The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth He has given to the sons of men -- Psalm 115:16.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

African Civil Society mobilizing towards Lima Climate Talks

The eyes of the world are fixed on Lima, Peru, as key actors for climate talks gather for the 2014 United Nations climate change conference.

The 20th Session of UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP20) holding from December 1–12, 2014 is the supreme governing body of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ahead of the event, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has been hosting a series of activities to create awareness on climate change issues whilst mobilizing African Civil Society for a common position for the upcoming Conference.

The ‘PACJA Week of Action’ is an Africa-wide annual initiative aimed at stimulating actions and reinforcing efforts to exercise the power of collective action ahead of COP 20.

In the course of the year, the action has been happening in 17 countries across Africa, which is also coming up with a road map to have a binding agreement at COP 21 in Paris.
 
The country-level activities play a critical role in consolidating the African Common Position in the Climate Talks.

PACJA shares in Africa’s demand for the upcoming Climate talks which include long-term negotiations in setting a global budget and sharing it fairly as well as scaling up climate finance commitments from developed countries

To meet the need, developed countries are to increase their 2020 pledges to 40-50% below 1990 levels and the Post-2020 negotiations to work toward agreeing a global emissions budget that gives humanity a reasonable chance of limiting warming well below 1.50C – less than 605Gt CO2 more emissions.

Peru will receive about 15,000 people, which represent 194 countries and stakeholders from international organizations, civil society, private sector and several mass media, as well as presidents and ministers.
 
COP20 is a crucial moment to reach a climate change agreement in 2015 in Paris. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taming the climate for the sake of agricultural production

The extremes of weather conditions cause severe disruptions to agricultural production systems, the environment, and the biodiversity that supports food production systems.

This phenomenon of climate change is expected to complicate efforts in finding solutions to the problem of Africa’s agriculture to match the needs of a growing population.

The Africa Union Commission and partners have been looking into options that can turn climate challenges into opportunities.

The Fourth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) recently held in Marrakesh, Morocco, interrogated climate smart agriculture as an emotive issue to sustainably increase productivity.

Kofi Adu Domfeh in this report engages interest groups on how Africa can feed itself in the face of climate change.

Listen to audio report...




Friday, November 21, 2014

Managing an efficient water-energy-food nexus in the face of climate change

The future population growth in Africa means there will be a corresponding increase in water, energy, and food consumption – these three are tightly connected.

Water is essential for crop production and energy creation whilst energy is needed to clean and transport water for crop irrigation. These interdependent resources are vital for sustaining our growing population.

At the recently hold Fourth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV), interest groups discussed the water-energy-food production nexus in relations to threats of alterations to be caused by climate change.


Kofi Adu Domfeh reports on the importance of sustainable land and water management to overcome the challenge of Africa’s ability to feed itself.

Listen to audio report...




Private sector gets conscious of climate change developments

Change has been identified as one of the major challenges to sustainable growth and development in developing economies like Ghana.

Businesses are as vulnerable as local communities to the negative effects of the changing climate – extreme weather conditions affect food production, forests and human health which have implication for businesses.

The Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has over the years provided grants for the private sector to undertake advocacy actions to contribute to the improvement in the business environment.

The Fund, in the next couple of years, is turning to capacity building in climate change adaptation and mitigation activities, in addition to its business advocacy.

“We have throughout all our grants noticed that businesses are being affected by climate change and that there is an increasing focus from government and donor community on looking at climate change issues and there are a number of advocacy issues which have clear climate change implications that we could help our grantees with”, noted Nicolas Gebara, Fund Manager at BUSAC Ghana.

Beneficiary grantees are supported in the areas bush fire burning, cutting of economic trees and renewable energy sources.

The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), an umbrella body for the promotion of private sector interests in Ghana, has provided a platform for various private and public sector stakeholders to discuss developments and challenges on how the private sector can take advantage of business opportunities in the green economy.

Under its ‘Mapping of Environmental and Climate Change Projects in Ghana’, the Federation is seeking to undertake proper mapping-up of climate change interventions to help the private sector take advantage of the business opportunities through coordinated partnerships and easy access to information.

With support from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), the Federation seeks to accomplish its target by mapping out all climate change and environment stakeholders and their activities; creating a momentum for networking and awareness creation on climate change and the environment; stimulating real investment in climate change and environment led by the private sector ; and creating the opportunity for business-to-business dialogue on climate change and environment – a nexus of the private sector and climate change.

