Saturday, October 31, 2009

Technorati: State of the Blogosphere

Technorati's State of the Blogosphere series chronicles the rise and evolution of the Blogosphere as we know it. Since 2004 we've seen explosive growth and maturing of this new arm of the fourth estate.
State of the Blogosphere 2009
State of the Blogosphere 2009

State of the Blogosphere 2008
State of the Blogosphere 2008

State of the Blogosphere 2007
State of the Live Web 2007 on founder Dave Sifry's blog

State of the Blogosphere, October 2006
Complete Report

State of the Blogosphere, August 2006
Complete Report

State of the Blogosphere, April 2006
Part 1, On Blogosphere Growth
Part 2, On Language and Tagging

State of the Blogosphere, February 2006
Part 1, On Blogosphere Growth
Part 2, Beyond Search

State of the Blogosphere, October 2005 (This report was truncated):
Part 1, On Blogosphere Growth

State of the Blogosphere, August 2005:
Part 1, Blog Growth
Part 2, Posting Volume
Part 3, Tags and Tagging
Part 4, Spam and Fake Blogs
Part 5, The A-List and the Long Tail

State of the Blogosphere, March 2005:
Part 1, Growth of Blogs
Part 2, Posting Volume
Part 3, The A-List and the Long Tail
Part 4, The Underlying Data Set

State of the Blogosphere, October 2004:
Part 1, Blogosphere Size
Part 2, Posting Volume
Part 3, Big Media vs. Blogs
Part 4, Corporate Bloggers

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nigeria: The Abyss of Ignorance in the Land of Fools

I stood with the vendors under the flyover at the Obafemi Awolowo Road roundabout in Ikeja, Lagos. I was waiting for Kazeem the Chairman of the vendors to bring copies of a magazine we needed for our advert executives. I loved to watch the rush hours of the morning and evening as commuters hurry to their different destinations. Most of them seemed ill at ease and I did not blame these people who are traumatized by the irony of living in the most populous country in Africa with abundant human and mineral resources but ranked among the poorest of the poor in the world. Nigerians are in the turmoil that would be best dramatized as Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomie.

The manufacturing industry has collapsed and many of the leading banks have crashed in the meltdown of the Nigerian Capital market and aptly illustrated by the prolific Nigerian novelist Bisi Daniels as a tower of Babel.. The shocking report that over 20 million Nigerian youths are unemployable and they are even ignorant of this fact and have chosen to wallow in the troubled waters in resignation of their fate in the hands of their brazenly corrupt rulers whose sons and daughters and arse-kissers continue posing and posturing with their false airs and graces in Nigeria, but cannot walk tall among "The real McCoy" in the developed countries. Even the only Nigerian bank that seemed to have escaped my danger list Skye Bank Plc has just admitted that it had swung to a 12.63 billion naira ($85 million) pretax loss in the 12 months to Sept. 30, compared with a pretax profit of 20.42 billion naira in the same period last year.

Inside Lagos city

It was Karl Maier Who saw it all in This House Has Fallen: Midnight in Nigeria, but as I feared, the sick patient refused to accept the diagnosis of his crisis and chose hemorrhaging instead of taking the bitter pills. And millions of her equally ignorant retards prefer to waste their time chasing shadows on Facebook that they are abusing and misusing as a dating site and are really clueless on why Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and his Harvard classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes created and launched it on February 4, 2004.

Well, what can these millions of the vacuous youths do in a nation sinking in the abyss of ignorance?

I do really feel sorry for them as I see them hanging around and loitering with their cell-phones and sagging pants with their heads in the clouds while their visionless rulers in their stinking corridors of power bury their heads in the sand like ostriches. I wonder how many of the millions of them on Facebook have even attempted to develop applications on the Facebook Platform. How many of them can compare themselves to the First Class scholar Reuben Abati who had his Ph.D at 24 and Ben Okri who won the Booker Prize for his classic novel The Famished Road when he was 32 and many of us who were already authors and editors of national newspapers and magazines when were in our early 20s. I do feel sorry for them, because they are wasting away as they are celebrating their ignorance and mediocrity in their banal Hip-hop songs and pornographic videos, but cannot mention three books they have read since January to date. A generation of Intellectual morons? No. They are the Lotus-eaters of a generation sinking and wasting in the the abyss of ignorance in the land of fools.

Obafemi Awolowo Road, Ikeja, Lagos.

The greedy political contractors in power are misplacing our priorities and scuttling the great prospects of the innovations developed by the Nigerian intelligentsia of gifted artists, scientists and scholars who have proposed practical solutions to the problems plaguing the nation.

Millions of Nigerians say that Nigeria was better under military rule and have recalled that even though the country was bad under military tyrants, the corrupt shareholders of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) have made things worse.

It is unfortunate that the majority of the youths have decided to join in the rat race of the crooks and rogues and careless about nation building.
The youths must stop fooling themsleves by aping the Joneses and take up the challenges of the 21st century as the visionary youths of the Asian Tigers are doing and they are making great progress in the world.

Our destinies are not in the stars, but in our own hands.

Indian Businessman to Lead Rotary as its 101st President

29 Oct 2009 22:28 Africa/Lagos

Indian Businessman to Lead Rotary as its 101st President

EVANSTON, Illinois, October 29/PRNewswire/ --

- Banerjee will target polio eradication as his top priority

Kalyan Banerjee, a businessman from Gujarat, India, will become president of Rotary International -- one of the largest humanitarian service organizations in the world -- on 1 July 2011. As president, Banerjee will lead a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders from more than 200 countries and geographical regions who, through volunteer service, help meet the needs of communities worldwide.

Banerjee, a member of Rotary since 1972, and the international organization's third president from India said, "I am honored to lead Rotary as its 101st president." Banerjee added that Rotary's strengths include its ability to attract leaders from different vocations around the world, as well as its role in promoting peace. "My goal is for Rotary to become the preferred organization for today's generation to join and participate in, to make the world better, safer and happier," he said.

As president, Banerjee will oversee Rotary's top priority of eradicating polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in Africa and Asia -- including India. Since 1985, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than US$800 million and countless volunteer hours to the effort, and Rotary is now working to raise an additional US$200 million to fulfill its commitment for a US$355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Great progress has been made, and the incidence of paralytic polio infection has plunged worldwide from 350,000 cases in 1988 to fewer than 2,000 in 2008.

