Tag: Africa


‘My Ghana’ – a refelctive poem on Ghana’s 60 year journey

6 March is here again, and with Ghana celebrating 60 years of independence today, many of us will undoubtedly at some point pause to reflect on how far our motherland has come, and where we are heading.

There are many who view Ghana as the beacon of Africa, but despite being recently classed as a middle-income country, several years of mismanagement by corrupt government leaders has propelled many Ghanaians into difficulties. Unemployement among the youth stands at 48%, the public debt stock stands at 73.3% of GDP and almost 9 million Ghanaians live below the poverty line.

These are just a few things that Jones Awuah touches on in ‘My Ghana’, a poem reflecting on Ghana’s 60 year journey since 1957. Have a listen below:

An Afrobeats Poem- Wake Us Up!

Copyright(c) 2016 Adwoa Asiedu

 

Can you hear the sound of the African drum?

Beating ever so loud, dying to be heard.

Can you feel the rhythm of the night?

The old has gone, new melodies have come.

New songs will be sung,

Can you see people being set free?

Thy sweet romance finally breaking out.

And will spread like flames of fire.

Once we were kept in the dark,

Today is a different story, we’re now in the light.

Leading the way for others to come.

Wake us up!

For we have been sleeping for too long.

Wake us up!

Consume us so we can take our positions.

As Kings and Queens.

By Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

 

Brexit: the economic impact on Ghana

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

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

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

Mrs Hanna Tetteh

Mrs Hanna Tetteh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seth Terkper

Seth Terkper

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

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

By Stephen Atta Owusu

How one young man is advancing youth development in rural Ghana

From outside the borders of Africa, the topic of international development tends to revolve around foreign action and what we, as external influencers, are doing to solve long-standing issues overseas. Our media tends to shade Africa with a tone of dependence, reinforcing the notion that without the help of well-intentioned social entrepreneurs from “over-developed” countries, people from any one of the 54 African nations would be lost without us.

Bawjiase, Ghana

Bawjiase, Ghana

If you’ve spent any time in Africa and allowed yourself to look through a different filter, you know that it is full of incredibly bright and motivated individuals who know their communities better than any foreigner and are already out there working on their own community driven initiatives. People like Theresa Kachindaamoto, a Malawian Chief who put an end to over 850 child marriages in her region in an effort to improve women’s rights. Or Faith Wafula, the Kenyan born founder of SEMA, a youth-targeted initiative which aims to end the cycle of gender-based violence in Kenya. People like Theresa and Faith exist in large numbers, and there are plenty of individuals like them whose stories don’t get told in the media.

During my short time as a fellow in Mama Hope’s Global Advocate Fellowship, I met a few of

Image: Mama Hope

Image: Mama Hope

these fierce individuals working to improve their communities. One of the stories I have wanted to share comes from a young Ghanaian man named Bernard Boateng. Bernard, also known as Nana Bee, works for The United Hearts Children Center in Bawjiase, Ghana which aims to end the cycle of poverty by providing children in the local community with access to quality resources.

This is Nana’s story
Bernard Boateng Image: Mama Hope

Bernard Boateng
Image: Mama Hope

My name is Bernard Boateng (Nana Bee) and I grew up in Bawjiase located in the Central Region of Ghana, mostly known for it’s farmlands, industrial minerals, and advanced higher education. Most of the people in this town earn their income through selling products in the local marketplace or farming but neither tend to be very lucrative and many people in my community are forced to make sacrifices in order to get by. Despite the sacrifices, life is actually quite beautiful out here. Our homes are set along a landscape of lush hills covered in maize and palms, our people are some of warmest and most generous you will ever meet, and we are proud of where we’re from.

For my family, money was very hard to come by. I was the oldest of four so it was my responsibility to help my family earn income to support ourselves from a young age. When I was 8, I started selling fried fish in the local market before and after school, often resulting in my arriving late and unable to perform to my best ability, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for my family. If I put in extra work then, my younger sisters would be able to attend school without having to go through the same struggles I did. In my mind, it was worth it.

How did your work with United Hearts begin?

