Things are looking good for Ghana -First Lady

First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo says things are looking good for Ghana with President Akufo-Addo in charge. She said the president “came to office with a lot of promises and he is working hard to achieve all of them” adding that “he has achieved quite a lot” since taking office. Mrs. Akufo-Addo was speaking to officials of the Ghana Embassy in the People’s Republic of China. She noted that with a determined and focused person like the President steering affairs of the country, there “is a lot of hope for Ghana and things are already looking good for Ghana.” The First Lady urged the staff to project the good name of Ghana as well as seek knowledge and skills that can help develop Ghana. “There is a lot to learn from China therefore those of you here should learn and bring the knowledge back home to improve the country”, she said. She announced that the newly constructed mother and baby unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi facilitated by the Rebecca Foundation will be inaugurated by the close of this year and her “next stop is Korle Bu.” Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Edward Boateng, assured the First Lady he and his staff will “not disappoint the president but work hard to bring more investment into the country as well as look at the well being of Ghanaians in China.” The First Lady is in China with a group of women entrepreneurs, some members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and academics to explore investment opportunities for women businesses and investment for the people and government of Ghana. Source:



‘Democracy will succeed if we build a prosperous nation’ – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the democracy Ghanaians intend to build and entrench will only succeed if it results in the building of a prosperous nation, and in people who are at peace with themselves and with the world.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “the democracy that we seek to build does not end in casting votes, and electing a President and a Member of Parliament once every four years. We seek to build a prosperous nation with equal opportunities, where all citizens feel they have a stake.”

The President indicated that never again should a Ghanaian citizen feel he has to join the desperados that cross the Sahara and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, because their own country holds no promise or hope.

“I know there will always be those among us who would want to try and seek their fortunes in foreign lands. We would wish them well, and pray that they are treated with dignity wherever they go; but it should never be because there are no opportunities in Ghana,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday when he delivered a speech on “Democracy and Development” at the Cambridge Union Society of the University of Cambridge, as part of his 3-day visit to the United Kingdom.

Ghana’s infant democracy, the President said, has put the country on the path to sustainable development, which would improve the way the natural and human resources of the country are managed.

“We are on the path to creating wealth and improving the lives of our people. We are determined to do that by transforming the structure of our economy. The neo-colonial economy, based on the production and export of raw materials, cannot form the basis of a new era of prosperity for our people,” he said.

The President continued, “We have to move, and we are moving towards an economy of processed agricultural and engineering goods and services. That is the way to job creation on a mass base, and an improvement in the incomes of ordinary Ghanaians.”

With widespread unemployment prevalent amongst the youth, which, in his view, represents the greatest threat to Ghana’s democracy and stability, President Akufo-Addo noted that only a performing, rapidly expanding economy that generates jobs can provide an urgent solution.

To this end, in the short space of 10 months since his government took office, President Akufo-Addo noted that the country’s macro-economy has been stabilising.

“The fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2016, has been reduced to 6.3%. Inflation, within the same period, has declined from 15.4% to 11.6%. Our economy has grown from 3.3% last year, the lowest in 22 years, to 7.9%. Interest rates are declining, and we are now witnessing a more stable cedi, our national currency. We are creating a business-friendly environment that should encourage significant investments in the development of our economy,” he said.

The President indicated also that the determination of Ghanaians to build their democracy is further anchored in their deep-seated belief in the concept of the separation of powers as an active principle for the promotion of freedom and accountable governance, free of corruption.

Democracy is working for us

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that Ghanaians have agreed on a multi-party constitutional democracy, and a guarantee of individual freedoms under the rule of law, with these past 24 years of the 4th Republic turning out to be the longest period of stability and economic growth in sixty years of Ghana’s nationhood.

“We are nowhere near where we ought to be, but the arguments have been settled, and, believe me, this has been a critical bridge for us to cross. And for our Ghanaian circumstances, we dare not undermine confidence in our young democracy,” he said.

The President acknowledged that having a democracy would not translate immediately into the resolution of Ghana’s problems, “but I believe we, in Ghana, are in the position to be able to quote the English colossus, Winston Churchill, that ‘It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other ones that have been tried from time to time.”


KABA’s death, a big blow to Ghana – GJA

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says the nation has been “a big blow” with the demise of popular Asempa FM broadcaster, Kwadwo Asare Baffuor Acheampong (KABA).

A statement issued Sunday and signed by GJA General Secretary, Kofi Yeboah, said the Association is “utterly shocked” to hear the sudden death of the host of popular afternoon political talk show Ekosi Sen on Asempa 94.7 FM.

