Permanent Headquarters of Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative commissioned in Accra


President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Thursday commissioned the Permanent Headquarters of the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) Secretariat building in Accra.

The historic event represents a key milestone in the two West African countries’ cooperation efforts to improve the cocoa industry’s sustainability and efficiency.

At a ceremony attended by Ivorian Prime Minister Mr Robert Beugre’ Mamber and his delegation, as well as sector stakeholders, President Akufo-Addo called for stronger collaboration among African cocoa-producing countries to deal with emerging challenges posed by the recent increase in global cocoa prices.

He emphasised the pivotal role of cocoa in the economies of both countries and the need for concerted efforts to address shared challenges facing the industry, stating that such coordination was necessary to address those difficulties proactively.

‘In light of recent regulations governing cocoa supply, especially to the European Union, collaborative efforts between Ghana and
Cote d’Ivoire are essential to establish unified positions and safeguard the interests of our farmers.

‘It is imperative for this collaboration to address proactively these challenges, reinforcing the need for cohesive action. We anticipate that this collective initiative will pioneer the way forward for the cocoa industry,’ he emphasised.

The President reaffirmed Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire’s commitment to strengthening their cocoa cooperation.

He said the initiative was a testament to the enduring bond between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the African cocoa industry

President Akufo-Addo stated that the siting of the initiative’s headquarters in Accra represented not only what regional unity and cooperation could achieve, but also the two countries’ shared aspiration for a prosperous cocoa economy.

‘This beautiful edifice does not only signify what regional unity and cooperation can achieve. it also represents our shared aspiration for a prosperous cocoa econom
y, one that is modernised and industrialised and delivers wealth to the millions oof hardworking cocoa farmers and producers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

‘We are through this cooperation creating the opportunity to revolutionize the cocoa supply chain for the delivery of greater value to our economies,’ he said

The President stated that the current international cocoa market justified the two countries’ course of action, which between them are responsible for 65 percent of global cocoa output and are at the center of the international cocoa trade.

He noted that with the current peak in market prices, a new set of obstacles had emerged, forcing a rethink of previous strategies to sustain or avoid price drops.

President Akufo-Addo remarked that the two countries’ commitment to collective action to achieve prosperity for all in Africa remained unwavering.

He emphasized that growth was dependent on a concerted effort to industrialize and promote fair trade both within and outside of Africa.

The President sai
d that the need for agro-industrialisation was shifting the dynamics of the agricultural sector, and that ‘the cocoa sector in Ghana in particular was witnessing the impact of these changes.’

He said the volume and value of domestic processing had increased, with the overall installed processing capacity jumping to more than 50 per cent of national output, and the total value of exported secondary goods now exceeding $800 million.

‘We are on the trajectory of a modern, prosperous, and a private sector-driven economy anchored on the vision of a Ghana beyond aid. This vision we hope to achieve through a digitalisation to drive efficiency, improve productivity, accelerate access to government services, and improve the ease of doing business,’ he said.

Mr Assanvo, the Executive Secretary of CIGCI, said the initiative had helped to reaffirm the goal of placing the producer back at the heart of the cocoa value chain.

He said the attainment of the Living income differential had survived attacks and the attempts
to seek retribution, and the idea had now become an example for the whole world.

Dr Bryan Acheampong, Minister for Agriculture, said the new office underscored the two countries’ shared objective of advancing cooperation for mutual benefit.

He said that CIGCI was now a well-recognised visible player in the cocoa sector, adding that ‘With acknowledged contributions on a range of topics, which include price traceability, regulations and market outlook.’

Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, disclosed that the secretariat building was donated by the Ghanaian government as part of its commitment to the initiative’s success.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Gov’t Reaffirms Commitment to Implementing Transitional Justice Policy

Addis Ababa: The Government of Ethiopia is committed to implementing the Transitional Justice Policy which is essential to ensure lasting peace in the country, House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Chief Government Whip Tesfaye Beljige said.

