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Speech on military deal: Akufo-Addo’s emotional outburst bad – University Don
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Prof. Ransford Gyampo

Prof. Ransford Gyampo

Outspoken Political Scientist Prof. Ransford Gyampo has described as unnecessary President Akufo-Addo’s emotionally fiery defense of the controversial military agreement between Ghana and the United States of America.

According to the Senior lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, even though he subscribed to the President’s unflinching resolve to expose the hypocrisy of the opposition regarding the agreement, he erred in his choice of language.

“The president in his speech at certain times was a bit emotional. But I was thinking that he could have still exposed political hypocrisy without being emotional and then also sounding or insinuating that a section of the Ghanaian population are anti-America,” Prof Gyampo said.

“I don’t think that it is helpful,” he stressed.

In a televised address Thursday evening President Akufo Addo tagged those opposed to the agreement as naysayers and hypocrites.

“And how else would we have exposed the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency?” Ghana’s President said.

In his reaction however, Prof. Gyampo stated speaking against the agreement does not make one anti-American and that as a father of the nation the President shouldn’t be seen as being intolerable to criticisms.

“For the want of a better word serious emotional attack on those who were peddling hypocrisy and all that, I think he is the father of the nation and so his words on an issue like this should put all debate to rest. It should not stoke further debate,” he stated.

Address insulting

The Minority in Parliament’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa also described President Akufo Addo’s address on the defense cooperation agreement as “insulting.”

Reacting to the 15-minute address, the National Democratic Congress MP for North Tongu, who mounted pressure on the president to break his silence on the issue, said Mr. Akufo-Addo failed Ghanaians.

“A terribly sad night indeed,” Mr. Ablakwa said in a Facebook post.

He added: “This is not how a President talks down to his own people. The intolerant, condescending and insulting response to genuine concerns of Ghanaians from all sections of society is very regrettable.”

No military base

In his address, the President also dismissed claims that the US is seeking to build a military base in Ghana.

“The United States of America has not made any request for such consideration and, consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request. In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America.”

He was confident that the US-Ghana Military Co-operation Agreement “will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.”

Explaining why his Government had departed from the previous norms of predecessor governments to keep military co-operation agreements entered into with the United States of America secret, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government was of the view that such agreements should be subject to the appropriate scrutiny of Parliament, in consonance with the requirements of accountable governance and the teachings of the Constitution.

“But for this decision to be open about this agreement, how else would we, the people of Ghana, have ever known that, for several decades, Ghana has had defence and security co-operation collaborations with the United States of America? How else would we have known that, in some instances, we have provided them with facilities for the movement of personnel and equipment to help some of our neighbours who were facing security and health challenges?” the President asked

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UN expert on extreme poverty to visit Ghana
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will visit Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 to examine the government’s efforts to address poverty through the lens of international human rights law.

“It is widely recognised that Ghana has made great strides in poverty eradication over the past two decades, but government statistics indicate that poverty is still prevalent and inequality is on the rise,” said the human rights expert.

“This is a critical time in Ghana’s history, as the macroeconomic turbulence of the past few years is beginning to stabilise and the country is seeking its own development path. It will be important for the government to address the rising inequality and keep human rights at the centre of its policies, if the country’s longer-term development goals are to be achieved.”

Alston will meet with government officials, civil society organisations, academic experts, and people living in poverty to address a range of issues. These include the specific challenges of urban and rural poverty, the extent and efficacy of the government’s social protection programmes, the ways in which those who are not wealthy fare in the criminal justice system, and the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities who are living in poverty.

He will visit Accra, Old Fadama, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions.

The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 at the Ghana Journalists Association’s International Press Centre in Accra.

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US military deal exposes NDC’s hypocrisy – Akufo-Addo
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo says his government’s handling of the military pact between Ghana and the United States exposes the hypocrisy of some front-line politicians in Ghana.

