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Most Popular Forms of Online Gambling In Africa
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most countries on the African continent do regulate online gambling. There are however a few countries that do not explicitly legalise online gambling while at the same time they do not explicitly ban online gambling. As such, we can say that most countries on the African continent do allow online gambling either explicitly or implicitly. For many Africans, online gambling is not only a form of entertainment but it’s actually a way of earning a living (this is due to the high unemployment rates in the country). In line with this, we have decided to come up with this article which explores the most popular forms of online gambling in Africa.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is by far the most popular form of online betting in Africa. This is due to the fact that many people across the African continent are sports fanatics hence transitioning to online gambling simply means one thing, adopting what they love the most. A number of African as well as foreign online bookmakers have opened shop so as to provide the African population with a way of earning profits from what they love the most. According to data released by several sportsbooks, a high number of bettors from Africa prefer placing bets on European matches. European leagues such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Germany Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and France Ligue 1 as well as continental competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa league are highly popular. There are however a few who place bets on African matches with the Nigerian, Ghanaian and the South African leagues being the most popular with bettors.

Playing Casino Games

Casino games rank second as the second most popular form of online gambling on the African continent. Casino games vary with online slots being the most popular casino games that gamers opt for. Presumably, the simplicity of online slots makes them a good proposition for a lot of gamers. Apart from online slots, African gamers also enjoy playing table games such as roulette, poker, blackjack and baccarat. Scratch card games are not as popular but they are slowly gaining traction. A high number of gamers access and play their casino games at international online casinos (online casinos registered in foreign lands mainly the UK, Malta and Gibraltar). However, there are a few African online casinos that are slowly gaining traction.

Novelty Betting

In the third position is novelty betting. Novelty betting is a bit different from the two forms detailed above as it does not involve any sporting activities. Novelty betting entails placing bets on economic and political stories as well as on celebrity stuff among others. Basically, novelty betting is betting on any other thing which is not associated with casino games or sports. In Africa, a high number of people who engage in novelty betting place bets on election outcomes (politics). Bettors will pick the candidate/party which they think will win in the upcoming elections be it local government, House of Assembly or Presidential elections.

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3 Joint Winners of Million Dollar 2018 Al Sumait Prize for Health Announced
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
The prize amount of one million US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, November 21, 2018/ — Three joint winners of the 2018 cycle of Al Sumait Prize for African Development in the field of Health have been endorsed by the award’s Board of Trustees, in recognition of their exemplary work in health improvement on the African continent. 

Following consideration of the jury and selection committees’ reports, the Board of Trustees has decided to award half of the Prize to Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Professor at Columbia University. The second half of the prize is to be shared equally between Professor Sheila K. West Vice Chair for Research Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Rakai Health Sciences Program, which is a nonprofit independent research center based in Rakai, Uganda.

Professor Abdool Karim has been jointly awarded the prize for his recognised contributions to science in HIV treatment and prevention over the past three decades, which have led to significant changes in health policy and practices worldwide. He has published more than 350 papers in world-class medical journals and his efforts in research on prevention and treatment of AIDS patients has been a major factor in the decline in HIV/AIDS and mortality rates in Africa and the world.

His findings on HIV-TB, a leading cause of death in Africa, are specifically mentioned in many country treatment policies and guidelines, and are being implemented worldwide. The impact is highly tangible (eg. HIV-TB deaths have halved in South Africa since 2012).

Professor West has been jointly awarded the prize in recognition for her dedicated research focused in Africa on ways to improve trichiasis surgery outcomes and eliminate blinding trachoma. Her work has contributed to the control of blindness for both children and adults.

She has been instrumental in the development of the World Health Organization SAFE strategy for Trachoma prevention and control, a sustainable strategy that is now widely used throughout the world and is preventing blindness among both children and adults. Professor West continues her work on neglected tropical diseases in the poorest communities with partners across the globe.

The third joint winner of the 2018 prize is the Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) in recognition for its important role in improving public health in the African continent by fighting against HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, and for discovering -three decades ago- the first clinical symptoms of what was then a new medical phenomenon called “slim disease” on the African continent.

The program also succeeded in documenting the importance of male circumcision and its positive impact as an effective means of reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, while the publications of the program in prestigious medical journals have had a significant impact on health policies in Africa and the world.

RHSP employs 350 full-time Ugandan research and clinical staff that include epidemiologists, demographers, clinical and basic science researchers, behavioral, laboratory scientists, and research support staff.  Additional RHSP staff, about 370, provide HIV treatment and prevention services resulting from RHSP research.

H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Al Sumait’s Board of Trustees said: “Our goal with this prize is to promote positive change across Africa, and these newly announced laureates of the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development have been working tirelessly in their field of Health to create a positive and sustainable difference across Africa and the world.”

Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and Member of Al Sumait Prize Board,  said: “The achievements of all the winners for the award this year represent a high level of commitment to the challenges facing the African continent in ​​health care. The efforts of two of the three winners are focused on ways to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS, which is the leading cause of death in Africa.

