ECOWAS urges Senegal to set new date for postponed elections


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged the government of Senegal to speed up processes and set a new date for its postponed general election.

Expressing concern over circumstances leading to postponement of the election, which was scheduled for February 25, 2024, it also appealed to the political class in the country to ‘prioritise dialogue and collaboration for transparent inclusive and credible elections’.

ECOWAS, in a statement, commended President Macky Sall for upholding his decision not to run for another term in office, and encouraged him to continue to ‘defend and protect Senegal’s long-standing democratic tradition’.

President Macky Sall, reportedly, postponed the February 25 elections following complaints by candidates, who were barred from contesting the elections.

The two-term President said he was not seeking re-election but did not set a new date for the polls.

It is against this backdrop that ECOWAS has asked the authorities to take steps and organise the electio
ns as quickly as possible.

Reports indicate that a constitutional council had prevented several hopeful, including some high-profile politicians, from contesting the elections.

According to Mr Sall, the complaints could affect the elections hence his decision to ‘open national dialogue to create the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election in a peaceful and reconciled Senegal’.

Opposition candidates in Senegal described the President’s decision to postpone the election as a constitutional coup, while others have urged voters to protest against the move, which is said to be unprecedented.

ECOWAS, in its statement, said it was monitoring the situation in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NPP Deputy General Secretary receives Ghana Youth Manifesto for 2024 election


Mr Haruna Mohammed, the National Deputy General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has received the Ghana Youth Manifesto for the 2024 general election and beyond.

Mr Solomon Okai, a Member of the Ghana Youth Manifesto Coalition and the Programmes Officer of the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) presented a copy of the Manifesto to the NPP National Deputy General Secretary at the Party’s Headquarters in Accra.

The presentation of the Manifesto copied to the NPP national leadership was to enable the Party to consider some key issues, which are affecting Ghanaian Youth for incorporation in its Manifesto for the 2024 general election.

The Manifesto is a highlight of a collaborative effort by diverse youth organisations, groups, networks, and associations of the country to articulate a youth focused development vision.

The Ghana Youth Manifesto represents the aspirations, needs, and concerns of young Ghanaians and outlines a roadmap for achieving a more inclusive, equit
able, and prosperous nation.

Mr Okai said the Ghana Youth Manifesto for 2024 election general election and beyond report assessed the views of over 3,500 young people who participated in a survey in All the 16 regions of Ghana to share their views on key national and youth development issues.

He said it captured their perspectives and priorities for the next government, including its first 100 days in power post the 2024 general elections.

He reiterated that it also covered six other key areas of interest to young people, including: Education, Employment, Health and Sexual Reproductive Rights, Good Governance, Youth with Disability, and Youth Peace and Security.

Mr Okai appealed to the NPP to consider incorporating into its manifesto the six major issues highlighted in the Ghana Youth Manifesto for 2024 election.

Mr Haruna Mohammed, receiving the report, lauded members of the Ghana Youth Manifesto for their foresight in coming out with the document of the Ghana Youth Manifesto for the 2024 general electi
on and beyond.

He noted that the Party would take into consideration the key issues highlighted in the report, which were affecting youth.

He said over the past seven years, the NPP-led Government had been delivering on its promises of creating jobs for the youth.

He said the Government created the youth employment policy to help address the situation; adding that, over eight thousand people had been recruited throughout the country.

Touching on sports development, Mr Mohammed said the Government had constructed over 150 astro turfs and other multi-purpose sports complexes nationwide.

He noted that under the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) they were implementing the skills development programme, where the youth were being assigned to master craft men to undergo skills training.

Dr Asiedu Kokro, NPP National Deputy Director of Communications, said there was the need for the nation’s universities to ensure that the programmes they run had correlations with job creation, as part of efforts to address the une
mployment issue in the country.

He advised the youth to stay focused, be bold, firm, and urged the youth to engage in activism; stating that activism was part of the democratic dispensation.

‘Be vigilant and echo the concerns of the people,’ he added.

Mr Christopher Wisdom Penu, the National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Manifesto, acknowledged the immense financial support and technical support of a consortium of youth focused civil society organisations and international NGOs towards the Ghana Youth Manifesto for 2024 election.

The organisations include FOSDA, DANIDA, YEfL Ghana, NORSAAC, Africa Education Watch, Youth Advocate Ghana (YAG), West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), ActionAID and the Global Platform, and The Gracedlife Leadership Centre (TGLC).

