Guinea Bissau pave way for citizens to access African Court

Tema, Guinea Bissau has joined the community of African Union members who have boldly ratified the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and simultaneously deposited a Declaration under Article 34 (6) of the Protocol. Guinea Bissau becomes the eight country to sign the declaration to allow individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations to access the African Court directly.

Guinea Bissau’s Ratification and Declaration was officially handed over on Tuesday, November 3, 2021, by Mr. Alamara Quessangue, to a representative of the Office of the Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission, Ms Tsion Bhergano.

It was handed over on the side lines of the Conference on the Implementation and Impact of Decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and made available to the Ghana News Agency.

The Republic of Niger had earlier deposited its Declaration at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 28, 2021.

The other States that have Declarations that are in effect are: Ghana, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Malawi, Mali and Tunisia.

Guinea Bissau’s delegation received accolades when handing over the Declaration to the representative of the Office of the Legal Counsel and the President of the Court, Lady-Justice Imani Aboud, at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam.

Lady-Justice Aboud lauded Guinea Bissau and Niger, stating that they will go a long way in enhancing confidence in the African Court and ultimately the protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.

Prior to the commencement of the Conference, Lady-Justice Aboud led a sensitisation visit to the Republic of Niger from October 21st to 23, 2021 during which President Mohamed Bazoum reiterated his country’s strong commitment to the protection of human rights and to the mandate of the African Court as the only continental judicial body of the African Union.

The African Court, is celebrating 15 years since it became operational. It was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court.

The Protocol was adopted on June 9, 1998 in Burkina Faso and entered into force on January 25, 2004. The African Court officially started its operations in November 2006 following the election of the first Judges in January 2006 and their swearing in, in July 2006.

Meanwhile the African Union Executive Council has been tasked to repeal Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court.

Delegates at the International Conference on the implementation and Impact of Decisions of the African Court: Challenges and Prospects at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were unanimous in identifying article 34(6) as the main hindrance to the operations of the courts decisions.

Various speakers mainly: judges, lawyers, academia, civil society organisation and other strategic stakeholders on human rights identified the article as a challenge and question why such a requirement and urged African Union states to initiate the process towards repealing the inhibiting law to make the African Court more beneficial to the public.

Some delegates classified the Article 34(6) as opening a door way to Africans to enter and seek for human rights remedies at the African Court but, using an indoor not visible to outsiders to restrict your entry.

African Governments must demonstrate their commitment to upholding the tenets of human rights by repealing article 34(6) immediately to make way for entry.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Rawlings’ first-anniversary mass scheduled for Friday

Accra, The first anniversary commemorative mass for former President Jerry John Rawlings will be held on Friday November 12, 2021. This would be exactly one year since he passed away, a statement signed by Mr Kobina Andoh Amoakwa, said on Wednesday.

The former President passed away at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on Thursday, November 12, 2020, after a short illness.

The statement said the Memorial Mass, which would be held at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka, would be opened to the public.

“The event will also be streamed on the Facebook page of the former President via live-streame on https://web.facebook.com/President.J.J.Rawlings.”

“The service, to be held by the family, will commence at 9.00 am and will last for approximately one and a half hours,” the statement said.

It said the mass was expected to attract people from all walks of life – government officials, traditional leaders, political leaders, members of parliament, diplomats, cadres and many more admirers and sympathisers.

The statement urged Ghanaians who wished to attend to arrive at the Cathedral early, adding that due to the Covid-19 protocols, social distancing seating would be in effect.

“Attires for the occasion will be white traditional or formal and parking will be at the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board car park, opposite the Holy Spirit Cathedral.”

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government committed to protecting the public purse – Presidency

Accra, The Presidency Thursday said contrary to perception that the Government was doing little to protect the public purse, it was applying the country’s resources efficiently, effectively and judiciously to enhance the growth and development of Ghana and its people.