The chief government whip gave the assurance at a consultative meeting held for parliamentarians and high government officials to discuss the Transitional Justice Policy approved this week by the Council of Ministers.

Addressing the meeting, Tesfaye Beljige said the experience of various countries show that appropriately implementing transitional justice is crucial to sustainable resolution of complex crises.

The government has, therefore, shown unwavering commitment for the realization of transitional justice starting from taking the initiative in preparing the document, he added.

Tesfaye elaborated that transitional justice is an important tool to solve deep rooted problems and the government has a clear position to bring lasting peace and stability in Ethiopia by
resolving disputes arising from the past through forgiveness.

For him, the role of all stakeholders is essential to realize the historic national dialogue and the Transitional Justice Policy.

House of People’s Representatives Speaker, Tagesse Chaffo said on the occasion that implementing the policy is essential for a better Ethiopia.

Designing and implementing a participatory transitional justice based on the nation’s political and social circumstances with a clear policy framework is vital, he underscored.

The speaker, who noted that the Ministry of Justice has a huge role for monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the policy and law documents, affirmed that the HPR will continue its unwavering support to the implementation of transitional justice.

Recall that Ethiopia has been making various attempts to resolve human rights violations, civil conflicts, unwarranted narratives and abuses that had occurred and continue in different eras with a wide range of victims and perpetrators.

Source: E
thiopian News Agency

Residents of Nyanfeku Ekroful excited over Prof Nana Ama Browne Klutse’s elevation


Nyanfeku Ekroful hometown of Prof Nana Ama Browne Klutse was thrown into ecstatic jubilation amidst drumming and dancing in the streets, over her announcement as the first female physics professor in the 75 years of the University of Ghana’s establishment.

The residents said as an indigene of the town in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK) District, her contribution to the development of the community had been remarkable and she needed to be celebrated.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mrs Esi Acquah, a teacher said her elevation to a full fledged Professor of Physics was not a surprise as she mostly advised girls in the Area to pursue education to the highest level.

She said the soft spoken Prof. Browne Klutse had been offering deep advises that had encouraged more girls who otherwise will have dropped out of school to further their education to the senior high, especially in STEM schools.

In addition, she had supported brilliant but needy students in the area to continue their education to bene
fit the community and the nation as a whole

Mr Nicholas Amoah, a trader said her remarkable performance had made her a beacon of hope and empowerment for the girl child in the community and the district.

He said this will motivate girls to also pursue science subjects and not be deterred because with determination, hope and attitude of learning, it could be achieved.

Prof. Klutse was born on May 1981, at Nyanfeku Ekroful in the AAK District, started her education at Anomabo Methodist Primary and Junior High School.

She continued to Mfantsiman Girls Senior High School and later to the University of Cape Coast to study Bsc. Physics.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Addis Ababa Mayor Launches 6 Months Environmental Protection Campaign

Addis Ababa: Mayor of Addis Ababa Adanech Abiebe launched today a 6 months environmental protection campaign that is expected to engage 2.7 million residents of the city.

The campaign organized under the theme ‘Stop Pollution, Beauty Awakes’ will have significant role in the metropolitan city’s thrive towards reducing the adverse impact of climate change.

The projects such as riverside development spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed beautifying the capital, Addis Ababa have immense potential to making the city global tourist destination, she elaborated.

Addis Ababa is endowed with various natural resources including 1,300 hectares of land restricted forest and numerous rivers, Mayor Adanech said, and urged residents to discharge due responsibility in keeping the city clean.

The City Administration has planted about 60 million trees over the last couple of years through the national campaign of Green Legacy initiated by Premier Abiy, it was indicated.

Addis Ababa City Environmental Protection Authori
ty CEO, Dida Diriba said on his part that the campaign through broad community base mobilization will create awareness in environmental protection of the city.

The forest coverage of Addis Ababa has increased from 2.8 percent to 15 percent through Green Legacy Initiative following the massive tree planting carried out over the past years, he said, and added that this campaign will likewise have paramount impact.