Ghanaian businesses can explore opportunities in development innovations for climate-smart agricultural production and value addition, engage in tree plantations to tap into carbon financing, establish green estates and generate efficient energy options.

According to Mr. Gebara, there are opportunities for private sector businesses by “interacting more at the international level to get source of finances that can provide the resources to put into programmes that combat climate change.”

He observed a high level of awareness of climate change among private sector interest groups which can be translated into action.

“The policy is there and there is the clear need now to implement that policy and implement an action plan in order to start to combating climate change and adapting to climate change to secure food and secure livelihood of the Ghanaian people,” said the BUSAC Fund Manager.

The National Climate Change Policy was launched in July 2014 to reflect Ghana’s Shared Growth Agenda, a blueprint for national development.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ghana to benefit from Eutelsat and Spacecom digital market expansion

Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators has signed a partnership agreement with Spacecom to drive expansion of digital entertainment services at one of Africa’s fastest-growing video neighbourhoods.

The two companies have established a framework for cross-commercialisation of Ku-band capacity connected to the high-power African service areas of Eutelsat’s EUTELSAT 16A satellite at 16° East and Spacecom’s AMOS-5 satellite at 17° East.

The combined channel line-up of both satellites already comprises over 100 free-to-air African and international channels that can be received by standard 80cm dishes in a vast footprint covering over 30 million TV homes located notably in Francophone Africa and extending to Ghana and Nigeria.

“This agreement between Eutelsat and Spacecom shows how neighbouring operators can combine their strengths to offer Africa’s broadcast community the full benefits of their expertise,” said Rodney Benn, Eutelsat’s Regional Vice President for Africa “Spacecom is one of the most dynamic satellite companies in the African marketplace and we look forward to working with them on building on our shared vision of aggregating the most compelling content for TV viewers at a single neighbourhood.”
 
Leveraging their respective knowledge of Africa’s fast-growing broadcast markets, the two operators will pool their commercial efforts to ignite further growth at the 16-17° East position, which is already the leading DTH and free-to-air video neighbourhood in West Africa.

In addition to improving the quality and effectiveness of broadcasting services, this unique agreement raises the bar for service continuity for broadcasters and will deliver viewers a larger channel line-up from one virtual orbital position.

Launched in 2011 and equipped with identical Ku-band African footprints, the EUTELSAT 16A and AMOS-5 satellites host free-to-air channels as well as pay-TV, DTT and free-to-view platforms for media companies who are increasingly turning to satellites as the fastest and most competitive route to digital content delivery.

Amir Carmeli, SVP Sales West Africa & France of Spacecom, said: "Africa is a tremendously dynamic market for digital broadcasting. Our agreement with Eutelsat enriches viewers' experiences throughout the continent. By creating a joint effort that aggregates content and improves the commercial reach of advertisers, we are optimising the broadcast environment. The availability of diverse and quality broadcasts from Africa and abroad, extends the limits of African entertainment possibilities and develops social and educational values.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NPA clamps down on illegal sales of petroleum products in Ashanti

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is embarking on a three-day exercise to clamp down on illegal sales of petroleum products in the Ashanti region.

The operation is in collaboration with the security agencies, targeting table top sellers of petrol and diesel in the Kumasi metropolis and Ejisu municipality.

Three dealers engaged in the illegal trade in suburbs of Kumasi were arrested on the first day of the exercise on Tuesday.

The fuel vendors sell petrol in gallons by the streets and other established locations, where fuel is placed in drums and served with the use of huge funnels to fill up gallons and vehicles of clients that turn up.

The NPA believes these table top dealers are either selling products at unapproved prices or engaged in adulteration of products to make higher profit margins.

“We cannot tell at this stage where they get their products from but clearly from the distribution cycle in the industry, no BDC [Bulk Distribution Company] will supply products to peddlers,” noted Yaro Kasambata, Head of Public Relations and Consumer Services at the NPA.

The NPA Act prohibits any person, other than one licensed under the Act, from being in possession of a petroleum product in quantities unreasonably in excess of that person’s immediate requirement.

The fear is that these illegal sales of petroleum products could lead to fire explosions as the dealers of the highly inflammable fuel operate with no safety measure.

Mr. Kasambata says the ongoing operation is to uphold the quality, pricing and safety in retailing of petroleum products.

“We are doing this to ensure that we can sanitize the downstream industry,” he stated. “We want to ensure that standards are applied across board in all aspects of the industry.”

