Tag: year

Tigo Emerge Winners of Education and Partnership Initiative of the Year

Telecom operator, Tigo Ghana, at the weekend won the ‘CSR Award for Education and ‘CSR Partnership Initiative of the Year at the 7th Ghana CSR Excellence Awards held in Accra.

This marks the second straight year that the company has won the education category for its unique approach to improving education in communities.

Over the years, Tigo has invested heavily into its educational initiatives such as Shelter for Education, which provides infrastructure and technology support to basic schools in deprived communities in the country.

It is also improving the reading culture among children in basic schools through its partnership with ‘Raising Readers Ghana’. For the ‘CSR Partnership Initiative of the Year, the company, known for using mobile technology to transforms lives, was highly praised for its Automated Birth Registration system initiative, a partnership with UNICEF and the Births and Deaths Registry.

The system has revolutionized the birth registration process in the over 300 communities where it is currently being piloted – providing ease and convenience for both parents and registration officials. Since May 2016, the system has registered over 328,882 new births.

Organised by the Centre for CSR, West Africa, a leading Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability strategy development and policy advocacy in the West Africa, the awards, which is in its 7th year received over 100 entries from different industries in Ghana.


UBA’s Abiola Bawuah Adjudged 2016 CIMG Marketing Woman

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (Ghana), Mrs Abiola Bawuah, has been adjudged the Marketing Woman of the Year 2016 at the 28th National Marketing Performance Awards.

The awards organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) was held on Saturday 23, September, 2017 at the State Banquet Hall in Accra.

The awards which remains one of the most competitive and prestigious events to reward marketing excellence in the country, is in recognition of Mrs Bawuah’s excellence in strategic marketing in the areas of Market Insights, People Management, Corporate Reputation Management, CSR, and Sound Marketing Management that set her apart as a corporate achiever for the year 2016.

The CIMG 2016 event saw some 35 awards handed to organisations and individuals for excellence and extraordinary work done in the year.

She received a plaque and a citation.

Although, humbled by the award, this did not come to her as a surprise, as a challenging 2016 business year, saw the United Bank for Africa (UBA Ghana) MD develop new strategies such as the ‘Awoof’ deposit mobilisation campaign to increase savings which reflected heavily in the bank’s bottom-line.

In less than a year of joining UBA, she was elevated to the position of MD/CEO, with two firsts: being the first indigenous CEO of a Pan African Bank and the first female CEO to take the helm. This is a position she has held until today and under her tenure, Mrs Bawuah has seen the profits of the bank increase by incredible margins.

The bank’s deposits within the four years she has been at the helm of affairs rose from GHC350 million to the GHC1billion mark through 2016 deposit figures of over GHC3billion.

In 2015, as the MD/CEO of UBA Ghana, Mrs Bawuah was adjudged the overall Banking and Finance Female Personality of the Year 2014 at an awards ceremony held at the International Conference Centre in Accra.

The awards ceremony also saw her being awarded female banker of the year; while UBA’s innovative female tailor- made product for discerning women, RUBY, was adjudged the product of the year. The awards were organized by the National Women in Finance Magazine (NWIF).

Commenting on the CIMG 2016 awards, Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, thanked the staff and management of UBA for their enormous support since taking office.

The celebrated banker was quick to mention her board as great part of her success as she continued to shower praise on them.

“Our energy has been revived from the top. There is a new direction and already we have begun restrategising from 2018 through to 2020. We will continue to support our customers, build our employees who are our most prized asset and partner government projects as we have done in the past” she said.

Mrs Bawuah was recently celebrated by Woman Rising, Ghana’s leading network of Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders who released a comprehensive & inspiring list of the Top 50 Women Corporate Leaders in Ghana featuring 50 leading corporate women from various business sectors aimed at recognizing the outstanding achievements of women in the development of the Ghanaian economy and inspiring the next generation of globally minded women business leaders.

She was adjudged in the non-ranked top 50 female women in Ghana in that award.

Mrs. Bawuah comes with enormous experience in retail banking and marketing. She holds a BSc in Actuarial Science from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and a Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) with honors from the University of London, a diploma in Marketing from GIMPA and an EMBA (Finance) from the University of Ghana and also has numerous leadership qualifications from Harvard Business School, Columbia, University of New York, INSEAD and Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland.

UBA is a full service financial institution that offers a plethora of unique banking products and services, based on which our dear customers are being delighted. As Africa’s global bank, UBA Ghana has developed a branch footprint and delivery network that has ensured that the Bank’s services are always within the reach of its valued customers.

In line with the Bank’s positioning statement and strategic intent, UBA Ghana has a footprint of 26 fully networked branches, two agencies and over 50 ATM’s spread across Accra, Tema, Tarkwa, Tamale, Takoradi, Kumasi, Tarkwa and Aflao.

Instructively, UBA Ghana, herein referred to as UBA, is a subsidiary of the United Bank for Africa Plc which is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions offering services to more than 14 million customers with over 1000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms in 19 African countries as well as presence in the United Kingdom, The United States of America and France.

Ghana Premier League: Aduana stars tipped to win

Aduana Stars Management member Mr Elvis Osei Poku has stated with authority that the club would win the 2016/2017 Ghana premier league.

According to him Aduana is leading the league table with 48 points from 26 games on merit and not by chance,adding that, it was through hard work and determination.

“We are going to win the league and that is for sure…Hearts of Oak were lucky to earn have earned a draw with us at the Accra sports stadium.

“We came here to take all the points, but we couldn’t because anything can happen in football.

“Sometimes you just need to play safe and a little mind game to avoid complacency by the players.

“We are going to prepare well for the rest of our matches to ensure that we win the ultimate crown”.

Aduana stars will play host to WAFA in their next match, before travelling to Bolga to play Bolga All Stars.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

Accra Fashion Week to be Held Twice a Year

Ghana’s premier fashion event is ready to square with western fashion weeks by executing seasonal fashion shows twice a year. This is the first in Sub Sahara Africa for a fashion week to be executed twice a year, unless one is counting SA Fashion Week and SA Menswear Week.

Accra Fashion WeekAs it goes, the two Accra Fashion Weeks will be distinguished by the seasons. The upcoming Accra Fashion Week set to occur on 3-8th October 2017 will be dubbed Spring/Harmattan 2017 where collections presented will be open for the season ahead. The follow up event will be executed in Late March and dubbed the Chilly/Rainy 2018 which will see our fashion designers create clothes for the rainy season following.

Organizers stated “It is not so much an issues about how many collections the designers can create, African designers usually participate in 2 or 3 or more fashion shows a year, so they do have the capacity to produce irregardless of how great business is in the country, the most essential aspect to this is the consistency of branding obtained from being on the runway whilst setting trends for the seasons in our nation”

Accra Fashion Week was launched in 2017 and made history in Africa by compiling the largest amount of foreign designers to showcase in a country for a single event. This October, over 30 designers are set to hit the runway from over 15 countries, including USA, Brazil, South Sudan, France, Belgium, Congo, Zambia and much more. For more information visit www.AccraFashionWeek.org.

2017 National Farmers’ Day Celebration Launched

This year’s National Farmers’ Day (NFD) celebration will be re-modelled to reflect and showcase better contribution of the farmers and fisher folks as well as the developments in the agriculture sector.

To that effect, a committee comprising of technical experts from relevant national organisations have been tasked to re-model the NFD celebration, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister said.

Mr Osafo-Maafo who was speaking at the launch of the 33rd NFD celebration in Accra said, economy like that of Ghana depended heavily on the success of the agricultural sector, yet the allocation in the national budget to support that sector was minimal.

He said achieving sustainable food security in Ghana within the context of a phenomenal growth in population and increasing unemployment was a challenge to the country’s development.

He said the government was posed to embark on the most comprehensive economic transformation agenda for industrial transformation to be anchored on four thematic areas, namely, Macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability; Infrastructural Development; Accelerated Industrial Development, and Agricultural Transformation.

