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Earth Finds

Prudential Supplements Govt COVID -19 Food Relief Efforts With Shs300m Donation

The ongoing lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of Covid-19 have adversely affected vulnerable communities’ members who survive by accessing urban centres every day for their livelihood, Arjun Mallik, MD, Prudential East Africa, Monday told journalists in Kampala.

He said that while the lockdown measures are being implemented with positive intent, disruption of community member’s routines means some people are going hungry in their home.

And in order to supplement government efforts to provide food relief, and support those most in need, Mallik and Prudential, an insurance firm, announced a donation of Shs300 million towards food relief in the country.

Prudential said the donation will feed the most vulnerable and poor who have been greatly affected by the lockdown, many of whom live on less than a dollar a day and therefore do not have any savings to help them go through this period.

This will be distributed via two organisations: Humanitarian Operations Projects and Emergencies (HOPE) and Heal the Planet Global Organisation (HTP).

Alhaji Kaddunabi Lubega, the CEO, Insurance Regulatory Authority said the outbreak of Covid-19 ‘has highlighted to all of us,’ the need to always be prepared for the unexpected challenges of life.   “I convey my gratitude to Prudential Uganda for standing by Ugandans in this hour of need,” he said.

While receiving the fund on behalf of HOPE, Emmanuel Kashaija, Country Director, appreciated Prudential for supporting the vulnerable slum dwellers in the western region who have been profiled as elderly people, orphan households, pregnant women, street children and the disabled, adding that the food relief will go along way in improving their social and psychological well-being.

Benjamin Kivumbi Earnest, President, HTP, thanked Prudential for the timely response towards helping the slum dwellers around Kampala in the areas of Nsambya, Katwe, Bwaise and Makerere Kivulu, Makindye, Masajja. “These people are in dire need of food and we will work with the local council to make sure food is delivered at their door step,” he said. 

CSOs Protest Eviction Of 5 Fishing Communities On Lake Albert

Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) is leading 23 other civil society organizations protesting the impending eviction of 10,000 occupants of several landing sites on Lake Albert in Hoima and Kikuube districts.

The CSOs in a press release shared Thursday revealed that the eviction is reportedly premised on the directive of President Yoweri Museveni to stop inward migration through Uganda’s porous borders.

According to the CSOs, security operatives in Hoima reportedly led by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), the District Internal Security Officer (DISO), the District Police Commander (DPC) and a UPDF commander have gone to several landing sites asking residents to vacate within three days or else face eviction.

The affected villages include Sebigoro B and Nkondo 1 in Kabwoya Sub County, and several villages in Kyangwali sub-county including Kyenyanja, Osusa, Busigi, Kyabasambu, Nzuzu A&B, Kiina and Kachumbe. There is already a heavy UPDF deployment across the affected areas.

It is alleged that the authorities claim that the above villages are illegal landing sites, which must be vacated immediately. Tens of thousands of people have been affected, and some have already voluntarily left in fear of an assault by the army.

The CSOs are now calling upon the government of Uganda to immediately take the following actions to protect the vulnerable communities and stop human rights violations:

  • The president through the Nakalema office should investigate the errant officers in the army and Hoima District Security officials and cause their prosecution for violating people’s rights, Presidential Directives on COVID19 and ministry of lands directives on land matters.
  • The Natural Resources Committee of Parliament of Uganda should investigate the officials behind the evections and recommend to the Minister of Lands to ensure the protection of land rights of the affected communities.
  • The Bunyoro MPs should urgently bring the matter before Parliament for discussion as a measure to protect the vulnerable communities.
  • Uganda Human Rights Commission should also fully investigate the security and other people behind the evictions and ensure that the affected get redress.
  • The Hoima District Land Board should clarify the ownership rights of the communities most of who have lived on the affected land for over years.

The Independent Magazine, via URN, Thursday reported that more than 200 fishermen who had been evicted from landing sites on the shores of Lake Albert were stranded.

The fishermen and their families were evicted on Thursday from Songagagi and Nana landing sites in Kigorobya and Buseraku sub-counties, Hoima district. They pitched camp at Hoima landing site football playground in Buseruka sub-county.

According to the fishermen, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers ordered them to vacate the landing sites. The soldiers later demolished their houses.

Phasing Out Fossil Fuels In Europe: Why Isn’t Africa Accorded The Same Treatment?

By Sunshine Nalule

On May 17, 2020, Reuters reported that the major oil and gas companies in Europe including BP, Shell and Total were increasingly focusing on investing in green renewable energy projects as opposed to oil.