“The third winner focuses on the treatment of blinding trachoma, which is not a direct cause of high mortality, but a disease that is described as an “orphan” affecting members of the poorest communities in developing countries. The decision to award the prize to three winners is a testament to the dedication of all candidates to efforts to improve health in the African continent.”

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), said: “Our Laureates for the 2018 Al Sumait Prize are responsible for measurable improvements to the lives and life expectancy of millions of those suffering from HIV and Trachoma and decreasing death rates of AIDS, through innovative research on treatment and prevention and in championing sustainable changes in health polices across Africa and the world.”

The prize amount of one million US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education. The Board of Trustees (BOT), which  oversees the prize,  is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and its members include:  Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Governing Board of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman of Ghana Nuclear Energy Institute and Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, The World Bank. The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) provides all the administrative and logistic support.

An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, which provides the annual million dollar, the Prize honors the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the health challenges confronting Africa.

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East African countries agree to strengthen regional integration through the continental free trade area
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Africa’s Protocol on the Free Movement of People under spotlight at East African Community (ECA) meeting
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Keep making Ghana proud – Bawumia to Ghanaian Peacekeepers
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Dr Bawumia pinning medals at a colourful ceremony

Dr Bawumia pinning medals at a colourful ceremony

Vice President of Ghana Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has commended personnel of the Ghanaian battalion currently attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), GHANBATT 85, for proudly flying the Ghana flag in the discharge of their duties.

Addressing a durbar of all ranks of the contingent at their operational headquarters at Al-Qawzah, Lebanon on Wednesday 21st November, 2018, Dr Bawumia urged members of the contingent not to rest on their oars but continue to maintain the high standards of discipline which has earned them commendation from all stakeholders.

Dr Bawumia was in Lebanon to witness the award of United Nations Medals to Ghana’s contingent attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

This is the first time in history that a Vice President has visited Ghanaian troops in Lebanon, although Ghana has supported UNIFIL with troops since the inception of the mission 40 years ago.

The 850 Officers and men of the GHANBATT 85, under the direct command of Lt Col Fiifi Deegbe, have been deployed with UNIFIL for the past 5 months, and have been engaged in promoting peace and security in the troubled Middle Eastern country, especially on its southern border with Israel.

“I congratulate the Commanding Officer, Officers, Men and Women of UNIFIL GHANBATT 85 for the impressive performance over the period. Your performance is a true reflection of the high standard of professionalism, diligence and discipline of all Ghanaian soldiers,” Vice President Bawumia stated.

“From the briefings we have been given, I am pleased to note that your effective and continuous domination of GHANBATT 85 Area of Responsibility as well as timely reaction to incidents have been highly commended by key stakeholders, notable among them, the Sector West Commander and indeed the UNIFIL Force Commander.

“Well done for the zeal and seriousness you attached to your duties at keeping the flags of Ghana and United Nations high. Special commendation to the Contingent Commander, Colonel Robert Ayi who is also the Chief Military Personnel Officer (CMPO) at the UNIFIL Headquarters for the guidance to the battalion. I urge you to display the same professionalism and commitment.”

Vice President Bawumia assured that Government on its part, will continue to provide logistical and other support to troops, not just in Lebanon, but in other peace keeping theatres as well as the entire Ghana Armed Forces.

 

“I wish to emphasize that Ghana as a nation must give our Contingent the best support we can, in return for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis in all international peacekeeping operations. In this regard, the Government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will ensure that you have the resources to match your commitments,” Vice President Bawumia pledged.

In a related development, the Sector West Commander of UNIFIL, Major General Stefano Del Col, assisted by Dr Bawumia, on Thursday 22nd November, 2018 pinned medals on the troops of GHANBATT 85 at a colourful ceremony at the battalion headquarters at Al-Qawzah, Lebanon on the occasion of the UNIFIL Medal Day.

 

 

 

 

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Fresh Look At Traditional Medicine as economic hardship hits health sector in Zimbabwe
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Zimbabwe looks forward to new Health Research. This is meant to match with modern latest technology in the Medical field. The move from old days to today’s World has come at a time the country is struggling to procure drugs from outside using foreign currents.

A one day workshop held in Harare on 23 November  by the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe  under the theme , Health Research in Zimbabwe today .. Opportunities in a changing Environment emphasises a New Zimbabwe open for Business.

Giving a speech, the Minister of Health and Child Care, DR Obediah Moyo said the need for future focus lies in building a Health Nation tomorrow. He further pointed out that Zimbabwe which is open for Business must come up with a drive to come with new ideas in the field of medicines. The new ideas, he added must also focus on Traditional Medicines and more also on the growth of Pharmaceutical Industries for Allopathic Medicines.

‘’We now want to look Green as well in New Health research methods. The deep understanding is that Medical Research is life focused. Let us not forget that the World is changing. At the same time, let us move with the times to grapple with Technology, Research, methods and medicines moving with the times. To make the Drug Industry grow, there is need to utilise medicinal herbs. Further, this creates the growth as well of Allopathic drugs, those ones common to us ‘’.

