UNCTAD warns African countries to take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis

Accra, July 25, 2016 – UNIC Accra has launched this year’s Economic Development in Africa Report in Accra on behalf of UNCTAD.  The event was attended by representatives of a cross-section of financial, public and private-sector institutions and the media. And officials from the World Bank and IFC.

Mr. Cobbina presenting the report

Mr. Cobbina presenting the report

The report, sub-titled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa, was presented by Mr. Philip Cobbina, an economist and a former lecturer in International Business Management and Business Policy and Strategy with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Business School.

Cross section of the audience

Cross section of the audience

He expanciated upon the key findings of the report which calls on African countries to leverage all possible sources of finance, both domestic and external for development needs given the size of its needs and capacity constraint. The report however cautions that increasing domestic debt could mean new risks as the range of creditors and debt instruments continues to expand and warns African Governments to take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Launch of the report by Mr. Cobbina (R), Mr. Otoo (m) and Ms Prah (L)

Launch of the report by Mr. Cobbina (R), Mr. Otoo (m) and Ms Prah (L)

The report also advises that remittances, public–private partnerships, and curtailing illicit financial flows, if effectively tapped, could compliment traditional modalities of development finance. It also calls for enhanced international and regional cooperation to build institutional capacity in addressing Africa’s development finance needs and debt management challenges.

The Head of Research and Business Development Division of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr. Augustine Otoo and the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre, Ms. Cynthia Prah assisted Mr. Cobbina to launch the report.

UNIC Accra to launch UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2016

Accra, July 20, 2016 – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra will launch the Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 in Accra on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Cover pageThe EDA Report, a flagship publication of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), analyses major aspects of Africa´s development problems and policy issues of interest to African countries. It makes policy recommendations for action by African countries themselves and by the international community to overcome the development challenges that the continent faces. The report has been published annually since 2000.

This year’s report is subtitled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa.  It warns that African Governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The 2016 edition of the report seeks to address the following:

  • How should African countries balance the multiple objectives of financing development spending and avoiding a debt crisis?
  • What are the main external debt trends and the key drivers of these trends?
  • What are the current trends in public domestic debt in Africa?
  • What complementary modalities of finance are available to help Africa sustainably address critical development finance needs?

The report will be presented by Mr. Philip A. Cobbina of Cicada Consulting Ltd. Mr. Cobbina, an economist by training has some fifteen years’ work experience in teaching, research and consulting. With competencies in finance, corporate strategy, debt and capital flows, trade, regional integration as well as strategic business planning, Mr. Cobbina has worked with the African Development Bank, UNCTAD and was once a lecturer in International Business Management and Business Policy and Strategy with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Business School.

UNIC Accra and Promasidor Ghana Ltd Commemorate World Youth Skills Day in Accra

Accra, July 19, 2016 – UNIC Accra, in collaboration with Promasidor Ghana Limited, a multi-local food manufacturing company, has commemorated this year’s World Youth Skills Day with an event to unearth the skills of young people. Held for Junior High School students at the Circuit 32, Adabraka Cluster of Schools in Accra, the event enabled some 21 young students, most of whom might have put their various talents into practice for fun, to show what they can do by way of drawing, crocheting, and paper cutting.

Group picture of all participants and officials at the opening of the event

Group picture of all participants and officials at the opening of the event

With the kind support of Promasidor Ghana Limited, these students took home various food products and educational materials such as note books, erasers, pencils and casual back-bags as prizes for exhibiting their talents.

In attendance were Ms. Cynthia Prah, the National Information Officer and her team; Mr Emmanuel K. Mensah, the programme Officer of the International Labour Organization; Mr Carl Ampah, the National Information Officer in-charge of Culture, UNESCO; Madam Betty Amadoh, the Deputy Director of Accra Education Sub-metro Office of the Ghana Education Service, and her team; and headmasters and staffs of the participating schools.

Students seated begin the competition

Students seated begin the competition

Ms. Prah presented the United Nations General-Secretary’s message and admonished parents and stakeholders to invest in young people. Mr. Mensah of the ILO and Mr. Ampah of UNESCO took turns to address the students on the significance of education and skills.

Ms Prah presenting the 1st Prize to Dennis Quarcoo

Ms Prah presenting the 1st Prize to Dennis Quarcoo

The participating students were then given the necessary tools to demonstrate their talent. Some were asked to draw a slum community, crochet or design anything using colourful cardboards. At the end of the competition, the pupils presented amazing beautiful artistic works with Dennis Quarcoo of Calvary Methodist one Basic School being adjudged the overall winner. The second position went to Roy Acquaye of Calvary Methodist one Basic School and Darius Odametey of All Saints Anglican Basic School took the third position.

