resistant to common weed killers.
The problem, farmers and weed scientists say, is that dicamba has drifted from the fields where it was sprayed, damaging millions of acres of unprotected soybeans and other crops in what some are calling a man-made disaster. Critics say that the herbicide was approved by federal officials without enough data, particularly on the critical question of whether it could drift off target.
Government officials and manufacturers Monsanto and BASF deny the charge, saying the system worked as Congress designed it.

Leaves and a stalk from a soybean plant showing signs of being affected by dicamba. (Andrea Morales/For The Washington Post)

The backlash against dicamba has spurred lawsuits, state and federal investigations, and one argument that ended in a farmer’s shooting death and related murder charges.
“This should be a wake-up call,” said David Mortensen, a weed scientist at Pennsylvania State University.
Herbicide-resistant weeds are thought to cost U.S. agriculture millions of dollars per year in lost crops.
After the Environmental Protection Agency approved the updated formulation of the herbicide for use this spring and summer, farmers across the country planted more than 20 million acres of dicamba-resistant soybeans, according to Monsanto.

But as dicamba use has increased, so too have reports that it “volatilizes,” or re-vaporizes and travels to other fields. That harms nearby trees, such as the dogwood outside Blytheville, as well as nonresistant soybeans, fruits and vegetables, and plants used as habitats by bees and other pollinators.
According to a 2004 assessment, dicamba is 75 to 400 times more dangerous to off-target plants than the common weed killer glyphosate, even at very low doses. It is particularly toxic to soybeans — the very crop it was designed to protect — that haven’t been modified for resistance.
Kevin Bradley, a University of Missouri researcher, estimates that more than 3.1 million acres of soybeans have been damaged by dicamba in at least 16 states, including major producers such as Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. That figure is probably low, according to researchers, and it represents almost 4 percent of all U.S. soybean acres.
“It’s really hard to get a handle on how widespread the damage is,” said Bob Hartzler, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. “But I’ve come to the conclusion that [dicamba] is not manageable.”
The dicamba crisis comes on top of lower-than-forecast soybean prices and 14 straight quarters of declining farm income. The pressures on farmers are intense.
Arkansas one step from dicamba ban

Jeannine Otto AgriNews Publications - Sep 27, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas State Plant Board voted on Sept. 21 to approve a ban on the application of dicamba herbicide, from April 16 to Oct. 31, 2018.
“The whole process has been troubling all along. Yesterday was just another point that the process isn’t following science,” said Ty Vaughn, vice president of global regulatory affairs for Monsanto, after the board’s decision was announced.
“At the end of the day, they rejected our petition and voted for recommending the taskforce’s ban of all dicamba after April 16,” he said.
Vaughn spent the day at the plant board meeting trying to make the case for the board to allow farmers in Arkansas to use dicamba herbicide in 2018. The herbicide has been linked to crop damage of non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans and produce and fruit crops.
The proposed ban now will be subject to a 30-day comment period, followed by a public hearing on Nov. 8. Following the comment period and the hearing, the final rule proposal will go to the executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council to be approved.
Vaughn said that Monsanto has “options,” but said it was too early to talk about the next steps the seed company might take.
“We’ve got options, of course, with the public comment period and other things we’ll have to consider. This is new news, so it’s premature on what course of action we’ll take, but all options are going to have to be considered,” he said.

Rural Voices

Vaughn said that a petition signed by Arkansas farmers who want access to the dicamba herbicide for their farms was submitted to the plant board, but farmers were not asked to speak during the meeting.
“Other industry representatives talked and other stakeholders were also allowed to talk. The one group that wasn’t allowed to speak was growers, which is clearly an unfortunate situation since we’re trying to solve for growers having weed resistance issues,” he said.
Vaughn added that time is of the essence so that farmers in Arkansas can make their seed decisions for the 2018 growing season.
“That’s the dilemma. Growers would normally be buying seed now,” he said.
He said some farmers in the state purchased the Xtend platform, which includes dicamba-tolerant soybeans, for the genetics, but most growers also wanted the weed control benefits.
“Even yesterday, that was mentioned, that growers bought the trait, but not just for the herbicide tolerance, but for the germplasm. So some growers are going to continue to do that anyway, but those growers who have the weed resistance issues do have to make a decision,” he said.

