The Brief: Chimamanda Receives PEN Pinter Prize Award, Microsoft Partners with First Bank, Ghana Launches The Census of Agriculture

In this week's roundup, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie receives the PEN Pinter Prize 2018 Award, Microsoft Nigeria partners with First Bank to support SMEs, and Ghana's President launches The Census of Agriculture.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Receives PEN Pinter Prize 2018 Award

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently received the PEN Pinter Prize for her literature and activism. The Director of English PEN Antonia Byatt praised the writer for producing work “that has travelled across many frontiers showing us what is important in the world.”

Internationally known for writing Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah and Dear Ijeawele (which is simultaneously known as A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions), Adichie’s tales take place in Nigeria and explores topics ranging from love, racism, immigration and familial relationships. An acclaimed and sophisticated writer, she creates vivid, outspoken, daring and vulnerable characters making her a deserving winner of the literary prize.

Maureen Freely, who was one of the judges on the panel, gave a statement which recognised the brilliance of Adichie’s work and role as a writer. “In this age of the privatised, marketised self, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the exception who defies the rule. In her gorgeous fictions, but just as much in her TED talks and essays, she refuses to be deterred or detained by the categories of others. Sophisticated beyond measure in her understanding of gender, race, and global inequality, she guides us through the revolving doors of identity politics, liberating us all”.

The author expressed her thoughts about winning the prize. “I admired Harold Pinter’s talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth, and I am honoured to be given an award in his name.”

The charity English PEN created the PEN Pinter Prize in 2009. The prize supports freedom of thought and promotes literature in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter. Every year, an exceptional writer from Britain, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth can win the prize.

The award ceremony will take place at the British Library on Tuesday, 9th October.

Microsoft Nigeria Collaborates With Nigeria’s First Bank to Give More Power to SMEs

Microsoft and First Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a means of supporting SMEs with resources, services and access to first-class content, networking opportunities, and capacity-building programmes.

The Deputy Managing Director of First Bank, Gbenga Shobo, made a statement about the company’s mission in relation to SMEs. “We are committed to the development of SMEs and ensuring their sustained business growth as well as providing the necessary tools to support that growth and Nigeria’s economy at large.” Similarly, the General Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, reiterated this development-focused approach of empowering SMEs.

The African Development Bank Will Invest $120 Million in Africa to Increase Productivity of Cassava and Other Commodities

The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans on investing $120 million in crops such as cassava, rice maize sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes over a period of two to three years.

Cassava is one of the cheapest commodities in Africa and it is vital for developing economies and nutrition in children as well as livestock. Considering this fact, the Minister of Agriculture for the Republic of Benin, Dr. Gaston Dossouhoui, said “addressing the constraints of cassava production in Africa will have a positive impact on African farmers.”

Ghana’s President Launches The Census of Agriculture

The Census of Agriculture has the aim of encouraging Ghanaians to use correct planning in the agricultural sector on a greater level.

Agriculture plays a significant role in Ghana.

According to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 50% of the population engage in agricultural activities and thus the industry must use proper data retainment practices for efficient planning.

The President stated that distribution of items such as fertilisers, fishing nets and tractors would require the right data before it can be ordered and allocated to farmers. Data collection allows for accurate monitoring and organisation of the agriculture sector.

The last census took place in 1983.

Sierra Leone: The Ministry of Energy and Finance Sign New Karpower Ship Agreement

The Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja, and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa, signed the two-year Karpower Ship agreement.

Previously, the Government signed an agreement with Karpower International in 2017. However, the tariff agreement would have made the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) dependant on government subsidies. The subsidies would have affected government spending on social sector sectors Ishida as health and education

The renegotiated terms mean that the tariff is 16.4 USc/KWh instead of 19.596 USc/KWh. The Government would save approximately US$9 million annually.