Category Archives: Latest News

Latest Millennium Development Report is out

Accra, 7 July, 2014 – With less than 600 days to the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations says concentrated efforts by national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are working to lift people out of extreme poverty and improve their futures.

However, there are still significant continental and regional disparities between and within countries. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon launched the 2014 MDG report on Monday at the opening of the high-level segment of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (ECOSOC) in New York, noting that “the MDGs have helped unite, inspire and transform” the world.

Continue reading

UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa 2014 report launched in Accra

Accra, 3 July 2014 – The Director of External Resource Mobilisation Division of the Ministry of Finance in Ghana, Mr. Michael Ayesu has descried UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa 2014 report as useful and timely, especially so when it is released at a time when the country is reviewing its Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda (GSHDA). He commended UNCTAD for the report which he believes will inform some of the decisions in the GSHDA II. According to Mr. Ayesu, the crux of the report, which is a need for economic policy reorientation by African countries for transformative growth mirrors what is currently being discussed by the government of Ghana in its effort to find a medium-term solution to economic challenges facing the country.

Mr. Michael Ayesu launching the EDA 2014 report

Mr. Michael Ayesu launching the EDA 2014 report; On his left is Mr. Bagooro

Mr. Ayesu was speaking at the launch of the EDA 2014 report in Accra. He noted however, that Ghana, like many other African countries need to do more in areas like energy and road infrastructure in order to “increase the productivity of the little resources that we have”. “We have to do it in an efficient manner so that we can extend the quality of the investments we make” he added.

The report, subtitled “Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa”was presented by Mr. Sylvester Bagooro of Third World Network (TWN), Africa. The report shows that from 1990 to 1999 the incremental capital–output ratio – which measures the degree of inefficiency in the use of capital – was about 7.4 in Africa, while from 2000 to 2011 it fell to 4.1 This means that producing an additional unit of output in Africa required $4.1 in 2000–2011 compared to $7.4 of capital in 1990–1999 – a reduction of almost half.

Cross section of participants

Cross section of participants

Factors that have contributed to productivity increases in Africa over the past decade, according to the report, include improvements in infrastructure, relatively better access to technology and policy reforms that reduced the transaction costs linked to production, trade and investment.

Despite this achievement, the nature and pattern of this growth, the report notes, has not resulted in more jobs and poverty reduction because consumption has been the dominant driver. The report argues that a consumption-based growth strategy must go hand-in-hand with an increase in investment in strategic and priority sectors of the economy – such as infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing.

Gyekye Tanoh of TWN Africa contributing to discussions at the launch of EDA 2014

Gyekye Tanoh of TWN Africa contributing to discussions at the launch of EDA 2014

The report warns that Africa cannot achieve sustained economic growth and transformation without diversifying the sources of its economic growth both on the demand and supply sides of its economies.

Contributing to discussions during the launch, Mr. Gyekye Tanoh of TWN Africa reminded the participants that the report is a serious critique of the dominant economic policies of African countries and calls for a shift in economic policy orientation in order to enable African countries make the necessary economic gains for transformative growth.

Special Ministerial meeting on Ebola virus in West Africa opens in Accra

Accra, 2 July, 2014 – Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn has said that addressing the Ebola virus disease from a cultural perspective can go a long way in curbing the spread of the disease.  “In many cases family members of people affected with the disease do not seek medical care.  Instead, they restrain the patients in their homes or they seek non-medical treatment. Culture is the number one barrier to the fight against the disease” Dr. Dahn noted.

Deputy Minister Dahn of Liberia

Deputy Minister Dahn of Liberia

Dr. Dahn made this known in an interview during the on-going special ministerial meeting on Ebola virus disease in West Africa which opened in Accra today.  Eleven Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Health from Africa, partners and donors will for two days brainstorm to come up with a strategic plan of action on how to curb the disease.