See also

Orthodox Church & Capitalism: Orthodox Fathers of Church on poverty, wealth and social justice
Is capitalism compatible with Orthodox Christianity?
Grace and “the Inverted Pyramid”

The Orthodox African Church (Patriarchate of Alexandria) denounces the exploitation of Africa by contemporary colonialists

The ancient Christian Church - About Orthodox Church in USA & in the West World
African Americans & Orthodox Church
Natural Environment 
Native American Orthodox Christian Fellowship (NAOCF)  
Fr. Moses Berry, a descendant of African slaves, Orthodox priest and teacher in USA
A Letter from an Orthodox Christian to our Native Americans Brothers

Τετάρτη 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

The Holy Martyr Callistratus, the Tunisian soldier, and the 49 holy soldiers who martyred with him

Orthodox Church in America (icon from here)

Commemorated on September 27 

Saint Callistratus was a native of Carthage. An ancestor of Saint Callistratus, Neochorus, has served under the emperor Tiberius in Palestine, under the command of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea, and was a witness to the suffering on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, His voluntary death and glorious Resurrection.

The saint’s father was a Christian, and he raised his son in faith and piety. Also like his father, Saint Callistratus became a soldier and excelled among his pagan military comrades by his good conduct and gentle disposition.

At night when everyone slept, he usually stayed up at prayer. Once, a soldier sleeping nearby heard Saint Callistratus invoking the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he reported this to the military commander, who in turn summoned Callistratus, interrogated him and wanted to make him offer sacrifice to idols. The saint resolutely refused to do this, so the military commander ordered that the saint be beaten. Then, covered with wounds, the saint was dragged over sharp stones. The beating and the torments did not sway the firm will and brave endurance of the sufferer.

The saint was sewn up in a leather sack and drowned in the sea. By God’s mercy, however, the sack struck a sharp rock and was torn open. Saint Callistratus came to dry land unharmed, carried by dolphins. Viewing such a miracle, forty-nine soldiers came to believe in Christ. Then the military commander threw Saint Callistratus and the believing soldiers into prison. Before this, all of them were subjected to innumerable floggings. 


The martyrdom of St Callistratus & 49 Martyrs (icon from Menologion of Basil II, from here)

In jail Saint Callistatus continued to preach the Word of God to the soldiers and he bolstered their spirits for martyrdom. Summoned again before the military commander, the sufferers firmly confessed their faith in Christ, after which they were bound hand and foot and thrown into a dam. But there their bonds broke, and with bright faces the holy martyrs stood in the water, rejoicing in their Baptism, which coincided with the act of martyrdom.

Beautiful bright crowns appeared over their heads, and all heard a voice: “Be brave, Callistratus, with your company, and come rest in the eternal habitations.” At the same time, the earth shuddered and an idol standing nearby fell down and smashed. Seeing this, another 135 soldiers also believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The military commander, fearing a mutiny in the army, did not put them on trial, but again imprisoned Saint Callistratus with the others, where they fervently prayed and gave thanks to the Creator for giving them power to endure such sufferings.

At night the martyrs were cut to pieces with swords by order of the military commander. Their holy relics were buried by the 135 soldiers who remained alive. Later, a church was built on the spot of their sufferings, as Saint Callistatus had foretold. 

About st Callistratus, from the article The Jesus Prayer: A Blood-bond 
I just started reading “On the Prayer of Jesus” by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov.  I got hooked on the work of this 19th century bishop after reading “The Arena” during Great Lent.  Aside from his wise instruction to monastics which are applicable to us in the regular world, Brianchaninov frequently referred back to several African fathers including Macarius, Moses the Black, and Pachomius. (...)
No sooner than I hit the second chapter of the book than this Russian schooled me on a spiritual history that African American Christians have not been exposed to and need to know.  A Roman soldier who was a native of Carthage, Neokorus served in Jerusalem during the same time as the passion and resurrection of Christ.  After hearing the Gospel, he was baptized and shared his faith with is family.  Among those who accepted Christianity was his grandson, Callistratus, who would also serve in the Roman army.  His pagan colleagues noted how he refused to worship idols but spied on him as he prayed repeating the name of the Lord Jesus.  For this, he was martyred.
Of course, this story is not in the Bible.  Therefore, Western Christians of all races would not have known it nor would consider it very important.  This is a shame.  The Jesus Prayer is one of  the most beloved prayers of the Orthodox faith.  It is the means in which monastics and non-monastics fulfill St. Paul’s call for believers to pray without ceasing.  There are few words in this simple sentence.  It is based on the Lord’s parable of the Pharisee and the Publican to show how humble repentance justifies a man more than a clerical office and obeying laws. And here is a story of an African who continually prayed on the name of the Lord and refusing the name of any other god and dying for his faith. Such a story should fit into any black American church. (...)

Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 3

In contest you were strengthened by the Holy Spirit, Martyr Callistratus, / and were glorious in casting down the Enemy. / You offered a noble army of athletes / as sweet-smelling incense to Christ. / With them pray for us who praise you with hymns. 

Kontakion — Tone 4

Podoben: “Today You have shown forth...” / Like stars you have shone upon the world / shedding the light of your contests and miracles upon all who cry to you: / “Rejoice, Martyr Callistratus and fellow company of martyrs.”

St Callistratus with another saint, Decani Monastery, Kosovo (from here)

Please, see also

The Ancient Christianity (Orthodox Church) in Tunisia & Saint Julia of Carthage
How “White” is the Orthodox Church?

Orthodox Tunisia (tag)
Ancient Christian faith (Orthodox Church) in Africa
The Last Christians of North-West Africa
St Cyprian of Carthage, the leading bishop of the Church of Africa during the mid-third century
The Scillitan Martyrs of Numidia, the Protomartyrs of Africa
The Saints Forty Africans Martyrs of the Orthodox Church

About the African Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity, Saturus, Saturnius, Revocatus and Secundulus
Hieromartyr Theodore, the Bishop of Cyrene in Libya, the holy women martyrs Cyprilla, Lucia and Aroa, and all who had accepted Baptism from the holy bishop
Moses the Ethiopian, the Black Saint & Teacher (& other Ethiopian saints in the Orthodox Church)

African Saints
The Orthodox Church in Morocco
Tuareg people & Orthodox Christianity - Orthodox Church
The Calendar of Carthage, an ancient Orthodox Christian document from Tunisia


Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, the “Apostle of Love” & “Son of Thunder”

Orthodox Church in America

The Holy, Glorious All-laudable Apostle and Evangelist, Virgin, and Beloved Friend of Christ, John the Theologian was the son of Zebedee and Salome, a daughter of Saint Joseph the Betrothed. He was called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of His Apostles at the same time as his elder brother James. This took place at Lake Gennesareth (i.e. the Sea of Galilee). Leaving behind their father, both brothers followed the Lord.

St. John sees the vision of the Apocalypse and dictates to his disciple, the Holy Prochorus, who records what his teacher tells him (icon from here)

The Apostle John was especially loved by the Savior for his sacrificial love and his virginal purity. After his calling, the Apostle John did not part from the Lord, and he was one of the three apostles who were particularly close to Him. Saint John the Theologian was present when the Lord restored the daughter of Jairus to life, and he was a witness to the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor.

During the Last Supper, he reclined next to the Lord, and laid his head upon His breast. He also asked the name of the Savior’s betrayer. The Apostle John followed after the Lord when they led Him bound from the Garden of Gethsemane to the court of the iniquitous High Priests Annas and Caiphas. He was there in the courtyard of the High Priest during the interrogations of his Teacher and he resolutely followed after him on the way to Golgotha, grieving with all his heart.

At the foot of the Cross he stood with the Mother of God and heard the words of the Crucified Lord addressed to Her from the Cross: “Woman, behold Thy son.” Then the Lord said to him, “Behold thy Mother” (John 19:26-27). From that moment the Apostle John, like a loving son, concerned himself over the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and he served Her until Her Dormition. 


After the Dormition of the Mother of God the Apostle John went to Ephesus and other cities of Asia Minor to preach the Gospel, taking with him his own disciple Prochorus. They boarded a ship, which floundered during a terrible tempest. All the travellers were cast up upon dry ground, and only the Apostle John remained in the depths of the sea. Prochorus wept bitterly, bereft of his spiritual father and guide, and he went on towards Ephesus alone. 

On the fourteenth day of his journey he stood at the shore of the sea and saw that the waves had cast a man ashore. Going up to him, he recognized the Apostle John, whom the Lord had preserved alive for fourteen days in the sea. Teacher and disciple went to Ephesus, where the Apostle John preached incessantly to the pagans about Christ. His preaching was accompanied by such numerous and great miracles, that the number of believers increased with each day. 

During this time there had begun a persecution of Christians under the emperor Nero (56-68). They took the Apostle John for trial at Rome. Saint John was sentenced to death for his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Lord preserved His chosen one. The apostle drank a cup of deadly poison, but he remained alive. Later, he emerged unharmed from a cauldron of boiling oil into which he had been thrown on orders from the torturer.

