The blog.


G20, African countries explore opportunities to increase investments in Africa at Berlin conference

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, joined leaders from African countries and G20 members in Berlin on Monday to discuss opportunities to enhance the business environment and increase investment in Africa.
A common refrain on the opening day of the two-day conference – “G20 Africa Partnership – Investing in a Common Future” – hosted by Germany under its G20 Presidency was that Africa’s time has come and opportunities for investment on the continent abound.
In a session on the G20 Compact with Africa, which aims to increase investment opportunities, push for a more sustainable infrastructure as well as create jobs and employment in African countries, the Finance Ministers from Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia shared their views on opportunities for long-term stability and growth, alongside the Heads of the African Development Bank, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“The Compact with Africa is very important because of the changing lens through which we are looking at Africa,” said Adesina, who applauded German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her leadership in putting Africa at the top of the G20 agenda. “We are no longer looking at Africa through the perspective of just development. We are looking at Africa as an investment destination, and unlocking its huge potential. This is a great shift in mindset. Africa is a growth frontier.”

Adesina outlined the huge growth potential of the continent, in agriculture as a business, and in the processing of cocoa and cotton and not just exporting raw materials. “The secret of the wealth of nations is very clear: the nations that are poor are the ones that export raw materials, and the nations that are rich are the ones that actually add value. We think this is very critical to change the narrative.”

The Compact is a commitment by African countries to improve conditions for private investment. In cooperation with international organisations and bilateral partners, the participating African countries will develop tailor-made measures and instruments designed to make them more attractive to investors. Five countries have already committed to join: Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda. They are now being joined by Ghana and Ethiopia.

Day 1 of the G20 Africa partnership conference closed with international organisations and bilateral partners applauding Germany’s leadership and pledging their support for the Compact in the years to come.

A few hours earlier, President Adesina participated in the launch of the African Economic Outlook 2017 alongside Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Thomas Silberhorn, German Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); and Claver Gatete, Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, among other distinguished panelists.

Published by the African Development Bank, in partnership with the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the 2017 edition of the African Economic Outlook focuses on unlocking the potential of entrepreneurship for Africa’s industrialization.

The new AEO report needs to be translated into action as soon as possible, said Adesina, who underscored the importance of securing a future for African youth.
“We want an Africa that is able to grow fast, that is able to create quality jobs, that is able to create hope for the young people on the continent, supported by investments to be able to turn their dreams into reality,” he said. “I don’t believe the future of Africa lies in Europe. I don’t believe that the future of Africa lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea either.
“Let’s work together to make Africa blossom. It’s in the interest of the world for this to happen for Africa.”

Ghanaians Tortured and Killed in Arab Countries

When Gadhafi was president, Libya was one of the preferred and favourite place for Ghanaians, not only because it was easy to get a job but also because Libya was a gateway to Southern Europe. Things have changed a lot after Gadhafi’s overthrow and death. Most Africans now run the risk of being killed in Libya.  These past years, some travel agencies have lured innocent boys and girls to travel to some Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon, with the promise of receiving office jobs, factory jobs, driving top executives etc. With massive unemployment in Ghana, the offers look attractive. But those who travel to those countries realize that the persons who accompany them there have sold them into slavery. They hand them over to agents and receive the total amount in exchange for these innocent Ghanaians. Most of them are girls who are sold further to become maids or house-helps. This is where all their problems and frustrations begin.

Once in the homes of their masters and mistresses they work several hours most often with little or no salaries. The intention is to make them work to make up for the amount they paid to buy them from the agents. They are treated as slaves in the various households in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon. The hardship and torture these girls go through are very serious and regrettable issues that have flooded the social media. The audios and videos appearing on social media in recent times are heartrending. They are helpless and urgent cries for help. The narration of the hardship and torture these Ghanaian girls are going through are brutal and shocking. Ghanaians are not alone in this. There are other Africans in similar situations. Many have lost their lives.

One particular audio that will send shivers down the spine of anyone, is a calamitous narration from a Ghanaian girl in Saudi Arabia. She looked through the kitchen window and found to her utter dismay, fear and shock, that the maid in a neighbouring house was hanged on a ceiling with her own sponge by the master of the house. Before her unfortunate and untimely death, she had spoken to the narrator on a mobile phone. According to the narrator, both husband and wife were driving out so the maid in the house had to rush out of the kitchen to open the gate for them to go. She went back to the kitchen. Meanwhile the three children in the family, walked towards the gate. The youngest child put her fingers between the gates in an attempt to open it. The older child saw this and quickly banged the gate, smashing her little fingers inadvertently, breaking the little bones in her fingers. This incident precipitated the hanging of the Ghanaian maid.

