Tag: ECOWAS


UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce Launches Investment Tour in Accra for British Businesses

The UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) will host a multi-sector business trip to Accra for British companies, investors, exporters, importers and SMEs, in October 2016.

The five-day Ghana Investment Tour (GIT) will focus on showcasing collaborative and investment opportunities in Ghana’s technology, tourism and agriculture sectors, and provide a platform for UK firms, SMEs and investors to communicate with key regulators, potential local partners, and leading private sector players in the country.

The UKGCC, officially launching in Accra on 1st September 2016, is set up to facilitate and YlQZH9wrpromote trade and commercial relations between the UK and Ghana, and act as the voice for British businesses looking to access and engage with the Ghanaian market, whilst providing assistance to Ghanaian companies investing in the UK.

UKGCC’s CEO Tony Burkson, based in Accra, says: ‘Ghana remains an exciting prospect for British companies due to its historic trading relationships with the UK. British expertise and innovation is highly sought after in Ghana and the wider West Africa region. The Ghana Investment Tour is an opportunity for British companies to meet decision makers, regulators and potential business partners in Ghana. The UKGCC is excited to welcome British businesses to Accra in October for the Ghana Investment Tour.’

The UK is one of the largest foreign investors in Ghana, and several British brands already operate in the West African country, including Barclays, Standard Chartered, Vodafone, Tullow, Blue Skies, British Airways, G4S, Prudential, GlaxoSmithKline, and Diageo. Ghana is also a favoured choice for SME’s making their first steps exporting into Africa, with benefits such as skilled and trainable labour, immediate access to all the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) markets, and a large consumer base with a growing middle class.

GIT aims to give new, business-focused entrants to Ghana a packaged opportunity to research and act-upon their business and investment interests in the country, alongside a friendly team of UK and Ghanaian experts and professionals.

The tour is supported by the Development of International Trade (DIT) in Ghana (formerly UKTI) and is organised in partnership with AB2020, a British company that connects and highlights investors, businesses, projects and entrepreneurs operating in Ghana, and sub-Saharan Africa.

AB2020 Creator and UK-born Ghanaian Akosua Annobil, based in London, says: ‘From traditional investors and angel networks, to tech start-ups and the Africa Diaspora, we’ve seen a healthy rise in appetite to do business in Ghana over the past year. However, we’ve also found that due to misconceptions, lack of connections, and perhaps a limited understanding of the diverse opportunities and cultures in the country, many are unsure of how to start and where to navigate.

‘As a UK-based company with a Ghana focus we aim to ease those anxieties, which is why we’re excited to be partnering with the UKGCC on a series of Ghana Investment Tours for the British business community in October this year, and in to 2017.’

ECOWAS-LogoGhana is one of the largest economies within ECOWAS, and in terms of investment is currently ranked 70th out of 189 countries in the latest World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, placing the country as the fifth most favourable place to conduct business in Africa after Mauritius (28th), South Africa (43rd), Rwanda (46th), Tunisia (60th), and the first in West Africa above countries such as Cote d’Ivoire (147th), Togo (149th), Benin (151st), Burkina Faso (167th) and Nigeria (170th).

With a shared history and cultural links, Ghana and the UK have a strong bilateral trade relationship, strengthened by a steady stream of ministerial and diplomatic visits from high profile figures in recent years, including HRH Prince Edward and Adam Afriyie, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.

The Ghana Investment Tour (GIT) is running from Monday 17th to Friday 21st October 2016 in Ghana’s capital city Accra. Limited spaces are currently available for UK-based delegates who can register their interest via the UKGCC website http://ukgcc.com.gh or AB2020 http://africabusiness2020.com

The Blame Game among the Two Major Political Parties in Ghana

Blaming one another for a particular problem or crime committed has been very rampant and prevalent in Ghanaian politics. Those in authority, most of the time, shirk their responsibilities while blaming others for not taking full responsibility in certain situations until things begin to go wrong. Since 2010 this blame game has been unprecedented in Ghanaian political history. This attitude, which is very recent, impedes trust, creates inter-party suspicion and dampens the spirit of democracy and fair play. This article will discuss the blame game not only among the two major parties, but also among certain individuals and personalities within these parties.

 

Bernard Allotey Jacobs, the Central Region Communications Director of the NDC already began to blame the opposition NPP for the worsening Ga chieftaincy crisis and all the disputes bedevilling the Ga state in 2012. According to Allotey Jacobs, the former president, John Kufuor and his NPP, broke the peace and tranquillity of the Ga state by poking their noses in the Ga state chieftaincy affairs. As if to strengthen or confirm Allotey’s suspicion and mistrust of Kufuor and his NPP, a palace coup which culminated in a raid of the stool house of the Ga traditional council and a subsequent installation of a rival Ga Mantse, tilts suspicion of active involvement towards NPP. The NPP vehemently denies this claim and refuses to accept the blame by Allotey Jacobs.

