Bow Valley College introduces an English proficiency exemption

Removing barriers for newcomers and international students

Calgary, March 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bow Valley College is announcing an exciting change to its admissions process for many international students and newcomers to Canada. Applicants from almost 50 countries around the world are now exempt from taking an English language proficiency test.

“Bow Valley College prides itself on removing barriers to learning. This landmark change provides students from countries where English is the primary language of education the opportunity to realize their academic dreams with a more seamless entry,” says Kara Mott, Dean, Enrolment Management and Registrar, Bow Valley College.

To qualify, applicants must provide transcripts that show completion of required secondary (high school) or post-secondary education. The change applies to virtually all Bow Valley College programs.

“As a former international student, I know firsthand what preparing for an English language proficiency test is like. An exemption for some of our prospective students means one less step, saving them time and money. It will be a game changer,” says Trisha Choudhury, Manager, International Student Recruitment, Bow Valley College.

Please visit our website for a list of countries now exempt from the English language proficiency test and details about the requirements.

About Bow Valley College 
Calgary and region’s only Comprehensive Community College — with 14,000 full- and part-time students, Bow Valley College helps Open Doors – Open Minds to in-demand jobs in Calgary, Alberta, and Canada. Our graduates contribute to the digital economy, careers in business, TV & film production, and serve on the frontlines of healthcare and social services. Bow Valley College invests in three applied research pillars: educational technology, social innovation, and health.

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Shannon van Leenen, Senior Media Relations Specialist
Bow Valley College
403-671-3274
shvanleenen@bowvalleycollege.ca

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8791681

War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is now emerging from two years of a brutal conflict in the north, during which all parties committed atrocities. With the November 2, 2022 cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA) in place, the fighting has stopped, human rights abuses in northern Ethiopia are significantly down, Eritrean forces are leaving, and the Ethiopian government is taking the first step towards transitional justice. However, the suffering that was wrought upon civilians in northern Ethiopia must be acknowledged.

After careful review of the law and the facts, I have determined that members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces, and Amhara forces committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Members of the ENDF, EDF, and Amhara forces also committed crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and persecution.

Members of the Amhara forces also committed the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer and committed ethnic cleansing in western Tigray.

Formally recognizing the atrocities committed by all parties is an essential step to achieving a sustainable peace. Those most responsible for atrocities, including those in positions of command, must be held accountable.

We welcome the commitment that the parties to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement have made to acknowledge the atrocities committed and their devastating consequences. We urge all parties to follow through on their commitments to one another and implement a credible, inclusive, and comprehensive transitional justice process. We additionally call on the Government of Eritrea to ensure comprehensive justice and accountability for those responsible for abuses in Ethiopia.

These steps – acknowledgement, accountability, and reconciliation – are key to breaking the cycle of ethnic and political violence that has gripped Ethiopia and prevented it from reaching its unlimited potential for too long.

The United States will partner with Ethiopia as it implements a credible transitional justice process for the benefit of all victims and affected communities. We will stand with Ethiopia as it honestly faces the abuses in its past, provides accountability for the harms committed against its citizens, and moves toward a future of lasting peace.

Source: EMM/ U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE

Hon. Muktar Betara sets up Medical Centre in Biu – Media Head

Hon. Muktar Betara, the member representing Biu, Bayo, Kwaya-Kusar and Shani Federal Constituency of Borno, has set up a Medical Centre in Biu to cater for his constituents.

The Head of the Betara Media Team, Aishatu Ibrahim, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

She said the establishment of the centre was announced by the member after the National Assembly election that returned him for the fifth term to represent his people under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to her, the centre will serve as referral point for patients from Shani, Bayo and Kwaya-Kusar local governments, while patients in Biu will use facilities at the Biu General Hospital.

The media team head said arrangements had been concluded to commence medical outreach to the constituents starting next Tuesday through Wednesday.

She said that the outreach is to treat cases such as Herniorrhaphy, Appendicectomy, Lipoma and Ganglion excision.

