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Government sign the IATA Billing and Settlement pact
December 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Uzman Unis Bah

The Sierra Leone Government has signed the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) with the International Air Transport Association (IATA); an Agreement for the establishment of a single standard interface for invoicing and payment between travel agents and airlines.

A system Operating in 181 countries, the BSP is set to facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting and remitting procedures of IATA Accredited Passenger Sales Agents, as well as improve financial control and cash flow for its approximately 400 participating airlines.

Signing the agreement, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh Kallon described the initiative as a laudable venture that will create the enabling environment for tourism and trade to blossom, adding further that the government of Sierra Leone spends an annual fortune on foreign travel due to huge variances in ticket sales to the same destination. 

“Having a BSP in Sierra Leone will allow for the domestication of global standards that ensures the security and reliability of funds among participants in the air travel and trade value chain. It will also enhance accountability in revenue management for the National Revenue Authority and the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA),” the Minister said. 

In his statement, the Director General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), Moses Tiffa Baio said the signing of the BSP agreement is a testament of government’s commitment to make the aviation industry competitive in the sub-region. He added that the BSP is another step taken to reduce air ticket burden on Sierra Leoneans as it strives to stabilize the fluctuation of the exchange rate.

“I am happy to announce that Sierra Leone is the first country to sign the BSP agreement within the Sub-region. The BSP will provide immense benefit for the government and the people of Sierra Leone in that it provides predictability, certainty and sanity for ticketing, reporting and remittance generated from Foreign Travel Tax (TAX) and other taxes levied on airlines, travel agents and other aviation service providers,” he said. 

“The BSP will not only benefit travel agencies, but also the country and those tourists who would want to visit Sierra Leone. While we commend the SLCAA Boss for his effort, we assure the government of Sierra Leone that the BSP will be a success,” John Rogers, Head of Sierra Association of Travel Agencies (SLATA) said.

The Secretary of the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), Edgar Lacle thanked the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, noting that it is a step in the right direction. He assured the government and the people of Sierra Leone of the board’s continued support to not only BSP initiative, but also any project that seeks to develop the aviation industry.

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Minister’s Report Beams a Light on the Fiasco of the Education Ministry
December 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Uzman unis Bah

Moinina David Sengeh - Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education
Moinina David Sengeh – Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education

Freetown, Sierra Leone, a report by the newly appointed minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Moinina David Sengeh has shed light on the derelict condition of the ministry.

In his report, the minster highlights urgent needs for rehabilitation of the structure itself, and the need to upgrade the wash system of the ministry, which is in fiasco.

Sengeh compiled a report on what obtains at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), days upon bearing the portfolio of a full cabinet minister; in the report, shocking revelations highlighted a failing system; consequently, years of failure in the educational system.

The report highlights issues the Minister observed in and around the Ministry surroundings, including but not limited to trash all over the building, broken furniture, abandoned equipment, no system of operations and poor sanitation facilities.

Relating to the attitude of the workers, Minister Sengeh stated in this report that staff were idling around the ministry, watching Movies in the office and speaking Krio, a local dialect, which is not the country’s official language of communication. “Staff speak krio mindlessly in the office, there is no resource library and staff do not have access to (haven’t read) policy document of MBSSE” the report states.

“The report shed a beam of light on poor staff attendance, “About half of all senior management were not at their desks between 10:40AM to 12:30PM. In addition to the Permanent Secretary who asked for permission to travel that morning, and the head of human resources, there were entire teams that were absent from their units including Informal Learning, it was also apparent that many senior technical leaderships were out of the country/office at the time” the report reads.

The minister recommends the allocation of resources to swiftly, rectify some of the issues he has outlined. As the report concludes, “if the ministry cannot solve these problems, it can’t lead a transformation in education”. Education is the flagship priority of the New Direction government.

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Sierra Leone :SLBL bids Farewell to former Managing Director
November 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Laurent Bukasa, M D Designate, Daaf Van Tilburg with SLBL staff and guests at the event
Laurent Bukasa, M D Designate, Daaf Van Tilburg with SLBL staff and guests at the event

Former Managing Directorthe Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL), Daaf Van Tilburg ,has been seen off in style with well-attended farewell cocktail in his honour at the Sierra Light House in Aberdeen, Freetown

Speaking at the event, the former MD thanked everyone for their presence adding that it is very nice that he was able to  have  farewell together with everyone in the company adding that he grateful for the opportunity to serve them well during his three years.

