Posts tagged as: ghana

West Africa:After Ebola, West Africa Must Brace for More Deadly Fevers – Study

By Kieran Guilbert

Dakar — West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives.

A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses – Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo – spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic.

The world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, killing about 11,300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal.

By mapping high risk areas, African nations can better prepare for potential epidemics by improving surveillance of animals that transmit the diseases, rapidly detecting initial cases and investing in stronger health systems, the study said.

“This study’s framework provides an important tool for pinpointing where local surveillance and pre-emptive countermeasures are most needed,” said Simon Hay, a professor of global health at the University of Washington.

“As we have seen with Ebola, it is absolutely vital to prevent or stop epidemics at the earliest possible stages,” he said in a statement.

The study said Guéckédou in eastern Guinea, where the 2013 outbreak began, remains one of the most likely areas for Ebola to spiral into another epidemic.

Africa’s most recent Ebola outbreak was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which four people died. The outbreak, which ended in July, was a record eighth in the country where the disease was first discovered in 1976.

The study said parts of Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia and South Sudan were also vulnerable to the four viruses, where conflict has damaged many health facilities.

The fevers can infect humans when they come into contact with diseased monkeys and apes, as well as through direct contact with infected patients.

The researchers said it was important to focus on preparedness in different parts of each country, not just at the national level, as some areas are more vulnerable.

“We can begin to work with local decision makers to evaluate their existing strategies and plan for… a future where these diseases and their deadly consequences can be prevented,” said Osman Sankoh, a study co-author who runs a network of health research centres based in Ghana.

– Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Katy Migiro

Government Cancels One-Year Certificate Courses

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

Kampala — The Ministry of Education has given training institutions up to the end of this year to stop training their students in business, technical and vocational certificate courses for one year.

The Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, yesterday said all students who enroll for certificate programmes will now be taking two years unlike the one-year most institutions had adopted.

“All post Ordinary Level certificate programmes in Business technical, vocational and education training sub-sector must take a teaching duration of two years and be assessed nationally,” Ms Museveni said at the release of May/June 2017 examinations results for certificate and diploma programmes in technical, business and specialised institutions on Wednesday.

She also ordered that admission to universities and tertiary institutions be completed by end of June every year to allow students report to their respective institutions on time and give room for parents to organise resources for their children.

Out of 6,730 candidates who registered for the papers, 324 did not turn up. Mr Onesmus Oyesigye, Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board executive secretary, attributed the absenteeism to students who fail to complete their studies because of working.

The examinations tested competencies in technical diploma, business diploma and certificate and physical, and biological diploma and certificate programmes.

The number of candidates who sat the programmes declined from 8,111 who registered in 2013 to 6,730 this year.

Why the decline?

“There is a small decline in number for mainly business certificate programmes because of advocacy of promoting science education. The candidates exhibited good performance in physical and biological sciences,” Mr Oyesige said.

The board reported a slight improvement in performance from 71 per cent in 2016 to 71.4 per cent in 2017.

Ministry officials could not explain why some institutions are offering one-year courses.

The board’s chairperson, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, said they need more funds to enable them implement their assessment on a competence-based curriculum.


Cranes’ Coach Plots Future After World Cup Exit

Uganda Cranes’ goalless draw with Ghana last weekend at Namboole, literally marked the end of their hopes to qualify for… Read more »

Ghana: Government Is Committed to Curbing Threat of Illegal Mining Activities–Hon.amewu

press release

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has given the assurance that government was implementing certain initiatives to minimize, if not completely stem, the menace of illegal mining(galamsey), mindful of its threat to security and society.

Mr Amewu, who was answering a question in Parliament, yesterday, on how many galamsey sites across the country had so far been closed down and their regional locations, disclosed that about 90% of heavy duty earth-moving machinery at galamsey sites had been evacuated, while more than 3000 floating platforms had been destroyed and over 347 persons involved in illegal mining arrested and put before court.

“It is in appreciation of this that we put a 6-month moratorium on all small-scale mining activities. This is to enable us streamline their activities and put in place a holistic framework to manage it. Within this framework, we expect that record-keeping and statistics will enable us more accurately estimate the numbers,” he explained.

He said a Multilateral Mining Integrated Programme (MMIP), aimed at sanitizing the small-scale landscape, had been established by the Ministry which would be implemented for five years at a total cost of US$200 million.