As one of the four remaining polio endemic countries, which also include Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, India's fight against polio remains strong with the volunteer and financial support of more than US$106 million from Rotary. In addition, Rotary's sustained political, bureaucratic and religious advocacy efforts at national, state and district levels have made a discernible impact on the program in India. As the past chair of the Southeast Asia Regional PolioPlus Committee and member of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee, Banerjee spearheaded many of Rotary's novel initiatives, which have given a new push to the polio eradication program in India. To learn more about polio eradication, visit or

Rotary also sponsors the largest privately funded international scholarship program in the world. Since 1947, Rotary has contributed roughly US$500 million to fund a year of study abroad for 38,000 students from 100 countries. These cultural ambassadors use the skills and knowledge they acquire through their time abroad to advance the cause of international understanding, goodwill, and peace. Rotary also sponsors seven Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution at eight leading universities in six different countries.

Banerjee is a director of United Phosphorus Limited, the largest Indian agrochemical manufacturer, and the chair of United Phosphorus (Bangladesh) Limited. He is a member of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Chemical Society, a past president of Vapi Industries Association, and former chair of the Gujarat chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Banerjee and his wife, Binota, have two children and four grandchildren.

Source: Rotary International

A. C. Peter (India), +91-98-111-11833,, Benjamin Cherian (India) at +91-44-24341079,, both for Rotary International; Howard Chang (U.S.A.) of Rotary International, +1-847-866-3408,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top 10 Nigerian Websites

1. Nairaland, the Nigerian Forum
A big, broad discussion forum for Nigerians. Covers dozens of topics including jobs
Main site for product information, support, and news.

2. Vanguard
Online version of a Nigerian daily newspaper covering general national news, politics, business, sports, entertainment, fashion,lifestyle human interest stories and the Niger Delta region, etc.

3. The Sun News Online
A Nigerian newspaper with a penchant for ‘British Tabloid’ styled journalism. The paper and its online version lean strongly towards entertainment, politics and other semi-dramatic local stories.

4. Nigeria Galleria :: Nigeria Information Portal
Nigeria information portal. Business directory, jobs and vacancies, news, finance, marketplace, country guide, upcoming events, forums, health and lifestyle, inspiration etc

5. The Guardian
Independent daily newspaper published in Nigeria. Site contains articles from the printed version.

6. Nigerian jobs, vacancies, employment, careers community - Naijahotjobs

7. ThisDay newspaper
An online version of a Nigerian daily newspaper. Contains news, with an emphasis on politics.


Visit NBF Nigeria Forum for your Latest Free Job Search, Social Networking, Business Connections, make new friends, Create your own blog, upload photos, upload video and many more...


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U.S. Special Envoy Gration to Travel to Turkey, Nigeria, and Sudan

28 Oct 2009 20:55 Africa/Lagos

U.S. Special Envoy Gration to Travel to Turkey, Nigeria, and Sudan

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Office of the Spokesman

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration will travel to Istanbul, Turkey; Abuja, Nigeria; and Khartoum and Juba, Sudan from October 27 to November 2, 2009.

Special Envoy Gration will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, to attend a meeting of the Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. Special Envoy Gration will discuss the current situation in Sudan with the Elders and update them on U.S. efforts to support peace and stability in Darfur and fully implement the CPA. The Elders is comprised of Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando H Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, and honorary Elders Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Special Envoy Gration will attend the opening session of the African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council in Abuja, Nigeria and will be present for the release of the report of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur by former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. On the margins of the AU meeting, the Special Envoy will also hold bilateral discussions with several of the African heads of state present in Abuja for the AU Peace and Security Council meeting. Special Envoy Gration will additionally participate in a meeting of the E6, comprising the envoys to Sudan from China, the European Union, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Special Envoy Gration will then travel to Khartoum and Juba, Sudan, where he will continue bilateral discussions with the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on resolving the outstanding issues of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation.

Source: US Department of State

Gifts to Charity to Honor the 40th Anniversary of the Internet

29 Oct 2009 01:18 Africa/Lagos

Kevin Kimberlin, Chairman of Spencer Trask, will be featured along with Arianna Huffington and Internet creator Leonard Kleinrock at a special celebration marking the 40th year of the Internet. JOIN UCLA's celebration on October 29th online with UCLA's live feed at

Gifts to Charity to Honor the 40th Anniversary of the Internet

Spencer Trask & Co., the network of private equity investors, teams with for unique giving opportunity on October 29, 2009

GREENWICH, Conn., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Spencer Trask & Co., the leading private investment firm discovering and developing ideas to shape the 21st century, will join Leonard Kleinrock, the founder of the Internet, to honor the 40th anniversary of the Internet at a day long event at UCLA on October 29th, 2009.Members of the Spencer Trask network have been encouraged to make a financial gift to the charity of their choice in recognition of the impact the Internet has had on our global awareness and collaborative action. Spencer Trask has joined forces with the website to make a charitable donation in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Internet an easy online offers electronic invitations with a "donate now" button associated with the charity of the party host's choice. Guests are asked to make a donation in lieu of bringing a gift. There are no fees and all donations are 100% tax deductible. partners with and to offer access to 1.8 million charities, and has been featured on the Today Show and Don Tapscott, the author of the bestseller Wikinomics and internationally renowned authority on the strategic impact of information technology on innovation, announced his gift to in his Huffington Post entry today, "A Personal Card to the Internet. Happy 40th Birthday!". A member of the Spencer Trask & Co. network, Mr. Tapscott wrote, "I'm hopeful others will send similar presents as well." Kevin Kimberlin, Chairman of Spencer Trask & Co. and the Angel Investor who commercialized the wave division multiplexing technology that opened up the lanes of the data superhighway, will be speaking at a special event at UCLA along with Leonard Kleinrock, the recognized "Father of the Internet." Mr. Kimberlin says, "Even after 40 years, the consequences and impact of the Internet on collaboration and innovation remain limitless. I encourage all those who value the Internet to honor its 40th birthday and its founders by using the event as a reason to donate to the charity of their choice through"

Source: Spencer Trask & Co.