The news site reported that faced with the realisation that European countries are likely to prioritise low carbon green energy investments in their post-COVID economic stimulus programmes, the major oil companies had cut planned investments in oil and gas. However, they had not extended the same cuts to green renewable energy projects.

For instance, Reuters reported that while Total still plans to spend $1.5 -$2 billion on its low-carbon business, the company cut its overall 2020 spending to $15 billion from $18 billion. This cut of $3 billion did not affect the planned renewable energy investments.

In addition, BP “aims to keep its previously planned $500 million in spending on low-carbon initiatives this year, despite a company-wide spending cut of 20% in the wake of the coronavirus,” Reuters reported.

More so, Shell’s planned budget cuts may not extend to its programme on renewables and low-carbon technologies.

The chief and other senior executives from the above companies explained that as the European Union (EU) looked towards transitioning to green renewable energy as opposed to oil in the post-COVID era, the companies were also positioning themselves to invest more in the EU’s energy of choice, renewable energy.

While the oil majors are looking to ensure that they invest in clean renewable energy that promotes environmental conservation, addresses climate change concerns and reduces negative impacts on vulnerable communities in Europe, the same companies are planning on rolling out major oil and gas investments in Africa. In Uganda for instance, Total signed a $575 million deal to acquire Tullow Oil’s stake in Uganda’s oil industry.

Through the deal that was announced last month, the company reiterated its commitment to investing in Uganda’s oil sector. Shell and BP also continue to invest in oil and gas projects in Africa.

This begs the question: why are Total and other oil companies investing in an energy system in Africa that other countries are rejecting?  Don’t they think that Africa needs clean energy too and that the continent that is already suffering some of the worst impacts of climate change such as floods, landslides, destruction of multi-billion properties such as roads, deaths and others needs clean energy as well?

The oil majors need to look inside themselves and do better for Africa. They argue that Africa needs the revenues that will be generated from oil and gas investments but, as more and more countries or cities such as the UK, Netherlands, Amsterdam and others phase out oil and gas cars, the demand for oil will slump. This will likely lead to lower oil prices, as was seen during this pandemic when oil prices in the US fell below zero. When this happens, debt-ridden African oil-producing countries will be left with expensive assets such as oil refineries, pipelines and others that are producing a commodity that the world no longer needs.

This will be economically catastrophic and must be avoided. Oil companies should therefore not discriminate against African countries. They should invest in clean renewable energy on the continent. Development partners, financiers and others should also support green energy as opposed to oil investments.

The writer is a youth clean energy champion.

Huawei: A Year & Beyond

Huawei held its 17th annual Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, both onsite and online. At the event, Huawei was joined by over 2,000 analysts, key opinion leaders, and media representatives from a range of industries, including telecoms, the Internet, and finance.

Together, they discussed how the industry can work together to weather the difficult times, achieve win-win outcomes, and accelerate the arrival of the intelligent world.

At the opening of the event, Huawei's Rotating Chairman Guo Ping delivered a keynote speech titled "Huawei: A Year and Beyond". Guo Ping started by sharing Huawei's experience and business results of the past year. He said, "Over the past year, many technologies became unavailable to us. Despite this, Huawei struggled to survive and is striving to move forward."

Huawei has long been an active contributor to the ICT industry. Since it was founded, Huawei has been committed to bringing digital to more people, homes, and organizations, in order to move the world forward.

In the past 30-plus years, Huawei has deployed over 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over 3 billion people worldwide.

We also provide smart devices to 600 million consumers. US actions against Huawei will not only harm Huawei, but also harm the experiences of customers and consumers that use Huawei's products and services.

ICT infrastructure is the foundation of the intelligent world. By 2025, the digital economy will represent an industry worth 23 trillion US dollars. The ICT industry still has great potential. Standing at the threshold of the intelligent world, we can see more opportunities than challenges for the ICT industry.

Looking ahead, Huawei will continue investing and innovating in three domains: connectivity, computing, and smart devices. We will work with customers, partners, standards organizations, and all other industry players in domains like supply chain, standards, and talent cultivation, to encourage open collaboration, promote inclusive industry development, and explore the future together.

Guo Ping stated, "Today the world is an integrated collaborative system. The trend of globalization shouldn't and will not likely be reversed. Fragmented standards and supply chains benefit no one, and further fragmentation will have a severe impact on the entire industry. The industry as a whole should work together to strengthen IPR protection, safeguard fair competition, protect unified global standards, and promote a collaborative global supply chain."

The first Huawei Global Analyst Summit took place in 2004, and has been held annually ever since. This year's summit runs from May 18 to 20, with a series of parallel sessions. Attendees include industry experts from around the world, who discuss and share their insights into industry trends, tech trends, and global collaboration.

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