In another extremely strange, horrifying and sad incident which happened in Kuwait, the maid had forgotten the rice to burn on the stove. The man and his wife were highly infuriated when they saw the burnt rice. They locked the maid in a room for two days without food. The girl managed to escape through the window and reported the issue to the police. The police called the family to report to the police station. Surprisingly, the girl was handed back to the man and his wife to take her home. When they arrived home they beat her severely and hanged her with her own net sponge. When she finally died, they cut her into pieces and packed the remains in a sack and threw it away. How wicked! In another development, a maid who was serving a family in Lebanon, refused to listen to the instructions of her host family because she had not been paid for a year. They tied her hands and legs and poured hot water on her. Does this Ghanaian maid deserve this?

The government is fully aware of the inhuman treatment being meted out to Ghanaians who are lured to seek greener pastures in the Arab countries. Action is being taken to track down the agents who sell these girls into slavery.  Right now as I write, one of these so-called agents has been arrested with five innocent girls in Madina in Accra as he attempted to smuggle them to Saudi Arabia. They all had in their possession Ghanaian passports with Saudi Arabian visa. This has been a very lucrative business for the agents because they charge the girls a certain amount, and they still receive payments from the Arab agents when they hand over the girls to them.

These girls go through sexual abuse and physical mutilation in the very houses where they work and these abuses can become daily occurrences. Very often these girls are locked in the house with no chance of seeing the sun. Such girls have no access to radio and no way to communicate with the outside world. So assuming the government of Ghana brings an aeroplane to take the girls back, many of them may not even be aware of such an opportunity. Such girls die and no one hears about it. A Kenyan girl was lynched by the master and mistress of the house. Quite surprisingly, the master of the house called the Kenyan embassy to report that the girl had hanged herself. The ambassador ordered the body to be flown to Kenya for autopsy and burial.

I want to suggest few solutions to this problem. The first solution is that the Foreign Affairs ministry must send strong directives to the ambassadors of those Arab countries in Ghana not to give visas to agents who come to them with passports belonging to other people. Also travel agents who are involved in this slave trade business must be fished out, arrested and jailed. The ministry of information must launch a campaign towards warning Ghanaians of the dangers in travelling to find non-existent jobs. The ministry must do this aggressively through the mass media (newspapers, radio and television) and social media. Lastly, to the government of Nana Akufo-Addo, please heed to the cries of Ghana’s innocent youths who are suffering and wailing in the Arab lands where hundreds die needlessly.

Is Mecca not in Saudi Arabia? Is it not considered a holy place where Muslims from all walks of life, both black and white, go on a religious pilgrimage? Then why this double standard on part of the Arabs? Why the hatred for African workers? Will help ever come from the Ghana government? Time will tell.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Captain Mahama’s murder and the hypocrisy of Ghanaian society

State funerals are events usually reserved for really important figures in Ghanaian society such as heads of state, but on Friday that honour was bestowed upon a murdered young soldier named Captain Maxwell Mahama, with the event broadcasted nationally and watched by Ghanaians worldwide online. So what did the young soldier do to deserve such an honour? Did he give his life protecting others? No. He was given the honour of state burial because he was brutally murdered by a mob who mistook him for an armed robber.

Captain Mahama and his family

Now Captain Mahama is not the first person to have been accused of armed robbery and then subsequently murdered. In Ghana, an accusation like that usually carries a swift death sentence at the hands of a mob if the police are not at hand. And this is also NOT the first time pictures or videos have surfaced on social media depicting what I’ve described above. Mob justice in Ghana has a long history. As a young child I remember people running out with sticks and stones and whatever they could use as weapons when they heard kronfour! (thief). Whether you were guilty or not made scant difference. A painful death is certain if the police do not intervene, and when they do intervene, in most cases it is to recover a dead body.