Source: Ghana News Agency

We will embark on infrastructural development to create jobs- Mahama


Former President John Dramani Mahama the Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has promised to invest in infrastructural and programmes that will provide jobs for the youth.

‘We are going to invest in things that will provide jobs for our young people,’ the Flagbearer and former President said.

Addressing women and youth groups, chiefs, farmers and students at a community engagement at Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District of the Upper East Region, he said if elected as President, he would continue expansion works on irrigation projects the NDC government started before it left office.

‘If you remember, under the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project, we received money to expand some irrigation projects in the country, including the Vea and Tono Dams.

‘Apart from that, in the Garu area, we built from scratch a new irrigation project called the Tamde Dam. This government has not continued and finished it. Because there is another 3000 hectares that is part of that project that must be f
inished, so that more young people can get work to do.

‘And so when we assume office, we will continue and finish that, we will expand Vea and Tono, so that more of our people can get work to do,’ he told the residents of Zuarungu.

Mr Mahama noted that when the NDC government designed the Tamale International Airport, the intention was not for only passengers, but for exportation of vegetables, goods and other products from the north to Europe.

He said from Tamale to Europe was five hours than from Accra to Europe, ‘And so if we are growing vegetables here, we have pack houses, we pack those vegetables and take them to Tamale, put them on flights to Europe. A lot of money will come back into the northern sector of the country.

‘We will build the Cargo Centre at the Tamale Airport so that all the products that we produce from here that are exportable, we will be able to pack them nicely and send them to Tamale and fly them to Europe,’ Mr Mahama said.

The Flagbearer said the cotton industry would also be r
evived as many countries made a lot of money from cotton production, and recalled that there were three cotton factories; one in the Upper East Region, one in Tumu and the other in Tamale.

‘That was the product that used to give our parents cash because they paid cash for it.

Our parents grew sorghum, millet, guinea corn, groundnuts, maize and getting to the end of the farming season, they put cotton and after they had harvested their food, the cotton grows, they pick the cotton and sell.’

He said during former President John Agyekum Kufour’s regime, under the President’s Special Initiative, the Pwalugu tomato factory was retooled and new equipment were put into the factory.

Unfortunately, he said the plan to sustain and keep the factory running did not work out, ‘And so we are going to revive the Pwalugu tomato factory, and we are going to involve the irrigation farmers in the Tono area to produce enough tomatoes to feed that factory, so that we can create employment for our young people here.’

Mr Maham
a also told the people of Zuarungu that the Wulugu Livestock Station would be revived as a raw material base for the operation of the Zuarungu meat factory, ‘We will grow the cattle at Wulugu and we will transport the cattle here in Zuarungu and produce meat.’

He disclosed that ‘I have already discussed with some private investors who are willing to come in and take those two projects up and revive them so that our young people can get work to do.’

The Flagbearer, who later engaged traders, professional and religious bodies in a town hall meeting in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency, was accompanied by Mr James Agalga, the leader of the Minority Caucus in Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Builsa North Constituency, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, MP for the Bolgatanga East Constituency and Mr Isaac Adongo, MP for Bolgatanga Central Constituency.

The rest were Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, MP for the Zebilla Constituency, Mr Mahama Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central Constituency, Mr Edward Abambire Bawa, M
P for Bongo, Dr Clement Apaak, MP for the Builsa South Constituency among other Parliamentary Candidates and former government appointees.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GFA sanctions J.A Kufuor Cup match


The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has granted approval for the J.A. Kufuor Cup match between Asante Kotoko and Nsoatreman FC on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

The match being organised by the John A. Kufuor (JAK) Foundation seeks to honour the profound legacy of the former President.

The GFA, in a letter signed by its General Secretary Mr. Prosper Harrison Addo, threw their support for the organisation of the match as part of activities to climax the 85th birthday celebration of former President Kufuor.

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‘The GFA is pleased to inform you that approval has been granted to The John A. Kufuor Foundation to organise a football match dubbed ‘Kufuor Cup’ between Asante Kotoko and Nsoatreman FC.

‘We wish to support the match with match balls and also provide the match officials.

‘We are assured that the two premier league teams shall abide by all the relevant GFA regulations to ensure a successful match and bring a befitting honour to His Excellency.’?

The GFA also commended the massive impact former Preside
nt Kufuor has had on football in the country and were delighted to be associated with the match.

Source: Ghana News Agency

It’s an industry practice to allow factories to import cocoa beans – COCOBOD


The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has asked the public to disregard false interpretations given to a recent permit granted a local cocoa processing company to import cocoa beans from Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

COCOBOD, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, said it was ‘an industry practice’ to allow factories to import cocoa beans from other countries.

