Accra launch of World Investment Report 2015

Accra 25 June 2015 – This World Investment Report 2015 has been launched in Accra.  Published annually by UNCTAD since 1991, this year’s edition is title “Reforming International Investment Governance”.  In attendance at the launching were participants from the media, public and private sector institutions.

Section of the audience at WIR launch

A section of the audience

Mr. Philip Cobbina, a lecturer of Business Policy and Strategy at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration presented the report. He highlighted on the tendency of multi-national companies to avoid tax by taking advantage of loop holes in the tax system and relocate resources that could be beneficial to the host country. For Ghana, he noted that “we probably cannot identify the companies that are avoiding taxes”. He therefore urged the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and other related bodies to create a conducive atmosphere for such resources to be reinvested in the economy to facilitate growth.

Mr. Cobbina also cited findings in the report that global Foreign Direct Investment declined in the past year but is expected to make an upturn this year, he therefore advised that the economy be positioned to take advantage of the incoming opportunities.

Mr. Cobbina (left) and Mr. Otoo (right) launching the WIR2015

Mr. Cobbina (left) and Mr. Otoo (right) launching the WIR2015

Touching on the relevance of the report to Ghana, Mr. Cobbina said “as a country we either carry out research to validate the findings that matter to us or we fashion out modalities and policies to address the issues and challenges that affect us”.

Mr. Augustine Otoo, the Director of Research at GIPC presented on Ghana’s perspective on the theme. He outlined plans to attract resources and investment in the country, citing the One-Stop-Shop initiative that is aimed at reducing the frustration and lengthy paperwork that investors are uncomfortable with among other initiatives.

The Report was jointly launched by Philip Cobinna and Augustine Otoo.

World Refugee Day outreach activity in Accra

Accra 25 June 2015 – On June 23, UNIC Accra through its UN4U initiative conducted an outreach program at the Ridge Church School, Accra in commemoration of the World Refugee Day.

While there interns David Godspower, Delali Adiamah and Linda Phiri facilitated the program in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). They were led by UNIC’s Reference Assistant Ms. Evelyn Sarpong who began the programme with an outline on the objective of UN4U and the role of the United Nations.

A cross section of students UNIC intern, Ms. Phiri, speaking of past experiences with Refugees explained that what struck her most is the idea that many people do not realize that a crisis can happen anywhere to anyone; “It could have been us”, meaning that we all have a role to play in engaging with the crises and helping refugees or creating international and domestic peace.

The Public Information Officer of UNHCR, Ms. Patience Folley, presented the United Nations

Students in Group discussions

Students in Group discussions

theme for World Refugee Day this year, “Get to know a Refugee (Ordinary people living through Extraordinary Times)”.  Ms. Folley shared information on the technicalities of how one becomes a refugee, statistics on refugees in Ghana and the role of the UNHCR. The time spent was informative with added student participation. Prizes were awarded to students who could answer her mini-quiz section at the end.

Interns Mr. Godspower and Ms. Adiamah addressed the refugee crises from their own perspective, with a reference to situations that lead to one becoming a refugee and ways in which many individuals have overcome their circumstances, and how those not affected can help.

The students were then taken through a practical activity by Ms.Phiri, where students were divided into groups, representing world leaders. Students were asked to discuss a fictional refugee crisis and how they would address such situations. Groups then explained why they chose their option and in their well thought out answers, showed their intelligence and critical thinking skills.

A performance by an Ivorian dancer

A performance by an Ivorian dancer

The main event to mark World Refugee Day 2015 in the country was held earlier at the Egyeikrom Refugee Camp in the Central Region. It involved cultural performances by refugees, mostly Ivorians, and exhibition of handiworks of refugees and speeches and statements.  The event was attended by some Heads of Agencies, the Deputy Minister of Interior and the UN Resident Coordinator.

