For the second successive year, Nigeria has won the World Bank’s “Ideas for Action” initiative, a youth competition on financing for development.
It is a programme which is yearly organised by the World Bank Group, in collaboration with the Zicklin Centre for Business Ethics Research.
The Bank’s Senior Vice President, Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, announced the results of the 2017 initiative on Wednesday in Washington, during its annual meetings and the International Monetary Fund.
Nigeria’s winning proposal, “Kitovu”, came 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. 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, include young World Bank Group staff, technical experts and senior executives from the World Bank Group, Wharton School and the G-24 Secretariat.rs.
“The 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 Africa; 15 per cent from Latin America and the Caribbean; 13 per cent from South Asia; 12 per cent from East Asia and the Pacific. Also, 12 per cent came from North America; eight per cent from Europe and two per cent from the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.
Also, the World Bank’s Director of Strategy and Operations, Africa Region, Ms Mamta Murthi, gave an assurance that the Bretton Woods institution would continue to promote and encourage the youth globally. She noted that the youth remained the major stakeholders in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We focus on youth for this competition because three billion people, amounting to 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, contribute their unique solutions and shape their future and ours,” she said.
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 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.
The platforms would also link producers with buyers, transporters and other ecosystem stakeholders, to tackle post-harvest losses and enable producers’ traceability while increasing farmers’ income.