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Building Resilience: Six Simple Climate Solutions for Big Impact in Nigeria

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By Grace Oluchi Mbah, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Climate Action Africa

Nigeria, a nation brimming with potential, faces a significant challenge: climate change. In 2023, Nigeria actually recorded a decline in rainfall to about 1061 millimeters (mm) compared to 2022, which was about 1137.078 millimeters (mm).

Grace Oluchi Mbah, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Climate Action Africa

These erratic rainfall patterns, combined with rising sea levels of 0.5 meters, could force 27-53 million Nigerians who live along the coast to relocate by the end of the century. These factors are driving adverse climate effects that are already being felt.

But amidst these challenges lie opportunities. Here, we explore six simple yet impactful climate solutions that Nigerian communities can adopt to build resilience and secure a sustainable future.

1. Embrace Climate-Smart Agriculture: Nigeria is a developing economy with a 2022 statistics of an estimated population of 88.4 million people who live in extreme poverty. Agriculture can be a solution to the poverty experienced by a majority in Nigeria. According to the World Bank, investing in the agricultural sector is more effective at raising incomes among the world’s poorest. Still, traditional farming methods in Nigeria are often vulnerable to droughts and floods.

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) offers a solution. CSA is a set of farming methods that is aimed at increasing the resilience and productivity of the land affected by climate change. Practices like using drought-resistant crop varieties, practicing water-saving irrigation techniques like drip irrigation, and incorporating cover crops to improve soil health all contribute to a more resilient agricultural system. By adopting CSA techniques, Nigerian farmers can not only protect their livelihoods but also become part of the climate solution. It is important to note that Climate Smart Agriculture is a solution to the many problems caused by climate shocks but not a final solution to climate change.

2. Plant Trees, Reap the Rewards: The United Nations places Nigeria as the highest with a deforestation rate in the world, with an estimated 3.7% of its forest lost every year. Expanding agriculture and logging; both illegal and legal are some of the causes of deforestation in Nigeria. Still, it is imperative to understand that forests play a vital role in regulating climate.

Interestingly, in 2023, some of the States in Nigeria were involved in tree-planting initiatives. There is still a lot that needs to be done. Nigeria could take a cue from Ethiopia that accomplished an exceptional feat in 2019 when they planted 350 million trees within 12 hours. Large-scale tree planting initiatives can create green corridors, improve air quality, and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts.  Planting trees also provides economic benefits. Programs that encourage community involvement in tree planting, with benefits like carbon credits or fruit production, can create a sense of ownership and ensure the long-term success of these initiatives.

3. Harness the Power of Nature: Harnessing solar energy technologies for generating electricity as an option for fossil fuel energy usage in Nigeria could prove to be a huge solution to climate change problems. The solar radiation potential in the northern and southern regions in Nigeria is given as 5.62 up to 7.01 and 3.54 up to 5.43 kWhm-2 respectively. Nigeria boasts abundant sunshine and investing in solar energy solutions like rooftop panels or community solar farms can significantly reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Solar power is not just environmentally friendly; it’s also reliable and cost-effective in the long run.  Government incentives and microloans can make solar technology more accessible, empowering individual households and businesses to become energy independent. Practical solutions are needed to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. A notable example is the “Nigeria Police Green Initiative” that was announced last year.

4. Waste Not, Want Not:  The challenge of having sanitary landfills in Nigeria is still a huge conversation when it comes to creating solutions for climate change problems. Most States in Nigeria still operate open dumping. Organic waste, when left to decompose in landfills, releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  Composting kitchen scraps and yard waste transforms this waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, perfect for boosting soil health in gardens and farms.  This simple practice reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers, promotes a circular economy, and mitigates climate change.

Landfills can also be areas that can be transformed into thriving green spaces that would be fit for the whole surrounding community to enjoy. Some examples are the Mucking Marshes Landfill in England that was transformed to Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia, USA, Qiaoyuan Park in China and Chambers Gully in Australia.