‘’Promoting Sustainable Drug development in the wake of drug shortage retains foreign currents, leads to economic growth and Human Development. If we reach a stage where we export drugs, then we can make affordability and accessibility in the country’’.

‘’Let us not forget, we are in the modern times. Old days are gone with their times. Let us not be archaic. If we do so, we are not developing the medical field. However we need to discuss issues relating to the ethical conduct of Health research.

‘’Our main goal is therefore to ensure protection of human subjects. Since we are moving towards becoming a middle Income country. Vision then must be quality research that speaks our needs. Standardisation and co-ordination of clinical trials and Health Research requires review to align with the Health Act of 1966 and the Constitution.’’

A leading Researcher, Lynda Stranix of the University of Zimbabwe  School of Medicine said Medical Health Research is vital in today’s World. The need to work towards International standards and ethics are important in bringing professionalism in medicines control. Health Infrastructure is developed in view of fighting HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, malaria and cholera.

‘’The World is fast changing but we are moving slowly. Thus why we are now more affected by blood borne diseases, water bourn, vector bourn, Cancers and non-communicable ones. We need to move on with the times, develop best practices, qualitative research and standardise at International level as changes occur ‘’.

‘’More evidence based medicine demand research, more education on Health and to move with the times in hard times hitting us back. Useful interventions and controversies about best practices call for more justified research in communities.

The research is also more to get into Traditional medicine. Professor Charles Nhachi said the country is ready to accept and regulate more research on any new drugs. He said the need to have new trials will lead the country to successful outcome and impact of latest drugs which are efficacious.

‘’As a country we have to promote efficacy through new research studies in traditional medicines. We only come to conquer by looking wisely with fresh knowledge of Scientific Research. The country must take off traditional medicine as well as new focus in the treatment of communicable and non-ones.

Zimbabwe is going under transformation. Numerous challenges stand in the way of a prosperous and healthy society. One of the challenge is provision of quality medicines to communities. Most of the drugs for various ailments need to be imported from outside our boarders.

However, foreign current may not – be adequate to cover all essential medicines .Taking a step further he said demand , supply and adequate supply comes with research and construction of Drug Manufacturing Industry .

‘’It is therefore important to come with innovative research studies which address local needs. Eventually we need to manufacture and supply most of our drugs to satisfy human needs and wants. Government will continue to strive and source funds for research, He concluded.

Recommendations have been laid on the ground to source foreign currents to procure drugs from outside countries at the moment. This is done for the sake of improving drug supply. Also the Government will strive to source funds for research in relevant areas. The revamp of the Drug Manufacturing Industry is promoted to reduce imports and save scarce foreign currency.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kenyan Missionary Killed in Mamfe: Eye Witness accounts say he was killed by Government soldiers-Bishop Nkea
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

Fr. Ondari, Kenyan missionary murdered in Cameroon

Fr. Ondari, Kenyan missionary murdered in Cameroon

The Bishop of the Mamfe diocese Bishop Andrew Nkea says the killing of Rev. Fr. Cosmas Oboto Ondari was done by government soldiers (Gendarmerie Nationale) according to eye witness accounts. This was one of the messages enclosed in a letter by the Bishop shortly after the murder.

Rev. Fr. Ondari was killed on the 21st of November 2018 in Kembong, Manyu Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. The Father was reportedly shot in front of the parish after it was reported that fierce clashes had taken place between separatist and security forces.

According to Bishop Nkea “A certain Mr. Johnson Ndip Nchot was also shot in front of his house, a few meters from the Church building. I visited Kembong Parish on Thursday the 22nd of November and I personally counted 21 bullet holes made on the Church building of Kembong where at the time, the priest, the catechist and many Christians were carrying out various activities in the mission compound”.

He added that: “in December 2017, when the situation in Kembong was very tense, Fr. Ondari and his parish priest Fr. Tiberius Vouni, MHM, along with some of their parishioners moved out from Kembong to Mamfe. The village of more than 5,000 people was almost completely and many houses were burnt down”.

“In April, 2018, in a bid to give hope to the desperate population, many of whom were courageously opted to go back to Kembong so as to encourage the people to return…. It was in this context that Fr. Ondari was brutally and recklessly murdered on the 21st of November, 2018”.

 

The Bishop has called on the powers that be to carry out a thorough investigation into this heinous crime committed against an innocent peace loving missionary and bring the culprits to face justice as he says “it is the only way those who have been hurt can truly be comforted, and peace can return to our land”.

“It is our fervent hope that those killings should stop in our diocese and in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon. The value of human life is diminishing and the human person is wasted away for any flimsy reason or even for sport. This has to stop and we call on all those involved in killing innocent civilians to refrain from these inhumane and monstrous acts”.

