IMF talks: Akufo-Addo wants China, Paris Club to fast-track financing assurances

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government is “making progress on the external debt negotiations” with its development partners “since the Government announced an external debt service suspension on 19th December 2022 for certain categories of external debt, to ensure an orderly restructuring”.

The suspension, the president told parliament in his state of the nation address on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, “is an interim emergency measure toward a comprehensive external debt operation which will contribute to the restoration of our debt sustainability in line with our request for a debt treatment under the G20 Common Framework”.

“I want to express our appreciation to the members of the Paris Club and to the Peoples’ Republic of China for the co-operation they have, so far, exhibited to us in attempting to reach an agreement, and in their attempt to establish an Official Credit Committee”.

“We look forward to their fast-tracking the needed financing assurances for IMF approval. We are confident that, with their co-operation, we will reach our March deadline for going to the Fund”, he said.

Already, the government has restructured its domestic debt and now seeking to replicate it on the international front in order to clinch an approval for a $3-billion extended credit facility from the Board of the IMF.

 

Source: Ghana Web

Akufo-Addo aims to raise Ghana’s GDP per capita from US$2,500 to US$4,500

President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that his government is putting some measures in place to ensure that Ghana’s per capita GDP is almost doubled.

He told parliament in his state of the nation address on Wednesday, 8 March 2023 that the “government recognises that sustained growth must be deliberate, especially in a global landscape marked by forces of technology, trade, and intense competition.

“It requires a combination of leadership, social cohesion, and deep investments in core capabilities of people, firms, and institutions to harness our opportunities”.

“This is why”, he explained, “together with our private sector counterparts, we are anchoring Ghana’s medium-term growth drivers on competitiveness, integration, adaptation and digital innovation, all aimed at raising per capita GDP from the current two thousand, five hundred dollars (US$2,500) to four thousand, five hundred dollars (US$4,500) (aligning with the Ghana Beyond Aid Charter) by 2030”.

 

 

Source: Ghana Web

Former Jamaican sprinter calls for revival of track and field in schools

Asafa Powell – former world athletics Champion and Jamaican legend has called on sports authorities to revive track and field events at the basic schools in the country. He made the appeal on Wednesday at the Nima Cluster of Schools, where he visited and witness a running session organised in his honor. Speaking to the media, he said, ‘I want to use this opportunity to appeal to sports authorities to revive and build facilities for children at the basic schools, as there is so much talent going waste’. ‘The skills, strength, speed, style, excitement and powerful show put up by the pupils at the Nima cluster of schools were amazing.’ He added that, Ghana also abounds in talents in athletics, aside football hence the need to harness these talents for the benefit of the country. At the end of the 50-meter race, many of the children realized their potential in athletics and were eager to pursue the sport. Interacting with the kids Jamaican Asafa Powell said he started running at the basic level in school and was encouraged by his parents to excel. Mrs. Sally Owusu Ansah, a Head Mistress of the School said there were talents in Ayawaso East, but the absence of sporting facilities were hindering their progress. The school children were drawn Nima 1 and 2, St. Kizito, Kukatu, Tafsiliyya and Research Institute. Mrs. Alyshia Powell said it was time athletics tracks were built in basic schools for children to discover and develop their talents at the early stage to be able to represent the country both on national and international competitions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Contribute positively to societal change – Prof Blankson

Professor Abeku Blankson, the President of the African University College of Communications (AUCC), has urged students to contribute positively to change in society for the general wellbeing of citizens of the country. He said students should learn to volunteer in community labour activities, which would facilitate their interaction with community members to enhance good neighbourliness and civic responsibilities. Prof Blankson said this at the 21st Matriculation ceremony for ‘freshmen’ of the AUCC in Accra. The University welcomed 379 new students, comprising 213 Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, 157 Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, and nine students for Diploma in Management Studies. It has 20 foreign students from Liberia, Benin, Guinea, and Nigeria. He urged the students to develop entrepreneurial mindsets to establish businesses on their own. Prof Blankson, however, advised them to desist from any academic malpractice that may compel the Academic Board to expel them from the University. The University was working towards her charter to be independent to issue certificates without any affiliation, he said. Dr Richmond Acquah-Coleman, the Director of Student Affairs and Counsellor, AUCC, said the Matriculation set the tone for the rest of the students’ academic career, stressing on the importance to build a strong academic foundation and co-curricular activities to enable them to excel. He advised them to prioritise their mental health as they would be facing ‘stressors and challenges in their academic activities.’ He, however, assured the students of the support of the Counselling Unit to guide them through their studies. ‘As your Director of Student Affairs and Students Counsellor, I am here to support you throughout your academic journey, through guidance, advise and listening ear.’ ‘I am committed to ensuring that you have access to the resources and support that you need to succeed.’ The University, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, out doored its eight Strategic Plan Vision, to be accomplished by 2027. One of these is ‘Student Centredness’, to see students as true participants in the day-to-day running of the institution.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Educationist calls for dialogue to bridge academia, industry gap