Chairman Wontumi

Chairman Wontumi

A recent blame game occurred when the Ashanti Regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka “Chairman Wontumi”, was arrested and detained for allegedly assaulting the MP for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah, and the constituency secretary, Felix Ibrahim. The police station was besieged by hundreds of NPP supporters and admirers of Chairman Wontumi who had been refused bail and was remanded in police custody. The blame game suddenly resurrected. The fourth deputy speaker of ECOWAS parliament, Simon Osei Mensah, accused the state of being behind Chairman Wontumi’s detention. It was also on everybody’s lips that the Ashanti region’s Police Command acted on the instructions of Flagstaff House to detain Chairman Wontumi. The underlying aim of President Mahama and the NDC, according to  Simon Osei Mensah, was to brand NPP as a violent party. Was it right to blame the government in this assault case? People argued that if the government did not have a hand in this, why would it bring in the military to guard the premises of the Regional Police station in a mere assault case?

 

The intermittent power outages that engulfed Ghana under NDC rule was the worst that ever index1happened to Ghana. The President, John Mahama, refused to accept responsibility for what became known as dumsor, but blamed the NPP for the current deficit in the nation’s energy supply. The NDC alleged that the NPP did not take the issue of power supply seriously throughout their eight year rule from 2001 to 2008, because they failed to give the needed attention to the energy sector.

President John Mahama has embarked on regional tours to give account of his stewardship during the past seven years. In between the tours he held a press conference where he made excuses and blamed all others except himself for the current charges his government is facing with regards to excessive corruption, utility price hikes, micro-finance fraud, power crisis, falling educational standards and poor national security. Concerned groups including Progressive People’s party (PPP) were greatly disappointed with President Mahama for shifting blame of his incompetence to others and also for his unimpressive account at the press conference of his stewardship.

 

President Mahama

President Mahama

Governments are elected to power primarily to solve the challenges and the developmental problems of the country irrespective of which political party caused the problem. However, in this country of ours, the two major political parties have continued to blame each other for one fault or the other. Due to this unfortunate blame game, successive governments have abandoned projects began by rival parties during their terms of office. Instead of continuing the uncompleted projects of the previous government, the ruling government shirked its responsibility. President Mahama and his NDC cannot continue to blame their predecessors after seven years in power.

President Mahama must accept the full responsibility of hardship and misrule during the past seven years of NDC rule. He dares not shift the blame to anyone else. He has been in power for the past seven years but he creates the impression that he has been at the helm of affairs for only three years. The reason why many hold on to this assertion is that he was a Vice President under a weak and sick president so he was virtually in control. He boasts openly as the architect behind every good thing that was done during the past seven years while frowning upon anything bad that is attributed to him and the NDC. Who then is President Mahama blaming for all the hardships and the bad things that have gone on and continue to go on?

 

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North in the Eastern Region, J. B. Danquah

J. B. Danquah Adu

J. B. Danquah Adu

Adu, was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant. Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi) came out to blame President Mahama for the death of Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu. His reason for blaming him stemmed from the fact that instead of President Mahama coming on air to express his shock and condolence at the sudden departure of the Abuakwa North MP, he happily and remorselessly went to the social media, Twitter, to scribble haphazard message of condolence to the bereaved family. The obvious question raised by concerned citizens of Ghana was the reason behind the President’s use of Twitter to express his shock and condolence. The question is: how many Ghanaians use Twitter? Chairman Wontumi argued that President Mahama did not announce Prof. Mills’ death on Twitter and therefore in much the same way he should have issued a statement for this tragic death. Undoubtedly Twitter is faster but he could at the same time have issued a prompt statement on air.

Stan Dogbe, a professional journalist and presidential staffer, was also blamed for master-minding the premature death of JB Danquah Adu. Asiedu, the young man who was arrested by the police, was alleged to have mentioned Stan Dogbe’s name. A journalist at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Yahaya Kwamoah, recorded a conversation between Stan Dogbe and a colleague. Stan Dogbe pursued Yahaya and wrenched the digital recorder from him and destroyed it. If what the journalist recorded did not implicate him, why then did he destroy the evidence? According to Stan Dogbe, what he was discussing with his colleague was a strategy on how to break the news to the family of the death of Samuel Nuamah, the Ghanaian Times correspondent at the Flagstaff House. His explanation can be likened to what Macbeth described as “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.” Ghanaians would have believed him more if he had allowed the recording to be played on air rather than destroying it.