CONTACT: Mary Thigpen, Spencer Trask & Co., +1-212-326-9200,,; Jennifer Falvey, Managing
Director,, +1-203-966-0444,

Web Site:


Monday, October 26, 2009

South Africa Tops Prosperity Rankings in Africa

26 Oct 2009 14:00 Africa/Lagos

South Africa Tops Prosperity Rankings in Africa, While Zimbabwe and Sudan Rank Bottom in the World, Finds the Legatum Prosperity Index

LONDON, October 26/PRNewswire/ --

- Strong Communities, Personal Freedom and Democratic Institutions are the Recipe for Success in South Africa and Botswana; Poor Governance, Dire Health Conditions and Low Levels of Internal Security Drag Down the Rest

The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published today, ranks 104 countries (covering 90% of the world's population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life. Thanks to strong communities and democratic institutions, South Africa is the highest ranked sub-Saharan African nation, placed 51st, closely followed by Botswana at 56th. The majority of African countries rank in the bottom 15 with the Central African Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe ranked dead last at 101st, 103rd, and 104th respectively.

"The Legatum Prosperity Index is the world's only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing," said Dr. William Inboden, Senior Vice President of the Legatum Institute. "The lowest ranking African countries show a clear link between a lack of effective government structures, high levels of internal conflict, and a lack of personal freedom, all of which contribute towards low levels of prosperity," he continued. "However, for African countries pursuing greater prosperity, there are clear and positive signals in success stories such as South Africa and Botswana which demonstrated considerable economic growth over the last few years as well as improved governmental structure, and the promotion of civil liberties - the building blocks for prosperity." concluded Dr. Inboden.

Key Findings from the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index

- Finland tops the Index, followed by Switzerland, Sweden, and
Denmark; the United States is 9th and the United Kingdom is 12th.

- The low rankings of Sub-Saharan African countries such as Kenya,
Nigeria and Zimbabwe can be linked to a combination of poor
governance, dire health conditions and low levels of internal security.

- In Botswana, improved governmental structure and the promotion of
civil liberties are key to the countries good ranking, with 84%
of citizens confident in the fairness of the judicial system, and 91%
believing that the country's political elections are honest. However,
the very low health rank, attributed to the deep impact of the AIDS
epidemic on the country, pulls it down.

- Zimbabwe ranked inside the bottom three in five separate areas:
Economic Fundamentals, Health, Safety and Security, Governance, and
Personal Freedom.

- Mali and Nigeria rank within the top 16 countries globally
for social capital. In fact, most Sub-Saharan African countries rank
inside the top third globally in this area thanks to the high degree
of religiosity in Africa, where African countries take six of the
top 10 places.

- All but two Sub-Saharan African countries rank within the
bottom 25% of the rankings for entrepreneurship and innovation.

- Mozambique ranks lowest globally for education.

- The Central African Republic ranks lowest globally for both
entrepreneurship and innovation and health.

- Zimbabwe ranks lowest globally for economic fundamentals and

- Both Botswana and Ghana are in the top third globally for
levels of personal freedom.

- Mali is the most safe and secure Sub-Saharan African country ranking
43rd in this area while Sudan is the least secure Sub-Saharan African
country ranking 103rd globally.

- Six of the 11 lowest ranking countries for safety and
security are Sub-Saharan African.

The Index identified nine key factors that drive economic growth and personal wellbeing, which are foundations of prosperity. Each of these nine factors is represented in a sub-index and a country's final Prosperity Index ranking is generated by averaging its scores across all nine sub-indexes, equally weighted. More information on the Prosperity Index, including full country rankings, background on data and methodology, and profiles of each country can be found at

Notes to Editors:

About the Legatum Prosperity Index

The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index is based on statistical analysis of more than 40 years of data for more than 100 countries worldwide, produced and supervised by the Legatum Institute, with input from the research consultancy Oxford Analytica and a panel of respected academic advisors in the fields of economics, history, development, sociology, and political science.

2009 Legatum Prosperity Index Rankings


1. Finland 51. South Africa
2. Switzerland 55. Botswana
3. Sweden 64. Mali
4. Denmark 67. Namibia
5. Norway 71. Tunisia
6. Australia 83. Ghana
7. Canada 84. Senegal
8. Netherlands 85. Morocco
9. United States 88. Egypt
10. New Zealand 89. Mozambique
11. Ireland 92. Zambia
12. United Kingdom 96. Algeria
13. Belgium 97. Kenya
14. Germany 98. Tanzania
15. Austria 99. Nigeria
16. Japan 100. Cameroon
17. France 101. Central African Republic
18. Hong Kong 103. Sudan
19. Spain 104. Zimbabwe
20. Slovenia


95. Kenya
96. Algeria
97. Tanzania
98. Nigeria
99. Pakistan
100. Cameroon
101. Central African Republic
102. Yemen
103. Sudan
104. Zimbabwe

How the Index is constructed

The Prosperity Index accounts for 90 percent of the world's population, using a combination of objective data and subjective responses to surveys. This data comprises 79 different variables, and each is then distilled into one of the nine different sub-indexes identified as a foundation of prosperity. A country's performance in each sub-index is given a score, and the overall Prosperity Index rankings are produced by averaging the equally-weighted scores of the 9 sub-indexes for each country. Those countries that perform well across each sub-index score highest in the overall rankings.

The nine foundations of prosperity that define successful nations include:

- Economic Fundamentals - a growing, sound economy that
provides opportunities for wealth creation
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation - an environment friendly to new
enterprises and the commercialisation of new ideas
- Education - an accessible, high-quality educational system that
fosters human development
- Democratic Institutions - transparent and accountable governing
institutions that promote economic growth
- Governance - an honest and effective government that preserves
order and encourages productive citizenship
- Health - the physical well-being of the populace
- Personal Freedom - the degree to which individuals can choose the
course of their lives
- Security - a safe environment in which people can pursue opportunity
- Social Capital - trustworthiness in relationships and strong

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an independent policy, advocacy and advisory organisation. The Institute's mission is to research and promote the principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of human liberty and wellbeing.

For more information about the Legatum Institute, please visit

The Institute is part of the Legatum Group, a private global investment organization focused on investing in the international capital markets and the promotion of sustainable development.

