Egyptian Oranges and The Milk of the Future

The Great Green Wall of Africa, Humanitarian Crisis in DR Congo

Hello there,

It's been a tough past few days with all that’s been happening with the #EndSARS movement in Nigeria. In this week’s newsletter, we’ve decided to focus on other unrelated but also important stories. 

If you still want to catch on what happened this week or since the EndSARS movement started. We’ve got you covered with our EndSARS Diary project. 

We know it’s easy to get lost with all the information about the End SARS movement that’s flying around and lose a sense of what happened. So we came up with a daily recount of what happened every day since the protests began this month. We’re not completely done -- as new stories keep unfolding --  but it needed to be out anyways.

The Great Green Wall of Africa

African is building a great green wall and we are here for it. 

Why green?

Declining rainfall has continuously increased the rate of desertification in the continent. If this continues, it will have a huge negative impact on the people so the green wall is a remedy to combat this. The wall will be implemented in more than 20 African countries, most importantly, across the Sahara, which covers nearly 10% of the African continent. 

More details: On the southern edge of the Sahara, populations are growing but food security is a bigger problem. Saharan states tried to stop desertification by planting a wall of trees-up to 11million trees including acacia- across the continent, spanning 10 miles wide and 8000km long. Organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, African Union, and the UK Botanical Garden are strongly behind this project. 

Progress: Since the project started in 2007, the focus has been on restoring the fertility of some of the degraded Sahelian land.  Although the plan floundered when many of the trees died, now farmers in the region are using indigenous ways to regrow instead. Water harvesting and manually protecting the trees through natural regeneration. In countries like Ethiopia, 15 million hectares of degraded land has been restored, land tenure security has tremendously improved. In Senegal 11.4 million trees have also been planted and 25 000 hectares of degraded land restored. 

In Nigeria, the project is centered around the Northern part of the country where eleven states in the North are affected. They include Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa.

How this can turn out: The initiative has generated a whole new economy for people on the southern edge of the Sahara. The major goal is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land in the continent, to help curb migration by creating 10 million green jobs. This would also grow food security for the millions of Africans living in poverty as well as improve climate resilience in a region where temperatures are rising faster. 

#NoCongoNoPhone - Humanitarian Crisis in DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a tough humanitarian crisis, because of foreign interests in the country’s mineral resources. The #NoCongoNoPhone hashtag, trending on social media at the moment, is a move to cure the ills tied to interests in DR Congo’s mineral reserves which, for years, has resulted in the exploitation of children, the destruction of lives and property, and damage to the country overall.

One Reason Why - Cobalt

The French-speaking African country reportedly produces more than half of the world’s cobalt. As a natural resource, it is used for rechargeable batteries in smartphones, tablets, and electric vehicles. It is also used to manufacture jet engines, gas turbines, and magnetic steel. 

So what’s the problem

At least 20% of Congo’s cobalt supply is mined by locals of all ages. Stats say an estimated total of 255,000 Congolese citizens mine cobalt, while 40,000 of them are children.

Children from 6 years old are forced to spend the entire day in the cobalt mines of Congo, digging with a small shovel or bare hands to gather cobalt-containing heterogenite stones, often under scathing sunlight and torrential rain.

In spite of this, DR Congo still remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and according to a World Bank report in 2018, 72% of the population was living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day. Such minerals when eventually extracted, end up in mobile phones and electronic devices across the world.

The role of China in this

The rest of the cobalt from Congo that is not mined through forced labor is produced through industrial mines run by foreign companies, mostly from China. It has also been reported that Chinese companies are among the biggest buyers of Cobalt extracted with child labor.

Taking Responsibility

Human Rights NGO, Amnesty International, has stated that some of the foreign companies that use Cobalt to manufacture electronic devices are not doing enough to tackle the industrial slavery in Congo.

An ongoing lawsuit filed by the International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 Congolese families named Tech Giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Tesla, seeking damages over deaths and injuries of child miners in the country.

Zooming Out

Across Africa, we have seen people in Nigeria and Namibia raise awareness about socio-economic issues affecting these countries.

It will be interesting to see if other countries on the continent speak up about stuff that might have been going on under the radar and to see how much changes are made to make things better for Africa as a whole.

Egyptian Oranges and The Milk of the Future

The Agricultural landscape in Africa is a business segment we have spoken much about recently, we spoke about the business of agricultural aggregation here and different investment opportunities here

Today we want to talk about two products that are wowing the agricultural landscape right now.

Egyptian Oranges

First of all, we're going to start with Oranges. According to a report from Financial Times, Egypt has become the world’s largest exporter of oranges by volume, surpassing rivals Spain and South Africa (they still make more in revenue though). In 2019, Egypt exported about 1.8 million tonnes of oranges in 2019 and revenue amounted to $660m. Pretty impressive, right?

Why the large increase

Global orange consumption has grown and Egypt was able to grab some market share. It also has the advantage of a cheap currency, making its prices highly competitive against foreign producers.

Send me the Location

Most of the country’s orange exports come from large farms on reclaimed deserts. In the past, farmers and agricultural producers had used old fertile fields of the Delta and Nile Valley, where landholdings were fragmented and because of this, farmers/agricultural producers could not afford the level of investment required to produce for export.

The Big Hitters

Valencia oranges used for juice make up most of Egypt’s exports at around 60 to 70%. The rest are mainly navel oranges.

Camel Milk

Africa hosts more than 80% of the world’s camel population. In sub-Saharan Africa, camels contribute 5% of total milk production, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A recent story by the Financial Times gives a bit of detail about camel milk.

What’s so different about this Milk

For one, it has a fat content that is roughly equivalent to that of semi-skimmed cows’ milk. Camel milk also has lower levels of lactose when compared with cow’s milk, making it better suited to those with intolerances. 

It can also help with diabetes, autism and other medical conditions. It is three times as rich in vitamin C as cow’s milk and high in B vitamins, iron and unsaturated fatty acids. 

Another perspective

Due to concerns about deforestation and climate, It serves as an option for consumers looking to move away from products derived from cattle ranching, Camels are also deemed valuable because they can resist the harsh and sometimes prolonged droughts across the Horn of Africa. Camels can go without water for two weeks, unlike cows that need to drink water every two or three days.

Challenges to Production

The major challenge to the mass production of camel milk is its supply chain. Most of the herders involved don’t stay in one location, going from one patch of land to another finding thorny trees and bushes for their camels to graze, which makes it difficult to plan ahead, creating a barrier to commercial exporting.

We hope these challenges get sorted out soon because if we ever get a hold of camel milk, there’s only one thing we’re going to do:

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. — Maya Angelou

Thank you for reading this week’s edition. Let go & Relax this weekend.