Bishop Nkea has called on Christians to intensify prayers and not to relent while also calling on all Christians of the Diocese of Mamfe especially those of Kembong Parish to stay calm and unite in prayers. “The forces of evil are rampage against the church of God but as Christians, we believe in the promise of Christ that the gates of the underworld will never prevail over the Church”

Born in Gucha, in Kenya on the 19th of September 1985, Fr. Ondari joined the missionary society of St. Joseph, otherwise known as the Mill Hill Missionaries and was sent to do his philosophy studies in the Queen of Apostles Seminary in Jinja in Uganda. After his studies of Philosophy, the young Ondari was sent to Cameroon for pastoral experience and he spend two years in Fundong Parish, in the Archdiocese of Bamenda, under the supervision of Fr. Christopher Hannock, MHM…. He was ordained on the 26th of March 2017 in his home Diocese of Kisi by Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa.

In April 2017, the Superiors of the Mill Hill Society appointed Fr. Ondari to Mamfe Diocese where he was then posted to the St. Martin of Tours Parish, Kembong as his first appointment and which turned out to be his last appointment as a priest.

 

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Akinwumi Adesina, Spearheading Good Governance by Leading Agricultural Innovation and Economic Growth of Africa
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
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My Transition Hours: Presidency Calls Jonathan a Liar
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

File picture.President-Elect Retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (L) In A Handshake With President Goodluck Jonathan During His Official Visit To The Presidential Villa In AbujaOn Friday (24/4/15).With Them Is The Former Chief Of Army Staff,Retired Lt.-Gen. Abduhraman DambazauThe Presidency has criticised Goodluck Jonathan, former President, for saying the country is more corrupt now than it was when he left office more than three years ago.

According to a press statement released and signed by the president’s media aide, Garba Shehu on ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan’s book, “My Transition Hours”

Shehu said president Muhammadu Buhari, in pursuit of the war against corruption, has set a number of local and international records, one of which is to call judicial officers in Nigeria to account. He is the first to set such a record. Not only that, this is the first time that top military commanders and Service Chiefs are brought to trial and convictions were achieved on account of corruption.

He also said that this is the first time a ruling party is convicting high profile citizens including former governors, who are members of same party. This is the first time the international community is acknowledging the efforts of a government of Nigeria in this regard as manifested by the selection of President Buhari by the African Union as the Anti-Corruption Champion of the continent. For the records, this is the first time a ruling party is investigating ranking officers of the administration, including some at the very top.

He insisted the Buhari administration has introduced a lot of changes, considering that the laws relating to the fight against corruption cannot reasonably be static. In line with its aspiration to be ahead of the growing sophistication of corruption and financial crimes, the administration has initiated new legislations and proposed amendments to different sections of laws, among which are:

The Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017; • Anti-Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017; • Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill 2017 (NFIU); • Proceeds of Crime Bill 2017; • Public Interest Disclosure and Witness Protection Bill, 2017 and • The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2017. Owing to these efforts and support all of relevant stakeholders, NFIU Act has been passed and President Buhari gave his assent on July 18, 2018.

He said there was no investment in infrastructure during Jonathan’s tenure as President Buhari is now doing in seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing.

Shehu concluded the press release saying “the former President and his party have nothing to say about achievements. They ruled the country for 16 years and what is their record on jobs, power, rail, seaports, airports and internal security, including the crippling disaster of terrorism?”.

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South Sudan woos investors as peace deal revives oil production
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudanese Petroleum Ezekiel Lul addresing the investors, Nov 20, 2018. photo by Deng Machol

South Sudanese Petroleum Ezekiel Lul addresing the investors, Nov 20, 2018. photo by Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan government on Tuesday launched the nation’s second international oil and power conference, a gathering aims at attracting prospective investors from global oil and energy firms.

The first oil conference was held in October 2017. South Sudan has the third largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, but most of its oil facilities have been destroyed in the civil war that started in 2013 – two years after it seceded from Sudan.

More than 400 international and local companies are attending this week’s Africa Oil & Power Conference in the capital, Juba, up from the 300 that attended the initial conference last year.

Some of its oilfields have recently restarted oil production, but returning to full production capacity will take time. In August, South Sudan resumed pumping of crude oil from Toma South oilfied, where production had been stopped since the civil war erupted five years ago.

South Sudan depends on 98% oil revenues for its services, but a country still lag behind in term of physical infrastructure development. South Sudan oil is transported through Sudan due to lack of pipeline and refinery facilities in the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai expressed his government’s interest and commitment to develop the country’s oil industry.

Deng further told the oil companies and investors to be mindful of the environmental pollution while investing in the oil sector in the country.

Investors listening to the speeches, Photo by Deng Machol, Nov 20, 2018

Investors listening to the speeches, Photo by Deng Machol, Nov 20, 2018

“The government will continue to work tirelessly to create an enabling environment for business to thrive in the republic of South Sudan including a fair and balance local content regulation. the development of oil and gas sector will encourage economic diversification. let us be reminded of our responsibilities in the areas of social contract. the majority of South Sudan oil is based in the wetlands where we have faced alot of issue of pollution. I hope, in such kinds of forums when we discuss how to enhance productivity, issues of environment should not be left behind,” Deng said on Tuesday in Juba.

