By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – For the second successive year, Nigeria has won the Ideas for Action initiative, a youth competition on financing for development, which is yearly organised by the World Bank Group in collaboration with the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research.
Nigeria’s winning proposal, “Kitovu”, came out tops from among 743 proposals from 118 countries, while Uganda’s proposal of “Gifted Hands” and India’s proposal of “Agratam” were adjudged first and second runner ups in this year’s competition.
The World Bank’s Senior Vice President (The 2030 Development Agenda), Mahmoud Mohieldin, announced the results of the 2017 Ideas for Action initiative on Tuesday in Washington, during the annual meetings of World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Mohieldin disclosed that the winners were selected through a vigorous three-stage selection process evaluating the creativity, significance, feasibility, and clarity of the proposals.
The reviewers, according to him, included young World Bank Group staff, technical experts and senior executives from the World Bank Group, Wharton School and the G-24 Secretariat, among others.
“The 2017 Ideas for Action competition encourages young people from around the world to develop and share their ideas for innovative approaches, through the smart use of technology, as well as financing solutions, to solve development challenges.
“It attracts engagement from young people across the globe, with about 38 per cent of submissions from Sub-Saharan African, 15 per cent from Latin American and the Caribbean, 13 per cent from South Asia, 12 per cent from East Asia and the Pacific, 12 per cent from North America, 8 per cent from Europe, and 2 per cent from the Middle East and North Africa,” said the World Bank’s senior officer.
In her remarks, the World Bank’s Director of Strategy and Operations, Africa Region, Ms. Mamta Murthi, reassured that the Bretton-wood institution would continue to promote and encourage the youth globally.
She noted that the youth remained the major stakeholders in the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said, “We focus on youth for this competition because three billion people – 43 per cent of the world’s population – are under the age of 25. The world’s youth will implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, contributing their unique solutions and shaping their future and ours.
“The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals that seek to end poverty, promote peace, and preserve the planet for future generations, all by 2030.
“More ambitious than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs cover a broad range of interconnected issues, from ending hunger, promoting health, addressing inequality, creating jobs and sustainable economic growth to improving governance and addressing global challenges such as climate change.”
Nigeria’s winning proposal, Kitovu, is an innovative platform and system that matches fertilizer type and quantity, improved quality seeds, and other inputs to the right soil.
The proposal envisions a web- and mobile-based decentralised fertilizer and seedling warehousing system that matches the right inputs to different farm locations owned by small-holder farmers in distant locations so as to lower the cost of cultivation while ensuring increased yields.
Mr. Nwachinemere Emeka Obewe, who initiated the winning proposal, explained that the platform sought to create market access for smallholder farmers in distant locations by using a mix of web, mobile and SMS platforms to link farmers to processors, produce buyers, transporters, and other ecosystem stakeholders to tackle post-harvest losses and enable produce traceability while increasing farmer income.