Residents worry over deplorable state of Atwima Denkyemuo – Boko roads

The chiefs and people in the communities along the Atwima Denkyemuoso – Boko roads in the Atwima Kwanwoma District have expressed worry over the continued abandonment of the construction of the road.

The construction of the road, which has been stalled for about five years now, is posing a serious health problem to the people because of the heavy dust polluting the air and uncovered trenches and drains, which have become deathtraps.

Nana Antwi Agyei Brempong II, Atwimahene, frustrated by the situation, has asked the Government to as a matter of urgency, terminate the contract, which had been awarded to the Asabea Construction Limited and give it to a contractor who was prepared to work on the road.

Speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony to construct a modern gateway for the Diamond Hills Community at Atwima, he said all attempts to get the contractor back on the road had proved futile.

‘All attempts by to get the road done had proved futile.

‘I plead with the government to change the contractor for the road,
because the state of it, it is getting out of hand and very soon diseases caused by inhalation of dust will be very common in the communities along the road,’ Nana Brempong stated.

Nana Brempong said the road had become even more dangerous in the dry season because motorists cannot clearly see ahead of them.

He said the development of the area was his paramount concern, adding that, a police station, and fire station with modern fire tender had been established in the community.

The fire tender, according to the chief, was provided by partners in Murnau – Germany to help fight fire incidents in the community and its environs.

The Atwimahene said that the construction of the gateway would provide adequate security for residents in the Diamond Hills community.

He mentioned that a lot of development projects were in the pipeline and urged the community members and the public to get on board to ensure the development in the area.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ensuring sustainable food security in Africa: Smallholder support, investments crucial – Dr Mensah

African countries need to promote substantial investments in agriculture and provide the needed support to smallholder farmers to ensure sustainable food security for their people.

Dr Christian Sewordor Mensah, Executive Director of the African Center for Business Incubation, who stated this, said there was a need for African leaders to work to address poor implementation of policies, inadequate investments, as well as limited support for smallholder farmers to ensure sustainable food production to feed the growing population in Africa.

In an article made available to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, Dr Mensah observed that, though significant progress had been made over the years to address food insecurity in Africa, the Africa Union’s (AU) journey towards achieving its objectives was still ongoing.

He said the AU’s policies, strategic frameworks, and collaboration initiatives had undoubtedly contributed to improved agricultural productivity, resilience to climate change, and increased trade in agricultur
al goods.

The attention now lies on the slow implementation of policies and frameworks at the national level due to limited institutional capacity and political will.

Additionally, insufficient investment in agriculture, particularly in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as inadequate attention to the needs and constraints faced by women and marginalized groups within the agricultural sector, are significant factors.

Again, insufficient access to finance and markets for smallholder farmers, limiting their ability to participate in value chains and earn sustainable incomes as well as limited awareness and understanding of the importance of food security among the general population, impede efforts to mobilize support and resources.

Dr. Mensah assessing the AU’s achievement of food security objectives, said food security had been an enduring challenge for many African countries due to a variety of factors such as climate change, limited access to modern agricultural technologie
s, inadequate infrastructure, and political instability.

Recognizing the urgency of addressing this issue, the African Union, he said had established food security objectives to promote sustainable, resilient, and inclusive agricultural systems.

The AU has developed several policies and frameworks to tackle food security, notably the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration.

The aim of the CAADP is to improve agricultural productivity and promote food security, while the Malabo Declaration sets targets to be achieved by 2025, including doubling productivity, halving post-harvest losses, and tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods.

Again, the AU launched the African Agriculture Fund, supported by the African Development Bank, to finance agricultural projects in member states.

Furthermore, the creation of the Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI) has attracted significant investments from both internal and external sources, which have contributed
to boosting agricultural productivity.

Dr. Mensah said recognizing that food security issues were beyond national borders, the AU had placed emphasis on strengthening collaboration and regional integration.

Efforts such as the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aimed to remove trade barriers and promote agricultural trade among member countries are in place.

Other policies such as resilience to climate change, promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, agroforestry, and the development of climate-smart agriculture.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Organised Labour in Ashanti readies for anti-15 % electricity VAT demonstration

The leadership of Organised Labour in the Ashanti Region say they have prepared adequately to ensure that members of the unions participate fully in the upcoming demonstration against the fifteen per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity consumption.