The 33rd NFD celebration will be celebrated on Friday December 1, 2017 on the theme, “Planting for Food and Jobs”.

Mr Osafo-Maafo noted that agricultural transformation was key in the transformational agenda, therefore, besides setting the day aside to recognize the country’s hard working farmers and fisher folks, the government continued to provide conducive investment environment and support to the farmers.

“The distribution of agricultural machinery at subsidized prices to farmers, the recent 50 per cent fertilizer and Seed subsidy and the provision of input on credit under the ‘Planting for Food and Job’ to farmers for the production of maize, rice and sorghum, soya bean and vegetables in expanded programmes.

“’The One Village, One Dam project’, the construction of warehouses in many districts and the ‘One District, One Factory’ programme to foster agro processing were all aimed at encouraging our farmers to increase production and productivity in the Agricultural Sector,” he added.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the agricultural sector needed to be supported to ensure food security, promote agro business as well as enhance the income of the farmers.

He was grateful to the corporate sponsors over the years and urged the members of the banking fraternity to join hands with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), which has been sponsoring the National Best Farmer slot since the inception of the celebration.

He also called on fertilizer and Oil and Gas companies and other corporate bodies to come and support this year’s NFD celebration.

“It is important to make the farmer look good while we recognize their contributions to the development of the country. We must therefore go all out to make the celebration a success,” he added.

Dr Nurah Gyele, Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Chairman of the 2017 NFD Planning Committee, appealed to corporate bodies to patronize the four categories of sponsorship.

He said the Bronze Sponsor category, which starts from GHC10,000.00 and below would get acknowledgement in the media, special certificate of sponsorship at the Sponsors’ Awards Night as well as photo opportunity for presentation of packages to the Minister for Food and Agriculture for the media.

Silver sponsor, starting from GHC10,000.00 to GHC 30,000.00 will also get acknowledgement in the media; advertise company’s logo on sponsor’s billboard at the durbar ground for telecast, special certificate of sponsorship at the Sponsors’ Awards Night and photo opportunity for presentation of packages to the Minister for Food and Agriculture for the media.

The Gold Sponsor category starts from GHC30,000.00 to GHC50,000.00 and in addition to the four benefits above they will advertise their company logo in event brochure and a half page colour print company advert with felicitation message to farmers and fishers in the National Farmers Day Brochure.

Platinum sponsors will get acknowledgement in the media, advertise company’s logo on sponsors’ billboard at the durbar for telecast, and advertise company logo in event brochure, plague and special certificate of sponsorship at the Sponsors’ Awards Night.

The rests are full page colour print company advert with felicitation message to farmers and fishers in the National Farmers’ Day brochure, photo opportunity for presentation of packages to the Minister for Food and Agriculture for the media, and branding of some sections of the principal route to and outside perimeter of durbar ground.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, said he was grateful to God for giving them the opportunity to launch the day after few delays and urged the corporate bodies and individuals to support the event.

Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said any fish caught illegally was a bad fish and urged the public to “say no to bad fish”.

She said the country’s fish stock continue to deplete as a result of bad practices and appealed to fisher folks to desist from such practices to replenish the fish stock.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh

Happy Birthday Nkosuohemaa Nana Ama Mcbrown

Ghanaian actress and screen goddess, Nana Ama Mcbrown is a year older today, August 15.

Empress, as she is affectionately called in the industry released exclusive and lovely photos ahead of the celebration.

Mcbrown is one of the few actresses in Ghana who has consistently won the hearts of movie fans since her arrival on the screens.

The beautiful actress got married to her long time boyfriend, Mensah barely a year ago.


Diarrhea outbreak reaches Ethiopia’s capital after a year of absence

Two people infected with Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) have been treated as the disease reaches Ethiopia’s capital city after a year of absence.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Abraham Tesfaye, senior official at Addis Ababa health bureau said the bureau is taking precautionary measures with religious institutions and other governmental health organizations to ensure the outbreak doesn’t spread to more people.

In July, Addis Ababa city Mayor Diriba Kuma had urged the 4 million residents of the city to keep vigilant against AWD outbreak with the onset of the rainy season which starts from June and continues until early September.

Last year, an outbreak of AWD in Addis Ababa and other regions in Ethiopia caused a health scare and led to the deaths of several people before a government supported health campaign eradicated it.

The city administration in particular is undertaking activities to clean up the highly polluted waters of Addis Ababa, preparing AWD recovery centers and undertaking extensive dry waste management schemes.

Already AWD outbreaks have been detected in Amhara, Somali and Tigray regional state with thousands treated for the disease.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Health also opened two 24/7 free phone hotlines 952 and 2385 where people can ask for treatment for AWD or give information on diarrhea outbreaks. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/Newsghana.com.gh

808 Ethiopians rescued from human traffickers in a year

More than 800 Ethiopians who were being prepared to be trafficked to neighboring countries have been rescued from human traffickers during the just ended Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2016/17.

In the same time period, 7,828 human trafficking victims who had been languishing in foreign countries’ prison cells and refugee camps have been assisted to come back to Ethiopia.

In a press statement released on Saturday, the Human Trafficking Prevention Taskforce says the human trafficking victims came mainly from Afar, Tigray, Oromia, Harari, Somali and Amhara regional states.

The Taskforce says in two years period it has helped convict 866 human traffickers and middlemen to prison terms ranging from 1 year to 25 years and handed 7,000 US dollars in fines.

Although there are no exact estimates on the number of Ethiopians trafficked annually to foreign countries, it’s estimated thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked into foreign countries annually. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/Newsghana.com.gh

OPEC restraint is yet to have the desired effect on prices

Many agricultural prices remain under downward pressure from record stocks accumulated through successive bumper harvests


Global oil prices are likely to remain volatile in the remainder of 2017, as conflicting factors—such as rising US shale production and higher geopolitical risk in the Middle East—pull the market in different directions. OPEC members and their partners, notably Russia, have extended their existing production-cut deal until end-March 2018. Although OPEC’s compliance with the new quota system reached a record level of 96% on average in January-May 2017, the most recent data from the International Energy Agency show that several countries exceeded their target in June—including Saudi Arabia, which hitherto had been making deeper than expected cuts in order to compensate for weaker compliance elsewhere. This raises a downside risk that countries will allow their adherence to slip over the course of 2017, in an attempt to boost their oil receipts. Nonetheless, we still expect OPEC to maintain restraint—even the June compliance rate of 78% is far above those seen in previous attempts to restrict supply—as member countries seek to avoid a renewed price crash. This is particularly true as output from non-OPEC countries rises steadily. Russia continues to abide by its promises for now. Its output in June was down by 280,000 barrels/day (b/d)—nearly 100% of its pledged cut—albeit from a record-high baseline of 11.6m b/d set in October 2016.

Overall, OPEC producers have shifted to a more pragmatic approach, in which they will continue to exercise restraint in order to bring about a modest, and very gradual, market rebalancing. If participants were to abandon the agreement in 2017, before global supply begins to tighten noticeably, this would bring around 1.8bn b/d in currently frozen production back on line quickly. This could cause prices to plummet back down to the low of US$30/barrel seen in 2016. The Economist Intelligence Unit remains of the view that OPEC producers would not be willing to accept this outcome, particularly as Saudi Arabia seeks to bolster oil prices and, by extension, the valuation of the state-owned oil firm, Saudi Aramco, ahead of the sale of up to a 5% stake in the company in 2018. As a result, we expect the deal to be unwound gradually, probably around the third quarter of 2018. This will allow for a more orderly end to the agreement, avoiding a disruptive market crash. Important downside risks remain; most notably, if some participants chose to abandon the deal abruptly, seeing it as a failure, this could push other members to do the same, which would push prices down quickly.