The clamp down will be extended to other parts of the country.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Market women suspect excessive use of agro-chemicals in vegetable production

Some market women in Kumasi suspect wrong use of agro-chemicals by farmers in vegetable production affects the quality of farm produce during preservation.

The traders complain they can no longer use the old method of preservation to store fresh vegetables for future sales.

They believe farmers are either applying excessive chemicals or wrong ones on vegetables as compare to previous years.

Vegetable sellers at the Kumasi Central Market say they are running at a loss because of their inability to find a lasting solution to the problem.

There are also concerns for consumer safety as produce going bad are sold cheap to food vendors.

Akosua, a tomato seller who has been in the business for over 20years, told Luv Biz “the chemicals used destroy the tomatoes nowadays”.

She and her colleagues expect the government to help establish storage facilities to preserve the fresh vegetables during bumper harvest.

Post-harvest loss is one of the major challenges in Ghana’s food value chain.

Samuel Mensah Asumadu, a lecturer at the General Agric Department of Sunyani Polytechnic, attributes the challenge to the production of new crop varieties, which may have shorter shelf-life.

He also identifies other factors to include poor soil nutrition and poor application of chemicals to ward off pests and diseases.


According to him, value addition to produce is a major way out in addressing the post-harvest losses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Medical laboratories uneasy at delayed implementation of policies

Government needs to put three policy documents into operations to advance the quest of improving the quality medical laboratory systems and practice in Ghana.

The National Health Laboratory Policy, the National Health Laboratory Strategic Policy and the National Health Laboratory Accreditation Policy spell out the medical laboratory governance and practice to protect human health and public safety.

The policies have been shelved since completion over a year ago, constraining the ability of the laboratories to deliver quality services.

The Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS) has therefore tasked the Ministry of Health to launch the policy documents without further delay to promote professionalism in the sector.

“We regret the lack of a national policy direction for the provision of medical laboratory services in the country”, members stated in a communiqué issued at the end of the 2014 Annual National Congress of the Association held in Elmina, Central region on the theme: “Medical Laboratories Are Vital”.

The Congress deliberated on the contemporary health issues in the country, including the Cholera outbreak and the threat of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.

“We decry the limited capacity of our Public Health Reference Medical Laboratories to adequately handle biosafety class III/IV pathogens – including Ebola and Marburg – and other epidemic prone infectious diseases, including cholera, in Ghana,” read the statement. “We find the attitude and the level of laboratory support preparedness of the Government against the threat of the deadly Ebola virus, and its management of the recent cholera outbreak as woefully inadequate.”

Members also appraised the quality and regulation of the country’s medical laboratory services and systems, and re-affirmed their commitment to providing quality health care to the citizenry.

Meanwhile, the GABMLS at Congress elected new National Executive Officers to steer the affairs of the Association for the period 2014-2016.

BMS Thomas Kwabena Gyampomah, who is a Deputy Chief Biomedical Scientist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, was elected the new President, to take over from the outgoing, Prince Sokode Amuzu.
 
Others are BMS Abu Abudu Rahamani, Vice-President; BMS Michael Amo Omari, General Secretary; and BMS Edward Yaw, Financial Secretary.


The GABMLS is the sole body of all medical laboratory professionals in Ghana, responsible for assuring quality medical laboratory testing, reporting, consultative and interpretative services which contribute to early disease detection, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of disease conditions in humans.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Woodworkers Association challenges parliament over quality of local furniture

Local woodworkers are challenging Parliament to test their skills in the wake of concerns about the quality of chairs imported from China for the House.

President of the Woodworkers Association of Ghana (WAG), Reynolds Debrah, says members are prepared to produce free samples for comparison with the imported ones.

“We are throwing this challenge to the government and to parliamentarians that they should bring one of the broken chairs to us; we’ll produce five new ones so that they will compare and the next time they fall on us,” he told Luv Fm.

Mr. Debrah says costing should be a factor because “if our cost is even high, it’s within the country; it is Ghanaians getting this money and they’ll use it in Ghana to build the economy”.

He is surprised at government’s sudden turn to foreign products when it seeks to encourage Ghanaians to patronize locally- made goods.

“Ghanaians have the capacity to produce even better chairs than that of China, which is more durable,” noted Mr. Debrah. “If they order these things from us Ghanaian, we create employment and the dollar which is running away from us, our contribution will help the dollar come down to stabilize.”