Organised Labour began agitations some weeks ago by wearing red armbands to demand the Government, as a matter of urgency, reverse the decision to impose the 15 per cent VAT on electricity consumption.

At a meeting in Kumasi on Tuesday, Mr Augustine Adongo Apambila said all was set for the protest on February 13, this year, since the government had not made any official statement regarding the complete reversal of the policy.

He said the routes for the protest had been approved and all the necessary arrangements, including security, had been put in place.

Mr Apambila said Organised Labour was expecting members and individuals in the informal sector to also participate in the exercise actively.

‘Our message to the Government is very simple – we cannot pay
VAT on electricity; we will not pay it today; we will not pay it tomorrow,’ he stressed.

He said it was devastating that after electricity tariffs were increased by 73 per cent in 2022, VAT was being added, to worsen the plight of Ghanaians.

He said Organised Labour was expecting members and non-members to fully participate in the protest and also urged various labour groups to organize their members for active participation.

Mr Apambila indicated that the protest would begin at Kumasi Cultural Center through the principal streets and end at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) where a petition would be delivered to the government.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GSWL cuts sod to commence development projects in host communities 

Golden Star Wassa Limited (GSWL), through the Golden Star Development Foundation, has cut the sod to commence a series of development projects in its host communities in the Western Region.

The beneficiary communities are Akosombo, Akyempim, Brofoyedur, Kubekro, Odumasi, Accra Town, Old Subri, Juaben and Anyinabriem.

The projects, estimated to cost more than US$ 1 million, would include the provision of a mechanized water system at Akosombo and the expansion of mechanized water facilities at Akyempim.??

The rest are one-bedroom 6-unit teachers’ quarters each at Brofoyedur, Kubekro, Odumasi and Accra Town, and two 300-capacity community centres to meet the social needs of the Anyinabriem and Juaben communities.?

In addition, an existing one-bedroom 10-unit teacher’s quarters at Old Subri will be completed to help with the accommodation needs of teachers.?

Works on the various projects would start immediately and are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Funding for the projects is by 0.1% of Golde
n Star Wassa’s net pretax profit, 1 USD for every ounce of gold produced and sold by GSWL, contributions of third-party contractors as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as well as yields from investments of Golden Star Development Foundation.

The selection of the projects was based on the socio-economic needs of the communities as captured through their engagement structures with Golden Star in the forms of the Community Consultative Team (CCT) and Community Mine Consultative Committee (CMCC).?

Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah, the Vice President and Managing Director of GSWL, told the stakeholders that: ‘The sod cutting for these projects symbolizes our commitment to our mission to benefit more people through the development of Chifeng Gold…’

‘…And to contribute to a brighter and more prosperous future for our host communities, whose importance to our operations cannot be overemphasized’.?

Mr Emmanuel Boakye,?the District Chief Executive, Wassa East, noted the immense impact of Golden Star
Resources as a development partner to the Government within its host communities.?

He urged the communities to continue to provide the social license needed by Golden Star Wassa to thrive and contribute to the area’s economic development.?

The Member of Parliament for Wassa East, Mr Isaac Adjei Mensah, commended Golden Star for its support to host communities over the years and for always going beyond their tax and regulatory requirements to do so.

Mr David Gyapong, a Member of the Board of Trustees, Golden Star Development Foundation, reiterated that Chifeng?Gold, the new owner of GSWL, had demonstrated its commitment to the development of host communities and assured that the projects taken off would be completed as scheduled.

Nana Teng Amoakoh, the Acting Divisional Chief of Anyinabriem, who chaired the function, was full of praises for Golden Star for being consistent in its engagement and support to the community.

He assured the company of community support in its endeavours and encouraged the contr
actors to recruit more local people from the beneficiary communities to work on the projects.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Reproductive Health: IPPF Leader visits Ghana

Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), is set to visit Ghana on a high-level mission from February 10 to 13, 2024.

A statement issued by the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) said Dr. Bermejo would be accompanied by Ms. Marie-Evelyne Pétrus-Barry, Regional Director for Africa.

IPPF is the leading global provider of sexual and reproductive health services worldwide and PPAG is an affiliate of the Federation.

The IPPF supports African national associations in their field actions for vulnerable people and implements regional initiatives that promote sexual and reproductive rights and health across the continent.

According to the statement, during his visit, Mr Bermejo will meet with PPAG teams in Accra to discuss the Association’s priorities and issues in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

He would also undertake a field visit to Cape Coast for first-hand experience with PPAG’s frontline work.