However, South Sudan is making its first big foreign investment pitch since asserting an end to civil war, but the oil-rich nation faces disinclination from some companies that want to make sure the brittle new revitalized peace deal holds.

The East Africa youngest nation is eager to make up for $4 billion in lost revenue caused by the five-year conflict after the government and armed opposition signed a power-sharing agreement two months ago.

Tapping 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, the third largest in Africa, is the fastest route for South Sudan, whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil exports.

Meanwhile, South Sudan Oil minister Ezekiel Lul said the mobilized the oil investors to come and operating in the country in order to lifted up oil production in the country.

 “This year is better than last year. we have mobilized a lot of companies in investing in the Republic of South Sudan, not only in the oil industry but in different areas,” Lul said.

South Sudanese FVP Taban Deng addressing the oil and power confrence attendees in Juba, photo by Deng Machol

South Sudanese FVP Taban Deng addressing the oil and power confrence attendees in Juba, photo by Deng Machol

On the same event, Sudan Petroleum Minister Azhari Abdallah said the two countries plan to sign a cooperation deal that would allow experts in the oil sectors to exchange visits.

He said the resumption of oil production will strength the economics of the two countries, including the foreign relations of the two sisterly countries.

 “I am pleased to announce that South Sudan’s first crude oil is now ready for shipment in the port Sudan,” Abdallah said.

Also, APPO SG Mahaman Gaya, said they are working to stabilize and strength the oil and energy in the Africa continent.

AOP CEO Gullaune Doane urged South Sudan government to put much focus on the trade, which he says it is easy to improve a country’s socio – economic development.

The government is offering prospective investors incentives such as a tax-free grace period of up to 10 years. It hopes to build on the momentum created in August when drilling resumed in key oil fields for the first time since 2013. The aim is to return to the pre-conflict production of 350,000 barrels per day. But some at the investment conference expressed vigilant buoyancy after preliminary signs of growth.

The companies, already licensed to operate in the newly reopened oil fields in Unity State are China National Petroleum Corporation, India-based Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Malaysia-based Petronas.

On the hand, early next year local oil marketing company Trinity Energy will begin building East Africa’s only oil refinery, a $350 million project that will take about 18 months to complete. It will be able to produce 25,000 barrels per day. But at now, South Sudan exports its crude oil, only to buy it back.

More so, South Sudan is currently produces about 150,000 barrels per day, 40 percent of which goes to cover operating costs. The government is left with 90,000 barrels, but partners such as China’s CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas take 20 percent of it.

delegates of the oil and power conference, Nov 20, 2018

While, the remaining profit has to be shared with Sudan’s government in Khartoum as South Sudan has to use its infrastructure to process and transport its oil. Every barrel produced is vital to Africa’s youngest nation, as oil provides nearly all of its gross domestic product.

With the revitalized peace deal at the hand, South Sudan hopes to return to full oil production capacity in an attempt to strengthen and recover its fraught economy.

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Open Letter To AU On The Way Forward For Monetary Policies in Africa
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

To: African Union and African Leaders.

Your Excellencies,

Martin Atayo

Martin Atayo

We have launched an important, but crucial call to African Union and African Leaders for the creation of African currency base vis-à-vis the Central Bank of Africa as a gigantic transformation of our global economy that guarantees elevated level of competitive free market enterprising economy.

An African currency base, well mapped out, will compete with British pounds, US dollars, French francs, Chinese yen, all of which are top rated the most powerful international currencies of today. Any realization of the Central bank of Africa could mean the highest and intensely valuable financial institution to oversee all existing monetary institutions in Africa, and will be charged with responsibilities ranging from currency design, and currency mint for all nations within the continent of Africa, intra-continental (country to country)financial activities, inter-continental International financial transactions, as well as, function as a network hub for monitor, regulations and foreign exchange and policy recommendations.

More importantly, the central bank of Africa is envisaged to function from generation to generations, and oversee data and assets planning management and infrastructural support recommendations to African Union. When, and if debated and approved, will be created to remain passive in functional operational responsibilities discovery phase period of 2-4 years, after which, it moves into active implementation status.

We call on an open dialogue, consultation with more developed nations for proper Institutional structural design, especially, friendly nations in the West, Europe, far East, as well as Asia for broad base contributory ideas. A critical step in rendering African economy stronger, more manageable and competitive in emerging global economic transformational order.

Thank you.

Martin Atayo

Washington DC 20013

*Martin Atayo is an Executive in Chief of Multipurpose Global Application Technologies Corporation with headquarters based in Washington DC. He is a research scholar of Leadership, and inventor of applied science new study field, consciousness universality, or universities consciousness. He is the first to have advised African nations to adopt, encourage, support and promote private sector small business enterprising through government   guaranteed low interest loans to small business enterprises. He is an adviser to governments.He can be reached via email MartinAtayo@mpgatechnology.com.

