Recycling waste can create 500,000 jobs in Nigeria - Wecyclers CEO, Bilikis

Bilikis Adebiyi, CEO and Founder of Wecyclers, and Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards winnerWecyclers is a social enterprise which incentivizes people living in poor areas of Lagos to recycle their household waste, preventing it from piling up. Lagos born and raised Founder and CEO Bilikiss Adebeyi, previously worked at IBM and conceived of the idea whilst doing an MBA at MIT business school. At 31 she is a mother of two, and was recently chosen as a Laureate of the Cartier Women's Initiative Award.

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Anansi: A wish list for Ghana

Ghana’s politicians are setting about one of the most exciting elections their country has ever seen. After eight years in opposition, the plucky, but poorly- funded, National Democratic Congress is trying to wrest power back from the much smarter-heeled New Patriotic Party. Now that oil has been discovered offshore, Ghanaians are impatient to see a new prosperity spread throughout their society.??


Anansi favours no one, but does suggest that that the victors urgently consider the following policy options as soon as possible after they take office:


1. Reform the system for allocating oil and gas exploration and production licences by opening them up to competitive tender or auction. Also promote greater transparency in the industry by creating a law to ensure that the public and the private sectors adopt the principle of ‘publish what you pay’.


?2. Introduce preferential rates of interest on foreign exchange remittances by Ghanaians in the diaspora, and non-Ghanaians resident in Ghana, to encourage the habit of long-term saving. At the moment, most of this money goes into consumption or building houses. But we are entering a period of economic uncertainty in which inflows of foreign exchange, which keep the economy afloat, may start drying up. Banks should be encouraged to participate in this drive. The money could help create a national savings fund for future generations, to be used when the oil money runs out.?


3. Monetise the benefits and perks of ministers, MPs and top civil servants, and raise their salaries so that they earn enough to pay for their own housing, petrol, vehicles, phone bills, school fees and medical care. This will put them in touch with the economic hardships faced by ordinary Ghanaians.


?4. Phase out all opencast mining in the gold industry. All future mines should be underground. Artisanal mining should be closely regulated to prevent mercury and other poisons from polluting the water supply.


?5. Strictly enforce the rent laws which prevent landlords from demanding more than six months’ rent in advance from prospective tenants. ?


6. Review the tax laws to encourage investment in the recycling of waste. Almost everything people dispose of has a potential secondary value. The husks and leaves of palms and cocoa trees have added value after recycling as raw materials for fertiliser and other products.


?7. Waste management regulations should be enforced to reduce the mountains of plastic refuse generated every day, as this can be used as raw material to fuel small urban power plants. It will also generate jobs. Building more public toilets, and making them affordable and accessible, is an essential part of this suggestion.?


8. Introduce the long-awaited single spine pay system in the public services so that employees earn a living wage. Bring an end to the old system of ‘you pretend to work and we will pretend to pay you’.?


9. Build a national consensus and hold a referendum on constitutional reforms. These should include, at a minimum, the introduction of multiparty elections for all district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives, and a ceiling on the number of justices the president can appoint to the Supreme Court.?


10. It should be a compulsory part of the curriculum in all schools, both public and private, to teach children how to cross the road safely. The proportion of road accidents involving children is unacceptably high. This will require the construction of better roads with covered gutters and clearly-marked crossing points, and the introduction of solar-powered traffic lights.

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