For more information about the Legatum Group, please visit

Media Enquiries

William Inboden, Legatum Institute
Telephone: +44-20-7148-5400

Nick Wood, Media Intelligence Partners
Telephone +44-20-3008-8146

Dubai, UAE
Hamish Banks, Legatum
Telephone: +971-4-317-5800

Nicole Anwer, Legatum
Telephone: +971-4-317-5800

New York
Michael Iacovella, Edelman
Telephone +1-212-704-8254

Arwa Husain, Adfactors PR
Telephone +91-22-2281-3565

Source: Legatum

Media Enquiries: London: William Inboden, Legatum Institute, Telephone: +44-20-7148-5400,; Nick Wood, Media Intelligence Partners, Telephone +44-20-3008-8146, Email:; Dubai, UAE: Hamish Banks, Legatum, Telephone: +971-4-317-5800, Email:; Nicole Anwer, Legatum, Telephone: +971-4-317-5800, Email:; New York: Michael Iacovella, Edelman, Telephone +1-212-704-8254, Email:; Mumbai: Arwa Husain, Adfactors PR, Telephone +91-22-2281-3565, Email:


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nigerian Government Must Arrest Sudanese President During Visit

Amnesty International has called on Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua to arrest the Sudanese President Omar al Bashir during his visit to Nigeria since he has been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan.

The full report is contained in a press release Amnesty International issued on Friday October 23, 2004.

23 Oct 2009 13:17 Africa/Lagos

Nigeria / Government must arrest Sudanese President during visit

ABUJA, October 23, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Amnesty International today revealed that Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has issued an invitation to Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to visit Nigeria even though President al Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The invitation is for President Omar al Bashir to attend an African Union Peace and Security Council meeting in Abuja, scheduled to begin on Thursday, 29 October 2009.

Amnesty International said that it learned about the still-secret invitation from several reliable sources.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to present a report on the situation in Darfur at the meeting.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has apparently given assurances that President Omar al Bashir will not be arrested if he comes to Nigeria.

“He is an international fugitive from justice, charged with responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes against Africans. It would be shameful of Nigeria to offer him safe haven,” said Kolawole Olaniyan, Amnesty International's Africa Legal Adviser.

“The Nigerian government has an unconditional legal obligation to arrest President Omar al Bashir and hand him over to the ICC should he enter Nigerian territory. Any failure to do this is a failure to fulfil obligations under international law and may amount to obstruction of justice.”

An arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir was issued by the ICC on 4 March 2009.
“The Nigerian government must act for the sake of thousands of victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur,” said Kolawole Olaniyan.

Nigeria is a party to the treaty establishing the ICC and is obliged without exception to cooperate with the ICC and arrest and surrender anyone named in an arrest warrant to the ICC. If it fails to do so, the ICC can refer this clear violation of Nigeria's obligations to the Security Council under Article 87 (7) of that treaty.

Notes to editors:

- President Omar al Bashir was invited by UgandanPresident Yoweri Museveni to this week's African Union summit on refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in Kampala. Following protests by NGOs, including Amnesty International, President Omar al Bashir did not attend the meeting.

- Since the ICC issued the arrest warrant on 4 March 2009, President al Bashir has visited seven states (Eritrea, Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe), none of which are parties to the ICC treaty.

- Although the African Union has urged states not to cooperate with the ICC in enforcing this arrest warrant, several states parties to the ICC treaty, including Botswana, Brazil and South Africa, have indicated that they would fulfil their legal obligations and arrest him if were to enter their countries.

- Nigeria has a contingent of armed forces serving in the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

- Article 86 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court requires states parties to “cooperate fully with the Court in its investigation and prosecution of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

- Article 87 (7) of the Rome Statute provides: “Where a State Party fails to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court contrary to the provisions of this Statute, thereby preventing the Court from exercising its functions and powers under this Statute, the Court may make a finding to that effect and…,where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council.”

- Many African civil society groups have supported the call for Pres. al Bashir to be arrested and surrendered to the ICC.

Source: Amnesty International

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Volkswagen Becomes First Auto Manufacturer To Launch a Car Exclusively on a Mobile Device

All-new Volkswagen 2010 GTI Launches Through Real Racing GTI App (PRNewsFoto/Volkswagen of America, Inc.) HERNDON, VA UNITED STATES 20091021T00:00:00-04:00 0-04:00
Six U.S. Players of the Real Racing GTI App Can Compete to Win One of Six Limited-Edition, Fully-Customized 2010 GTIs. (PRNewsFoto/Volkswagen of America, Inc.) HERNDON, VA UNITED STATES 20091021T00:00:00-04:00 0-04:00

22 Oct 2009 13:00 Africa/Lagos

Volkswagen Becomes First Auto Manufacturer To Launch a Car Exclusively on a Mobile Device

Free Real Racing GTI Game Brings Volkswagen All-New 2010 GTI to iPhone(R) and iPod touch(R) Six U.S. Players Will Each Win One of Six Customized Limited-Edition GTI MkVI Vehicles Through December 2

HERNDON, Va., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced the launch of the all-new 2010 GTI via the App Store by making available a free version of the popular Firemint Real Racing game that exclusively features the all-new 2010 GTI. This is the first time an automotive manufacturer has used the App Store to launch a new vehicle. Additionally, users of the Real Racing GTI App in the U.S. can compete for the chance to win one of six, limited-edition 2010 GTIs that are fully-customized inside and out.

(Photo: )
(Photo: )

The free Real Racing GTI App is available worldwide and spares no detail, allowing players to experience every thrilling aspect of the all-new 2010 GTI right in the palms of their hands on iPhone and iPod touch. From the redesigned exterior with more aggressive headlights and the famous red-striped grille, to the sporty interior with a race-inspired steering wheel, the all-new 2010 GTI races its way to life on the screen for a thrilling gaming experience.

"With the personalization of media and the challenges inherent with reaching constantly connected consumers, we tasked ourselves to rethink the way we launch vehicles in order to engage our consumers in a meaningful way," said Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "The GTI customer is a tech-savvy consumer who enjoys social networking, playing games and spending time on mobile devices - most often an iPhone. Launching the all-new 2010 GTI via the Real Racing GTI App allows us to connect with this savvy GTI consumer within his or her everyday life in a way that no 30-second spot ever could."