“I am standing here with mixed emotions as I have got a great next career opportunity for which I am grateful. But I am also very sad to leave beautiful Salone, the nice people of Sierra Leone and all of you. I want to let you know that my family and I had a fantastic time in Sierra Leone,’’he said.

He added that if he looks back, he is  very proud of his  three-year tenure in Sierra Leone thus thanking everyone for the great work they have done for the company during his reign .

“Let me please take you through all what has been done. As a team, we made fantastic improvements. We invested over 35 Million Euro   in the brewery. As you can imagine, the implementation of such a programme, whilst running the business, is complex but our team did it very well. The brewery is now fully modernized with extended capacity. But along with the investments, we also very much invested in our people and organization which has been steadily growing in the last year. More than 95% of our employees are Sierra Leonean and it is amazing how they have developed and adopted modern state of the art technology. One example, our state-of-the-art canning line is now 100% ran by young and promising Sierra Leonean engineers and technicians. This is fantastic,’’Tilburg said.

Tilburg went to say , for their consumers, they  invested in their brands and  that they all look refreshed and modern stating that they have also  introduced innovations like STAR citron, Trenk Dark Malt Energy and Amstel International Lager beer and a full can format portfolio, the first of his kind which is very much appreciated by everyone thus the reason they invested a lot in  their  sales team, bars, restaurants and event sponsorships working  together with their  distributors to provide the best service while at  the same time invested a lot of time and effort in sorghum development and our communities via different Corporate Social Responsibility projects.

“I would also like to give a special mention to the Management team of Sierra Leone Brewery but also to all the members of staff who did a tremendous job together. Thank you to my team for organising this farewell party, I wish you all well and I look forward to hearing of your continued successes,’’

Laurent Bukasa, M D Designate SL Brewery Limited,  in his maiden speech at the cocktail , showered huge thanks to Daaf for a great welcome and introduction stating that it was a great pleasure to have joined Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, which is part of the HEINEKEN Group.

“I consider myself fortunate to have been given this opportunity to join an organization with such a fine reputation and good will for its quality products/services/ and contribution to national development and that of communities in this beautiful country, Sierra Leone. I am indeed happy to be here in Freetown and to face a new opportunity,’’ he said.

He added that the Managing Director position offers new and exciting platform to him and that he is  looking forward to do the job.

“Prior to coming to Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, I have worked for HEINEKEN over 23 years. My background entailed a lot of experience in the field of Marketing and Sales. The last position I held was, Corporate Affairs Director of the HEINEKEN Brewery in DR Congo. At HEINEKEN, we are partners for growth and development in any country in which we operate,’’ Bukasa explained.

Bukasa further said as a Managing Director, he promise to maintain all these links and useful engagement with stakeholders including the government of Sierra Leone,  Distributors,  suppliers, Chamber of Commerce, Association of Manufacturers, Employers Federation, Sorghum Farmers and Marketers Association, MCCU and all other partners adding that they will continue with their  trajectory to invest on capacity and quality to meet the demands of the market.
“For our consumers, we are committed to good services at all times. I want to confirm to you that my team and I will keep an open-door policy and continue with our strategy to be a best in class in Sierra Leone. I pray for your support during my tenure with useful and positive engagement. With this, I am looking forward to having an opportunity of engaging you all,’’

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South African women demand Death penalty for rape
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)
Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)

A petition spearheaded by women in South African which demands the introduction of death penalty for rape perpetuators and other offenses against women is gaining momentum and has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.

This follows the conviction in August this year of Luyanda Botha, who raped and murdered 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana when she went to pick up a parcel at the Cape Town post office where he worked.

He was handed three life sentences but women in South Africa say its not enough. They are requesting that for taking one’s life, Luyanda Botha and others like him should pay with their lives.