Other treatments include Caeserian Section, Laparatomy (Typhoid perforation), breast lump and eye surgeries.

She added that the effort is in collaboration with Binhamz Integrated Ventures, in conjunction with the Federal Medical Centre, Gombe and a continuation of Betara’s development efforts in the health sector.

Ibrahim said ”our amiable member has significantly been impacting on all sectors of human endeavour in all the four local government areas he is representing.

”Before now, the areas were far left behind but I can confidently tell you that this constituency has now been transformed by Betara in terms of development.

”It is certainly because of his efforts that he became the first federal legislator whose constituents genuinely contributed over N150 million to purchase the APC’s N10 million nomination form for him.

”This was also why he won his election with landslide victory in show of appreciation by the people of our constituency.”

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert seeks use of innovation to improve livelihoods

Prof. Olalekan Akinbo, Supervisor at Centre of Excellence in STI, African Union Development Agency (AUDA –NEPAD), has called on Nigeria and other African countries to take advantage of innovation to improve livelihoods of citizens.

Akinbo made the call while responding to questions on genome editing technology in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.

He said: “Since Africa is naturally agrarian, the opportunity this technology offers should be utilised.

“This is by adding value to the available rich natural resources through innovation, in order to improve the livelihood of the citizenries.”

Akinbo noted that many African governments had strong policies for innovation as a milestone that would improve the economy as well as create enabling environment to support innovative ideas.

“I’m talking about innovation in technology, agriculture, petrochemical among others because innovation is the pathway that many African countries have now taken in trying to improve the lives of citizens.

“A case in point are countries that have established ministries and parastatals that focus specifically on innovation and some of these ministries have added innovation to the name of the ministry.

“That shows government’s commitment to innovation and in most of the AU decision process, there have been decisions that support innovations for the improvement of livelihoods,’’ Akinbo said.

The AU Official stated: “African countries also commit some percentages of national budgets to support innovation but in this context, nothing is too much as there is always scarcity of resources.

“Governments have been making efforts to ensure that they are part of the agenda, as well as creating enabling environments to enhance innovation.

“Nigeria is an example, Nigeria is a leader and we witnessed how the Ministry of Science and Technology was changed to Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, indicating that the government supports innovation.

“There are also many start-ups in Nigeria these days and Nigeria is actually a leader in so many things in Africa especially in the area of innovation and creating enabling environment”.

According to him, out of the 55 member states in Africa, South Africa had taken advantage of innovative way of breeding plants.

Akinbo listed other countries that had also moved in this direction to include: Ethiopia, Malawi and Eswatini, who had all adopted biotechnology crops.

He said Kenya had not only adopted biotechnology crops but had also established research institute that focuses on biotechnology.

The AU Official recalled that Nigeria had adopted two biotechnology crops, both for feed and food while others were in the pipeline.

He said: “Looking at this, for a government to have approved these biotech crops is indicative of its willingness and even establishing an agency that sees about safety.’’

He maintained that Nigeria’s National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) was also responsible for the approval of biotechnology related products.

Akinbo re-iterated that Africa, especially Nigeria had given a supportive role to the improvement of biotechnology adoption which would also influence the pathway genome editing technology would go.

The expert said genome editing was an emerging technology with a new innovation that would help in various areas of improvements.

They include; agriculture, climate change and health, among others, all geared towards improving livelihoods.

On the safety of genome editing technology, he said people usually have a phobia and skeptical about the advent of every new technology.

“That something is new doesn’t mean it is not safe,’’ he said.

According to Akinbo, some food crops that people initially thought to be unsafe are now being eaten by them.

Citing an example, he said cassava, which has become a staple in numerous homes in Nigeria contains cyanide acid, adding, “but, due to its importance, scientists were able to manage this acid through processing for safety.

“Though nothing is safe as people are bound to entertain some doubt, genome editing does not include any external introduction.”

Akinbo assured that the technology of genome editing made use of information stored in the DNA to improve on its usage.

