University of Ghana chapter of GITFiC AfCFTA Club officially launched

The Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) has officially launched the University of Ghana chapter of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Club to help propagate the concept and the benefits of the AfCFTA.

The Club is under the patronage of Dr Seidu Mahama Alidu, a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Political Science Department and Dr Rosina Foli, also a Senior Lecturer of the same Department of the University of Ghana.

The Launch was on the theme: “Revitalizing the African Higher Education System in the Successful Implementation of the AfCFTA.”

Mr Tsonam Akpeloo, the Greater Accra Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries, in a speech said the continental free agreement had come to revolutionized Africa and asked the students to take advantage of it.

He said: “Young students who are 18, 19 years at the universities in other countries are producing and making enough money to take care of their education. My young friends what are you doing? Are you sleeping and waking up and talking politics?

“Please no longer about talk; is about conceptualizing an idea and implementing it while you are a student because after school, life gets very rough. I am recommending to you that the continental free trade agreement, which has clear mechanism is something we should take advantage of,” Mr Akpeloo said.

He advised the youth to use their phones for profitable things by creating business contacts, saying; “The phone you have in your hand is the most powerful tool in the 21st century because it is the same phones that the guys in China are using to make money.

“So, as students in higher education just focus on something that will bring you not only money, but capabilities that will lead to a brighter future. So, my brothers the ball is in your court,” he stated.

Professor Rosina Kyerematen, the Dean of Students Affairs of the University of Ghana said Africa was far behind in setting up the AfCFTA, but added that “It is better late than never. We can run and catch up with the industrialized countries”

She noted; “Africa is the biggest trading bloc with 55 by way of population and the number of countries – the Asians have only 10 countries, NAFTA only three countries, the European Union 27 countries, but we have 55 countries.

“And it is not just the 55 countries that have nothing. Africa is actually the richest when it comes to all the blocs in terms of resources.”

Prof Kyerematen called on academics to come together and think about what they could do to push the agenda of the AfCFTA forward by providing training to researchers, human resource persons, industrialists, negotiators, and scientists.

Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, the Chief Executive Officer of GITFiC said the objective of forming AfCTFA Clubs in the tertiary institutions was for student bodies and academics to be in sync with the issues of the continental free trade agreement.

“Academic has been missing in all of this intellectual discussion across the continent. And so, the student bodies play critical roles in terms of sensitization, education, and information.

He noted that about 400,000 people apply each to enter into the University of Ghana alone and the institution is only able to do five to 10 per of the number, saying that; “So, the issue of churning out graduates has been the bane of the day as we always see over the last 30, 40, 50 years in our higher academic level.”

“And so now that there is a continental programme like the AfCTFA, that is sensitizing and bringing to terms the need and the fact that we have to trade among ourselves in Africa, the student population and academic would have part of this conversation,” he stated.

He said the Clubs were meant to keep the students informed and put before them the opportunities to have internship across board when they graduate or even when they were in school.

Source: Ghana News Agency

CSOs push for more protection of women’s rights in agriculture and extractive sector

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have pushed for more protection for women’s rights in the cocoa and gold value chain.

The CSOs noted that though Ghana had various laws in the agriculture and extractive industry, women continued to suffer when it came to issues of equity and gender equality in the distribution of resources.

While some women tend to lose their lands after their husband’s death, others struggle to get access to potable water to do house chores in mining areas.

The CSO’s made the call at a policy dialogue on influencing legal protection for Women in the Cocoa and Gold Value Chain, held in Accra by the Centre for Public Interest in Law (CEPIL).

The policy dialogue sought to identify the gaps and ascertain legal documents available within the mining and gold value chain on mainstreaming gender equality, as well as protecting economic opportunities, human rights, and environmental rights.

Nana Akuoko Afari, Assistant Programme Officer, Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), who spoke on the effects of mining on the environment and climate change said climate change and environmental degradation had the potential to erode all socio-economic gains from mining operations.

He emphasised that it was expedient that mining sector policies and laws declare Forest Reserves, globally significant biodiversity areas, Ramsar Sites, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and National Parks and Cultural sites, as “No go Zones” for mining operations.

Nana Afari said Section 17 of Act 703 of the Mining Act which granted water rights to mining companies should be amended and replaced with provisions that would protect water bodies.

According to him, Ghana was gradually becoming a “water-stressed nation” and that piece of legislation should be seen to be working towards the objective of protecting water bodies in mining communities.

“In line with the signing and ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (2013) Article (7), the State should put in place measures to prevent the use of mercury in mining and to repeal the use of mercury in our laws.”

Nana Afari stated that there was evidence in mining communities to confirm gross human rights violations associated with mining operations.