UN General Assembly elects former Danish Foreign Minister as President of 70th session

Accra, 16 June 2015 – The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the former Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft on his election as the President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly. Mr.  Mogens Lykketoft takes over in September from HE Sam Kutesa of Uganda.

In a statement, the UN Secretary-General said the election of Mr. Lykketoft is a “recognition of Denmark’s important role on the international stage . And it is a testimony to Mr. Lykketoft’s personal strengths.” He further noted that as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and the 70th birthday of the President-elect “I count on him to celebrate these milestones with an even stronger commitment to multilateralism, international cooperation and global solidarity”. He added that President-elect Mogens Lykketoft has chosen an inspiring theme: “The UN at 70 – a new commitment to action”.

Mr. Lykketoft is an accomplished economist with decades of experience in Parliament as Speaker and a former Finance Minister.  Read further on the UN News Centre website.

UN Ghana commiserates with flood victims

Accra: 5th June, 2015 – The United Nations System in Ghana is saddened by the loss of more than 100 lives, homes, properties and livelihoods as a result of the floods in Accra and other parts of the country, and the explosion at the fuel station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle on Wednesday, 3 June 2015.

On behalf of the United Nations in Ghana, the Resident Coordinator Ms. Christine Evans-Klock extends condolences to the flood victims and bereaved families and friends.

The UN will work with partners to support the efforts of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) toward early recovery. The UN will also mobilize technical assistance to support national efforts in response to the President, HE John Dramani Mahama’s, call for measures to mitigate the effect of future flooding in the country.

The UN continues to monitor the situation closely and will assess needs that may arise for relevant support.

For more information:

Mutinta Chimuka – Acting UN Resident Coordinator
Email: mutinta.chimuka@wfp.org, Tel: +233 302 773 540, Mobile: +233 540 113 288

4th World Summit of Mayor ends in Accra

Accra, 5 June 2015 – The 4th World Summit of Mayors has ended in Accra with a call by the former President of Ghana, Flt Lt. Rawlings on African leaders to modernise their respective cities. He said effective leadership, planning and a good sense of direction will no doubt yield positive results in the transformation process.

President Rawlings implored the people of Africa to remain united to promote growth and development.

Over a hundred delegates attended the 3-day summit which sought to find solutions to the challenges facing African cities.

The Mayor of Accra and President of Global Alliance for Africa (GAMAD), Dr. Okoe Vanderpuije passed a flaming torch onto the special guest Ms. Celia Sacramento, (Deputy Mayor of Salvador, Brazil and the Vice President of GAMAD) to signify the passing on of the right, blessings and authority to host the next/5th World Mayors’ summit in Brazil come 2016. She was filled with pride and was emotional as she delivered her speech of gratitude and appreciation to the delegates and to Ghana.

UN University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa launches two books

Accra, 3 June 2015 – Co-Authors Stephen Frimpong and Dr. Effiom Oku have presented an overview of their respective books “Economic and Financial Analyses of Small and Medium Food Crops Agro-Processing Firms in Ghanaand “Harnessing Land and Water Resources for Improved Food Security and Ecosystem Services in Africaat a gathering in Accra. Both authors, affiliated with the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa in Accra, made the presentations at an event to launch the books.

They addressed the overarching theme of the challenges facing natural resources in Africa and the agri-business potentials within Ghana, but with ideas that can be extended and implemented throughout the continent.

Dr. Oku and colleagues employed empirical data to propose and suggest policy options, and encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in order to facilitate the successful management and use of natural resources and to improve food security. The main objective of their book “is to draw attention to the impact of human activities on land and water resources and the need for the sustainable management of Africa’s ecosystem services to improve livelihoods”

For Stephen Frimpong and colleagues, “provide empirical evidence for stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to improve efficiencies in food crops agro-processing in Ghana”.

Varying topics which relate to the subjects of the two books such as marketing, empowerment of women, technology and education were discussed following the presentations.  There were sentiments and remarks from the panelists and audience. The event was moderated by Dr. Elias T. Ayuk, the Director of UNU-INRA.