OPEC’s new-found restraint has yet to have the desired impact on prices. This is largely because of the development of the US shale sector. Unlike in OPEC, there is no mechanism for strategic, collective decision-making among US oil producers, meaning that US output is driven solely by market forces. In the past six months, with global oil prices hovering above US$50/b, this has been encouraging for US shale investment and output. Accordingly, monthly data from the US Energy Information Agency showed that total crude output had reached 9.1m b/d in April 2017; this is slightly below the level seen in the more frequent, but also more volatile, weekly statistics, implying that US crude output may not be rising quite as fast as previously expected. Nonetheless, it is still up by 1.5% year on year, and we expect production to rise by 6% in 2017 as a whole as investments made in the first half of the year begin to pay off. At end-June the US oil rig count, compiled by Baker Hughes, was up by 116% year on year, at 952 active rigs. This will drive a steady expansion in US output until the first quarter of 2018 at least, which will act as a dampener on prices throughout the year.

Other than rising output from the US, the main obstacle to market rebalancing has been modest global consumption. We expect global oil demand to expand steadily, at an average of 1.4% per year, in 2017-18, but this will be too slow to make a major dent in global stocks. As a result, we expect the global oil market to register a small deficit, of just 40,000 b/d, in 2017, but to return to surplus in 2018 as countries gradually seek to regain lost market share, and as output continues to rise from Nigeria and Libya, both of which are exempt from the OPEC quota system. Overall, the global oil story has shifted to one of stagnation rather than recovery. We expect the price of dated Brent Blend, the international benchmark, to rise to an average of US$52/b in 2017 as the market registers a small deficit, before inching back down to US$50.8/b in 2018 as the OPEC deal slowly unwinds and as demand slumps in the second half of the year—particularly from China. We expect Chinese consumption to soften in line with an abrupt slowdown in industrial production and investment growth there, which will have negative knock-on effects on other economies in the region. We expect prices to rise marginally in 2019, to US$53/b, as rising production costs weigh on output in the US and global stocks begin to tighten. We forecast prices to firm slightly, reaching US$58.8/b by 2021, supported by an improvement in global economic growth and slower increases in OPEC production.

Rising political tension among the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries—illustrated by the Saudi-led embargo of Qatar that began in June—has the potential to influence global energy prices in several ways. The possible impact on crude oil prices is fairly low; any disruption to Qatar’s exports is unlikely to push up global prices, as Qatar is only a minor producer of crude oil. Deteriorating relations between countries across the GCC (and possibly involving Iran, which maintains closer ties with Qatar) could potentially undermine OPEC countries’ willingness to work together to rebalance the global oil market, which could cause the OPEC deal to be abandoned and put downward pressure on oil prices. However, we still consider this scenario to be very unlikely, as any disruption to oil prices would have a particularly negative effect on Saudi Arabia, the region’s main crude oil producer. A more significant risk applies to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. Any disruption to regional trade flows would be likely to cause LNG prices to spike, as Qatar accounts for roughly one-third of global LNG production. However, we consider it to be highly unlikely that GCC countries would enact a full blockade, as many countries—primarily the UAE—rely on Qatar for their own LNG supply.

After years of oversupply and falling prices, tightening supply-demand balances have triggered rapid increases in the prices of several commodities. However, the rebalancing process is far from complete, reflecting a sluggish supply response to low prices (mostly related to producers cutting costs), and, for some industrial commodities, insufficient demand from China. We believe that in 2017-21 the prices of many industrial and agricultural commodities are unlikely to break away from recent lows. For those that do see substantial growth in 2017—particularly base metals—this is unlikely to be sustained in 2018 as China’s economic slowdown takes hold. Many agricultural prices remain under downward pressure from record stocks accumulated through successive bumper harvests.

Hard commodities: Industrial raw materials (IRM) prices remain volatile, but we expect the prices of all six base metals that we track on the London Metal Exchange (LME) to rise in 2017, the first such co-ordinated increase since 2011. The rise will be driven by recovering demand across emerging markets—including in China but also from India—and further supported by higher global oil prices compared with 2016. However, IRM prices will contract slightly in 2018, as weaker demand from China—particularly for metals such as copper and aluminium, for which China’s relative weight in global consumption is greatest—offsets demand growth elsewhere. On balance, we expect industrial commodity prices to rise by 16.2% in 2017, driven largely by the sharp rise in the price of base metals as markets tighten, before falling back by 0.8% in 2018.

Soft commodities: We expect food and beverage prices to remain relatively flat over the forecast period, reflecting subdued demand (in historical terms), record-high inventories following bumper harvests and several large grains outturns in the 2016/17 season. Despite concerns that another potentially disruptive El Niño weather event could be gathering on the horizon, this remains an outside risk, and we do not forecast an agricultural price shock in 2017‑18. We forecast the food, feedstuffs and beverages (FFB) price index to contract by 0.3% in 2017 as higher than expected production of several goods, primarily sugar and cocoa, further inflates large global stocks. Unlike IRM prices, agricultural commodity prices will return to growth in 2018, of 1.9%, underpinned by rising populations and incomes, as well as rapid urbanisation and changing diets. However, price growth will be limited by ample stock availability.

Ghana to ban mercury importation by end of year

Government has disclosed it will ban the importation of mercury to augment efforts to curb the impact of illegal mining activities in the country.

The move is expected to take effect by the end of 2017.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Frimpong Boateng who announced this said the ban will restrict mercury use which has led to the contamination of most water resources.

“Importation is under the Ministry of Trade but inspection at the ports is done by the EPA, but we do not want to say we are not going to allow mercury to come into the country when we have not discussed all the issues with the Ministry of Trade,” Prof. Boateng said.

Commenting on the progress of work on this, Prof. Frimpong Boateng who is the Chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on mines, added, “We have started discussions already and I do not things are going to take too long and things have become a little bit easier because Ghana has signed onto the Minamata protocol. This is a protocol that bans the use of mercury in the countries that have signed unto the agreement.”

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has bemoaned the huge investments it has had to commit to the purification of the polluted water resources.

However with the intensified fight against the illegal mining, the GWCL has indicated that the turbidity levels of the water have reduced making them to spend less amounts of money in treating the polluted water.

The sector Minister is however confident the enforcement of the ban should help save the country huge sums of money.

“It is not going to be a long term thing but rather in the short term and I think it should be before the end of the year.”

He spoke at a media briefing ahead of a training workshop for small scale miners and journalists on proper mining methods.

The training which spans from July to August, seeks to train about 1000 individuals.

A budget of five hundred thousand cedis has since been earmarked for the training.

Source: Adnan Adams Mohammed

Trans Atlantic Services wins best hospitality company for 2016

Transatlantic Catering Services an indigenous company has been adjudged the best Hospitality company for the year 2016.

Transatlantic catering servicesTrans Atlantic Services Ltd provides offshore/onshore Catering Service and wholesale distributor of fast-moving consumables across Ghana and West Africa

This was at the 4th edition of the Annual Business Executive Excellence Awards held at the Tang Palace located here in the national capital recently.

The award was conferred on the company in recognition of outstanding performance and exemplary conduct.

In her welcome address, which was read for her, Paulette Kporo, the Publisher of The Business Executive magazine expressed satisfaction that the objective of establishing the award scheme vis-a-vis creating role models who could encourage and mentor others was being achieved.

She said, “The awardees over the past four years have largely lived up to their billing. We derive a deep sense of accomplishment ourselves from knowing that their conduct and performance over the years confirms that the objectives of establishing the awards scheme are being achieved.”

Among the award winners for the 4th edition of the TBE Excellence Awards include the following; Vodafone (Telecom Company of the Year), Enterprise Life (Life Insurance Company of the Year), Delta Airlines (Airline of the Year), Subah Infosolutions (ICT Company of the Year), Interplast (Most Export Oriented Company of the Year), Azar Chemical Industries (Manufacturing Company of the Year), SIC Life (Biggest Life Insurance Company) and Chocho Industries (Local Content Manufacturer of the Year) made the awardee list.