Around the time when I was getting my degree I started building a strong relationship with one of

Image: Mama Hope

Image: Mama Hope

my father’s friends, Paul Elisha Asamoah, the founder of United Hearts. After I finished my tertiary education he asked if I would consider helping him in his work. Soon after, I began teaching the students at his orphanage because they didn’t have the funds to support a private education for all the children as well as a few children from the community. We didn’t have a structure at the time so we made a classroom under the palm trees outside and began teaching. As time passed I began taking on more responsibility; I started maintaining the farms, managing the volunteer program, monitoring the finances, and from that point I sort of ended up in this role. And now, I love what I’m doing. I don’t get paid, I’m doing it because the desire to do it was placed on my heart.

What inspired you to go a step further and work to improve the lives of individuals outside of your family?

When I was about 8 or 9 my father started farming in a plot of land near our house. He would spend days out on the farm working with the crops, working to make sure we would have enough to live off of when it came time to sell. Months later, when it was finally time to sell, he gathered a large amount of the harvest and told me to share them with our neighbors, free of charge. At 9 years old, when you’ve been working since the age of 8 to support your family, the idea of giving something away at no cost seems bizarre, but he insisted. Seeing the reaction of our neighbors, understanding the importance of kind gestures like that one, that’s what stuck for me, that’s what gave me purpose. As I grew older, I began following their lead and taking actions to improve the lives of those around me, and I am very proud to say that my life is now dedicated to helping others reach their highest potential.

What is the main goal of your work?

Image: Mama Hope

Image: Mama Hope

Many children in Bawjiase lack access to important resources which prevent them from reaching their full potential, specifically, quality education. Right now, schools are popping up like crazy, but most of them come with a price tag many families can’t afford. At United Hearts, our goal is to provide this essential resource to everyone who needs it, regardless of their economic status. For the past 9 years we have provided stable and supportive housing, food, and care for over 30 local children and, for the past 3, have provided quality education to hundreds of local children who would otherwise go without. We are dedicated to providing our children with quality resources so they may become leaders in our community and contribute to the prosperity of the next generation.

How do you think the work you do with United Hearts has impacted your community?

What’s interesting is that when you invest in a child’s life, the whole family is affected. The

United Hearts School Image: Mama Hope

United Hearts School
Image: Mama Hope

parents gain strength from seeing their children reach milestones they were never able to and feel empowered to develop alongside them, to continue to improve as their children grow. Though it may seem like we’re helping one individual, the impact stretches far beyond what we see directly. When a student comes home excited about what they’ve learned, showing clear signs of improvement and growth, it allows their parents to believe in their own growth as well; it pushes them to work harder because they want to develop alongside their children.

A lot of it is also yet to be seen. In this work you can’t expect immediate returns for your efforts, you just have to put in the time and trust that good things will come. The children of this generation are aware of the struggles their families face but are also starting to realize that they have the power to create change. If we can continue to provide them with what they need to thrive, then the rest will follow; that’s all I can hope for.

What makes this work powerful for you?

Image: Mama Hope

Image: Mama Hope

Sometimes it seems so strange to people why I do this work because I don’t earn any income. Friends have offered me paid jobs and questioned my decisions to work with United Hearts but for me, the point of life is not to make money. The passion to do this work was placed on my heart, and any hardships I face are worth it in the end. The kids make me happy. Each member of our team has dedicated themselves to our work and I know that, even if times are tough, they will stay to help us accomplish our goals because they are not here to get paid, they are here because they want to make a difference. The results we’ve seen in the community are proof to me that we are successful in our work.

How do you know this is the right path for you?

That’s what my spirit tells me.

What does being a global citizen mean to you?

To me, being a global citizen doesn’t have to mean leaving your country, but rather, allowing yourself to connect with people outside of your community to fight for one common goal. I’ve never left Ghana but I’ve met a number of wonderful people from around the world who have worked alongside us and helped us to achieve our goals. The foreigners that visit us and volunteer at United Hearts are able to meet us, live with us and work with us. They are able to put their preconceptions or stereotypes about Africans and Ghanaians aside and experience our culture for what it really is, instead of what they expect it to be. I believe we are helping to create global citizens in our staff, our volunteers, and in our kids because of these real interactions. We’re building global citizens by allowing them into our world and showing them how, through our eyes, life is quite beautiful.