The MMIP, he explained, combined a Legislation Enforcement, Civil Integrated and Technological Approach (LECITA) as a sustainable and structured, but regimented conjoint concept which would encompass multi stakeholders in dealing with the galamsey menace.

Furthermore, he said, a complete restructuring of the Minerals Commission was taking place to ensure sustainability in the management of the mineral resources of the country.

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)


Health and Research Initiative Joins Campaign for Immunization

African organizations in over ten countries kick off ’33 days to Power Up Immunization’. Read more »

Okumbi’s Record in Focus After Defeats

By David Kwalimwa

Kenya’s loss to two Asian countries not known for their football prowess has firmly put the spotlight on national coach Stanley Okumbi and his ability at this level.

A near full-strength Harambee Stars lost 2-1 to Iraq in Basra on Thursday before a shock 1-0 defeat to lowly Thailand in Bangok on Sunday.

“The results are quite wanting. The more we lose matches the more we go down hill on Fifa rankings which doesn’t reflect well on our football,” former Kenya international Bonface Ambani reflected.

Okumbi who is now under sustained pressure over the team’s results, has been in charge for 16 matches.

He was promptly appointed last year after a new Football Kenya Federation under president Nick Mwendwa was voted into office

Okumbi, a former Mathare United and Kariobangi Sharks coach has managed five wins and a similar number of draws, while the rest of the matches have ended in defeats.

Crucially, Okumbi has only won in one of the five competitive matches he’s been in charge of, which in any case was a meaningless 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying contest against the Republic of Congo, at a time Kenya was no longer in the running for a finals berth.

The three competitive defeats have come against lowly Guinea Bissau (twice) and Sierra Leone in African qualifiers, while a one-all stalemate was recorded against Zambia.

“It calls for an experienced local coach to handle the national team, which Okumbi lacks,” Ishamel Kiyonga, a Ugandan football pundit experience in African football explained.

“I also doubt he can lead such a group of players who are actually playing under better managers at their respective clubs. I advise the federation to go for an experienced coach and hand Okumbi the Under-23 side.”

Kenyan journalist Bonface Osano said: “The appointment of Okumbi was not based on past record but maybe because he was a cheaper option. This was bound to backfire in fullness of time and the chickens have finally come home to roost.”

Meanwhile, pundits are wondering whether games against lowly Asian opposition is ideal preparation for Kenya ahead of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Ethiopia early next year.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Ghana: President Tours Upper East Region

press release

The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given the strongest indication that his government is doing everything possible to ensure that the country’s National Health Insurance Scheme [NHIS] is strengthened and enhanced.

Addressing a durbar of chiefs and people of the Upper East Region at Bolgatanga on Wednesday to mark the start of his two-day tour of the region, the President disclosed that his administration inherited an NHIS with a debt portfolio to service providers amounting to 1.2 billion Ghana Cedis.

He disclosed, however, that within the past nine months, his government had so far paid 560 million Ghana Cedis of the debt and that the scheme was currently on a sound footing, and in a position to continue rendering quality health service to the Ghanaian populace.

The President observed that the Upper East Region was among the regions with the lowest electricity coverage in the country at around 60 per cent, adding that the Energy Ministry had been instructed under its electricity expansion programmes to connect about 620 communities across the region onto the national grid before the end of 2018.

He said he did not want to be a president limited to only the national capital of Accra, hence the regional tours which had already taken him to the Brong Ahafo, Western and Upper West Regions and which were meant to let him touch base with the real issues affecting his country’s men and women at the community level.

President Akufo-Addo touched on the implementation of the Free Senior High School [SHS] programme.

He said there was no turning back on the implementation of the programme, adding that many were those who doubted his promise to deliver this programme during the 2016 election campaign. “Politicians must be men and women of their word,” he emphasized.

On agriculture, which is a source of livelihood for over 60 per cent of the region’s population, the President expressed regret that the sector was almost collapsing under the previous government as the country was importing tomato from Burkina Faso and other farm produce from sister nations in the sub-region.

He said it was, therefore, to reverse the trend and to create jobs for the Ghanaian youth that his government launched the flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs” [PFJ] programme a few months ago.

He disclosed that this programme would benefit about 200, 000 farmers and that with more funds, the numbers would increase in the coming years.

President Akufo-Addo appealed to the citizenry to be vigilant and help the security agencies to stamp out smugglers in the system in order to achieve intended purpose of the programme.