Lesser known but equally big and strategic awardees included Queiroz Galvao S.A. (the Brazilian company that constructed both the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra and the Tamale International Airport) as Infrastructure Company of the Year; West Blue Consulting (the company that designed and is implementing the Single Window at Ghana’s entry ports), as Best in Innovative Business Facilitation; Equity Assurance (General Insurance Company of the Year); Omni Bank (Emerging Brand of the Year); and B5 Plus (Most Outstanding Company of the Year).

Medium sized award winners include; Alutrade (Best in Decorative Building Structures); Amen Scientific Herbal Hospital (Best in Herbal Healthcare); BAJ Freight and Logistics (Haulage Company of the Year); Transatlantic Catering Services (Catering Company of the Year); Everpack (Best Packaging Company of the Year); Steelco (Best in Building Products); and McDans Shipping (Haulage Company of the Year).

It must be noted the awards scheme was established in 2014 to publicly recognize individuals, companies, enterprises and other institutions whose corporate conduct, performances and achievements are exemplary.

The awards are cross-sectoral and are based on qualitative, rather than quantitative criteria thereby giving relatively small companies to compete for awards against their larger counterparts.

Source: NewsGhana.com.gh

Sino-Europe Cargo Train Makes Its 1000th Trip

By the time when Beijing was ready for the two-day grand forum of Belt and Road, good news came from eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. On Saturday, May 13, the 1,000th freight train connecting China and Europe departed Yiwu and bound for Madrid. A record so far with an increase of 612 trips over the same period last year.

The Yixin’ou line runs freight services twice per week with a lead time of 16 days. This allows goods from China to arrive in Europe in a shorter time than via shipping by sea.

The train carries Yiwu’s small commodities such as household items, toys, decors, and garments to Europe. Upon return, European goods such as wine, olive oil and cosmetic products are imported to China. Trains returning from Europe are now scheduled for once a month.

The Yixin’ou line launched its maiden trip in November 2014. This rail link, measuring over 13,000 kilometers, is by far the longest in the world.

Since then, Yiwu has started operation of a direct rail freight service to London. The Yiwu-London line passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.

As part of their intercontinental rail freight services, the CR Express has now developed a total of 39 train routes connecting 16 cities in China to Europe. Rail freight provides a cheaper shipment method to air, and a more time-efficient option than sea.

According to logistics expert Wang Jianming from Yiwu, the launch of the Yixin’ou lines not only strengthens trade ties between China and Europe, but also promotes people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

He reveals that the city of Yiwu is also holding discussions with European countries such as Latvia and Poland to establish partnerships and collaborations in trade, education and logistics sectors.

Wang is optimistic that collaborations between China and Europe will flourish as the CR Express runs on a more frequent basis.

Source: People’s Daily/NewsGhana.com.gh

Ghana: EU Delegation To Mark 30th Anniversary Of The Erasmus Programme

A forum on the ERASMUS+ scholarship programme organized by the European Union Delegation to Ghana in cooperation with the Centre for European Studies of the University of Ghana, has taken place at the University of Ghana.

Unveiling of Plague for Legon Centre for European Studies
Unveiling of Plague for Legon Centre for European Studies
Erasmus+ is the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sports development. It offers scholarship opportunities for students in tertiary institutions including doctoral candidates to study in Europe. The programme also provides an avenue for lecturers from beneficiary institutions to teach in European universities.

The event was addressed by the European Union Ambassador to Ghana, H. E. William Hanna, several Ambassadors from Members States of the EU in Ghana and some Erasmus Alumni, who shared their experiences with students and faculty.

The Ambassadors included H. E. Maria-Jesus Alonso of Spain, H. E. Christoph Retzlaff of Germany, H. E. Ron Strikker of the Netherlands. H. E. Mr. Giovanni Favilli of Italy and Ms. Cecile Vigneau, Acting Ambassador of France, who are both Erasmus Alumni, also addressed the forum. Several of the Member States of the EU provide bilateral scholarships to study in their countries, and their representatives informed the students about these opportunities and how to apply for them.

Ghanaian beneficiaries of the Erasmus Programme who shared their experiences with participants at the forum are Ms. Alberta Jonah, a Marine Expert and PhD candidate at the University of Cape Coast and Mr. John Eliasu Mahama, International Health Expert.
The event brought together EU Member States, University of Ghana Faculty Members, Student Associations and Students to learn from the experiences of beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ programme.

As part of the event a plaque for the newly created Centre for European Studies was jointly unveiled by the Ambassadors and the Director of the Centre, Professor Ransford Gyampo, an Associate Professor at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana.

Speaking at the event, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna remarked that, “no one can deny the fact that education plays a critical role in improving development outcomes in both developing and developed countries.”.

According to him, Ghana is one of the most active Sub-Saharan countries that send students, scholars and researchers under the Erasmus+ and Marie-Sklodowska Curie.

“In total, 267 students from Ghana have been offered scholarships from the Erasmus Mundus joint Master Degree Programme and 42 doctoral candidates have received fellowships. A total of 22 outstanding students including 4 doctoral fellows from Ghana were selected in 2016” he noted.

“When we add up all the scholarships, provided through our central Erasmus programme and through bilateral programmes funded by EU member States, we see that each year over a thousand Ghanaian students receive scholarships to study in Europe.”

2017 GUBA Awards Launched In Accra

The Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards has become the main pillar of British-Ghanaian Diaspora in London, particularly for the younger generation
involved in the arts and music, Mr Jon Benjamin, outgoing British High Commissioner, has said.

He said the GUBA awards celebrated entrepreneurs who at some stages thought it was impossible to do it, had no access to capital or probably did not know anyone.

Mr Benjamin made these remarks in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during the launch of the 2017 GUBA Awards, an event to showcase and celebrate the excellence and achievement within the British Ghanaian community.

The prestigious, annual awards ceremony inaugurated in October 2010, had been acknowledged and endorsed for its role in recognising Ghanaian achievement in the UK, as well as promoting the national interest of Ghana and the African community, by dignitaries and organisations.

The Out-going British High Commissioner noted that in the British government, economic assistance or aid programmes for Ghana was a very strong element which was promoting young entrepreneurs.

He said giving seed money to people with the best business ideas was a good initiative, as it had chalked some successes, adding that “one of our favorites at the moment is Boomers International Limited based in Kumasi, who produce the bamboo frame bicycles”.

He said it began with one person and a couple of friends and now employing more than 50 people and exporting to several European countries; and would therefore, export to UK and other countries, employing hundreds if not thousands of Ghanaians.

Mr Benjamin said: “As a country we should be interested in such initiatives to create more jobs; as government essentially did not create jobs, but the private sector”.

He told the GNA that even though he would soon leave, Ghana would always have a place in his heart.

“It has been an interesting place and eventful years; and will always look out for Ghana and help, and as such continue to be linked to organisations like GUBA”, he added.

Mr Benjamin said the 2017 edition of the awards coincides with Ghana’s 60th anniversary celebration; stating that is “where we celebrate history and modern links”.

He explained that” there was no better representation of our modern relationship than what GUBA does.”

Mr Papa Owusu –Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, who officially launched the 2017 GUBA Awards, also commended GUBA for the laudable initiative.

He said the GUBA initiative, would also strengthen the Ghana-UK relations.

He said it was important that the Ghanaian Diaspora participated fully in the affairs of Ghana, and so far, the award scheme had played a very key role in that direction.

He assured the organisers of his participation in this year’s event, was however hopeful that GUBA Awards would move Ghana and its human resource phase to another level.

The 2017 edition registered categories such as ‘Animator of the year award, Professional of the year award, Charity of the year award, Ghanaian alumni award, Made in Ghana Products award, Business start-up of the year, Efie ne fie award and Black award nominees for 2017’.