After this, they sent the Apostle John off to imprisonment to the island of Patmos, where he spent many years. Proceeding along on his way to the place of exile, Saint John worked many miracles. On the island of Patmos, his preaching and miracles attracted to him all the inhabitants of the island, and he enlightened them with the light of the Gospel. He cast out many devils from the pagan temples, and he healed a great multitude of the sick.

Sorcerers with demonic powers showed great hostility to the preaching of the holy apostle. He especially frightened the chief sorcerer of them all, named Kinops, who boasted that they would destroy the apostle. But the great John, by the grace of God acting through him, destroyed all the demonic artifices to which Kinops resorted, and the haughty sorcerer perished in the depths of the sea.

The Apostle John withdrew with his disciple Prochorus to a desolate height, where he imposed upon himself a three-day fast. As Saint John prayed the earth quaked and thunder rumbled. Prochorus fell to the ground in fright. The Apostle John lifted him up and told him to write down what he was about to say. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8), proclaimed the Spirit of God through the Apostle John. Thus in about the year 67 the Book of Revelation was written, known also as the “Apocalypse,” of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. In this Book were predictions of the tribulations of the Church and of the end of the world.

After his prolonged exile, the Apostle John received his freedom and returned to Ephesus, where he continued with his activity, instructing Christians to guard against false teachers and their erroneous teachings. In the year 95, the Apostle John wrote his Gospel at Ephesus. He called for all Christians to love the Lord and one another, and by this to fulfill the commands of Christ. The Church calls Saint John the “Apostle of Love”, since he constantly taught that without love man cannot come near to God.

In his three Epistles, Saint John speaks of the significance of love for God and for neighbor. Already in his old age, he learned of a youth who had strayed from the true path to follow the leader of a band of robbers, so Saint John went out into the wilderness to seek him. Seeing the holy Elder, the guilty one tried to hide himself, but the Apostle John ran after him and besought him to stop. He promised to take the sins of the youth upon himself, if only he would repent and not bring ruin upon his soul. Shaken by the intense love of the holy Elder, the youth actually did repent and turn his life around.

Saint John reposed when he was more than a hundred years old. He far outlived the other eyewitnesses of the Lord, and for a long time he remained the only remaining eyewitness of the earthly life of the Savior.

When it was time for the departure of the Apostle John, he went out beyond the city limits of Ephesus with the families of his disciples. He bade them prepare for him a cross-shaped grave, in which he lay, telling his disciples that they should cover him over with the soil. The disciples tearfully kissed their beloved teacher, but not wanting to be disobedient, they fulfilled his bidding. They covered the face of the saint with a cloth and filled in the grave. Learning of this, other disciples of Saint John came to the place of his burial. When they opened the grave, they found it empty.

Each year from the grave of the holy Apostle John on May 8 came forth a fine dust, which believers gathered up and were healed of sicknesses by it. Therefore, the Church also celebrates the memory of the holy Apostle John the Theologian on May 8.

The Lord bestowed on His beloved disciple John and John’s brother James the name “Sons of Thunder” as an awesome messenger in its cleansing power of the heavenly fire. And precisely by this the Savior pointed out the flaming, fiery, sacrificial character of Christian love, the preacher of which was the Apostle John the Theologian. The eagle, symbol of the lofty heights of his theological thought, is the iconographic symbol of the Evangelist John the Theologian. The appellation “Theologian” is bestown by Holy Church only to Saint John among the immediate disciples and Apostles of Christ, as being the seer of the mysterious Judgments of God. 

See also

A saint in a cannibal tribe: Saint Apostle & Evangelist Matthew and holy Fulvian, king of Ethiopians


Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria (the monk Smaragdos)

Orthodox Church in America (icons from here)

Commemorated on September 25

Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria was born at the beginning of the fifth century in the city of Alexandria [during the reign of Saint Theodosius the Younger (408-450)]. She was the only child in her family of illustrious and rich parents. Since her mother died early, she was raised by her father, Paphnutius, a deeply believing and pious Christian. He frequented a monastery, the igumen of which was his spiritual guide.
When Euphrosyne turned eighteen, her father wanted her to marry. He went to the monastery to his spiritual guide to receive his blessing for the planned wedding of his daughter. The igumen conversed with the daughter and gave her his blessing, but Saint Euphrosyne yearned for the monastic life.

She secretly accepted tonsure from a wandering monk, left her father’s house and decided to enter a monastery in order to lead her life in solitude and prayer. She feared, however, that in a women’s monastery her father would find her. Calling herself the eunuch Smaragdos, she went to the very same men’s monastery which she had visited with her father since childhood.

