While we had federal elections in Germany, a plebiscite(Poll) also took place in Hamburg. The inhabitants were supposed to decide about the repurchase of the electricity and gas grids.

Until now Hamburg owns just 25.1% of the grids, the rest belongs to the companies “Vattenfall and Eon”. So the city can´t really take part in business decisions concerning the energy costs to consumers.

51% of those who voted were for the poll which means that the city has to buy the grids back.

But what does that really mean for the citizens of Hamburg?

The costs for the repurchase will come up to two billion Euros. How the city will pay for it is uncertain yet, but the city can get a reasonable loan and they don´t have to pay the whole amount all at once, but probably until 2017.

Surely the city can get this money back within the next few years. With the running of the grids the city has the chance to earn a high amount of money steadily. According to estimates they could earn up to 450 million Euros a year, so in a long-term it could be worth it.

For the consumer that means, that not only the companies, but also Hamburg regulates the prices for gas and electricity.
So the chance for the consumers, that the prices get cheaper or at least don’t rise up, exists.
The city can also organize a better and faster energy transmission, but “Vattenfall” and “Eon” refuse to invest in that.

The main reason against the repurchase was the financial risk.

Personally I don´t see that as a good reason, because in the last years the city for example built buildings, where they said, there will be no financial risk (example: Elphilharmonien) and in the end the costs exploded.

Also they want to build more, like a new cruise terminal, but I think this don´t have any advantage for most of the citizens, but if our energy is better for our environment and could amount to lower prices for consumers, it is an advantage for all the citizens of Hamburg and I think folks who voted made the right decision.

Janina Grabbert (Topafric)

In Hessen, the system is back to Abi after 13 years. In Bayern students are allowed to undertake an extra year in the Mittelstufe. In Sachsen-Anhalt, they’ve introduced 13 Gemeinschaftschulen.

6 States (Bayern, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) plan to have the same exam in English, German and Math for their Abi candidates in 2013/14.

All States will have the same exams for Abi candidates in 2016/17.

Baden-Württemberg is introducing an extra 87 Gemeinschaftschulen to make it 129. Berlin has introduced Gemeinschaftschulen for the beginners this year.

Islam lessons will be introduced in 440 schools for Class one students in Hessen as an alternative to catholic or evangelical classes. The lessons will be offered by muslim teachers who already work at the school but who’ve undertaken extra training.

In NRW the Islam classes have been there for the past year but only in the Grundschule. This year, the lessons will also be introduced in the other schools.

In lower Saxony, Islam classes will also be introduced as a regular subject.

In Lower Saxony, they also allowed the disabled and the non-disable pupils to learn together in the same schools, a project dubbed “inclusion”.

In Rhineland Palatine, only 24 pupils will be allowed per class in classes 1, 2 and 3 from 2014/15. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern grading of a child’s social interactions and work ethic will be reintroduced.


The World Igbo Conference which was held on the 18th of August 2013 in Hamburg was a great success. The Theme of this year was “The making of an Igbo Nation”. I was very impressed on getting to the location, because it was well organized and nicely decorated. Everyone got a conference tag and an envelope containing a jotter, a pen and a program schedule. This indeed created a conference like feeling. The Event was a display of the rich Igbo culture and tradition. There were activities like cultural dancing, masquerade shows, rites, traditional Igbo music and of course not to forget a lot of money spraying. There was a lot to eat and drink, so that everyone ate and drank to their satisfaction

The Eze Ndi´Igbo (His Excellency Dr. Peter Godwin) amongst others also graced the event with his presence. The most emotional part of the event was when the Eze Ndi´Igbo, gave his speech and he could not contain his tears of joy because he was so happy at the success of the Event and the Igbo people in Germany.

As said earlier, the event was a great success and it was quite refreshing and modern to see a young EzeNdi´gbo. Nevertheless there are still some rooms for improvement. For example in the aspect of time management, a lot needs to be done, although the management apologized for delay, but it wasn´t enough for the time wasted. The title of the event was not suitable, because it was more of a party than a conference by the fact that there were no discussions and seminars but it was more of a festive atmosphere.

In summary, the event was a total success and there are still chances for some improvement but like they say, Rome was not built in a day and we learn from past experiences. More grease to your elbow Igbozurume Germany e.V .

By Ajibola Kolawole