The woodworkers expect government to reduce “bureaucratic bottlenecks” in tendering processes to give them the opportunity to produce to meet demands.

They also entreat the Ministry of Trade and Industry to help revive the Ghana International Furniture Exhibition (GIFEX) to provide the platform for showcasing of Ghanaian furniture products.

“We want the public to know that there are competent and skillful woodworkers in Ghana who can adequately furnish all government or state institutions with quality furniture products,” said Mr. Debrah.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Future of broadcasting industry discussed at DISCOP Africa

The future of broadcasting has been the focus of discussions at the ninth edition of DISCOP Africa, an annual tradeshow that brings together buyers, sellers and producers of televised entertainment content, seeking to do business with and across the continent.

This year’s conference is significant as governments and regulators are under pressure to ensure Africa’s television ecosystem fully switches from analogue to digital by June 2015.

The industry is now worth half a billion dollars in annual TV content sales, a figure that has doubled since 2010 – 95% of these sales are initiated or concluded at DISCOP Africa.

This mandate has come with its set of challenges and it is becoming apparent that the industry will not achieve 100% penetration without a combination of new platforms and collaboration between all players within the ecosystem.

Eutelsat, one of the world's leading satellite operators, leading discussions at the future of broadcasting in Africa at the DISCOP.

Rodney Benn, Africa Regional Vice-President for Eutelsat, has been exploring the role satellites will play in the fundamental transformation of the African TV market – ensuring broad access to choice, quality and competitive offers.

“There is a lot to do. The main thing is to make sure that the network is physically ready,” he told Luv Fm on the opportunities and challenges with the rollout of the digital terrestrial television (DTT) network infrastructure.

Tanzania and Mauritius are the only African countries that have been successful in the switch over.

The transition from analogue to digital would require every household to purchase either a digital television set or buy decoder for their current analogue TV sets before they can watch TV in the near future.

Mr. Benn said Ghana needs between 10-20million set of boxes to be supplied but observed that the speed of manufacturing the digi-boxes and distribution of the boxes are challenges the country needs to surmount.

Since January 2014, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has given standards for the type of decoder or set top boxes (STBs) that Ghana would be allowed in Ghana. Some stations have others are distributing approved decoders.

The first phase of the rollout is expected to be complete by end of year 2014 when the country would begin to switch off the analogue television systems.

But the network infrastructure rollover would cost the country over US$100million.

“Implementing a DTT strategy or DTT project is a function of public awareness, finance and it’s a function of political will and I think all of those things exist in Ghana,” stated Mr. Benn. He however says public education on the DTT needs to be intensified whilst government and the private sector collaborate to effectively manage the rollout the migration plan.

DISCOP Africa provides investors looking to fund projects and services in TV content delivery and management solutions the engage stakeholders in the digital switchover.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

GSMA introduces Code of Conduct for mobile money providers

The GSMA has launched a Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers, outlining a series of common business principles to enable the development of safe and responsible digital financial services.

The first mobile network operators (MNOs) to endorse the Code are Airtel, Avea, Axiata, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, Telenor, Vodafone and Zain.

Together, these MNO groups represent 82 mobile money deployments operating in 51 countries.

“By endorsing the Code of Conduct, mobile operators are demonstrating their commitment to offering safe and reliable services, which will strengthen the digital financial ecosystem by fostering consistent implementation of business practices that ensure service quality, enhance customer satisfaction, facilitate commercial partnerships, and build trust with regulators,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “The GSMA strongly encourages all of its members offering mobile money services to endorse the Code that we’ve introduced today.”

The companies that have subscribed to the Code are formalising their commitment to eight principles underpinning three key areas of importance: soundness of services; security of the mobile network and channel; and the fair treatment of customers.

Providers that endorse the Code commit to safeguard customer funds against risk of loss; maintain effective mechanisms to combat money laundering and terrorist financing; equip and monitor staff, agents, and entities providing outsourced services to ensure that they offer safe and reliable services; and ensure reliable service provision with sufficient network and system capacity.

They will also take robust steps to ensure the security of the mobile network and channel; communicate clear, sufficient and timely information to empower customers to make informed decisions; develop mechanisms to ensure that complaints are effectively addressed and problems are resolved in a timely manner; and collect, process, and/or transmit personal data fairly and securely.

