July 2016


ABN TV honours Dentaa Amoateng MBE

Glowing tributes poured in from stars, family and friends at an intimate event organised by ABN TV, ABN Radio, Shipley Global Services and Christian Gottfried & Co Solicitors, for GUBA CEO – Dentaa Amoateng MBE on Thursday, 14th July 2016 in London. The event was in celebration of her appointment by Her Majesty the Queen as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Kofi Addo and Damptey Asare from the GHC with Dentaa

Kofi Addo and Damptey Asare from the GHC with Dentaa

The founder of GUBA Awards was among a privileged group of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom, whose achievements in diverse fields were celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2016. The award recognised her work in advancing relations between the United Kingdom and the African diaspora through her GUBA Enterprise that comprises of the GUBA Awards, the GUBA Foundation, GUBA Expo and the GUBA Careers Fair.

In her speech, Dentaa said the award is a reminder of the importance of following one’s dream and working hard to execute it daily.

“I am very delighted to be here in front of you all today. You all represent the reason why I am who I am and why GUBA has become a household name. The continued support and love that you continue to show me, my organisation and my family is beyond measure. I take this moment to say thank you! Thank you for the continuous encouragement, the business opportunities, the partnerships and most of all, for believing in me and in the dream. This MBE is an accolade I could have never imagined and I vow to work even harder towards the advancement of our people. I cannot thank my awesome team and family enough.”, she added.

Mr Damptey Asare, Head of Chancery at the Ghana High Commissioner to the UK acknowledged

Sponsors at the event

Sponsors at the event

“By this award you have brought honour to Ghana, you have brought honour to your family, friends, as well as the black community in the UK. I can say with confidence that you have been a source of inspiration to many young men and women in this community, and this award can only spur them on to aspire for something greater in their own lives. This award, Dentaa, is a recognition of your hard work, commitment and dedication to the UK Diaspora community. I therefore wish to say on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Victor Smith, the High Commissioner that the Ghana High Commission and the people of Ghana we are proud of your achievements.”

Hosts of the event ABN TV, Christian Gottfried and Shipley Global Services also shared their sentiments:

It is our pleasure to host this event in celebration of our friend and supporter Dentaa Amoateng. She is an inspirational woman and her organisation the GUBA Enterprise much like our company, is an excellent unifier of the African community in the UK. We look forward to many more achievements and to work towards our goal of improving our continent – Genevieve Awuku-Boateng, Head of Marketing ABN TV.

Team Behind Dentaa

Team Behind Dentaa

Dentaa Amoateng is a remarkable woman and we are honoured to sponsor this celebration of her MBE. She is an astounding individual tirelessly working to inspire and improve the African community in the UK. We know that there are greater accolades in store and we look forward to more partnerships. – Christian Gottfried Solicitors.

We are proud to be one of the partner sponsors of this evening in honour of Dentaa, she represents everything we stand for. We have watched with great admiration how Dentaa has grown professionally over the years. She is not just an example to the growth of the Ghanaian community but to me and women all over the world. – Shipley Global Services.

In her tribute, Paulette Simpson, Executive Director, The Voice Newspaper, called Mrs Amoateng a positive black female role model.

“Dentaa is not only for Africa but for the Caribbean too. She had a vision and followed it with passion and continues to achieve regardless of the barriers”, she said.

Councillor Olu Babatola, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, who is the first

Cllr. Olu Babatola

Cllr. Olu Babatola

African Mayor of the Borough, said: “On behalf of Royal Greenwich I congratulate Dentaa on being recognised for an MBE. It is a wonderful achievement to receive such a prestigious award and well deserved for her work both locally and further afield.”

Statements were also read out on behalf of  the captain of Ghana National Football team, Asamoah Gyan and his wife Gifty, former First Lady, Mrs Cherie Blair, GUBA Patron Hugh Quarshie, celeb June Sarpong, Mrs Regina Sintim, the Ghana High Commission and the Trade Envoy to Ghana, MP Adam Afriyie.
The event was hosted by Comedian Eddie Kadi and it was an evening of celebration of African accomplishments and aspirations.