United Nations present at 4th World Summit of Mayors

Accra, 3 June 2015 – An entire session was devoted to presentations by UN officials at the just ended 4th World Summit of Mayors held in Accra.  The UNDP, UNFPA, IOM and UNICEF were fully represented on Day 2 of the 3-day summit.

UNDP Country Representative Dominic Sam (Credit: AMA)

UNDP Country Representative Dominic Sam (Credit: AMA)

The UNDP representative Mr. Dominic Sam, spoke on issues that bothered around the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He emphasized the fact that “we live in a rapidly changing world” and that as of 2015, 95% of the urban expansion would be in the developing world mostly Africa and Asia. He also maintained that without collaboration between the Mayors and the Chiefs, MDGs and SDGs would be unattainable. To this end, as a concluding remark, the speaker therefore implored the leaders not to be spectators but to take the lead in the fulfillment of the MDGs.

UN Officials at the Summit

UN Officials at the Summit

For his part, the representative of the UNFPA Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi spoke on issues related to Demographic Dividends explaining the concept as the benefit that arises when a country has a colossal number of working population and invests enormously into education and women empowerment. He made known the fact that due to the youth purge prevalent in the world today arising from the number of adolescents totaling 1.8 billion of the world’s population, it was imperatively important that gargantuan investment be made into education, health facilities and girl/women empowerment in order to harness the demographic dividends of the country.

The subsequent speaker representing the International Organization of Migration (IOM), Mr. Azu Samri discussed issues centered on migration trends in the 21st century asserting that 222 million people engaged in international migration and about 740 million people worldwide were internal migrants. He also maintained that more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas.

He asserted that 31 million Africans migrated in 2013 which has caused severe Brain Drain on Africa, loss of skills significant for development which has led to Africa’s dependency on foreign products while the countries of destination have continued to receive addition manpower provided by migrating Africans. To this end, the IOM created the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) which is saddled with the responsibility to assist African States in achieving their economic and development goals so as to lessen the rate of Brain Drain from Africa. He proposed three methods through which this objective would be accomplished: Enabling, Engaging and Empowering the Diaspora for development in Africa. He informed the gathering that the IOM is planning to organize a forum that will bring together Mayors, Leaders, and Presidents amongst others to discuss issues on migration.

For UNICEF, Ms. Susan Ngongi discussed on issues surrounding Child Poverty. She emphasized that children should get the best investment available from their guardians and from the society at large. She also postulated that to ensure that the socio economic status of parents doesn’t pass on automatically to children, child poverty needs to be tackled with all seriousness. She concluded her speech by noting that due to the fact that African Mayors are busy and getting busier, Child poverty is on the rise and therefore needs to be tackled effectively so as to abate it to the barest minimum.

 

Discussions continue at 4th World Summit of Mayors in Accra

Accra, 3 June 2015 – The 4th World Summit of Mayors continues in Accra with discussions on various areas of enhancing the capacity and taking care of cities and nations in Africa.

Officials at the Summit on Day 2

Officials at the Summit on Day 2

An area that was dealt with was “The Role of Mayor in Community Development”. Here, the Paramount Chief of the Akyem Abuakwa State, Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, focused on Africa’s future and how it needs to be addressed and managed appropriately. He eloquently explained that the continent needs to reach a point in which we will appreciate the progress made adding that “although change needs to be radical and is not for those who are faint at heart, it nonetheless needs to be facilitated within the bounds of municipal laws”. However the pursuance of a better future on the continent is crucial because it should no longer be synonymous with concepts such as death and disease.

Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II also implored that “never forget your tradition, who you are, and where you are from”. He also spoke on the problem of the rising population in the city of Accra emphasizing that there is a limit to how many people the city could accommodate, and that that limit has been exceeded.