The GSMA is also working with members and expert organisations in developing recommended business practices to provide guidance on how groups and country-level mobile money providers can effectively operationalise the principles that underlie the Code.

In addition, the GSMA and the providers participating in the initiative will work to develop a self-assessment process along with a robust certification regime for verifying compliance with the Code of Conduct.


The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. 

Mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa to hit half a billion by 2020

The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020 as mobile services become increasingly affordable and accessible to millions of currently unconnected citizens across the region.

Unique mobile subscriber penetration as a percentage of the region’s population is forecast to rise to 49 per cent by the projected year.

This is according to ‘Mobile Economy 2014: Sub-Saharan Africa’, the new GSMA report issued at the Mobile 360-Africa event in Cape Town, South Africa.

The region has been the world’s fastest-growing mobile region over the last five years in terms of both unique mobile subscribers and mobile connections, and is forecast to continue to lead global growth through 2020.

“The mobile industry has transformed the lives of millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa, providing not just connectivity but also an essential gateway to a wide range of healthcare, education and financial services,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “As today’s report shows, millions of additional citizens in the region will become mobile subscribers over the next six years, with many being able to access the internet for the first time via low-cost smartphones and mobile broadband networks. Operators and other ecosystem players, as well as governments and regulators, all have a role to play in ensuring that affordable mobile services can be extended across the region.” 

The World’s Fastest-Growing Mobile Region

The Sub-Saharan Africa region includes 46 countries in total. The six largest markets, in order of size, are Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, which together account for over half of the region’s unique mobile subscriber base.

There were 329 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of June 2014, equivalent to 38 per cent of the region’s total population. This unique subscriber base is forecast to grow by 7 per cent per year (CAGR) to 2020 to reach just over half a billion and account for 49 per cent of the population. By this point, Sub-Saharan Africa will have overtaken Europe to become the world’s second-largest mobile market after Asia Pacific.
 
The number of mobile connections in the region stood at 608 million in June 2014, forecast to rise to 975 million by 2020. The region is seeing a rapid migration to mobile broadband networks; 3G accounted for only 17 per cent of total connections in June 2014, but is forecast to account for more than half of the total by 2020 as local operators deploy new mobile broadband networks and smartphones become more affordable. 4G adoption is at an early stage in the region today, but is expected to account for 4 per cent of total connections by 2020.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also expected to see the strongest growth of any global region in the number of smartphone connections over the next six years, reaching 525 million by 2020. The growing adoption of smartphones along with other data-capable devices such as tablets and dongles is contributing to a significant increase in mobile data traffic. According to Ericsson, mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow 20-fold between 2013 to 2019, rising from 37,500 terabytes per month in 2013 to 764,000 terabytes per month by 2019. This growth rate is twice the global growth rate over the same period. 

Powering the African Economies

The mobile industry is a valuable and growing contributor to the regional economies of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, the mobile industry contributed 5.4 per cent to overall gross domestic product (GDP) in the region, equivalent to US$75 billion; this included a direct contribution by mobile operators of US$27 billion or 1.9 per cent of GDP. It is estimated that by 2020 the mobile industry will contribute US$104 billion to the region’s economy, representing at that point 6.2 per cent of the region’s projected GDP.

The industry is also a significant source of employment and job creation in the region. In 2013, the mobile ecosystem directly employed nearly 2.4 million people and indirectly supported a further 3.7 million jobs. The industry also makes a large contribution to public funding in the form of general taxation (US$13 billion in 2013), and through further contributions via licence and regulatory fees and spectrum auctions.

Operators in the region invested more than US$45 billion over the last six years (2008 to 2013) to expand coverage and increase network capacity. Capital expenditure over the next seven years (2014 to 2020) is forecast to total around US$97 billion as operators accelerate investments in order to meet rising demand for mobile data services.

Connecting the Unconnected 

Despite strong subscriber growth in recent years, Sub-Saharan Africa is still the world’s least penetrated mobile region and local operators face several challenges in their efforts to expand network coverage on a cost-effective basis to unconnected populations. According to the report, the implementation of commercially agreed network sharing deals and ensuring the timely release of Digital Dividend spectrum will be important factors in achieving this goal.

Due to the lack of fixed-line infrastructure in the region, mobile is established as the primary means of accessing the internet. At the end of 2013, there were almost 150 million individuals using mobile devices to access the internet across the region, over 60 per cent of which were doing so via 2G devices. The mobile internet penetration rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase to 37 per cent by 2020, with an additional 240 million people across the region becoming mobile internet users over the period.