Like many Ghanaians, I was enraged when I heard and saw what had happened to the captain. That someone had been murdered again by a baying mob in such a brutal manner and wondered how long such atrocities would go on in the country. But I would later feel conflicted by the blatant hypocrisy I was witnessing in the aftermath of Captain Mahama’s murder, and this is why – the media attention that the murder garnered, and Ghanaians’ reaction to it. It seems like Ghanaians couldn’t comprehend that something so terrible should happen to a man who was serving his country. Especially one with a wife and two young kids. In fact, pictures of Mahama’s family were heavily circulated on social media and across national media platforms in Ghana, as if to drive home the horror of what had befallen the captain. Numerous GoFundMe pages were set up to raise money for his young family left behind, and the Ghanaian government not only posthumously promote Mahama to Major but they also set up a GH¢500,000 trust fund to look after his family, with the president of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo publicly donating GH¢50,000 of his own money to the trust fund.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic response but what I was conflicted with was the fact

President Akufo-Addo signs Mahama’s book of condolence

that other victims of mob justice in Ghana never received this kind of celebrity attention, generosity and sympathy from the media and the wider Ghanaian public. How many times have we seen pictures and videos on social media of people who were lynched in Ghana because they were suspected of being thieves? Did we care about those people? Did the media give those victims and their family any publicity to highlight their tragedy? Who circulated pictures of the families who were robbed of their loved ones? Where are their GoFundMe pages? Where are the trust funds from the government to help take care of the families they left behind? In fact two days after the murder of Captain Mahama, a man was also set upon and beaten to death by a mob in Krono Odumasi in the Ashanti region. His crime? He was suspected of stealing a mobile phone! Who cried for this man? Where was the media outcry and the public outrage over his death?

It makes one wonder – did Captain Mahama’s death matter more because he was soldier and also a relative to former president Mahama? Is that why there was such a huge public outcry? Then by that reasoning his life was worth more than others who have died at the hands of violent mobs in Ghana. Did those who wept and mourned for him and his family also cry for other victims who had died in the same way previously? Why was he given a state funeral and the countless others weren’t? Were their lives not as important? As he was laid to rest on Friday, his family echoed the publics’ call for a monument to be resurrected in his memory, because in their words, they wanted him to remembered as a hero. But as unpleasant and harsh as the truth might be, Captain Mahama was not a hero. Who did he die protecting? He was an innocent man who was brutally murdered. Yet a monument is be resurrected in his name to remind Ghanaians of that terrible event on May 29th 2017.

If we as Ghanaians are attaching such weight and importance to the death of Captain Mahama, but not to others who have died like him, then what does that say about us as a society? That your death matters only if your someone in society? When have we heard of Ghana police arresting people involved in lynching so quickly? Yet in Captain Mahama’s case those suspected of taking part have been arrested and charged with murder! Why is there justice for Captain Mahama but not for others? Will the proposed monument bear the names of those who have also been violently killed by mobs in Ghana? Had Captain Mahama been an ordinary citizen , would the reaction to his death be the same? The terribly sad answer is probably no.

By Yaa Nyarko  (@yaa_fremah)

The African Century: Continent’s doubling population will shape everyone’s future

The global response to Africa’s burgeoning youth population will determine the course of history, according to a new report released today by The ONE Campaign ahead of the G20 “Partnership with Africa” conference in Berlin (June 12th and 13th).

‘The African Century’ shows that by 2050 Africa’s youth will outnumber the G20’s youth population and will bring with it huge opportunities – and requires everyone to work in partnership to seize this moment.

Without coordinated global action – in particular from African leaders and G20 countries – this opportunity will be lost, and the world risks severe consequences for regional and global stability.

However, through renewed action by African and G20 leaders investing into employment, education and empowerment,  sufficient jobs and chances for prosperity for this youth generation can be created and lead to an increase of $500bn for the African GDP for 30 years, which will also drive global growth.

Jamie Drummond, Co-Founder of ONE, said: “Africa’s population will more than double up to 2.5bn people until 2050 with half of them being under 25 years. By then Africa’s youth population will be ten times the size of European Union’s. What will this youth boom do, what will they think, what will they want? They will determine the future not just of Africa but Europe and the world – and we need to re-double our investments in their future now because it is also ours. This is why a historic new G20-Africa partnership is essential and must be agreed through Germany’s G20 summit.”

The ‘Partnership with Africa’ is a key theme of Germany’s G20 Presidency. As part of this theme, the ‘Partnership with Africa’ event will be a key moment – where the G20 will be presenting the “Compacts with Africa”.