The petition tabled to the office of the president seeks to punish perpetuators so as to deter violence and Crimes against women in South Africa which they say is “an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces.” 

The petition which seeks to hit one million signatories so as to advance their demand insist its time to joined forces “to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country” 

South Africa rates of femicide –intentional killing of women and girls — is one of the highest globally when compared with other countries where data is available, according to Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program.

“We have three women killed every day by a husband or a boyfriend in South Africa, and this is much higher than in many countries. It’s much higher than it is in Europe or Australia,” she said.

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Gambia Music Union Clarifies ‘Peace Project’ by Gambian Musicians
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Strongly advice artistes to distance themselves from politic

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambia Music Exco
Gambia Music Exco

The Music Union of the Gambia has reacted to the ‘Peace Project’ initiative by a group of Gambian musicians, presented to President Adama Barrow assured the full support of the state.


The musicians called on the president Adama Barrow over the weekend at State House to present the project with the hope enlisting the support of the state in promoting national unity, social cohesion, and harmony through the power of music.


Barrow said: “This peace project is very important; there can be no progress in the absence of peace and stability. As President, I and my government will support this project to its success. I have a mandate to the Gambian people and therefore take ownership of this project’’

However, on Tuesday in a press release from the Music Union of the Gambia is aware of the recent visit of a few Gambian Artists to the Office of President. We understand its was arranged and facilitated by President Barrow’s Youths For National Development together with Lamin Cham (DJ Champion Sounds)

The Artistes that were present went there at their own will on contract basis by the above mentioned bodies and had nothing to do with Gambian Artists or Music Union as a whole.

They presented a “Peace Initiative” Project which the Union isn’t against, we believe Maintaining Peace is key and the first step towards developing any nation and Gambia is not an exception to that fact.

What we are against is siding / working / affiliating with any political groups, parties or political related gatherings in the name of Gambian Artist or Musicians.

We believe there are right channels such as our line Ministry Of Youth & Sports or Ministry Of Tourism & Arts/Culture to facilitate such projects together with The Music Union Of The Gambia and National Centre for Art and Culture.

The Union is made up of different Artistes/Musicians with different tribes, backgrounds and political views, What brought us together is the music and we want to keep it that way.

Due to the present situation of the country, The Timing of the meeting and the Body Facilitating the meeting didn’t sit well for a lot of Artistes & the executives of The Music Union. Our believe is in order to strengthen the Music Union as an institution which has an executive with a mandate.

The Music Union Of The Gambia advices artistes to distance themselves from politics and if one wants to take part should do it on its own will and not in the name of Gambia Artists / Musicians / Music Union.

Our Music Industry lacks structure which we have been struggling to put in place and we believe working with the government could make this possible but only if its Channel to the right institutions/ offices.

We want to use this opportunity to inform all artists that the Executive will in a few weeks call on congress. We are equally happy to report that the constitutional Review committee will report on the drafted constitution for adoption and election of yet another executive to run the affairs of The Gambia Musicians Union in the years to Come. In the spirit of Peace and the Development of Gambia we salute you.

Peace

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Internet freedom and access on the decline in Zimbabwe
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Statistics from three publications released over the last few weeks paint a sober picture of internet access, use and freedom in Zimbabwe. A combination of factors have contributed to a drop in the number of Zimbabweans that use the Internet, while on the other hand, archaic and undemocratic laws continue to restrict free expression and access to information on online platforms, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA).

   According to MISA-Zimbabwe, the first publication in exposing the challenges forgoing is the Abridged Postal & Telecommunications Sector Performance Report for the Second Quarter of 2019, which reported a decline in internet users in Zimbabwe. 

  According to the report produced by the industry regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), at the end of December 2018 62.9% of Zimbabwe’s population had access to the Internet. By the end of June 2019, this figure had dropped to 57.2%.

   A major contributor to the drop in internet usage rates is the increasing cost of mobile data and connectivity fees. Accordingly, the statistics reveal that at least 95% of Zimbabweans access the internet via their mobile devices using mobile data from mobile network operators such as Econet, Net-One, and Telecel. Recent months have seen steep increases in mobile data costs across all three mobile networks while user income level have largely remained stagnant forcing internet users to prioritise spending on other services besides the internet.

