7 June 2013South African state company Transnet and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) Business Foundation have launched the Africa Infrastructure Desk, a platform for linking the private and public sectors in getting infrastructure projects implemented across Africa.The “innovative research, linkage and relationship platform” will provide information on infrastructure developments, help develop investment opportunities for companies, and facilitate engagement between the public and private sector, Transnet said at the launch of the desk in Johannesburg on Tuesday.The aim is to make a meaningful impact on spatial and industrial development, as well as regional integration, in the southern African region and sub-Saharan Africa’s north-south corridor.According to Nepad, infrastructure continues to be Africa’s “missing link” when it comes to developing integrated intra-Africa regional trade. While intra-African trade falls far below the continent’s potential, infrastructure projects suffer from “lack of information, inconsistent cross-border policy, and poor project bankabilit”.“Africa’s infrastructure deficit is crippling the continent in trade and investment,” Nepad Business Foundation (NBF) CEO Lynette Chen said in a statement. “Transnet and the NBF’s partnership reflects the potential that the private and public sector could have to harness resources and skills to tackle the huge infrastructure deficit while ensuring local empowerment.”Through the Africa Infrastructure Desk, Chen said, “companies will access, collaborate and implement infrastructure project opportunities across Africa. Through Nepad, access to public and private sectors will be managed on the basis of political and regulatory certainty through strong alignment with Nepad’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.”Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said the partnership envisioned “an Africa without borders, an Africa that is seamlessly linked from Cape to Cairo by efficient infrastructure.“But in order to achieve this vision, closer collaboration, partnership and coordination between all stakeholders, including government and private sector, is required to find joint solutions to implementing these large-scale infrastructure projects.”SAinfo reporter
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Population trends project the world population will grow by two billion in the next 40 years, requiring a 70% increase in food production to feed the world. To meet this demand, the future generation of farmers, scientists and other professionals will need to be Ag innovators. That’s where the 4‑H Ag Innovators Experience comes in.The 2017 4‑H Ag Innovators Experience is the Healthy Soils Carbon Soil Investigation Challenge which teaches 4-H youth about the importance of preserving and improving soil health through a variety of different methods to help create a sustainable ecosystem responsible for our food and fiber needs, environmental quality, and human health.This is the fourth year National 4-H Council has collaborated with Monsanto on the 4-H Ag Innovators program which engages youth in five states to build awareness of, and interest in, agriculture innovation and careers. This year’s Healthy Soils Carbon Soil Investigation Challenge events were held throughout the summer in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.Abigail Myers of Springfield participated in the challenge and shared her experience in the following essay.Like most kids my age, I look forward to summer for a break from school with long days spent outside — hiking, swimming, enjoying barbeque at picnics and getting to hang out with my friends. And also like most kids my age, I have never given much thought to agriculture or where the food, that is part of so many of my favorite summer activities, comes from.This summer, in addition to all of my regular activities, I also got the chance to experience agriculture firsthand and learn how important it is to make sure the soil, where our food grows is healthy, thanks to the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (AIE).Before participating in the AIE, I didn’t give much thought to how food is grown and raised. When I thought about where my food comes from, I thought about our local grocery store. Now that I’ve had the chance to learn that “soil” just doesn’t mean “dirt,” I have a new appreciation for agriculture and what it takes to grow the food that fills the grocery store shelves. Keeping soil healthy for the future will require continuous innovation and young people, like me, to help lead the way to solve new challenges.I really enjoyed getting to participate in the hands-on 4-H AIE Healthy Soils InvestigationAbigail Myers, left, of Springfield participated in the Healthy Soils Carbon Soil Investigation Challenge in Columbus this summer.Challenge and walked away with not only a fun experience, but a much better understanding of how agriculture is connected to our everyday lives. It was fun getting to work in teams to perform the Slake Test and Chemical Test to determine the health of our soil sample. Using the micro-robot to build a mini no-till planter was a bit challenging at first, but after a few tries, my team was able to build a planter that disrupted only a small amount of soil when planting which is good for the soil ecosystem.I believe it is imperative that young people learn about agriculture and understand the relevance of agriculture in their everyday lives. With the world population expected to reach nine billion by the year 2050, we will be tasked with the challenge of growing enough food. Young people are the new generation and soon they will be the ones behind the design boards, wearing lab coats and conducting the science experiments that will lead to new discoveries in agriculture.To learn more about the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program, visit www.4-h.org/about/partners/monsanto/.