The Vice President, Amissah-Arthur, has constantly been blamed for refusing the people of Central Region to visit him in his office. He denies this as a concoction coming from the imagination of hungry and desperate people who want power by all means. There was deep mistrust between two groups in the NDC, the Young Cadres Association and the Fante Students Association. The former blames the latter for leaking vital information of the party. They are branded as very mischievous and deceptive.

It is important for both parties, the NDC and NPP, to realize and accept that no government will ever be able to complete all the development projects they begin and therefore it is important and imperative for parties who take over from the incumbent to avoid blaming their predecessors for incompetence but continue and finish the uncompleted project, in the interest of Ghana’s development. Former President Rawlings embarked upon the construction of the Keta Sea Defence Wall. However, according to Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr., the Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Rawlings deceived Ghanaians into thinking that his government was going to construct the wall but rather supervised over an era of embezzlement of the monies allotted to the construction of the wall. Kufuor in his eight years in office continued and completed the Keta Sea Defence Wall without any blame to ex-President Jerry Rawlings.

ex-President Kufuor

ex-President Kufuor

President Mahama on the other hand triggered a political controversy of achievement in the Volta Region when he said the NPP did nothing for the region. This claim was too hard for ex-President Kufuor to swallow so he hit back and accused President Mahama of dishonesty. Apart from taking upon itself to complete the Keta Sea Defence Wall, the NPP government says it undertook several developmental projects of all kinds including repairing all dilapidated buildings along the beaches and strengthening the ground there to prevent erosion.

 

Indeed Ghanaians are not in any good mood to accept this blame game between these two major political parties. What Ghanaians need from these political parties are concrete steps that can be adopted to alleviate our hardships and propel us towards conscious development of our beloved country, Ghana.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

Ghana’s presidential elections 2012

Meet the Candidates : Nana Akufo-Addo

 

On December 07 2012 Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP will have aspirations of becoming the President of Ghana for the second time in four years. This time round he will be hoping for a different outcome as in 2008 he was defeated by the late former President John Atta Mills of the NDC in a closely fought election that divided Ghana. Much of this division still remains four years down the line, and once again the NPP and NDC will slug it out next month in what could be another cliffhanger of a result.

But what of the NPP’S Flag bearer?  Akufo-Addo, a lawyer by trade was elected three times between 1996 and 2004 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. From 2001 to 2007 he served as a Cabinet Minister, first as Attorney General and Minister for Justice and later as Foreign Minister for five years –  Akufo-Addo in many people’s eyes served President John Kufuor with distinction.

As Attorney General, he was responsible for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, a law that had been used to intimidate the media and criminalize free speech. The repeal has enabled the Ghanaian media to become one of the most vibrant and freest in Africa. Under his chairmanship of the Legal Sector Reform Committee, the implementation of the court automation programme was initiated. During his tenure as Foreign Minister, he was fully involved in the successful Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peace efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Bissau, and was chairman of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council in 2003

It was these kinds of achievements that singled him out as a potential leader of the NPP. Thus Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government in July 2007 to contest for the position of presidential candidate of his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the then ruling party of Ghana, for the 2008 elections. Competing against sixteen others, Akufo-Addo won 48% of the votes in the first round of that election, but was given a unanimous endorsement in the second round, making him the party’s presidential candidate.  He of course went on to lose that election in a run-off against John Atta Mills despite the fact in the first round Akufo-Addo received more votes than Mills.

Since receiving his party’s endorsement to run in the 2012 elections Akufo-Addo and the NPP have been campaigning on an anti-corruption platform. The slogan “Ghana MUST move forward” has been used to promote their policies on Jobs, Education & Healthcare.

Some of the NPP’s key ideologies/policies are as follows:

 

  • Job creation through economic growth: By implementing a Trade Policy that focuses on job creation for all. They believe this is the only way to break the hand to mouth existence and free Ghanaians to aspire to a better life and prosperity.

 

 

 

  • Building an educated society: By ensuring that no child is denied access to secondary education. Akufo-Addo and the NPP plan to remove the biggest obstacles that currently stand in the way of this (cost and access), in addition to tuition and other costs already borne by government. The NPP pledge that admission, library, computer, science centre and examination fees will all be free. They plan to fund this using a percentage of the oil revenues allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Company.

 

 

 

  • Expanding access to quality health care: By reviving and restoring confidence in the NHIS, bringing public healthcare to Ghanaians doorsteps. Akufo-Addo’s goal is to achieve universal coverage of the NHIS for all Ghanaians. The NPP will spend more on public-health education and primary healthcare. They also plan to expand health facilities and increase the training of health workers.

 

 

Nana Akufo-Addo is an accomplished politician but does his policies and ideas have any substance? He is indeed correct that Ghana must move forward but is he the man to help us achieve this?

Leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)