 

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Walk your talk on corruption – Catholic Bishops to Akufo-Addo
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Catholic Bishops Conference has urged President Akufo-Addo to demonstrate in practical terms his commitment to fighting corruption in Ghana.

According to the catholic bishops, corruption is still problem militating against the development of the nation despite the efforts at fighting it.

“We recognize Government’s efforts in the political realm to address the sin of bribery and corruption in Ghana. The general situation, however, still remains undesirable and needs a more pragmatic approach to address this menace. Corruption continues to permeate all sectors of society and the attitudes and actions that breed corruption seem to be consciously endorsed or unconsciously accepted as the norm. The immorality of bribery and corruption which ignore the ethical code of religion is on the rise in our country.

“We call on the citizens at all levels of society, particularly people of faith, to eschew attitudes, behaviors and actions that support, encourage and condone bribery and corruption. We also call on Government, especially the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to demonstrate in practical terms, his open statement of commitment to fighting corruption. We urge the Government to be committed to the provision made in the 2019 budget to fully resource the office of the Special Prosecutor to carry out its mandated responsibilities,” the bishops said in a statement at their annual conference held in Techiman in the Brong Ahafo region.

They also commended government on the Free SHS program and backed the doable track approach in dealing with the numbers under the program by government.

Below are details of the statement

We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have held our Annual Plenary Assembly at Our Lady of Calvary Pastoral and Social Center, Asueyi, Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. It was under the theme: “Our call to holiness in the light of Gaudete et Exsultate”, motivated by the recent Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World. In Gaudete et Exsultate (which literally means Rejoice and be Glad), our Holy Father expresses his modest goal to re-propose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate #2).

Congratulations to the Catholic Diocese of Techiman

We congratulate our brother Most Rev. Dominic Yeboah Nyarko, the Priests, Consecrated Men and Women and the entire Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Techiman on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the creation of the diocese.  We pray for the growth of the faith and for the Bishop and his collaborators as they exercise their shepherding roles over the people entrusted to their care. We also encourage the faithful to continue their invaluable support to ensure the building of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of holiness.

Acknowledgement

We had the opportunity to visit and interact with the Omanhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Oseadeayo Nana Akumfi Ameyaw IV, his sub-Chiefs and Queenmothers, the Deputy Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Hon. Martin Agyei-Mensah Korsah, the Municipal Chief Executive of Techiman South, Hon. John Donyina, the District Chief Executive of Techiman North,  Hon. Peter Mensah, the MCE for Kintampo North, Hon. Michael Sarkodie Baffoe, and some members of their Coordinating Councils.

We visited and interacted with the people of God in many parishes of the Diocese. Our Plenary was also graced by the Secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Very Rev. Msgr. Pavol Talapka. We also met with a team from the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), led by its Executive Director, Dr Emmanuel O. Akwetey as well as the Technical Advisor for the implementation of the One District One Factory (1D1F) Programme, Mr Kwame Antwi-Agyei.

In the light of our theme and in consideration of the socio-political situation of our country Ghana, we wish to share with you the following reflections.

 Theme for Our Plenary 

Holiness is our call and is fundamentally a divine quality. From her earliest days, the Catholic Church through her teachings has consistently held the truth that only God is holy. When God created the human person in his image and likeness, he meant to share this intrinsic divine attribute of holiness with him.

 

As we are aware, we could not fulfil this purpose of our existence, as we wandered away from God. But God in His love and mercy for our salvation never gave up on us. He kept inviting us, through His prophets, and finally through His Son, to be who we were created to be. Holiness is, therefore, the chief purpose for which we were created. It is the original vocation and assignment of the human race to radiate the holiness of God to the world. Thus, in our holiness, we truly rejoice and are glad.

 

Holiness of the Individual

We are all called individually and collectively to holiness. In our context as Ghanaians, the Holy Father’s Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, #9 requires of all Catholics, and people of good will, a deeper reflection on God’s call to holiness. Indeed, to be called holy people, it is not enough just to know and speak about God. Holiness compels all, especially Christians, to follow the example of Christ, organizing their lives as a participation in the mystery of Christ.  Pope Francis directs our attention to the most ordinary ways in which the call to holiness finds expression and compels us to discover the meaning of this call in all spheres of life: social, religious, economic and political concerns among others, that constitute our reality as Ghanaians. We are entreated to focus our attention on the most ordinary experiences of daily life, which we most often overlook.

We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever and in whatever vocation we have found ourselves. We are being called upon to work with integrity and for the common good of the people, we serve and not for our personal gain. Signs of Holiness Today The Holy Father directs our attention to some important signs that must accompany holiness in our world today. Among the signs are perseverance in good deeds, patience and meekness. Others are joy, a sense of humour, boldness and passion, feeling connected to a community of believers and remaining in constant prayer. Through these values, we find the strength to endure daily humiliations and persecutions, respecting the dignity of others, and rejecting all forms of selfishness.