“So, from the scientific point of view, genome editing is safer compared to other imagined technology that had been in existence,”he said.

Akinbo added that apart from Nigeria that had already developed the guidelines for the adoption of genome editing, Ethiopia had also done so while others were either at the drafting or signing stages.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Experts call for urgent solution to naira scarcity as MPC holds meeting

Some financial experts have urged the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take urgent steps to address the perennial shortage of cash.

The experts spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, against the backdrop of the 290th meeting of the MPC.

The meeting is scheduled to hold on Monday and Tuesday.

According to a financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, the MPC should discuss the cash situation as a matter of priority.

Unegbu, a past president of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that the apex bank’s claim of circulating more than N900 billion did not reflect on the Nigerian economy.

He, however, said that the problem would likely ameliorate as elections had been concluded in the country.

“Our biggest challenge presently is the cash situation, and I think the committee should discuss it as a matter of urgency.

“The CBN says it has over N900 billion in the system, but it is not reflecting because cash is still scarce.

“But I believe that with the elections over, cash will start to circulate,’’ he said.

He urged the committee to also address the “rumblings in the economy’’ in terms of inflation and exchange rates.

On the policy rates, Unegbu advised for retention of all existing parameters until the next meeting.

“I suspect that because of rising inflation, which is now 21.91 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the MPC may be tempted to raise the rates again.

“But my suggestion is that all the rates should be held constant to allow the MPC

study the situation until its next meeting,’’ he said.

Another financial expert, Mr Muktar Muhammed, urged the apex bank to explain to Nigerians the reasons why Naira notes were still scarce.

On policy expectations, Muktar said the MPC would have liked to increase the prevailing rates but could be discouraged by the already high inflation rate.

Ordinarily, we could see a hike in rates but as it stands now, because of the Naira shortage and what it has done to the economy, I do not think they will want to do that.

“Again, inflation is already high and I do not see how hiking rates, alongside the cash shortage will help the economy grow better,’’ he said.

According to Uche Uwaleke, a Professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, the use of cash scarcity to stifle demand is not a sustainable way to tackle inflation.

Uwaleke said that such a step could hurt economic growth and could lead to loss of jobs thereby, fuelling unemployment.

“Going forward, the CBN should ensure that measures are put in place to ease the cash crunch while gradually implementing its cashless policy.

Inflation rate rose from 21.82 per cent in January to 21.91 per cent in February, the economy witnessed a slight downward pressure in the general prices of commodities.

“This may not be unconnected with the cash scarcity which resulted in low demand for goods and services in view of the cash-based nature of the Nigerian economy.

“Recall that as a result of the cash scarcity and low demand, many traders who deal in perishable items were forced to sell them at below purchase price or cost of production due to lack of storage facilities,’’ he said

NAN recalls that at its last meeting in January, MPC increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 100 basis points from 16.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent.

It, however, retained the Assymetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, the Liquidity Ratio of 30 per cent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of 32.5 per cent.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Supporting MSMEs Crucial to Enable Economy in Africa Grow Much Faster in Sustainable Way

Supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is crucial to enable the economy in Africa grow much faster in a sustainable way, according to African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

The African Union (AU) member states’ stakeholder engagement meeting for the 100,000 MSMEs initiatives underway in Addis Ababa today to discuss on its implementation.

It is to be recalled that AUDA-NEPAD launched the 100,000 MSMEs Programme to accelerate African economic transformation by providing the needed skills to MSMEs and build resilience against the economic shock triggered by the global pandemic.

The initiative seeks to build the capacity of one million enterprises in Africa through entrepreneurial and business training to improve access to finance and new markets while establishing networks for support and incubation to bolster their success.

Acting Head of Human Capital Institutional Development Division at AUDA-NEPAD Dr. Janet Byaruhanga said the program started as an initiative of African Union commission to reach one million MSMEs by the end of 2024.

“The idea is to support MSMEs that are struggling to access affordable and predictable long term financing for businesses. It is also to train them on understanding better how to do business in terms of equipping them with knowledge on business and entrepreneur skills and also creating a platform for them to network with each other.”

