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Fossil fuel: The human cost of powering Africa’s future4 minutes read

Avoidable deaths attributable to exposure to future fossil fuel use is estimated to be over 45,000 by 2030



Fossil fuel: The human cost of powering Africa’s future

Official projections of the UNDP suggest that the rise in human population in the next few decades will be most visible in Africa. Thirty years from now, about 2.2 billion people could be added to the global population – more than half of this is expected to come from Africa.

The broader consequences of this are far-reaching; from the need for more automation to enhanced jobs and expanded career prospects, demand for more food; housing alternatives, need for more alternative energy sources to overcrowding in mostly urban centres.

In spite of the increasing access to renewable energy sources, firewood and coal remain the dominant energy source powering African countries. About 80% of the world energy comes from fossil fuels, and fossil fuels such as coal are limited and therefore unsustainable resources

A recent study reveals that the rapid depletion and usage of fossil fuels on the continent will result in at least 50,000 avoidable deaths as a result of emissions from power plants and vehicular emissions alone.

Annual emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide in Africa will double by 2030, compared to figures from 2012.

Avoidable deaths attributable to exposure to future fossil fuel use is estimated to be over 45,000 by 2030. Most of which is likely to occur in South Africa, Malawi, and Nigeria. Yet fossil fuels are a driver for many economies around the world.

Overfilling our atmosphere with carbon will provoke more extreme weather, deadly heatwaves, more severe droughts, and increasing bush fires.
While the adoption of renewable energy sources for power generation is frequently cited as a practical alternative but despite the promise of innovations like solar mini-grids, most governments are less invested in solar-power solutions across the continent.

But with governments and corporations counting carbon emissions and mounting concerns about climate change, reliance on these same fuels will not last forever. As attitudes and policies evolve, they will continue to see a reduced role going forward.

Even African countries who have remained major proponents of renewable energy, still show a pull towards the use of coal.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) recently declined Kenya’s request for a coal-fired power plant. The AfDB further warns that it had no plans to finance new coal plants in the future, citing environmental and social impact assessment for the Lamu project in Kenya.

Numerous investors, development finance institutions and insurers are limiting coal-related investments. China, the World bank group, Germany and Japan who are the largest providers of public finance for Africa’s energy sector has continuously demonstrated the will to move away from fossil-fuelled power projects.

Also, environmental activists and climate crusaders are continually voicing their growing concerns about the impact of burning fossil fuels.

One such group is Greenpeace which sued and won its case against the Lamu plant in Nairobi.

Ghana currently faces a severe power crisis that could have significant repercussions on the overall working of a national economy – with fuel reforms on petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel being heavily taxed.

An area in Mpumalanga, an eastern province in South Africa houses South Africa’s national power supplier Eskom. It remains the largest single area contaminated by lethal nitrogen dioxide globally. This makes it the centre of the world’s deadliest air pollution.

This is not surprising as South Africa is the continent’s most advanced economy. Power generation and distribution persist as a major challenge. It has remained predominantly coal-based with already evident attendant consequences.

It is equally not surprising, that since the nation’s power supplier had been struggling lately losing $1.46 billion in one year; the economy of South Africa had been adversely affected with job losses, inflation and the worst unemployment statistics – South African unemployment rate of 29.1% hit10-year record high in 2019.

Again, most of the likely sulphur dioxide emissions are expected to come from future coal-fired power plants across central Nigeria, along the coast of Egypt and southern Africa.

And, as droughts get worse, the air quality deteriorates with air pollution from power plants in South Africa and Botswana travelling as far as Zimbabwe and Namibia thereby impacting ocean evaporation, surface wind speed, atmospheric pressure and the chances of uncontrollable bushfires with its associated consequences on the ecosystem.

UNICEF report showed only seven of Africa’s 54 countries are home to real-time air pollution detection and monitoring devices.

The challenge of air pollution on the continent is worsened by other environmental pollution and resource-depleting activities such as desertification, population explosion, and fauna depletion.
In essence, while over 70% of children living in Europe and North America live within 31 miles of an air quality monitoring station, the number stands at just 6% across Africa’s 1.255 billion people.

Fossil fuel burning also impacts water quality and availability –acid rock drainage from coal mines, the destruction of mountain streams and soil quality.

Governments of African countries and corporate decision-makers must, therefore, continue to expand the use of renewable energy and transform its energy system to cleaner alternatives; less dependence on coal and other fossil fuels.