The event slated for June 3, in London, would be sponsored by the British High Commission, ECOM Ghana, PayAngel, ABN TV and Radio, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Imperial Homes, Unibank Ghana Limited, Vlisco Ghana, Kente Queen and Acote Collections.

The rest are Faze 2 Services, e-volution International, Plan it Ghana and Jay Renkyi.

Cocobod To Conduct Country-Wide Survey On CSSVD Outbreak

The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is to treat and rehabilitate a total of 10,000 hectares of diseased and overage cocoa farms in the Western North and Eastern Regions this year.

Ghana Cocoa Board
Ghana Cocoa Board

The project will involve the removal of 11 million trees for replanting.

Currently, about 17 per cent of cocoa area, that is about 309,830.73 hectares, surveyed is affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) while about 23 per cent (411,086.41 ha) of the country’s cocoa tree stock is more than 30 years and economically unproductive.

Mr Emmanuel Opoku, the Executive Director Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), who disclosed this at a workshop on smart cocoa financing said the Board would commence another country-wide survey to map out and update CSSVD outbreak areas in all the sixty (60) CHED Districts.

He said this would involve a total of 4,185 proposed sectors.

The Climate-Smart Finance workshop was organised by Rainforest Alliance with support from partners, including World Cocoa Foundation, rootcapital and
Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, to identify concrete solutions and ways to unlock climate smart agriculture finance in the Ghanaian Cocoa sector.

It was on the theme: “Designing Investment Mechanisms to Finance Climate-Smart Cocoa in the Ghanaian Cocoa Sector.”

Mr Opoku said Cocobod would provide farmers with plantain suckers, economic tree, and hybrid cocoa seedlings, which are early-bearing, high-yielding and disease tolerant to replant all treated and rehabilitated farms and also rendering effective back-up extension services to all the farmers.

Mr Opoku said the Board would continue its intensive rehabilitation and control programmes next year 2017/18 cocoa season through the removal of 118,757,158 diseased trees (107,961.5 ha) and replanting of 58,909.09 ha of unproductive farms country-wide.

He said the Board also hoped to complete a resurvey of 4,185 proposed sectors to map out outbreak areas to facilitate disease control and to effectively maintain a total of 596,533.84 hectares of productive (‘A’, ‘B’ and C classes) cocoa through mistletoe removal and pruning.

Mr Opoku said Cocobod envisaged to recoup the investment cost through improved yields after successful treatment and replanting of the farms.

He said it was important stakeholders bring to bear their ideas on how to finance the cocoa sector to make it buoyant to be able to sustain the economy going forward.

Mr Corne de Louw, Senior Project Manager Rabo Development, said access to finance was critical to increase productivity and to implement climate smart agriculture practices.


Irish property prices up nearly 11 percent in year to February

Irish residential property prices at a national level rose by 10.7 percent in the year to February, according to new official figures on Wednesday.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that in Dublin residential property prices increased by 8.3 percent in the year to February.

Dublin house prices increased 8.1 percent whereas apartments rose 9.1 percent in the same period.

The CSO figures also showed that residential property prices outside Dublin were 13.2 percent higher in the year to February.

House prices outside Dublin rose 13.1 percent over the period. Apartment prices outside Dublin increased 13.9 percent in the same period.

Overall, the national index is still 30.7 percent lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 31.3 percent lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices outside Dublin are 35.7 percent lower than their May 2007 peak.

From the trough in early 2013, prices nationally have increased by 52.1 percent. In the same period, Dublin residential property prices rose by 67.9 percent, while residential property prices outside Dublin increased 47.9 percent from their lowest point.

Economists here say a lack of supply of houses has clearly pushed up prices, particularly in the Dublin area in the past few years.

“But it is not something that can be rectified overnight. Until this issue is addressed, prices in the capital and its outskirts will likely remain elevated, even with Brexit-related risks,” said Alan McQuaid, chief economist with the Dublin-headquartered Merrion Stockbrokers.

The easing of mortgage lending restrictions imposed by the central bank combined with the tax-incentive scheme for first-time buyers announced in the October Budget will keep upward pressure on prices until new supply comes on the market, according to the Irish economist.

“We see house price growth remaining in positive territory on a year-on-year basis for a while yet, with the annual rate of increase now set in our view to be in the 7-12 percent range over the next few months,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

Riga Airport sets target of 10 mln passengers a year

Riga International Airport aims to double its numbers and handle 10 million people a year in 10 to 20 years, the airport’s director for aviation services and business development Liene Freivalde said on Latvian public radio Wednesday.

In recent years, passenger traffic at the Baltic states’ largest airport has been growing by two to four percent annually, mostly due to transit passengers, Freivalde said.

In 2016, Riga Airport handled 5.4 million passengers, up four percent from a year before.

Over the next five years, the airport expects the annual number of passengers to grow by another million to more than six million in 2022.

On Wednesday, Riga Airport greeted its 60 millionth passenger since the restoration of Latvia’s independence. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

Newmont Adjudged Corporate Foundation philanthropist of the year

The National Philanthropy Forum has recognised and awarded Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) as the Corporate Foundation Philanthropist for the year 2016.

Dr. Ben Ocra of the National Philanthropy Forum with NADeF Chair Monica Nkrumah
Dr. Ben Ocra of the National Philanthropy Forum with NADeF Chair Monica Nkrumah

The foundation beat competition from 17 other organizations to annex the top award at this year’s the 2017 Ghana Philanthropy Excellence Awards in Accra. The award recognized the longstanding contribution of NADeF towards improving lives and supporting sustainable socio-economic development in the communities neighbouring the Ahafo mine.

For nine years, communities around Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo mine have initiated a number sustainable development projects to improve the lives of their people. Following consultations between various interest groups in the communities and the Ahafo mine, the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation was established in 2008 to drive the company’s social responsibility commitments to the communities.

So far over 8,000 educational scholarships have been awarded at the senior high, tertiary and apprenticeship levels, in addition to over 100 infrastructural projects completed and handed over to the communities by NADeF.

“We are honoured to be recognized for our efforts in improving lives and driving socio-economic progress in Ahafo. NADeF will continue to expand its programmes to help even more women and children thrive in the communities,” said Elizabeth Opoku-Darko, ‎Executive Secretary, NADeF.

Currently, NADeF has accrued $24.5 million to fund various development initiatives through the Ahafo Mine’s contributions of $1 per ounce of gold produced and 1% annual net profit.

“What makes NADeF unique from other Corporate Foundations is the local ownership and participation in the selection, execution and management of all projects in the host communities. In effect, the locals decide what their needs are and work through NADeF to achieve them,” Elizabeth Opoku-Darko added.

In 2014, NADeF was awarded the best social impact investment vehicle in Africa by the European Union’s African Chamber of Commerce at the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce’s first annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Africa awards ceremony in Brussels, Belgium. The award highlighted the foundation’s promotion of community development, inclusiveness and sustainability in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through NADeF’s initiatives, about 41 public schools are benefitting from the Quality Improvement in Basic Schools (QUIBS) project set up to support the quality of education at the basic level in Ahafo. NADeF has provided start-up capital to emerging entrepreneurs and businesses, micro-credit and loan facilities to 1,500 community members and completed over a 100 community infrastructural and social amenity projects in Ahafo.

False age claims by asylum seekers costs Austria €2.9 million last year

Asylum seekers misrepresenting their age costed Austria 2.9 million euros (3 million U.S. dollars) in 2016, the Kurier newspaper reported on Monday.

Asylum seekers
Asylum seekers
Citing information provided during the parliament session, the report stated that last year there were suspicions surrounding the age of 2,252 asylum applicants, who had claimed to be unaccompanied minors.

Following subsequent multi-factor testing, that includes x-rays of the wrist and collar bones, 919 of these were indeed found to have provided false information concerning their age.

Each investigation costs 870 euros (922 U.S. dollars), leaving a significant overall bill to be picked up by the government.