Furthermore, Dida said that the personal plastic bottle usage of the country has risen from 0.6 kg in 2007 to 2.6 kg in 2022.

The authority is encouraging the use of electric vehicles towards ensuring the reduction of adverse climate change impacts.

Every month is allotted to specific environmental protection including plastic bottles, weather, water, soil, and sound pollutions.

Addis Ababa City Administration Council Speaker, Buzena Al-Kader and over 2,000 residents of the capital attended the launching ceremony.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Opuni Trial: l am not aware of directives to shorten testing period for fertilizer


Dr Francis Baah, a former Executive Director of Cocoa Health, and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, says he was not aware of any directive to shorten the testing period for chemicals?and fertilizers.

He said he did not recall being in any meeting where Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, gave any such directives for the testing period to be shortened.?

Dr Baah, who was a subpoenaed witness for Mr Seidu Agongo, a Businessman, was answering questions in a cross-examination in a trial involving Dr Opuni, led by Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo, a Businessman are facing 27charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GHS300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

Mr Codjoe told the witness that Dr Franklin Amoah, a former Executive Director of Cocoa Res
earch Institute of Ghana (CRIG) informed the Court in his evidence that Dr Opuni upon resumption of Office issued a directive for the testing period for chemical and fertilizer to be shortened in a meeting.

The Counsel said according to Dr Amoah, in attendance at the said meeting where the directives were given were Dr Baah and Mr James Kofi Kutsoati, the Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Operations, COCOBOD.

The witness disagreed, saying he did not recall being in that meeting.??

Dr Baah said he could not recall Dr Amoah having any private meetings with Dr Opuni being the Office manager for Dr Opuni.

He said the only meeting he could recall was when Dr Opuni invited Dr Amoah for a discussion regarding bad press about CRIG and his person.

‘Any other private meeting between the two individuals l am not aware of,’ he added.

The witness told the Court presided over by Justice Aboagye Tandoh that when Dr Opuni visited CRIG as part of his working visit, there was an exhibition organised in his honour and h
e met all staff at the recreation centre, where he was introduced to the entire staff.

He said he could not confirm whether there were any separate meetings for the staff and senior managers and scientists as claimed by Dr Amoah.

Dr Baah said, ‘What l can confirm is that the event was held in the open, in front of all scientists and senior managers.’

He said during the Dubar, Dr Opuni did not address any issue with the testing of fertilizer, which would have been unusual.

‘Dr Opuni only addressed the entire staff to work hard and sustain the industry,’ he added. ?The case has been adjourned to Thursday, April 18, 2024

Source: Ghana News Agency

Azags Agandaa of Ghana shortlisted in 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize


A book titled: ‘Fadi’ by Azags Agandaa, a Ghanaian writer has been shortlisted in the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Other African writers who make the 2024 five-strong Africa shortlist include ‘Dite’ by Reena of Mauritius; ‘House No. 49’ by Olajide Omojarabi of Nigeria; ‘The Goat’ by Jean Pierre Nikuze of Rwanda and ‘A Song Sung in Secret’ by Jayne Bauling of South Africa.

Writers from Mauritius and Rwanda are featuring for the very first time.

The Commonwealth Foundation announced this in a statement, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency said all but one had never been shortlisted before.

It said their stories feature well-drawn characters including a pensioner reflecting on forbidden love and a football-mad young boy.

It noted that the world’s most global literature prize shortlists 23 writers from 13 countries – all but one of whom are shortlisted for the first time.

The statement said Judges hail ‘a dream list’ which will leave readers ‘startled and shocked, heartbroken and humb
led in equal measure.’

It said stories range from romances and speculative fiction to family dramas and coming of age tales and address a range of topics from motherhood and bereavement to mental illness and forbidden love.

It stated that an international judging panel had shortlisted twenty-three outstanding stories for the world’s most global literature prize.

It said the shortlisted writers hail from 13 countries across the Commonwealth and their ambitious stories span continents and decades.

