Category: News


Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to take part in WHO malaria vaccine pilot programme

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will take part in a WHO-coordinated pilot implementation programme that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine available in selected areas, beginning in 2018.

The injectable vaccine, RTS,S, was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. RTS,S will be assessed in the pilot programme as a complementary malaria control tool that could potentially be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention.

“The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa,” she added.

Africa bears the greatest burden of malaria worldwide. Global efforts in the last 15 years have led to a 62 percent reduction in malaria deaths between 2000 and 2015, yet approximately 429,000 people died of the disease in 2015, the majority of them young children in Africa.

The WHO pilot programme will assess whether the vaccine’s protective effect in children aged 5 – 17 months old during Phase III testing can be replicated in real-life. Specifically, the pilot programme will assess the feasibility of delivering the required four doses of RTS,S, the vaccine’s potential role in reducing childhood deaths, and its safety in the context of routine use.

WHO recommendations and RTS,S

RTS,S was developed by GSK and is the first malaria vaccine to have successfully completed a Phase III clinical trial. The trial was conducted between 2009 and 2014 through a partnership involving GSK, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and a network of African research sites in seven African countries—including Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

RTS,S is also the first malaria vaccine to have obtained a positive scientific opinion from a stringent medicines regulatory authority, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which approved RTS,S in July 2015.

In October 2015, two independent WHO advisory groups, comprised of the world’s foremost experts on vaccines and malaria, recommended pilot implementation of RTS,S in three to five settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The recommendation came from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), following a joint review of all available evidence on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The World Health Organization formally adopted the recommendation in January 2016.

Pilot implementation

The three countries were selected to participate in the pilot based on the following criteria: high coverage of long-lasting insecticidal-treated nets (LLINs); well-functioning malaria and immunisation programmes, a high malaria burden even after scale-up of LLINs, and participation in the Phase III RTS,S malaria vaccine trial. Each of the three countries will decide on the districts and regions to be included in the pilots. High malaria burden areas will be prioritized, as this is where the benefit of the vaccine is predicted to be highest. Information garnered from the pilot will help to inform later decisions about potential wider use of the vaccine.

The malaria vaccine will be administered via intramuscular injection and delivered through the routine national immunization programmes. WHO is working with the three countries to facilitate regulatory authorization of the vaccine for use in the pilots through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF). Regulatory support will also include measures to enable the appropriate safety monitoring of the vaccine and rigorous evaluation for eventual large scale use.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID, are partnering to provide US$49.2 million for the first phase of the pilot programme (2017-2020) which will be complemented by in-kind contributions from WHO and GSK.

Articel via ReliefWeb

O.Y Releases Debut Single “KELEGBE”

Odunayo Odunayo popularly known as O.Y Productions is set to launch the countdown to his producer E.P with the release of  his debut single titled “KELEGBE”  off the yet to be named producer E.P.


O.Y who only relocated to Nigeria from the UK about 2 years ago is a versatile music producer, sound engineer and music teacher; He is currently tutoring a diverse set of people through his music school called O.Y Academy. Having worked with A-list artistes such as Olamide, Patoranking, Sudan, Ice Prince, Stonebwoy, Wande Coal and Iyanya amongst others and with a wealth of over 15 years’ experience learning and perfecting his craft; it’s time for O.Y to take his rightful place among the music greats.


“KELEGBE” is a term from a game played in the western part of Nigeria; this term is used to lay claims to whatever you want from other players whenever it’s your turn. “KELEGBE” is a prayerful song which sees O.Y laying claims to the good things of life with an influence of some backing traditional sound and intriguing strings; written and performed by the man himself KELEGBE is set to break bounds on the streets and in homes.

Listen to ‘Kelegbe’ below

Diaspora Homecoming Summit 2017

Me Firi Ghana through its youth charity Future of Ghana have been invited on the UK chapter of the global planning committee for Diaspora Homecoming Summit 2017 between the 5-8 July 2017 and we are pushing to ensure the diaspora and young Ghanaians are part of the conversation and aware of such a high level event.

This Summit is being organised in fulfilment of a manifesto pledge by H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, to engage Ghanaians Living Abroad in the transformation of the political and socio-economic structure of Ghana.

The purpose of the Summit is to bring the Ghanaian Diaspora together to dialogue on how to achieve the President’s vision of active participation by Diasporans in the economic development of the country and to fully integrate them into the political processes.

The Summit also aims to attract the full participation of Ghanaians Living Abroad in Private Enterprise by bringing them together with local businesses.

The three day Summit is divided into three areas :

First Day: Entrepreneurial Ghana – Investment opportunities etc

Second Day : Human Resource Marketplace – Employment opportunities etc.

Third Day : Political Inclusion of the Ghanaian Diaspora – Ropal

Fourth Day : Factory Visit and Delegates Dinner

Keynote Speaker:
H.E PRESIDENT AKUFO ADDO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA

OTHER SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President.

Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Chairperson – Electoral Commissioner

Other Ministers, Captains of Industry and Banking.

Leading and Successful Ghanaians Living Abroad and Returnees

The conference itself is FREE. You would only need to pay for breakfast and lunch.

KLM/Air France have come on board as the airline sponsor and offering 15% off flights for those attending conference. So anyone travelling to Ghana around this time can make use of this offer via – http://www.airfrance.fr/FR/fr/local/www_airfranceklm-globalmeetings_com.htm?eid=30718AF

To Register to attend this presitgious summit visit: www.ghanadiasporahs.org

Afrobeat star Sona releases new single ‘GINGER’

Ginger is the newly anticipated single from British-Nigerian Afrobeat musician Sona.

Following the release of his first single of the year, “Story” which was highly received, Sona has officially released the anticipated visuals to his single “Ginger” and as he says “he is ready to ginger”.

Sona released his debut single Summertime in 2013. Following on from this he then resurfaced with a treble release in early 2014 with singles Ijo Sona, No Wahala & Eyy Mama garnering over 2 million streams collectively. Sona also collaborated with Sneakbo on their song ‘Hurt Nobody’ which has almost 2million views.

He has since received massive airplay support from BBC 1Xtra, Capital Xtra and has also been recognized by BETKey UK and African based taste-makers have labelled Sona as a prospect to look out for in the year of 2017.

Check it out below!

GUBA AWARDS 2017 NOMINEES ANNOUNCED

The anticipated launch of the GUBA 2017 Awards took place on Monday the 10th of April 2017 at the Ghana High Commission in Highgate, London.

The launch which serves as a precursor to the official awards ceremony scheduled to take place on Saturday 3rd of June, 2017 at the Intercontinental Hotel, o2, London – served as an official declaration and announcement of the shortlisted nominees for the GUBA 2017 Awards.  

Voting for the nominees of the respective categories commences on Wednesday the 12th of April, 2017, via www.gubaawards.co.uk/voting/#.  Tickets for the awards are also available to purchase at www.gubaawards.co.uk

The final phase of elimination for the Made in Ghana, Professional of the Year and Charity of the Year categories takes place at midnight, on Thursday the 20th of April 2017.   Nominees for the aforementioned categories will be condensed to 4 nominees and announced at the GUBA Ghana Launch on the 21st of April, 2017 at the British High Commissioner’s residence.

Voting ends on the 30th of April 2017, with the winners being announced at the main event in London on Saturday 3rd June 2017. The categories and nominees for the GUBA Awards 2017 are as follows:

Animator of the Year Award

  • Comfort Arthur
  • Francis Y Brown
  • Cycil Jones Abban
  • Indigene Bros

Professional of the Year Award (Will be reduced to 4 Nominees on 20th April 2017)

  • Dr Nicholas Ossei-Gerning  – Medical Doctor
  • Joshua Siaw – Lawyer
  • Sheila Nortley  – Film Director
  • Myx Quest   – Entrepreneur
  • Samuel Boateng – Sales Professional

Charity of the Year Award (Will be reduced to 4 Nominees on 20th April 2017)

  • Actionplus Foundation (UK)
  • Wulugu Project
  • Creating New Beginnings
  • Nyarko Cleft Care
  • ATE Action Through Enterprise (ATE)

Ghanaian Alumni Award

  • Aburi Old Girls Association (AOGA)
  • Holy Child Past Students Association (HOPSA)
  • Opoku Ware Old Boys Association (AKATAKYIE)
  • Prempeh College Old Students’ Association (AMANFOO)

Made In Ghana Products Award (Will be reduced to 4 Nominees on 20th April 2017)

  • Skin Gourmet
  • Studio Badge
  • Chaste Clothing
  • Muange Clothing and Multimedia
  • Selina Beb
  • Peini Skin Care
  • Booomers International Ltd
  • Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative
  • We Naturals
  • SeKaf Ghana Ltd (Tama Beauty & Hair Nature)  
  • The Sweet Art Company

Business Start Up of the Year Award

  • DFT Printing Studio
  • Bespoke Binny
  • Vitae London
  • Purete  Nature

Efie Ne Fie Award

  • Genevieve Puni – RecTrain Services Limited
  • Vanetta  & Vemilleon Ackah – Kiddie Garden Nursery International
  • Andrew Takyi- Appiah – Zeepay
  • Ruth Amoah – The Sweet Art Company

Upstanding members of the Ghanaian, UK and African community will also be honoured for their long standing contributions to the society – dubbed the ‘Black Awards’, their consistency and dedication to excellence, will be celebrated on the night. The prestigious black award nominees for 2017 are:

  • Madie Arkutu – Female Influential Leader
  • Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo  – Innovative Pioneer
  • Anas Aremeyaw Anas – Exceptional Journalist
  • Dr. Michael K. Obeng – Humanitarian Spirit
  • Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom – Excellence in Business,  Ghana
  • Mr & Mrs Mensah  – Enterprising Business Award
  • Dr. K. Oteng  – Outstanding Industrialist
  • Dr Kofi Amoa Abban – Young Oil & Gas Entrepreneur
  • Kelvin Doe – Young African Innovator
  • Dr Nii Dzani – Influential Economist
  • Jason Sarfo-Anning – Student Achiever of the Year

GUBA Awards seeks to celebrate exceptional talent and commitment to advancement within the Ghanaian and British community. The awards this year will be in honour of Ghana at 60 and GUBA Awards at 6.

Rev. Yawson and Friends’ #OurGratitudeUKConcerts kick off in Telford and Manchester this June

Ghanaian gospel big names Gifty Osei, Tagoe Sisters, Noble Nketsiah- and two UK-based artistes- will join praise & worship veteran, in a tour of the UK from June 23.

Dubbed #OurGratitudeUK Concerts, Rev Yawson explains: “it seeks to create the strongest gathering of lovers of Ghanaian gospel music as we give thanks to God for how far He’s brought us amidst the challenges both home and abroad. These concerts will primarily inspire you in your gratitude, praise and thanksgiving”.

#OurGratitudeUK Concerts kicks off on Friday June 23 rd from 6pm to 10:30pm, at the Oasis Recreational Center in Telford [Grange Avenue, Stirchley in Telford, TF3 1ET]. The Team will stop in London on Saturday June 24 at a venue to be announced soon.

Manchester will have her turn on Sunday June 25 from 5pm, at the Christ Apostolic Church Manchester Hall, 167 Edge Lane M43 6BE.

Noble Nketsiah: “I have been around the world, but it would be my first time with my fans in the UK”. Gifty Osei added: “The forces of darkness can't stand to be around hearts that give thanks and honour to God. Our Praises and thanksgiving in Telford, Manchester and London this summer will surely make the enemies flee”.

“These encounters will surely help us to recognize we have so much to be thankful for. Join us as we take our attention off of our problems and reflect on the goodness of His many blessings”, according to the Tagoe Sisters.

Reverend Yawson will use this platforms to announce and perform for the first time, songs off his upcoming 7 th album, his latest since 2013.

#OurGratitudeUK Concerts is organized by Base Group Inc, Ozberga Promotions UK, LaBoroGH and Showbiz Africa. Entry for each of the concerts is £15 at the door and £10 in advance. Part of the proceeds from these concerts would be used to support Charity Organizations in Ghana.

Africa Utopia returns to Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre’s annual Africa Utopia festival returns for its fifth year on Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 July 2017, with an exciting line up of leading musicians, artists, performers and thinkers from across Africa and its diaspora.

The festival celebrates the arts and culture of one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents and will encompass a vibrant mix of talks, workshops and performances for all ages, both free and paid-for. Confirmed so far for 2017’s Africa Utopia festival are the award-winning Afrobeat superstar, Fuse ODG  and the Chineke! Orchestra both performing in the Royal Festival Hall.

Born in London and raised in Ghana, Fuse ODG is the founder of TINA – This is New Africa – a movement whose mission is ‘re-programming the world’s mental image of Africa, its people and its diaspora’ (15 July) and Chineke! Orchestra is Europe’s first all-Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) orchestra, performing classical repertoire to mark their third performance at the festival (16 July).

The weekend will also include an Africa Utopia Marketplace, with stalls and pop-up boutiques offering the latest in African and African-inspired fashion, accessories, books, art, homeware and workshops, as well as a bustling pop-up street food market, with over 13 stalls of authentic African cuisine from across the continent.

Previous performers, artists and speakers who have taken part in Africa Utopia include award-winning Senegalese musician and human rights activist Baaba Maal; Grammy Award winner Angelique Kidjo; former First Lady of Somaliland and founder of the Edna Adan Hospital, Edna Adan; Kenyan creative collective The Nest; South African performer Spoek Mathambo; ‘godfather of Ethiopian jazz’ Mulatu Astatke; the Kinshasa Symphony orchestra;  and many more from across the African continent and the diaspora.

The full programme and list of performers will be released early May, 2017.

Ghana Government seeks new dawn for struggling power sector

Ghana’s new government is looking to fix a crippling power crisis with a complete overhaul of its deficit-ridden energy sector including a boost for solar energy.

Intermittent power supply issues have dogged the west African nation since the 1980s and became particularly acute in the last five years — although there has been some improvement recently.

President Nana Akufo-Addo blames his predecessor John Dramani Mahama whose energy policies, he said last month, had led to “gargantuan debt”.

Ghana’s energy sector was crushed by an accumulated debt of $2.4 billion, he said, as the cost of buying in fuel, paying energy suppliers and running inefficient state companies spiralled out of control.

Its bad financial situation “constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply”, he said last month in his first State of the Nation address.

Improvements in the provision of power were seen in the run-up to December’s election but Akufo-Addo said the challenges within the sector were far from over and high costs were a major stumbling block.

Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) has now begun to develop a new electricity masterplan, which also includes possibly listing state-owned power generation and supply companies on the stock exchange.

Such asset sales would not only move the underperforming utilities off the government’s books, but private ownership may well make them more efficient, experts say.

This year’s budget also included ambitious plans for renewable energy to provide two to three percent of supply to the national grid and, in addition, develop 38,000 solar-powered homes in “off-grid” communities.

– Here comes the sun –

Harnessing the power of Africa’s most abundant free resource — the sun — to provide electricity has long been a challenge for governments across the continent.

In Ghana there are hopes that more people will sign up to a 500-watt solar panel scheme started under Mahama for homes and businesses. The panels come free, but takers must still foot start-up costs of around $1,500.

The Energy Commission wants to see 200,000 such systems installed, but the scheme’s coordinator, Kenneth Appiah, says since it was launched in February last year only 409 units have been installed.

Among those who have received the panels — each installation is worth about $450 — is accountancy lecturer Daniel Nkrumah-Afyeefi.

He said the programme was a good starting point to get his home off the grid and he planned to add more panels to lower food refrigeration costs and avoid hot, sleepless nights.

“When you live in a place like Accra and you need to store food items, when power runs off and on like that some of the things get spoiled,” he told AFP.

“You tend to be buying as and when you eat, and that ends up increasing your cost of purchasing food items.”

– Business suffers –

Ghana has seen four different power crises since 1982 due to low water levels in the country’s dams, said Ishmael Ackah, head of policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy.

In 1997, the country began using thermal energy to complement hydro-electric power but struggles to keep its power stations going at full capacity, as the economy grows and demand increases.

Nigeria has been a major supplier of gas and oil but that has been erratic, as Ghana has struggled to pay its bills.

Scheduled rolling electricity blackouts to ration power — known locally as “dumsor” — have in recent years had a knock-on effect on businesses and productivity, and led to street demonstrations.

A 2015 report by Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research indicated the country was losing some $2.2 million a day because of the energy shortfall.

The government is hoping domestic oil and gas supply from offshore fields will help cut the energy deficit, alongside solar, for the country’s 27 million people.

Energy minister Boakye Agyarko has said he wants all government departments to be solar powered and vowed to “step on the accelerator and make sure we do even more than we are doing now”.

A British-based firm, Blue Energy, is hoping to build a huge solar farm in western Ghana by December this year, with a capacity of up to 155 megawatts.

Ackah said there is hope that solar power’s share in the overall energy mix will soar by the end of the decade.

“It is 0.5 percent in 2017. We are supposed to get 10 percent in the next three years,” he said.

Source: https://www.independent.co.ug/ghana-seeks-new-dawn-struggling-power-sector/

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

SpeedUPAfrica 2017 is Official

Africa’s Most Epic Founder Bootcamp is set for 2017.
100 Founders + 20 Countries + Workshops + OfficeHours + InvestorMeetings + TurningUP 💃🏽🕺🏽

Brief:
Building on the epic success of SpeedUPAfrica 2016 (see data, pics & videos), We’re excited to announce that all is set for SpeedUPAfrica 2017. No Panels, No Speeches, No Demo Day. Instead – Founder led Peer-to-Peer sessions, Intense Silicon Valley Expert led Workshops, 1:1 Investor Meetings, and Turning Up of Epic Proportions. SpeedUPAfrica 2017 will be #LIT!

Dates: July 5th – 9th, 2017
Location: Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
Startups: Apply Now!!! (Deadline: May 1st)
Investors: Click Here to Participate

See ~ SpeedUPAfrica.com ~ for more

Erykah Badu: Voice readers get first dibs on tickets from 9am today

Erykah Badu will perform at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith for one night only on 6 July 2017

The Voice and Neo Luv are giving readers an exclusive chance to grab tickets from 9am today, before they go on sale to the general public this Friday!

Choose from seated or standing tickets and prepare to celebrate with Erykah Badu as she marks the 20th anniversary of her two-time Grammy-winning debut album, Baduizm.

Buy your advanced SEATED tickets here
Buy your advanced STANDING tickets here