The monks did not recognize Euphrosyne dressed in men’s garb, and so they accepted her into the monastery. Here in a solitary cell, Saint Euphrosyne spent 38 years in works, fasting and prayer, and attained a high level of spiritual accomplishment.

Her father grieved over the loss of his beloved daughter and more than once, on the advice of the igumen, he conversed with the monk Smaragdos, revealing his grief and receiving spiritual comfort. Before her death, the nun Euphrosyne revealed her secret to her grieving father and asked that no one but he should prepare her body for burial. Having buried his daughter, Paphnutius distributed all his wealth to both the poor and to the monastery, and then he accepted monasticism. For ten years right up to his own death, he labored in the cell of his daughter.

Troparion & Kontakion

Troparion — Tone 1

As an ascetic you hid your womanhood / And your falling-asleep was an amazement, O Euphrosyne. / Though a woman, you toiled as a man, / And by your prayers you save those who honor you! 

Kontakion — Tone 2

Desiring the life on high and forsaking all earthly pleasures, / You lived as a man among men, O Euphrosyne. / For the sake of Christ your Bridegroom, / You spurned earthly betrothal!

Apolytikion (from Greek Orthodox Daily Posts for Inspiration)
Plagal Fourth Mode

The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Mother. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Euphrosyne, your soul rejoices with the angels. 

See also

The holy anarchists... in the Egyptian Desert
African Saints (tag)

Hymn to the African Saints

Τρίτη 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Africa on the road to industrial progress

Li Yong, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Photo: Africa Renewal/Eleni Mourdoukoutas
As the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Li Yong leads a specialised agency that promotes industrial development, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. Recently in New York, Mr. Yong took part in a special meeting on “innovation in infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization” in developing countries and countries with special needs. He spoke with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor on a range of issues pertaining to Africa’s industrialization. Here are the excerpts:
Africa Renewal: You are attending a meeting on industrialization in developing countries, which includes many African countries. How does Africa fit in the picture?

Li Yong: The ECOSOC [UN’s Economic and Social Council] meeting is important because of SDG 9, which calls for inclusive sustainable industrialization, innovation and infrastructure. Africa has to compete within the global value chain, the manufacturing value addition and with the growth and speed of other regions. Two-thirds of the least developed countries are in Africa. Due to underdevelopment of the industrial sector, some countries are not growing fast enough.

What are the factors hindering Africa’s industrialization?

The sudden drop in commodity prices caused problems because it lowered the competitiveness of commodities-dependent countries.

But commodity prices dropped only recently.

No, not just recently. Let’s say this has been the case throughout the last century. But let me talk about factors hindering industrialization. Long ago the international development institutions wrongly prescribed deindustrialization for some countries. An ambassador of an African country actually told me that the very painful process of deindustrialization forced them to stop exporting cheese, cocoa beans and other products. Another reason is that countries change policies too often. Insecurity occasioned by frequent changes of policies scares away investors and disrupts the industrialization process.

Were the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) of the 1980s a wrong prescription?

I do not want to talk about that because I was involved in the whole process of structural adjustment lending when I was working at the World Bank. I would just say that some of the prescriptions provided to African countries were not very good.

Critics say meetings such as the one you are attending are all talk but no action. What’s your take on this?

I think that sometimes if there’s too much talk, too much debate on the theories, on the reports and studies, action is lost. Just do it! If it’s creating jobs, let’s go for it.

UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) aims to mobilise private and public sector resources for industrialisation and to provide technical assistance to countries. How is that going?

It’s an innovative way to support a country’s industrial development. We collaborate with governments and development institutions to create industrial development strategies, and we support such strategies. Usually there is a financing issue: the government needs to allocate resources to basic infrastructure. But development institutions also need to provide supplementary financing for infrastructure such as roads, highways, railroads, electricity, water supply, etc. We advise governments to formulate policies that protect investments that will trigger private-sector financing and FDI [foreign direct investment].

You were heavily involved in the development of agricultural and small and medium-size enterprises in China. What lessons can Africa learn from China?

There must be a vision and a strategy. Develop policies that support small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture sector, to begin with. In China, the number one document released at the beginning of the year was a plan to support agriculture development. Second, take concrete measures. We cannot talk about empty themes. Third, support with financial resources, capacity building and training. Fourth, provide an environment for SMEs to thrive. Lastly, link the agricultural sector to agro-industry, agribusiness and manufacturing.

Not long ago, a World Bank report stated that Africa’s agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. Could agribusiness be a game changer for the continent?

Yes, although I wouldn’t say that the $1 trillion figure is exactly accurate. But agriculture is a very important sector for Africa. The job creation element in the sector requires innovation. If you try to grow wheat, corn, fruits, etc without connecting to agro-processing food packaging and the global value chain, there is very little opportunity for job creation. Some people argue that if you introduce modern technology, some farmers may lose jobs. I don’t accept this argument because farming services connect to the market. With agro-processing, farmers have more time and capacity to do things beyond planting and growing crops.

The goal of the African Agribusiness and Africa Development Initiative, which UNIDO supports, is to link farmers to big markets. But African farmers cannot compete in the global marketplace because many Western governments subsidize farming. What’s your take?

Africa can be innovative about this. For instance, cocoa-producing African countries that used to export cocoa beans are currently producing some chocolate products locally. In Ghana, a private company is producing cocoa butter, cocoa oil and cocoa cake for domestic consumption. And UNIDO supported them with a laboratory, equipment and technicians to enable them to receive certifications to export to Europe and Asia. Consider Ethiopia, with 95 million people and millions of cattle and sheep and cows. But they only export around 7% of their live cattle to other countries because they don’t have processing capacity. They don’t have the standard certifications for export, although the quality of meat is excellent. Currently we are supporting Ethiopia to set up a project for testing so that they meet the criteria for exporting to other countries. Actually, African agriculture can connect to the global value chain.

Countries may set up agro-industries in areas where they have a competitive advantage, but the lack of technical skills and inadequate infrastructure, particularly roads and electricity, is still an issue.

We have the traditional toolboxes, including vocational training. Capacity training is a very popular UNIDO programme. With donor support, we develop training programmes like we did in Tunisia and Ethiopia, where young engineers received training in how to operate big equipment. The second example is that countries need large-scale agro-processing projects. For instance, Ethiopia developed hundreds of industrial parks that are helping develop the capacity to manufacture many more products. 

Most foreign investors target Africa’s extractive sector, which generates few jobs. How do you encourage investments in the agriculture sector?

The best approach for Africa is not to say, “Don’t export raw materials.” Look at Australia and other countries that still export raw materials. They did their cost-benefits analysis and decided not to set up manufacturing companies. What is needed is market discipline. But this doesn’t mean that all countries must export raw materials. If they have the capacity, if there are foreign investors that come in to build factories and create jobs, why not?

Sustainable industrialization produces long-term results, I believe. Countries grappling with poverty need resources immediately. Such countries cannot slow down their unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.

I believe we should have industrial development in an inclusive, sustainable way. If we manufacture goods with a heavy pollution of water, soil or air, there’s a cost to people’s health. Think about what it will cost to address those pollutions in the future. At UNIDO, we do not approve projects for implementation unless they meet our environmental standards.

Are African leaders receptive to your ideas?

Most leaders I’ve met request UNIDO’s support. Except for countries in difficult situations such as those in conflicts, others need to show a strong commitment to industrialization.

Are you seeing such commitments?

Yes, in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia—many leaders are showing a commitment. The new Nigerian president is committed to industrialization. However, countries in conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], may have difficulties industrializing. The DRC has many resources, including gold and oil. They have a vast land—you can grow anything there—and a huge population. But internal conflict is slowing industrialization. Yet a peaceful Rwanda is moving very fast with industrialization. So it depends on a country’s situation, the commitments of its leadership and the efficiency of its administrative systems.

How do you see Africa in about 10 years?

Many countries will move up the socioeconomic ladder and become middle-income countries. There will be more industries to manufacture goods and create jobs. I think it’s possible. The global community is ready to support Africa. Most importantly, African countries are committed to industrial progress and economic growth.

Please, see also our tags:

Multinational corporations 
Dictators in Africa

Private schools gain a foothold in Africa

Children attend a class at the Deari elementary school in Eritrea. Photo: Panos/Giacomo Pirozzi
Corporations and their partner foundations, supported by international organizations, financiers and bankers, as well as individual investors are transforming education across Africa—from a government responsibility and social right to a series of investment opportunities.
They say their reforms are designed to increase educational equity and achieve higher standards. Where possible they seek out local community support, but the underlying motivation behind corporate educational reform is extending the reach of free-market globalization and business profits.
The corporate takeover and privatization of education in sub-Saharan Africa has been sharply criticized by United Nations officials and advocates for investment in public education. In a 2015 statement, 190 education advocates from 91 countries called on governments in the developing world to stop education profiteers. They urged the World Bank to stop financing these efforts.
In May 2016, Kishore Singh, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to education, described the outsourcing of public education in Liberia to an American corporation as “unprecedented at the scale currently being proposed” and said that it “violates Liberia’s legal and moral obligations.”

Mr. Singh voiced his deep concern over the fact that some governments were actively encouraging private basic education, emphasizing, “Now more than ever, governments should be expanding public educational opportunities for the marginalized groups, especially children from poor families.”
A recent report by the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights examined the impact of privatization of schools in Kenya. Among its findings was that privatization of education is growing “at an alarming rate”, without a corresponding monitoring and regulation by the state. In addition, the report stated that the government was encouraging the growth of private schools through the enactment of favourable policies. It added that the increasing number of private actors in education is leading to sharp inequalities and segregation in the Kenyan society.
Another recent study of the privatization experience in Nigeria had similar findings. The authors, all professors at the University of Ibadan, remarked that while the growth of private education had produced positive effects such as improved workers’ welfare, greater community participation and widening access to education, it had also enabled the proliferation of unapproved and unregistered schools.
While providing wider access to education for children, private schools are often criticized for mortgaging education.
The World Bank has promoted a free-market fundamentalist model of education throughout the world since the 1980s, writes Shaun Whittaker, in an article published in The Namibian titled ‘Our education crisis and the World Bank’. “This paradigm will dominate the global education debates for many years to come,” he writes. 
Studies by the Bank of Namibia’s educational programme revealed a transaction perspective in which education is not regarded as a basic right, but as something that “should be evaluated according to its contribution to the economy,” Mr. Whittaker observed.

The matriculation results of 2012 reveal that Namibia is burdened with a two-tier education system, says Mr. Whittaker: one tier, for the elite, is well resourced and privatized, while the second stream, for the majority, is under-resourced and public.
Not unexpectedly, this view of education is not shared by all. The New York–based Africa American Institute, in its State of Education in Africa report, places the blame squarely on the failure of governments to adequately fund education programmes and sees private schools as charitable and coming to the rescue.
“While more students are in school classrooms,” notes the report, “there is a deeper learning crisis at play: many students are not gaining basic skills while attending school.”
Consequently, according to the report, the quality of education in Africa is in a perilous state. Private institutions are increasingly stepping in to educate children who lack access to an education and to fill the gaps in a country’s public education system.
“The rise in private schools should not be seen as negative, but instead as a viable alternative to a failing public education system,” the report says.

A recent investigative piece in the Conversation, an online nonprofit website that covers commentary and debate on issues affecting the world, looked at the weaknesses of public education in Kenya.
 Kenya’s public schools are facing huge challenges. In some parts of the country, between 80 and 100 children are crammed into a single classroom. Almost four out of ten children are not literate or numerate at the Grade 2 level, a full two to three years after they should be.
In sharp contrast, private schooling, which Kenyans used to view as an unnecessary expense, has risen to be seen as the gold standard of education for wealthy, middle-class and poor families alike, who believe that elite schools offer holistic learning that emphasizes values such as leadership and self-confidence, preparing the learners for bigger roles later in life.
A summary of the investment capital moving into education was provided in a recent issue of Africa Capital Digest. It mentioned ABO Capital, an Angolan investment firm that acquired Complexo Escolar Privado Internacional in Benfica, a suburb south of Luanda, and AfricInvest, an Africa-focused midmarket private equity firm that is backing the International Community School (ICS) in a preferential share deal.
ICS was founded in 2000 and has grown to be one of the leading private K-12 schools in Ghana. Today the company operates three campuses and teaches over 1,200 students in the cities of Kumasi and Accra.
Further details of the burgeoning investments were revealed in Gulf News Banking last month showing that Centum Investments and Investbridge Capital were embarking on the development of a $16 million, 2,000-student school with the acquisition of 20 acres in Kenya’s Kiambu County.

Owning schools

The school is scheduled to open its doors to pupils in September 2018. According to reports, Centum and Investbridge will each hold a 40% stake in the project, with the SABIS Network—a global education network that has a significant presence in the UAE—retaining the 20% balance of the ownership.
The tripartite consortium will be responsible for the acquisition and development of a network of schools across Africa, which will be operated as part of the SABIS Network. They plan to build more than 20 schools in Africa over the next three to five years, with the cost of each school ranging between $20 million and $30 million. The investors have identified Kenya as the target country for its first school, with other East African markets such as Uganda and Tanzania to follow, as well as further expansion in Egypt.
Investbridge said there is growing interest from a mature class of generational investors from the Middle East and around the world to invest in education sector opportunities in Africa.
In the latest report by Caerus Capital—The business of education in Africa—the group predicts, “In the next five years, an additional 25 million children are expected to join private institutions, so that one in four children, from all sorts of backgrounds, will be enrolled in private schools by 2021”, creating an “enormous opportunity for investors: $16–18 billion over the next five years.”
Education (tag in our blog)

Δευτέρα 25 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Le métropolite du Kenya Macaire (Patriarcat d’Alexandrie) : «L’orthodoxie a respecté les coutumes et les usages des Africains»


S’exprimant le 14 septembre au Centre spirituel de Corfou, le métropolite du Kenya Macaire a évoqué la mission orthodoxe au Kenya. S’adressant à son hôte, le métropolite de Corfou Nectaire a souligné que la mission constitue un commandement du Christ aux hommes et que l’Église se préoccupe tant de ceux qui sont proches et que de ceux qui sont éloignés. Il a ajouté que le métropolite du Kenya a consacré sa vie à la mission, qu’il donne le témoignage du Christ à notre époque et que, à un moment où il existe un climat général de doute quant à la foi, l’Église insiste pour donner au monde le témoignage de l’amour et de la liberté.

Dans son homélie, le métropolite du Kenya a fait référence aux bases théologiques de la mission, qui émanent du commandement du Christ à Ses disciples : « Allez, faites de toutes les nations des disciples », soulignant que, de par sa nature, l’Église est missionnaire. Le métropolite a décrit la manière dont a commencé le christianisme en Égypte, alors que le Christ s’y était enfui devant la fureur d’Hérode, jusqu’aux labeurs des apôtres et principalement de l’évangéliste Marc pour fonder l’Église d’Alexandrie. Le métropolite mis en évidence le lien de la mission et de la sainteté et a fait ressortir la différence de la mission orthodoxe et de celle des autres confessions chrétiennes : l’orthodoxie a respecté les coutumes et les usages des Africains, s’efforçant simultanément, et ce depuis le début, de traduire les textes liturgiques et les autres textes sacrés dans les langues et dialectes des hommes, respectant leur liberté et leur identité.

Le métropolite du Kenya, avec beaucoup d’émotion, a décrit sa vocation missionnaire qui a été développée en lui par le staretz Sophrony d’Essex et l’archevêque de Chypre Makarios. Il a fait part de ses expériences missionnaires et a souligné que la lute pour le témoignage chrétien produit ses fruits et que les générations suivantes verront la foi chrétienne se consolider. Mentionnant qu’il y avait actuellement 400 paroisses orthodoxes au Kenya, le métropolite a décrit le mode de fonctionnement de la Faculté patriarcale à Nairobi et la grande œuvre accomplie par les orthodoxes au Kenya, tant en ce qui concerne la création et le fonctionnement d’écoles que la dispense de soins médicaux et l’amélioration des conditions de vie et l’amour envers les hommes. Enfin, il a évoqué son contact avec la tribu des Maasaï et avec émotion a raconté le baptême de nombreux idolâtres. Enfin, le métropolite du Kenya a répondu aux questions de la nombreuse assistance.


Voir aussi
"Les multiples membres du corps ne forment qu’un seul corps", Saint Macaire d’Égypte († 390)  
Congo-Brazzaville: Les autochtones, qui ont embrassé la foi orthodoxe...
Kanisa la Orthodox na utamaduni wa Kiafrika: nzuri video kutoka Cameroon / Église orthodoxe et la culture africaine: belle vidéo du Cameroun / Orthodox Church and African culture: nice video from Cameroon
Kenya: a dance from orthodox Turkana girls / ngoma kutoka orthodox Turkana wasichana !...
Orthodox Christian dialogue with Banyore culture Hope for the Kikuyu (Kenya) / "The caves along the Tana River became the refuge for freedom fighters..."  
«African needs to be helped, to find his divine roots, for his soul to be at peace, to become united with God...»  

Benin (d'ici)

The Passion of Jesus Christ and the Passions of Africa...
The Kingdom of Heaven, where racial discrimination has no place 
How “White” is the Orthodox Church?
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)

The Church as the Liberated Zone: "All we Christians are terrorists..." (and 2 videos, from Tanzania, Maasai, & DRC)
"THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life