New President Promises He Won’t Let Ghana Down

ACCRA � Expectations are high as Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has now been sworn into office. Ghanaians want an end to current economic hardship.

Nana Akufo-Addo was sworn into office Saturday before parliament, fellow presidents from the continent, dignitaries and thousands of Ghanaians at the Black Star Square.

The inauguration ceremony was colorful as many Ghanaians adorned themselves in traditional outfits from kente, a popular woven cloth from southern Ghana, and fugu from the north.

But an arduous task lays ahead for the new president who inherits a weak economy with an increasing debt, high inflation, plummeting commodities prices and the cedi’s free fall.

President Akufo-Addo in his inaugural speech promised prosperity for all Ghanaians.

“We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development. We will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers. We are, indeed, counting on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs,” he said.

Some young Ghanaians are highly expectant of the prospects of an Akufo-Addo government. Salifu Fatau, a sales person, said jobs must be top priority.

“For the young people we need work and good salary. We’re looking on him to see to it that he is able to build a lot of works for we the youth. For now he has given us his word so we are standing on his word.”

Fadilatu Ahmed, a draftswoman, is concerned about the economy.

“I’m expecting the government or our new president to work towards the economy because that’s my main reason why I voted for him. The economy is very bad, when you look at the value of our money it’s very low. The power crisis, the dumsor dumsor is enough. We had enough,” she said.

Faustina Dogbevi hopes for lower education fees.

“I want the education cost to be at least a bit lower so that everybody can send his daughter to school and pay school fees,” said Dogbevi.

The tenure of outgoing president John Mahama saw widespread corruption scandals and apparent shielding of accused officials. The new president sounded a warning against corruption under his government.

“I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value-for-money in all public transactions. Public service is just that service and not an avenue for making money.Money is to be made in the private sector, not the public. Measures will be put in place to ensure this.”

Meanwhile, on social media, President Akufo-Addo has been accused of using bits of former U.S. president George W. Bush’s speech as his own in his inaugural address. The director of communication at the presidency issued an apology.

Source: Voice of America

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W. African Leaders Plan ‘Major Decision’ on Gambia, Nigeria Says

ABUJA, NIGERIA � West African leaders will make a “major decision” on the political impasse in Gambia at a meeting in Ghana on Saturday, a spokesman for the Nigerian presidency said Friday.

The West African ECOWAS bloc said last month that it would take all necessary steps to uphold the result of a December 1 election in Gambia, in which President Yahya Jammeh lost to Adama Barrow but later said he would not step down.

ECOWAS placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19. Jammeh called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war” and said he would defend himself.

“A major decision on the impasse is expected to be taken at that all-important meeting,” said Garba Shehu, spokesman for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari. “President Buhari is the chief mediator of the crisis and he is committed to ensuring that the logjam is resolved.”

Jammeh initially accepted his election loss, shocking Gambians who have lived through his repressive rule since he took power in a 1994 coup and triggering celebrations in the streets.

But a week later he changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased by “foreign influences” and vowing to hang on despite regional and international condemnation.

Jammed said ECOWAS had no right to interfere in Gambia’s internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme Court.

Source: Voice of America

Read More >W. African Leaders Plan ‘Major Decision’ on Gambia, Nigeria Says

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to Ghana to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Ghana to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo on January 7, 2017 in Accra, Ghana. The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of … … Read More >President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to Ghana to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo

Britain Cracks Down on Illegal Nail-salon Workers

LONDON � British immigration officers have raided nearly 300 nail salons and arrested 97 people, mostly from Vietnam, for suspected immigration offenses as part of a drive to tackle modern slavery, the Home Office said on Wednesday.

“Operation Magnify”, a week-long operation concluded earlier this month, was a cross-government drive to stamp out illegal working by targeting specific “risk” industries, said the Home Office, Britain’s interior ministry, in a statement.

“This operation sends a strong message to those employers who ruthlessly seek to exploit vulnerable people and willfully abuse our immigration laws,” Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill, added.

“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

More than a dozen vulnerable people working in nail salons were found to have been at risk of modern slavery, said the statement while 68 businesses could face financial penalties of up to 20,000 pounds ($24,500) per illegal worker found.

The majority of the arrests made were Vietnamese nationals, but also included suspected immigration offenders from Mongolia, Ghana, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

As interior minister, Theresa May put forward the “Modern Slavery Act” in 2015 and one of her earliest acts on taking office as Prime Minister in July was to pledge greater funding and establish a government task force on modern slavery.

Nearly 46 million people are enslaved globally, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, which estimated there were 11,700 victims living in Britain.

Those who are potential victims of trafficking will be offered support while those who have no right to be in the UK will be removed, the statement said.

Source: Voice of America

Read More >Britain Cracks Down on Illegal Nail-salon Workers