“And how else would we have exposed the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency?” the President wondered in his national broadcast on the controversial deal which has been criticized by the opposition NDC and former President John Mahama.

The President also dismissed claims that the US is seeking to build a military base in Ghana.

“The United States of America has not made any request for such consideration and, consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request. In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America.”

He was confident that the US-Ghana Military Co-operation Agreement “will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.”

Explaining why his Government had departed from the previous norms of predecessor governments to keep military co-operation agreements entered into with the United States of America secret, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government was of the view that such agreements should be subject to the appropriate scrutiny of Parliament, in consonance with the requirements of accountable governance and the teachings of the Constitution.

“But for this decision to be open about this agreement, how else would we, the people of Ghana, have ever known that, for several decades, Ghana has had defence and security co-operation collaborations with the United States of America? How else would we have known that, in some instances, we have provided them with facilities for the movement of personnel and equipment to help some of our neighbours who were facing security and health challenges?” he asked

1998, 2000, 2015 Agreements

Touching on the conduct of Ghana’s foreign policy, the President stated that the country’s foreign policy has been consistently bi-partisan, and no successor government has found the need to tamper with any Agreement of a non-commercial nature, entered into by its predecessor.

He noted that “we respect the age-old norms of international diplomacy that, when a country has accorded concessions and privileges to another, these are not removed or altered by a successor government, unless, firstly, the conditions under which they were granted have been reversed; or, secondly, there is proven evidence of abuse.”

The President explained his administration came to know that Ghana had entered into a Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America, in 1998, 2000, and under the government of my predecessor in 2015.

His government was, nonetheless, satisfied that the conditions which necessitated the Agreements of 1998, 2000 and 2015, namely the creeping threat to the peace of the region, had not disappeared, adding that if anything, the threat had increased and, therefore, the need had arisen for continuing with the co-operation with the United States of America.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that no suggestion had ever been made that the United States of America had abused any of the privileges or concessions granted under any of these agreements, and it would, thus, have been deemed an unfriendly act to attempt to deny them any concession granted them under the earlier agreements.

Conditions of agreement

Touching on the conditions of the Agreement, President Akufo-Addo explained that these conditions mirror closely the conditions under which Ghana participates in peace-keeping operations under the United Nations, citing the example that when Ghanaian troops go on most peacekeeping duties, they do not carry their national passports, but rather carry their military identity.

Again, the President noted that quite apart from how this Agreement involves the military as an institution, it was worth pointing out that, virtually since independence, Ghana has had very fruitful relations with a range of foreign embassies and major international institutions.

These, he said, include the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, amongst others. All these agencies enjoy similar conditions as those which the Co-operation Agreement offers to the US military here.

“No one has dared suggest that granting these foreign embassies and international institutions these concessions constitute an attack on the sovereignty of Ghana. Nor has anyone also felt that the concessions have in any way worked against the interests of Ghana. Indeed, I have no doubt that it would be the general consensus of all well-informed Ghanaians that this nation has benefitted significantly from the presence and activities of these institutions over the past decades,” the President said.

It was clear to President Akufo-Addo that, if the people of Ghana knew the conditions under which foreign embassies and our friendly international institutions operate in Ghana, nobody would have been surprised that a Defence Cooperation Agreement would make such provisions.

“Such knowledge would have spared many citizens the genuine anxiety and concern they have felt about the Agreement. It is my firm belief that the case for openness and transparency in our governance has been clearly demonstrated, and the argument conclusively settled by these events,” he said.

Reckless self-seeking politicians

President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to take issue with the front-line politicians who have sought to mislead the people of Ghana in this blatant manner, and those who, for mischievous purposes, leaked the document destined for the scrutiny of Parliament prematurely to a section of the media, who then went on to describe it as a “secret document”.

“How could a document intended for the consideration of Parliament be described as a “secret document”? How could anyone who has been in government and run the administration of this nation feign ignorance of the conditions under which Ghanaian troops undertake peace-keeping operations, or the conditions under which our country has collaborated with major international institutions?” he asked.