The problem is well-known to authorities, the Kurier quoting a staff member at the Traiskirchen refugee camp as saying that “men who look much too old try to enter the system as minors.”

The benefits for being recognized as a minor include not being sent back to the first EU country entered, faster family reunion procedures, and not having to live in mass asylum quarters.

An interior ministry spokesperson said providing such false information does not have legal implications for asylum seekers, though “does not help overall trustworthiness.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

Five invasive pests cost African economy US$1 billion every year

New research by CABI reveals that just five invasive alien species are causing US$0.9 – 1.1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers across six eastern African countries each year, equating to 1.8% – 2.2% of total agricultural GDP for the region. These losses are expected to grow to $1.0 – 1.2 billion per year over the next 5-10 years, highlighting the urgent need for coordinated responses at regional, national and international levels.

agriNew research published in the open-access journal Global Food Security estimates the alarming level of economic losses suffered by smallholder farmers each year in eastern Africa, to a handful of species that have become damaging crop pests since their introduction to the region. These few invasive species can have devastating impacts on important staples such as maize, but also high-value crops including tomatoes, peas and green beans.

CABI researchers carried out the study to quantify the impacts of five important invasive alien species on mixed maize farming in economic terms. The countries included in the study were Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, all of which have large rural communities dependent on small-scale farming for food security and income.

Invasive alien species can have a variety of effects on farming, livestock, pastures and forests, as well as human and animal health. Accelerating global trade is increasing the rate of invasive species introduction and establishment, with developing regions some of the worst affected.

CABI invasive species expert, Dr Sean Murphy, said:

“Invasive species can have a devastating impact on smallholder livelihoods, and poorly regulated trade and movement of produce can contribute to the spread and establishment of pest species.”

“Invasive species are a growing threat to food security in Africa and the results of this study highlight the need to take action. We urgently require a coordinated response at regional, national and international levels.”

Five important invasive species

The study reports that maize, the most important staple crop in eastern Africa, is affected by several invasive species:

As much as $450 million is lost to smallholders each year to the spotted stem borer, Chilo partellus, a caterpillar which feeds inside the growing maize plant, reducing its yield. This pest also attacks other important crops such as sorghum. A biological control agent (Cotesia flavipes) released against this pest is playing an important role in reducing the crop losses suffered by smallholder farmers.

Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) is caused by a dual viral infection and leads to the production of deformed maize ears which can result in total crop loss. Current smallholder losses to this disease are estimated to be up to $339.3 million each year, but are likely to increase significantly with the ongoing spread of the disease.

The invasive ‘famine weed’, Parthenium hysterophorus, affects farmland and pasture, reducing production levels in a variety of crops and having human and animal health impacts. The weed is most widespread in Ethiopia, but is increasing its range in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Current smallholder losses in maize for the region are estimated to be as high as $81.9 million annually, but can be expected to rise with the ongoing march of this damaging weed.

Horticultural crops, often grown along with staples such as maize are valuable nutritionally, but also as cash crops that can be an important route out of poverty for smallholder growers. A number of invasive species affect horticultural crops and this study included three species of Liriomyza leaf-mining flies, which attack a variety of important crop families including ornamental plant species and vegetables. In this study, impacts on beans and peas were considered, with total annual losses up to $149.1 million. Climate change is likely to result in a range increase for damaging Liriomyza species.

The South American tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, has had a devastating impact since its recent introduction to Africa, frequently causing total crop loss and leading to three-fold increases in tomato prices. Losses to eastern African smallholders are estimated at up to $79.4 million per year at present, but this figure is expected to grow substantially with the rapid spread of this pest.

Taking action

The CABI study clearly highlights the need to improve the outlook for smallholders in developing countries, who are resource-poor and susceptible to invasive species impacts.

Collaboration at national, regional and international levels, analysis of invasion pathways, and implementation of effective monitoring and rapid management responses to new invasive species arrivals are priority areas for follow-up to the study. Where invasive species are widespread, integrated approaches, including biological control, should be considered.

Dr Sean Murphy said:

“In carrying out this research, CABI has taken the first step in highlighting the vast scale of losses being suffered by resource-poor smallholders to invasive alien species. This data illustrates that the issue is both critical and pressing.”

“With such a large scale of economic losses to just five invasive species across six countries alone, we need to consider the big picture: a long-term invasive species management policy in Africa with full policy support is needed urgently.”

The recent invasion of Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) will add significantly to these losses as it is known to cause great damage to maize and other crops in its native range.

CABI’s global invasive species programme aims to improve the livelihoods of the 50 million poor rural households that are impacted by damaging invasive species. The programme will contribute to improved food security and trade, and will aid the protection of agricultural and natural ecosystems. See the website http://www.invasive-species.org/.

MTN Ghana Foundation Receives Awards

The MTN Ghana Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of MTN Ghana, has been awarded once again for its outstanding and unabated contributions to sustainable and developmental projects across Ghana.

MTN's Plaque for the Award
MTN’s Plaque for the Award

Over the years, the Foundation has been investing in bold interventions that drive value in communities and the country as a whole. It undisputable fact, that the massive investments and the contributions have really changed the lives of Ghanaians.

The Foundation was therefore, awarded the Corporate Philanthropist of the Year at the National Philanthropy Excellence Awards organised in Accra.

The National Philanthropy Excellence Awards were presented to individuals, families, foundations or organizations with a proven record of exceptional generosity through direct financial support, and whose effort inspires others to become philanthropic leaders.

According to the organisers, the MTN Ghana Foundation was awarded the Philanthropist of the Year because of its outstanding commitment to making significant contributions to communities and national development projects.

Commenting on the awards, Corporate Service Executive of MTN Ghana, Mrs Cynthia Lumor, said: “We are honoured that our contribution to society has been celebrated in such a profound way.

The main aim of the MTN Ghana Foundation is to support National and International development priorities for broad community impact.

We intend to continue investing in bold interventions that drive value in communities and the country as a whole.”

She dedicated the award to all MTN Foundation stakeholders for partnering MTN to achieve such great heights.

Since its establishment in 2007, the MTN Ghana Foundation has funded and implemented over 140 major projects in its focus areas of education, health and economic empowerment, directly impacting an estimated four million beneficiaries.

In commemoration of MTN Ghana’s 20th Anniversary in 2016, the MTN Ghana Foundation made three commitments — to provide 300 scholarships to students across Ghana, to construct, furnish and equip a 40-bed maternity block for the Tema General Hospital and construct and equip a processing plant for women in oil palm production at Juaso in the Ashanti region.

In 2013, in a bid to encourage others to make impactful contributions to society, the MTN Ghana Foundation launched the MTN Heroes of Change (HOC) project to identify and recognise selfless people who sacrifice their time and resources to improve their communities and brighten lives.

The HOC project is currently in its third season, with the projects of the final 10 nominees of Season III currently being showcased on air in a 13-week TV series.

The MTN Ghana Foundation has been recognised by many organisations for contributions to sustainable and impactful projects across Ghana.

The Foundation was crowned the overall CSR Company of the Year for the second consecutive time at the 6th Ghana CSR Excellence Awards (GHACEA) in 2016. At the same event, MTN Ghana also won the CSR Telecom Company of the Year.

The MTN Ghana Foundation also won awards such as 2016 IPR Best Community Relations Programme of the Year and CSR Program of the Year 2015 by the Head of State Awards (HoSA) Scheme.

The MTN Ghana Foundation was established in November 2007 as the vehicle to select and implement MTN’s Corporate Social Investments. MTN Ghana Foundation has three areas of focus -Health, Education and Economic Empowerment.

From inception to December 2016, the Foundation had undertaken 140 major projects across the country.

Notable health projects include: construction of a Neonatal Care Center for Tamale Teaching Hospital, refurbishment of the 2nd floor maternity block of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, construction of a maternity block for Ejisu Government Hospital, and construction of an Emergency Center for Atua Government Hospital.

