11 May 2012African agriculture is undergoing a transformation, creating a new era of opportunity for both farmers and investors, according to African and global leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa.The Grow Africa Investment Forum, convened jointly by the African Union, Nepad and the World Economic Forum (WEF), engaged over 270 leaders at the gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday.These included heads of state and government from Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as leaders of African and global business, international and donor agencies and farmer organizations.Huge investment potentialForum participants noted that African agriculture offers tremendous growth potential to investors, which in turn promised to strengthen food security and economic opportunity on the continent.Greater private-sector investment and improvements to the business enabling environment were needed to capture this potential, delegates were told.The leaders noted that much of the continent’s agricultural potential remains untapped. “We have scratched the surface, but we haven’t yet broken the mould,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. “When we do that, you will see the explosion of development in Africa.”During Thurday’s session, seven countries showcased specific investment and partnership opportunities aligned to their national priorities for agricultural transformation.‘We are ready to do business’“We are ready to do business; that’s why we came to this meeting,” said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, noting that Tanzania’s agriculture investment strategy prioritized groups that could most benefit from new market opportunities.“When we bring in the private sector, it is to benefit the smallholder farmers,” Kikwete said. “We need to modernize agriculture and make it more attractive to youth.”President Kikwete added that governments had an important role to play in providing support in areas of irrigation, inputs and building commodity markets. However, private sector investment was also essential in order to avoid over-dependence on subsidies.Rwandan President Paul Kagame said that African countries could “mobilize farmers into an entrepreneurial mindset and create new opportunities for women, youth and rural entrepreneurs.”‘New ways of leveraging the agriculture sector’The Grow Africa partnership has developed significant momentum since it was launched at the 2011 World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.A total of 116 companies participated in the Grow Africa Investment Forum, including 49 African and 47 multinational companies, plus 20 from other regions such as Asia and the Middle East.“Much of the investment in Africa can come from Africa if we provide the right financing mechanisms and policy environment,” said African Export-Import Bank president Jean-Louis Ekra.According to Unilever executive vice-president Frank Braeken, African leaders “are defining new ways to leverage the agriculture sector as a driver of inclusive and sustainable growth. This offers new agribusiness opportunities that are increasingly attractive to investors.”Empowering African farmers ‘crucial’Participants agreed that empowering African farmers would be central to the future of agriculture on the continent.“Smallholder farmers are a sleeping giant in Africa,” said Dyborn Chibonga, CEO of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi. “That sleeping giant needs to be mobilized into collective action groups.”Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the way to realize this was through increasing the productivity of small farmers and having them well organized and collaborative in order to take advantage of supply chains and investmentsEthiopia has achieved significant gains in agricultural productivity using this model in recent years, setting aside 16% of its national budget for agriculture – well above the 10% to which all African governments have committed themselves.The Grow Africa partnership, coordinated by the African Union, Nepad and the WEF, aims to “galvanize sustainable investment into African agriculture based on country-led priorities,” the WEF said on Thursday.According to the WEF, Grow Africa builds upon the CAADP, which works to boost African agricultural productivity through sector development plans. Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia are the first countries to engage with Grow Africa.“The Grow Africa platform is open to all countries, and can accelerate the implementation of national investment plans developed through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme,” said African Union chairperson Jean Ping.The potential seen in African agriculture presents a transformational opportunity, according to WEF vice-chairman Josette Sheeran. “Working together, we can ensure that when we meet in 10 years, it will be in an Africa that is not only feeding itself, but helping to feed the world.”SAinfo reporter and World Economic Forum