U.S.-registered players enjoying the action of the Real Racing GTI App will be challenged to put their skills to the test for a chance to win one of six limited-edition 2010 GTI models. The more they play, the more chances they have to win. Each week for six consecutive weeks beginning today, one player will be chosen to win the ultimate racing prize: the exclusive GTI MkVI, an individually-numbered, specially-tuned version of the legendary hatchback. Each model includes the GTI's 2.0T 200hp four-cylinder engine, a performance tuned suspension finished with black, Volkswagen motorsport 18-inch all-new wheels, and special interior touches, including carbon fiber-look trim, a numbered dash plaque, and unique stitching in the front headrests. For more information on the competition please visit:

Given the ever-increasing prominence of social networking in the lives of the games' target consumers, Real Racing GTI includes several features designed to foster social connectivity. These include the ability of players to send messages to their competitors via Twitter and to capture and upload videos of their best laps to the game's YouTube channel for international bragging rights. Additionally, GTI MkVI buyers will also be able to configure their vehicles, modeled after the six prize cars, at participating Volkswagen dealerships throughout the U.S.

The Real Racing GTI App is available for free from the App Store on the iPhone and iPod touch or at No purchase is necessary to enter the contest, which officially ends on December 2 at 11:59PM.

For more about the 2010 Volkswagen GTI, the Real Racing GTI game, and an in-depth look at the six GTI prize editions that are waiting to hit the streets, please visit

About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Through its Volkswagen division, VWGoA sells the Golf, GTI, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Eos, Passat, Passat Wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2010 Volkswagen models come standard-equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program. This is important because the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt. Visit Volkswagen of America online at or to learn more.

About Firemint

Firemint creates fun, addictive games. The studio has worked with the industry's leading publishers developing over 30 titles from notable franchises as well as originals. Firemint's first self-published iPhone game Flight Control has been a world-wide #1 App Store hit. Firemint's second self-published iPhone game, the high-end 3D pro racing title Real Racing, has been critically acclaimed as a triumph for the platform. Founded in 1999 by CEO Robert Murray, Firemint is located in Melbourne, Australia's games development hub, and employs 35 people. For more information about Firemint, please visit

AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN2 3
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

CONTACT: Mya Walters of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.,

Web Site:


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Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima
The Publisher/Editor
October 22, 2009.
Lagos, Nigeria.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NBK Partners with Visa and Zain to Launch the First EMV-Chip Compliant NFC Mobile Payment Trial in the Middle East

20 Oct 2009 23:08 Africa/Lagos

NBK Partners with Visa and Zain to Launch the First EMV-Chip Compliant NFC Mobile Payment Trial in the Middle East

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest bank in Kuwait and Visa Inc, the world's leading payment solution provider have partnered with Zain the leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa to launch the first Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment trial in the GCC, using NFC enabled Nokia 6212 devices.

The six month pilot will take place from October 2009 to April 2010 using NFC software technology provided by ViVOtech. Registration will be open from October 2009 for interested NBK customers to participate in the trial. To register for the trial, customers will visit NBK website and follow the registration instructions.

The trial will allow 500 selected NBK cardholders to download their Zain Visa credit card account details directly to their Nokia 6212 classic handset over the Zain network. Once the account has been personalized on the phone, customers can then begin to make purchases at any one of the 100 merchant partner outlets at Kuwait's largest mall, The Avenues by simply passing a Nokia mobile phone over the Visa payWave reader at the point of sale. The trial uses the same EMV technology which protects all NBK credit and debit cards.

There are three milestone innovations occurring within this trial. The concept of 'smart posters' will be introduced to consumers, allowing them to collect retail offers that can be immediately redeemed for purchases at partner outlets simply by tapping their mobile phone against the poster. Secondly, customers and trial participants will be able to download a free Visa prepaid card by tapping the phone on a smart poster. Thirdly, participants with a credit card and a pre paid card, will also have the option to choose to pay from either cards from their phone at the point of sale, allowing greater on the go flexibility and convenience.

Purchases will be charged directly to the customer's NBK Zain Visa credit card or Visa prepaid card account just as they would be with a traditional card payment. Payments initiated with a mobile phone benefit from the same security as all NBK Visa card transactions, making mobile payWave a fast, reliable and secure method of purchasing goods. ViVOtech, the market leader in contactless/NFC payment software, is providing the underlying technology, including the NFC wallet, over-the-air (OTA) card provisioning software, smart posters and the mobile coupon application.

Shaikha Khalid Al Bahar, NBK Deputy Chief Executive Officer said, "NBK is proud to launch the first EMV Chip compliant NFC Visa payWave mobile payment trial in the Middle East. We strive to offer the best and most comprehensive financial services to all our customers, as well as being at the forefront adopting cutting edge technology to enhance services and develop innovative products. Partnering with Visa and Zain has given us a strong platform from which to launch this innovative mobile payWave payment trial for our customers. We are pleased that our customers can benefit from the ease and convenience of paying for their everyday items with their everyday device and also enjoy dynamic retail offers through smart posters while still enjoying the same level of security that a NBK Visa card transaction provides".

Kamran Siddiqi General Manager for GCC, Levant, Iraq and Pakistan from Visa said, "As the shift from cash to electronic payment methods continues, Visa is extending its products and services through the mobile channel to deliver fast, efficient and safe mobile payments and related services. We are very excited to have partnered with NBK and Zain to introduce this first trial in the GCC market and are looking forward to deploying it to NBK customers in Kuwait. Recent Visa market research reveals that nearly 80% of Kuwaitis polled were very interested in the idea of having mobile payWave on their phones. We therefore believe that the NBK Visa mobile payWave will appeal to Kuwaiti consumers who are eager to adopt new innovations and technology which brings greater convenience and choice to their lives.

Khalid AlHajery, CEO of Zain Kuwait, said: "This exclusive agreement is in line with Zain's ongoing effort to offer the best and the latest technology to its growing customer base. Mobile phones are no longer merely devices for making and receiving calls, instead continuous investment in innovation has meant that mobile phones are increasingly becoming a platform for new technology such as proximity payments".

Through this pilot, NBK, Visa and Zain will gather user insight across a wide range of parameters that include customer acceptance of making contactless transactions through mobile NFC, customer card preference between credit and Visa prepaid while making a payment and tracking of response to NFC-enabled smart posters and coupon redemptions.

About National Bank of Kuwait (NBK):

NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. NBK reported profits of USD 925 million (KD 255 million) for 2008, among the highest in the Arab world. NBK's total assets were USD 43.4 billion (KD 12 billion) at the end of 2008, while shareholder equity stood at USD 5.2 billion (KD 1.4 billion).

NBK is by far the largest financial institution in Kuwait with effective market dominance in the commercial banking market and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. NBK also stands out in terms of its local and international network, which includes branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, Singapore, and Vietnam alongside its regional presence in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE.