Responding to calls by the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs for the defunct Bolgatanga Meat Factory and the Tomato Factory at Pwalugu to be revamped, the President assured the chiefs and people that the Ministry of Trade and Industry would ensure that these viable factories were captured under the government’s “One-District One-Factory” policy.

In a welcome address, the Vice President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu A. Lemyaarum, commended President Akufo-Addo for the prompt implementation of the free SHS programme saying though it came with its own challenges, the chiefs had faith in him that these will be ironed out in the near future.

Naba Baba Salifu A. Lemyaarum reminded the president. for instance, that almost all SHSs in the region had a number of uncompleted projects ranging from dormitories to dining halls and classroom blocks, among others, and that if these were speedily completed, the challenge of crowding on the school campuses would have been sufficiently addressed.

Naba Lemayaarum reiterated the call to revamp the Bolgatanga Meat Factory and the Pwalugu Tomato Factory noting that these would perfectly dove-tail into the government’s “One-District One-Factory” initiative to create jobs for the thousands of young people in the region through the several production chains.

He disclosed that the Upper East Region had large clay deposits in places like Bongo, Mirigu, Nangodi and Sirigu which could be exploited by companies in the building and tiles industry and urged government to help commercialise these natural resources.

The Bo-Naba further appealed to the President to construct the Bolga-Naga-Navrongo road, the Binduri-Bawku road and the Bongo-Balungu-Bolga road, among other important roads in the region, stressing that these roads held the potential of boosting economic activities in the region and increasing revenue to the state.

In addition, he said, a railway line connecting the region to the rest of Ghana would be good for businesses as well as prolong the life span of the roads as huge hauling of goods and other commodities could be done effectively and quickly via rail.

While calling for major renovation works to be done at the Regional House of Chiefs which he said, had not seen any such works since the 1970s, he also charged government to do compulsory land acquisition if its “One-Village One-Dam”, “One-District One-Factory” and the intended affordable housing schemes were to succeed.

On his part, Water and Sanitation Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, disclosed that over 30 million Euros credit facility was being processed by the Ministry of Finance to develop the Tono Dam in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality into a huge water treatment plant to serve the area and other communities in the Kassena-Nankana West, Builsa North and South Districts.

He also disclosed that plans were far advanced to develop the Pwalugu Dam into both irrigation and hydropower uses.

From the durbar grounds, the President inspected redevelopment works at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital which had almost reached completion.

The works, among other things, will add 175 more beds to the hospital giving it a total bed capacity of 381.

Day two of the President’s working tour will take him and his entourage to the Vea Water treatment plant in the Bongo District while he will inspect works on the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmako road and end the day with an inspection of the Tano Irrigation Dam in the Garu-Tempane District.

Minister of Information, Hon. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Deputy Attorney-General, Lawyer J. Kpemka and Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama were among the President’s entourage.

Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam)

Ghana: Growing Girls’ Capacity in ICT Skills in Ghana

By Russel Adadevoh

Accra — PLANS to grow young girls’ capacity in information and communication technology skills in Ghana have received a major boost from a leading global electronics company. Some 40 employees from Samsung’s headquarters in South Korea have gathered in Accra to take part in the company’s annual Employee Volunteer Programme (EVP). The week-long initiative, which is aimed at empowering young girls with future-focused ICT skills, has been carried out in partnership with Better World. As part of this year’s programme, staff members will impart their skills and expertise to young Ghanaian girls through the handover of a new Samsung-funded ICT Centre at the Accra Bishop Girls Junior High School. Both a primary and junior high school, Accra Bishop Girls’ School has a total of 760 students. “It’s important for our people to be actively involved with the education initiatives we are rolling out across Africa,” said Eungjin Nahm, Samsung Electronics West Africa – Ghana. Tracy Kyei, Marketing Executive, Samsung Electronics West Africa -Ghana,said the company was passionate about helping further the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as ICT skills among women. “We hope that through this initiative and others like it, we will be able to make a positive difference in the lives of many young African women,” Kyei said. Judith Kelechi, Corporate Citizenship Manager, Samsung Electronics, expressed staff’s excitement at this year’s EVP in Ghana. “We are passionate about advancing ICT skills among young women in Africa and view this as another important touch point through which we hopefully can make a far-reaching impact,” Kelechi said.