   MISA-Zimbabwe says that any drop in internet usage is worrying given the fact that the platform is an enabler for the enjoyment of other fundamental rights such as the right to free expression, access information and other seemingly distance rights such as the right to education and the freedom of association and assembly.

  “Furthermore, if an increase in national internet usage contributes to the growth of a country’s economy, it must be true that a decrease in the number of internet users will also contribute to a reduction of a country’s national income and economic growth,” MISA said.

  It is added that while MISA Zimbabwe took a stand against internet shutdown in Zimbabwe in January 2019, they are worried that the cost to access in now shutting out users from enjoying their constitutionally granted rights, specifically under section 61 and 62 on free expression and access to information.

  The second publication is the Affordability Report 2019 published by the Alliance for Affordable Internet. The Affordability Report states that a lack of competition in the broadband sector leads to the high cost of broadband in low-income countries such as

Zimbabwe among others. In the same report, Zimbabwe slipped one position down in the Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) to position 53 of 61 countries covered in the report.

   The Affordability Report calls upon policymakers such as Parliamentarians and regulators such as POTRAZ to play a role in formulating policies and regulations respectively that supports healthy broadband markets that are affordable to the majority of citizens within a given country.

  Poor policies such as high taxation of the telecommunications sector can effectively drive up connectivity costs. For example, local mobile network operators pay an estimated 65 cents out of every dollar they make to various government entities in the form of taxes and contributions to sector specific funds such as the Universal Service Fund. These multiple taxes and costs are passed on to the consumers of telecommunications services.

  The third publication is the Freedom of the Net Report published by Freedom House. This report states that the state of Internet freedom has globally been on the decline for the past nine years. Zimbabwe is however, cited as one of the five countries which have experienced the greatest decline in Internet freedom in the past year. This decline is largely due to the six-day long Internet shutdown experienced by Zimbabwe in January this year and arrests as well as harassment of dissenting voices online.

    The report found that Zimbabwe’s Internet space is partly free.

Other factors that have led to a decline in the enjoyment of Internet freedom in Zimbabwe include the existence of laws in the country’s Criminal Law Code that criminalise fair enjoyment of the right to free expression. In 2019, a number of people have been arrested for sharing messages that are said to undermine the authority of the President over social media platforms.

  The Freedom of the Net Report indicates an increase in the number of authoritarian governments that use internet based technologies and social media in particular to push their agenda that sometimes is in the form of misinformation campaigns. Since early 2018, the Zimbabwean social media space has seen an increase in social media accounts that express pro-ruling party sentiment.

   “There is nothing wrong with social media users expressing views in support of the political party of their choice. However, Zimbabwe has seen a significant increase in social media accounts that use pseudonyms and make use of generic stock images downloaded from the internet for their account profile images. This is exacerbated by rumours that political parties are investing in groups of social media users to defend that political party’s interests. These social media networks employ harassment and trolling to shut down any criticism of their political parties,” MISA said.

  According to MISA-Zimbabwe, the three reports indicate that a number of cost and policy related factors affect access to the Internet. The media organisation also says that they also show that the policy framework determines the level of enjoyment of rights and Internet freedoms. The reports also indicate that Zimbabwe has its work cut out in order to ensure a safe and affordable Internet for all.

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Gambia’s Dancehall Artist Explore Europe with Positive Vibes
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

ENC, alias Worldvibe General one of Gambia’s finest reggae dancehall artiste is currently on European where he played three successful shows in Germany in the cities of Duisburg, Bremen and Karlshue.

He is booked to perform in Italy, Malta, Finland and Austria, the tour is organised by Masta Lion Promotions, ENC this Friday he will be performing in Finland Helsinki

Masta Lion Touray, ENC’s tour manager said that;”Gambian Dancehall Superstar ENC is fully loaded to explore Europe from 31st October to 7th December 2019.

According to him, they are preparing for five shows in Italy, one in Malta and one in Austria

“We’re calling the entire Gambians and beyond to show some love and support the movements in promoting and exposing our music to global audiences,” the Brikama born veteran DJ said.