About Visa:

Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

About Zain

Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 69.5 million active customers as at 30 June 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries.

Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine (currently known as Paltel Group), Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages 'mtc-touch' on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31% of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

Zain offers innovative services in its markets such as 'One Network', the world's first borderless mobile telecommunications network enabling customers when abroad to receive calls and sms without charge and to make voice and data calls at local rates throughout 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. This service allows a customer to top up airtime in one's home country or from more than 1,000,000 outlets within Zain's One Network footprint.

The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). Zain is listed in the Financial Times' Global 500 Index which ranks the world's largest companies based on market capitalization ( Zain aims to become one of the top ten mobile operators in the world by end of the year 2011. For more, please visit or email

Source: ViVOtech

CONTACT: Kristin Miller of SSPR, +1-719-634-8292,, for

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lake Chad Facing Humanitarian Disaster

15 Oct 2009 18:13 Africa/Lagos

Lake Chad facing humanitarian disaster / Shrinking water resources are threatening people and livelihoods / FAO calls for urgent interventions

ROME, October 15, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The humanitarian disaster looming at the shrinking Lake Chad in central Africa should be urgently addressed, FAO said today.

The lake, which is surrounded by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, was once one of the world's largest water bodies. Due to climatic variability, climate change and population pressure over recent decades, the lake has shrunk by 90 percent, from 25 000 square kilometers in 1963 to less than 1500 square kilometers in 2001.

If water continues to recede at the current rate, Lake Chad could disappear in about twenty years from now, according to NASA climate forecasts.

Together with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), FAO will organize a special event ("Saving Lake Chad: A System under Threat") in Rome during World Food Day on October 16, 2009. The event is aimed at raising awareness about the disastrous situation of Lake Chad and mobilizing funds to replenish the lake and improve overall food security in the region.

The 30 million people living in the Lake Chad region are being forced into ever-keener competition for water. The drying-up of the lake and deterioration of the production capacity of its basin have affected all the socio-economic activities and overuse of water and land resources leading to migration and conflicts.

In addition to the approximately 60 percent decline in fish production, there has been degradation of pasturelands, leading to a shortage of animal feed estimated at 46.5 percent in certain places in 2006, reduction in livestock and biodiversity.

"The humanitarian disaster that could follow the ecological catastrophe needs urgent interventions," said Parviz Koohafkan, Director of Land and Water Division of FAO. "The tragic disappearance of Lake Chad has to be stopped and the livelihoods of millions of people living in this vast area should be safeguarded."

FAO closely collaborates with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), founded in 1964. Lake Chad Basin countries are meeting regularly to regulate and control the utilization of water and other natural resources in the Basin. They are actively seeking new models of Adaptive Water Management that take account of traditional agricultural techniques as well as the need to ensure food security for the people of the region.

According to the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the diminished flow of water into the lake requires a radical change in water management techniques and a scheme to replenish Lake Chad.

The flow of the two main sources of replenishment for the lake, the Chari and Logone rivers have decreased significantly in the last 40 years. The feasibility study for an ambitious programme to divert water flow from the Oubangui, the major tributary of the Congo River, into the Chari river system will be presented at the meeting in Rome.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

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Startup Weekend Nigeria Rocks!

South Africa and 64 other Countries in Competition for 2009 Foreign Language Film Oscar®

South Africa leads Africa to the 82nd Oscars with Jann Turner's romantic comedy White Wedding that made over R1.1-million at the world premiere in South Africa. The film stars Rapulana Seiphemo and Kenneth Nkosi of Academy Award winning Tsotsi and Jerusalema fame.
South Africa and Morocco are the only African countries on the list of 65 countries in competition for the Foreign Language Film category at the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The following is the complete news release.

Leslie Unger

October 15, 2009

65 Countries in Competition for 2009 Foreign Language Film Oscar®

Beverly Hills, CA — Sixty-five countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 82nd Academy Awards®, Academy President Tom Sherak announced today. The 2009 submissions are:

Albania, “Alive!,” Artan Minarolli, director;
Argentina, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” Juan Jose Campanella, director;
Armenia, “Autumn of the Magician,” Rouben Kevorkov and Vaheh Kevorkov, directors;
Australia, “Samson & Delilah,” Warwick Thornton, director;
Austria, “For a Moment Freedom,” Arash T. Riahi, director;
Bangladesh, “Beyond the Circle,” Golam Rabbany Biplob, director;
Belgium, “The Misfortunates,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
Bolivia, “Zona Sur,” Juan Carlos Valdivia, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Nightguards,” Namik Kabil, director;
Brazil, “Time of Fear,” Sergio Rezende, director;
Bulgaria, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” Stephan Komandarev, director;
Canada, “I Killed My Mother,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “Dawson, Isla 10,” Miguel Littin, director;
China, “Forever Enthralled,” Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, “The Wind Journeys,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Croatia, “Donkey,” Antonio Nuic, director;
Cuba, “Fallen Gods,” Ernesto Daranas, director;
Czech Republic, “Protektor,” Marek Najbrt, director;
Denmark, “Terribly Happy,” Henrik Ruben Genz, director;
Estonia, “December Heat,” Asko Kase, director;
Finland, “Letters to Father Jacob,” Klaus Haro, director;
France, “Un Prophete,” Jacques Audiard, director;
Georgia, “The Other Bank,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke, director;
Greece, “Slaves in Their Bonds,” Tony Lykouressis, director;
Hong Kong, “Prince of Tears,” Yonfan, director;
Hungary, “Chameleon,” Krisztina Goda, director;
Iceland, “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” Oskar Jonasson, director;
India, “Harishchandrachi Factory,” Paresh Mokashi, director;
Indonesia, “Jamila and the President,” Ratna Sarumpaet;
Iran, “About Elly,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, “Ajami,” Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, director;
Italy, “Baaria,” Giuseppe Tornatore, director;
Japan, “Nobody to Watch over Me,” Ryoichi Kimizuka, director;
Kazakhstan, “Kelin,” Ermek Tursunov, director;
Korea, “Mother,” Joon-ho Bong, director;
Lithuania, “Vortex,” Gytis Luksas, director;
Luxembourg, “Refractaire,” Nicolas Steil, director;
Macedonia, “Wingless,” Ivo Trajkov, director;
Mexico, “Backyard,” Carlos Carrera, director;
Morocco, “Casanegra,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
The Netherlands, “Winter in Wartime,” Martin Koolhoven, director;
Norway, “Max Manus,” Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning, directors;
Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” Claudia Llosa, director;
Philippines, “Grandpa Is Dead,” Soxie H. Topacio, director;
Poland, “Reverse,” Borys Lankosz, director;
Portugal, “Doomed Love,” Mario Barroso, director;
Puerto Rico, “Kabo and Platon,” Edmundo H. Rodriguez, director;
Romania, “Police, Adjective,” Corneliu Porumboiu, director;
Russia, “Ward No. 6,” Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
Serbia, “St. George Shoots the Dragon,” Srdjan Dragojevic, director;
Slovakia, “Broken Promise,” Jiri Chlumsky, director;
Slovenia, “Landscape No. 2,” Vinko Moderndorfer, director;
South Africa, “White Wedding,” Jann Turner, director;
Spain, “The Dancer and the Thief,” Fernando Trueba, director;
Sri Lanka, “The Road from Elephant Pass,” Chandran Rutnam;
Sweden, “Involuntary,” Ruben Ostlund, director;
Switzerland, “Home,” Ursula Meier, director;
Taiwan, “No Puedo Vivir sin Ti,” Leon Dai, director;
Thailand, “Best of Times,” Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, director;
Turkey, “I Saw the Sun,” Mahsun Kirmizigul, director;
United Kingdom, “Afghan Star,” Havana Marking, director;
Uruguay, “Bad Day for Fishing,” Alvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “Libertador Morales, El Justiciero,” Efterpi Charalambidis, director;
Vietnam, “Don’t Burn It,” Dang Nhat Minh.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