These agreements between a developed country and a developing country aim to improve foreign direct investment in Africa, to boost private sector generated jobs.

Currently, five countries are listed for the compacts: Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

ONE’s report, “The African Century” shows the compacts need to be expanded to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and fragile states to be a successful tool for developing the continent. The average growth of the working-age population in fragile states and LDCs is with 77 percent much higher than in other African countries (60%).At the same time, these countries are determining the stability of entire regions.

Nachilala Nkombo, interim Executive Director of ONE in Africa said: “As the G20 focuses on Africa this year, it is important that they focus their partnerships and Compacts with Africa between 2017 – 2020 on investments and reforms that will accelerate the creation of millions of opportunities and jobs for Africa’s exploding population. The wider Africa must prioritise delivery of quality education – G20 partnership,  especially girls’ education as should be the empowerment of citizens to fight corruption. African heads of states at their July 2017 AU summit must agree on a set of investment targets to prevent a demographic disaster and ensure a dividend. African states urgently need the implementation of smart policies and targeted investments that focus on delivering education, employment and empowerment for its exploding youth population.   To better support Africa,  Europe must pass an anti-money laundering directive that helps African citizens track and follow the money sometimes stolen through corruption. Failure by our governments  and partners to grasp this opportunity will result in  deepening poverty, conflicts, terrorism and famine that will spill over international borders into Europe.”

GUBA Awards 2017- Consistency and the Celebration of Excellence

The virtue of consistency was manifested at the GUBA Awards 2017 which took place on Saturday the 3rd of June 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel, o2, London. The biennial award in its sixth year, paid tribute to an array of trailblazers from various industries

The night commenced with an ode to Ghana by the Shekinah singers as they sang the Ghana national anthem.  Dynamic hosts Anita Erskine and Eddie Kadi welcomed the audience whilst acknowledging the theme of the night; ‘Celebrating Excellence’.

Ghanaian performer Wiyaala gave an energetic performance singing ‘Africa’ and ‘Rock my body’, thoroughly entertaining the audience and getting them on their feet.

An endorsement video from His Excellency – Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, was played to the audience.

“I have been a keen follower of the activities of GUBA and I must say they have done a brilliant job especially in helping to consolidate the economic, social and tourism link between the UK and Ghana. We should all stand ready to support GUBA. The cooperation between public and private sector players will only help to steer on Ghana’s development as we seek to create wealth, prosperity and jobs for our people” – he added

Other videos tribute from veteran broadcaster John Snow and Former First Lady Cherie Blair were also aired. A surprise Outstanding Achievement Award was given to Chris Hughton, manager of newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

The night was well attended by several dignitaries, directors and media personalities including: Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture (Ghana) – Hon. Catherine Afeku, Francis Asenso-Boakye –Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and Political Assistant (Ghana), MP Dianne Abbott, Eugene Akwasi – Ayisi – Labour Party Cabinet Member Communities Haringey, GUBA Patron and Actor- Hugh Quarshie , Rahul Gopinath – Regional Director for Africa- ECOM Agroindustrial Corp, Iain Walker – New British High Commissioner to Ghana and X-factor finalists Reggie N Bollie to name a few.

Speaking on the journey of the GUBA Awards and the celebration of Ghana at 60, Mrs Dentaa Amoateng MBE (CEO) stated:

My theme to mark this milestone is the strategic virtue of consistency and to have the drive to maintain consistency, you need a vision. Here at GUBA, the tireless work of our dynamic volunteers as well as the energy and passion of my team motivates us to be consistent and to strive to succeed. Over the next two years GUBA will be focusing on ways to promote Diaspora relationships.

Lastly, a prestigious award was presented to Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom for his Excellence in Business by Warner Rootlep, AF of KLM General Manager UK & Ireland. The night ended with a medley from the Davidson band and was followed by a post event networking at the Sky Bar in the Intercontinental Hotel. Seven awards voted for by the public and thirteen Black Star Awards were given out in total.