The Road to Freedom: Remembering Nelson Mandela

Accra, July 18, 2016 – How wonderful it is to freely drive our own cars and walk freely on the streets of our own motherland. How gratifying it is to have the opportunity to work, earn our own income and raise our children up in conducive and comfortable conditions. How privileged we are to be regarded as a part of humanity.

Mandela raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990

Mandela raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990

Many years ago, our ancestors and forefathers were not this lucky. Wait a minute…we can argue on this premise, right? Well, back then, somewhere in the middle of time, our forefathers and ancestors could only tell hopeful prophetic stories of freedom. Africa was under the constraint and rule of Western European powers who divided our continent and our rich resources into political partitions. Many years ago, it was considered hapless to be born black. It spelled out a lifetime of pain and suffering; an existence involving labor and disregard.

Slowly but surely, African nations began to revolt and seek their independence. Amongst all the uprising and struggle for independence, the most notable and perhaps, the most significant was that of South Africa. Their compelling story of freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by the people in overcoming the oppression of colonialism and apartheid has been inscribed in the hearts of all Africans, many of us, permanently. It is impossible to mention the fight against the South African apartheid without crediting the movement’s most prominent figure; Nelson Mandela.

Born Rolihlahla Mandela in Mvezo, a small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the name Nelson was given to him when he enrolled in a local mission primary school. Later in life, Nelson Mandela became a highly influential anti-apartheid activist and a global advocate for human rights. As a ranking member of the African National Congress party, Nelson Mandela led several peaceful and armed protests against oppression imposed by the minority government in South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the anti-apartheid movement both within his country and internationally.

Released from prison in 1990, he continued his struggle to rid his country of apartheid and in 1994 he became the first black president of South Africa. Inspired by his own advocacy on equality and tolerance, he formed a multi-ethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. After retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95.

We can all learn valuable lessons from the life of Nelson Mandela. He was the definition of perseverance. Despite all his foes and the odds stacked against him, the former South African president pushed on to help bring an end to apartheid. As South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, Mandela tackled the challenge of uniting both the country’s racial groupings and a fragmented public service. Mandela was one of the few leaders capable of inspiring confidence both inside and outside the country.

For 67 years, Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity. He was an advocate for peace and a human rights lawyer. To recognize his contributions and efforts to achieving a peaceful and global community, the United Nations General Assembly, in November 2009 declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day”.. The Mandela Day is an initiative and a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The Day calls on every global citizen to “give 67 minutes of public service for Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to humanity.”  This is why the United Nations Information Centre team in Accra is hosting an outreach programme at Accra Academy to imbibe in the youth a sense of responsibility, knowledge and power to “Take Action and Inspire Change!

There is no doubt that Mandela’s achievements have been observed globally and have set an exemplary standard of humanity in supporting a culture of international collaboration and peace. His willingness to fight against injustice and racism wherever he met it and his inspirational leadership style are the reasons why Nelson Mandela’s name will forever be hailed as a hero and written in our books of history.

As former US president Bill Clinton said. “In return for everything Madiba has taught us, we each owe it to him to support his work and legacy by doing and living our own as best we can, not just on this day, but throughout our entire lives.”

By devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. So on this this day join us to “Take Action! Inspire Change!

By: Nii Odartey-Wellington, Intern at United Nations Information Centre, Accra

UNIC Accra & Promasidor Ghana Ltd. mark World Youth Skills Day 2016

Accra, July 15, 2016 – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra partners with Promasidor Ghana Limited to commemorate this year’s World Youth Skills Day (WYSD). The event, which takes place on Friday, 15 July 2016, is under the theme, “Skills Development to Improve Youth Employment”.  It will take place at Circuit 32 Adabraka Cluster of Schools and will involve some 200 students.

The issue of youth unemployment is a major concern for both industrialized and developing countries. The UN estimates that the number of unemployed youth globally reached 74.5 million in 2013, the majority of whom live in developing countries. According to the International Labour organization (ILO), young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

Considering this as a major setback to the process of development and recognizing that fostering the acquisition of skills by youth would enhance their ability to make informed choices with regard to life and work, and to empower them to gain access to changing labour markets, the United Nations General Assembly on November 11, 2014 established the WYSD inviting all Member States and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including youth-led organizations, to commemorate the Day.