# # #

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards – in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners – the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

(310) 247-3090 TEL | (310) 271-3395 FAX | PUBLICITY@OSCARS.ORG | WWW.OSCARS.ORG/PRESS

Startup Weekend Nigeria Rocks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Children International Stands Up & Takes Action with the United Nations to Help Fight Poverty

Children International Stands Up & Takes Action with the United Nations to Help Fight Poverty

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 15, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — Children International joins the United Nations’ campaign to fight poverty one child at a time!

The U.S.-based humanitarian organization, which helps poor children around the world, invites you to observe the fourth annual “Stand Up & Take Action” event October 16-18 by supporting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to end hunger and poverty.

Nearly 300,000 Children International contributors have stood up and taken action every month by pledging their constant financial and emotional support of one child living in desperate poverty. In 2008, 116 million people took part in United Nations’ Stand Up & Take Action events around the world.

In response to the global food crisis and skyrocketing food prices, Children International has established a new Emergency Lifeline Food Program in 2008 which provides badly-needed food to poor children and their families whose constant fight against poverty leaves them hungry and malnourished. The Emergency Lifeline Food Program provides vitamins, enriched food and nutrition education to children and their parents in local community centers in 11 countries around the world. In the first half of this year, Children International provided food and nutrients to more than 17,000 children through their nutritional rehabilitation program.

This year, millions of participants plan to commemorate the event by organizing tree-plantings, music vigils and blood drives.

Children International’s President and CEO Jim Cook said, “Children International works every day to support the United Nations’ goals to end global poverty by lifting poor children out of crushing poverty. By partnering with Stand Up & Take Action, we will make a difference in the lives of poor children around the world.”

To learn more about how to help relieve poverty one child at a time, visit Children International.

To learn more about other events taking place around the world, visit Stand Against Poverty.

About Children International:
Established in 1936, Children International is a nonprofit organization with its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Children International’s programs benefit more than 325,000 sponsored children and their families in 11 countries around the world including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Zambia, Honduras, India, the Philippines and the United States. For more information about Children International, visit

Press Contact:
Dolores Quinn Kitchin
Public Relations
Children International
Direct: (816) 943-3730
Cell: (816) 718-0711

Startup Weekend Nigeria Rocks!

Bill Gates to Call for United Action to Support World's Poorest Farmers

Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in 2007

15 Oct 2009 05:00 Africa/Lagos

Bill Gates to Call for United Action to Support World's Poorest Farmers

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Announce $120 Million in New Agriculture Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Thursday will urge governments, donors, researchers, farmer groups, environmentalists, and others to set aside old divisions and join forces to help millions of the world's poorest farming families boost their yields and incomes so they can lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Gates will say the effort must be guided by the farmers themselves, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment.

Speaking at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, in his first major address on agricultural development, Gates will lay out the foundation's vision, which includes investments in better seeds, training, market access, and policies that support small farmers. Gates also will announce nine foundation grants totaling $120 million that illustrate the range of efforts necessary to empower millions of small farmers to grow enough to build better, healthier lives.

"Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small-holder farmers grow more crops and get them to market is the world's single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," Gates will say, according to a draft of his speech.

After his speech, Gates will be joined on the stage by the 2009 World Food Prize laureate, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, a renowned Ethiopian sorghum researcher who was honored for his work to develop hybrids resistant to drought and the Striga weed -- advances credited with increasing food security for hundreds of millions of Africans.

The foundation's new grants include funding for legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, higher yielding varieties of sorghum and millet, and new varieties of sweet potatoes that resist pests and have a higher vitamin content. Other projects will help the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa support African governments in developing policies that serve small farmers; help get information to farmers by radio and cell phone; support school feeding programs; provide training and resources that African governments can draw on as they regulate biotechnologies; and help women farmers in India manage their land and water resources sustainably. To date, the foundation has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts.

Gates will say the world should draw inspiration from the agricultural transformation in Latin America and Asia during the 1960s to 1980s, known as the Green Revolution, which averted famine, saved hundreds of millions of lives, and fueled widespread economic development.

But Gates will warn that as scientists, governments, and others strive to repeat the successes of the original Green Revolution, they should be careful not to repeat its mistakes, such as the overuse of fertilizer and irrigation.

"The next Green Revolution has to be greener than the first," Gates will say. "It must be guided by small-holder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment."

According to the World Bank, three-quarters of the 1 billion people who live in extreme poverty depend on agriculture for a living. More than 1 billion people suffer from chronic hunger in the developing world. In the world's poorest areas, small farmers frequently face harsh conditions, including depleted soils, pests, drought, diseases, and lack of water. Even if they manage to grow a surplus, they often lack a reliable market where they can sell it.