The GUBA Awards 2017 winners are:

  • Ghanaian Alumni Award – Holy Child Past Students Association (HOPSA)
  • Charity of the Year Award – Action Through Enterprise (ATE)
  • Professional of the Year Award – Joshua Siaw
  • Made in Ghana Award – Peini Skincare
  • Efie Ne Fie Award – Vanetta & Vemilleon Ackah – Kiddie Garden Nursery International
  • Business Start-up of the Year – Purete Nature

GUBA Black Star Awardees

  • Maidie Arkutu – Female Influential Leader Apostle
  • Dr. Kwadwo Safo  – Innovative Pioneer
  • Anas Aremeyaw Anas – Exceptional Journalist
  • Dr. Michael K. Obeng – Humanitarian Spirit
  • Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom – Excellence in Business, Ghana
  • Mr & Mrs Mensah (Uncle John’s Bakery) – Enterprising Business Award
  • Dr. Kwaku Oteng – Outstanding Industrialist
  • Dr Kofi Amoa-Abban – Young Oil & Gas Entrepreneur
  • Kelvin Doe – Young African Innovator
  • Dr Nii Dzani – Influential Economist
  • Dr Jason Sarfo-Annin – Student Achiever of the Year
  • Mrs Ivy Manly-Spain – Female Excellence in Oil and Gas Award
  • Chris Hughton – Outstanding Achievement Award

ECOM Ghana were the title sponsors of this fantastic event and we give special thanks as well as to all our other sponsors and partners.

Category Sponsors: uniBank Ghana, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Imperial Homes, Kingsby London, ABN TV and Radio. CEO Dinner Sponsor: PayAngel.

Media Partners: ROK TV, VOX Africa TV, Starr Radio UK, Hot Digital Online FM, Rising Africa, Afropulp Magazine, The Voice Newspaper, Glam Africa, ABN TV and Radio, GHOne TV, Starr FM, OK FM, Peace FM, Adom TV, UTV, Hot Digital Online FM, Ahomka FM, FAB Photography, AKLASS photography, SWAG of Africa, Screen Nation, Inspirational You, Premier Productions, 7 Media Photography and Ernest Simons Photography.

Partners: Final Effects Studios, NAS Studios, Anita Erskine Media, Precise Marketing, E-Volution International, Plant It Events, Groupe Nduom, MakeUp Ghana, Uncle John’s Bakery, Snaptcha and Full of Goodness. Material Sponsors: Vlisco, Kente Queen. Outfit/Accessories sponsors: A-COTE Collections, Jay Renkyi, Emma Bird Accessories and Gaknobi Collections. Travel Sponsor: Faze 2 Services

My Improbable Graduation: From A Tiny Village In Ghana To Johns Hopkins

When I was about 5 years old, my father passed away and life took a dramatic turn. My uncles from my father’s side took all his properties, per the custom in my village in Ghana, so each of my father’s seven wives had to find ways to provide and take care of their children. My mother struggled to get enough food — mainly beans and vegetables — to make even one daily meal for myself and my six siblings. She would make our food as spicy as possible so that we would have to drink a lot and fill our stomachs with water.

But during these difficult years when I was in primary school and junior high, my mother always made sure I went to school.

Primary and secondary school are not free in Ghana. At the beginning of each school term, my mother asked the headmaster if I could start classes while she tried to get money to pay the fees. I still remember one time, when I was 7 or 8, the school authorities got tired of her excuses and kicked me out of school.

The next day, Mom took her most precious clothing and traditional beads, which she had hidden in a trunk, and sold them for less than half their value. She used the money to pay my school fees. It was only about $10. It doesn’t sound like much, but that was a lot of money in that time.

I was confused. Why hadn’t she sold her belongings months ago to buy food for us? Her unselfish act made me regard education as a necessity.

Mwinnyaa, at 2 or 3 years old, grew up in a village in Ghana. Courtsey of George Mwinnyaa

My mother’s sacrifice has been my anchor and source of strength ever since. My mom knew — and I later recognized — that education is more important than food. As a child, I realized that all the people in the village who could provide good food, school uniforms, books and shoes for their children had some form of education. I knew from that point that I could change my destiny if only I was able to succeed in school.

I completed high school, but it was nothing like high school in the United States. I never saw a computer. My school had no electricity; it had no library, gymnasium or cafeteria. I was picked on and beaten up by the other kids because I could not afford a school uniform.

In my senior year, my classmates and I had to take the final national exams that determine whether we could attend college. We knew even before starting the test that most of us would fail because our schools didn’t have the staff and resources to teach us properly. Out of over 200 classmates, I was one of only seven who passed all seven subjects. But none of us earned scores high enough for admission to the public universities in Ghana. Still, to our classmates, we were heroes just for passing.