The President continued, “It is difficult to understand that such people, knowing what they do know, would set about so blatantly to confuse people, and go as far as calling for the overthrow of our democracy? A democracy that has become the beacon of good governance in Africa?”

He was confident that this kind of cynical manipulation by “reckless self-seekers”, in the fullness of time, will be acknowledged and condemned by Ghanaians, stressing that “as the facts become clear and widely available, and as the people come to terms with the evidence, they will reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilize our peaceful country. Truth is sacrosanct.”

President outraged

In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo expressed his outrage at the defamatory comments from him political opponents, to the effect that Ghana’s sovereignty had been sold by his government and himself.

“I will never be the President that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom. I have stood with you, the Ghanaian people, all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights,” he said.

He assured Ghanaians that “Everything I have done, since assuming the great honour and privilege of serving you as President of the Republic, demonstrates that I remain focused on building a self-reliant, free, prosperous Ghana, which will be able to make her own unique contribution to the growth and development of Africa and the world.”

President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged Ghanaians to “concentrate and spend our energies on working together to achieve that goal of a happy and prosperous Ghana, and reject the hypocrisy of the naysayers who led our country into bankruptcy and the worse economic record of modern Ghanaian history. Let us rise above them, and build the Ghana of our destiny, the land of freedom, justice, progress and prosperity.”

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I’ll never sell Ghana’s sovereignty – Prez
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Akufo Addo

President Akufo Addo

President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that he will never compromise or sell the sovereignty of Ghana under any circumstance.

Speaking on the US-Ghana military agreement for the first time, the President slammed the opposition NDC describing them as “hypocrites” and “cynics” for twisting the facts in the US military agreement. He added that he is outraged by comments from his political opponents that he has sold the sovereignty of the nation to the United States of America.

“I will never be the president that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom,” Akufo-Addo said in an address to the nation.

The President’s address comes after massive public outrage over the military agreement with the United States of America.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress and other pressure groups in the country including the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) have been part of a protest to withdraw the deal or revise it to safeguard the sovereignty of the West African nation.

The deal, which has been ratified by Ghana’s Parliament but yet to be signed by the president, gives the US military and its civilian personnel unimpeded access to certain installations in Ghana, including tax wavers.

In his address, Akufo-Add reiterated that the US is not building a military base in Ghana adding that the agreement with the US is only a continuation of a relationship that has existed for decades.

He added that the military agreement will also enhace Ghana’s defence capability and offer an important layer of support in the nation’s common effort to protect the peace in the sub-region.

“Let me state with the clearest affirmation that Ghana has not offered a military base and will not offer a military base to the United States of America. Indeed, the United States of America has not made any request for such consideration and consistent with our foreign policy we will not consider any such request.

“However, In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in the region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the cooperation agreement with the USA.

“It is our firm believe that the agreement will enhance our defence capability and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.”

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Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Six-year study with 47,000 households demonstrates how housing microfinance can be win-win for poor people and financial institutions

KISSI, KENYA (05/04/16)-
Julius Nyakeya Kinanda, 34,Ruth Nygmorambo Nyakeya, 30,Michelle Kwamboka Nyakeya, 10, (White top)
Elisha Kafiti Nyakeya, 8,
Joy Boera Nyakeya, 2,
©Habitat for Humanity International/Jason Asteros

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 5, 2018/ — A new study from Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) says that housing microfinance can and should become a mainstream offering for financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa as they respond to growing housing needs in the region, particularly from poor people.

The business case study, released today, is entitled “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa”  It builds on a project carried out over six years in Kenya and Uganda called “Building Assets Unlocking Access”. The project was a partnership between Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org). So far, the project has reached over 47,000 households and mobilized more than US$43 million in capital to benefit over 237,000 individuals.