THE INTENT FILM REVIEW

When I was invited to the press screening for this film I have to admit I thought to myself is this one of these typical Cliche “gang” films. However upon watching it I found myself re-evaluating my initial thinking and realising that it was harsh to even say that. We don’t tend to make these generalisations when the latest slave film or romantic comedy comes out we just tend to take them at face value. So I recommend anyone watching the Intent to do just that and you will quickly realise its a pulsating thriller that documents a life that  many young men from the streets of London face when they are fuelled by the desire/pressure to make quick money and thus enticed into serious crime.

The Intent tells the story of an undercover police officer assigned by Metropolitan Police unit, Trident to bring a notorious gang of robbers and drug traffickers to justice. As the officer becomes entangled in a web of gang culture and lies, will they have “The Intent” to abide by their oath to the force or succumb to the pressure and remain loyal to their crew?

1333The film sees Gunz, played by the critically-acclaimed Birmingham actor Dylan Duffus , thrust into a world of danger and excitement when he joins the TIC crew, led by the ruthless and notorious Hoodz, who is played by renowned UK grime artist and actor,Scorcher . The crew, which also includes Mitch, played by Femi Oyeniran and D’Angel, played by Shone Romulus , go from low-level weed peddling to full on armed robberies within a fortnight. As their newfound infamy affords them a glamorous life of guns, drugs and girls, they soon catch the unwanted attention of the police and a rival gang. To make matters worst they also have to deal with being infiltrated by an undercover police officer.

The film also features a number of leading UK artists, including successful hip hop duo, Krept and Konan, and Fekky. Other actors include Ashley Chin, Jade Asha  and Sarah Akokhia 

This Intent is fast from the beginning and you soon get a gist of how far the TIC crew are willing to take there new found criminal venture. They dynamics among the crew are fascinating as the grow in notoriety and wealth. Suspicion, mistrust and in Mitch’s case God play  a huge part in the crews fortunes. Unsurprisingly the TIC crew are making enough noise and enemies to bring them to attention to a rival crew the clappers led by G Money played by the talented Ashley Chin who watch on with envy plotting how to bring them down which sets up a pulsating finish.

There are a lot of strong performances in the film particularly from Dylan Duffus who plays Gunz but the one who stood out form me was Scorcher as Hoodz. I’m not even sure if you can call him a rapper turned actor anymore. He looks the complete actor to me and is very comfortable in his character. It will be interesting to see if he dedicates more of his time to acting as opposed to music as I think there is a potential for a huge star in Scorcher on the big screen.

The Intent is unique film for the UK because  the British film industry has never had a film of this nature hit the big screen. There has been great films like Adulthood , Kidulthood and Bulletboy etc but in terms of a gritty street tale I don’t recall ever seeing one. So Kudos to Nicky Campbell, Femi Oyeniran and Purple Geko Media for bringing to the big screen its certainly worth a watch.

The Intent is set for a theatrical and multiplatform release on Friday 29th July. A full list of the cinemas where the film is showing is available here: https://www.ourscreen.com/film/the-intent/

Ben Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

She Leads Africa brings its SheHive professional bootcamp to London on August 18th-21st & YOU can gain free entry courtesy of Me Firi Ghana

Calling all young, smart ambitious women!

Me Firi Ghana have partnered with She Leads Africa, to offer a free weekend pass to  the SheHive which comes to London from the 18th-21st August 2016

Hosted at Facebook offices, #SheHiveLondon is a 4 day boot camp which brings together young female professionals and entrepreneurs to learn new business skills, network with their peers and connect directly with potential mentors and investors. SheHive London also aims to reconnect participants with the continent, providing a space for them to meet and network with fellow young ambitious African women living in the UK.

Whether you’re interested in building a business or launching a career in Africa, there will be something for you at SheHive London. She Leads Africa believes that young women have an important role to play in Africa and the diaspora and they hope you will join them to be apart of this transformational experience.