What would I do next?

During high school, I had served as a community health volunteer through the Ghana Health Service. I did receive money for my work, but that was not the only reward. As a volunteer, I carried vaccines to rural villages, sometimes walking for miles to deliver them. I felt satisfaction and joy as I administered the oral vaccines to infants and children, knowing that they would be protected from diseases that had killed many children.

But I wanted to be able to administer injectable vaccines. I wanted to help provide checkups and counseling for pregnant women. I wanted to be able to organize better preventive health services in these villages.

Even though I could not get into any university, I was able to qualify for a community health worker certificate program. It took two years to complete and was quite an intensive program.

I hoped that becoming a community health worker would help me achieve what I could not as a

In 2003, Mwinnyaa was a junior high school student. “I didn’t have a school uniform, and the shorts I was wearing had two big holes at the back,” he remembers. “That is why I wore the oversize jacket, even though the weather was hot, to cover the holes.”
Courtesy of George Mwinnyaa

volunteer, but I soon realized that the care I could provide was not enough. I spent some time working with a medical team from Canada that visited remote villages, and I was amazed at the level of interaction with patients. They tried to explain a person’s condition, whether drugs would help or not, and more. I vowed that if I ever got the opportunity to continue my medical education, it would be in Canada.

I asked a Peace Corps volunteer I had met to help me prepare a resume so I could apply for school. Little did I suspect that a year later, we would be married. After her two years of service, we moved to the United States derailing my Canada plans.

Education in America

We moved to Nevada. I got a job as a custodian in an elementary school and tried to enroll in a university, but the school wanted my high school transcripts. They were impossible to get. High schools in Ghana don’t keep transcripts, just final exam results. I finally found one small community college that offered a placement test in lieu of high school transcripts.

This was a turning point. I felt I had another chance to change my destiny.

I was nervous as I started classes in January 2014. I considered myself to be the weakest academically among all the students. In the elementary school where I worked, I saw that all the students had laptops. How could I compete with these American students? I was fully discouraged. I felt that if any of these students studied for two hours, I would have to put in three times that effort to master the same material.

When I got my midterm exams and papers back, I first thought, “Oh, the professor has made a mistake; this cannot be my test score.”

My scores were 95 percent, even 100 percent.

After my first semester, I transferred to a larger community college and continued to perform well. For the first time, I felt as if I was free from the limitations imposed on me by the environment and circumstances in which I grew up.

Mwinnyaa met the woman who would become his wife, Leslie, in Ghana when she was a Peace Corps volunteer.
Family photo courtesy of George Mwinnyaa

My next plan was to transfer to the local university to complete my undergraduate studies. But then I found out about a scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for community college students transferring to a four-year university. This scholarship encouraged its applicants to apply to top schools in their field of interest. For me, that was public health — and Johns Hopkins University.

I didn’t believe I had a chance in a million of being accepted into such a school, so I applied to another school known for its public health program: the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I was accepted by both schools but did not get the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship. So Hopkins and North Carolina were out. I would instead go to the local university where I would get in-state tuition and a partial scholarship. My plan was to continue working as a custodian to help pay the bills.

But there was an unexpected twist. About a week after I was admitted to Hopkins and the University of North Carolina, both schools offered me a full scholarship. The door of opportunity opened again.

Still, I was afraid. I feared leaving behind my first American friends, my first American home, to go to a new place where nobody knew me.

I began school on Aug. 15, 2015. Last month, I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts in public health studies.

May 24, 2017, was the end of a long journey yet the beginning of a new chapter full of promises, difficult questions and deliberations. As I heard my name and began to walk across the stage, I wondered: How is this possible? In Ghana, I was not qualified to attend even a two-year college, yet here I am walking across the stage, graduating with honors, shaking the hand of the president of Johns Hopkins University.

I briefly thought: Maybe this is one of those good dreams that I will soon wake up from.

In America, I have learned, dreams can turn into an unexpected reality.

George Mwinnyaa, now 29, lives in Baltimore with his wife and 2-year-old son. He plans to start a master’s program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health this fall.

Article via NPR

Speakers Announced: Pan-African Women Forum #Changing Our Story

Face2face Africa invites you to the anticipated Pan-African Women Forum, the official kick-off event to the 2017 Pan-African Weekend

Come spend a sensational and memorable evening with powerful, trailblazing women of African descent from various industries as they share their inspirational journeys and important life and business lessons that will inspire and invigorate your life.