It said the transformation that had taken place in all aspects of national life pointed to an economy that had been well-managed, and “a public purse that is being well-protected, and the benefits are showing.”

This was in reaction to the recent call on the Government by the Catholic Bishops Conference to take immediate steps to halt what it said was the excessive dissipation of the country’s resources by politicians and their cronies for personal gains.

The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, at the Catholic Bishops Conference held in Wa recently, said the situation lent credence to perceived corruption and corruptible practices among the ruling class, and was taking a toll on the national economy and the well-being of the masses.

“Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power. The expressed commitment of the President of the Republic to protect the public purse, a promise that citizens welcomed, seems to be an illusion now. Are those managing the public purse not concerned about waste and misapplication of resources that belong to all Ghanaians? Can this be referred to as irresponsible use of power or the lack of compassion and empathy?” he quizzed.

But Mr Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, told the media at the weekly Jubilee House Press Briefing that the Catholic Bishops Conference were interpreting the facts differently.

He said: “Indeed, if President Akufo-Addo had superintended over the wanton dissipation of public funds, the Ghanaian people would not have reposed their confidence in him by returning a decisive margin of victory for him in the 2020 elections.

“President Akufo-Addo took office in January 2017, and, again, in January 2021, and pledged to protect the public purse, and that is exactly what he has done, and continues to do,” he stressed.

Mr Arhin noted that but for the prudent management of the public purse, government would not have been able to successfully implement the flagship Free Senior High School programme that now guarantees a minimum of senior high school education for all Ghanaian children, and had already granted access to over 400,000 more children.

He also tallied several other government programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, which has brought 1.5 million farmers into its orbit, who through subsidized inputs like fertilizers, seeds, insecticides among others, have made Ghana a net exporter of food stuffs within the ECOWAS Community.

“Today, through the prudent use of public resources, 104 factories, through Government’s 1D1F initiative, are operating, and are providing jobs for thousands of unemployed youths. 150 more factories are under construction, and the remaining 24 are at the mobilization stage, and would provide more jobs for residents of the districts, particularly our youth, ” he said.

“If, indeed, the protection of the public purse was a mirage, the Akufo-Addo government would not have found the means to employ hundreds of thousands of teachers and medical professionals, who, before the coming into office of this administration, were sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. NABCO, which has brought relief to some 100,000 graduates, would not have been feasible if the public purse was not being protected.

“The effective roll-out of the National Identification Card has seen some 15.6 million Ghanaians issued with identification cards, up from the 700,000 issued under the 8-years of the Mahama Government. This Government has found the resources to undertake the largest construction of road infrastructure in Ghana’s history. Ghana, under President Akufo-Addo, has, recently, been adjudged as the best place to do business in West Africa,” he stated.

Mr Arhin was emphatic that because of the prudent management of the country’s scares resources, government was able to effectively implement the social intervention programmes such as the free food, free electricity and free water to the most vulnerable in society during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“The extensive measures taken by Government during the crisis, which are still ongoing, went a long way to protecting the Ghanaian people, a feat that was widely acknowledged across the world. Indeed, there were many who felt safer here, in Ghana, than in many so-called advanced countries because of the way Government took control over the spread of the virus”.

“In the midst of COVID-19, when most of the economies of the world found themselves in recession, Ghana was one of the very few economies that reported positive growth. High fuel prices, high freight charges, rising cost of living, are not Ghanaian phenomena, they are the order of the day across the globe, unfortunately.

“Just as every country on earth is confronted with these difficult challenges, largely as a result of the impact of COVID-19, Ghana, under President Akufo-Addo, is making every effort, through the Ghana CARES Obaatampa Programme, to alleviate the hardships brought forth by the pandemic.”

Additionally, government is currently engaged in paying up the energy legacy debts it inherited, and have since cleared the GH¢1.2 billion of the National Health Insurance Scheme debt it also inherited.

“All of these could, certainly, not have been achieved by a Government that has lost touch with the problems of Ghanaians, or by one that is presiding over the reckless dissipation of the public purse,” the Communications Director said.

