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AfDB President: Food, Energy and Health Security are Priorities for the Caribbean and Africa to Overcome Mutual Global Challenges

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#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2022 – Food security, energy security and health security are among the key building blocks needed to overcome the current global challenges which threaten to stymie development on both the African continent and in the Caribbean region.

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, shared this view as well as lessons for the Caribbean from the AfDB’s experiences, on Tuesday night in delivering the 2022 William G Demas Memorial Lecture.

The lecture, ‘Development in a Context of Global Challenges: Experiences and Lessons from the African Development Bank’, was part of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 52nd Annual Meeting, being held in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

With the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict negatively impacting energy prices, global supply chains and food security, Dr Adesina outlined how the AfDB had responded and continues to respond to these challenges.

Stating that the COVID-19 experience had shone a light on vaccine nationalism, overconcentration of capacity and inequities in global supply, the AfDB President underscored that in addition, “the global system of COVAX designed to provide vaccines for the developing countries failed developing countries.”

He highlighted the negative impact of this, stating:

The vaccination rate in low-income developing countries is only 16% compared to over 80% for developed economies. While the developed economies were coasting to economic recovery on the back of booster shots, African countries, as well as countries in the Caribbean and other low-income developing countries, were struggling to get basic shots.”

He noted that this has been further exacerbated due to intellectual property rights battles at the World Trade Organisation over Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) related to vaccines, an impasse which he said, “endangers lives at the expense of profits for pharmaceutical companies.”

In response, the AfDB is developing an African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation to provide IPR protection so that pharmaceutical companies can deliver vaccine manufacturing technology, knowledge and processes to pharmaceutical companies in Africa.

Dr Adesina emphasised: “Africa should no longer outsource the health security of its 1.3 billion (people) to the benevolence of others. And neither should the Caribbean.”

On the topic of food security, the AfDB President highlighted that in both the Caribbean and Africa, the negative impacts of climate change are felt in the agricultural sector and this, combined with looming shortages prompted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, threatens food security.

He spoke of how the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme has helped deliver climate smart seeds to farmers in several African countries and in so doing, has been able to get ahead of current wheat shortages. Under the TAAT programme, Sudan reduced wheat importation by 50% in two years, while Ethiopia was able to cut wheat imports altogether.

The AfDB also recently approved the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to help advance food security in the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

We all agreed it is time to support Africa to produce its food. It is time to have food sovereignty.  The same must apply to the Caribbean. A recent survey by CARICOM and the World Food Program shows that food insecurity has increased by 72% among the population of the English speaking Caribbean countries,” said Dr Adesina.

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Food aid cannot feed the Caribbean. Africa and the Caribbean need seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” he stressed.

Regarding energy security, the AfDB head insisted the first two priorities must be to “ensure access and affordability of electricity… Second, there must be security of supply.”

To that end, he highlighted the AfDB’s ongoing heavy investment in renewable energy, including the $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative in Africa’s Sahelian zone, which is set to become the world’s largest solar zone.

He also lauded the efforts of the Caribbean in pursuing renewable energy, noting:

The Caribbean region also has significant potential in renewable energy, and I applaud the efforts being made to unlock the potential. From the 50 MW El Soco Solar farm, worth $90 million, to Barbados’ plan to construct this year a $25 million, 10 MW solar plant located in Mangrove, St. Philip, to using wave energy to develop a 40 MW ocean commercial power park, to Jamaica’s plans to develop electric car charging stations, and the microgrid energy systems being developed by the British Virgin Islands.”

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Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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