New Banks Capital and Non-Performing Loans

If all 35 commercial and universal banks operating in the country are able to meet the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s)… Read more »

Kenya: Uber Ranks Kenya Second Biggest Market in Africa

Photo: The Citizen

Taxi hailing firm Uber has 363,000 active users in Kenya, according to the latest statistics released by the company to mark its fourth year of operation on the continent.

The statistics by the San-Fransisco-based firm show South Africa as Uber’s biggest market in Africa with 969,000 active riders, while Kenya is second.

The data, released Thursday, also showed that 5,000 and 12,000 Uber drivers are signed up in Kenya and South Africa, respectively.

Kenya remains Uber’s most vibrant market in the region as Uganda and Tanzania have 48,000 and 53,000 active riders, with each country signing-up 1,000 drivers.

Ghana and Nigeria have 140,000 and 267,000 active riders respectively. About 7,000 drivers are on Uber platform in Nigeria while Ghana has 3,000.

The data shows that there are 1.8 million active users of the Uber app in Africa.

“Currently we have more than 29,000 driver-partners taking advantage of Uber’s earning opportunities. Drivers love being as flexible as they like; earning what they want, when they want to supplement their income,” said Uber General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits.

“Commitment to our driver-partners is a key priority; ensuring they receive the latest in technological innovations means they can be at the top of their game,” said Mr Lits.

Business Daily


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Tanzanite, Ashanti Gold, Et Al – Volumes of Lessons for Us Today


ASHANTI Gold in Ghana offers Africa the best lessons on how to deal with our so-called development partners in mining, particularly those looking for gemstones and rare metals such as diamonds and gold.

One of these lessons was an upfront agreement between the government of Ghana and Ashanti Gold, a multinational conglomerate, on how the foreign investors would work with the real owners of the mineral wealth; and the final result wasn’t the penury we in Tanzania are subjected to anytime we attempt to go into partnership with foreign investors.

Apart from an assured sharing of revenue to the government, the mine workers were also well treated – good housing, medical and other social services for the workers and family. Ashanti Gold, Ghana, was the way to go, well-illustrated by open and tangible benefits.

Why we in Tanzania are sometimes reduced to begging for the obvious is anybody’s guess; all we can say is that we’ve got a long distance ahead of us when it comes to negotiating with global multinationals; in many ways, we’re no different from tourists shopping for souvenirs in a foreign country – even though such foreign territory happens to be our own beloved Tanzania.

Thats why we take very seriously – and heartily commend – the move by the Head of State, John Pombe Magufuli, to order the Tanzania mine works at Mirerani cordoned off.

As you read this, the Police Force has with immediate effect positioned its officers in and around Mirerani mines to control activities taking place and restrain any acts of theft of tanzanite gemstones that can only be found around that northern Tanzanian area.

Manyara Regional Police Commander Francis Massawe is on record to have told the ‘Daily News’ that the police took action just as President John Magufuli gave orders to ensure the vital gemstones are not stolen, as it has proved to be the case in the past.

RPC Massawe said they had since positioned themselves well, and that they could now observe meticulously all activities taking place within the mines from Block A to D in terms of mining as well as storage of the tanzanite gems.

Needless to say, we couldn’t ask for more. For just too long, foreigners, with convenient support from local authorities, have literally ‘sold us down the river’ as the American vernacular says.

The fact that police have taken effective control over the running of the Mirerani mining functions isn’t very good news in itself – because it means we weren’t doing anything to protect that mineral wealth before the president spoke his mind.

Yes, and this is a poignant question: For how should we subject this top civil servant to the jobs for which some of us are already being paid to do? Good question, you bet?


MP Shooting – Govt Rules Out Hiring External Investigators

Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba has ruled out the possibility of the government to hire foreign security organs to… Read more »

Dar Top On List As Pakistan Launches Africa Plan

By Islamabad, Tuesday

Tanzania is among ten African countries selected in Pakistan’s ‘Look Africa Plan’ which is aimed at boosting bilateral trade between Pakistan and Africa in the upcoming years.

Under the plan, top 10 countries out of the 54 African nations selected trade promotion include Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. All these countries constitute 78pc of the total African gross domestic product (GDP).

Pakistan’s total trade with Africa is $3 billion as against the total trade volume of $3 trillion. Pakistan’s share in total trade of African countries is 0.3 per cent.