‘In addition, there will be media en
gagements, high-level courtesy calls and meetings with top Ghanaian authorities, including relevant Cabinet Ministers and private organisations working in the Reproductive Health sector in Ghana,’ it said.

The PPAG envisions a Ghana in which young people and disadvantaged groups have unrestricted access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The statement said Mr Bermejo’s visit ‘will provide an opportunity to review progress made and challenges that are left to be surmounted.’

It said the visit demonstrated the IPPF’s and PPAG’s continued commitment to defending the rights and health of women, men, young people, and vulnerable groups.

The statement said the PPAG and IPPF were determined to strengthen their collaboration to improve universal access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.

‘For PPAG, it has been almost 60 fulfilling years of influencing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights policies, service delivery and shifting norms and looking forward to more years of impactful e
xistence,’ it said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government trains 830 public servants in digital knowledge 

Some 830 public sector workers from three regions are participating in a four-month digital training programme targeted at accelerating the digitalization of public sector service delivery.

The government is facilitating the training programme dubbed ‘DigSMART,’ in partnership with the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) of Global Change.

The programme would train participants on artificial intelligence, digital strategy, leadership and governance, transformation, and digital change management principles and processes, among other topics.

The participants were drawn from the Greater Accra, Bono, and Upper East Regions. The GhanaCARES Delivery Unit and the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence (KACE) are partners in the initiative.

KACE carried out a six-month training for 170 civil servants in 2023 on a pilot basis.

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitization, said in a speech read for her at the launch of the programme that the initiative was a strategic endeavour to speed up the digitalizatio
n of public sector service delivery.

‘The government was poised to ensure that every Ghanaian citizen enjoyed the benefits of the digital economy.?

‘We aspire to create an environment conducive to technological innovation, aligning with our national goals,’ she said.?

The Minister emphasized that the programme was consistent with the government’s objective to increase digital literacy and create a comprehensive National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

She said the outcomes of the first programme were profound and that participants were expected to apply their digital skills to improve service delivery.

‘This year’s programme’s structure, including weekly online training sessions interspersed with monthly physical sessions, guarantees a consistent and thorough transformation process,’ she said.

Dr Evans Aggrey-Darkoh, Head of Civil Service, said the programme would harness the power of digitalization and optimise government operations.

He was optimistic that the initiative would help address bureau
cracy in government activities, streamline internal processes, and create a more responsive and citizenship-centred approach to service delivery.

Mr Sam Yeboah-Baah, Country Director of TBI, said the programme was financed through a $1.5 million fund for three African countries: Ghana, Malawi, and Rwanda.

The fund, he said, was to build digital skills, culture, and leadership within the public sector to determine a more cohesive and accelerated digital transformation for service delivery.

Beneficiaries of the pilot programme expressed satisfaction, stating that the initiative helped them in mastering digital spaces and pledged to contribute to service delivery.

Source: Ghana News Agency

West African market integral to unleashing Kenya’s destination portfolio-KTB

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) says the West African market is integral to unleashing the country’s destination portfolio and diversifying its tourist source markets.

The Board said Nigeria and Ghana had shown improvements of 6 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively, in 2023 and ranked among Kenya’s potential markets on the African continent.

The Kenyan government has launched the ‘West Africa Roadshow’ to promote the richness and diversity of the country’s travel destinations.

Madam Fiona Ngesa, the Marketing Manager- Business Development, Kenya Tourism Board speaking at Roadshow Business to Business Meetings in Accra, said the event was to encourage people to travel more within Africa and understand the travel market.

KTB and Kenya Airways are leading over 15 travel trade companies for in-market activations scheduled for February 5 to February 9, 2024, in various cities in Nigeria and Ghana.

She said it was to boost tourist arrivals from West Africa by promoting business and leisure travel.

She said th
e idea was to enable people to benefit from travel and see what Kenya had to offer for their leisure and business.

Madam Ngesa said the Roadshow was to foster collaboration, build relationships and together the continent could improve its travel system.

‘It is to showcase what Kenya had to offer their Ghanaian counterpart and make the Ghanaian travel market to understand the products being offered,’ she added.

The Marketing Manager said the strategy for the next five years was to grow the African arrivals Ghana and Nigeria being key market operators in the region.

She said Ghana because of the previous relationships on a government-to-government basis and the journey for both countries had decided to continue in that direction.