Shortest hole at longest US Open course could bring trouble MOST READ “It’s the business of basketball obviously so nothing is for sure, but here I feel like we can work that out and we’ll have a chance to do this again next year,” Durant said. “It’s easier said than done obviously, but that’s the goal. We want to keep this thing together and see how we can continue to keep getting better.”The group that recruited Durant in the Hamptons that day last summer has the same philosophy about winning more championships. Along with Curry that day were Iguodala, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.“I do know me and KD had a conversation along with Draymond and Klay and Andre last year before he even showed up that that was kind of the identity of who we are as a team that we understand how important it is, the guys that are here,” Curry said. “You don’t want anybody to have to sacrifice in that sense, you don’t want to force anybody to take that approach but at the end of the day we know what’s best for us as a group going forward. We’re going to do everything we can to keep this team together. I’ll have that mindset, KD’s going to have that mindset, I know Dre, Shaun, all the guys that are up for negotiating a new contract. We’ll see what happens. The beauty of what I know of this team, we all want to provide for our families, we want to get all that we can out of this game while we still have the legs to do it, but there are no egos when it comes to that side of the equation when it comes to us as professional athletes.”Curry and Durant also heard from former President Barack Obama with congratulations, though Durant said he was most excited that among 200 messages was a text from a high school girlfriend he didn’t realize still had his number.While the Warriors haven’t formally met to discuss whether they will visit President Donald Trump’s White House as is customary for championship teams, Curry said his mind hasn’t changed from when he was asked earlier this year about the possibility. Coach Steve Kerr also has been outspoken about issues with Trump.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant smiles during an NBA basketball news conference on Wednesday in Oakland, California. APOAKLAND, California — Stephen Curry will likely go from being the NBA’s biggest bargain to signing the richest contract in the league at more than $200 million. And he looks forward to the nice payday.Yet the two-time reigning MVP and new NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant said Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) they would consider taking less money to keep the core of the champion Golden State Warriors intact.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide “Somebody asked me about it a couple months ago like the hypothetical if a championship were to happen what would I do and I think I answered I wouldn’t go. Still feel like that today,” Curry said. “But obviously as a team we’re going to have a conversation. This is a moment that we all need to enjoy together. Nothing should distract from what we were able to accomplish together and the different kind of ceremonies that have happened around championship-winning teams. We don’t want that to taint what we’ve accomplished this year so we’ll handle that accordingly and responsibly and do the right thing for us individually and as a group.” “It would mean everything. What we’ve built here is truly special, it’s unique, it’s something that you don’t want to see end at all,” Curry said. “All the pieces that we have are important to the equation of winning a championship and competing for a championship every single year. It is a business. There are decisions that need to be made every single year and you’ve got to assess the situation as it is.“… As we go into the talks and this whole process, which is obviously new for me, I will approach it to get the most out of it I can as an individual, as a player, and something that I’ve been working for for a very long time. In the context of keeping the team together, if there are decisions that need to be made, we’ll talk about it for sure.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutTwo days after capturing the franchise’s second title in three years against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors prepared to part ways for what will be a busy offseason for general manager Bob Myers and the front office.Durant said he has “no question” in his mind he will be back with the Warriors. He hinted he would opt out of a deal that pays him the maximum he can get in order to help Golden State’s chances of re-signing players such as Andre Iguodala or Shaun Livingston — two key reserves on both title teams. 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire LATEST STORIES What ‘missteps’? Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View comments
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WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington residents Matthew Cayer and Lauren Nieuweboer recently suffered a parent’s worst nightmare — the loss of their 8-month-old son Julian.In the face of unimaginable grief from their personal tragedy, Matthew and Lauren are trying to bring a little bit of joy to other Wilmington families in honor of Julian’s memory.Recently, the couple organized a free ice cream truck event for the Wilmington community at Yentile Farm on August 25. The date had great significance — it would’ve have been their son’s first birthday.Now, the couple is hoping to start the process of bringing a splash pad to Wilmington, and they’d like to organize a fundraising campaign to cover its construction costs.Matt, and his father George, were on hand at last week’s Wilmington Recreation Commission Meeting, where Recreation Director Karen Campbell and the commissioners held initial discussions on the feasibility of a splash pad in town.“[The Cayers] have been in discussions with Town Manager Jeff Hull, Health Director, DPW Superintendent Mike Woods, and myself,” said Recreation Director Karen Campbell. “We’ve all tossed this idea around to try to figure out if [a splash pad] makes sense and how it would work.”Campbell recognizes a splash pad would be popular with Wilmington families.“Certainly, everyone loves a splash pad,” said Campbell. “Kids love them. And parents love them because kids love them.”The Town’s ConcernsTown officials do, however, have several concerns — including location, maintenance, and cost.