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The Brazilian government has given Yoruba a pride of place among foreign languages spoken in the country.

NewsmakersNG was told in an exclusive interview with the Brazilian minister of culture, Dr Sérgio Sá leitão at the weekend in Brazil that the government has introduced the compulsory study of African History and Yoruba language into the primary and secondary schools curriculum.

The minister spoke at an event where the Institute of African Studies, University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil paraded important dignitaries including Nigerian artists and historians, as well as professors of arts and African studies at a lecture on the importance of Yoruba language in the Brazilian culture and tradition.

According to him, the inclusion of African History and Yoruba Language in the curriculum would help bring the closeness of the African Brazilian people to their roots and thus encourage the understandings of the language among other important languages in Brazil apart from Portuguese which is the official language.

The minister also mentioned the role played by Brazil during the festival of arts and culture, ‘FESTAC 77’, held in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977; the constant intercultural programmes between Nigeria and Brazil; the annual carnival of Arts, music and cultural displays featuring prominent African artists and Yoruba writers such as Yinka Shonibare, Adeyinka Olaiya, El Anatsui among many others, including the highly respected Yoruba writer, Professor Wande Abimbola.

Speaking at the event, Peruvian Nobel laureate, Prof. Mário Vargas Llosa also made mention of the African community in Peru where the African Peruvians are settled till date.

Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010, is known as one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading writers of his generation.

According to Vargas Llosa, Yoruba people and their culture have helped the universe, IFA has proven his existence in the beings of mankind right from the inception and IFA is still very much alive and needs to be recognized even more than it is today.

According to Prof Mário Vargas, the Yoruba language should no longer be approached as an ethnic language but a universal language that is alive in culture and tradition of the Africans and her roots around the universe.

Speaking in Yoruba and Portuguese, Prof Katiuscia Ribeiro of the Institute of African Studies drew attention to the African philosophical practices introducing the constant representation of the Yoruba culture and religion in the Brazilian traditional beliefs.

NewsmakersNG learnt that the Yoruba traditional religion today comes after the Catholic practices as the most improving religious practices in the South American country. Several houses of worships called “ILE ASE” are having the Yoruba culture, tradition and language as official, whenever the cults are declared open for the day. Babalawo, Iyalawo, Omo Awo, and Aborisa are all common Yoruba usages in the practice of the Yoruba religion called Candomblé in Brazil.

A Nigerian carnival artist, painter and illustrator, Adeyinka Olaiya, also expressed the benefits the Yoruba language would bring to the Brazilian culture if fully integrated into the Brazilian educational curriculum.

According to Olaiya, living in Salvador, Brazil, is like living in any of the western states of Nigeria where the Yoruba are predominantly located.

He said, “Most of the cultures and traditions in evidence in Brazil are all of the heritages brought along to the Latin American country by the majority Yoruba families, victims of the BARCO NEGREIROS, the NEGRO BOAT that forcefully brought the enslaved West Africans to Brazil in the 13th century. The Yoruba heritage that represents the majority of the African cultural practices in Brazil today is having several words in Yoruba roots. Akara, Dendê, Iyalode, Babalawo, Iyalawo and lots more are all derived from the Yoruba roots.”

-irohin oodua-

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OGUN LCDAs ASSURED OF ADEQUATE FUNDING

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The Ogun State government has reiterated its commitment to always make adequate provision for the sustainability of the newly created 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) through prompt payment of both Local Government staff and Primary School teachers salaries, arrears among others.
The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, through the Press Officer, Ministry Of Local Government And Chieftancy, Mrs. Oluwaseun Boye gave this reassurance while wrapping up the Treasury Board meeting on year 2019 budget, at the Obas’ complex conference hall in Abeokuta.
The Governor said apart from adequate welfare for local government staffers,  priority has also be given to the provision of basic infrastructure, which has helped in opening up the local communities to investors, noting that all on-going road projects would be completed before the end of this administration.
 He boasted that no state in the south west could match up with his administration in terms of infrastructural development, saying, ‘’gradually, we are getting there, I challenge any state that has done up to half of what we have done in Ogun state to come out”.
 Presenting his ministry’s 2019 budget proposal, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Jide Ojuko commended the government for prompt payment of Local government staff’s salaries as and when due, noting that, with the help of state government, all challenges encountered during the migration from 20 Local Governments to 57  Councils, were surmounted.
  On achievement, he noted that additional 40 monarchs and 2,706 village chiefs (Baales) were installed in the last three and half years, pointing out that the upgrading of Vigilante Service of Ogun State (VSO) to So-Safe Corps, had contributed to the peace and tranquillity been experienced in the State.
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Real Estate Reform Key to Propelling Economic Growth & Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria….Andrew Nevin

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As one of the keynote speakers at the 4th annual West Africa Property Investment Summit, Dr. Andrew Nevin, Partner and Chief Economist for PwC Nigeria shared high level insights ahead of the region’s leading property investment conference taking place on 15 & 16 November at the Eko Hotel, Lagos. Featuring more than 90 speakers and 500 delegates from over 200 companies, #WAPI2018 will set the agenda for West Africa’s real estate’s executives.

As a respected regional and global authority on Nigeria and West Africa, Dr. Nevin’s presentation is titled: THE GLOBAL VIEW ON GEOPOLITICS, OIL & MACRO-ECONOMICS: How are these impacting investment in West African Real Estate?