ENC Di Real (real name Essa Colley) is a reggae and dancehall artist from The Gambia. He was born in 1988 and ventured on the country’s music scene in 2005. In early 2006, he released two singles called ‘Money’ and ‘Nyamabakawass’. Some of the songs on the album received huge local airplay from the country’s DJs such as Fire Man and Dj G Faal.

In 2008, he participated at a TV show music competition called Gamcel Chart and made it to the final top ten. In 2009, he started deejaying and this gave him the opportunity of becoming a radio presenter on West Coast Radio. He introduced a dancehall show on radio called Back Stage Show. The platform allows young upcoming artists to get exposure by giving them a huge airplay and exclusive interviews.

Between 2010 and 2011, he released songs such as ‘Money’, ‘Nyamba Kawass’, ‘Spotlight’, and ‘December Energy’. In 2012, he did a collaborated with Amie Dibba on ‘Wanna Love You’ and Aria, a Jamaican dancehall artist on a song called ‘Rough up The Party’. In 2012, these songs made the star to make it to the international dancehall mainstreams in the world. That same year, he represented his country at the South America’s festivals held in Venezuela.

In 2012, he dropped a first dancehall mixtape called ‘Triple Action’. The project features 25 tracks which were presented and mixed by Rico Vibes. In 2013, he launched a 17-track mixtape called ‘Girls Segment’.

In August, 2015 he founded World Vibe Records to help local musicians produce good and quality music.

ENC Di Real became opened the annual Open Mic Festival. He has worked on a number of projects by other artists. He featured on songs such as ‘Soccalyoso Rhythm’, ‘Nice Again Rhythm’, ‘One Step Rhythm’ and ‘Nice Up Rhythm’.

In 2018, he release his debut album called ‘VICTORY’ comprise of 12 tracks. He is gearing up to launch a new EP called Cloud on 14th of December 2019 at Willy’s night club in lamin village.

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Nigeria:Paradigm Initiative Launches Learning Lab for Digital Rights and Inclusion
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

LAGOS – 5 November 2019 – Today, Paradigm Initiative is thrilled to announce that its first Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) will begin operations in February 2020, and will operate from its new headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.

DRILL has a mission to host innovative learning around digital rights and inclusion in Africa, and serve as a space for both practice and reflection. The Learning Lab will involve, and connect, different stakeholders and create dialogue amongst researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society.

As a lighthouse for digital rights and inclusion advocacy in Africa, learning activities will take place at the Lab in order to evolve new thinking on digital rights and inclusion strategy for Africa. There are a variety of activities that will take place, including, but not limited to, focused future-facing research; presentations; ecosystem meetings and discussions focused on digital rights and/or inclusion hosted within the ecosystem; and general communication about the lab’s activities.

DRILL will offer a space for big thinking, evaluation of digital rights and digital inclusion programs, and future-proofing ecosystem activities. DRILL will host innovators, researchers and/or entrepreneurs-in-residence at the PIN HQ so they can host biweekly ecosystem/sector meetings (to share insight/ideas), biweekly presentations (to share outcomes of their research and/or work) and work with the Executive Director to record a monthly DRILL podcast on topical issues.

“There are both enormous challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating an inclusive, healthy, safe and open Internet in the coming decade for all Africans, including marginalized and vulnerable populations such as women and girls, people with lower income levels or living in rural communities, sexual minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities,” said ‘Gbenga Sessan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative. 

“Connecting the next billion, who mostly live on the African continent, requires not only technological and commercial innovations, but also new models of collaboration among all stakeholders,” he continued. 

He added, “The selection process for the DRILL Fellowship will be supported by an External Advisory Group made up of ecosystem leaders, including Alberto J. Cerda Silva (Ford Foundation), Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications), John Dada (Fantsuam Foundation), Nnenna Nwakanma (World Wide Web Foundation), and Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi (Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre), who will help shape the program and work with the PIN team to review Fellowship applications.”

The inaugural fellowship of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab will start in February 2020. The fellowship will be open for a period of three months at a time, but can be renewed for another three months, depending on planned activities and joint reviews between the Fellows and PIN. 