Me Firi Ghana are excited to be able to offer a free weekend pass to a member of our network. If you’re interested in entering this ticket raffle all you have to do is fill out this form.

Confirmed speakers for SheHive London include:

  • Nieros Oyegun, Principal and Head of Corporate and Financial Advisory at W8 ADVISORY
  • Imad Mesdoua, Political Analyst at Africa Matters Ltd and BBC, Al Jazeera, and France 24 Guest Analyst (Watch interviews with him here. Twitter @ImadMesdoua)
  • Yvonne Haizel, Lead African Investment Strategist, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc and a 2016 Future of Ghana Top 30 U30 Pioneer.
  • Jessica Hope, Founder, Wimbart Hope.
  • Afua Osei, SLA Co-Founder (Hear what CNBC have to say about her here)
  • Charles Sekwalor, Founder, Move Me Back.
  • Michelle Esomme, Chief Executive Officer of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association

Speaking about the #SheHive’s in the diaspora, She Leads Africa co-founder Afua Osei said: “In the US and UK, men dominate the business and corporate landscape but with so many new industries being created in Africa and for communities in the diaspora, we have the opportunity to change things now. Young women should be encouraged to take leadership roles in startups and corporate organizations and supported along their journey towards professional success. It doesn’t matter if you’re first generation, a recent expat or African American, we all have a shared history and opportunity to make things better.”

Some of the topics being covered at SheHive London include:

+ Developing winning partnerships

+ Marketing masterclass

+ Navigating the Entrepreneurial Road Map

+ Moving Back

+ Why I invested

+ Business development

+ How to build your professional profile

+ Mastering the PR Game

#SheHiveLondon is part of the SheHive Tour which will take the bootcamp to 7 cities in 2016. Previous editions have been held in Lagos (September 2015 video here) and Accra (January 2016 – photos here), Abuja (May 2016 – photos here, New York (June 2016, photos here), Nairobi (July 2016, photos here ). Former participants have described it as a life changing experience.

One participant described how implementing a marketing tactic she learnt at SheHiveAccra helped her close a sales lead the very next day.

“This is not the standard overly stiff and formal conference and I love it!.” – SheHive NYC Speaker, Abby Omoruyi, founder of Catherine Marion.

Tickets for #SheHiveLondon are quickly selling out and so interested participants are encouraged to secure their spots as soon as possible. Passes are still available here.

Companies looking to partner with She Leads Africa can reach out by contacting info@sheleadsafrica.org.

SheHiveLondon is supported by Facebook and Bella Naija

She Leads Africa is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organisation has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 30,000 members across Africa.

R2Bees to headline Europe’s Biggest Afrobeats Music Festival!

The landmark event is timed perfectly as the multiple award winners & BET nominated artists R2bees announce a brand new album and joint venture with Wiz Kid and his Starboy Worldwide Record Label with Paedae, also known as Omar Sterling being made the President of Starboy Worldwide – making the collaboration the most powerful force in Afrobeats globally!!

Taking place the Indigo 02 the much vaunted festival-line up is hosted by UK Afrobeats crooner Abrantee (Capital Xtra) and supported by the worlds most noted and sought after Afrobeats live band The Compozers; including the biggest names in UK Afrobeats Moelogo, May7ven, Mista Silva, Atumpan and Jaij Hollands with additional support by rising stars K.Weezy, Ray & Double A.

The Festival tailored to foster unity and excellence in Afrobeats will be a show-stopping experience that will guarantee festival goers an amazing show; from psychedelic stage and on-screen visuals, cultural dance and a strong lineup of performers headlined by Ghanaian megastar duo R2BEES.

DJ line up include: DJ Fifi, DJ Sean and DJ Bills!

Get your tickets for Europe’s Biggest Afrobeats Music Festival with R2Bees here or here

Date: Saturday 30th July

Venue: Indigo O2 , Peninsula Way SE10 0DZ

Doors open at 7pm sharp!