To download the case study “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa” click here: https://goo.gl/QmYUWT

The business case study argues that housing microfinance, small non-mortgage backed loans for short terms, can become a mainstream offering in the market to address growing housing needs in the region, incremental building patterns, and the land tenure realities of low-income households.

There are an estimated 1.6 billion people in the world living in substandard housing. This figure is climbing, especially as the world becomes more urbanized and people migrate to cities for economic opportunity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, as much as 99 percent of people do not have access to formal financing –  credit, savings, mortgages – that can let them start building or improving their homes. Traditionally, they build homes gradually as their resources allow. Developer-built, bank-financed homes are rare in Africa, serving fewer than five percent of households in most countries.

“Solving the housing challenges in Africa will require a massive amount of capital investment and most of that will need to come from the private sector,” said Patrick Kelley, Vice President of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “Financial institutions of all kinds have a role to play, especially those already deeply embedded in communities and who understand people with informal sector livelihoods.”

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter partnership with the Mastercard Foundation sought to motivate local financial service providers in Kenya and Uganda to develop housing microfinance loans to fund the incremental building process common among low-income households. The results have proven that there is demand for housing microfinance among families or individuals earning as little as US$5 a day who are seeking to build, extend, or renovate their home.

“At the Mastercard Foundation, our focus is on helping economically disadvantaged people, especially young people in Africa, to find opportunities to move themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty,” said Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation. “This project has provided access to appropriate finance for decent housing. We believe that decent housing can provide more than four walls and a roof over one’s head. It offers people hope, dignity, and a place in their communities.  This report should help financial service providers to scale these products, which would benefit their enterprises as well as the lives of many poor people in Africa.”

Financial institutions in the region that have ventured into housing microfi­nance have often reported it to be a popular product with their clients. To understand the demand side factors, the value proposition of these products, the competitive advantage of financial service providers offering it, and the differentiated features that make housing microfinance a strategic product, the business case study surveyed the work of two financial institutions: Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, or KWFT, and Centenary Bank in Uganda.

The study argues, through the lenses of these two institutions in different geographies, that success and profitability of a housing microfinance product relies on a number of factors: connection with the financial service provider’s mission, good marketing, a clear pricing structure, understanding of land tenure realities, an opportunity to attract new clients, and secure long-term capital to fund the expansion of such portfolios.

“Financing incremental housing solutions is a natural step in the progress of greater financial inclusion. Centenary and KWFT are providing a great example of how financial institutions will benefit from understanding their clients and developing products that serve them well,” said Patrick Kelley.

About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org) seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.MastercardFdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) began in 1976 as a grassroots effort. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.Habitat.org/emea.

About the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter 
Habitat established the Terwilliger Center (www.Habitat.org/TCIS) to work with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expand¬ing innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The role of the Terwilliger Center stays true to Habitat for Humanity’s original principles of self-help and sus¬tainability by focusing on improving systems that enable families to achieve affordable shelter without needing ongoing direct support

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Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio Is Sierra Leone’s New President
April 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Mohamed Bangura

President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio

President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio

The final result for the Run off of the Presidential election in Sierra Leone was announced on Wednesday the 4th of April 2018 at 10pm.The Announcement was made by the Chairman of the National Electoral Commissioner Mr Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh at the Electoral commission Headquarters in Freetown. Foreign and local observers,Consular and Diplomatic cores and members of the local and foreign press were in attendance when the announcement was made, both parties, The Sierra Leone Peoples party SLPP and the All peoples Congress Party APC were both claiming victory and both parties supporters were celebrating victory in the streets of Freetown making the whole populace of the country in a confused mood not knowing who really is the right winner of the election.

The chairman of the National Electoral Commission started by thanking the foreign observers,Press and the general public for help making the electoral process a reality.He said the total voters  turn out of the Run off election was 2,578,271 representing 81.11% and the valid votes cast 2,546,577 representing 98.76% and the invalid votes cast was 36,694 representing 1.24%.