“As a mid-career fellowship, potential candidates will be expected to have had a minimum of 5 years’ experience as technology or social innovators, researchers, policy experts, and/or entrepreneurs,” said Emmanuel Vitus, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative. 

In his words, “Paradigm Initiative will cover costs associated with learning activities at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab and provide office space, an opportunity to be embedded within our team, access to the ecosystem, and feedback on projects throughout the duration of the Fellowship.”

Applications are open via the Paradigm Initiative website, www.paradigmhq.org/drill, until December 20, 2019.

About Paradigm Initiative

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls.  

The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Lome, Togo (Francophone West Africa); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). 

Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.

Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013. 

*Paradigm Initiative

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Hogbetsotso 2019: our allegiance is forever Anlo – Ashanti Kingdoms declare
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica 

More than 28 thousand people have thronged the Anlo’s traditional Capital Anloga to climax the 2019 Hogbetsotsoza in a colourful style. To many observers and partakers of the festival, this year’s celebration was rated more successful than previous ones. The colourful ceremony saw a magical, spiritual, and Cultural display of Anlo-ewe values that thrilled the participants from the beginning to the end.

The crowd made up of both Traditional Rulers, and government delegations, the public, Anlo citizens from the diaspora, foreigners and friends of Anlo took part in celebrating the well-attended occasion.

The Awomefia of Anlo, Torgbui Sri III affirmed the unity between Anlos and the Asantes, emphasizing “Our unity is forever.” Research on Anlo-Ewe history has it that, the two tribes signed a unity treaty in 1865 to be each other’s keeper and charged Anlos and Ashantis in Ghana and abroad to work together as brothers to enable the build Ghana.

 The Awomefia stressed Anlo state commitment to champion the unity for the rapid socio-economic development of the two tribes and their people. 

On education, he commended the government for its Free Senior High School policy and appealed for the fixing of roads in the Anlo State, address water challenges, construct the Keta Harbour and establish a tomato factory in Anlo under the One District, One Factory initiative to prevent postharvest loses experienced by the people in the area. 

The special guest Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in an address read on his behalf by the Mamponghene, said the exchange of visits and interactions by the two leaders were to reaffirm their union for “peace and orderly development of the two great regions and the country at large, Adding the two tribes had vowed never to wage war against each other, instead, support one another. He bemoaned the failure on the part of historians who have failed in recognizing the peace-building efforts by the two tribes in pre-independence struggles. The Asantehene recounted the collaborative efforts that saw Ashantis and Ewes work together to change the course of Ghana’s history, and underscored the need to ward off elements trying to sow seeds of disunity between the two. The Asantehene later presented assorted items including kente and drinks to the Awomefia. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an address read on his behalf commended the Asantehene and Awomefia for building on the unity of the two tribes and restated government’s commitment to fulfilling its promises to the Anlo State and meeting the desire of the people in getting a fishing harbour and a port. He said works on roads in the country would commence soon simultaneously and that government is very much aware of the economic importance of roads and would not deny Ghanaians access to motorable roads.

This year’s celebration attracted several delegations, chiefs from Notsie, in the republic of Togo, government officials led by Mr Kan Dapaah, Minister for National Security, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama.

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Ghana: In Hogbetsotsoza 2019, the Anlo’s look beyond their exodus to foster peace and tranquility
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Hogbetsotsoza is one of the oldest, well known and the most prestigious festivals of the people of Anlo.  It is celebrated on the first Saturday of the month of November every year. The festival is used by the Anlos to commemorate the exodus and the bravery of their forefathers, who through endurance and sacrifice found a new home for them at their present location when they left Nortsie.

Some school of thought explains the term Hogbetsotso, as been derived from three Ewe words – *Ho* to move, *Gbe* meaning day and *Tsotso* as the crossing over. Thus Hogbetsotso means the long journey of the Ewes through Norrtsie in the Republic of Togo to their present settlements in the Republic of Ghana.

