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The youths of the Niger Delta region have been advised to become employers of labour rather than seeking for white collar jobs.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola gave the charge at the graduation ceremony of trainees on ICT, Entrepreneurship and E-Business sponsored by the Ministry at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State over the weekend.
In the words of the Minister: “The programme is one of the initiatives of the Ministry aimed at supporting the present administration’s programme of empowering the youths to be gainfully employed and be employers of labour instead of seeking for white collar jobs. It is also intended to make the youths productive, reduce restiveness and insecurity in the Niger Delta region.”
Prof. Daramola disclosed that the training programme was put together to give the trainees theoretical and practical skills in computer appreciation and ability to access internet facilities, acquisition of skills for effective enterprise development, job and wealth creation.
The Minister disclosed that as part of the training programme, empowerment start-up capital of Five Hundred Thousand Naira would be given to each trainee to start up his or her micro enterprise. He advised the graduands to use such seed fund judiciously.
The Minister congratulated the trainees for the successful completion of the one month skill acquisition training programme and admonished them to make the best use of the knowledge and skills gained for the betterment of their lives, their communities, and the nation.
He added that officers of the Ministry would continue to monitor the progress of the trainees in their various businesses. The Minister commended the staff and management of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, The Polytechnic Ibadan and Scotchville Group for the successful organization of the skill acquisition training programme.
In his remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Ibadan Prof. Olatunde Fawole noted that the graduands had acquired the best of skills and knowledge from the training programme, adding that it was now left for them to utilize the skills and competencies acquired to uplift themselves and transform the country.
Prof. Fawole also noted that every big business of today started in one corridor as a small entity in the past. He advised the graduands to think big, but start small. “Do not procrastinate as postponement is the biggest enemy of business entrepreneurship.” He added.
Marshall H. Gundu
(Press & PR)
April 10, 2017
The Niger Delta region has been described as very critical, crucial and central to the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration and the promises made by the government to the people of Nigeria.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday. He added that a retreat was to be hosted in the Presidency on Thursday with a view to reworking the economy of the entire Niger Delta region.
“The intention is to re-awaken the economy by creating opportunities in agriculture and other productive sectors in manufacturing, to enable the mass majority of the people of the Niger Delta region get engaged in productive activities of the regional economy; to create wealth and to engage people in various job opportunities.” He stressed.
The Minister recalled that the Vice President’s visits to the region recently were follow up to the President’s commitment to make sure that the region works for the benefits of the indigenes of the region.
Usani reiterated that in order to fast tract every process at ensuring that government’s pronouncements are made good for the Niger Delta region successfully, a process of re-organisation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had begun. “It will be a continuous programme until the Ministry is suitable to carry out its statutory mandate.”
The Minister opined that the year 2017 will be a year of remarkable achievements for the Federal government, as it concerned the Niger Delta region.
He also charged the contractors handling various projects in the Niger Delta region to sign-post such projects in order to show their owners, saying that any contractor who fails to adhere to such directive will be sanctioned. The Minister stressed that putting sign post was a regulation in project delivery.
On the recent alarm that was raised regarding the purchase of vehicles by the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Minister said his preliminary investigation showed that the new management did not meet any official vehicle on their assumption of duties, so they were just attempting to buy some vehicles for official use now.
“This is the extent of my investigation, when I finalise the enquiries, the report will be made public.” He added.
Pastor Usani called for the cooperation of the media to following up all the Ministry’s projects, activities and programmes, for the benefits of the people and residents of the Niger Delta region and Nigerians in general.
22nd March, 2017
The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has again stressed the commitment of all the cabinet Ministers in the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari to working for Nigerians, with a view to ensure a better future.
“You will not find any of our Ministers in character and actions suggesting that he is superior to any other Nigerians,” he added.
Usani made this assertion while receiving an award of excellence, for his contributions to the development of Niger Delta Region and Nigeria in general, from the Association of Nigeria Geographers in Keffi, Nasarawa State, on Wednesday.
“I really believe that when leaders are privileged to preside over the affairs of others, they should not have any excuse that it is the subordinates who misled them,” he stressed. The Minister reiterated that the philosophy of every set of people is guided by the leadership.