“To fully realise the transformative potential of mobile in Sub-Saharan Africa, the mobile industry requires a supportive regulatory framework that provides long-term stability and encourages investment,” added Bouverot. “This includes the need for clear and transparent spectrum management processes, as well as tackling high levels of taxation in some markets. Addressing these issues will allow mobile to power a fresh wave of growth and innovation in this fast-developing region.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day for Food and Nutrition drives CAADP momentum for a hunger-free Africa

The 5th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security is being commemorated on the theme “Accelerated action for a hunger free Africa”.

This year’s celebration opened in Kinshasa with a call for enhanced efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition in Africa.

It is organized by the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and United Nations Agencies.

The event is to cultivate collective responsibility toward increasing sustainable access to safe, nutritious and healthy foods through increased trade amongst Africa’s countries.

In addition, it seeks to share knowledge and motivate the adoption and scaling up of best practices and quick-win food and nutrition security actions and programmes.

Speaking during the official opening, AUC’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace said, Africa has continued to experience worsening episodes of under-nutrition, vulnerability to famines and harrowing statistics of stunting.
 
“It takes action to accelerate ending hunger within a decade from now,” she said. “This is why our Heads of State and Government at their Summit in Malabo committed to upholding the values and principles set by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which includes enhancing public and private investment in agriculture; ending hunger and halving poverty by 2025 and boosting intra African trade in agriculture commodities.”

These are efforts that have to be strategically implemented to ensure sustainable growth and development in the agricultural sector in Africa, Mrs. Tumusiime underscored.

DRC’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Jean Mukesyayira, said, “We are transforming Congolese agriculture from subsistence to commercial to secure a variety of food enough for all, to guarantee food and nutrition security.”
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in DRC, Mr. Ndiafa Gueye, also called for enhanced acceleration of actions to rid Africa of hunger and malnutrition.

Efforts of the 5th ADFNS are set to increase the CAADP momentum and contribute towards the commitments made in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea by Heads of State and Government and to contribute towards the roadmap to reaching the set targets.


The commemoration of the Day drew the participation of high-level leaders from global, regional and national agriculture associations, African and other governments, civil society and farmers’ organizations, the private sector, scientific and research institutions, farmer organizations and development partners.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Multimedia Group Adjudged Tourism-Oriented Media of the Year

Multimedia Group Limited was adjudged the ‘Tourism Oriented Media of the Year’ at the 2014 Ashanti Regional Tourism Awards event held in Kumasi.

The 9th edition of the event, organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) was on the theme: ‘‘Harnessing Our Tourism Resources for National Development’’.

“The primary objective of the tourism awards scheme is to encourage pursuit of excellence by tourism plant owners, management and workers,” said Ekow Sampson, Ashanti Regional Manager of GTA.

It also seeks to motivate corporate bodies and individuals to support tourism   development.

The Kumasi Unit of Multimedia Group Limited – comprising Luv FM and Nhyira FM – was honoured in recognition of outstanding achievements in the development and promotion of tourism in the Ashanti Region.

“With passion for events and tourism activities, it [Multimedia] has partnered district assemblies and the Ghana Tourism Authority to organize successful events during public holidays,” read a citation accompanying the Award.
 
Luv FM and Nhyira FM have over the years organised events to drive domestic tourists to the Lake Bosomtwe attraction area.

Senior Sales and Marketing Manager, Isaac Antwi, who received the Award on behalf of Multimedia Group, re-stated the resolve of the company to churn out development-oriented events and programs.

He said “Multimedia will continue to deliver, to its cherished listeners, irresistible and addictive content whilst maintaining higher standards in the media industry.”

The awards event saw about 39 establishments winning in various categories.

“I wish to state that the Ashanti Regional Tourism Awards event which started over twenty years ago has impacted positively on the standard of facilities and services in the region,” observed Mr. Sampson. “There has been remarkable increase in the provision of quality hotels, restaurants, car rental establishments, fast food joints, traditional chop bars, night clubs in Ashanti Region”.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lord Kenya marks anniversary in prison

It’s been four years since the former hiplife superstar was “arrested” by the Holy Spirit to start his Christ business as a ‘born-again.’

For Evangelist Lord Kenya, October 28, 2010 will forever remain important, and he chose to commemorate his 4th anniversary of his new life in Christ with inmates of the Kumasi Central Prisons.