 

Brexit: the economic impact on Ghana

Brexit is simply, British exit or pull out from the European Union (EU). David Cameron on his campaign for a second term in office promised the electorate that he would initiate a national referendum to determine whether Britain still wanted to be in the EU or leave. Many felt it was a mistake to make such promise since he himself was in favour of EU. A national referendum was called and to Cameron’s disbelief, the British public voted to pull out of the EU. The Prime Minister who was pro-EU has promised to resign in October.

ghana-and-uk-300x290The decision to exit from the EU will impact seriously on the British economy. The result of the referendum has given rise to uncertainty among investors. The world markets reacted sharply with a downward surge. The Asian equity markets also fell. It is too early to predict its impact on the global economy. African countries, especially those in the Commonwealth, will definitely feel the impact on their economies. This article seeks to discuss the economic impact Brexit will have on Ghana.

There are long standing economic ties between Ghana and Britain. Ghana’s Foreign Affairs

Mrs Hanna Tetteh

Mrs Hanna Tetteh

Minister Mrs Hanna Tetteh has affirmed that the pullout of Britain from the EU will affect Ghana in many different ways, including trade with the United Kingdom. The main reason for this is that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United Kingdom would shrink over time, and the economy of UK would become weaker and smaller. Secondly, the British economy would scale back its investment in development projects in Ghana and, of course, in other African countries. Britain is going to be tough with immigration procedures and visa applications for Ghanaians because the population of Ghanaians in the UK is close to half a million.

Britain has been in the EU for more than forty years and her decision to exit after a historic referendum, it is feared, will trigger a domino effect among member countries. Should this happen, the implication and the economic impact on Ghana and other African countries would be significant. Britain would no longer offer full access to traders and investors from Ghana and other Commonwealth countries since the business environment is feared to shrink because in much the same way, Britain will no longer have full access to the lucrative EU market. When this happens, Ghana would have to renegotiate trade and bilateral agreement with UK. Ghana is currently UK’s fifth largest trading partner in Africa with trade between the two countries reaching £1.3billion. Will this continue after Brexit?

gheuGhana’s trade agreement between them and the EU are often negotiated by the European Commission. Ghana has been reaping the benefit of trade, deep integration and socio-economic cooperation with Britain and EU as a whole. With British exit from the EU, Ghana’s trade relations with Britain and the EU will seriously be punctured.  Ghana will have to wait patiently and observe closely what goes on in the EU. It is less likely that the union will disintegrate after Brexit. Ghana will then have to wait and join other African countries in their trade and business negotiations with the European Union and Britain.

It is predicted that there may be attempts by the countries that constitute Britain to disagree with or defy the secessionist move by Britain from the EU. Already Scotland voted in favour of EU membership. Scotland will, therefore, want to maintain their membership.

Many people are complaining that they did not understand all the reasons for the pull out. One student confessed that he took the whole referendum as a joke and voted for the pull-out only to regret later when the reality dawned on him that Britain will no longer be part of the European Union. This student is not the only one who has regretted. Some youth leaders, it is rumoured, are collecting 10,000 signatures to fight against the pull-out. No one can predict whether the entire Britain will regret the pull-out and go back to the EU. Will Brexit finally become Briregret or Regrexit?

There are several reasons that were advanced previously and for so many years by intellectually-_90076860_thinkstockphotos-526561176minded British in favour of a pull-out. Some of the argument put forward was that British sovereignty was being threatened and compromised by EU. Former London Mayor, Boris Johnson and Justice Minister, Michael Gove are of the view that for many decades, the EU has reduced and shifted the amount of growing powers of individual membership states to the EU bureaucracy in Brussels. The two British politicians are also of the view that EU is strangling the UK with rules which they found burdensome.

There are several reasons and arguments for Britain to take a historic decision to leave the union but the reasons are not the main focus of this article. The following argument relates directly to what Ghanaians are likely to experience. The British put forth an argument that they will leave the EU because they will need a rational immigration policy outside the EU. The EU rule requires all member states including Britain to admit all EU citizens to settle in their respective countries whether they have jobs or not, no special skills or no proficiency in the language. Britain is dissatisfied and can no longer tolerate the influx of EU citizens to UK especially those from the newly admitted countries in Eastern Europe.