COCOBOD in a letter dated January 25, 2024, approved a request by Afrotropic Cocoa Processing Company to import a total of 3,500 tonnes of cocoa beans from Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

It also asked Afrotropic Cocoa Processing Company to obtain all necessary authorisations from relevant State institutions before commencing the importation.

Some stakeholders in the cocoa industry and others have raised issues about the approval, asking why the world’s second largest cocoa-producing country be importing cocoa beans?

COCOBOD, in its response, said: ‘All processing companies in Ghana established post November 2001 are permitted by law to import cocoa be
ans for processing in Ghana.’

The practice, according to COCOBOD, was to ‘help the companies meet their desired recipes for chocolate production and other uses.

‘Ghana’s cocoa is a premium cocoa, and as part of cost management and operational strategy, companies often blend premium Ghana cocoa with less premium cocoa beans from other producing countries.

‘It is an industry practice that?has existed for over 20 years to allow factories to import from other countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, and Ecuador,’ the statement said.

COCOBOD, therefore, urged the public to ignore the ‘widespread misinformation’, especially on social media.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Two health directorates receive sanitation and hygiene materials from WaterAid


The Bongo and Kassena-Nankana West District Directorates of the Ghana Health Service have received sanitation and hygiene materials and Personal Protective Equipment to boost their efforts at preventing infection at health facilities.

The items valued at about GH?170,000.00 included carbolic soap, hand drying materials, surgical gloves, medical masks, sanitary pads, laboratory coats, hand sanitizers, safety box, chlorine solutions, leak proof bags, disposable long sleeves gowns, long brushes, water proof aprons, tissue paper, mops, brooms, bleach, dustbins among others.

The gesture was by WaterAid Ghana, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) focused organisation under the five-year project dubbed ‘Sexual Health and Reproductive Education (SHARE) funded by Global Affairs Canada.

The implementation of the project is by a consortium led by Right to Play, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), WaterAid Ghana and FHI360 with the aim of creating enabling environment for adolescents to access sexual and
reproductive health services.

The project is being rolled out in four districts in the Upper East Region namely Kassena-Nankana and Builsa North Municipalities and Kassena-Nankana West and Bongo Districts.

Presenting the items to management of the two health directorates at Bongo, Mr Gilbert Asante, the Project Coordinator, WaterAid Ghana, indicated that their role in the project implementation was to ensure that the health facilities were conducive for young people to access health services particularly regarding their sexual life.

‘So, we are focusing on preventing infections, building capacity of health workers to understand global standards of infection prevention and so have trained some health workers on infection prevention, waste management, menstrual hygiene among others,’ he said.

He said the donation of items which was second of its kind under the project after the two municipalities received similar gestures last year, was to contribute to making sanitation and hygiene materials accessible at
the facilities to enable health worker practise infection prevention and control behaviour.

The Project Coordinator said under the SHARE project, eight youth friendly corners would be created within the operational health facilities in the four operational districts to promote adolescents’ access to accurate sexual and reproductive health information to help them make informed decisions.

‘We will also provide the health facilities with incinerators and each district will get one. We are also putting in place toilet facilities and a minimum of eight toilet facilities and we are going to do the WaterAid standards because we want the young people to feel comfortable when they visit the health facilities,’ he added.

Receiving the items, Mrs Estella Abazesi, the Bongo District Director, Ghana Health Service, expressed gratitude to WaterAid Ghana and its partners for the support over the years and gave the assurance that the materials would be distributed to the health facilities and be used for the intended pur
poses.

She said most of the health facilities lacked most of the materials donated making it difficult to practise the required standard of infections prevention and control and added that the gesture would help improve quality of health care delivery in general.

On his part, Mr Alhassan Lawal, the Kassena-Nankana West District Director of the Ghana Health Service, said the district was among the areas with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy and noted that creating youth friendly environments would help motivate young people to seek services at the health facilities to prevent them from getting pregnant.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Mahama calls for cooperation with security services in Bawku


Former President John Dramani Mahama Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has called on residents in Bawku to cooperate with security agencies in the area for peace.

He said the security service personnel in Bawku and its environs had a difficult job to execute, and’I wish to urge you to cooperate with them. They have a very difficult job. Let’s collaborate with them.