“Mining Community people have been deprived of their right to economic choices, right to clean and healthy environment, right to life, right to property, right to adequate compensation.”

The other challenges confronting communities in mining areas included threats and harassment, and the destruction of cultural and sacred sites.

To ensure adequate protection for communities, the WACAM Programme Officer suggested that adequate compensation should be determined and paid to affected communities prior to the start of mining operations.

“This is critical because as soon as a mining company enters the land, it issues orders prohibiting the landowner from planting any crop or constructing a house without the Mining Right holder’s consent.”

He noted that the sector policy had limited protection for women, and therefore recommended that mining policies and legal framework should ensure that the distribution and transfer of miming income to local communities take women into account.

“Mining policies should require large-scale mining companies to conduct gender-sensitive Environmental and Social impact Assessments.”

Mrs Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programme Officer, SEND Ghana, urged men to purchase their own land for the cultivation of agricultural produce such as cocoa.

She explained that men who often cultivated family lands took the better part of the proceeds from the venture, leaving women with little or nothing.

According to her, there were instances where landowners repossessed their lands after the death of the men who acquired them.

Ms Esther Aboagye, a representative of Women in Mining, called for the proper definition of equity in relation to gender issues.

Mr Augustine Niber, Executive Director, CEPIL, was optimistic that at the end of the policy dialogue, institutions would be strengthened to influence the government to come out with a stronger legal framework in the extractive (gold) and agricultural (cocoa) value chain to advance the course of women.

Present at the meeting were representatives of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Minerals Commission, Ghana Cocoa Board, Women in Mining, Environmental Protection Agency WACAM and Women in Law and Development in Africa.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Queenmother appeals to government for expansion of classroom blocks

Nana Ama Yeboah Boadu, Nyensi Camp Queenmother has appealed to the government to help expand the Nyesi Camp D/A Basic school to promote quality education in the area.

She said the construction of a block that was started few years ago had been abandoned.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Nyesi in the Okere District, the queen mother said the community also lacked toilet facilities, furniture in the school and potable water.

She expressed worry at the rate in which children below age five trekked kilometres to have access to quality education in other neighboring communities, adding that they were exposed to risk since they walked along the highway.

Nana Boadu said the community managed to construct a mechanized borehole to serve the populace but all efforts to have a meter from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) proved futile and pleaded with the ECG to respond positively.

She called on the electoral commission to create polling stations in the area to allow inhabitants to cast their ballots within the same vicinity.

Nyesi Camp is a farming community in the Okere North District with a population of over 1,500 inhabitants cultivating cassava, maize, tomatoes, pepper and other cash and food crops.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Disputing Zongo Chiefs pray for Judge in court

Some Muslim leaders stunned Court users at the Adentan Circuit Court 2 when they offered Muslim prayers for the judge for acceding to an out-of-court settlement in a chieftaincy dispute.

The out of court settlement was done under the auspices of Chief Alhaji Amadu Baba Seidu, the Madina Zongo Chief in a chieftaincy being heard by the court.

The leaders sought permission from the court to allow them to offer prayers to the trial judge, Mrs Sedinam Awo Balokah and her staff after they had settled their?dispute amicably.

The prayers were offered in the case between Chief Dawudu Ali (Plaintiff), Chief of the Zongo Community in Adenta New Legon and Alhaji Mohammed Muftao (defendant).

The parties had appeared severally before the court during their attempt to settle the dispute.

The court adjourned the case for some time?to allow the parties adequate time to settle the dispute before?Chief Alhaji Baba Seidu, the Madina Zongo Chief.

Parties after an amicable settlement reported back to the court.

The court directed the parties to furnish it with the letter of settlement so that the same could be adopted and placed on the court record.

?The parties went to the court Registry to file the said letter of the settlement.

When the case was recalled the trial Judge, Mrs Sedinam Awo Balokah commended the Chief and Elders of Madina for settling the chieftaincy dispute between the parties.

The trial judge also thanked the parties and the Chief of Madina Zongo whose?representative was in court for helping safeguard the peace and security?of the Zongo Communities involved in the dispute.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ada MP files nominations for NDC primaries

Ms. Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ada-East Constituency has filed her nominations to contest for the party’s Parliamentary primaries slated for May 2023.

The MP was accompanied by a huge crowd of party faithful to submit her form at the NDC Party Office in the Ada East Constituency.

Addressing the gathering after the submission, Ms. Cudjoe thanked the supporters for their continuous support and pledged to work to ensure development reached every corner of the district.

She called on them to work toward the coming back of the Former President, John Dramani Mahama to power to continue the infrastructure projects he started in the district.

Ms. Cudjoe added that most of the uncompleted projects were yearning for continuation however, their completion had been difficult because the party was not in power.