Seth Terkper

Seth Terkper

Mr. Seth Terkper, Ghana’s Finance minister, has affirmed that Ghana is considering emerging markets for its $750,000 bond. He continued that with Ghana’s experience in the core matured market, the exit of Britain from the EU will severely affect the American and European bond markets. Hence a time is coming when Ghana will have to study other markets to maximize Ghana’s output. The news of Brexit caused a fall in the Asian equity markets and this was largely due to the uncertainty about the impact on the world economy. To where will Ghana turn then?

As Britain’s economy looms large in Europe, all hands of Ghanaian economists and politicians must be on deck to predict or decide when it will be appropriate to hold talks with Britain concerning bilateral trade agreement. We should not forget to do same with the European Union.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Skin-lightening is a $10 billion industry Ghana wants nothing to do with !

Come August, Ghana will begin implementing a new ban on hydroquinone, the primary chemical in many skin-bleaching products. The ban is the latest salvo in a backlash against skin-bleaching that pits longstanding racial stereotypes against a growing beauty industry.

Ghana is one of just three African countries—along with Cote d‘Ivoire and South Africa—to regulate skin-lightening products, and its Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says the ban is a matter of public safety. Hydroquinone is widely considered a potential carcinogen and products containing it are already banned or restricted in Japan, Australia, and the European Union (though the efficacy of those bans is up for debate)

There is abundant historical precedent for using chemical products to achieve a lighter skin tone, but the practice has in recent years seeded a booming—and controversial—industry. In 2012, India alone used 258 tons of skin-lightening cream (such creams have recently caught on with men there). In Lagos, Nigeria, one survey found that up to 77% of all residents use skin-lightening creams. Demand for such products is currently being driven by the Asia-Pacific market—led, interestingly, by Japan—but they are also popular in parts of Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America. A 2009 report from Global Industry Analysts declared skin-lightening a $10 billion industry; as of last year, GIA was projecting that number would hit $23 billion by 2020.

While skin-lightening has some negative physical side effects—cancer aside, bleaching creams can cause rashes, itchy and flaky skin, and permanent scarring—the hydroquinone backlash has deeper roots. Skin-lightening is seen as a direct byproduct of colorism, a form of discrimination that deems lighter skin “better” than darker skin. Historically, colorism has led to disparities in everything from social treatment to employment, and has even been documented as a factor in US prison sentencing.

Perhaps the most infamous example of this is the “paper bag test,” a practice in American slavery whereby slave owners would compare slaves’ skin color to a paper bag—lighter-skinned slaves worked indoors while darker slaves were sent to the fields. More recently, 2011 documentary Dark Girls highlighted the lingering presence of colorism in the media, and its effect on black women’s sense of self-worth. Outside the US, skin tone continues to be associated with class in many regions, particularly formerly colonized spaces like India and the Philippines.

So far, the pushback against skin-lightening has been slow, in part because such products are still big business. (In the US, Unilever manufactures Fair & Lovely, a skin-bleaching cream with wide distribution in Southeast Asia). Celebrities like Cameroonian-Nigerian singer Dencia have been lambasted for pushing skin-lightening products, and even Snapchat has come under fire for using retouching filters that appear to make people whiter. But actual regulation has been slow.

This means Ghana, a country of 26 million, could be setting an important example, at least symbolically. “From August 2016, all products containing hydroquinone will not be allowed in the country,” FDA spokesman James Lartey told Starr FM last year. “From 2016, the acceptance for skin-lightening products is going to be zero.”

Article via QuartzAfrica

Ghana kicks off visa-on-arrival for all African Union travellers

Ghana has kicked off offering visas upon arrival to all African nationals, a step towards creating a continent-wide zone of free movement.

This, shortly after the African Union announced they will be launching an electronic passport, or e-passport, at the next AU Summit tabled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016.

These e-passports will initially be available only to heads of state, government ministers and permanent representatives of member countries at the AU.