It would be recalled that Pastor Usani earlier in the week in his key note address at the just concluded 58th National Conference of the Association of Nigeria Geographers, also in Keffi, titled; “Appreciating Change in the Context of Globalisation: A Geographic Paradigm,” disclosed that the reason for the prevalence of poverty, hunger and inability of Nigeria economy to boom as expected was due to the decline in morals in the Nigeria governance space.
He decried a situation where crime and people of questionable characters are being celebrated in the country.
Also recognised by the Association of Nigeria Geographers under the leadership of Prof. Kayode Oyesiku included the Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibril and the Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Muhammed Akero Mainoma.
In a related development, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, during an interactive session with the National Mentorship Benefactors and some Mentees from the Niger Delta region in Abuja on Wednesday, disclosed that all projects that have been awarded and executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), will undergo Technical Audit and Status Verification, to justify expenditure on such projects.
He charged the beneficiaries who will soon be travelling abroad on mentorship programme to be good ambassadors of Nigeria and also make effective use of the resources they will get to advance their future careers.
“Every great entrepreneur started with very meager amount of money. Define your paths on what you want to do in life,” advised the minister. He noted that lack of seriousness and incompetence will not be condoned from the beneficiaries.
The Minister added that the beneficiaries require knowledge and skills to succeed in life.
Usani stressed that discussions are ongoing with different organisations from a number of countries, in order to see that many Niger Delta youths are assisted as much as possible.
In her response, the South South Cooordinator of the National Mentorship Programme, Barr. (Mrs) Uwa Ben-Ogbeide thanked the Minister for being a good driver of such a ‘wonderful programme.’
The mentorship training programme of Niger Delta youths abroad is being coordinated by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the National Mentorship Office headed by Mr Chika Olejeme.
16th March, 2017
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been advised to give priority to projects that could be funded with the 2016 budget and the proposed 2017 Appropriation in order to ensure early completion and inauguration of such projects.
The Ministry was given the advice by the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, on Thursday during the defence of 2017 budget and the implementation of that of 2016.
At the event, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani noted that out of
N19.4 billion Naira and N727.2 million appropriated to the Ministry for capital and overhead expenditures in 2016, only the sum of N8.1 billion of the Capital Appropriation has been so far released, while the sum of N525,569,190.94 was released as overhead expenditures.
The Minister also stated that the total budgetary proposal of the Ministry in year 2017 is N35, 501,382,365.00. The personnel cost was put at
N1, 081,793,241), N727, 081,124.00 for overhead and N33, 692,500,000.00 for capital projects.
“For the Ministry to successfully complete all its projects between now and 2018, we need far in excess of the 131 billion Naira we earlier requested, because on daily basis, there are recurrent issues of financial demands, coupled with inflation rate.”
Pastor Usani reiterated that the Ministry had liabilities of over 28 billion naira for the past years. He added: “We recognise that we have a responsibility for establishment of development of new projects and programmes in the Niger Delta region, in a bid to address among other agencies, the restiveness in the region.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, Honourable Essien Ayi said Niger Delta is a very special area that contribute a lot for the development and sustenance of Nigeria.
“It is disheartening to hear that so much has been allocated to Niger Delta but little impact is seen,” Ayi lamented.
He pledged the support of his committee for the Ministry in its efforts to develop the Niger Delta region.
10th February, 2017
MINISTRIES OF NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS, PETROLEUM, AMNESTY OFFICE, IOCs, OTHERS, SYNERGISE ON NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT
Ministries of Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum Resources, Presidential Amnesty Office, International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs) and the Nine States in the Niger Delta region are forming a synergy to ensure a coordinated plan for sustainable peace and development of the Niger Delta region.
The decision was taken at a meeting of stakeholders in the Niger Delta region hosted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Minister said that the import of the meeting was to have a compact strategy on issues relating to development in the Niger Delta region. He stressed that the meeting which will be holding quarterly would involve Federal and state governments and the private sector in order to develop a stronger partnership for development.
“We have agreed that we will no longer have discordant tunes of development efforts because functioning independently has reasonably amounted to abandonment of projects because it is assumed that people do not know who is responsible for what. But right now, from the common pool, we can hold particular agencies responsible.” He reiterated.