With effective national and regional climate strategies, policymakers must be deliberate about legislations on the quality of automobile imports, increasing vehicle fuel efficiency; deploy more waste-to-energy approaches in rural communities, introducing limits on the amount of carbon that polluters are allowed to emit and building a clean energy economy by investing in efficient energy approaches and technologies


Did you know Stormzy is Ghanaian ?

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Shocking? Yes. Find out how.
Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., known professionally as Stormzy, was born 26th July, 1993 and is a British rapper, singer and songwriter.

His mother is Ghanaian, and he is a cousin of rapper Nadia Rose. He grew up in South Norwood, London, with his mother, brother, and two sisters. Stormzy did not come from a particularly musical household, though he liked music. He attended Stanley Tech South Norwood. He began rapping at the age of 11 and would clash with older rappers at his local youth club.

Stormzy has said about his school years: “I was a very naughty child, on the verge of getting expelled, but I wasn’t a bad child; everything I did was for my own entertainment. But when I went into an exam I did really well. “He said he got six A*s, three As, and five Bs on his GCSEs, but then only achieved a “humbling” ABCDE on his A Levels: “For someone who would cuss in class and was on the verge of being expelled, it was A Levels that showed me that in life you need work ethic.

“He studied for an apprenticeship in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and worked in quality assurance for two years at an oil refinery in Southampton, Hampshire.
In 2014, he gained attention on the UK underground music scene through his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats.

Stormzy’s “Shut Up”, which was initially released as a freestyle on YouTube, became popular and peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart after he launched a campaign to reach Christmas number one. Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the 2014 and 2015 MOBO Awards and was named as an artist to look out for in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list. His debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer (2017), was the first grime album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart and won British Album of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards. In 2019, Stormzy achieved his first UK number-one single with “Vossi Bop” and his headline appearance at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival was widely praised; he wore a Union Jack stab vest designed by Banksy, in light of the rise in knife crime in London. His second album, Heavy Is the Head, was released on 13 December 2019.

Known for his controversial and outspoken comments on UK politics, Stormzy endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2016. On 21 February 2018, he performed a freestyle at the 2018 Brit Awards, calling out Theresa May for her inaction in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire the previous year. When he performs “Vossi Bop” live – including at major events – Stormzy tends to encourage the audience to chant the lyric “Fuck the Government and fuck Boris” to him — the latter a reference to former London Mayor and now British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

His second album, Heavy Is the Head, for release on 13th December, 2019. Stormzy was recognised for both his contributions to music and his activism, landing him at number 5 in the Top 10 of the annual Powerlist in 2020, with an estimated net worth of £20 million in 2020.
Heavy is the Head was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2020. This was the second nomination in his career.

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The Hiplife Pioneer; The Godfather

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Hiplife is a Ghanaian musical style that fuses Ghanaian culture and hip hop. Recorded predominantly in the Ghanaian Akan language, hiplife is rapidly gaining popularity throughout West Africa and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Germany. Many artistes have successfully ventured into Hiplife and are doing great. Hiplife is highly appreciated in Africa in general but do you know the one who brought about hiplife, the pioneer? Well, meet him.

Reggie Rockstone
Reggie Rockstone, born Reginald Yaw Asante Ossei, described as “the Godfather of Hiplife” is a Ghanaian rapper . He was born in the United Kingdom but lived his early years in Ghana in Kumasi and Accra. He has been living in Ghana continuously since he pioneered the Hip-Life movement in 1994.

He pioneered the Hiplife art form and has played an important role in the development of this uniquely African genre in Ghana’s capital Accra. He raps in Akan Twi and English. In 2004, Rockstone won the Kora Award for the best African video and he performed in front of a 50,000-person crowd in Ghana, together with Shaggy. In 2006 he recorded a track with the Jamaican Dancehall singer Beenie Man called “Chukku Chakka” (in reference to Rockstone’s 1999 hit “Eye Mo De Anaa”, which sampled Fela Kuti).

Rockstone is the son of fashion designer Ricky “Ricci” Ossei (Saint Ossei). Reggie Rockstone attended Achimota School. Reggie joined Ghanaian hip hop group VVIP following the exit of Promzy in 2014. Born in the U.K. on April 11th, 1964, Rockstone attached himself to the Hip Hop movement in the early 80’s as a dancer. Travelling on a tri-continental basis (i.e. Accra, New York, London), he broadened his Hip Hop scope. A natural performer and trained actor, he grabbed the mic with no problem when his calling came in 1991. His first ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ came as a dancer in Accra, Ghana in the early 80’s.