Ghana rolled out its new visa-on-arrival on Friday, 1 July, allowing citizens of 54 African Union (AU) member states to get visas for up to 30 days upon arriving in the country.

While the move could lead to increased air traffic across the continent, South African Airways airline operator Gloria Wilkinson told Ghana’s Citi Business News that the West African country would have to ensure its security measures were tight to prevent possible abuse of the system.

Gershon Mosiane, Forum of Immigration Practitioners of South Africa (FIPSA) chairperson, echoes Wilkinson’s sentiment with issuing e-passports to all AU members.

Speaking to CapeTalk on Monday, 4 July, Mosiane said the AU’s e-passport ambitions might be admirable, but that “security threats like terrorism” have made implementing the passport more complicated.

“Would we in South Africa allow someone with a terrorist history be allowed to come into the country” using the all-access e-passport, Mosiane asked.
Regardless, the move from Ghana to issue visas-on-arrive, as well as the AU’s new e-passport plans marks a step towards the AU’s Agenda 2063 policy document, which includes the abolition of visa requirements for all African citizens in all the continent’s countries by 2018.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama announced Ghana’s new visa policy in his state of the nation address in February, saying that the measure would “stimulate air trade, investment and tourism.”

AU Commission chairperson, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, agreed saying she was convinced “many other African countries will follow suit, in the interest of achieving an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.”

Ghana is a hub on the African continent, as it marks a halfway point to other destinations globally, from SA. In August last year, SAA launched a route between Accra, Ghana and Washington DC in North America.

Now, AU member state passengers on this route can obtain a visa-on-arrival to explore Ghana when on a lengthy layover in the West African country.

Ghana already allows visa-free travel for citizens of countries belonging to member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—a regional economic bloc consisting of 15 countries including Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.

Article via traveller24

African Union and Germany launch new initiative

Under the auspices of The Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller, the African German Youth Initiative (AGYI) was officially launched at the World Conference Centre in Bonn on Thursday 1st July 2016.  I met with Birgit Pickel from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development for her to shed more light on what AGYI is and what both the AU and German Government hope to achieve with this initiative.

Me: Good morning Ms. Pickle.  Thank you for making the time to meet with me.

Ms. Pickle:  You’re welcome.

Me: Naturally my first question to you is what is AGYI?

Ms. Pickle: AGYI, the African German Youth Initiative has a Political foundation and cooperation between the German government and African Union Commission.  It is a political partnership which wants to engage the youth and will be implemented decentrally in countries like Ghana, Benin, Tanzania, South Africa and Germany of course. The programme will be launched officially by Minister Gerd Muller and the African Union Commission, led by Dr. Ikounga, the Commissioner.  We want people to come and join us, to participate.   We have programmes where you can apply, if you’re interested as youth group and as an individual.  We gave organizations that will help you to get into partnerships from the German side with partners in African countries.

launchVIPMe: Can you please be more specific about the type of programmes you have?
Ms. Pickle: Programmes that target young people, students at schools, students at universities, students that do vocational training and so on.  We have short term programmes  for youth groups who maybe want to meet for a couple of weeks to jointly talk about topics that the youth are interested in, for example the environment.
Me: When you say “meet” you mean exchange programmes with students from the selected African countries visiting Germany and vice certain.

Ms. Pickle: Yes. They can meet physically and also virtually through social media. What is very important for us is we want quality, not only a two week meeting. Our programme brings together young people from African countries and Germany that start working on a topic for example through social media. They prepare a joint project and then meet.  After meeting, we expect them to continue to jointly work on their topic and exchange and spread out in their local communities when they come back.  That is how we want to make this sustainable.
We have Engagement Global here in Bonn; it’s an institution where the applications can be sent. They administer some of the programmes like the school exchanges and volunteers programme.  With the launch today were starting to build up pilot programmes in Benin, Tanzania and  South Africa where we have civil society partner organizations that are supposed to support these kind of programmes on their end.  And this is what is new about this initiative.  We really want to strengthen structures in your home country too so that we can move into an equal partnership situation.  That is the philosophy and the idea of the initiative. We’re starting today, we have to be realistic. We’ll need a couple of years to make his happen together.
Me: You mentioned volunteers. The norm has been for European volunteers to go to Africa. The opposite that is Africans volunteering in Europe is rare.   Is this something you have considered?