We also learn to make a distinction between true joy and worldly consumerism, which never brings full satisfaction.  Our faith emboldens us to courageously reach out to the world in Christian witness and love. Christianity, and holiness for that matter is a way of life and not a happening or an event. Christians should not be afraid of holiness. We become holy by doing the ordinary things of daily life with the mind and attitude of Christ. In the words of Pope Francis, “Sometimes we are granted, amid these little details of life, consoling experiences of God” (Gaudete et Exsultate, #4). As Ghanaians, some of the areas in which we can concretely respond to the call to holiness may include more action and less political rhetoric and critique, more civil courage and Christian moral citizenship, resolving ethnic divisions in parishes and work places, facing up to the truth, rebuilding the value of trust through honest relationships and dealings in politics, family life, school, and the workplace by doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.  Above all, Pope Francis proposes constant prayer as a vital sign of holiness. Leading a saintly life is experienced through keeping closeness of the relationship with the Lord, and prayer is the way to this relationship.

Holiness in the Light of the Teaching of the Divine Master: Living the Beatitudes We respond to the call to holiness by living the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:1-12): poverty of heart, meekness and humility, righteousness, sorrowing with the sorrowful, being merciful, peaceful, and “accepting daily the path of the Gospel” with all its inconveniences.

For us, the Beatitudes emphasize the inalienable value that God attaches to every individual human life. Human life is holy; humans deserve the utmost dignity and must be treated with care and respect.  The standard for measuring our fidelity to the Beatitudes is how we treat the vulnerable in our midst. (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). We are encouraged in our search for holiness to appreciate the value of human life. In consequence, we urge the Government to expunge the death penalty from the law books as Pope Francis exhorts all Governments to do. Politicians, Religious leaders, Traditional leaders and all in leadership positions have a grave responsibility to lead the way in making Ghana a society that always places high premium on the dignity of human life.

Indeed, we have the onerous duty to eliminate from our society practices and social vices that devalue human dignity.

Bribery and Corruption

We recognize Government’s efforts in the political realm to address the sin of bribery and corruption in Ghana. The general situation, however, still remains undesirable and needs a more pragmatic approach to address this menace. Corruption continues to permeate all sectors of society and the attitudes and actions that breed corruption seem to be consciously endorsed or unconsciously accepted as the norm. The immorality of bribery and corruption which ignore the ethical code of religion is on the rise in our country. We call on the citizens at all levels of society, particularly people of faith, to eschew attitudes, behaviours and actions that support, encourage and condone bribery and corruption. We also call on Government, especially the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to demonstrate in practical terms, his open statement of commitment to fighting corruption. We urge the Government to be committed to the provision made in the 2019 budget to fully resource the office of the Special Prosecutor to carry out its mandated responsibilities. Irregular Migration Our meeting in Techiman offered us the opportunity to hear the lamentations of traditional and political authorities, the host Bishop and other stakeholders about the spate of irregular migration in Techiman, Nkoranza and the Brong Ahafo Region as a whole. Their observations are confirmed by statistics from Government Agencies such as the Ghana Immigration Service’s Report which indicate that 4,092 Ghanaians have been repatriated from Libya in 2017. Out of this number, 1,562 were from the Brong Ahafo Region.

We are saddened by the unfortunate loss of lives in the desert and the Mediterranean Sea of young men and women embarking on these perilous journeys. We share the anxieties of families who have lost contact with their relatives, who left for these journeys, and pray for their safe return.

As part of our commitment to minimize the high level of migration in this part of our country, we have instructed Caritas Ghana, our Development and Relief Organization, to prioritize actions to address this menace in the Brong Ahafo Region and the entire country. Caritas Ghana is to provide relief and other essential services to those who have been caught up in this regrettable situation. This is also a practical response to the call to holiness. We also encourage our Government to endeavour to implement the National Migration Policy and to support the Regional and International efforts towards addressing the issue of migration with a comprehensive Global Compact which is yet to be adopted.

Care for Our Environment

We recall the old adage that “cleanliness is next to godliness”. Our holiness is belied by the increasing filth and obscene piles of discarded plastics, electronic waste materials and other objects that choke our gutters, streets, and other public places. We also note the southwards expansion of desert-conditions which has been heightened by indiscriminate bush burning, wanton destruction of our forests, water-bodies, sale of large tracts of our prime lands to commercial entities for unchecked exploitation for profits (i.e. Land Grabbing). This situation aggravates the poverty of the local people and even deprives them of their agricultural livelihoods.  We have observed that our country, and for that matter Techiman diocese, where we have held our Plenary, has huge potentials for agriculture and tourism but are only marginally utilized. The One District One Factory (1D1F) Programme can therefore facilitate the full actualization of these potentials.