The Hogbetsoso, as a unified commemorative event,  has been celebrated for a few decades now,while many of the processes and sacraments such as Nugbidodo (the grand reconciliation) go far back in pre-history and antiquity. The first Hogbetsotso was celebrated in 1962 during the reign of Awoamefia, Torgbi Adeladzea II. This year’s celebration is christened ‘’historic’’ as the festival is set to witness the visit of the Asantehenhene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II from the Ashanti Region, the first-ever in the history of the Anlo state.

The move has been applauded by many who had known the Ewe and the Asante rivalry, even in modern Ghana. Other dignitaries to grace the occasion are The Ewefiaga Torgbui Agorkli XVI of the ancient Nortsie in the Republic of Togo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, and two former presidents of the Republic of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama and HE Jerry John Rawlings and other dignitaries from home and abroad. The Hogbe Institute, organizers of this year’s festival estimate patronage to be more than fifty thousand including locals and foreigners who will throng the area in commemorating this day.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hogbe Institute, Dr Sylvanus Kwashi Kuwor intimated that, the theme for the festival  “Uniting Anlo through its values for the benefit of its citizens and the Nation at large’’ is a clarion call on all Ewe people to utilize available opportunities in the land for the development of the area. He urges the citizenry to go beyond the celebration and foster peace and cohesion among themselves.   

History 

The Anlos –Ewes in the course of their exodus settled briefly at Notsie, currently within the territory of Togo after migrating from Southern part of Sudan, and crossing the Niger, to their present home in Ghana before the 14th Century and the advent of colonialization.

Available historical documents and oral history have it that the Anlos settled at Ketu in the Republic of Benin and Ile Ife in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Before migrating to live briefly in Notsie in the Republic of Togo. Each state of the journey has its epic story. For example when they were leaving Nortsie, the people had to move backward as they exited Nortsie, to deceive any pursuit. This backward movement is incorporated in a dance style called Husego or Misego in Anlo.

The Anlo-ewes are now widespread and located in different countries in West Africa, Togo, Nigeria, Benin and Ghana. They are the largest homogenous ethnic population in Ghana and Togo. They speak the Ewe language (Ewe: Eʋegbe) which belongs to the Gbe family of languages. 

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Global superstar Akon confirmed for ACCES 2019 in Ghana
October 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Akon

Senegalese-American musician and entrepreneur Akon will be at the ACCES 2019 music conference in Accra, Ghana, where he will take part in an informative Question and answers session about his career takes place at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on 28, 29 and 30 November 2019. 

The five-time Grammy nominee joins a roster of over 80 prominent musicians and industry experts who will speak at the pan-African conference, including Ghanaians Sarkodie and Samini as well as TRUE Africa founder and editor-in-chief Claude Grunitzky (Togo/UK), Chocolate City vice-president Aibee Abidoye (Nigeria), Boomplay Ghana manager Elizabeth Ntiamoah (Ghana), Simfy OTT music services head Oye Akideinde (Nigeria), Ditto Music Founder Lee Parsons (UK) and Grammy-nominated musician, author and rights activist Mark Levine (US).

Akon’s session on 30 November will focus on the star’s illustrious career, including his latest music projects and his evolution toward becoming a successful record label owner and philanthropist. The session is part of the ACCES Conversations series where leading industry figures talk about the complexities of the business and give important advice on how to navigate this competitive space.

The session is presented by ACCES in collaboration with BMG – an international music company offering publishing and recording under one roof, and services in audiovisual, books and film.

ACCES Conversations have previously featured renowned music industry professionals such as Mr EaziBlinky BillBlick Bassy and former Fela Kuti manager Rikki Stein.

Akon, who is releasing three albums in October this year, (KonnectEl Negreeto and Akonda), will share his experiences with delegates from more than 50 countries, including musicians, composers, record label executives, festival bookers, event organisers, digital distributors, artist managers and music activists.

Akon’s story is an inspirational one. Apart from conquering the charts on numerous occasions, selling more than 35 million albums worldwide and seeing four of his songs certified as triple-platinum, he is also responsible for launching the careers of Lady Gaga, T-Pain, R City, Karindall Offishall and Red Café through his Konvict Muzik and KonLive Distribution labels.