Delegates at the meeting

Delegates at the meeting

In an opening statement, Dr. Louis Sambo of WHO said the continuous spread of the disease, to a large extent, is as a result of cultural practices and beliefs. Furthermore, constant cross border movement of people affected with the disease also facilitated its spread in the three affected countries, namely, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  According to Dr. Sambo, the current outbreak has the potential to spread to other parts of the continent if urgent measures are not put in place to curb the spread of the disease.  He therefore called for political commitment and financial support to ensure the urgently needed medical intervention by health workers.

Ghana's Minister of Health, Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey (middle) and colleagues from the continent in a group picture

Ghana’s Minister of Health, Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey (middle) and colleagues from the continent in a group picture

Ebola virus disease was first reported in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recent outbreak is the highest in the number of cases, deaths and geographical spread.  Ghana is hosting the two-day meeting which seeks to share experiences, discuss issues and concerns and come up with a common strategy for accelerated response to the spread of the disease.

ILO hosts Media Training on Maternity Protection

Accra, 26 June 2014 – The International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Journalism with the support of UNIC Accra, has launched its Maternity Protection project in Accra. The launch was followed immediately with media training on maternity protection to equip journalists with tools to report on the issue.

At the launch of the materinity protection project

At the launch of the maternity protection project

As an integral part of the “Decent work for all” policy agenda of the ILO in partnership with the Government of Ghana, the maternity protection project aims to provide economic security of the pregnant woman and to preserve the health of the mother and the unborn child.

An important feature of the ILO agenda is maternity leave. “Women want to go on their maternity leave as and when they are practically due to give birth. They want to spend all the time they possibly can of their leave at home.” Catherine Adu-Boadi of the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana, said on behalf or her minister Hon. Nana Oye Lithur.

Research suggests strong correlation between the welfare of children and maternity leave when looking at factors such as cognitive ability, growth and survival rate. ILO calls for the right to maternity leave for all women of all sectors, formal and informal sectors alike, as stated in the Maternity Protection Convention of 1986.

UNIC Accra NIO, Cynthia Prah presented the principles and guidelines for journalists when reporting on maternity protection, and highlighted the importance of maintaining good ethics when interviewing women subjects especially on issues relating to maternity protection. She asked journalists to scale up their duties in contributing to the welfare and protection of pregnant women, and mentioned examples of what is good and bad journalistic ethics.

The launch was also attended by Akua Ofor-Asamadu of ILO, Christiana Gbedemah of  UNICEF, Roland Modey of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Dave Agbenu of the Ghana Journalists Association and Charles Asante Bempong of the Ghana Employers Association.

WHO calls emergency sub-regional Ministerial meeting on Ebola virus

Accra, 26 June 2014 – In an effort to interrupt further spread of the Ebola virus in the shortest possible time, the World Health Organization is convening a special meeting of Ministers of Health of eleven (11) countries and partners involved in the Ebola outbreak response in Accra, Ghana from 2-3 July 2014 to discuss the best way of tackling the crisis collectively as well as develop a comprehensive inter country operational response plan.

According to the WHO, the emergence of Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa threatens regional and global public health security.  WHO has so far provided technical assistance through the deployment of over 150 multidisciplinary team of experts involved in a range of outbreak response activities such as surveillance, communication and social mobilization, infection control, logistics, data management.

Despite this, there has been significant increase in the number of daily reported cases and deaths of Ebola as well as newly affected districts over the last three weeks.  As of 23 June 2014, the total cumulative number of cases reported was 635 out of which 399 died. This makes the on-going Ebola outbreak, the largest in terms of the number of cases and deaths as well as geographical spread.

For more information please read the WHO press release.

 

Decisions taken at this meeting will be critical in addressing the current and future outbreaks.

UN Staff interact with students of Osagyefo Leadership International School to mark DAC

Accra, 27 June 2014 – Students of the Osagyefo Leadership International School observed the Day of the African Child with a colourful cultural performance interspersed with interactions by some UN staff and representatives of UNIC-partnering NGOs, namely Abibiman Foundation and Just Care Foundation.

Students performing to the admiration of their colleagues

Students performing to the admiration of their colleagues

Staff of UNICEF and UNESCO shared some thoughts on the significance of education, hygiene and nutrition with enthusiastic and excited students. The students were all dressed in African attire and displayed rich cultural performances.