The forum will present two riveting panel discussions featuring women in business, technology, fashion, media, and more, followed by a Q&A session.

Featured Speakers 

Fumbi Chima, Chief Information Officer Burberry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucy Quist, Managing Director
Airtel Ghana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ama K. Abebrese, Award-Winning Actress
“Beast of No Nation”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adenah Bayoh, Entrepreneur and Real-Estate Developer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abrima Erwiah,
Co-founder & President
Studio 189

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushiya Tshikuka,
Entrepreneur & TV Personality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Speakers:

Dana Reed, CEO, The Africa Center
Uchente Emuleomo, VP of Corporate Counsel, Prudential

Cheryl Wills, TV Anchor, NY1
Chiney Ogwumike, WNBA Player
Wendy Osefo, Professor and Political Commentator
Mimi Plange, Fashion Designer
You can register for the event here

The National Diversity Awards 2017 – TWO WEEKS TO GO UNTIL NOMINATIONS & VOTING CLOSES!!!

In two weeks time nominations and voting will close for The National Diversity Awards 2017! An astonishing 14,000 people have taken the time to tell us about the life changing work being carried out by local heroes and community groups.

Voting closes on Friday 09th June – Why wait? Submit an entry today!

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A NOMINATION

How to submit a vote?

Our interactive nomination site allows you to view latest nominees, submit a new nomination, view our nomination map and vote for existing nominees!

To make a new nomination, simply select the award category you wish to nominate for, enter the details required and submit!

To vote to for an existing nominee, enter their name into the ‘search for nominee by name’ section. Our site will then present a selection of suggested profiles for you to choose from. Once you have found the profile you are looking for, enter your reason for voting and submit.

Tickets are now on sale for The National Diversity Awards!!!

Join us for the most spectacular celebration of diversity on Friday 08th September in the fantastic city of Liverpool. The breathtaking Anglican Cathedral will once again play host to the UK’s largest diversity awards for an evening filled with inspirational role models, celebrity guests and dynamic performances.

To secure you place at the National Diversity Awards 2017, please click here

A word from Graham Norton
Comedian, Television & Radio Presenter
‘’Promoting and celebrating diversity is close to my heart which is why I am thrilled to support The National Diversity Awards! I want to wish all of this year’s nominees the best of luck for the ceremony, you all deserve to win!’’

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards 2017 shortlist shines a spotlight on 200 remarkable women changing the face of business across the UK 

WeAreTheCity are proud to announce the shortlist for their 2017 Rising Star Awards.
The Rising Star Awards, now in their third year, are the only awards to solely focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level. Through these annual awards they celebrate 100 individual female contributors who represent the future leaders and role models of tomorrow across twenty different industries. They hope that by raising the profile of shortlisted nominees and winners, and will also encourage organisations to consider how they strengthen the development of their female pipeline and provide opportunities for their female workforce to climb the ranks within their organisations.

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Massive Inter-party Applause as Nana Addo relegates Galamsey to History

Governments have come and gone, presidents and heads of state have come and gone, ministers responsible for lands and mineral resources have come and gone but none of these were able to stop galamsey or relegate it to the abyss of forgetfulness. Indeed Nana Addo has done what all the others could not do. The reason why this illegal mining could gain roots, thus becoming untouchable and unstoppable was that, influential people including top executives, politicians, chiefs and even top police and military officers, all had a stake in the galamsey by condoning, and conniving with young boys to do illegal mining for them.

Galamsey which was a crude form of the statement, “gather them and sell,” is an illegal mining activity by both young and old with the full support and connivance of big and influential men in the society. This illegal activity started long before Ghana gained its independence. Ghana happens to be the 10th leading producer of gold in the entire world and 2nd in Africa. This illegal mining activity became a blessing and a curse and this will be explained in detail in the article. The curse far outweighed the blessings due to health hazards, environmental degradation, the destruction of farm lands and the indiscriminate pollution of water bodies.