“Indeed, the death of KABA is a big blow to the Multimedia Group, the GJA and Ghana as a whole. It is in such sense of irredeemable loss that the GJA expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved family, especially his wife, Valentina Ofori Afriyie and little daughter, Nana Yaa, as well as the entire Multimedia family.”

The Association acknowledged KABA’s contribution towards the development of the nation through his radio programme, Ekosii Sen, which is widely listened to, both home and abroad.

“There is no doubt that KABA has paid his dues to journalism in Ghana and served his country so well. The GJA believes his death is only divine. And so in this grieving moment, and in utmost solemnity and sobriety, the GJA calls on all friends, families and loved ones to reflect on the good works of KABA in order to take a cue from them, rather than allow the pain of loss to overwhelm their thoughts and utterances.”


2018 budget: Gov’t sets up Voluntary Fund to support education sector

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Wednesday, announced the establishment of a Voluntary Education Fund to gather funds from Ghanaians who wish to support the education sector.

Presenting the 2018 budget statement to Parliament, the Minister said the Education Ministry is working closely with the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GET Fund) to fine tune the modalities of the Voluntary Fund.

The Fund, he said, will “enable Ghanaians [to] make voluntary contributions to support education.”

The move, some people believe, is expected to help finance the recently launched Free Senior High School programme.

According to Mr Ofori-Atta, the Capitation Grant was increased by 100 percent from GH¢4.50 per capita to GH¢9.00, in “fulfilment of Government promise to make basic education free and ensure participation by all.”

He added that “the implementation of the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme is in its fourth cycle and operational in 43 districts of the three (3) Northern, Brong Ahafo, and Ashanti Regions.”

“The CBE will be expanded to 14 more districts to benefit an estimated 40,000 out-of-school children in 2018.

“Free SHS Programme commenced in September with first-year students in public Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Institutions. Government absorbed all fees approved by GES Council for 353,053 first-year students.

The programme will continue with the second batch in 2018.

“Government restored the Teacher Trainee Allowance to cover over 49,000 trainees from 41 public Colleges of Education for the 2017/18 academic year. A projected 52,000 Trainees will benefit from the Teacher Trainee Allowance in the 2017/18 academic year,” the Finance Minister noted about the education sector.


Free SHS impacts lives in Assin as hawkers return to classroom

Notwithstanding the barrage of infrastructural challenges, apprehensions and frustrations that characterised the implementation of Government’s free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the story has been that of joy and excitements for traders and hawkers at Assin in the Central Region.

Before the implementation of the policy, the phenomenon of children hawkers selling sachet water (pure water), toffees among other items was a common sight.

However, since the policy came into fruition barley two months ago, the major markets and commercial towns such as Assin Praso, Breku, Fosu, Akropong-Odumasi where many of them were plying their trade in the Assin North Municipality was now history.

The story was no different in the Assin South District where many of these hawkers found in major towns including Nyankomasi, Darmang, Manso, Andoe, Nsuta and Edubiase have disappeared.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, some parents said “the children were selling those things to help us raise monies to finance their education, but with the free education, they are all in school.

The obviously excited parents said formerly, they had no choice than to let their wards support their trading activities sometimes during classes hours because they could not finance their schooling.

Nineteen-year-old Bright Osei, who sold varieties of items including pure water at Nyankomasi market confirmed the observation to the GNA saying ” I was selling pure water to help my parents raise money to further my education but I have stopped selling because my education is now free”.

Osei is a General Arts student of Aggrey Memorial Zion School, a grade ‘A’ SHS in the Cape Coast Metropolis.

Some of the hawkers have gained admission to Assin Manso and Obiri-Yeboah Senior High Schools.

The elated student thanked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffu-Addo for sticking to his campaign promise of implementing free and compulsory SHS education to enormously remove the increasing education financial burden on parents.

He said: “Had it not been free education, it would have taken me between two to three years for me go to school. My family and I are sincerely grateful for this privilege”.


Patrick Awuah wins prestigious WISE Prize for Education 2017

The prestigious WISE Prize for Education has been presented to Mr Patrick Awuah, founder and president of Ashesi University College, a private, not-for-profit institution that has become one of Ghana’s premier universities in little over a decade.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, presented the Prize to Mr Patrick Awuah at the Opening Plenary session of the eighth World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar, before an audience of 2,000 participants from 100 countries.

Stavros N. Yiannouka, the CEO of WISE said: “I am pleased to welcome Patrick Awuah as the sixth WISE Prize for Education Laureate. He joins a distinguished group of individuals who share a passion for empowerment through education. The WISE Prize Laureates have recognized needs that challenged them to action.