The full breakdown for each presidential candidates were as follows..Dr Mathew Wilson Samura Kamara for the All Peoples Congress Party APC vote cast 1,227,171 representing 48.19% and the Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP votes cast  1,319,406 representing 51.24%.

According to the Constitution of Sierra Leone only the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission has the power to pronounce a winner as president and that what exactly the returning NEC officer Mr Mohamed Nfa Alie did as he announced the Retired Brigadier Juluis Maada Bio as the duly elected president of the Republic of Sierra Leone as he defeated  Dr Mathew Wilson Samura Kamara.

Retired Brigadier Maada Bio was sworn in as President hours after the Result was announced at the Radisson Blue Hotel and Dr Samura Kamara also congratulated the newly elected President. Supporters of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party are celebration throughout the country and the supporters and sympathizers of the defeated All Peoples Party are trying hard to cope with the atmosphere in welcoming the newly elected president

 

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I’ll fulfill all my promises – Akufo-Addo
April 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Danakwa Akufo-Addo has stated that he will fulfil all his promises before his four year mandate ends in 2020.

According to the President, most of the promises he made to Ghanaians have been fulfilled adding that the rest will follow soon.

“I told the good people of Ghana that I am up to the task of running the country. I have fulfilled a number of campaign promises. I know we have a lot to do. It is a four year mandate and by the time my four years will be over, I would have fulfilled all my promises.

“I am not one of the politicians who promises and fails to deliver. I will deliver on all my promises,” the President told a Kente Weavers and Sellers Association during a courtesy call at the Jubilee House on Tuesday.

The president has already fulfilled his pledge to make Senior High School Education free. Allowances for teachers and nurses have also been restored as promised by the president during the 2016 electioneering period.

Also several taxes have been cut or abolished by the president while electricity tariff have also been reduced by the government.

However several promises made by Akufo-Addo are yet to take off. The popular one district, one factory and the one village one dam has yet to take off.

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Resource mobilisation key to Ghana Beyond Aid – Vice
April 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The Government of Ghana’s desire and ability to mobilize and maximize domestic revenue is an integral part of President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has underscored.

To this end, the Government of Ghana is putting in place the necessary measures including the issuance of a national ID Card, a National Digital Property Addressing System, and the use of a Tax Identification Number to access key services, to broaden the tax base and reduce the tax burden on the estimated 1.2million taxpayers supporting a the country’s population of about 28 million.

Ghana’s Vice President reiterated Government’s commitment to developing Ghana using domestic revenues and ingenuity at a Conference in Accra on Moving Ghana Beyond Aid – Revenue Mobilization.

The Conference, organised by the Africa Centre For Economic Transformation in collaboration with the Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund(IMF), is being attended by countries which have signed on to the G20-Compact With Africa (CWA) including Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

Outlining a number of measures Government is implementing to strengthen the economy and boost domestic revenue growth, Vice President Bawumia said President Akufo-Addo’s vision of Moving Ghana Beyond Aid was not mere rhetoric but a reflection of the reality, as aid and donor fatigue grows.

“Judging from our history and our vision for the future, there is no doubt that we need to rethink how we develop as a country. It has become obvious that, we need to be more efficient and effective in managing our resources to ensure rapid economic growth and transformation.

“Going beyond aid is an inevitable conversation, and we can choose to confront it now or postpone it to our peril.

“In fact, a greater illusion is for us to think that we can continue to build schools to educate our children, provide adequate health services for a healthy Ghana, provide safe and adequate water, provide sanitation services for a clean Ghana, provide law and order for a good society, on the inexhaustible charity of donor projects.”

One of the key pillars of the vision of moving Ghana beyond aid, Vice President Bawumia reiterated, was to enhance domestic revenue, while pursuing a more transparent, prudent and accountable use and management of public resources.

“For now, Ghana Beyond Aid is resting on five pillars: First, and most obvious, is to enhance domestic revenue mobilization. And we must do so in ways that do not undermine productive activities, or distort private incentives for work.