Dr Bless Dzakadzi, Director for Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education, has called for a dialogue to bridge the gap between academia and industry. He said the economic situation across the continent should serve as an impetus to explore alternatives and potential solutions to adopt innovative entrepreneurship programmes to increase the employability of graduates. Dr Dzakadzi said this in Accra at a graduation ceremony for a professional certificate of competence for operators within West and Central Africa on the theme, ‘Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academia for Standardized Training and Job Creation.’ The graduating class, numbering 25, undertook six weeks of training in heavy-duty equipment organised by the Regional Maritime University and the National Association for Heavy-duty Equipment Operators Ghana. The Director called for an unflinching preoccupation on the part of higher institutions to lead the drive of innovation and entrepreneurship to bridge the gap between academia and industry for sustained economic growth. He called for an alignment of curriculum with industry to address various requirements and demands of the dynamic industry, saying ‘it is advisable that curriculum be revised regularly and developed in accordance with what industry needs.’ Dr Dzakadzi expressed concerns about the over reliance on classroom methodology and a theory-heavy approach and urged academia to review the existing pedagogies and make it more practical in approach. ‘I believe it is possible for academics to regularly call guest speakers from different industries and allow students to interact with them to find out what is happening on the field.’ Industry relevant online courses can be merged with the syllabus outlines to give students more insights about the industry.’ To bridge the gap between academia and industry, he said there was a need for workplace exposure through internships, live projects, and corporate interactions to provide students with the needed industry experience on the job. He advised the class to apply the knowledge and skills acquired for sustainable development, adding that the economic transformation of the country depended on professional graduates with high-level practical and career-focused skills. Dr. Jethro W. Brooks Jr., the Vice-Chancellor of Regional Maritime University, said the graduation ceremony was for the first batch of trainees under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University and NAHEOG to train operators of heavy-duty equipment. He said the University had embarked on a massive engagement with the private sector for the provision of continuous development programmes for their employees to bring institutions closer to the industry for mutual benefits. He stressed the need for standardized training and certification of operators within the sub-region to allow certified heavy-duty operators to seek job opportunities across borders.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Paramount Queen mother of Essikado reminds schools to teach patriotic songs

Nana Ekua Kudua, the Paramount Queen mother of Essikado traditional area has reminded schools of their national duty to inculcate patriotism and nationalistic tendencies into school children to change the current behavioral narratives among the youth. She said patriotic songs such as ‘Yen are yen asese yi’ , ‘I promise on my Honour’, ‘Arise Ghana Youth for your country’ and ‘God bless our Homeland’ among other well-meaning songs had the potential to inform the present generation of the struggle of the founding fathers and the ultimate need to build on their fortunes in creating a better society. Nana Kudua I, said this during a gathering of students at the Fort Orange in Sekondi spearheaded by the Ghana Museums and Monument Board, the Ghana Tourism Authority, and the Ghana Education Service to mark the Heritage Month experience in Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan area. The heritage experience also screened documentaries and mounted photo exhibition to expose the students to the history of the Country. She also encouraged the teachers to properly articulate the country’s past events to the children and sometimes take them to historical sites to affirm their fate and love for their motherland. Mr. Abdul Issah Mumin, the Metropolitan Chief Executive said the occasion was put together to redirect the school children to their cultural heritage, correct some errors in telling the history as well as erode negative perceptions within the socio-cultural setting. He said the revival of Fort Orange, built in 1642 by Dutch for both human and commodity trade would now become a Centre for learning about Africans to guide the future against cruelty to the black race. Mr. Kwesi Essel Blankson, the Western Regional Director of the Museums and Monument Board said the Board and its partners would add to the creative setting of the edifice and improve it with pictorial and documentary materials to make the studying of past events by tourist a worthwhile experience. He said, ‘we hope to use this building as real source of accurate data on what really happened to our forefathers at sea in the hands of the colonel oppressors’.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Apostle appeals for university in Akuapem South Municipality