Birgit

Blakofe and Birgit Pickel

Ms. Pickle: This is the core of the initiative. We want to work both ways. We want young Africans to come to Germany and young Germans to go to Africa. We’re doing it already in the volunteering scheme, for example since 2013 young people from Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa have come to Germany to do volunteer service here.   They have worked in local communities, in kindergartens, schools and environmental projects here in Germany but it terms of the numbers  we still have more young Germans  going than young Africans coming and we want to work on bringing the numbers close together.
Me: Visa issues are huge obstacles for a lot of Africans. How is that going to affect your attempt to bring more young Africans over to Germany?

Ms. Pickle:    That’s why we’re so happy we have the cooperation of the African Union Commission.  We need to get governments involved in this initiative to make it work. The German Government is our business but your Governments as well, we have just had a case in which one some young Germans did not get a visa to a particular African country.
Me: Really?  That’s rare!

Ms. Pickle:    Yes. Yes. It happens both ways. It’s difficult for Africans but sometimes too it’s difficult for Germans so we have a joint issue and want to address it at Governmental level jointly over the next years. It’s quite a challenge.  We have to be realistic but I think if through this initiative we can really find a good common ground that this is something we want to do together and we can get governments involved.  We hope that this is really a value added to the initiative.

Me: Final question, what is the overall objective of AGYI?

Ms. Pickle:  The overall objective of AGYI is to get young people involved at an early stage in issues that have an impact on the global future, on sustainability and development. We want through this initiative to make a small contribution to getting Global Citizens of young people who can then again impact on their peers and make a difference.

Me: Ms. Pickle, thank you so much for talking to me and I wish you the best of luck with this initiative.

*The Writer Akua Djanie is a columnist for New African Magazine.  You can read a full review of the AGYI launch in the August edition of the magazine and online.  You can follow Akua on Instagram @Blakofe and on Twitter @bkghana  You can also contact her at info@blakofe.com*

Uncle John’s Bakery to open new store!

Uncle John’s Bakery is delighted to announce the opening of its new store, larger premises and new baking unit. The launch will last all week beginning July 11- July 16 and all members of the Ghanaian community are invited to sample the delights and celebrate the grand opening with us. The Bakery will continue to offer freshly baked bread, cakes and snacks from their new facilities to distributors, independent stores, supermarkets and to loyal consumers who purchase in store.  “As the original family baker of Ghanaian sweet bread and other baked goods, our mission is to continue to deliver you fresh, authentic Ghanaian baked goods that bring you the home from home experience wherever you are in the world”, said managing director Sam Mensah.

Uncle John's BreadsThe company was established 20 years ago and is a family business at heart. Many Ghanaians would have grown up enjoying Uncle John’s delicious sweet bread and our constant mission has been to help Ghanaians feel closer to home. Within 3 years of operating the enterprise had outgrown a small shared baking unit and found a site in North London where we still baked onsite up until the recent expansion.

“Our new facilities will give us the space to increase our work flow, which will also give us the space for bigger machines. This will aid us in automating parts of production and enable us to cutUncle John's Chips (Chin Chin) costs. We have outgrown our old premises. With more space, the new premises will allow us to stock more products, fulfil larger orders, and ultimately share our special products with new and exciting customers” stated Mensah.

We invite you to join us at the launch. Many of you would have grown up enjoying our products and this is a fantastic opportunity to come and see just how much we’ve been able to grow in our 20 years of operating. We feel immense pride in the journey and how far we’ve come, and want the African community to feel a sense of this pride with us and join in the celebration. Without your help, support and custom over the years our success wouldn’t have been possible so we want to say thank you!