She appealed to the residents to ensure peace before, during, and after the elections stressing that they must desist from using offensive language since that could result in misunderstandings.

Ms. Cudjoe appealed to all NDC candidates to campaign with decorum devoid of antagonistic attacks, “let us work together to bring the NDC back to power for the sake of mother Ghana.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

Man, 59, grabbed for defiling 12-year-old girl

A 59-year-old unemployed man has appeared before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly having sex with a minor and indecently assaulting her with his tongue.

James Armah, aka Colour, is alleged to have defiled the victim aged 12 years on a couple of times and offered her GHC10.00 after the sexual acts.

Charged with defilement and indecent assault, Armah has pleaded not guilty.

The court presided over by Mrs Christina Cann has admitted Armah to bail in the sum of GHC100,000 with three sureties, two to be justified with landed property.

It has ordered prosecution led by Chief Inspector Simon Tekpor to file disclosures.

The matter has been adjourned to April 3, for Case Management Conference.

The fact of the prosecution is that the complainant, unemployed, resided at Timber Market, Accra with the victim, a class four pupil.

The complainant is also the father of the victim.

Chief Inspector Tekpor said the complainant and the accused person were neighbours and “they know each other”.

The prosecution alleged that Armah had been inviting the victim into his room and defiling her and tat after the acts, he had been ofering the victim GHC10.

It said one afternoon in December 2022, the victim was on her way to sell sachet water when Armah allegedly asked her to follow him for GHC10 in his room.

The prosecution said Armah allegedly locked the door, undressed the victim and used his tongue to lick the victim’s vagina and had sex with her.

It said after the act, the accused allegedly asked the victim to come for the GHC10.00 the following day.

The prosecution said some neighbours around who saw the victim entering the accused person’s room informed the complainant.

It said the complainant made a report to the Police through the assistance of Street Children Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation at James Town and the accused was picked up.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Let unity prevail after our primaries – Nadowli-Kaleo MP

Mr Anthony M. Sumah, the Member Parliament (MP) for Nadowli-Kaleo, has urged delegates and supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the constituency to ensure unity prevails after the party’s primaries.

He said the contest was to solidify the democratic credentials of the NDC while ensuring that the party’s interest remained paramount before, during, and after the internal elections.

Mr Sumah said this when he filed his nomination to contest the parliamentary primary with the hope of leading the constituency into the 2024 general election.

He was accompanied by scores of party supporters and delegates.

“I want that after the election, we should not be wasting our time reconciling…We should go straight into action to win the election in 2024. Unity within the party is of importance to me,” he said.

The constituency was fraught with many challenges including the lack of furniture for schools, poor access to healthcare services, and potable water in some communities, which he said he was working hard to address.

“We are trying hard and within the remaining two years we can work to reduce these challenges,” Mr Sumah said.

“I am pushed by the challenges to contest the primaries and hopefully, former President John Mahama will also win so I can push for the development of the district.”

He expressed confidence of receiving overwhelming endorsement from the delegates as they did in the 2019 primary, which saw him emerge winner against seven other aspirants.

Mr Bryn Seidu, an NDC financier, who spoke to the media after the MP filed his nomination, said the number and caliber of supporters of the MP to file his nomination was an indication of his victory in the upcoming primary.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Gonjas enskin new King

A new King and Overlord for the Gonja Kingdom in the Savannah Region has been enskined.

The new King, to be called Yagbonwura Bii-Kunuto Jewu Soale, (who is 69 years old) was enskined on Monday in accordance with the customs and tradition of Gonjas at Nyange in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District of the region.

Nyange is the ancient traditional capital of the Gonja Kingdom, where enskinment and other rituals are performed.

The new King moved to the ancient capital a day before the enskinment ceremony, where traditional drumming and dances were performed throughout the night.

He has since returned to Damongo after the enskinment ceremony, and will be outdored today, Tuesday, March 21, at the Jakpa Palace at Damongo.

Before ascending the highest chieftaincy title of the Gonja Kingdom, Yagbonwura Bii-Kunuto Jewu Soale was first enskinned as Jakpasere-wura, a sub-chieftaincy title in the Tuluwe Traditional Area.

He was later enskinned as Timanklan-wura from where he moved to Kachinako-wura.

He was later elevated to the entry gate to the Tuluwe skin as Bunda-wura.

Subsequently, he was enskined as the Paramount Chief of Tuluwe Traditional Area on April 21, 2020, where he was ruling before his selection and subsequent enskinment as Yagbonwura.

This was after the death of the then Yagbonwura Tuntumba Sulemana Jakpa Bore Essa on February 05, 2023, and whose funeral had also been performed.

Source: Ghana News Agency