Akon recently announced the formation of Akonik Label Group, in partnership with BMG. The artist-founded operation is comprised of four distinct record labels: Akonda (Afrobeats), Akonik (US), Jamakon (Caribbean) and Ke Lo Ke (Latin America). 

He is also the founder of Akon Lighting Africa, a project started in 2014 that has provided solar street lights and small energy systems in countries such as Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone. According to Akon, the project has reached 100 000 households and installed 13 000 streetlights since its inception.

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About ACCES

ACCES is a pan-African trade event for music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES is held in a different African city every year, attracting active music industry players from across the globe.

ACCES is organised by the Music In Africa Foundation, a non-profit and pan-African organisation, in partnership and with the support of Siemens Stiftung, Goethe-InstitutAfrikayna, Reeperbahn Festival, Alliance Française, BMG, Africa Art Lines, Afrikayna, MediaSound Hamburg, the Gold Coast Hub, the Prince Claus Fund and the ANT Mobility Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Reeperbahn Festival International

This year ACCES has a partnership with Reeperbahn Festival – one of the most important meeting places for the music industry worldwide and Europe’s largest club festival based in Hamburg, Germany. The partnership creates a framework for the festival to collaborate with ACCES in facilitating sustainable business engagements and exchange between European and African music businesses and professionals, as well as the provision of performance opportunities to musicians in both territories.

BMG

BMG is the new model music company founded in 2008 as a response to the challenges of the digital revolution in the music industry. As part of its unique approach, BMG represents the traditionally separate music publishing and recording rights off the same platform internationally. The company is the world’s fourth biggest music publisher and one of the first new global players in the recordings business. BMG has 15 offices across 12 core music markets, representing over 3 million songs and recordings, including the catalogues of global stars such as Chrysalis, Bug, Virgin, Mute, Sanctuary, Primary Wave and Talpa Music, as well as thousands of artists and songwriters.

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African countries are still not doing enough to meet one of the UN’s most important development targets, according to a new report to be published next week
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A girl reads in a classroom in Madagascar. CREDIT: GPE/Carine Durand

The eLearning Africa Report 2019, which provides a snapshot of the state of education, training and development on the continent, interviewed more than 900 education professionals and technology experts about key issues, including progress towards the United Nations’ goal of universal access to quality education by 2030. 

The goal (UN SDG 4) is set out in the UN’s list of sustainable development goals (SDGs), which every country should meet by 2030. However, the eLearning Africa Report’s survey of education and training professionals, working in almost every country in Africa, shows that a substantial majority believe that African countries are still not doing enough to ensure universal access to quality education for all Africans.

The finding, which is among the results in a survey in the report, will make uncomfortable reading for African leaders. The achievement of UN SDG 4 is not only an important UN goal, but also a major plank in the African Union’s plan for a ‘transformed continent’ by 2063. However, the survey shows that, by majorities of more than 12 per cent, experts believe that, in every major area of education, insufficient progress has been made.

“SDG 4 is perhaps the most important of the UN sustainable development goals and the disappointment about the lack of progress towards realising it is striking,” says the report. “It seems too that the further up the educational ladder you look, the greater the belief that insufficient progress is being made. 56 per cent of respondents do not believe that African countries are doing enough to ensure that, by 2030, all girls and boys will complete free primary and secondary education. However, the percentage of those believing that not enough has been done to improve access to higher education and vocational training or further education is as high as 65 per cent.”

In spite of the gloom about progress towards meeting the UN SDGs though, there is a sense of optimism about overall progress. More than two thirds (72 per cent) of the experts questioned said they think that the African Union’s 2063 vision is “realistic.”

“If our youth are empowered, believe in their own self-worth and think creatively,” said one of the experts, “Africa will be an inspiration to other continents with new inventions and original African solutions benefitting all.”

The eLearning Africa Report, which has been sponsored by GIZ, the German organisation for international cooperation, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), makes fascinating reading. With contributions from experts, practitioners, advisers, entrepreneurs and even students and artists, it provides an insight into how technology assisted learning and training are leading change and development throughout Africa. As businesses assess the implications of a ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ it looks at the state of education, training, development and technology at this moment of unparalleled change.

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