Apostle Kadmiel E.H. Agbelenyoh, Missionary in charge of the Seven Day Theocratic World Congregation has appealed to the government for the establishment of a university in the Akuapem South Municipality in the Eastern Region. He said the area had produced a few WASSCE students who would have wished to stay within the vicinity to further their education, but they were compelled to do so in the cities, where hostel accommodation becomes a problem. Apostle Agbelenyoh made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency when he organised an outreach programme for the school children at Shalom-Otiakorm, near Aburi in the Eastern Region. He said education had been his prime focus and as such, he founded his first school, which comprised of pre-school, primary, junior and senior high schools in 1988 to serve over 50 communities. Apostle Agbelenyoh also said in his quest to perpetuate the objective of providing further education to the teeming youth in the deprived communities, he established the Theocracy Senior High School with nine students in 2004 who were all girls. ‘The school gained its full recognition and approval from the Ghana Education Service and the first WASSCE candidates who wrote in 2015 performed creditably. The academic performance of the school has improved remarkably and the 2022 WASSCE result was well over 85 per cent,’ he stated. He said the school had produced 869 graduates and some were in higher positions in the Police Service, the military and the Immigration Service while others could be found in reputable institutions of learning across the country and in the diaspora. Apostle Agbelenyoh said currently the school runs home economics, general arts, business and general science as approved programmes. Mr. Lawrence Asibe, the Deputy Education Director of Akuapim South Municipality who participated in the event urged parents and guardians to pay serious attention to the education of their children by providing them their learning materials. Dr. Raphel Kafui, a Lecturer at GIMPA commended Apostle Agbelenyoh for the construction of school structures in the communities and appealed to non-governmental organization and philanthropists to support his effort with the provision of potable water, dormitory blocks and means of transportation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Youth Rise International holds community Health Education Forum to mark International Women’s Day

Youth Rise International (YoRI) and its partners, including the Women in Distress Africa (WiDA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has organised a community health education forum at Ekumfi Ekumpoano, in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region. Hundreds of pregnant women, nursing mothers, men, and youth from eight high risk grassroots communities in the Ekumfi district were sensitized and educated using various innovative communication for development tools, channels and strategies targeting behavioural change or modification. The event formed part of the implementation of, ‘Towards Achieving Zero Newborn and Maternal Mortality in Grassroots Communities’ project being funded by the Otto per Mille of the Waldesian Church of Italy. The project seeks to educate and sensitize 10,000 community members and directly assist 90 pregnant women to deliver safely across eight endemic grassroots communities in Ghana by 2023. The Executive Director, Mr David Awusi stressed that health education was essential to addressing issues on stillbirth, newborn, infant and maternal mortality especially in vulnerable communities. He bemoaned that even though Ghana had embraced the World Health Organization’s policy of prohibiting deliveries at home, there were still hundreds of deliveries done in rural communities. Mr Awusi said apart from extreme poverty, vulnerable communities also faced the negative impact of lack of access to quality healthcare, teenage pregnancy, and proper delivery of babies. For instance, according to the Ekumfi District Health Directorate, 21 percent of pregnant women in the district deliver at home and in religious centers thereby, increasing stillbirth, newborn and maternal mortality risk, and vulnerability. To compound the dire situation, he added that the Ekumfi district with about 60,000 population, did not have a District Hospital. In that regard, YoRI appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Health via its Agenda 111 to prioritize the Ekumfi District by establishing one District Hospital for the Area. This, Mr Awusi noted, would be a bold step and a demonstration of the strong political will and commitment of government towards protecting women and girls particularly in the fight against newborn and maternal mortality in Ekumfi District. ‘When pregnant women delay or experience birth complications at the CHPS Compound or Health Centre, they are forced to refer them to other districts where such health facilities are available thereby, putting the life of the woman and the foetus at risk,’ he indicated. ‘A classic situation recorded in 2022 in the district, resulted in maternal mortality at the referral hospital. Youth Rise International’s position is that the life of every mother and child matters, and the time to end home delivery is now or never,’ Mr Awusi added. According to a UNICEF Report, various factors had been reported to influence home delivery among pregnant women including poor quality health services, low educational level, health care cost, socio-cultural practices, maternal parity, and knowledge on pregnancy risk factors. YoRI is a youth-led grassroots and advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that mobilizes the youth and rural communities to fight extreme poverty, marginalization and newborn, child, and maternal mortality.

Source: Ghana News Agency