According to the policy, Pakistan will offer to negotiate a preferential trade agreement with three African trading blocs – Southern African Customs Union (SACU), East African Community (EAC), and Economic Community of West African States that constitute (ECOWAS).

SACU members are Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland while EAC comprises of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. A similar PTA with ECOWAS, which includes Benin; Burkina Faso; Cape Verde; Côte d’Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; and Togolese, is also envisioned.

The value of bilateral trade between the countries is less than $100 million. As per policy, joint working groups (JWGs) on trade will be established by the commerce ministry to engage major African countries to have regular interaction.

Currently, Pakistan has only 13 joint ministerial commissions with African countries that are not sufficient for institutional strengthening of both sides. The JMCs are only with Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Even the meetings of the JMCs take place after a gap of 5 to 10 years. The commerce ministry will also open new commercial sections in Africa at least in the largest economies including Egypt, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan and Algeria where Pakistan has resident embassies.

Currently, the commerce ministry’s commercial sections only exists in four African countries — Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco. Until new arrangements, the ministry has given additional charge to look after markets in adjacent countries.

The commercial counselor Nairobi will also look after Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eritrea. The commercial counsellor at Casablanca will also have additional charge of Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal; Commercial secretary Lagos of Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin and commercial secretary at Johannesburg on Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

As part of the policy, the ministry will also appoint local people as trade development officer in African countries where resident missions are not stationed. They will work under accredited ambassador’s supervision.

Out of 54 countries, Pakistan has resident missions only in 15 African countries – Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, South Africa, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The remaining 39 countries are covered through accreditation. The ministry has also prioritised six sectors to promote its exports to African countries – pharmaceuticals and surgical instruments, electrical appliances, rice, wheat, corn, textiles, cement and construction materials and services.

To enhance market for Pakistani products, top 10 economies will be finalised for holding trade fairs. On the sidelines of Expo Pakistan, seminars will be arranged in Pakistan on priority Africa for trade.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan has been asked to provide 80pc to 90pc special subsidy to Pakistani companies to encourage their participation in trade exhibitions in Africa and to sponsor delegations to and from Africa on regular basis.

An African cell is being established at TDAP Karachi to obtain input from stakeholders and coordinate efforts to enhance trade with Africa and provide special incentives for Pakistani companies through trade policy.

Zimbabwe: Government-Owned Bank to Accept Goats As Security for Loans

Photo: New Zimbabwe

Government-Owned Bank to Accept Goats As Security for Loans.

By Staff Reporter

THE government-owned Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) says is ready to accept goats and other livestock as security for loans.

CEO Admore Khandlela was speaking at a Small to Media Enterprises Development Forum organised for local entrepreneurs by the bank in Harare on Thursday.

He said parliament is in the process of finalising the Movable Property Security Interests Bill to pave way for the introduction of the new bank lending model.

“When you look at it (Bill), it’s actually simplifying the whole process of doing business. I know people joked so much about it before the Bill was actually being crafted but it’s now out,” said the POSB boss.

The use of cows, goats and sheep as collateral was first suggested by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament in April this year as part of efforts aimed at reviving the country’s credit-starved economy.

Chinamasa told MPs that the assets would “include any property such as machinery, motor vehicles, livestock, and accounts receivable”.

The proposal however, met with a lot of anxiety by locals who felt the country’s governors were fast running out of ideas to manage a stubborn economy run down by poor policies and high-level corruption.

Zimbabwean banks are desperate to lure a largely unbanked Zimbabwean population into the formal banking system.

But they come unstuck when most of the money spinning business owners operating at small scale are still without immovable properties to register in order to access elusive bank credit.

In his remarks, Khandlela said his bank was amenable to the envisaged break from tradition.

“I don’t know how many of us have seen it (Bill); that you can now use your goat, any of the movable assets.

“I know people literally even talked about goats. Yes, it was a joke but it’s fact. If you have animals out there, it’s happening in Australia by the way. In Ghana, in Kenya, those things are happening and they are working.

“Although some banks may resist because it’s happening against traditional factors, some of us have had experiences; we won’t bother much with that. We will actually move with it and time will actually catch up with it.”

When the use of livestock comes into fruition, Khandlela said, banks would easily log onto a website that would indicate if a goat that has been pledged as collateral security by a client was not being used for the same purposes with different lenders.

He said the animals pledged would most probably have an electronic chip pinned on their bodies to allow lenders to track the assets.

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