5. Embrace Sustainable Water Management:   Nigeria faces growing water scarcity. Inadequate access to water contributes to the water and sanitation crisis in Nigeria. According to the World Bank, approximately 70 million Nigerians do not have access to safe drinking water and 144 million do not have access to basic sanitation facilities.  One solution to the water crisis that affects climate change in Nigeria is to adopt sustainable water management.

Rainwater harvesting systems can capture and store precious rainwater for later use. This captured water can be used for irrigation, washing, or even drinking after proper treatment.  Promoting water-saving practices like fixing leaky faucets and taking shorter showers can further reduce pressure on freshwater resources.

6. Empowering Communities, Building Together:  The success of climate solutions hinges on community engagement.  Investing in education and awareness programs empowers communities to understand the threat of climate change and take ownership of solutions.  Supporting local NGOs and community leaders who are spearheading climate action initiatives is crucial.

These six solutions are just a starting point.  By adopting these practices and fostering a spirit of innovation, Nigerian communities can build resilience, mitigate the effects of climate change, and create a more sustainable future for generations to come.  The journey towards a climate-resilient Nigeria requires collaboration between government, businesses, and communities.  With collective action and a commitment to these simple yet impactful solutions, Nigeria can not only weather the storm of climate change but emerge stronger and more sustainable than ever before.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Blood Test Could Predict Parkinson’s 7 Years before Symptoms – AI Test

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A simple blood test could predict Parkinson’s disease seven years before symptoms appear, marking a “major step forward” in diagnosis of the condition.

Blood Test Could Predict Parkinson’s 7 Years before Symptoms – AI Test

Researchers believe early prediction and diagnosis would help in finding treatments that could slow or stop Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves.

The test uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the disease, which is caused by the death of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

When these nerve cells die or become impaired, they lose the ability to create a chemical called dopamine.

People with Parkinson’s are currently treated with dopamine replacement therapy after they have already developed symptoms, such as tremors or slowness of movement.

It is thought that early diagnosis and treatment would help protect the dopamine-producing brain cells.

Dr Michael Bartl, co-first-author of University Medical Centre Goettingen and Paracelsus-Elena-Klinik Kassel, alongside Dr Jenny Hallqvist, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said: “By determining eight proteins in the blood, we can identify potential Parkinson’s patients several years in advance.

“This means that drug therapies could potentially be given at an earlier stage, which could possibly slow down disease progression or even prevent it from occurring.”

Professor David Dexter, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “This research, co-funded by Parkinson’s UK, represents a major step forward in the search for a definitive and patient-friendly diagnostic test for Parkinson’s.

“Finding biological markers that can be identified and measured in the blood is much less invasive than a lumbar puncture, which is being used more and more in clinical research.”

The research found that when a branch of AI called machine learning analysed a panel of eight blood-based biomarkers whose concentrations are altered in patients with Parkinson’s, it could provide a diagnosis with 100% accuracy.

Professor Kevin Mills, senior author of UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: “As new therapies become available to treat Parkinson’s, we need to diagnose patients before they have developed the symptoms.

“We cannot regrow our brain cells and therefore we need to protect those that we have.

“At present we are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted and we need to start experimental treatments before patients develop symptoms.”

He added that with sufficient funding, it is hoped the test will be used by the NHS within two years.

The experts suggest that with further research this test could potentially distinguish between Parkinson’s and other conditions that have some early similarities.

The team also looked at whether the test could predict the likelihood of someone going on to develop Parkinson’s.

Blood from 72 patients with Rapid Eye Movement Behaviour Disorder (iRBD) was analysed as it is known that about 75% to 80% of these people will go on to develop a synucleinopathy – a type of brain disorder caused by the abnormal build-up of a protein called alpha-synuclein in brain cells – including Parkinson’s.

The patients were followed up over 10 years and researchers say the AI predictions have so far been correct, with the team correctly predicting 16 patients would go on to develop Parkinson’s and being able to do this up to seven years before the onset of any symptoms.

According to Parkinson’s UK, around one in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime, and there are 153,000 people already living with the condition.

The researchers are hoping to secure funding to create a simpler test where a drop of blood can be spotted on a card and posted to the lab to investigate if it can predict Parkinson’s even earlier than the seven years before the onset of symptoms in this study.