Meet Watly: The Three-Pronged Solution to Africa’s Biggest Needs

When you think of rural Ghana, and the rural Sub-Sahara, the big issues can usually be distilled into three components – a need for clean drinking water, a need for sustainable sources of power, and a need for internet connectivity. Take a second now to imagine a machine that can turn contaminated water from a river, ocean or even sewage into drinking water, while at the same time generating enough electricity to power itself with surplus, and connecting everywhere within a kilometre radius to Wi-Fi.

160503160150-watly-ghana-environment-test-super-169It sounds too good to be true. And yet Spanish-Italian start-up Watly have managed to create just that! The Watly machine is a car-sized solar-powered water-purification machine which can service 3000 people, and aims to provide to rural African communities the three fundamental pillars of modern civilisation: electrical power, clean water and internet access. It is ‘H’-shaped to follow the Sun throughout the day. An incredible technological feat, it works by capturing solar energy through photovoltaic panels that line its shell, before converting that solar energy into electricity through an internal 140kwh battery.

 

“The only thing it needs to run are dirty water and a lot of sun”, says Marco Attisani, the 160503162032-watly-team-in-ghana-super-16944-year old founder and creator of the Spanish-Italian start-up Watly. Ghana was chosen as the host of the first trials, with Watly machines having been provided to many villages to see just how useful and effective they are.

The solar energy generated through the solar panels helps produce clean drinking water by using a patented graphene-based filtering process. Watly’s purification process is based on the physical principle of vapour compression distillation. It is by far the most effective and powerful method of water purification available. Watly water quality is outstanding, absolutely pure, low mineralized and with a perfect pH balance. Water quality remains constant over the 15+ years of a Watly machine’s lifespan. One Watly device can deliver 5000 litres of safe drinking water each day!

 

160506154544-watly-hub-super-169It does not need to be connected to an electric grid. Watly produces off-grid electricity to power its own internal electronics (computers, multiple-screens, 3D printers and different telecommunication devices), as well as powering a charging station for external devices (portable computers, mobile phones, portable lamps, radios, televisions, household appliances). The free electricity generated by Watly is made available to people via multiple battery chargers and electric plugs. The battery also powers a connectivity hub, providing wireless internet to an 800-meter radius of a device.

 

Those lucky enough to trial the Watly prototypes have been astounded by the capabilities of the machine, and are incredibly excited by the prospect of having this little hub be an adrenaline shot to their infrastructure and quality of daily living.

A solar-powered machine such as the Watly is seen as potentially providing a boost to 160503154117-watly-ghana-children-super-169development in Ghana’s rural areas, as well as rural areas across the Sub-Sahara, where approximately 625 million people are without electricity and approximately 39% lack access to safe water.

If the trials are successful, the Watly team will look to begin a continent-wide roll-out of the devices. Founder Attisani will be presenting the final design to potential customers and investors in July, having already cited interest from leading mobile and energy companies. The team hopes to install 10000 Watly units across Africa over the next 8 years, which will help in creating about 50000 jobs on the continent. After the initial cost of build, Watly will run for free for up to 15 years, the company estimates. And in that time it will provide 3 million litres of clean water a year, enough for 3,000 people, electricity for thousands of devices, and Wi-Fi for a kilometre-wide radius.

160503161042-watly-tried-in-ghana-super-169The project has received 1.4 million Euros from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research funding program, and are planning to collaborate with NGOs and civil society on a local level. “No technology can change the world without a human factor” ,continues Attisani. “Local partners will care for the logistics, spread the word, play a role in education and leverage functionality.”
The Watly team also hopes that their devices will lead to a surge of economic growth in the areas which they serve, by becoming a launchpad upon which local entrepreneurs can start their businesses. Creating jobs, and helping bring much needed aid in the development of rural areas in Ghana and beyond, are just some of the advantages of a project which is aiming to bring the underdeveloped areas of Ghana and Africa to the heart of the 21st century.

By Dr Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Opportunity to win $10,000 dollars!

MyAfrica photo competition

MyAfrica photo competition is an opportunity for African people of all ages and abilities to submit an image which, for them, best illustrates what they feel will shape the continent over the next 10 years.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) is seeking images that capture Africa in its many diverse settings and communities, depicting the developments, challenges and opportunities that could potentially characterize the next decade.