Mr Arhin stressed that for as much as the Government was “extremely tolerant of divergent views, and welcomes criticisms of its work, we believe these criticisms should be well-founded and well-grounded in fact, as this is the only way an honest conversation, devoid of malice and propaganda, can be held.”

He gave the assurance that the Government would continue to work for the development of Ghana, and help improve the standards of living of every Ghanaian.

“Far from being out of touch, the Government is highly focused on delivering on its mandate”.

Mr Arhin who also addressed reports, suggesting that the Government sent 337 delegates to the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, said those accounts were not true.

“From what we have seen so far, it has been shown that not all the 337 persons who registered as participants attended the Summit. There were media personalities, as well as representatives from CSOs, who are captured on the list of 337 persons, and who confirm that their trip to Glasgow was not funded by Government.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me place on record that the official presidential delegation comprised of 24 persons, including the President, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Energy, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and officials of the Presidency and Foreign Ministry,” he said.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

African Court begins 63rd ordinary session

Dar es Salaam, (Tanzania) The 63rd Ordinary Session of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has started at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to examine a number of applications during the four-week session that will close on December 3rd, 2021.

The African Court will deliver Judgements on December 2, 2021, which would be live streamed via link: https://www.youtube.com/user/africancourt/live.

Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, President of the African Court, explained the African Continental Court was established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.

It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

She said, it was established by pursuant to Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Protocol) which was adopted by Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998.

The Protocol came into force on January 25, 2004.

Lady Justice Aboud identified 32 States which have ratified the Protocol as: Ghana, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

The rest are: Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

The African Court President commended the “Bold eight States” out of the 32 State Parties to the Protocol who deposited the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases directly from NGOs and individuals.

The “Bold eight States” are: Ghana, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Malawi, Niger and Tunisia.

“The African Court’s Contentious Jurisdiction applies to all cases and disputes submitted to it in respect of the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.

“For its Advisory Jurisdiction, the Court may, at the request of a Member State of the African Union (AU), the AU, any of its organs or any African organisation recognised by the AU, give an opinion on any other legal matter relating to the Charter or any other relevant human rights instruments, provided that the subject matter of the opinion is not related to a matter being examined by the Commission,” she said.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Belgium trade delegation explores investment opportunities in Ghana

Accra, A 30-member Belgium trade delegation will explore business and investment opportunities in Ghana between December 4 and 8, 2021.

The delegation will include Belgian companies, business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and experts from various fields.

The sectors are Transport (infrastructure and service; harbours, airports, waterways, railway), ICT, Telecommunication, Agriculture, Construction (urban development; civil engineering) and logistics.

The rest are Education, Finance, Pharmaceutical, Cosmeceuticals, Food Industry and healthcare, Energy (renewable/oil & gas), manufacturing, Mining, Consulting, Water and Sanitation.

A statement issued by the organisers said the delegation would meet selected local businesses as part of the activities for the Belgium- Ghana Economic and Trade Mission 2021.

The event is under the auspices of the Belgium Embassy working with Flanders Investment and Trade, Wallonia and Hub Brussels, the official trade and economic partners of the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It said representatives of authorities from both countries would have the opportunity to discuss Belgium -Ghana partnerships, trade and investment.

“Opportunities for both business to government and business to business meetings and matchings will take place during the period,” it said.

The statement said at the business conference on December 6 and 7 the delegation would meet representatives of the government and the private sector to understand the Ghanaian market, the challenges and the investment opportunities in the country.

It said the Belgian companies were also available to meet local businesses.

Mr Johan Malin, the Head of delegation, Department of International Trade; Flemish government, noted that, “Ghana’s private sector plays an instrumental role in national development,” and that it was contributing significantly to Ghana’s industrialisation agenda.

He said Ghana, home to the Administrative Headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), had great value and opportunities to offer Belgian companies, which “we believe will lead to successful partnerships, further deepening the economic cooperation between Ghana and Belgium.”