Usani stressed that the meeting was organised to among other issues, enable the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs make its mandate clearer for better cooperation and synergy; avail it the opportunity to have detailed information regarding the plans and programmes of the International Oil and Gas Companies for the development of the Niger Delta region, as well as to proffer solution to the menace of militancy and engender investment opportunities to create job for the teeming unemployed youths in the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu revealed that a programme involving the state governments in the Niger Delta region, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, his Ministry, Presidential Amnesty Office, Oil and Gas Companies and other relevant stakeholders, would soon be rolled out to give room for jobs, contracts, business opportunities in the oil rich region.
Similarly, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. General Paul Boroh (rtd) noted that about 30,000 ex-militants trained by his office were available for engagement by oil companies and other companies that were willing to engage them.
He added that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has achieved a lot due to understanding it has had with various ministries and leaders of the ex-agitators.
In his view, the Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria, Mr. Jeff Ewing said oil companies were in a challenging time, saying that they were concerned about the safety of their oil installations in the Niger Delta region, so they could generate enough revenue for the federal government of Nigeria.
Mr. Jeff added that oil companies appreciated the importance of working with host communities, Ministries of Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum Resources and other relevant agencies, to ensure sustainable peace in the region.
However, the Managing Director of Total Nigeria, Niclas Terraz said there was need to continue to work hard for a cordial relationship with oil communities and government. “We know what we are doing and what we could do better,” he added.
31st January, 2017
The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has advised all youth organisations in the Niger Delta region to coalesce into one umbrella body.
Usani said the coalition will give room for legitimacy to such a body for interactions with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Hitherto, there have been several youth organisations operating under different umbrellas in the Niger Delta region, making it difficult for government to know which of the groups to recognise and deal with.
19th January, 2017
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has solicited the support of the European Union to organise collaborative summits at different levels, for proper orientation of the people and residents of the Niger Delta region.
The Minister made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with a delegation of the European Union (EU) on Safe Water and Sanitation Intervention Programme in the Niger Delta region.
Usani opined that if the people imbibe such ethical and moral orientation and enlightenment, it would be the foundation of building a society where public facilities were taken as community projects and ownership for maintenance and sustenance.
The European Union (EU) delegation was in the Ministry to arrange the processes of implementing the financial agreement for the takeoff of the EU Safe Water and Sanitation Programme for about 800 selected communities of the Niger Delta region in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers States.
The Minister recalled that in June 2016, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the European Union and various stakeholders met in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, where state governments in the region were informed on the need to pay a counterpart funding of 30 per cent for the water and sanitation Programme in the Niger Delta Region. The European Union is to provide the remaining 70 per cent for the execution of the programme.
He reiterated that out of the five (5) states that were captured in the current phase of the intervention programme-Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers; only Rivers was yet to make a commitment for the payment of the counterpart funding. He assured that Rivers State would fulfill its obligation in terms of the counterpart fund. He added that the Ministry will intensify efforts at ensuring that all the benefiting states fulfilled their own parts of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) within the stipulated time.
Usani called for future direct engagement of the Ministry on European Development Fund (EDF) and other support Programmes for the realisation of its mandate for the nine (9) states in the Niger Delta region on health, sustainable energy and access to electricity, rule of law, governance and democracy.
In his remarks, the leader of the EU delegation, Mr. Kurt Cornelis expressed delight over the response of the five states for the takeoff of Water and sanitation programme in the Niger Delta region. Cornelis pledged the support of the European Union for Nigeria as a matter of priority, in curbing the challenges of insurgency, power and other related issues affecting the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola thanked the European Union for the decision to collaborate with the five states in the Niger Delta region to provide fund for the water and sanitation programme.
Prof. Daramola requested for the inclusion of the remaining four states in the Niger Delta region which were not captured in this phase of the programme: Ondo, Cross River, Abia and Imo States, in the next phase of the programme.
18th January, 2016
SYNERGY AND COLLABORATION NEEDED TO ADDRESS SOCIAL AND INFRASTRUCTURAL CHALLENGES IN NIGER DELTA REGION- USANI
Synergy and collaboration among stakeholders and development partners are necessary to address the challenges of providing social and infrastructural needs for the people of the Niger Delta Region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani made the remark in Owerri, Imo State at a workshop for the validation of the report of a baseline survey of social and infrastructural resource base in the Niger Delta Region.
