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Cancel Africa’s Debts; Restructure Global Financial Architecture – President Akufo-Addo

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Cancel Africa’s Debts; Restructure Global Financial Architecture – President Akufo-Addo

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is calling for the restructuring of the global financial architecture so it can respond better to the needs of Africa, as well as the cancellation of debts owed by African countries, in the wake of COVID-19.

Taking his turn to address the Summit on Financing African Economies, in Paris, France, on Tuesday, 18th May 2020, President Akufo-Addo noted that, the Bretton Woods Conference, which took place as World War II drew to a close, created a global financial architecture which, over the last 77 years, has proven to be unfavourable for Africa.

According to the President, the economies of Europe, America, and Asia having grown significantly during that time, whilst those of Africa have not, attributing collateral damage from the Cold War, inequity in the global economic system, an economic relationship built on power and resource grab, as well as leadership and governance issues on the African continent, as issues confronting the continent.

“These challenges have resulted in a global economic system that has proven to be incapable of supporting lives and livelihoods, and allocating sufficient long-term resources to support Africa’s economic transformation,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He noted further that Africa’s development finance cost does not reflect its economic fundamentals, credit, or default cost, citing the case of Ghana where the country’s sovereign debt is more expensive than that of the similarly-rated Belarus, which pays some one hundred (100) basis points less than Ghana.

The structural inequities confronting African economies, the President stressed, has been worsened by COVID-19, evidenced by the fact that a mere 2% of the 1.3 billion vaccine doses administered globally, at the end of April, were in Africa.

“The pandemic has also ensured that the total fiscal deficit of Africa rose from 4.7% of GDP in 2019 to 8.7% in 2020; overall debt levels are also estimated to have increased from 57% of GDP in 2019 to 70% in 2021. Without the ‘fiscal room to breathe’, Africa could truly become ‘the forgotten continent, and that is why there is urgent need for comprehensive debt relief and debt cancellation,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

He continued, “Just as the Bretton Woods institutions helped to rebuild the post-war global economy, and rekindled international economic cooperation, seventy-seven (77) years ago, there is now a historic opportunity to reset the global financial system’s economic rules to give African countries an equal chance at development, in the wake of the pandemic.”

The President, thus, proposed two solutions at the conference to help address the situation confronting the continent of Africa.

Beyond the two pillars announced by President Macron, President Akufo-Addo suggested a third pillar, which should focus on the restructuring of the current global financial architecture to provide for access and equity to long-term finance to support economic transformation in Africa.

“This should include the establishment of an African Stability Mechanism, akin to the European Stability Mechanism. The African Stability Mechanism will be a permanent firewall for Africa to safeguard and provide instant emergency access to financial assistance for countries in financial difficulty,” he added.

The second solution proposed by the President is the bridging of the immediate liquidity and potential insolvency issues confronting the continent and its financial institutions.

“I urge the IMF to on-lend twenty-five to thirty percent of new six hundred and fifty billion dollars (US$650 billion) SDRs, to support low and vulnerable middle-income countries before the 2021 annual meetings, increase IDA funding to strengthen the balance sheet of the World Bank, replenish the African Development Bank and Afreximbank to support investment in green investments, facilitate trade, and support the private sector to create jobs and build back better,” he added.

With Africa, in 2050, becoming home to a quarter of the world’s population, more than half of the global youth population, and, potentially, having a GDP of some twenty-nine trillion United States dollars, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that “it is, thus, in our collective interest to create the conditions that will enable such a development to be of benefit to the entire globe.”

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Tour Operators’ Union of Ghana outdoors maiden newsletter

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Tour Operators’ Union of Ghana outdoors maiden newsletter

The Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), on Friday, November 24 launched the ‘Tougha Newsletter,’ the maiden publication of the Union.

The 44-page, full colour brochure is awash with information on the activities of TOUGHA including tours to sites and destinations and donations to selected orphanages in various parts of the country. The Union’s support towards promoting domestic tourism is also given much prominence in the new publication. Readers can also learn about travel tips in Ghana in the newsletter. Several articles, including one by TOUGHA President, Mrs. Alisa Osei-Asamoah on domestic tourism is also featured. Also contained in the newsletter are pages where almost all members of TOUGHA and their contact information can be found.
The colouful launch event at the Labadi Beach Hotel attracted a broad spectrum of Ghana’s tourism industry stakeholders, both public and private, traditional authorities, academia and the media.