A theme that was upheld by many speakers was that the power of change is within the reach of everyone and that it is possible.  What is required therefore is for African leaders to harness the power of collaboration and focus.

Furthermore, an entire session was dedicated to addresses by the United Nations Systems, such as the UNDP, UNFPA, IOM and UNICEF. Through them topics such as Transformative Growth, the Management of Human Capital, Immigration and Children were elaborated on and nuanced. From the speakers’ presentation it was clear that “the world is rapidly changing” and there is still much more to be done to allow for the African continent and those connected to it benefit from global trends in socio-economic prosperity.

 

Hundreds of delegates attend 4th World Summit of Mayors in Accra

Accra 2 June 2015 – The 4th World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent has opened in Accra with Ghana’s Vice President, HE Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and Ex-president Jerry John Rawlings, Vice President of Honduras, Lorena Herrera, the Mayor of Accra and President of Global Alliance for Africa (GAMAD), Dr. Okoe Vanderpuije in attendance.  Others include Dr. Dijbiri Dailo, Senior Advisor, UNAIDS and Mr Oscar Gamboa Zuniga, Executive Director of GAMAD. Several Mayors from all over the world as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and traditional leaders also graced the occasion. The special guest was HE Lorena Herrera.

Young flute players perform to usher guests to the Summit

Young flute players perform to usher guests to the Summit

In a ceremonial cultural performance, the Mayor of Cali, Columbia, handed over the flame of fire to the Mayor of Accra, Ghana, signifying the transfer of responsibility to host the Summit.

Dr. Okoe Vanderpuije welcomed the guests and participants to the conference and elaborated the objectives of the conference. One of the key issues on the agenda of the conference is the “Fast-Track Cities” initiative which aims at ensuring that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV knows their HIV status,

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur

90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are receiving treatment, and 90% of people are being treated with suppressed viral loads. The summit will also discuss issues of racism, empowerment of girls and women and job creation for young people of Africa.

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Ghana Honours UN Peacekeepers

Accra, 29 May 2015 – The International Day of United Nations Peacekeeping has been marked in Accra to honour our gallant peacekeepers and commemorate those who lost their lives in service to humanity. The theme for the celebration is UN70, Ghana in Peacekeeping, Past, Present and Future. Present at the ceremony were the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Education, the Deputy Minister for Defence, the UN Resident Coordinator, members of the diplomatic corps and heads of the security services including the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, and the Ghana Prisons Service.

Wreath bearers at the UN PKD 2015

Wreath bearers at the UN PKD 2015

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, in her speech applauded the invaluable contribution of the blue helmets to the proud history of the United Nations.  She expressed her condolence to the bereaved families of fallen peacekeepers, four of whom have been honoured posthumously at an event in New York.  They are Corporal Augustine Ackah of UNMIL who passed on 2nd   January 2014, Sgt George   Koranteng of UNMIL who passed on the 15th August 2014, LtMoses Adatara UNMIL who passed on 26th November 2014, and WOI Peter Atabire of MINUMA who passed on 14th November 2014. A minute silence was observed in their memory.

UN RC lays a wreath on behalf of UN

UN RC lays a wreath on behalf of UN

For her part, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Hanna Tetteh disclosed that the Government of Ghana has formed an inter-ministerial committee to ensure that Ghanaian Peacekeepers get state of the art equipment and technological expertise so as to protect and empower them in the discharge of their duties. She also expressed gratitude to the Government of Lebanon for providing scholarships to children of some fallen heroes.

The highlights of the event was a flag raising and wreath-laying ceremony, where Hon. Hanna

Ghana Navy on parade to mark UN PKD 2015

Ghana Navy on parade to mark UN PKD 2015

Tetteh hoisted the Ghana flag and the Resident Coordinator hoisted the United Nations flag. Wreaths were laid in memory of fallen heroes and heroines by the Government and people of Ghana, the United Nations, the Security Service and spouses of the fallen soldiers.