“This would require a certain amount of land to do it properly. We just can’t put down a little slab and have things shoot out of it,” cautioned Campbell. “You really need to have a significant apron around it in order to not have dirt, mud and grass tracked into it. You need a perimeter fence so no one is tempted to drive a vehicle through it or animals roam through it. It needs to be of a fairly significant size… You also need ample parking.”“[Splash pads] also require a lot of maintenance,” noted Campbell. “They’re very susceptible to constant breakdowns. They need to be swept perfectly to keep debris out. Their filters must be checked daily. Their recirculated water also needs to be tested everyday.”Campbell said that while the splash pad wouldn’t be staffed with a lifeguard or any town employee, someone would need to maintain it — likely someone at DPW — who can conduct tests, make minor repairs, and change filters.“A splash pad would have to be incorporated into DPW’s regular routines,” said Campbell.Campbell noted that the Health Department also shared some concerns over the possibility of a splash pad.“There’s communicable diseases associated with water of any kind,” said Campbell. “There’s also athlete foot — that kind of stuff can be an issue.”“And splash pads are significantly expensive,” added Campbell. “This would range anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000.”“We don’t want to put a financial burden on the town or its DPW,” responded George Cayer. “If it’s done correctly and structured correctly, people love the splash pads.”The Cayers asked the Recreation Commission to research the Marlborough Splash Pad, which they feel would be a good model for Wilmington. They advised the Commission to avoid the mistakes of Tewksbury’s new splash pad.Location, Location, LocationThe Cayers asked if Yentile Farm, Town Beach, or the new playground area at Murray Hill Circle could be an appropriate spot for a splash pad?“A splash pad was discussed early on for Yentile Farm, but it was eventually taken off the table for funding and maintenance reasons,” recalled Campbell. “Now, the only space [for a splash pad] at Yentile would be on the green/event space. But the intention was for that space to be used for passive recreation — picnics, frisbee, casual little games. It was also supposed to be a spot for community events — WCTV Family Fun Day and the Senior Center’s Grandparents Day are happening there this weekend. The Farmers Market has used it a couple of times.”“And there’s only 109 parking spots at Yentile. With all the use at the playground and turf field, I do not think Yentile would a suitable site for a splash pad,” continued Campbell. “But if some of the Textron land ever became available that was continuous to Yentile, that would be plenty big enough. But right now, Textron is a no go.”Campbell also dismissed Town Beach and Murray Hill Circle as realistic options.“Our Town Beach is really just too small to put a splash pad in,” said Campbell. “Winchester put one in on their town beach and sand constantly clogs it. They said it was the worse decision of all time… And we already encounter non-residents who don’t want to pay to access the beach. How is it [going to go over] when we have to charge them to use the splash pad at the beach?”The Murray Hill Circle playground, meanwhile, was recently constructed by a developer who is putting in 36 homes off of Eleanor Estates. The playground, and trails surrounding the development, are open to the public. (The playground still lacks plants, trees and benches at the moment.) The playground, however, is simply too small too accommodate a splash pad.Funding, Funding, FundingCampbell stressed that the town has more than $150 million of building needs identified and cannot commit to funding a splash pad at this time.“The schools are really desperately needing. [Look] at the Wildwood. Many seniors feel it’s their time [relative to a new Senior Center]. And we just put in a big park,” said Campbell, referring to Yentile Farm.“We’re ready to help in fundraising this along,” Matt Cayer told the Campbell and the Commissioners. “We haven’t set up a specific fundraising campaign yet. We figured it’s a bit premature without having a foundation or knowing how this discussion would go.”Cayer noted his family recently tarted an informal petition and has received many signatures in support of bringing a splash pad to Wilmington.“Any project of this scope that depends on fundraising needs a backup plan. Would that fall to town?,” asked Recreation Department Clerk Linda Kanter. “Would the cost then be spread out amongst tax payers for something that was originally intendned to be given to the town or funded by fundraising…. I’d want to know what the backup plan is if fundraising doesn’t meet its goals.”“We don’t see this as a today or tomorrow project,” responded George Cayer. “The first bulldozer won’t do anything until the project is fully covered…. The plan is the project’s costs would have to be covered before work were to begin.”“Without a site, a recommendation or an approval, we’re not even at the start line of this marathon,” added Matt Cayer. “If we put a project plan together, it would be hard to begin fundraising or donating money without a cost or location. It’s kind of a chicken or the egg situation.”“Thank you for introducing this to us tonight,” Campbell told the Cayers. “We’re willing to listen to anything you bring to the table and consider it. And, remember, [the Recreation Commission] is not a decision-making board. We’re a a recommending board. We typically make our recommendations to the Board of Selectmen.”Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWILMINGTON RECREATION: Concerts, Trips & Youth Programs Were Huge Hits This SummerIn “Community”Wilmington Family To Give Away Ice Cream In Memory Of Their Child At Yentile Farm On August 25In “Community”Wilmington Recreation Department Selling Commemorative Bricks & Memorial Benches For Yentile FarmIn “Community”