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Farmers hopeful of new technologies for cultivating legumes

Golinga (N/R), Some farmers in the Northern Region have expressed interest in new technologies for cowpea, bambara, groundnut and soya beans cultivation to improve their yields.

They expressed the interest to adopt the new technologies to cultivate legumes, when they visited a legumes’ demonstration site at Golinga in the Tolon District of the Northern Region to observe how the new technologies had affected the growth of legumes.

The technologies included planting legumes without applying any inputs (farmers practice), introducing a bio-fertilizer called rhizobium inoculant to the legume to enhance nitrogen fixation, better plant architecture and grain yield, adding mineral nitrogen fertilizer particularly urea to the legumes, and combining both rhizobium inoculants and the urea to the legumes.

These three new technologies are to improve yields of grain legumes, soybean to about three tonnes per hectare, bambara groundnut and cowpea to two tonnes per hectare, which will ensure high incomes for farmers and improve their livelihood.

They are being promoted under the Participatory Pathways to Sustainable Intensification, Innovation Platforms to Integrate Leguminous Crops and Inoculants into Small-Scale Agriculture and Local Value Chains (PASUSI) project in Ghana.

The PASUSI project is being implemented by a consortium of institutions namely Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR – SARI), University of Helsinki, Finland, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway, and Makerere University, Uganda with funding from the European Union.

It seeks to improve productivity, livelihoods, nutrition and household well-being of farmers in the northern part of the country while counteracting environmental degradation.

Madam Zuwera Abukari, a maize and cowpea farmer from Golinga, who was among the farmers, who visited the demonstration site at Golinga, said the technology with inoculant application was doing better than the one with no application.

She said “I have observed that the one with fertilizer is also doing well. The one that combines both fertilizer and inoculant is the best. I prefer the one with the inoculant because the inoculant is easy to buy.”

She said she had been cultivating cowpea for a long time now but comparing what she had seen on the field and what she had been doing, she would adopt the new technology to improve her yield.

Another female farmer from Golinga said the technology with mineral nitrogen fertilizer had the biggest grains and, “That is what I have selected.”

Mr Abdul Somed Issahaku, a cowpea farmer from Golinga selected the technology with fertilizer application saying “It has good grains and farmers are yearning for good grains.”

Dr Edwin Akley, Research Scientist at CSIR-SARI, who explained the technologies to the farmers at the demonstration site, said “We want farmers to adopt any of the technologies to increase their yields and that should translate into improved livelihoods.”

Dr Akley said “the new technologies are cost-effective” adding that “The farmer is better off adopting the rhizobium inoculant technology than going in for the mineral nitrogen fertilizer, which is expensive.”

He said presently farmers get less than two tonnes per hectare and “We want to increase that yield to about three and half tonnes per hectare.”

He said “When farmers grow legumes that have high protein content, when they eat them, it will improve their nutritional status. So, we are talking about nutrition and well-being as well as increasing their income levels and yields.”

Meanwhile, the PASUSI project is being replicated in eight districts including Kumbungu, Nanumba North, Zabzugu, Yendi, Nalerigu, Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri, Tolon and Tamale Metro in the Northern and North East Regions and about 5,000 farmers are expected to be reached under the project.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

NDPC tasks MMDAs to enable businesses perform locally

Accra, Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, Director-General, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has tasked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive at the local level. He said it would also position local businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and create more jobs for the country’s teeming youth.

Speaking at the launch of an AfCFTA Trade Guideline for local authorities in Accra, on Wednesday Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the private sector played a critical role in the development agenda of every nation, contributing substantially to national economic development.

He said creating a conducive environment would enable them to increase their production capacities and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The guideline is to enable MMDA to unlock their potentials and harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

It also seeks to deepen the integration of local economies into the regional market and boost their trade performance and enhance planning capacities at the local level for effective participation in AfCFTA, as well as help local authorities not only to better understand and leverage the AfCFTA but also to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in their jurisdiction to fully benefit from the agreement.