“Each has blazed a path in engaging and enrolling others in a vision. Patrick Awuah’s story is unique in his awakening to the role of renewed ethical leadership in social transformation, particularly in Africa. Ashesi University College, under his guidance, builds varied contemporary curricula on the pillars of liberal arts.

“He recognized that the tools for acquiring and interpreting knowledge are at least as important as the knowledge itself. In placing leadership at the core of his commitment, Patrick Awuah stands as a model for all of us who are dedicated to empowerment through education,” he said.

The WISE Prize for Education is the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team of up to six people for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education. The Laureate receives the WISE Prize for Education gold medal, and $500,000.

Mr Awuah is well-known for his dedication to supporting education in Ghana and across Africa. Every Ashesi University College graduate has found quality employment, and almost all have remained in Africa, where many have started much-needed businesses.

His innovation in higher education is not only empowering students; it also has the potential to transform Ghana and other African nations by developing a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

Patrick Awuah left Ghana in 1985 with $50 in his pocket and a full scholarship to Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, the United States. Over the next four years, its liberal arts education showed him the power of critical thinking, a stark contrast to his prior schooling.

After graduating, Patrick Awuah had a very successful career at Microsoft where he spearheaded design for dial-up Internet access. Keen to make a difference in his own country, he returned to Ghana, intending to start a software company.

Arriving back in Ghana, Patrick Awuah quickly understood that fostering ethical leadership would be key to building a generation that is able to bring positive change in Africa. He decided to go back to study, this time to the University of California, Berkeley, to understand what it takes to start a university that would foster leadership and integrity.

Mr Awuah said: “I decided to create a new university in Ghana, not because of a lack of universities in my country, but a lack of universities teaching 21st century skills. There was too much emphasis on rote learning and memorization, much less on critical or independent thinking, ethics or collaboration. I decided to open a university that would offer young Ghanaians and Africans the opportunity to excel and become problem solvers – the next leaders of Africa.”

In 2002, Ashesi University College (“beginning” in Akan) University College opened its doors in a rented house with a first class of 30 students.

Today, Ashesi University College has a world-class campus of 100 acres, overlooking Accra, with nearly 900 students. Ashesi University College offers four-year bachelor degrees in engineering, business administration, computer science and management information systems.

The degree is based upon an interdisciplinary curriculum with a continual emphasis on leadership, ethics and entrepreneurship. Before graduating, all students engage in community service.

Ashesi University College places an emphasis on cultural, economic, and gender diversity with 50 percent of the students on full or partial scholarships.

Half of the students are women and over 20 countries are represented on the campus. Additionally, in 2008, Ashesi University College students established an honour code, holding themselves responsible for ethical behaviour, the first of its kind in African universities.

On receiving the WISE Prize, Patrick Awuah said: “I am honoured to receive the WISE Prize for Education. This is a crucial moment for Africa – today, one out of six people on earth live in Africa, and this is set to rise to one in four by 2050.

“We urgently need to boost the education system in Africa to ensure we can tap into this shift to strengthen the continent. Winning the WISE Prize will support the work we are already doing at Ashesi University College to inspire and educate, and build a community of people who can navigate the complexities of Africa’s growth and set an example for the rest of the world.”


Macron warns Europe not to rebuff Trump and Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron says Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are threatening Western values of openness and tolerance, but isolating them from Europe would be counterproductive.

“If you decide just to push them back from Europe and our values, saying ‘you’re betraying our values’, you lose them,” he told the BBC.

Many see the US and Russian leaders as resistant to liberal “elite” values.

Mr Macron was speaking in Abu Dhabi, where he opened a new Louvre Museum.

He called it a symbol of tolerance and diversity in the region.

“We’re at the epicentre of a series of conflicts and battles inside the Muslim world,” he said in an interview at the weekend.

“It’s very important to me to support those defending an open Islam.”

He said the West had made a mistake in abandoning a “grand narrative” around its values and identity, and that France had a role in defending them abroad.

“You need a collective narrative, a common goal, common imagination,” he said. “It was the strength of Daesh [so-called Islamic State] – it was a promise of death.

“And I think one of the problems of Western society and Western countries during the past decade was to abandon imagination, ambition, vision.

“No one falls in love with the single market, the financial market, labour reforms or budget perspective,” he continued. “[People] are motivated because of a big narrative.”

He said it was “paranoia, their [sense of] threat, and their willingness to protect something” that made leaders such as President Putin choose a different path, but that the Russian president was forgetting that part of his country’s own civilization was about openness, and that its future was directly linked to Europe.

Mr Macron took office six months ago, promising to transform France’s economy, society, even its identity.

Since then he has made 28 foreign trips and set out new proposals for the European Union, designed to give the bloc a collective vision and promote its benefits at home.