Education projects undertaken include: construction of a boys dormitory for Akropong School for the Blind, construction of a six-unit classroom block for Kodjonya Millennium School, establishment of 10 MTN ICT Learning Centers in each of Ghana’s 10 regions and the institution of an Innovation Hub at KNUST to promote Telecoms Engineering and Research.

Key projects undertaken in Economic Empowerment include: the construction of shea butter processing centers, provision of seed capital and skill training for Women of Tizaa Dini Association of Yendi and the Sung Suma Women Association of Wa.

Re: Government Starve Ghana Government Scholarship Holders In China For Over A Year

With reference to your news item on Monday, February19, 2017 we will like to inform you about the developing story after our press release dated February 18th, 2017. We learnt that various media houses did a follow up at the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana concerning our monthly stipends.

The explanation by the Secretariat baffles us, in the sense that, if indeed they claim they released monies some months ago, why did they not confirm that during the period when we kept making calls to both the Secretariat and the embassy and why were monies kept at the Ghana embassy at Beijing for several months?

The interesting development came out on Tuesday 15:11 Beijing Time (7:11 GMT), all the 27 Students on Ghana Government/Chinese Government Scholarship received alert messages from our Banks indicating that our book allowance for the 2016/2017 academic year which began in August 2016 had been deposited into our various accounts.

To our surprise it was only 2 months and a percentage of the 3rd month. This was the same day that various news outlets made a follow up at the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana. We believe that this is a way of diffusing the issue in the public domain since we did not expect anything less than 9 months stipends to cover for the monies from 2016. We also find it interesting that they decided to hurriedly release allowances below 3months and we kept agitating for all monies owed us from 2016, but they refused to give us a clear explanation.

We humbly urge you to do a thorough investigation on this whole issue to prevent it from reoccurring again. Our concern are in three-folds:

1. Why should we demand such monies when the secretariat now claims they released it about a few months ago to the Ghana Embassy in Beijing, China?
-Why was the payment not made when they perfectly knew these monies needed to be paid in 2016?
-Why didn’t they inform us (students) when we kept communicating with them to explain the cause of such unnecessary delay for about a year?
– In as much as we know, they never indicated that some monies have been released and were making efforts to contact the secretariat to release the monies immediately.

2. Why did they only decide to release only our book allowances and stipends for only 2 months and a percentage of the 3rd month?
3. Can the Scholarship Secretariat and the Ghana Mission in Beijing be made to explain how much they released to us on Tuesday and for which number of months?
– As far as we know, we were supposed to receive at least stipends for 9 months covering the arrears in 2016 while we wait for the remaining amounts (2017 stipends) in the coming months.

We are humbly request your outfit to help us carry our concerns through your medium for the authorities that matter to hear our cry. And in the long term, we appeal to your good offices to further investigate the real underlining reasons why for a year now, students could not be paid so as to prevent the re-occurrence of this situation as we have seen over the years.

At this point, we will like to thank you for once again acting as the “4th arm of government” and bringing the matter to the knowledge of all the authorities and we hope that we will eventually receive our stipends for the whole of last year just like our colleagues in other countries.

Ghanaian Government Scholarship Students in China.

Kwasi Nyantakyi Leads Hunt For New Caoch

The Ghana Football Association (GFA), has formed a six-member committee, to search for a new head coach of the Black Stars, following the expiration of coach Avram Grants, two year contract.

The committee according to the GFA, will be led Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi – President of the GFA, assisted by his Vice President, Mr. George Afriyie and Mr. Francis Oti Akenteng – Technical Director of the GFA.

The rest are; Messrs. Samuel Opoku Nti, Alex Asante and an official delegate from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The committee is expected to use headhunting and application letters from interested candidates to recruit a substantive head coach for the team.

The statement said, only competent coaches will be considered, even if they have not applied for the job.


11 Year Old Girl Defiled After Going To Watch Telenovela

A storekeeper accused of defiling an 11 year old girl after going to watch a Telenovela in his room has appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.


Mohammed Obuamah Addy 48 charged with defilement has however pleaded not guilty.

The court presided over by Mrs Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku turned down a bail application for Addy and remanded him into police custody to reappear on March 1.

The court cited proximity of the victim’s house to that of the accused person, the relationship between the victim and Addy and the trauma the victim had suffered.

According to the court it would commence speedy trial of the matter.

Prosecution Detective Inspector Kofi Atimbire asked the court not to grant the bail application for the accused due to the proximity of the residence of the victim’s house and that of the accused.

Inspector Atimbire noted that after the act the victim got traumatized and slashed herself with blade.

Defence Counsel Niibi Ayibontey prayed the court to admit his client to bail and that it was not everything that prosecution says that is always the truth.

The facts of the case as presented by the prosecution were that the complainant was the step-sister of the victim whilst the accused is the uncle of the victim.

According to prosecution Addy reside at James Town together with the victim in the same house.

Prosecution said the victim had been going to Addy’s room to watch telenovela known as VEERA. The victim is a friend to the
two kids of the accused and they all go to watch the telenovela in Addy’s room.

In August last year, the victim went to Addy’s room to watch the telenovela together with Addy’s children.

Addy however sent his children and locked the door, held the victim and covered her nose with a handkerchief to prevent her
from shouting and had sex with her.

Addy after the act warned the victim not to tell anyone else he would eject her mother from where she was selling her food.

In January this year, again Addy had sex with her when she went to watch the telenovela. The victim became traumatised.

On February 2, this year, during school hours, the victim slashed herself and bled profusely and when her teacher confronted her, she revealed the ordeal the accused persons had put her through.

When the complainant was informed she alerted personnel of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service and accused was arrested while the victim was given a medical form to seek medical care.


AshGold Secure Betway Sponsorship

Obuasi AshGold Football Club last Saturday displayed fantastic football and won decisively against returnees, the wonder club, Accra Great Olympics to perch at the second on the league table.

AshGold who are now sponsored by betting company, Betway proved that they were highly inspired and motivated by their commitment and discipline.

Backed by their loyal supporters who loved to be called Shafts, they took their favourite home grounds by storm and dished out a baptism of fire to the AGOSU lads.

The one-man symphony on the day was new signing from Medeama SC Hans Koffie, the offensive midfielder who punished Oly Gbogbo with three glorious goals to register the first hat trick of the 2016 /17 Ghana Premier League (GPL).

The newly Betway branded Len Clay Stadium will now be the attraction for Obuasi football fans and the men in yellow will always prove that they are resourceful in gold.

The victory should ginger the Miners to win their next game which is a tricky one.

After the Africa Cup in Gabon which was hailed as very successful, the local league organisers also want to exhibit their organizational skills.

Though there is no major sponsor for the GPL, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has been able to secure broadcast sponsorship from Chinese managed Star Times who have promised to give money to the FA and clubs as well as other stakeholders.

Star Times have made it possible for some matches to be shown live on TV and it is really good for other supporters of the competition and the clubs.

For AshGold, the Betway opportunity came at the right time, when the nation’s most popular player in England, and current SWAG Footballer of the Year Andre Ayew was signed by West Ham in London from Swansea in Wales.

Betway operations in Ghana promises to boost with the success of their partners and clients as well as customers.

Betway Group is a leading provider of first-class entertainment across sports betting, casino, bingo and poker. Launched in 2006, the company operates across a number of regulated online markets and holds licenses in the UK, Malta, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Kenya, Uganda and now Ghana. Based in Malta and Guernsey, with support from London, Isle of Man, Stockholm and Cape Town, the Betway team comprises over 1,000 people.

Betway is also the official principal sponsor the UK Premier League Darts and the UK Snooker Championships.

By Sammy Heywood Okine

Bolt, Biles honored as Sportspeople of the Year at Laureus 2017

After glittering year for both athletes, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American gymnast Simone Biles respectively won the Sportsman and the Sportswoman of the Year titles at the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Tuesday.