“Second, is to encourage higher private savings as a source of loanable funds to support domestic credit and capital market, and expand financial inclusion.

“Third, is to pursue a more transparent, prudent and accountable use and management of public resources.

“Fourth, is to leverage our resources that are buried deep in the ground for development in more innovative ways than the conventional model of royalty and tax regimes.

“Fifth, is innovative mobilization and use of external resources in the emerging development finance landscape.”

Vice President Bawumia urged conference attendees to come up with new ideas and new and better ways of improving revenue collection.

“How can technology help? How do we minimize human interface and the risk of collusive behavior in avoiding and evading taxes? I will encourage resource persons and participants to help us address these challenges.

“Let me assure you that we are committed to implementing policies and operational steps that will put us on a sound footing to mobilize the required revenue for sustainable development.”

Focus of the Conference                                

The two-day conference will provide Compact with Africa (CWA) countries a common platform for knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning on revenue mobilization as well as ways to overcome aid dependence, ease financing constraints, and enhance growth prospects. All key elements to achieve prosperity without jeopardizing debt sustainability will also be considered.

Additionally, the conference will also help CWA countries deal with institutional and political constraints in revenue mobilization, improving tax compliance, and alleviating base erosion and profit shifting by multinational companies. It will focus on common domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) challenges and propose short and medium-term growth-friendly revenue-enhancing solutions.

About the Compact

The CWA was initiated by the German Presidency in the Finance Track, endorsed by the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Baden-Baden in March, 2017, to promote private investment in Africa, including infrastructure. The CWA initiative aims to attract private investment to the CWA countries by ensuring macroeconomic stability. Investment-friendly tax systems will help maintain fiscal discipline, while providing adequate financing for governments’ development needs.

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Ghana-Teachers declare indefinite strike over six years unpaid arrears
April 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Angel Carbonu, NAGRAT President addressing the media.

Angel Carbonu, NAGRAT President addressing the media.

Ghana’s National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has declared an indefinite strike, beginning today, Wednesday April 4, 2018.

The action of the teachers is in protest at government’s continuous refusal to pay six years salaries in arrears owed its members.

The declaration comes a day after final year students in Senior High Schools began writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, President of the Association, Eric Angel Kabonu, who declared the strike noted that despite countless pledges by the government to prioritize the teacher in the education sector no action has been taken in that regard.

“Instead what see are…maneuvering and manipulation employed by the Ministry of Finance and the government to drag its feet and possibly refuse to pay the arrears at all,” he said.

He thus stated that NAGRAT has no alternative than to advise itself and that the “leadership of NAGRAT do hereby on this day Wednesday April 4, 2018 resolve that all NAGRAT members at the pre-tertiary level should lay down their tools and stay from work.”

Salaries of NAGRAT’s members have been in arrears since 2013.

 

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African Food Security Prize Launched to Stop Devastating Crop Pest
April 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
Feed the Future seeks digital solutions to help stop the spread of Fall Armyworm across Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 4th, 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA) /- Feed the Future, supported by Land O’Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, has opened its call for applications for the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize. The prize offers to fund up to $400,000 in digital solutions that aim to help stop the spread of fall armyworm in Africa-a pest that is devastating agriculture and demolishing billions of dollars’ worth of crops across the continent. Selected digital solutions will strengthen resilience against fall armyworm and mitigate risks to food security across the continent.

Fall armyworm attacks over 80 different plant species. Agriculture experts estimate the pest could cause between $2.4 and $6.2 billion in losses for maize, a major staple crop in Africa on which more than 200 million people depend. Crops like sorghum, rice, and sugarcane are also at risk. Unchecked, fall armyworm is a threat to the livelihoods of farmers and to food security across the continent.