The statement said many of the stories were told through the eyes of children-tales of parents splitting up, of school, and of the sometimes baffling behaviour of adults around them.

It said older characters also appear-sometimes destructive, sometimes inspiring; adding that five of the stories reflect on motherhood in very different ways.

It reiterated that others tell of forbidden love in a hostile world.

It said topics range from music, football, art, film, the impact of electricity arriving in a village, an
d even one woman’s passion for tea; while romance and thrillers feature prominently, a quarter of the shortlisted stories are speculative fiction.

The statement said the Commonwealth Short Story Prize was awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from any of the Commonwealth’s 56 Member States.

It is the most accessible and international of all writing competitions: in addition to English, entries can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Malay, Maltese, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish.

It said such linguistic diversity in a short story in part reflects the richness of the Commonwealth, not least its many and varied literary traditions.

It indicated that this year, 414 entries were submitted in languages other than English.

It said the stories on the 2024 shortlist were selected from a total of 7,359 entries from 53 Commonwealth countries-a ten per cent increase as compared to 2023.

It said three small Commonwealth countries-Mauritius, Rwanda and
St Kitts and Nevis had authors on the shortlist for the first time.

The statement said the shortlisted writers- six men, 15 women and two who identify as non-binary-range in age from 26 to 70.

It said all but one had never been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short.

Chair of the Judges, Ugandan-British novelist and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi said: ‘This is a dream list for lovers of the short story form-readers who wish to read around the world, writers who wish to hone their skills, agents looking for talent and content creators who relish the challenge of predicting regional winners and the overall winner’.

‘Whether reading stories from Africa and Asia, through Europe and Canada to the Caribbean Islands and the Pacific, you’ll be amazed and thrilled, startled and shocked, and heartbroken and humbled in equal measure by the skill and talent, imagination and creativity, by the flexibility of the form and what it is capable of, and by what the world is doing with the English language. F
or the judging panel, it has been an incredible literary journey.’

Dr Anne T. Gallagher AO, Director-General of the Commonwealth Foundation, the intergovernmental organisation which administers the prize, commended everyone who entered stories in 2024.

‘The Short Story Prize is legendary for unearthing and nurturing the rich creative talent of our Commonwealth. This year is no exception and I have been overwhelmed by the depth and reach of the 2024 shortlist,’ she stated.

‘My congratulations to the 23 writers whose stories will now secure a truly global audience. And I offer my warmest encouragement to the remaining 7,336 entrants to keep on writing. Today, perhaps more than ever, it is storytelling that will help inspire the love, compassion and understanding that our world so desperately needs.’

The 2024 shortlisted stories will be published online, in the innovative online magazine of the Commonwealth Foundation, adda (addastories.org), which features new writing from around the Commonwealth.

The judg
es will go on to choose a winner for each of the five regions; the regional winners will be announced on Wednesday 29 May before being published online by the literary magazine Granta.

The overall winner will be announced on 26 June 2024.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words).

Regional winners receive £2,500 GBP and the overall winner receives £5,000 GBP.

Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible.

The winning stories are published online by Granta and in a special print collection by Paper + Ink.

Source: Ghana News Agency

European Union-LEAN Savings for Transformation Boxes improve access to financial services in Kassena Nankana West District


A convergence of several challenges has created complex livelihood crises in rural communities in the Kassena Nankana District in the Upper East region.

Aside from being resource-constrained to navigate these crises, communities in this district lack access to financial services, making it difficult for them to meet their financial needs.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday said an European Union (EU)-funded project, Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (EU-LEAN), implemented by World Vision Ghana, had addressed the crises through the Savings for Transformation (S4T) initiative.

This initiative allows smallholders to save money and access loans on flexible terms for investment, consumption, and emergency purposes. ‘S4T brings access to uninterrupted financial services to the doorsteps of about 24 communities in the district, improving livelihoods, increasing household incomes, and facilitating village-based entrepreneurship’, said Joseph Abugri Talata, a projec
t officer.

‘Rural communities depend largely on forest resources such as tree felling for firewood, charcoal production, and agricultural activities for their livelihoods and income. Preventing them from engaging in such activities requires the introduction of alternative livelihoods and income-generating activities, the reason the project introduced S4T to communities,’ he added.

The statement said before that farmers founr it difficult to access financial support including loans to meet their needs. ‘It was difficult to find someone who had enough money to lend to you to solve critical financial problems. Firewood harvesting was one way I earned income but I have stopped this after joining S4T group in the Banyono community,’ said Atongo Cynthia, S4T a famer.

S4T beneficiaries Adawona Vivian and Ayedalem Diana both accessed loans to establish provision shops and are now trading in different commodities that earn them income.

As a result, the two are now able to support their households financially.

‘Th
is year, I took a loan of one thousand Ghana cedis. This enabled my husband to buy agro-inputs for our vegetable farm,’ said Vivian.

For Adawona, S4T is not providing access to financial services it was also promoting relationships and building peaceful coexistence among households. S4T also improved women’s leadership and decision making process at household levels.

World Vision Ghana, through EU-LEAN, has formed 60 S4T groups in 24 communities.

The statement said by December 2023, these S4T groups had saved 647,951.00, Ghana cedis with 1,492 (1,165 women and 327 men) smallholders accessing loans. A cumulative of 72,553.30 Ghana cedis was accrued as interest. This granted financial freedom to smallholder farmers.

World Vision Ghana recently provided training on group dynamics, leadership, basic recordkeeping, financial, and business management to key leaders of S4T groups from these communities to sustain this initiative beyond the EU-LEAN Project. ‘We have improved financial inclusion and increased wome
n’s financial access to a level that they are now contributing significantly to meeting their households’ needs. This improves family cohesion and bonding needs’, said Joseph Edwin Yelkabong, EU-LEAN Project manager at World Vision Ghana.

The project supported 1,492 S4T group members to plant 2,984 seedlings mostly economic trees such as mango and cashew. By adopting these practices, local communities have not only improved their livelihoods and incomes, but they are also contributing to the overall restoration of degraded lands in the Kassena Nankana West District.

The EU-LEAN intervention has enabled farmers to diversify their livelihoods, improve crop yields, and access better markets through agricultural value chain linkage fairs.

This has in turn increased their incomes and allowed them to invest in their communities.

‘The project has enabled these communities to become more resilient and adaptive to climate change while improving biodiversity in their areas.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Freda Prempeh Foundation commends Abu Jinapor for Green Ghana Initiative


The Freda Prempeh Foundation (FPF), an organisation that advocates environmental sustainability has commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for his outstanding dedication and leadership in propelling the Green Ghana Initiative forward.

The initiative, a ground-breaking endeavour aimed at addressing deforestation and promoting environmental conservation across the nation, has made remarkable progress under the visionary guidance of Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the sector Minister, it stated.

‘Since its inception, the initiative has garnered widespread support and active participation from communities, government agencies, and stakeholders, thanks to the Minister’s tireless advocacy and strategic approach,’ the foundation said in a statement.

Signed by Dr Freda Prempeh, its Founder and President, the statement said through impactful tree planting campaigns, educational outreach programs, and policy initiatives, the Minister has effectively mobilised citizens to take proactive steps towards preservin
g Ghana’s rich natural heritage.

‘We are immensely grateful to the honourable Minister for his unwavering commitment to the Green Ghana Initiative.

His leadership has not only inspired a collective sense of responsibility towards environmental stewardship but has also laid the groundwork for a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come,’ it stated.

The Minister’s relentless efforts in championing the protection of forests, water bodies, and biodiversity have played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the importance of safeguarding our natural resources.

Through fostering collaboration and cooperation among diverse stakeholders, the Green Ghana Initiative has emerged as a beacon of effective environmental governance.

It reaffirmed the foundation’s unwavering support for the Green Ghana Initiative and pledged to collaborate closely with the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources to further its objectives.

Source: Ghana News Agency