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Nigeria's Minister of Finance Says New Plan Will Encourage 'Child Spacing' Not Limit Childbirth

Zainab Ahmed has clarified earlier statements about limiting the amount of children a woman can have, stating that the federal government will instead encourage women to "wait between pregnancies."

UPDATE 10/24/18: Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed,has taken to Twitter to clarify statements she made at the Sustainable Economic Opportunities: Ending the Vicious Cycle at the 2018 Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday, stating that the government met with traditional leaders to discuss ways to encourage "chid spacing" rather than plans to limit the number of children women can have.

The proposed plan came under scrutiny from many international observers.

"The federal government has been engaging critical stakeholders like traditional and religious leaders to advise their members on child spacing," she wrote. "We never said we are placing a cap on childbirth. What is child spacing? This is a healthy practice of waiting between pregnancies," she added.

Read on for the original story:

Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, announced yesterday, that the country is considering a new birth control plan that will limit the amount of children a woman can have, reports BBC Africa.

With a population of 186 million, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. According to Ahmed, the new policy would be in response to the economic risks presented by increased population growth such as extreme poverty and unemployment.

During the "Sustainable Economic Opportunities: Ending the Vicious Cycle at the 2018 Nigerian Economic Summit" in Abuja on Tuesday, the minister disclosed that the government had been consulting with traditional leaders and other officials to discuss the proposed policy.


"We have been engaging traditional rulers and other leaders," Ahmed was quoted as saying by Punch Nigeria. "Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP [Economic Recovery Growth Plan], which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions," she added.

"And we hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth."

According to The Guardian Nigeria, the number of children allowed would be limited to two.

Besides the childbirth limit, other economic measures mentioned by the minister include finding "ways to engage our youths to be active and ensure that transportation is effective, available and reasonably priced."

Reactions to the news on social media have been mixed. Some observers believe that country-wide enforcement of family planning is indeed a necessary step towards alleviating poverty.






Others say that the direct cause of Nigeria's economic challenges is bad leadership, and that leaders should focus on improved governance instead.



(Youtube)

Watch Burna Boy's Down-to-Earth Video For "Common Person"

The Nigerian superstar shares a memorable video for "Common Person," a creative visual presentation of Nigerian humanity amid the ebbs and flows of day-to-day life.


In Burna Boy's heart-warming music video for "Common Person," he shares a more vulnerable, likable version of himself that is often overshadowed by the limelight. The music video for the track off his critically acclaimed album, Love, Damini, showcases the global artist in an extremely down-to-earth and heart-warming manner.

Burna's new video further pushes the message of the song "Common Person": that one person is not better than the next, and despite his superstardom, he is a common person who has never forgotten his roots. In the music video, Burna can be seen interacting with residents of a working-class neighborhood, and partaking in every-day things that happen in several Nigerian working-class neighborhoods, including cooking and carrying buckets of water into the home. In several shots, the superstar is captured helping residents with car trouble kickstart their vehicle.

Ever since the release of Love, Damini, Burna Boy has continued to garner more success and international acclaim. Recently, he was nominated for Best Global Music Performance for the Gold RIAA certified hit, “Last, Last” and “Best Global Music Album” for his sixth studio album, Love, Damini at the upcoming 65th Annual Grammy Awards. Love, Damini, was also selected as a The New York Times’ Critics Pick , and described by OkayAfrica as "a story of victory, love, loss, pain and strength over a number of colorful musical influences." The music video for "Common Person" is a continuation of that story. Watch the video below.

Watch Burna Boy's music video for "Common Person"

Image courtesy of Umaimah

Spotlight: Animator Umaimah Is Here To Romanticize Your Life

We spoke with the Nigerian digital visual artist about inspiration being everywhere, and in every thing.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists, and more who are producing vibrant, original work.