As part of activities to mark WYSD in Ghana, UNIC Accra, in partnership with Promasidor Ghana Limited will organize an “Open skills competition” for pupils at Circuit 32 Adabraka Cluster of Schools in Accra. The objective of this event is to challenge the youth to develop interest in their skills and technical activities and also to boost students’ confidence in vocational and technical education.

The activity will be conducted in a competitive form to encourage students to use their ingenuity and be more creative. Selected students will have the opportunity to explore their skills talent, identify these skills and build on their ability to develop these skills with the mind set of becoming independent in the labour market.

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Opens Today

Accra, July 11, 2016 – A High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development begins in New York today.  The Forum, the first since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last September, is the UN’s platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. It is therefore expected to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress of the SDGs; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues. It is also an opportunity for the UN to highlight the work it has done in support of the goals.

The Forum is under the theme “Ensuring that no one is left behind” and will include voluntary reviews of 22 countries’ progress in implementation plans and a three-day ministerial meeting. It will also include a range of side events, a Partnership Exchange event, and SDGs Learning, Training and Practice sessions.

The 22 countries that will present an overview of their implementation plans are China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela.

The Forum will be webcast live at webtv.un.org.

For More information, please visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

UNIC Accra & Accra Ridge Church Widows’ Fellowship mark International Widows’ Day

Accra, 22 June 2016 – International Widow’s Day is a United Nations Day marked annually on the 23rd day of June to recognize the plight of millions of widows and their children across the world who experience economic and social deprivation after losing their husbands. The Day seeks to end all forms of discrimination against widows and to enable them to enjoy their human rights.

Currently there are over 250 million widows worldwide.

This year, UNIC Accra joins the Accra Ridge Church Widows’ Fellowship to mark the Day.

Read more in the joint press release issued by UNIC Accra and the ARCWF.

Dr. Ibn Chambas ends fact-finding mission ahead of Ghana’s elections

Accra, 20 June 2016 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and Head of UNOWAS, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas has concluded his second fact-finding mission in Ghana as part of United Nations engagement and support in the preparations towards Ghana’s elections 2016.

D. Ibn Chambas addressing the media

D. Ibn Chambas addressing the media

During his mission, Dr. Ibn Chambas met with the Electoral Commission, Political Party representatives, the Chief Justice, the National Peace Council, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, Ghana’s international partners, as well as the media.

This was a follow-up  to his visit in February this year.

Read the full text of his statement to the media.

Ghana’s human rights record to be reviewed by UN Committee

Geneva, 20 June 2016 – Ghana’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee for the first time on 24 June in Geneva. As one of the 168 States that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Ghana is required to undergo review by the Committee on how it is implementing the Covenant.

The Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent members, will discuss a range of issues relating to the ICCPR with a delegation from the Government of Ghana. Members will also be briefed by NGO representatives.

The Committee’s meetings with the delegation are public and will take place on 24 June from 10:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 18:00 (08:00 – 11:00 and 13:00 – 16:00 in Ghana).

Ghana has submitted a report to the Committee on the implementation of its human rights obligations, and a number of non-governmental organisations have also sent reports for the Committee’s consideration. More information here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1031&Lang=en

The Committee will issue its findings on Ghana and the other countries being reviewed – Denmark, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Burkina Faso and Argentina on 17 July. The findings, officially known as concluding observations, will be published here:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1031&Lang=en

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UN launches worldwide search for young people driving change to help realise SDGs

Accra, 16 June 2016 –The United Nations has launched the UN Young Leaders Initiative to recognize exceptional young people who are leaders in the effort to end poverty, combat climate change and reduce inequalities.

Under this initiative, 17 young leaders, aged between 18 – 30 years, who are driving change to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be recognized on an annual basis. This is the first of its kind to showcase the outstanding leadership that young people are demonstrating to put the world on a more sustainable course.

It is spear-headed by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The first class of Young Leaders will be announced in September, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. During their term, the Young Leaders will work with the Envoy on Youth and the United Nations to help galvanize other young people around achieving the SDGs.

Nominations are now open via the Young Leaders website. Categories for nomination include Advocacy, the Arts, Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Media, Philanthropy, Policy, Science, Sport, Technology and others.

Nominations will be open from June 15th to July 15th 2016 and can be made online at www.SDGYoungLeaders.org

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