His second chance of fame came in 1992-93 as member of one of the top rap groups from London, England. He belonged to PLZ (Parables, Linguistics and Zlang) with Fredi Funkstone, Jay (both from West Africa) & DJ Pogo of the U.K. Number one hits from PLZ included “If it Aint PLZ” and an EP entitled “Build a Wall Around Your Dreams” released on an independent label called “Go For the Juggler.” 1994 became the watershed or turning point in his entertainment career. The rap scene in London was not rewarding enough.

He returned to Accra to encounter a whole generation of people grooving to African-American rhythms, all heavily influenced by the same elements of Hip Hop that he knew all too well. Then, he had an idea! Use the hip hop beats with authentic phat production and lace it with true African dialect; The Akan language of Twi. It became the tool to make such butter classics as “Sweetie, Sweetie”, “Tsoo Boi”, “Nightlife in Accra” and “Agoo” from his debut album in 1997 entitled “Makaa! Maka!”.

He launched on an independent label called KASSA RECORDS that he partly owns, Reggie Rockstone has reached Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians across four continents. Reggie Rockstone is credited as the pioneer of hiplife or Kasahara music in Ghana and like some masters of the art of hip hop, he has proclaimed his retirement and out of retirement several times. Older music critics however give the rightful claim to Gyedu Blay Ambolley who released his official recording in 1973, aside from his amateur rapping years. If Reggie Rockstone made Twi Rap pupular, Ambolley is the originator. His specialty in Asante Twi and is incredibly well versed in English too. He is internationally acclaimed, with several performances throughout West Africa, the UK, France, USA and Switzerland.

In 2013 he was selected to be a judge of the maiden edition of the Glo X Factor Africa along with Onyeka Onwenu and M.I. He was also a judge for the fifth edition of the Malta Guinness Street Dance competition in 2012.

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FilmOne and Walt Disney studios have a deal

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FilmOne Entertainment, a Lagos-based independent theatrical distributor, has signed an exclusive theatrical distribution agreement with the Walt Disney Company Africa. It’s the first of it’s kind. The agreement will gave FilmOne the exclusive right to distribute Disney films in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.

Under the new deal, FilmOne will distribute titles from all of the Walt Disney Studios divisions, which include Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Pictures.

The deal came at a time when fans have been starved of theatrical releases of Disney films due to Covid-19 which led to a shutdown of cinemas. Cinemas were badly hit by the pandemic, they recorded an N8 billion revenue loss. But as restrictions have been eased and cinemas in Lagos have reopened, cinemas goers can anticipate the release of Disney films such as ‘Mulan’, ‘The New Mutants’, ‘The King’s Man’, ‘Death on the Nile’, ‘Black Widow’, ‘Soul’, ‘Free Guy’, and ‘The Last Duel and Eternals’.

The agreement, which took place effective from September 1, indicated the growing interest in the African film market, particularly Nollywood which is reputed as the number one film industry in the continent. Walt Disney Company Africa is one of such international companies that are committed to forming partnerships in the West African region.
Directors of FimOne, Kene Okwuosa, Moses Babatope and Craig Shurn jointly said in a statement;

“We are proud to be Disney’s film distribution partner for West Africa and see this as the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both companies in the region. Our expertise and knowledge of the market, coupled with the unrivalled quality of Disney’s titles, will drive box-office growth for many years to come,”

The Walt Disney Studios is an American film and entertainment studio, and one of the four business segments of The Walt Disney Company. Based in Burbank, California, the studio is best known for its multi-faceted film divisions. Founded in 1923, it is the fourth-oldest and one of the “Big Five” major film studios.Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributes and markets the films produced by these studios. In 2019, Disney posted an industry record of $13.2 billion at the global box office. The studio has released six of the top ten highest grossing films of all time worldwide, and the two highest-grossing film franchises of all time. The Walt Disney Studios is a member of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

The Senior Vice-President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, Christine Service, added that: “With their in-depth knowledge of the region and expertise in bringing theatrical releases to fans, we are thrilled to welcome FilmOne as our distribution partner for this territory.”

With this new deal, FilmOne is taking its place as the foremost independent distributor of theatrical content in anglophone West Africa and largest distributor of premium Nigerian cinematic films in the world. Their partnership with Disney Africa adds to a list of high-profile relationships with industry leaders such as Warner Brothers, Netflix, Empire Entertainment (South Africa) and Huahua (China).

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