In our latest piece, we spotlight Nigerian digital visual artist and designer Umaimah. The animator spent her childhood enveloped in the colorful, effervescent world of female-centered fantasy shows, and now uses her craft to recapture the very essence. With a strong emphasis on her identity as a Black African woman and the romanticization of the mundane, Umaimah has manifested the dreams of her younger self as she weaves little Black girls into her narrative animations. The artist's fascination with blending African fashion with ballerina attire has created a beautiful example of the 'Black girl joy' that many young African girls could only dream of. Staying true to her visions has boded well, as Umaimah's career has taken her to animation studios for Disney, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, and more.

We spoke with Umaimah about making your art understood without dialogue and the power that comes in "looking at the world through rose-colored glasses".

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Can you tell us about the project that first inspired you to create?

There wasn't a particular project that inspired me to start creating, but rather a specific type of animated content I grew up watching that featured fantastic female characters. Stuff like Totally Spies, Winx, and Barbie movies heavily pushed me towards animation. Their influence is clear in my art, with how I use colors and draw my characters.

What are the central themes in your work?

When I look at my work as a singular piece, two things that stick out to me are the importance of identity and the romanticization of everyday life.

Usually, when people hear romance, they think of romantic relationships, but I'm talking about romance as an idealistic way of living. It's about the beauty in everyday things like getting coffee, taking a bath, or wearing your favorite outfit. These moments can be romantic to me; I show that in my work with my use of colors, lighting, or with the expression and pose of my subject. A quote similar to this theme is, "looking at the world through rose-colored glasses." Identity has also been a central theme in my art, where I specifically want my subjects to be Black African girls. Our families didn't raise many of us to see that we can live our lives in a 'romantic' way; instead, there is a constant emphasis on being tough and struggling. While that's OK for some, I want more African girls to know it's not our only option and we can live life like a movie's main character.

Where do you seek inspiration, and how does it find you?

One thing about being an artist is finding inspiration all around you, even when you're not looking for it. I've found inspiration in burnout or during a creative block. Everything around me has inspired me, like nature (especially flowers), my culture, books I've read, the music I love, and the relationships in my life. Recently, I've been inspired by both African and ballerina fashion. The juxtaposition of tulles and soft hues in ballet and the intricate geometric designs from Africa create visually exciting pieces and compositions in my art.

What do you believe sets African artists apart from the rest of the world?

A lot separates us from other artists; apart from being the only ones who can authentically capture the African experience in our work, we also carry the responsibility of presenting Africa to the world. As more African countries develop, more Africans can see art as a realistic career, which means that we get to have the chance to control our narratives more than we could in the past. With some of us coming from communities that hardly encourage artistic skills, we have no option but to mentor and teach ourselves everything about art, design, and creative thinking. I think that's pretty remarkable and resilient.

Can you talk about your use of colors and accessories?

Colors and accessories play a huge role in my work. They both serve as storytelling tools. As an artist and designer in animation, people should be able to interpret the story of any piece you create by just looking at it. "Story is king," as many animation professionals say. Color plays a role here because specific colors portray certain moods, which tells you half the story. It's why I prioritize it in my work. I need my art to be understood even without dialogue. Props and accessories do the same thing, but specifically for the characters in my art, I make it so anyone can quickly tell their personalities from their accessories.

What's something you wish someone told you at the beginning of your journey?

There's so much I wish I had known when I started chasing art and design as a career. I'll share two to start:

I wish I knew that it was okay not to be perfect while starting out and that it's okay to ask for help from your peers. I also wish I had been more patient with my artistic growth. I used to beat myself up for not being as good as people who had been in the animation field for five years. I still catch myself slipping down that path, and now can consciously talk myself out of it. I was rushing to find my style and voice because I felt I needed to do that to be as good as other artists who had established careers and seemed to have it together. Now, being friends with some of those artists, I've learned they've had their hard times too. Comparing myself at that point didn't benefit me or my work, but it slowed me down.

Image courtesy of the artist

Artwork by Umaimah

Image via Sheila Afari PR/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

The Best South African Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Bongeziwe Mabandla, Sjava, Tyla, Blxckie, Msaki, AKA x Khuli Chana, and more

Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

For more music lists, check out our Songs You Need to Hear This Week roundups and our regional monthly lists for Nigeria, Ghana, and East Africa.

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Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'


Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.