How the prizes will be awarded:

● One grand prize of $150,000 will be awarded to the most viable solution

● Two awards of $75,000 for the most promising solutions

● Two runner-up awards of $50,000 for early stage developments that show potential

Applications may involve a range of digital solutions and must demonstrate how the proposed tool(s) will help smallholder farmers and those that reach them, such as extension agents, monitor, identify, treat or report the incidence of fall armyworm.

The application deadline is 14 May 2018 via https://fallarmywormtech.challenges.org/. The Prize welcomes entries from around the world that are specific to the context of fall armyworm in Africa. Final prize awards will be announced later this year.

● Full terms and conditions and judging criteria are available at fallarmyworm.challenges.org● Prizes are a tried and tested method for supporting innovation. They offer a reward to those who can first or most effectively deliver a defined result. They act as an incentive for meeting a specific target. Prizes are also a means of opening up the process of solving a problem beyond the ‘usual suspects,’ thus facilitating the engagement and participation of anyone who can solve the problem.

● About fall armyworm:

○ Fall armyworm poses a serious threat to Africa’s food security. Native to the Americas, it was first identified in Africa in 2016. It is now present across sub-Saharan Africa in more than 35 countries. It is on the precipice of devastating food staples as it quickly spreads across the continent.

○ Differing from other types of armyworm present on the continent, like African armyworm, it eats the vegetative as well as the reproductive parts of plants, rendering further crop growth impossible.

○ In the Americas it has, to an extent, been contained through the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds and crops alongside judicious pesticide spraying. Many effective and fall armyworm-specific pesticides have been registered for use in the Americas. However, no pesticides have been fully registered specifically for fall armyworm in Africa, resulting in the use of unregistered and illegal pesticides, or pesticides meant to treat other invasive pests.

○ The female fall armyworm can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time and can produce multiple generations very quickly without pause in tropical environments.

○ If allowed to reach maturity, female fall armyworm moths can fly distances up to 1,600 kilometers in 30 hours (almost 1,000 miles)

About the partners

Feed the Future: Feed the Future, America’s global hunger and food security initiative, aims to transform lives toward a world where people no longer face extreme poverty, undernutrition and hunger. To achieve this, Feed the Future works hand-in-hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the cycle of poverty and hunger.

Land O’Lakes International Development: Land O’Lakes International Development is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that leverages the farm-to-fork expertise of Land O’Lakes, Inc. to unlock the potential of agriculture to empower the developing world. Since 1981, Land O’Lakes International Development has implemented over 300 dairy, livestock and crops development programs in nearly 80 countries.

Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre: Nesta is a pioneer in the use of prizes to accelerate innovation for public good. Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills. We work in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit www.nesta.org.uk. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research: The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.
Learn more: www.foundationfar.org | Connect: @FoundationFAR

DAI Founded in 1970, DAI is a global development company with corporate offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. Named one of the world’s top 40 international development innovators, DAI works on the front lines of international development, tackling fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability.

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Mastercard appoints new Sub-Saharan Africa Division President
April 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
Raghav Prasad

Raghav Prasad

Sub-Saharan Africa, April 4th 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Spurred on by the company’s steady growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and in line with its focus on investing in the continent, Mastercard has appointed Raghav Prasad as Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa. Prasad will strengthen the company’s ongoing commitment to delivering value to customers and consumers in Africa by leveraging technology to build stronger and more inclusive payment ecosystems.

Prasad brings his extensive 30-year global financial services and payments industry experience to further Mastercard’s goal of financially including 100 million people by 2020 – an objective that can only be achieved by working with partners across the public and private sectors and by introducing market-relevant digital payment solutions such as Masterpass QR, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services along with its core Debit, Credit, Prepaid and Commercial solutions.

With a proven track record as a leader, Prasad has a deep understanding of the payments sector, and brings unique insights into the region honed while running his own consulting practice focusing on the Middle East and Africa as well as working for global players like Citibank and RBS.

“The influence and true potential of technology is seen on the continent like almost nowhere else in the world. Africa has an amazing advantage of not having invested in legacy infrastructure and can embrace the latest technologies, especially mobile, to transform the payments landscape. Technology innovation is influencing the way consumers engage with the world around them, shaping economies, creating smarter, more connected and financially inclusive cities,” said Prasad.

Mobile continues to act as a critical conduit of growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, currently accounting for nearly a tenth of the global mobile subscriber base and is predicted to grow faster than any other region globally over the next five years. Additionally, the World Bank estimates that over 64 million adults in the region already have a mobile money account – making it the most easily accessible technology for those currently excluded from the formal financial services sector.

It also serves as an increasingly important tool for the continent’s growing youth population. Africa will become the youngest and most populous continent in the next few decades, according to the Africa Development Bank Outlook 2018 Report. Its labour force will expand to nearly two billion in 2063, a trend that is supported by the fact that over 12 million young people join the workforce every year.

Prasad predicts that the demographic dividend of a large young and tech-savvy population will lead to many of these youth starting up businesses of their own, and becoming job creators. “Our work in supporting the MSME sector is critical to our role in Africa, and solutions such as Masterpass QR are turning the tide on cash dependency as well as helping millions of merchants to go digital for the first time. This is more attractive for businesses and consumers alike – and we see youth being a key driver of the adoption of new technologies now, and in the future”

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.

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IGD’s U.S. Roadshow Special Reception to Officially Launch Four-City Tour and Announce Partnership with African Development Bank on Africa Investment Forum
April 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, to deliver remarks on private sector engagement to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities 

IGD President Mima S. Nedelcovych meets with AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina and leadership team

IGD President Mima S. Nedelcovych meets with AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina and leadership team

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 4, 2018 –  The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will officially launch its inaugural Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour with a Special Reception on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-7:30PM at the Senate Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, will announce the Bank’s partnership with IGD on the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which will take place in early-November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is an initiative championed by the Bank to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent. Boamah is leading a delegation of Senior Bank Management to the Spring World Bank/IMF Meetings.

Boamah will offer remarks on the U.S. private sector’s role in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities at the Capitol Hill reception.

The U.S. roadshow tour, “Africa Investment Rising: Building Momentum for Investing in Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, taking place from April 18-May 1, is aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by bringing trade and investment opportunities to U.S. companies and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.

Launching in Washington, D.C., the roadshow tour will travel to New York Cityto highlight banking, financing, and investment opportunities; Des Moines, IAfor agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for energy and power.

The full roadshow tour will ultimately culminate in Johannesburg, South Africa, where roadshow attendees are invited to attend the IGD Frontier 100 Forum on Nov. 5-6, followed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF) from Nov. 7-9, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is designed to enhance private-sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa.

“IGD is pleased to build on our partnership with the African Development Bank through the U.S. Roadshow Tour to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities and help attract private capital to the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych.

“By bringing U.S. investors to the Bank’s investment forum, they will learn firsthand about bankable projects and will have the opportunities to broker deals that will deliver economic transformation in Africa,” said Nedelcovych.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and USAID’s East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs are Sponsors of the U.S. Roadshow Tour.

Platinum sponsors as ChevronNorton, Rose and Fulbright LLPIowa State University Research ParkAGCOLilium Capital, and Orrick; Gold sponsors, SasolCorteva AgriscienceEndeavor Energy, and AllAfrica.com as Gold sponsors; and World Food Prize Foundation and Millennium Challenge Corporation as Silver sponsors.

Organizational Partners are PAN Diaspora Capital ManagementHarris Africa Partners/Grant T. Harris, The Serendra Group LLC/Robert van Zwieten, U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of CommerceGlobal Farmer NetworkU.S. Small Business Administration, and Invest Africa.

Media partners are Africa InvestorAfrica.com, Africa Business magazineAfropop WorldwideAlloAfricaNews.comAllAfrica.comAsoko InsightFace2Face Africa,   innov8tiv.comPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica.
The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.

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