Mr Eliphas Barine, High Commissioner of Kenya to Ghana, said there was the need to strengthen and build institutions that would continue to pursue growth and development in Africa.

He said it was some of these institutions that would continue to connect and link organisations to
industries to take care of businesses.

He said the Kenyan Government was committed to growing all existing relationships already established to develop and grow the various sectors of the economy.

He said the two countries had existing instruments and signed an MOU to foster growth and development, it was now the turn of the private sector to hold hands towards actualizing the objectives and making these better for the people.

‘Government needs from us because this is a journey and I am very happy because my conversation with the officials and in particular the Minister for Tourism is very keen to be able to grow skills and improve customer experience,’ he said.

‘So, the road show present is a tremendous opportunity to share insight, collaborate and promote tourism between our two countries,’ he added.

The High Commissioner said what needed to be done was to sustain the conversation for growth and development while bettering the lives of the people.

Mrs. Susan Ongalo, Chief Executive Officer of the Keny
a Tourism Federation, said the Federation was the link between the private and the public sectors and the partnership was to foster growth and development.

She said the mandate of the Federation was to advocate for a conducive business environment and promote sustainable tourism through effective representation of the private sector.

She said the tourism industry in Kenya had traditionally eight active private sector bodies representing the Associations of Tour Operators, Hotelkeepers and Caterers, Travel Agents, Air Operators and Mombasa and Coast Tourism.

Others are The Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya, Ecotourism Kenya, and Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GJA demands arrest, prosecution of persons who assaulted Citi FM/TV journalist in Yendi

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has issued a 10-day ultimatum to the Ghana Police Service to cause the arrest of persons who attacked a reporter of Accra-based Citi FM/TV, Mohammed Amin Alabira, in Yendi, in the Northern Region.

It has also called on the media to blacklist Alhaji Farouk Aliu Mahama, Member of Parliament for Yendi, who is alleged to have led the assault on the said journalist.

Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, President of the GJA, made the call at a joint news conference by GJA, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Private

Newspapers and Online Publishers Association, Ghana (PRINCIPAG) and the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), in Accra, on Tuesday.

Mohammed Amin Alabira, a Citi FM/TV Correspondent, was allegedly assaulted during the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary primaries at Yendi, in the Northern Region, on Saturday, January 27, 2024.

The said assault is alleged to have been led by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Yendi, Alhaji Farouk Aliu Mahama.

Mr D
wumfour said the Association was shocked that more than a week after the assault on the journalist, no arrest had been effected.

He, therefore, demanded that the Police ensured that the perpetrators were arrested in the next 10 days, failure of which would compel the Association to advise itself.

‘The GJA, GIBA, PRINPAG and MFWA are really shocked that after a week of this dastardly gangstarism no arrest has been made when the Regional Police Commander also tasted the ruthless actions of the thugs,’ he said.

Mr Dwumfour bemoaned the increased attack on journalists in recent years, indicating that, within the first two months of this year, two journalists had been assaulted.

Over the past five years, from 2019 to 2023, the GJA has documented a total of 45 cases of assault and attacks against journalists and media institutions.

The GJA President said within the last quarter of 2023, more than ten journalists were assaulted while four more spent days behind bars on the orders of the court for no apparent le
gal reasons since 2021.

‘All these cases have not seen any closure and the perpetrators are free while the law enforcing agency, the Police, seemingly looks on unconcerned.’

Mr Dwumfour, therefore, warned that the Association would not countenance any assault on journalists, indicating that, it would blacklist any political actor or party whose members attacked media practitioners in their line of duty.

While calling on the Speaker of Parliament to haul before its Privilege Committee, Alhaji Farouk Mahama, MP for Yendi, to answer for the alleged assault, Mr Dwumfour called on the Judiciary to issue punitive punishments to persons who attacked journalists.

Mr Selorm Adornu, Journalist with Citi FM/TV, who represented management of the Station, said the Station was pained and disappointed by the actions of the MP.

‘It is embarrassing, it is disappointing that the Member of Parliament will attack a journalist in the line of duty, ‘ he said.

He assured of management’s resolve to pursue the matter to its log
ical conclusion and ensure that justice was delivered.

He, therefore, called on the Attorney General to place premium on the case, currently before him.

Mr Muheeb Saeed, Manager for Freedom of Expression, MFWA, called on the Judiciary to do more to protect journalists.

Source: Ghana News Agency