In an interaction with some of the students, they all expressed their excitement at the celebration of the day in their school and said it was educative. Find out more about what they said.

2014 World Investment Report launched in Accra

Accra, 24 June 2014 – The 2014 World Investment Report (WIR) has been launched in Accra at an event attended by some 60 people representing the public and private sectors, academia and the media.

Philip Cobbina presenting the WIR2014 report

Philip Cobbina presenting the WIR2014 report

According to the report, Africa accounted for a 4 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows last year, while landlocked developing countries recorded an overall decrease. The poorest countries of the world are becoming less and less dependent on extractive industries, WIR 2014 concludes. With regards to economic policy trends, data reveals a clear tendency of increases in the use of incentives, such as tax-breaks and benefits, to attract investment.

Continue reading

Accra launch of UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2014

Accra, Ghana, June 23, 2014 – The United Nations Information Centre, Accra will on Tuesday June 24 launch the 23rd annual World Investment Report (WIR), released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). First published in 1991, the WIR is an influential source of economic intelligence for policy makers and investors world-wide.

UNCTAD_WIR 2014_COUV A4The 2014 report, “Investing in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – an Action Plan”, provides a comprehensive review on global and regional investment & policy trends, and presents an outlook for private sector investment in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Agriculture Development Bank, represented by the Acting Treasurer, Mr. John Kwame Mensah Zigah, will portray the particular significance of the report for Ghana to investors, the academia, banking institutions and the media at the launch. Participating at the launch include the Country Manager of Tullow Ghana’s Invest in Africa initiative, Sam Brandful; the General Manager of Finance, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mr. Chris Amedor; the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mark Badu-Aboagye and; the Head, Department of Finance, University of Ghana Business School, Prof. A.Q.Q. Aboagye.

Continue reading

“Declarations don’t feed people” IFAD President tells AU Heads of State in an open letter

Accra, June 19, 2014 – The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, during its 19th Ordinary Session, held in July 2012, declared the year 2014 to be the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, marking 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The Year is being commemorated across the continent, in Member States, Regional Economic Communities, Continental organisations, and at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme Transforming Africa’s Agriculture for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, through Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. 

Kanayo F. Nwanze

Kanayo F. Nwanze

It is a Year that gives “opportunities to communities, state and non-state actors in Africa to interact, express their voices on what works and chart the focus and targets for the next decade towards setting the agenda for sustaining the CAADP momentum.

The 23rd AU Summit takes place from 20 – 27 June, 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where Heads of State are expected to focus on agriculture and food security.

In an open letter to the AU Heads of States, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD calls on African leaders to take concrete steps towards investing in Africa’s rural poor for economic gains and for ethical reasons. “Don’t just promise development, deliver it, make it happen now. Make real, concrete progress toward investment that reaches all Africans. Investments that prioritize rural people” he writes.

Call for application to participate in model UN in Tokyo

Accra, June 18, 2014 – A call for applications to participate in a MUN workshop has been announced.  The workshop is being organized in Tokyo, Japan from 22-24 November 2014 in partnership with Meiji University and United Nations Information Centre, Tokyo,  It aims at examining how Model UN simulations can more accurately capture the negotiation process as it commonly occurs at the UN. Thus, the session will focus on giving students and MUN advisors a basic understanding of the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the discussion and action phases of General Assembly Committee meetings, what you need to know when drafting resolutions, the duties and responsibilities of the UN Secretariat and General Assembly officials, the negotiation process that takes place during informal meetings, how consensus is achieved, the Security Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure, and much more.

This workshop is being supported by the Education Outreach Section within Department of Public Information of the UN following the success of three Global Model UN Conferences from 2009-2011. Starting in August 2012 when the Education Outreach Section organized its first Model UN Workshop for students and MUN advisers who organize MUN conferences around the world, it has run workshops in Vienna, Baku, and Seoul. This year, training sessions are being organised in Rome, Doha, Beijing and Tokyo.

The Tokyo workshop is open to international students. All information concerning the process and eligibility requirements is available on the UN4MUN website