In demonstration of his commitment to the prisons ministry, he also presented foodstuff and other items to inmates.

Lord Kenya shared testimonies and encouraged inmates to “know that whatever that is happening to them, God loves them.”

According to him, “once by the grace I’m not dead they also need to be encouraged that all is not lost and especially some of them are there innocently.”

The ‘rap heavyweight champion’ tells Luv News starting a new life has not been easy “but the most important thing is that I cannot compare the dark and the light; so it’s been challenging but also very fulfilling.”
 
Evangelist Kenya is most excited at the number of lives he has touched in the last four years as he frequents schools, churches and open spaces to preach the Gospel of Christ.

From the ghetto to the church has been the central theme of his evangelism, testifying of his addiction to drugs and eventual miraculous liberation by “an invisible hand”.

“Soul winning is our agenda, so lives have been touched in terms of those who have been lost are getting found and also helping others with drug problems and coupled with the healing which is my gift through my ministry; we say glory be to God,” said the Evangelist.

He is trusting God to take his ministry to a higher level but Lord Kenya has his eyes high up on establishing a rehabilitation centre for addicts.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Ghanaian entrepreneurs slow to access equity financing

Demand for start-up funding as well as capital for business expansion remains high in Ghana.

Local manufacturers, especially, complain of high cost of credit at the commercial banks to grow operations.

But there are other funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, which inherently place limited burden on business operators. Sources of equity financing in Ghana include the Venture Capital Trust Fund and the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF).

Luv Biz enquiries however suggest most entrepreneurs are reluctant to access such funds for fear of sharing ownership with fund managers.

“It has become a challenge for some of them [entrepreneurs]; we’ve had to go through a process of going to fund a company, where we’ve given the company the offer for them to turn it down, several times, because you are going to share ownership,” noted Percival Ofori Ampomah, Head of Investments at the Venture Capital Trust Fund.

Equity financing often involves buying ownership and sharing in decision making at the Board level of a company for a period of time.

The Trust Fund is a government of Ghana backed private equity initiative providing long-term funds and technical support to enable SMEs grow and expand operations.

Since 2006, the Trust Fund has partnered with various private sector institutions and invested in 46 SMEs across various sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

A lot more local businesses are however least informed of such existing opportunities.

Dr. Kwaku Adu Aninkora, Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Advisory Committee of the Ghana Employers Association, acknowledged it is difficult for local businesses to raise capital without going in for equity financing.

He is encouraging members to open up their books to such funding opportunities.

“They are coming with about 70-80percent [of funding] and yours is to tope up with the 20percent… we have come to a stage where we need to partner each other and then move forward because no individual in Ghana can raise the needed capital for his or her business and the interest rates of the local banks are killing,” said Dr. Aninkora.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Employers Association has initiated moves to provide guarantee for members to access EDAIF.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stranded Ghanaian drivers in Niger want government intervention

There is uncertainty over the fate of about 100 stranded Ghanaian bus drivers in the Nigerien Capital, Niamey.

The Ghanaians had been held in the Francophone country for about two months after police allegedly seized their travel and vehicle documents.

The action is believed to be a crack-down on foreign vehicles which are more preferred by passengers than local vehicles.  

Union leaders in Niger are said to have conspired with security agents to prevent travelers from patronizing comfortable Ghanaian buses which are preferred to Nigerien rickety vehicles.     

One of the drivers, Francis Awuah told Luv News from Niamey two of his colleagues allegedly remained in custody for days after police arrested them for committing no crime.

“The Niger Police have confiscated our vehicle and driving documents. They will neither allow us to load nor give back our documents for us to return. Some have been confiscated for two months, others a month. They are not offering any explanation for the action,” he said.

Some Ghanaian passengers arriving from Libya through Niger are also worried at the situation as they protest the “deplorable state of the vehicles” being offered by the Nigerien authorities for their return home.

“Most of us arrived from the dessert but are challenged in getting vehicles home. There are a lot of people here hoping to return to Ghana but the vehicles here are not roadworthy,” said a stranded passenger.

A source in Niamey told Luv News on Friday that all the drivers had received their documents back and returned to Ghana.

Checks however indicate some of the drivers managed to pay their way through to retrieve their documents, whilst many others remain stranded in Niger. According to them, they are now cash-strapped and have resorted to begging to survive.

The stranded drivers are calling on the government to intervene for the release of their travel documents.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

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