In an increasingly volatile world (Trump, China, Turkey and more), emerging markets have been significantly impacted. But the question which Dr. Nevin, will help Nigeria’s executives answer is how volatility, government policy and oil will impact investment and development in Nigeria?

Why is Real Estate fundamental to growing an economy?

Real estate makes up 60% of the world’s global assets and in developed countries, real estate buttresses the financial sector, enabling for the creation of asset backed loans and securities. Nigeria’s real estate system cannot work without a proper land registry; banks cannot lend against a property without evidence of ownership. The current land titling system is onerous and excludes many people from formal ownership. Based on these facts, real estate is one of the most critical sectors that if reformed will propel growth and alleviate poverty in Nigeria.

Global volatility and the local Real Estate Market?

Foreign exchange and inflation have stabilized in Nigeria amid emerging market pressures. However, crude reliance continues to leave Nigeria vulnerable to external shocks. This creates persistent uncertainty for investors in Nigeria, which is affecting all sectors in the economy, including real estate.

In urban areas, commercial real estate occupancy has declined as a result of low demand in an underperforming economy. Consequently, office rent has declined by 20% over the last 3 years in the high-end market [1], while co-working spaces are becoming more popular, consistent with the growing number of tech start-ups and entrepreneurs.

In the premium residential market, demand has shifted to less expensive semi-detached houses and apartments. There is also persistently huge demand for affordable housing in Nigeria. Nigeria’s population is set to exceed 250 million people by 2030 (roughly 50 million households), and by 2025, our housing deficit will be approximately 20 million [2]. We are not building enough houses for people to live in.

Global volatility has increased the oil price, which has benefitted the immediate public sector coffers, but is this a good thing? Some have argued that a lower oil price will drive economic reform, but won’t $70 – $80 oil keep reform at bay?

The economy is benefitting from rising oil prices. The reality is that Nigeria requires capital to invest in critical sectors and fund long-term structural changes. Over the last three years, we have seen government debt grow from 12% of GDP in 2015 to 20% in 2017. A further indication of the high demand for government revenue is the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which was implemented to grow tax revenue.

Failure to diversify the economy is a result of bad policies and poor implementation of good policies. Oil prices have fluctuated since the first quarter of 2016 (over 2 years ago) and we still have not achieved a diversified economy. There is no reason to believe that persistently low prices in the future will make this happen.

How have macro-development factors impacted the real estate sector – has there been less transactions, or investment, and has Nigeria bucked the trend?

The real estate sector has not seen positive growth since the start of the recession in 2016. The sector continues to lag behind overall growth, recording a growth rate of -3.88% in the second quarter 2018. Nevertheless, this is an improvement from the -9.4% growth of the preceding quarter.

The tight monetary environment – high interest rates and currency restrictions – are huge contributors to the slow growth in the real estate sector. Heavy government borrowing has crowded out the private sector, making it difficult to investors to finance the capital-intensive projects of the real estate sector. This issue reinforces the need for the government to undertake structural reforms that will improve capital stock and business environment.

If we look further ahead to 2019 – what are the major concerns going to be?

The 2019 elections will revolve around the economy. There is growing frustration over slow growth, high unemployment, low liquidity and poor infrastructure. Foreign investors who

have low confidence in the economy are also keeping close watch. Thus, the election outcome will have some effect on Nigeria’s economic health in the short run.

Over the last year, the ease of doing business has risen 25 places to rank 145 out of 190 countries, however, the absence of major reforms in infrastructure, power and land ownership will ultimately stifle advancements in improving the business environment in the long run.

Where do you see the investment case for Nigeria and the region in the next 12-18 months, and do you think we are about to see a continued growth curve?

In the absence of sweeping structural reforms, Nigeria will continue to experience slow growth through 2022. The critical takeaway here is that income per capita will decline each year over the next five years as population growth exceeds GDP growth, if no action is taken. Investor confidence will be largely determined by the elections and the ongoing security situation in Nigeria.

To register for West Africa’s largest real estate event, visit www.WAPISummit.com/register as seats are limited.

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CNN names U.S. Government Exchange Alumna in Top 10 Heroes List

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Cable News  Network (CNN), has named a 2017 alumna of the United States government-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), Ms. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, as one of the  Top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year.

Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s organization, Pearls Africa Foundation, which she founded in 2012, assists girls from underserved communities in Nigeria gain relevant technological skills to transform their lives. The beneficiaries get training in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python  and Scratch and visit tech companies to reinforce their  learning and broaden their horizons.

Her GirlsCoding project has reached more than 400 beneficiaries, including girls from orphanages and correctional homes, in addition to young women fleeing the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. The GirlsCoding project is being supported by the U.S. Consulate General Lagos.

In 2017,
Ajayi-Akinfolarin also founded Lady Labs Innovation Hub, a  female-focused tech centre which caters specifically to the technological needs  of female university students enrolled in the STEM fields of study and female entrepreneurs.

The graduate of  the University of Lagos participated in a three-week IVLP  exchange program focusing on “Education and Activism for Young Women.” The International Visitors Leadership Program is the U.S. State Department’s premier professional exchange  program.

CNN described
the 10 finalists as “remarkable trailblazers who have  truly changed the world.” Each Top 10 CNN Hero will be awarded $10,000 and the CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000. The honorees will also receive free
capacity-building training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide.

To vote and select the CNN Hero of the Year, visit: CNNHeroes.com

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