‘I can assure you that when NDC comes, we will make sure that peace comes to Bawku,’ the Former President said, when he called on the Paramount Chief of the Bawku Traditional Area, the Zugraan, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II as part of his ‘Building Ghana’ tour of the Region.

The former President said there could not be two Kings in one Kingdom, noting that every government recognized Naba Azoka II as the Paramount Chief of the Bawku Traditional Area.

He emphasized that ‘Peace in Bawku is going to be my priority when I become President. And all of you know that when NDC comes, there will be peace in Bawku.’

He said Bawku ha
d lots of potentials which could he harnessed if the area was peaceful, noting that with the current situation, some public service personnel had left the area as they were afraid for their lives.

‘We will make sure that peace comes back to Bawku, so that all of them can come back,’ he assured.

The former President said as part of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom road construction, the NDC government indicated to the Contractor to improve the Bawku township roads, ‘If the Contractor returns if NDC comes, that project would be finished.’

He gave the assurance that when he assumes office as President, all stalled projects in the Kusaug Traditional Area, including the Tamde irrigation dam project, rural electrification among others would be started again and completed.

In an address delivered on his behalf, Naba Azoka II, bemoaned the lost of lives and property in the conflict, saying ‘For over two years now, peace has eluded the once peaceful and vibrant town with obvious consequences.

‘I have been Chief for
40years now, and I think the conflict is needless. We continue to look up to God, our ancestors, the government and other important stakeholders to play your roles to restore peace in Bawku,’ the Zugraan said.

He admonished the former President and his entourage to focus on innovative messages which would address the challenges of the ordinary Ghanaian, rather than politics of division and denigrations, ‘It is important to note that Ghanaians are discerning.

‘May the gods of our land, our ancestral spirits and the good Lord protect you and your team as you travel through the length and breadth of Kusaug,’ the Bawku Naba said.

Among the former President’s entourage were Members of Parliament (MPs) and former government officials including Mr Mahama Ayariga, MP for the area, Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, MP for the Zebilla Constituency, Mr Isaac Adongo, MP for the Bolgatanga Central Constituency among other Party officials and NDC’s Parliamentary Candidates.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana’s digital agenda has significantly transformed our economy and governance – Samira Bawumia


Mrs Samira Bawumia, Second Lady of the Republic, says the nation recorded notable transformation under a revolutionary digital regime.

She said Ghana’s economy and governance systems had improved with the government’s locked focus on digitising the nation’s processes and procedures in entirety.

The digital transformation agenda is being championed by Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President, and which has in recent years realised the successful development of national identification and digital address systems, a national payments platform, and the interoperability of mobile-based payment systems.

These together, build an effective and accountable public sector management structure that bars corruption, and the Second Lady praised the successes at the 70th Anniversary grand durbar of the OLA Senior High School in Ho on Saturday.

‘Digitalisation is helping the nation to find better ways of solving problems in governance and society. With digitisation, we get new and more efficient ways of doing thin
gs. ?

‘Ghana’s digital agenda, under the leadership of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has significantly transformed our economy and governance, making strides towards efficiency and transparency.’

The Anniversary celebration was on the theme: ‘Reminiscing 70 Years of Holistic Catholic Education: The Role of Stakeholders in Embracing Technology, and Entrepreneurship for the Future’.

Mrs Bawumia said the digital revolution being pursued offered the young the opportunity to access the world of entrepreneurship and development.

‘The Mobile Money Interoperability system has significantly impacted young people, especially in the realms of e-commerce and online markets, by simplifying and securing payment processes.

‘For young entrepreneurs and consumers, MMI has opened a range of opportunities. It has facilitated easier access to online marketplaces, allowing young business owners to receive payments from a broader customer base without the constraints of being on the same mobile network. This inclusivity
has not only expanded their market reach but also provided a stimulus for innovation in digital commerce,’ she said.

The Second Lady would further note how education in the country also benefited from the digital package, with schools benefiting from free internet access among other offerings.

OLA Girls won the 2023 edition of the National Cybersecurity Challenge, and Mrs Bawumia congratulated them for the feat, promising to work with the old students’ association to enhance technology and entrepreneurial education.

The durbar was heavily attended by the various past student groups, and awards and citations were presented to several deserving.

The school authorities decried several infrastructure challenges, and inadequate staff, appealing to the Government to support with classrooms, dining halls and dormitories, while also appealing for school buses and utility vehicles for the A list second cycle institution

The Second Lady, earlier in the day, cut sod for the construction of a 700-bed dormitory block
for the school, and pledged to support the project’s completion.

Source: Ghana News Agency