Mrs. Alisa Osei- Asamoah described as historic, the publication of the newsletter. “Indeed, this is a day that I have looked forward to for a really long time. This day marks yet another important milestone in the forward march of our beloved union,” she said.
She added that the newsletter seeks to offer a credible and authoritative medium for disseminating critical industry information, analysis of sector trends, and among others, offer alternatives to policy initiatives and inspire right partnerships and penetration into unexplored products of the country’s tourism sector.
Mrs. Osei-Asamoah postulated: “TOUGHA is contributing this newsletter as a tool that we believe can perform a useful role in facilitating the creation of a more congenial environment for sustainable growth and development of the travel and tourism industry in Ghana.”
Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey congratulating TOUGHA also highlighted the significant role in Ghana’s tourism, stating that “We could not call ourselves a Ministry of Tourism without TOUGHA.” He said the Ministry would continue to partner and work with the Union to achieve the goals of building a robust tourism sector for the country.

Also pledging their continuous support and collaboration was the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Development Company, Kwadwo Odame Antwi who also spoke on behalf of the Ghana Tourism Authority CEO, Akwasi Agyeman.

 


A representative of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Life Patron of TOUGHA, Manwerehene Baffour Osei Hyiaman Bretuo VI commended TOUGHA for the initiative to publish a newsletter. Calling for more support from the Ministry and its agencies for the Union, the Manwerehene said TOUGHA has over the years established itself as a formidable body for which reason the doors of the Asantehene were open to them on the regular.
Alongside the launch of the newsletter, founding members of TOUGHA were also given citations of honour for their pioneering role in establishing the Union. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal and CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman were also presented with citations for constantly supporting TOUGHA’s activities and Ghana’s tourism.
The evergreen Winneba Youth Choir and whiz kid, Nakeeyat were also in attendance to serenade patrons with beautiful music renditions and poetry performance respectively with exciting cultural music and dance also on display.
An e-version of the newsletter is available for download at www.touroperatorsgh.com

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Unemployment rate started rising under Mahama – Duffuor

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Unemployment rate started rising under Mahama – Duffuor