The Church remains an active voice calling for moderation and regulation in the exploitation of our natural resources. We are taking concrete actions to address the problem of poor sanitation with our new Electronic Waste Management Project and urge Government to be firm in its plans to address the sanitation and environmental problems. We are very much aware of the Government’s ban on illegal mining also known as “Galamsey”. We commend the Government on this decision as the practice destroys our water bodies and the ecology.  However, in negotiating with the small-scale miners for their return to mine, care must be taken not to revert to the “Galamsey” practice.

Youth Unemployment

Holiness inspires action that responds to the cries of the poor and the vulnerable. There is no doubt that the situation of youth unemployment in the country has become a grave concern that requires urgent intervention.

We commend the Government’s innovative flagship projects such as Planting for Food and Jobs and the Nation Builders Corps which seek to address the situation. It is however sad to note that many of the newly trained professionals such as teachers and nurses have also joined the long queue of unemployed youth waiting to be absorbed into the public sector.

We are worried because we see the state of affairs as a potential for national insecurity and social instability. As a Church, we are committed to making a contribution to finding solutions through our new Social Impact Investment and Social Enterprises Initiatives. These initiatives aim to alleviate poverty through sustainable income generating projects.  Local Government Reforms Decentralization or effective Local Government System is the way to bring governance and its benefits to the people and enhance the participation of citizens in the governance process. We note with some satisfaction the efforts of the President and his government to create new regions and reform the local governance system to enhance the devolution of power and resources to the regions, the districts and the communities.

We believe that these reforms, if well implemented, will enhance inclusiveness, accountability, democracy and human dignity. We, therefore, urge all Ghanaians to continue to be law abiding, tolerant and committed to enable us build a free and more just society.  It is our prayer and hope that peace, tranquillity, stability and love, some of the signs of holiness, would prevail in the forthcoming regional and national referenda (December 2018 and September 2019 respectively). We also pray that these attributes would characterise our decentralized local governance and the transformational development of the country.

Delivery of Social Services

We once again wish to commend the Government for its pro-poor social interventions.

The Free Senior High School Policy and the attendant introduction of the Double-track system are creative solutions to serious problems of exclusion and inequality in access to education. We, however, call on Government to address the challenges associated with these social interventions.

We also note that there has been some improvement in reimbursement of claims for health services provided under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). This  notwithstanding, there are still huge sums of unpaid arrears and we urge Government to work hard at further mitigating the situation to enhance the services provided at all health facilities.

The Financial Sector

We are concerned about the recent turbulence and uncertainties in the Financial Sector in our country especially with respect to the Banking Sector. Most of these uncertainties are functions of a profit-only driven market economy, greed, cronyism, conflict of interest, unchecked corruption, impunity, etc. We commend the initiatives so far undertaken by Government to strengthen regulation with the view to sanitizing the sector and safeguarding the interest of clients. It is our hope that Government will follow up this initiative through monitoring to ensure that the desired effects are achieved. We also urge the regulators to consider all the safety-valves that will insulate persons and allied institutions that may be unnecessarily affected by this general policy direction. We cannot but call on Government to fulfil its obligation.

The Cry of the Poor

We are encouraged to know that ours is one of the fastest growing economies in the world as indicated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Other studies and our own observations, however, show that there is still a widening gap between the rich and the poor.  In our experience, many in the urban and rural areas do not experience this economic growth in their everyday living experience. This is an unhealthy growth. We entreat Government as a matter of urgency to roll out the necessary programmes that will alleviate this growing trend of unequal wealth distribution in our country. Education Delivery Education is the bedrock of development. It contributes to the holistic development of the person, spiritual and physical. We therefore continually partner Government in education delivery. It is in this light that we call on Government urgently not to only praise the Church in public places for her contributions in education, health, agricultural and social services. In addition to the deserved praises, we urge the Government to act concretely by signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding our educational partnership and other promises the party made in its own manifesto in 2016. This will be a sign of trust and honesty.

We also want to state clearly that Religious and Moral Education is a means that the Church has used over the years for character formation and transformation in our schools. We, therefore, urge Government not to marginalize the teaching of Religious and Moral Education (RME) in the syllabuses of our Junior and Senior High Schools.

We have observed with great disappointment the marginalization of RME and in some instances its total removal from the proposed curriculum of education and formation of students in our basic and senior high schools. We call on curricula reviewers not to sideline RME in the name of modernization. We ask for a genuine stakeholders’ engagement in the development of a new educational curriculum for our schools.

Political Vigilantism

We are very much concerned about the existence and emergence of many political vigilante groups in our country. These groups act with impunity and in disregard of the rule of law. They destroy property, terrorize and harm people perceived to be in the opposing camp.   Over the years, it is becoming clear that Government and the Security Agencies seem helpless when it comes to addressing the issue of political vigilantism. We condemn in no uncertain terms all forms of vigilantism and appeal to Government to take the necessary steps to immediately outlaw all these groups.

Conclusion “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’. (Philippians 4:8).  May Mary Our Lady of Calvary intercede for us. Amen.

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