Despite these challenges, there are reasons for optimism in the fight against hunger. After two decades of neglect, the world's attention is once again focused on agricultural development. The G20 group of leading donor and developing nations recently made a three-year, $22 billion pledge to help solve global hunger by supporting small farmers in the developing world.

"It's a great thing that donor nations are focusing on this issue," Gates will say. "But we need them to spell out clearly what the $22 billion means -- how much is old money, how much is new, how soon can they spend it, and when will they do more?"

While Gates will say that major breakthroughs in the fight against hunger and poverty are now within reach, he will caution that progress toward alleviating global hunger is "endangered by an ideological wedge that threatens to split the movement in two." On one side, he will say, there are groups that support technological solutions to increase agricultural productivity without proper regard to environmental and sustainability concerns. On the other, there are those who react negatively to any emphasis on productivity.

"It's a false choice, and it's dangerous for the field," Gates will say. "It blocks important advances. It breeds hostility among people who need to work together. And it makes it hard to launch a comprehensive program to help poor farmers. The fact is, we need both productivity and sustainability -- and there is no reason we can't have both."

Gates will say the foundation is supporting research on crops that can withstand drought and flooding so poor farmers can adapt to climate change. It is also supporting a ground-breaking effort with the World Food Programme (WFP) to buy food from small farmers in the developing world for food aid. WFP has already purchased 17,000 metric tons of food from small farmers through the program, linking many to markets for the first time.

Gates will say the foundation isn't an advocate of any particular scientific method. "Of course, these technologies must be subject to rigorous scientific review to ensure they are safe and effective. It's the responsibility of governments, farmers, and citizens -- informed by excellent science -- to choose the best and safest way to help feed their countries," Gates will say.

Gates will also pay tribute to Dr. Norman Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his pioneering work in expanding agricultural production in the developing world, who died on September 12 of this year.

"His passing is cause for sadness, but his life should make us optimistic," Gates will say. "He not only showed humanity how to get more food from the earth -- he proved that farming has the power to lift up the lives of the poor. It's a lesson the world is thankfully relearning today."

Note to Editors: Video clips and other media materials will be available following the speech at:
Username: GatesFoundationII
Password: WorldFoodPrizeII

This announcement includes the following grants:

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
The AGRA Policy Program: $15 million

To develop a strong policy support system in Africa that will raise incomes, and assure household and national food security. The program focuses on policies to speed adoption of approaches to improve farmer productivity, market and trade policies to stimulate expanded markets for staple crops, and land and property rights policies to stimulate equitable agricultural growth for the poor.

Press Contacts
Preeti Singh, +1.301.652.1558, ext. 5722,
Stella Kihara, +254 735380199,

American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Farmer Voice Radio: $10 million

To create a network of radio broadcasters, farmer groups, universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, ministries of agriculture, and African media organizations to generate quality content and facilitate impact-driven and sustainable broadcasting to small-holder farmers to enhance their livelihoods. The project aims to reach 1.6 million small-holder farmers in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mali, Ghana, and Tanzania in its first four years.

Press Contact
Larry McQuillan, +1.202.403.5119 or +1.202.641.7747,

Grameen Foundation
Building a Network of Community Knowledge Workers: $4.7 million

To develop a network of 4,000 community knowledge workers in Uganda who use mobile devices to increase the reach and relevance of agricultural information, leading to improved productivity and livelihoods for small-holder farmers. The project aims to reach up to 280,000 small-holder farmers, reduce the cost of adoption of new and improved practices by 25 percent to 50 percent, and ultimately provide a model that can be scaled to reach millions of small-holder farmers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Press Contact

Liselle York, +1.202.628.3560, ext. 128 or +1.202.549.3400,

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of Sorghum and Millets: $18 million

To help small-holder farmers in moisture-deficient areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia increase their yields of sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet to improve food security and increase the income of farmers. The project aims to benefit 200,000 households by increasing yields of sorghum and millet by 35 to 40 percent over four years.

Press Contact
Rex L. Navarro, +91 40 3071.3223,

International Potato Center (CIP)

Sweet Potato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA): $21.25 million

To produce high-yielding, stress-tolerant varieties of sweet potato to help farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa improve their productivity, incomes, and nutrition. The project aims to benefit 150,000 families directly from the initial seed systems work, and up to 1 million families indirectly from the first set of improved varieties in five years.

Press Contact
Valerie Gwinner, 202.468.7486,

New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Michigan State University (MSU)

African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE): $10.4 million

To create a center in Africa that provides training, education, and technical support to African regulators to develop regulatory systems for biotechnology, ensuring countries can make informed decisions on how to use these advances while protecting farmers, consumers, and the environment.

Press Contacts
Aggrey Ambali, +27 12 841 3688,
Karim Maredia, +1.517.353.5262 or +1.517.775.6627,
Stephanie Motschenbacher, +1.517.884.2135,

Partnership for Child Development (PCD)
Home-grown School Feeding: $12 million

To support the delivery of cost-effective school feeding programs that promote local agriculture and benefit small-holder farmers. The project aims to increase the income and improve the nutritional status of approximately 200,000 small farmers; improve the education, health, and nutrition of school-age children; and provide opportunities to those involved in the transportation, processing, and preparation of food along the school-feeding value chain.

Press Contact
Lucy Goodchild, +44 (0)20 7594 6702,

Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

Developing Farm-based Livelihoods in Endemically Poor Regions of India: $9.7 million

To create sustainable farm-based livelihoods for rural families in endemically poor regions of India by training women farmers in land and water management and modern farming practices, establishing village extension services, and building effective market linkages. The project aims to mobilize 120,000 women into self-help groups to assist them in improving their farm productivity and food security, enhancing their household income.

Press Contact
Souparno Chatterjee, +91 11 2651 8619 or +91 4164 0611, ext. 21

Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Putting Nitrogen Fixation to Work for Small-holder Farmers in Africa (NforAfrica): $19 million

To increase legume productivity, family nutrition, soil health, cropping systems, and farm income for small farmers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Malawi by expanding the use of selected legumes, proven tools of biological nitrogen fixation, and sound agronomic principles. The project aims to benefit 225,000 farmers.

Press Contact

Erik Toussaint, +31 (0) 317 48 08 67 or +31 (0) 6 51 56 59 49,

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more about the foundation at

Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

CONTACT: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, +1-206-709-3400,

Web Site:

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