The research, which was funded by an EU Horizon 2020 grant, Parkinson’s UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research GOSH Biomedical Research Centre, and the Szeben-Peto Foundation, is published in Nature Communications.

 

 

 


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NAICOM Seeks Police Support on Enforcement of Motor Third-party Insurance

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has asked the support of the Nigeria Police Force in advancing the insurance industry road map particularly in the enforcement of Motor Third- Party Insurance.

Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, commissioner for Insurance(CFI) /CEO of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) made the request when he paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, at Louis Edet House, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Omosehin said the purpose of the visit was to seek an audience with the IGP and the management of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), who are critical stakeholders aligned with NAICOM’s vision, to achieve its mandate, particularly in the area of compulsory insurance enforcement.

During the visit, the Commissioner for Insurance requested collaboration to advance the Nigerian insurance sector roadmap. He emphasised that it is unlawful for individuals to drive on the road without valid motor insurance (3rd party), he noted that less than a quarter of the vehicles have valid motor insurance.

The CFI stated that the visit aimed to seek NPF’s collaboration to ensure the enforcement of compulsory 3rd party motor insurance, as mandated by law.

The CFI also highlighted that in 2023, the ECOWAS Brown card has been captured in the upgraded premium for 3rd party motor insurance cover by NAICOM, allowing insured vehicles to travel across the West African sub-region.

Additionally, he noted that the benefits attached to the 3rd party insurance had been increased to N3 million.

To further this initiative, the CFI underscored the need for digitisation platforms to authenticate the validity of vehicle insurance. He mentioned that this system is already being implemented by the Lagos State government.

The CFI requested the establishment of a team to collaborate with the Commission in conducting enforcement actions, asserting that the success of this initiative would be a significant achievement for Nigeria.

In response, the IGP assured the CFI of the Nigerian Police Force’s full support in enforcing compulsory 3rd party insurance. He announced that a team, headed by the DIG Operations, would be set up to oversee the enforcement of compulsory insurance.

 


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Report Explores Surge in Fintech Innovation in Africa

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A new report by BDO Africa has explored how transformative technology within the African Fintech landscape has the potential to shape a more inclusive and prosperous future for the continent.

According to the Africa Fintech report, Africa is witnessing a groundbreaking surge in Fintech innovation, rapidly unlocking a continent brimming with economic potential.

For businesses to capitalise on this transformative technology, specialised guidance to navigate the complexities of regulation, competition, and technological integration is required.

“With the Fintech market expected to be worth around $65 billion by 2030, it is crucial for businesses to understand the minutia associated with recent advancements, ongoing challenges, and regional variations in the sector.

“As leading advisors in the Fintech space, we have compiled this report to bring clarity to navigating the complexities of the market in the hopes of empowering more businesses to join the race.”

Nevellan Moodley, Head of Financial Services Advisory at BDO, says. The report takes a deep and insightful dive into topics such as trends, opportunities and challenges, regional dynamics and the distinct Fintech ecosystems of Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Africa, the importance of establishing clear and harmonised regulatory frame works that balance innovation, consumer protection, financial stability, and cybersecurity in ensuring the security and trustworthiness of Fintech systems.

“The African fintech space is growing exponentially, but the development of the fintech ecosystem is still in the early stages,” says Keshan Pillay, Associate Director: Financial Services Technology BDO.

“By breaking down Africa’s FinTech landscape and providing real insights around the high level of fragmentation per country, we are removing the barriers that could be holding businesses back and providing guidance on reaping the full economic benefit of this growing market,” Keshan added.

As the market matures, Africa is on a trajectory to becoming the next globally recognized Fintech hub. “We can say with confidence that although there is still quite the way to go, the current state of Fintech in Africa is on the right path.

“We have seen the opportunity and are intent on leveraging our expertise to get more businesses into a state of readiness so that they are empowered to offer more customised solutions for niche population segments that keeps them sustainably growing.

“We are thrilled to be playing an active role in the continent’s journey to revolutionizing the financial services industry as we know it,” concludes Moodley.


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