The minister advised the workshop participants to review the report of the survey critically with a view to come out with a final document that could be used to attract interests and funds for the provision of social and infrastructural facilities in the Niger Delta Region.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program.
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the United Nations Development Program commissioned a consulting firm, the African Centre for Shared Development Capacity Building to carry out the baseline survey.
Pastor Usani commended United Nations Development Program for funding the survey of the baseline report and the workshop for the validation of the survey, adding that the support would fast track developmental efforts in the Niger Delta Region.
The minister noted that when the survey on the baseline report was finally ratified and okayed for use by stakeholders it would help reduce duplication of projects by government agencies, stakeholders and development partners in the Niger Delta Region.
He requested that the United Nations Development Program should also help in training staff of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in some critical areas of its operation in the Niger Delta Region.
Pastor Usani advised that government agencies, stakeholders and development partners in the Niger Delta Region should always carry along benefiting communities of projects for them to have a sense of belonging in the developmental efforts.
The minister disclosed at the event that President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to supervise the activities and programmes of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In his remark at the event, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola commended the consultant of the project, Prof. Olu Ajakaiye for the survey and stressed the need for such a research to be done periodically in order to appraise how far the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, other government agencies, stakeholders and development partners have done in the provision of social and infrastructural facilities for the people of the Niger Delta Region.
In a goodwill message at the event, the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, who was represented by Alesanmi Folorunso said that the report will bring to the limelight some of the hidden truths about the Niger Delta Region which have been buried in political bias and tribal sentiments.
He noted that statistics are numerical facts that cannot be controverted. He added that without valid statistics we cannot make well-informed decisions that will catalyse social and economic development as well as plan for the future generations of the Niger Delta Region.
Dr. Kale noted that a validation workshop of this nature affords relevant stakeholders the avenue to make valid inputs in the process of data production so that when the final report is produced, it will receive the acceptability of all.
Prof. Olu Ajakaiye while presenting an overview of the baseline survey of the social and infrastructural resource base in the Niger Delta Region disclosed that the survey focused on: Education- Primary/Secondary schools; Health- Primary/ Secondary facilities; Water and Sanitation; Transport- Road, Air, Water/Maritime; Power.
According to Prof. Ajakaiye the outcome of the survey included the following: the Niger Delta Region is relatively under-served with respect to key social and infrastructural facilities such as functional primary and secondary schools, health facilities, water and sanitation, transportation, power supply; there is a clear need for massive increase in the stock of social and infrastructural facilities in the region; the existing stuck of social and infrastructural facilities should be made more functional with quality services; electricity distribution facilities were indicated to be available in most of the states of the region but they are not quite functional and the electricity users are generally unsatisfied.
Prof. Ajakaiye advised that in order to address the challenges of availability, functionality and low quality of services provided by existing social and infrastructural facilities in the Niger Delta Region, a comprehensive needs assessment survey of all existing educational, water and sanitation, transport and electricity distribution facilities in each of the nine Niger Delta States was required.
Participants at the workshop were from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the United Nations Development Program, the National Bureau of Statistics, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States, the Consulting firm for the survey.
It was noted that there was a need to do a baseline survey on the housing needs of the people of the Niger Delta Region in future in order to address that challenge.
Participants from the states raised some issues on the findings of the baseline survey and requested for a period of two weeks for reconciliation of some facts and figures before the final validation of the survey which was granted.
Marshall H. Gundu
Director( Press & Public Relations)
November 6, 2016.
The Committee set up by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani to audit all the projects of the Ministry in the nine oil producing states of the Niger Delta region, submitted its report in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Pastor Usani, while receiving the report from the Committee, said the report was not to witch-hunt anybody but just to ensure transparency, accountability and to see that the various projects of the Ministry serve the purposes for which they were put in place, for the benefits of the Niger Delta people.
“The origin of this audit committee was based on the discovery that things were not done properly, so the committee members were carefully selected to audit the projects,” he reiterated.
The Minister disclosed that the Ministry suspended all payments to contractors pending the outcome of the audit report being submitted by the Committee.
He stated that the report would be subjected to proper scrutiny and appropriate actions would be taken against contractors found wanting by the audit report.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Daramola thanked the Committee for a job well done, adding that all the projects being executed by the Ministry currently were all inherited projects.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Alo Willaims Nwankwo stated that the Ministry thought it wise to inaugurate the technical committee to inspect the quantity and quality of the projects of the Ministry in the Niger Delta region as a result of the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to ensure that things were done according to the extant rules in the country.