Mining itself is a major economic activity in many developing countries. In Ghana, small-scale mining was once a respected traditional vocation. In the late 80s, the government officially legalized small-scale mining. This decision brought to the fore some challenges, including the mechanism by which the government granted concession to peasants. The process was very cumbersome and slow, thus compelling many to mine illicitly. Galamsey began in earnest and boomed from regime to regime, only to intensify during Mahama’s regime. Since then galamsey became a source of livelihood for those who live near the legal mining communities. They were motivated to enter the illegal mining due to unemployment, poverty and increase in price of gold in the world market. As a result many people including the jobless have swarmed the mining areas to engage in galamsey. Even those whose cocoa trees could not yield much, have abandoned farming and joined the galamsey business.

Ghana is naturally well endowed with fresh water sources. The abundance of water sources was an envy of most countries that have no such water sources. Sadly enough, these illegal miners are busy polluting and destroying our enviable, fresh and drinkable water sources right under the very noses of governments, local authorities and concerned Ghanaians. Environmentalists and climate scientists have consistently warned the local population that if the destruction and pollution of the water sources persist, within the next 20 to 30 years, water will have to be imported from other countries. These shameless and illegal miners do not think or are even conscious of any precautionary measures to be taken to abate the nuisance. The mighty river Supong which runs in Asiakwa in the Eastern region is a pathetic example of continuous pollution. Supong River which once provided cool, clean and extremely refreshing water to drink has now turned smelly and yellowish. The river is now filled with mud, algae and weeds.

The situation became worse when the Chinese travelled to Ghana in their numbers and directed their journeys towards the gold mining areas in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions. Their presence was much felt during the rule of former president Mahama. Majority of them joined the illegal mining. Some of them were fronted and aided by Ghanaians to register small scale mining companies. Since they had a lot of money, they were able to pay the local chiefs for land to be released for their mining activities to begin. Even cocoa farms were sold to them to be destroyed for gold mining purposes. Heavy machines including excavators and tipper trucks were brought from China to help in their search for gold. Soon they began to destroy more farms and water bodies with cyanide and other dangerous products used to fish for the gold.

Concerned Ghanaians protested against the Chinese involvement in galamsey and small scale mining. The Chinese met the anger and protest of Ghanaians with force. So far not less than ten Ghanaians have been shot dead by the Chinese and not even a single Chinese was put before court. The gaping holes created by illegal mining have trapped and killed many children, women and farmers. Yet they are heavily protected by police and retired soldiers in military uniforms.

Small scale mining and not galamsey could have been an important source of livelihood for relatively low-income Ghanaians, as well as highly significant for the economy as a whole. Sadly enough, this area has been taking over by Chinese in contravention of the Mineral and Mining Act 206 and Act 703. These Acts outline clearly that small scale mining is strictly reserved for Ghanaians. If the law says so, why then do we allow Chinese citizens to enter and completely take over small-scale mining? The Chinese are smarter. They put Ghanaians in the fore-front to register the companies on their behalf.

The situation in the mining areas had gotten out of hand. Cocoa trees and other crops were being uprooted and destroyed by the Chinese to give way to galamsey and small-scale mining. The environment was being destroyed, water bodies were being polluted, gaping holes were being abandoned in the forest, abandoned holes have ensnared and killed many and the Chinese are gunning down and hacking people down at random. Several complaints and protests were launched by concerned Ghanaians for an effective leader and government to emerge to save the mining areas from illegal miners.

Happily in January 2017, a courageous leader, a visionary, a disciplined and an incorrupt man, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was sworn in as the fifth president of Ghana. One Friday in

galamsey ‘queen’ Aisha Huang

Kumasi, few months after assuming power as a deputy Minister for lands and mineral resources, Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi disclosed in Kumasi that the NPP government would soon apply force and technology to fight illegal miners and warned those involved to refrain  from the practice.

Her message fell on deaf ears. Military men and police officers were deployed to the mining areas and with the help of detective devices they were able to drive illegal miners away and all their excavators and other equipment were seized. A die-hard, stubborn Chinese woman named Aisha was arrested three times for illegal mining despite the government’s ban. She was released three times because she blackmailed the powers that be with tapes and videos she commissioned Chinese women to have sexual encounter with Ghanaian power brokers. After her startling revelations, she was arrested for the fourth and this arrest may probably be the last and she may either be imprisoned or repatriated to China.
Already majority of Ghanaians are applauding Nana Addo for his determination to relegate illegal mining into the abyss of forgetfulness and to ensure that small scale miners conform to the laws. The government has a great job on its hand to clean the polluted water bodies and to fill all the gaping holes to prevent further accidents.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

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