It was developed by the NDPC through consultative processes with stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), the AfCFTA Secretariat with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The AfCFTA is the African free trade area with an estimated market size of 1.3 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3 trillion USD, projected to reach 6.5 trillion by 2030.

Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the Commission would support the MMDAs to identify their respective comparative advantage and position them to harness the potential of the agreement.
He said: “MMDAs must be well positioned economically to unlock their potentials because they represent a fertile jurisdiction for effective implementation of the AfCFTA.”

Mr Udo Etukudo, Economic Advisor at UNDP, said the UNDP would support Ghana to integrate and fully operationalise the AfCFTA at all policy levels.

“UNDP understands that for Ghana to benefit fully from the AfCFTA, there is the need to prioritize MSMEs capacity development. MSMEs also need enabling policies for growth and require value addition to compete and penetrate the African and international markets.

It is therefore critical to introduce and create awareness of the AfCFTA at the local government level. This will facilitate the integration of local businesses into national and regional markets,” he said.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has projected that the AfCFTA will increase the value of intra-African exports between 15 per cent (or $50 billion) and 25 per cent (or $70 billion), depending on liberalisation efforts by 2040.

Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, reiterated government‘s commitment to take advantage of the AfCFTA to ensure socio-economic transformation of the country, adding that government hoped to leverage on the agreement to address the youth unemployment situation.

Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, immediate past President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commended the NDPC for the initiative, saying this would improve business operation at the local level.

Trading under the AfCFTA officially commenced on January 1, 2021.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Beverage manufacturers urged to prioritise quality, consistency to remain competitive

Accra, A report on beverage retail has urged beverage manufacturers to prioritise the production of high quality and consistent products to stay competitive.

It also wants manufacturers to price right to retain customers, as well as attract new ones.

The report published by Firmus Advisory, a leading Market Research, Regulatory Compliance, and Trade Development Organisation, said manufacturers of beverages could no longer compromise on quality and consistency because consumers had become conscious of what they consumed.

“As a result, producers must aim to achieve quality in their production and they must also work to maintain or improve quality levels. Furthermore, any improvement must be visible to consumers,” the report said.

The study, which focused on the beverage retail market revealed that consumers were particular about the taste of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

A total of 2,374 respondents, comprising 1,021 alcoholic consumers and 1,353 non-alcoholic consumers were surveyed on social media and on the ground in Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi to share their views on their consumption preference of beverages.

Retail outlets across the three cities were also engaged in in-depth interviews to understand the workings of the sector.

It centered on spending habits on Beverages, Health and Personal Care, and Fashion products.

Ms Anita Nkrumah, Head of Research and Business Development, Firmus Advisory, who presented the findings at a press conference in Accra, said the beverage market had become competitive and that consumers were more discerning about what they consumed and, therefore, only manufacturers who prioritised the quality of their products would be able to remain competitive and retain their customers.

She, however, noted that the sector held several prospects, which when properly harnessed could create jobs for many Ghanaians.

Currently, the beverage market in Ghana is worth an estimated value of GHS3.85 billion, of which domestic production dominates with 92 per cent of the total market size.

Imports constitute eight per cent of the market, valued at approximately GHS300 million.

Ms Nkrumah explained that with the growing middle income population in the country, greater earnings and spending spree were anticipated, adding that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA) also provided opportunities for beverage manufacturers to expand their territories to rake in more revenue.
Ms Nkrumah urged indigenous manufacturers to strike partnerships with foreign brands and investors to enable them upscale their capacity and distribute across the country and beyond.

She, however, noted that going forward, Firmus Advisory would expect the standardisation of indigenous drinks, as well as more healthy beverages to ensure that they competed with well established brands.

The Ghana Retail Map (GRM), is an annual report focusing on Ghana’s retail sector and provides independent and objective market intelligence to retailers on both in store and online customer experiences.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency