Category: News


World’s most marginalized still left behind by global development priorities: UNDP report

Millions of people are not benefiting from progress, with the gap set to widen unless deep-rooted development barriers, including discrimination and unequal political participation, are tackled.

A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all.

These are the findings of the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.

“Leaving no one behind needs to become the way we operate as a global community. In order to overcome the barriers that hamper both human development and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, inclusiveness must guide policy choices,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, speaking at the launch of the report in Stockholm today, alongside UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan.

“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls,” said Helen Clark. “But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone.”

This is a concern in developed countries too, where poverty and exclusion are also a challenge, with over 300 million people – including more than one-third of all children – living in relative poverty.

Left behind and unable to catch up: systemic discrimination against women, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, among others

The report notes that not only are deprivations high, but disadvantages disproportionately affect some groups.

“We place too much attention on national averages, which often mask enormous variations in people’s lives,” stated Selim Jahan. “In order to advance, we need to examine more closely not just what has been achieved, but also who has been excluded and why.”

The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on.

Women and girls, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and the LGBTI community are among those systematically excluded by barriers that are not purely economic, but political, social and cultural as well.

In the case of women, the largest of these groups, the report notes that while global gender disparities are narrowing slowly, longstanding patters of exclusion and lack of empowerment for women and girls remain pressing challenges.

Women tend to be poorer, earn less, and have fewer opportunities in most aspects of life than men. In 100 countries, women are legally excluded from some jobs because of their gender, and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to work. Dangerous practices like female genital mutilation and forced marriage continue.

Populations living in rural areas also face multiple barriers. For instance, children from poor rural households attending school are less likely to be learning reading, writing and mathematics.

Moreover, migrants and refugees often face barriers to work, education and political participation and more than 250 million people in the world face discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity, the report notes among other examples.

It is time to face up to deep-rooted barriers to development

“By eliminating deep, persistent, discriminatory social norms and laws, and addressing the unequal access to political participation, which have hindered progress for so many, poverty can be eradicated and a peaceful, just, and sustainable development can be achieved for all,” Helen Clark said.

Marginalized groups often have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that determine their lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious circle of exclusion and deprivation.

For example, indigenous peoples account for five percent of the world’s population, but 15 percent of people living in poverty. And members of the LGBTI community cannot actively advocate for their rights when same-sex acts between men are illegal in more than 70 countries.

The report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in society, and recognizes the importance of giving them greater voice in decision-making processes.

The report also calls for a more refined analysis to inform actions, including making a shift toward assessing progress in such areas as participation and autonomy. Key data, disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, socioeconomic status and ethnicity, is vital to know who is being left behind.

Moreover, the report warns, key development metrics can overstate progress when they focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of development. For instance, girls’ enrolment in primary education has increased, but in half of 53 developing countries with data, the majority of adult women who completed four to six years of primary school are illiterate.

Human development for everyone is attainable

“Despite progress gaps, universal human development is attainable,” said Selim Jahan. “Over the last decades, we have witnessed achievements in human development that were once thought impossible.”

Since 1990, one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, and women’s empowerment has become a mainstream issue: while as recently as the 1990s, very few countries legally protected women from domestic violence, today, 127 countries do.

The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on these gains, noting that the agenda and human development approach are mutually reinforcing.

The report includes recommendations to reorient policies to ensure progress reaches those furthest behind, and urges reforms of global markets and global institutions to make them more equitable and representative.

Germany supports e-waste disposal in Ghana

The German government has unveiled a plan to help Ghana deal with electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, a major dumping site outside of the capital, Accra. The project aims to protect both workers and the environment.

Young men busy themselves extracting copper from the dumped electronics and other scrap materials so they can resell what the collect. With bare hands, they burn the electronics, which causes a thick black smoke. Though this is a necessity for their business, the smoke makes it difficult for people nearby to breathe.

Agbogbloshie is the hub of electronic waste (e-waste) in West Africa and most of the electronics dumped

The processing of e-waste pollutes the environment and poisons workers

at the site are hazardous. The site is notorious for the dangerous manner in which electronic waste is collected and burned. The practice pollutes not only the atmosphere but also nearby bodies of water and is dangerous for the workers.

The German government announced a 20 million euro ($21.5 million) project it says will transform the electronic waste processing system in Accra. It calls for the building of an e-waste recycling facility where materials can be brought and sold and processed safely to the benefit of the local community. The plan was presented at a public event by the German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff.

“The second component of the plan is a health station in Agbogbloshie to support people living there,” he added.

Global and local problem

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported in 2015 that 60 to 90 percent of the world’s electronic waste is illegally dumped. In 2014, an estimated 42 million tons of e-waste were generated. But according to UNEP, 85 percent of the e-waste dumped in Ghana and other parts of West Africa is produced in Ghana and West Africa.

The local group City Waste Management is already excited about the initiative and is positioning itself to make the best out of the project.

“We are grateful that the German embassy here in Ghana has come on board to do this with the Ghanaian private sector. We are looking forward to working with them,” said Wendy Ahiayibor, a representative of the company.

Exclusive theatre offer for Voice readers

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin is a rollercoaster of a musical that wowed audiences and won awards off-Broadway in New York.

It comes to the Belgrade Theatre Coventry this April, direct from its European premier in London. To celebrate The Voice Newspaper would like to offer you 25% off the cost of your tickets if booked before 5pm on 31 March.

‘First-rate choreography… witty, vivacious, inventive… it’s a lively show, has something to say and is excellently directed, with many witty touches.’ The Guardian

This life-affirming and funny coming-of-age story follows Viveca, a bright girl from a black middle class family in LA, who dreams of becoming a dancer.

It’s a show that’s choc-full of upbeat and memorable songs and genuinely funny and engaging characters, but it’s also full of emotion and poignancy. Choosing to face the conflicts of a changing era in America with optimism rather than anger and revolution, Viveca learns to reconcile the realities of racism and sexism with hope and faith – and by doing so discovers her self-worth.

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin runs at the Belgrade Theatre from Weds 5 – Sat 15 April and is recommended for ages 13+.

To claim 25% off the cost of your tickets, visit the Belgrade Theatre website and use promo code BUBBLY25 when prompted during the booking process. To take advantage of this offer tickets must be booked by 5pm on 31 March.

Book your discounted tickets here

Ortis Must Go! A sequel to British Ghanaians: Lost In Translation

Remember ‘British Ghanaians: Lost In Translation’, the feature-length investigative documentary in which Ortis Deley (The Gadget Show, Channel 5) explored the root causes of language endangerment within the the Ghanaian community in London? Well the director, writer and producer Pamela Sakyi is planning a sequel and she needs your help.

Ortis Must Go! is a campaign to help take one man on a journey of self-discovery and cultural preservation, through appreciation for his mother’s language, Twi, a colourful language which comes from Ghana. The sequel will be filmed in Ghana and will address the following issues:

  • Opportunities for Ghanaian language learners (jobs, contributions to the economy etc.)
  • The effects of the current education system on fluency
  • What native Ghanaians think about the fluency problem within the diaspora

Ortis will also have the opportunity to rediscover his roots more deeply and find out just how important knowing the languages are, for people of Ghanaian descent. Pamela and her team need to raise £6000 by the campaign deadline of APRIL 30th 2017.

So please  SUPPORT, DONATE & SHARE THIS LINK TODAY:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1142092173/ortis-must-go

Lets all help make Ortis Must Go! a reality!

 

 

Sir Sam Jonah, Ozwald Boateng, Anna Bossman, Sir David Adjaye and more to be honoured at inaugural Ghana Legacy Honours

On March 25th, Ghanaian pioneers and trailblazers will be honored at the maiden Ghana Legacy Honors, in commemoration of Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary.
The inaugural honorees, comprising of both local and diaspora Ghanaians who have broken glass ceilings in their respective fields, will be honored for their colossal achievements, impact, and contribution towards the legacy of Ghana on the global stage.
The honorees include reputable business magnate Sir Sam Jonah, renowned U.K. based fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, head of the anti-corruption unit at the African Development Bank Anna Bossman, world-renowned architect Sir David Adjaye, CEO of Airtel Ghana, Lucy Quist, and tech innovator Herman Chinery-Hesse. Young Scholar Shadrack Frimpong will receive the Future Award for his extraordinary work and impact in health and education in Ghana. (Read more about the honorees here.)
The exquisite black-tie awards gala will take place at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, kicking off at 6pm sharp with an intimate networking cocktail reception, followed by the awards ceremony hosted by award-winning actress Ama K. Abebrese. Guests will enjoy a delectable full-course dinner, live entertainment led by Kwame Yeboah and the OBY Band, with performances by legendary hi-life musician Pat Thomas, and the sensational Adomaa and Okyeame Kwame.
The awards gala is set to bring the local and diaspora business community together for a memorable evening of camaraderie and inspiration in celebration of Ghanaian achievement and legacy.
 “We are very proud to be able to use the Ghana Legacy platform to bring internationally celebrated pioneers and visionaries of Ghanaian descent back home to celebrate them, and provide the opportunity for them to inspire and empower the younger generation”, said Isaac O. Babu-Boateng, CEO of Bábu Gobal.
The Ghana Legacy Honors is sponsored by Brussels Airlines, Appolonia, Kasapreko, and Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, and produced by Bábu Global, a pan-African media and marketing firm responsible for reputable media brands such as Face2face Africa. Bábu is also the producer of the Pan African Weekend, the Ghana-US Investment Forum, and the FACE List Awards, the most prestigious pan-African achievement awards held annually in New York City, where pioneers such as Mo Ibrahim, Angelique Kidjo, Alek Wek, Wyclef Jean, Ashish J. Thakkar, Boris Kodjoe, Rosa Whitaker, and more have all been honored.
For more information on the Ghana Legacy Honors, including tickets or how to secure a corporate table, visit www.ghanalegacy.com, contact GLH@babuglobal.com, or call 0506556661 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Ghanalegacy.​​​​

CDD-GHANA STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO’S APPOINTMENT OF 110 MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is deeply dismayed by reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated an additional 54 people to serve as ministers or deputies to the various ministries. When confirmed by Parliament, as they are more than likely to, that would bring the total number of ministers and deputy ministers appointed so far in the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to an unprecedented 110.

CDD-Ghana considers this move and the obscene number of ministers a wrong one for several reasons:
First, it would represent the largest ministerial team assembled by any president/head of state of Ghana since independence. In addition, it also sets a negative record for a country infamous for its

Akufo Addo with ministerial nominees

oversized ministerial teams. The United States, a larger and more economically and financially complex country has approximately 46 ministers. Similarly, India, a country of some 1.3 billion has 75 ministers. It is being argued that the large ministerial team will bring more focus, supervision, and efficiency to President Akufo-Addo’s ambitious governance and socio-economic plans. In the Center’s view, this argument is weak, as there is no proven relationship between a large government and a well-governed, prosperous society. In addition, there is no correlation or causation between the large retinue of political heads and political/socio-economic transformation. What is clear and certain is that, a smaller government is a cost saving measure that signals a high level of discipline and focus of a government that wants to protect the public purse.

Second, the appointments betray inadequate sensitivity to the weak fiscal condition of the country today, as it flies in the face of the President’s promise to protect the public purse. It is difficult to see how appointing such a large number of ministers, who will all be on ministerial salaries and benefits, can possibly amount to the promise of protecting the public purse. Indeed, a reduction in the cost of running government, including appointing the minimum number of ministers required by the Constitution, particularly those drawn from Parliament, was one of the list of 10 actions CDD-Ghana urged the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to undertake in its first year.

Third, it further undermines Ghana’s already weak state bureaucracy. Placing a team of politician ministers on top of the existing hierarchy of the ministries will lead to unnecessary duplication of senior personnel and eventually undermine the authority of the professional senior civil and public servants (particularly, chief directors and directors) in the same ministries; it will also encourage the politicisation of the bureaucracy.
In addition, the appointment of that many ministers does not in any way help to address the structural weakness of Parliament vis a vis the Executive, which the President alluded to, in his State of the Nation Address.
By appointing so many of his ministers and deputy ministers from Parliament, currently standing at 64 MPs, the President is further weakening the legislative body and at the same time undercutting his own promise to strengthen the institution to enable it serve as an effective check on the Executive.
Above all, CDD-Ghana is deeply concerned about the negative signals sent out by these appointments. We note with consternation that nearly the entire presidential and ruling party campaign team as well as a large number of NPP MPs have been appointed to ministerial and other state bureaucratic positions. This suggests a continuation of the anti-developmental practice of “party in government” system (conflation of the ruling party and the government), whereby political appointments are treated as ‘jobs-for-the boys’ or some form of material reward for individuals who played key roles in the election campaign of the president and his party, and an opportunity for them to rake in “rents.”

Akufo Addo with regional ministers appointees

To be sure, the president’s appointment of as many as 50 ministers and 60 deputies may have been made in strict conformity with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and long-standing practices in Ghana’s 4th Republic. However, in the exercise of his legitimate discretionary authority, President Akufo-Addo would have been better served by heeding to the admonition in 1st Corinthians, 10:23: “I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”

In this instance, the Center wishes President Nana Akufo-Addo had taken a lesson from the examples of Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and John Magafuli of Tanzania who significantly downsized the size of their governments to signify “change” upon assumption of office – instead of lowering the bar of unwisely ministerial size and government in Ghana’s 4th Republic.

Accordingly, the Center implores the President to reduce the number of deputy ministerial nominees sent to Parliament for vetting and approval; and additionally calls on the President to publish the salaries and emoluments of all appointed public office holders so Ghanaians can begin to appreciate the true cost of governing the country.
Lastly, CDD-Ghana fervently prays that the NPP government does not attach an army of technical advisers to the already bloated personnel at the ministries, departments, and agencies of the state. In the medium term, the Center would like to see a law passed that puts a ceiling on the maximum number of ministers and deputies the President can appoint at a time, and or make it mandatory for the President to explicitly provide the rationale for appointing more than one deputy minister per ministry.
The Center urges the Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration to be sensitive to the voice of the people and take steps to reduce the growing burden on the public purse.
For further information, please contact CDD-Ghana on: info@cddgh.org or on 0302-776142/763029

The Future of Ghana 2017 – Top 30 U30 List announced

At 18:00 GMT on Monday 6th March 2017 the announcement of the Future of Ghana 2017 Top 30 U30 took place live on Abn Radio UK amongst huge anticipation online.

The Top 30 U30 list revealed a diverse range of talent, pioneers and changemakers from Ghana and the diaspora. There is strong representation from countries in the diaspora such as the UK, Canada, and the USA. This year’s Top 30 list also saw an even split between genders for the first time ever.

Among the pioneers selected were Koby “Posty” Hagan founder of UK Urban Entertainment platform GRM Daily , Ghana based digital entrepreneur and founder of the Circumspecte platform Jemila Abdulai,  Ghanaian Media Influencer and Radio/TV Personality Antoine Mensah  and 16 year old rising fencing star Yasmine Fosu to name but a few. For the full list visit www.futureofghana.com

Now in its 3rd cycle Me FiRi Ghana once again began a mission to find the pioneers and innovators of the Future back in October 2016 by undertaking a global search for the top 30 Ghanaian talent aged 18 – 30 years – impacting industries around the world. The search consisted of an open nomination process from (28 October – 2 December 2016) driven through Ghanaian Diplomatic missions, Ghanaian Associations/Organisations, Commonwealth Secretariat, media partners and social media using the official hashtag #FOG2017

The job of assisting the Future of Ghana Committee to select worthy candidates went to this cycle’s esteemed judging panel – Lord Michael Hastings CBE, Sangu Delle, Queen Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo I, Nana Aba Anamoah and the Charity’s  patron James Barnor.

#IamFutureofGhana…

From the 13th March 2017, the Future of Ghana will launch a targeted social media campaign – #IamFutureofGhana

Using this hashtag, the campaigns aim will be to continue the conversation around Ghana’s development in such a significant independence year but more importantly mobilise Ghanaians all over the world to think about what role they can play in Ghana’s development.

When Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo revealed the Ghana@60 logo last month it came with the slogan; “Mobilising for Ghana’s Future” which of course is reflected in the Future of Ghana’s mission statement.

The public will be able to participate in the conversation by using the hashtag on all social media platforms whilst posting/accessing exclusive visuals.

Stay tuned to our platforms from the 13th March for further information.

Keche drops new track ‘Flavour’ featuring Shatta Wale!

Ghanaian duo Keche have teamed with the dancehall king of Ghana Shatta Wale on hot new track ‘Flavour’. Produced by Willisbeats, ‘Flavour’ is an upbeat track that will sure be a hit with fans of both Keche and Shatta Wale. Have a listen below!

 

Ibrahim Mahama presents a portrait of Ghana at his first exhibition in London

The Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, 29, has joined White Cube in London. He is the first artist born and based in Africa signed by the gallery. His arrival follows the departure of the British duo Jake and Dinos Chapman, who left White Cube earlier this month after 20 years with the gallery to join Blain Southern, and shows the continuing internationalisation of the White Cube roster.

The memory of objects

Mahama’s debut exhibition at White Cube, and his first solo show in the UK, opened to the public on 28th February. It includes five wall hangings made from the jute sacks which are used to transport goods in Ghana. Their history illustrates the complex trade networks of the global economy and post-independence Ghana.

Made in Bangladesh and India, the sacks are imported to Ghana and used to move cocoa beans, one of

Ibrahim Mahama, Crop Estate (2016) (Image: © the artist. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell))

the country’s leading exports, to the ships which will transport them to international markets. Because cocoa beans are a fragile luxury export, the sacks will move the product first and only once. They are then used multiple times to take crops such as rice, millet and maize around the country for domestic consumption. Finally, they are used to shift coal. Mahama and his collaborators acquire the sacks at the end of their working life, sewing them together to create massive tapestries which the artist has draped over buildings in Ghana such as theatres, museums, luxury apartments, and social housing projects, among others, and abroad (for the 2015 Venice Biennale he covered two external walls of the Arsenale with 300-metre-long hangings).

On some of the wall pieces at White Cube, Mahama has also added fragments of the tarpaulin which is first used to cover food transport trucks in Ghana and then recycled to protect metal objects such as engines. In another tapestry he has added discarded leather seat covers from trains, alluding to the deterioration of the railways in post-independence Ghana.

“I’m interested in looking at the artistic and political implications of these materials. What happens when you pick several different objects from different places with specific histories and memories and put them together to form a new object?” Mahama asks.

Shoe repairmen

Another cycle of work focusses on the wooden boxes used by shoe repairmen in Ghana to hold their tools. Working with a team of collaborators around the country, Mahama has assembled thousands of these boxes, exchanging them for new ones built by his assistants. At White Cube, Mahama has constructed a massive wall out of these boxes, carefully slotting them together with no external supports. Every time the piece is dismantled and re-assembled elsewhere, its “composition will change,” explains the artist.

Ibrahim Mahama, Diesel Room. Non Orientable Nkansa. Sekondi Locomotive station 1901-2030 (2016) (Image: © Ibrahim Mahama Photo: Ibrahim Mahama)

The boxes contain a multitude of objects such as the original tools used to repair shoes and the slippers worn by the repairmen to do their work as well as new objects inserted by Mahama’s assistants, for example, old issues of the Economist magazine. “The wall contains a narrative of post-independence society,” explains the artist, and deals with issues such as political crises and gentrification: many of the boxes were originally made with materials found on building sites or in houses slated for demolition to make way for new developments. “A lot of residues come out of those spaces,” says the artist.

“The boxes represent the failure of a system, a failure we haven’t yet acknowledged. The structures of global capitalism shift things such as the cosmopolitan life of the city and the structures that are built around it.” Now they have a new life as a work of art in a high-end gallery. “The potential of these structures when you look at them beyond the chaos and the crisis is also interesting,” says the artist.

Also on display are archival photographs of a paint factory set up by the Ghanaian State, then privatised

Ibrahim Mahama, Exchange Exchanger (still), (2013-16) (Image:
© the artist. Courtesy White Cube)

in the 1990s, and later abandoned. Mahama found the images in the factory when he set up a studio there for the shoe box project. Also at White Cube, a two-screen film shows the installation of Mahama’s massive jute-sack tapestries on buildings such as the National Theatre in Accra. Drone footage surveys the sites from above while hand-held cameras follow Mahama’s collaborators as they laboriously carry the massive objects up to the roof.

This ongoing project has often been compared to the work of “wrap” artist Christo. But, Mahama finds the comparison lazy. “You can’t reduce art just to aesthetics and what you see. There is a deeper, political meaning to it.”

Ibrahim Mahama: Fragments is at White Cube Bermondsey until 13 April

Article via The Art Newspaper

Waterforeveryone launches community platform to learn, share, connect and empower innovative solutions

The online-based community platform Waterforeveryone  has been officially launched today. This unique social-entrepreneurship portal allows individuals and organizations, both private and public, to create a profile free of charge. It enables its members to connect, share knowledge and expertise, support existing concrete initiatives and create new ones, promote innovative solutions, as well as contribute to the online resource center by posting articles, news, research findings etc. The portal’s crowdfunding mechanism enables all members to run fundraising campaigns for their initiatives to bring sustainable solutions tackling water related issues and promoting collaboration across countries and regions.

Waterforeveryone is a non-profit organization registered in Switzerland, developed by a multi-disciplinary group of professionals that aims to alter the harrowing statistics of lack of clean water available to millions of people across the planet.

With more than 10% of the world population not having access to safe, drinkable water, there is more we can do to help alleviate this statistic. We strongly believe that every step counts to find out effective and sustainable local solutions for this global challenge,” said Mathieu Lamolle, founder of Waterforeveryone. “The purpose of this community platform is to educate while encouraging collaborations for a more efficient end goal. Besides, Waterforeveryone will directly contribute to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG3 (Good health and well-being), SDG6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG11 (Sustainable cities and communities), SDG12 (Responsible consumption and production), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals),” he added.

We invite everyone to join the global community to spur innovation, knowledge and successful projects. We strongly believe that every step counts and so does every drop: your support will contribute to help thousands, if not millions of people. Registration to Waterforeveryone is completely free.

Visit here for more information:

Website: https://www.waterforeveryone.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Supportersofwaterforeveryone/