Bolt won the 100, 200 and 4×100 meter relay gold medals at the Rio Olympics, beating out fellow contenders such as Lebron James, Andy Murray and Cristiano Ronaldo. This was the fourth time that Bolt has won the award after 2009, 2010 and 2013, leveling Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer’s record.

Biles won four gold medals and a bronze at the Rio Olympics, enabling her to top five other candidates including American track star Allyson Felix and German tennis player Angelique Kerber in the contest for Sportswoman of the Year.

The Team of the Year award went to Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, who won their first World Series in108 years, ending one of the longest droughts in the league.

F1 Driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won the Breakthrough of the Year award, after he won the world title for the first time in 2016 before retiring from motor racing. The Comeback of the Year award was given to swimming legend Michael Phelps, who claimed five gold medals and one silver at the Rio Olympics.

In other awards, the Sportsperson of the Year with a disability award was presented to Italian wheelchair fencing athlete Beatrice Vio, the Action Sportsperson of the Year award went to Rachel Atherton of Britain in Mountain Biking, and the Spirit of Sport award was taken by Premier League defending champions Leicester City.

The newly-founded Best Sporting Moment of the Year, voted on by sports fans worldwide in an online poll, was given to the Barcelona Under-12 team, who consoled their defeated opponents from Japan in the Junior World Soccer Challenge.

Yesterday, the refugee Olympic team at Rio 2016, the first ever in Olympic history, was awarded the Laureus Sports for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration.

The refugee team, made up of ten athletes from South Sudan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, captured the hearts of people around the world when they walked into the Maracana Stadium at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony, showing their resilience in the face of tremendous hardship.

The 18th awards ceremony returned home this year to Monaco, where the inaugural edition was held. The first event saw soon-to-be patron of the Laureus Awards Nelson Mandela deliver a speech on the contribution of sports to mankind. “Sport has the power to change the world,” said the former South African president. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

George Oppong Weah, Nana Addo Discuss Issues Of Mutual Concern

George Oppong Weah, Senator of the Montserrado County of Liberia, on Tuesday called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to congratulate him on his election as President of Ghana.

Mr Weah also discussed issues of mutual concern and benefit to both countries.

According to Mr Weah, the conduct of Ghana’s 2016 elections, which resulted in a peaceful change of government, had cemented Ghana’s position as the true beacon of democracy on the African Continent which should be emulated by all African countries.

The Liberian Senator also applauded the resilience of President Akufo-Addo, who was successful at his third attempt at the presidency, describing it “as a lesson for all of us. If you don’t succeed at your first attempt, try again.”

Mr Weah expressed the hope that the period in office of President Akufo-Addo would be marked by increased bilateral relations between Ghana and Liberia as well as the realisation of the vision of continental integration which, he said, would inure to the benefit of the African people.

With the election of a new President of Liberia slated for October 10 this year, Senator Weah urged Ghana, President Akufo-Addo and ECOWAS to help ensure that the polls are credible to make the results acceptable to all the stakeholders.

President Akufo-Addo thanked the Liberian Senator for the courtesy call and assured him that Ghana would continue to support and advocate for the deepening of democracy in countries within the region.

He said the bonds that existed between Liberia and Ghana would be strengthened even further in the coming years, assuring that Ghana, together with ECOWAS, would do their best to ensure that the upcoming polls passed off peacefully to uphold the will of the Liberian people


British film industry earns US$2 billion in record-breaking year

Film production in Britain last year earned a record-breaking 2 billion U.S.dollars for the country’s economy, a new report revealed Sunday.

British film industryThe Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said 2016 proved to be a bumper year for Britain’s creative industries.

Spending on British film and television production in Britain in 2016, was 13 percent higher than in 2015, according to figures compiled by the British Film Institute (BFI).

BFI said that of the total spending on making films, 1.7 billion U.S.dollars was invested by 48 major inward investment films basing themselves in Britain.

A spokesman for DCMS said: “Showing that we’re more than capable of competing on the world stage, this year’s top three grossing films at the UK box office were all made on British soil: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Bridget Jones’s Baby.”

“Overall there was a good turnout at the UK box office too, with cinema ticket sales at a second time high, raking in 1.227 billion pounds (1.53 billion U.S.dollars).”

DCMS said as well as a thriving film sector in 2016, overseas companies flocking to Britain spent nearly 600 million U.S.dollars making high-end television shows.

The report also shows foreign markets clamoured for British creative content, with figures showing that British sales of television exports to international markets reached 1.62 billion U.S.dollars in 2016, up 10 percent on the previous year.

The British Film Commission said a host of British-made films are set to hit the big screen this year, including Warner Bros.’s Ready Player One, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Twentieth Century Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI said: “British stories and British talent are firing the global imagination. Films and television series are generating investment, creating jobs and thrilling audiences. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

2 Persons Jailed 41 Years For Robbery

An Accra Circuit Court on Thursday convicted two persons to a total of 41 years iimprisonment for conspiring and robbing at gun point one Mary Adwoa Blessing,a Mobile Money Transfer operator of an amount of GHc6,171.00.


The two: Elvis Omane Boama 33 year old Carpenter was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment while Daniel Osei 28 year old would also serve 20 years imprisonment in hard labour.

They both pleaded guilty to the charges, and were convicted by the court presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh on their own plea.

The facts of the case as presented by Chief Superintendent Duuti Truaruka was that, the complainant is a MTN mobile money transfer operator residing at Teshie, while the convicts Elvis and Daniel both resides at Sowutuom.

He said on February 6, at about 1330 hours, the two armed with a locally manufactured pistol and a dagger attacked the complainant at her shop at Anomantu, a suburb of Teshie.

He told the court that the convicts who were using a motorbike stopped in front of the complainant’s shop, entered, fired a shot through the ceiling and ordered her to surrender all monies on her to them.

The prosecution said for fear of being killed or harmed, the complainant showed them where the money was kept and Elvis took an amount of GHc6,171.00, and they both run away with it.

According to Ghana News Agency report, the complainant raised an alarm and with the assistance of two police officers around and some neighbours, the two convicts were chased and arrested.

He said one locally manufactured pistol, six live cartridges, one empty cartridge, and the amount of GHc6,171.00 were retrieved form Elvis and the dagger retrieved from Daniel.

A search later conducted in Elvis’s room revealed a box containing 18,65mm; two and half inches Trust live cartridges, three export 32 SAGA live cartridges, and a part of a dagger.

The prosecution also told the court that investigations disclosed that, the convicts who are close friends hatched the plan to carry out the operation about two weeks ago, and so on Monday February 6, met at Teshie Tsuibleoo to execute the plan.

He said in their investigative caution statement, they both admitted the offences.

4 Districts In A/R Loss GH661,900 To Fire Outbreak

Property valued at about GH?661,900.00 was lost to fire in four adjoining districts in the Ashanti Region, last year.

These are Asante-Akim Central Municipality, Asante-Akim South, Asante-Akim North and Bosome-Freho.

Mr. Iddrisu Nafew, an officer at the Konongo Fire Station, which has responsibility for the four districts, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that a total of 60 fire cases were reported during the period.

There were 21 cases of domestic fires and equal number of bushfires, with vehicular, commercial and industrial fires accounting for the remaining 18 cases.

He identified dysfunctional and inadequate fire hydrants as the main operational challenge they faced and said this had been making it difficult to fight fires.

He indicated that the area had only three fire hydrants and two out of them were faulty.

He spoke of instances where water did not flow from the pipelines of the Ghana Water Company during fire emergency.

He therefore called for the provision of a mechanized borehole with an overhead tank at the fire station to ensure reliable water supply.

Mr. Nafew complained of inadequate office accommodation, something he said had not been helpful to the station’s smooth operation.

The station is supposed to have safety, education, anti-bushfire and operation units for effective service delivery but these functions are now being performed by the operations unit because of the lack of space.