Former Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor has said he was able to assist the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills to reduce unemployment rate from the time Prof Mills became President in 2009 to 2012.
But, he said, the rate started increasing from 2013 to 2015, the period that Former President John Dramani Mahama was in office.
Delivering a public lecture in Accra on Monday November 29, he said “High and rising inflation increases the cost of living at a fast pace, thereby eroding people’s real incomes and savings. By fueling wage pressures and raising the cost of other production inputs, it also increases the cost of doing business. Furthermore, rising inflation forces up interest and lending rates, since savers—whose surplus funds are lent to borrowers—naturally demand a higher reward for deferring consumption to the future. Higher lending rates then lead to the cancellation of otherwise viable investments, with negative effects on economic growth and employment generation.
“Historically, Ghana has experienced these effects of inflation in their most destructive forms, as the country’s post-independence economic history is marked by many episodes of runaway inflation, including prolonged periods of hyperinflation in the 1970s and 80s.
“Because Ghana relies heavily on imports to meet its consumption needs, a rapidly depreciating exchange rate is a major source of inflation. In addition, given the country’s rapid build-up of foreign debt, which accounts for about half of total public debt, a sharply weakening exchange rate significantly increases the size of the foreign debt and the cost of servicing it in domestic currency terms. In fact, research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that exchange rate depreciation is a significant driver of Ghana’s public debt dynamics, as it accounted for almost 30% of the growth of public debt between 2006 and 2019.
“These problems call for the effective management of inflation and the exchange rate to ensure their stability to protect living standards and support rapid economic growth and development. To achieve this requires, from the macroeconomic perspective, disciplined fiscal and monetary policies.
“Mr. Chairman, this has been done before. In 2009–2012 under the Mills NDC administration, our success in lowering the fiscal deficit from 14.5% of GDP in 2008 to 4% of GDP by 2011, as well as our success in slowing the rate of monetary growth, facilitated a fall in inflation from 18.1% in December 2008 to single digits for 31 consecutive months starting from June 2010 to December 2012. This remains to date the longest period of single-digit inflation in Ghana since independence. The exchange rate also achieved a measure of stability during the period, as it depreciated by 10.1% per annum on average in 2009–2012, which is one of the lowest rates of average depreciation during the Fourth Republic. The World Bank indicated in their 2011 report that in 2011, Ghana was the fastest growing economy in the World with GDP of 14.5% and a decline in interest rates to the lowest level in four decades.
“In his 1999 speech at ‘President Ball and Fundraising dinner’ at the Tema Rotary Club, Dr. J.L.S Abbey lauded the 1998 Macro-Economic Performance of Ghana, saying ‘Last year, most of the financial targets of Government were met: monetary growth over the period was less than 18 percent: the exchange rate depreciated by less than 5% and the rate of inflation declined. These targets were achieved by the strong enforcement of laws relating to banking and use of foreign currency, by prudent use of repurchase agreements in monetary management, and by placing a limit on excessive budgetary spending by government’. We have done this before. Mr. Chairman, I have personally been part of doing this before, so I know it can be done and that it must be done.
“As concerns mount about rising inflation in recent months, the government should take a second look at its fiscal and monetary policies, especially the former, and ensure that they are sustainable and conducive to the effective control of inflation and the maintenance of a stable exchange rate.
“Besides firm fiscal and monetary policies, good real sector policies that lead to strong economic growth play a critical role in ensuring price and exchange rate stability. The stellar performance of real GDP growth in 2009–2012 was therefore a significant factor that led to the stable macroeconomic environment during the period. From 2009–2012, overall real GDP grew at an average rate of 9%, which is the highest rate under any administration in Ghana’s history. Even the non-oil real GDP growth rate, which stood at an average of 7.4% during the period, is the highest under any administration in the country’s history. Effective real sector policies should therefore be pursued to achieve high economic growth and employment creation, as it happened between 2009–2012, and thereby helped to maintain a stable macroeconomic environment.
“Again, through effective real sector policies, unemployment was tamed under the Mills NDC Administration and I was the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.  The total unemployment rate which stood at 10.4% in the year 2000 witnessed a declining trend to 5.3% by the end of 2010 and further declined to 2.2% by the end of 2013. However, after 2013, total unemployment rate saw another upward swing, increasing sharply to 6.8% by the end of 2015.
“It is therefore clear that the stellar performance of real GDP growth in 2009–2012 was a significant factor that led to lower unemployment level and which further led to job creation during 2009–2012 period.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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CODA Hands Over Two Projects At Breman Essiam in Ajumako Enyan Essiam District 

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CODA Hands Over Two Projects At Breman Essiam in Ajumako Enyan Essiam District

The Coastal Development Authority (CODA) has handed over a Lorry Park and a modern Community Library to the chiefs and people of Breman Essiam in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District.

Community Library at Breman Essiam

Community Library at Breman Essiam

The ceremony was graced by traditional leaders led by the paramount Queen mother of Breman Essiam, Nana Efua Esiwa II, the DCE of Ajumako Enyan Essiam, Hon. Ransford Kwesi Nyarko and the DCD, Mr. Abdul Mohammed K. Also in attendance was the Assembly Member of the area, Hon. Ibrahim Issakah, Staff of the AEEDA, Representatives of GPRTU and the general public.

The DCE recounted the deplorable state of the Lorry Park and the Library in the past and commended the efforts made by the Omanhene of the Breman Essiam Traditional Area, Odefour Afankwa III in getting these projects.
Hon. Ransford Nyarko, stated that the projects are a dream come true for the community and the District at large.

The CEO of CODA Jerry Ahmed Shaib ESQ expressed the delight of CODA for the achievement. He was glad that the projects were not imposed by the Authority but rather ones that met the needs and aspirations of the people based on proper consultation with all stakeholders.

He again revealed that the projects being handed over and many others ongoing in the District run under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP). He commended President Akufo-Addo for fulfilling his “one million dollars per constituency” promise to the people of Ghana especially, rural folks. The CODA boss also took the opportunity to outline other projects which were being executed within District.

The gathering was assured of ongoing collaborations with institutions like the Ghana Library Authority to stock the Library as well as GIFEC to provide ICT equipment for the E-Learning wing of the Library.

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