Uncle John's Bread starter rollsThe look of the new store has been modelled on that of a trendy, boutique coffee shop. It’s our belief that African food is under-represented in retail outlets and on menus and it’s our mission to increase its prominence. African food can penetrate the mainstream, and we want to be the pioneers of the movement. Our new upscale, trendy shop will help to shift attitudes towards African cuisine and make this possible. To celebrate this Uncle John’s are providing coffee for the first 30 customers each day, discounts on products, free samples, the first opportunity to taste new product lines and are running a raffle. So do pop in for some lunch or stop by for your morning coffee and get an authentic taste of Ghana right on your doorstep!

Date: 11th July – 16th July
Time: 10am – 7pm
Location: 76 West Green Road N15 5LS

‘The Intent’ – must see film coming to cinemas near you!

Nicky Slimting Films and Purple Geko have announced that their glossy British film, The Intent is set for a theatrical and multiplatform release on Friday 29th July. Written and produced by the award-winning Nicky Slimting Walker (It’ A Lot) and Femi Oyeniran (Kidulthood, Adulthood, Anuvahood, It’s A Lot), who also serves as director, The Intent tells the story of an undercover police officer assigned by Metropolitan Police unit, Trident to bring a notorious gang of robbers and drug traffickers to justice. As the officer becomes entangled in a web of gang culture and lies, will they have “The Intent” to abide by their oath to the force or succumb to the pressure and remain loyal to their crew?

Featuring a stellar cast of British talent, the film will be released in cinemas across the UK in association with Ourscreen, and on digital and home entertainment. To accompany the multiplatform launch, there will also be a motion picture soundtrack released simultaneously, featuring leading UK urban artists Ghetts, Rudekid, Ms. Banks, Big Tobz, Ruff Sqwad, Cadet and more. The soundtrack will be available on Friday 29th July to download online and purchase in stores nationwide.

The film sees Gunz, played by the critically-acclaimed Birmingham actor Dylan Duffus (1 Day and Line of Duty), thrust into a world of danger and excitement when he joins the TIC crew, led by the ruthless and notorious Hoodz, who is played by renowned UK grime artist and actor, Scorcher (Topboy). The crew, which also includes Mitch, played by Femi Oyeniran and D’Angel, played by Shone Romulus (Topboy), go from low-level weed peddling to full on armed robberies within a fortnight. As their newfound infamy affords them a glamorous life of guns, drugs and girls, they soon catch the unwanted attention of the police and a rival gang. To make matters worst they also have to deal with being infiltrated by an undercover police officer.

The film also features a number of leading UK artists, including successful hip hop duo, Krept and Konan, and champion of the streets, Fekky who is signed to Island Records. Other actors include Ashley Chin, (Law & Order: UK, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Casualty, Storm Damage), Jade Asha (Drake, AWOL) and Sarah Akokhia (Venus vs Mars, Hallows Eve).

Determined to break the mould of filmmaking, Nicky and Femi have partnered with UK based digital-social platform, Ourscreen – which aims to support the great work being done in cinema across the UK and enables film fans to control their local screens.

Director and Producer, Femi Oyeniran says: “We wanted to create a film that harked back to the American classics we grew up watching – Paid in Full, Juice, Belly and In Too Deep, films that starred the most popular rappers of their time. So we have been meticulous in putting every aspect of the film together from its conception to its release. From casting some of the best UK talent like Scorcher, Krept & Konan and Fekky, amongst others, to supplementing the film with a monumental soundtrack and music videos with leading artists such as Ghetts. We have also been working closely with new platform Ourscreen and believe that it is the future of cinema, especially for younger audiences as it gives them greater choice and flexibility over theatrical screenings.”

Writer and Producer, Nicky Slimting Walker says: “The Ourscreen model is a perfect way to make sure our film demographic are able to see it in their local cinema where it might not have been showing by setting up their own screening with friends and family. My hope is that The Intent will be the first in a long line of films that we plan to unleash to youth audiences with this platform.”

Actor, Scorcher adds: “It’s so exciting to see the film coming out after all the hard work we put into it. I’m really proud to just be apart of this.”

Watch the trailer below: