Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Africa is ripe for Biomass

[Nairobi, Kenya]
WELL, I'M back on the blogging scene...sort of. While I've been absent from cyber space off and on for a multitude of reasons (lousy Internet access, getting burnt out from writing, political "challenges", etc.) my interests have shifted to investigating/researching things (producing electricity via biomass/biodiesel, ecobuilding with hemp, building durable roads with cheap termite technology, etc.) where the outcome could have huge implications for East African society.

Money doe$ grow on tree$...
Although a good living can be made from growing cannabis, coca leaves, opium and other "controversial" crops, an increasing number of farmers around the world - especially Africa - are seeking economic prosperity via biomass/biodiesel crops. :-) This, to me, is exciting because so many positive benefits arise from this act. Here are just a few of those benefits taken from a business plan that I wrote recently for
a dear Kenyan friend of mine regarding an upcoming green farming initiative:

Promotes Self Sufficiency
MGO is keen to assist rural communities in becoming self sufficient. This can be achieved by growing energy crops that can provide biodiesel/biomass to power engines or generate electricity. Money will be saved from buying expensive oil imports, and by reducing dependency from an unreliable electrical grid. This is already happening in some rural communities in India where regional economies are flourishing. For example, the waste from jatropha biodiesel extraction can be used to create soaps, dyes, organic fertilizer, rodent repellent, and a host of other beneficial products. Also, a cheap efficient water treatment solution is readily available from the seeds of the nutritious moringa oliefera plant. This solution is comparable to expensive unnatural alternatives, and allows the community to save on precious foreign exchange.

Another road to self sufficiency is by encouraging cassava farming. It should be noted that there has never been a famine in West Africa because of cassava’s durable drought resistant personality. This is unlike maize here in East Africa, which requires ample rainfall. A perfect example of too much dependency on maize took place in 2005 where severe droughts in Kenya lead to rampant food shortages in rural communities. This resulted in the needless deaths of many people, and precious livestock. However, if farmers had planted an alternative crop like cassava at that time, there would have been minimal to zero deaths from starvation. Thus a reliable supply of cassava translates into a better staple food option that can feed the masses in times of famine.

Better Land Utilization
We know that it’s deplorable to substitute rich, fertile land for growing food with biomass/biodiesel plants. However, a better policy involves promoting energy crops that thrive in arid to semi-arid regions. This is a win/win situation for society and creates the possibility that this unusable land will be rejuvenated in the future due to the positive effects (alleviates soil degradation, desertification and deforestation) of plants like jatropha, pongamia and moringa. Executing this strategy is a top priority for MGO.

Job Creation
Without a doubt, numerous long term direct and indirect jobs will be created once MGO’s green farming solutions are implemented everywhere – especially in depressed rural communities. These new crops will provide a means to create a vibrant eco-friendly economy that will cater to a large untapped domestic market. Additional employment will be created in order to meet the demand for biodiesel, moringa, cassava flour and a host of other products derived from executing green farming strategies.

For example, new jobs will be created for transporters, local farmers and laborers by encouraging the production of the West African staple food,
gari, which is cassava-based. This will inject much needed currency into the local market while improving the quality of life in areas where production takes place. Most importantly, one of MGO’s stated objectives is to “create jobs in poor and rural areas.” Unquestionably, this will result in reduced criminal activity in over-populated urban centers since the rationale to move from economically stagnant rural communities is diminished.

Thanks HASH...
After peeking the blog of my good Net pal, WhiteAfrican (aka Rick Hersman, aka HASH), I was motivated to write this piece for Money Talk, which is headed by my other good Net pal, Tosin (aka T). Let's just say HASH is one of the most Net-savvy dudes I've ever met. He eat, sleeps, drinks, and thinks web/mobile technologies/applications 365/24/7.

Most importantly, he's focused on making them work for Africa and he, somehow, always seems to be dialed into kool events/conferences or happenings relating to anything and everything to do with Africa, technology and the Net. Sometimes I'm amazed at how quickly he generates content on all his web endeavours. Yo HASH, sloooow down dude! :-)

Anyhow, I saw the above AfriGadget link in the widget section of HASH's blog and so, being a prolific Internet Whore, I clicked it. :-) I urge you all to take a peek too. BTW, HASH is one of the resident editors at AfriGadget, which is simply "a website dedicated to showcasing African ingenuity."

Related links:

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Shall We Do Today?


They have sent medicines to Nigeria, including Gbagada. They also housed Hurricane Katrina victims, and other projects in Honduras and India.

I can recommend this foundation because I know Lara, Dr. Adejumo, roommate from Secondary School, so whatever she's doing is 100% top-class.

Read more at the website.

Thanks a million. Post your own favourite or 100% certified charity someday too, will you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Conspiracy Theories and Expanding Global Market

Talking about the new focus on Africa, my favorite conspiracy theory...you know we geeks love these stuff..even though we should know better. It got little to do with economics and a lot to do with Geeks. Just hoping to add fun to the blog today. Enjoy

N.B: Check this out, speaking of conspiracy why does this site come up when I type this blog address wrongly, two alphabets misplaced...click and see where it takes you

Type: http://upnaira.blogpsot.com/


What do I think of the video above? Well, let us just say that David Rockefeller's globalist credentials is not in doubt, and the media attempt and blatant spread of misinformation to spread falsehood like the WMD in Iraq is by now legendary. Guess what tho... geeks also think too much. LOL

Monday, April 14, 2008

Somebody's about to make a lot of money

Zoellick said he had received positive feedback for his proposal to have sovereign wealth funds -- huge pools of capital controlled by governments -- invest one percent of their resources in Africa. He said this could provide $30 billion to African growth.

He said the bank was following up on the proposal in discussions with countries that have sovereign wealth funds, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, through the International Finance Corporation, the bank's private sector arm.

"Hunger, malnutrition and food policy have formed a recurrent theme at this weekend's meetings, and I believe that we have made progress," Zoellick said. "But it will be important to continue to retain the focus on this as we leave Washington."

Source: This CNN Money article about world food prices.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Funny but True US visa news

More Training for Foreign Students
Immigration officials said they were extending the duration of on-the-job training for immigrant students who are recent graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology and engineering. The training period will be extended to 29 months from 12 months for immigrants on student visas employed in jobs related to their field of study. Training will also be automatically extended for students who are waiting to shift to temporary work visas known as H-1B. The measure, which officials said would benefit about 25,000 students, is designed to close visa gaps that had forced some highly skilled graduates to leave the country.
Source: NYTimes.com

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Cheap Date Guide

Seriously, has it come to this? :)
In Dating during a recession, the author writes tips like:
Flash a coupon. Think about it: If a restaurant really wanted you to use that 25%-off coupon, would they demand that you show it to your waiter, in full view of your date, the instant you sit down? Still, coupons can be a good way to have your dating cake and eat it too, especially if you can wave them at the maitre d’ when your gal pal isn’t looking. (You can also be honest and suggest trying a particular restaurant because you happen to have the coupon. I don’t recommend this, but some people insist it works.)
Other suggestions: cook dinner together, sample some ethnic cuisine, rent a movie ... I guess I do these already ... move in together, skip the reception ... you lost me there, what's the point of a wedding without a reception ;)

Previously on UpNaira