She explained that the target is to reach all 55 member states of the AU, however they have reached about 20 countries in terms of actual engagement with the member states.

Assistance Permanent Secretary at the ministry of industrial development of Mauritius, Akshaye Jeewoolall on his part said it is a great opportunities for all African countries of the AU member states and NEPAD to be participating and committed in this initiative to promote the growth of MSMEs in all the continent.

“The MSMEs contribute a lot in employment and in the GDP of each individual country in Africa. So, promoting them, helping them and upholding them is the must to each public and private institutions to uplift and help grow those MSMEs so that the economy grow much faster in a sustainable way,” he said.

One of the challenges that MSMEs face across the world including Africa is access to market and finance, he said appealing to financial institution to help them in various sectors.

Senior Partnership Manager at Afrilabs based in Abija, Nigeria, Felista Aku on her part said that MSMEs contribute directly to job and wealth creation in various countries.

However. she added that the MSMEs is facing various challenges ranging from capacity building, access to funding and market.

The African Union Development Agency NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) 100,000 MSMEs initiative is aligned with the AU Agenda 2063, which aims at building a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The initiative aims at supporting MSMEs in the continent with access to finance, capacity building, networking, introduction to new markets and procurement opportunities. It is also joined by strategic resource partners, Ecobank, McKinsey and Company, The World Bank Group, Microsoft, and UNDP, among others.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

African Nations Urged to Work on Infrastructure Connectivity to Maximize Benefits of Regional Integration

African countries should exert more effort on infrastructure connectivity to maximize the benefits of regional integration dimensions that are stirring in varying wheeler speed after the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) rollout, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Regional Integration and Trade Division Director, Stephen N. Karingi said.

The director told ENA that Africa has seen a lot of progress on trade and market integration essentially due to AfCFTA rollout, and as countries, including Ethiopia started trading under it.

Noting that regional integration has many dimensions, pointing out trade and market integrations, infrastructure connectivity, movement of people and goods and social integration as the main ones, he said “we have seen that the different wheelers are moving at different speeds.”

He stressed that African countries should exert more effort on infrastructure connectivity to maximize the benefits of the regional integration dimensions that are stirring in varying wheeler speed after the AfCFTA rollout.

“On trade integration or the market integration, there is a lot of progress that has been achieved, especially because of the rollout of the AFCFTA, whereby state parties, including countries like Ethiopia, are already starting to trade under the AFC FTA,” Karingi said.

However, when it comes to the movement of goods and services in Africa under AFCFTA, the continent cannot maximize on the benefits of trade and market integration without more infrastructure connectivity works, he added.

“When it comes to the movement of goods and services within the continent, under the rules of AFCFTA, we see a lot of progress being achieved there. Of course, we cannot be able to maximize on the benefits of market integration, unless we have infrastructure connectivity, and that is one of the areas that requires a bit more effort it requires more effort than we have now.”

According to him, accelerating integration is a pillar of development for Africa and stressed the need to effectively implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He noted that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shock arising from the Ukraine war made it difficult for African governments to mobilize the necessary domestic and international resources for infrastructure development.

“One can understand that because of the COVID-19 shock, the shock arising from the Ukraine war, it has been a bit difficult for governments to be able to mobilize sufficient resources to finance infrastructure development. So, more effort is needed when it comes to the infrastructure integration or the connectivity,” he said.

The director noted that the single African Air Transport market has a lot of potential for connectivity in Africa.

He urged African governments to allow African airlines to land in their respective airports and pick up goods and services, move people, and to make progress on the ratification of the free movement protocol.

“Unless Africans are able to be able to move from one country to another, without pieces, it is going to be very difficult for us to have a maximum gains or maximum benefits of the market integration,” Karingi said.

Today, there are a lot of African countries that allow Africans to travel without visa, 25 countries provide visa on arrival and many others enabled electronic visa application, the director stated

Source: Ethiopian News Agency