The Chairman of the Projects Audit Committee, Engineer Yerima Bulama, thanked the Management of the Ministry for the opportunity given to his committee to access the projects being undertaken by the Ministry since inception from 2009 to date in the Niger Delta region.
Yerima said part of the committee’s discoveries was that about seven hundred billion naira (700bn) worth of projects were being handled by Ministry since inception, out of which payment of about 400bn naira was made, as about 200bn was still required to complete all the projects.
The committee also observed that due process was not followed in awarding most of the contracts. The recommendation of the committee include the following: The ministry should ensure that future projects pass through proper procurement process; that a cost effective unit be established in the ministry and also that the federal government should guide against duplication of projects by government agencies in the Niger Delta region.
23rd August, 2016.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Alo Williams Nwankwo, gave this charge at a graduation ceremony of the training and empowerment programme for 64 women and youths from the Niger Delta region, held at The Polytechnic Ibadan, Oyo State, on Friday.
"This is one of the initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration to diversify the economy, increase food security and generate employment for women and youths, in the Niger Delta region", he stressed.
Usani disclosed that the training and empowerment package was put together to among other benefits; "Enable the trainees to be self-employed, engage others, manage businesses for effective enterprise development and be able to generate income for their families."
In his remarks, Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Prof. Olatunde Fawole commended the Federal Government for the right step taken to train and empower Niger Delta youths and women, saying his institution would continue to welcome such a training programme.
Prof Fawole urged the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to continue to enrol more youths in training of this nature, which he said was capable of arresting cases of youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
The training consultant, Dr. Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe, said: "The graduands have all been well trained to world class standards in the vocations they were schooled in- Information and Communication Technology and Commercial Snail Farming."
The participants expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for the training and empowerment programme, saying they were looking forward to the extension of same to other youths and women in the region.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of training certificates, payment of a start-up capital of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300,000) and one laptop each, for the trainees, while those who did not collect laptop received the sum of Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400,000), and other relevant materials that would aid them in setting up their businesses.
20th August, 2016
Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea are to strengthen bilateral relations on economic and security issues for the wellbeing of both countries and their citizens.
The Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani made this disclosure in Abuja while playing host to the Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria, Mr. Job Obiang Esono Mbengono, on Monday.
Pastor Usani appreciated the visit of the Guinean Ambassador, recalling that the bi- literal security agreement between the two countries in March, 2016. He noted that that collaboration of maritime security between the two countries demands commitment based on their strategic location in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Minister also noted that some Nigerian investors are making enquiries on how to invest in Equatorial Guinea.
Pastor Usani revealed that a platform will soon be created to ease investment between investors from both countries, as a means of improving their economies.
The Minister also disclosed that there were investment opportunities in maritime, coastal and manufacturing, among others, for Equatorial Guinea investors in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea said that his country is 'very interested in things that happen in the Niger Delta', as happenings in the region affect his country.
He added that one of the aims of his visit was to find areas his country could invest in Nigeria. Mbengono, who congratulated Nigeria on the 'Ogoni clean-up exercise', said that it was an indication of the receptiveness of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the yearnings of the people from the region.
He also commended the Federal Government on the measures put in place to address the resurgence of militancy activities in the Niger Delta region.
8TH AUGUST, 2016
As President Muhammadu Buhari orders the security forces to mobilise and take concerted actions to protect oil industry installations, check oil theft and end the incessant kidnapping of innocent citizens in the Niger Delta area, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani and the Minster of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Professor Claudius Daramola, have just concluded touring multi-billion Naira projects being executed by the Ministry in Imo State, one of the nine oil-bearing states.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that efforts were in place to renew the “Covenant” between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people of Niger Delta region in order to create a solid and enduring Partnership for the socio-economic and industrial development of the region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has called on the leadership of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) to support efforts aimed at ensuring and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta and North-East regions of the country.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that a forum would soon be created to coordinate the activities of all the Agencies involved in ensuring peace and development of the Niger Delta Region to consolidate the peace achieved so far in the Region and avoid duplication of efforts.