The theme is open to each person’s interpretation but the MIF is looking for beautiful, inspiring and original photographs.

Anyone can apply via mo.ibrahim.foundation/my-africa

So grab your cameras!

PRIZES

A winner will be selected for each category:

1st prize: Professional photographer: $10,000 USD

2nd prize: Amateur: $10,000 USD

3rd prize: Under 18s: $10,000 USD, which will be divided between the winner ($5,000 USD) and his/her school ($5,000 USD)

Entries will be judged by the MIF team. All photographs must be submitted by 5pm on 3 June 2016.

 

 

 

Casting opportunity – calling all actors and actresses!!!

large_ap-1Do you have dreams of being the next breakout star in Hollywood? Then check out this casting opportunity from Africa Probe -> -> ->

If you are a trained actor or an actor with some acting experience then this might be the opportunity for you!  Are you available to participate in a  read-through and audition? Successful applicants will be expected to commit to a few pre-shoot rehearsals. If this sounds good to you then see the casting requirements below:

African Man –  Playing age 55 – 65

African Woman  – Playing age 50 – 60

African Man (Pastor) Playing age 55 – 65

British Born African –  Playing age 25 – 30

Caucasian Man/Woman – Playing age 30 – 35

At the audition, you will be expected to enact a prepared monologue of your choice, as well as enact a section of the screenplay.

If you fit the casting criteria and are interested, please contact Devina Adwoa Aggrey via devina@africaprobe.com

Deadline is 30th April. Good Luck!

British filmmaker Koby Adom voyages to Ghana to highlight abuse of domestic workers

House Girl is a London Film School (LFS) graduation project, written and directed by student Koby Adom and produced by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. The film will be shot in February 2016 in Ghana, with a predominantly female cast.

Based on a true account, House Girl discusses the maltreatment of domestic workers in West Africa. The story is told through a British teen Jennifer who is visiting Ghana for the first time. She sees the violent abuse of young domestic worker Efua at the hands of her aunty. In an environment completely alien to her she feels compelled to rescue Efua but a twist in the tale brings Jennifer crashing back down to reality.

This film covers genres such as drama, social realism and suspense/thriller. Contemporary issues such as child abuse, modern day slavery and the African diaspora are explored also but most of all, director Koby Adom want to show of the beautiful landscape in Accra with this film.

The ‘House Girl’ team need to raise a minimum of £10,000 to make this project. Supporters can contribute to the project by visiting the kickstarter page here

To find out more about the project watch the video below:

 

Me FiRi Ghana House: Live Screening of Ghana vs Germany in London

football, ghana, world cup, #letsgoalghana, ghana v germany, mefiri ghana, 2

With England on the brink, on Saturday we turn our attention the England’s ‘adopted’ country of choice GHANA as they take on England’s arch nemesis Germany in a must win game. We’ve team up with our good friends at SPIN London and the Cellar Door team to bring an exclusive screening taking place in the heart of London, Shoreditch.

WHEREAt the Old Street Terrace, on top of the Old Street Tube Station – literally on top of it!

WHENSaturday 21st June

football, ghana, world cup, #letsgoalghana, ghana v germany, mefiri ghana, 3

Come and have enjoy this unique experience where we’re bringing you a BIG SCREENFOOD andDRINK from beginning to end. For those of you lacking in appropriate Ghanaian merchandise, we’ll be retailling Me FiRi Ghana Products on site too.

Entrance is via the stairwell in Old Street tube station.Doors open ready for the first kick off at 17:00.

FIXTURES: Saturday 21st June

17:00 GMT
Argentina V Iran

20:00 GMT
Germany V Ghana

23:00 GMT
Nigeria V Bosnia and Herzegovina

Click HERE to reserve your space

 

Join the peoples Social Media campaign supporting Ghana’s BlackStars using hash tag#LetsGoalGhana

football, ghana, world cup, #letsgoalghana, ghana v germany, mefiri ghana

F– USE ODG’s Antenna Launch in London

 

We are so proud of our boy F– USE ODG for where his musical talent is taking the Ghanaian Culture. Bangers after bangers and he hasn’t even released T.I.N.A yet….

This is a preview of what went down at F– USE ODG’s Antenna Launch Party in London. If you haven’t seen it, check it out