His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who was on official visit to Germany at the invitation of the Chancellor Angela Merkel had a town hall meeting with the Ghanaian Community on Sunday, the 11th of June 2017 at the M'a'ritim HotelHotel in Berlin.
The meeting by all standards was very successful. The president was highly impressed by the huge attendance and thanked Ghanaians in Germany for their immense contribution in making him the President of the republic of Ghana.
“Beloved citizens of Ghana, I want to assure you that Ghana is not a poor country, we failed to set our priorities right, we haven’t managed our human capital and resources well. My government is in to address these deficits and also fight corruption in our country. I want to remain in the History Books of Ghana as the President who made outstanding and visionary promises to my people and fulfilled them.
My government has assembled the best men and women of this great country who will work tirelessly to make Ghana great gain. He went on to say his government seems to be doing something that is catching the attention of the rest of the world and Germany particularly. Ghana has been selected among three African countries and whose leaders are attending G20 Summit, and we have secured €100 million grant for the nation”.
The president who spoke later in the evening took time to answer the questions posed to his delegation by Mr. William Nketia, President, Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany (UGAG)
The first of the questions was on (ROPAL) the right of Ghanaians abroad to vote. The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians living abroad of readiness to work with them to safeguard the full implementation of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law (ROPAL). He however made it clear that, only the Electoral Commission has the right to implement the Ropal bill, hence the Diasporas should adopt an advocacy approach, “Make more Noise”
On the question of Dual Citizenship, the president promised Ghanaians that the time is due, and that his government will champion the cause. The crowd was constantly applauding the president.
The third major question was the high cost of Passport and Visa; the question was handled by the Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who could be mistaken for a beauty queen. She told the impatient gathering that the prices will be reviewed by parliament and that Ghanaians should not hold the Ghana mission responsible.
Ghanaians have problem understanding why prices in Germany as compared to other European countries were extremely high.
The plain truth is that Ghanaians holding German Passports are technically not Ghanaians. No government easily wants to loose hard earned foreign currency. Ghanaian-/Germans wants to eat their cakes and have it...
Mrs. Gina Blay, Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, who is yet to present her letters of credence to the German government, was introduced to the gathering. She appeared very calm and the president praised her as a good listener. The community welcomed her and promised to give her the necessary support that will make her succeed.
Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister of Finance gave a brief account of the economy, “We were able to raise $2.2 billion on the local market, this has brought some stability into the economy and helped stabilized the cedi, he said softly.
Mr. Francis D. Kotia. Ag. Head of Mission, Embassy of Ghana, Germany gave an inspiring speech, he presented Ghanaian in Germany as peace loving, law abiding and hardworking and commended the president for his quest to move fast with his desire to make a change. Mr. President, your vision of inviting the past president went viral and made Ghanaians in Germany proud.
The GHASPORA project was also presented to the delegation, the core objective was aid the government in adding value to agricultural products and to partner government to invest in the recycle sector of the economy.
The Social Entrepreneur, Mr. Desmond John Beddy was applauded for his outstanding social interventions in promoting awareness among students of African origin on the importance and significance of education for their social and professional integration in Germany. He has over a decade held the Ghanaian Flag very high in Germany.
Also at the meeting was Director of Protocol Amb. Hassan Ahmed, Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante-Bediatuo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yoofi Grant. The president was grateful to the Ghanaian community who came from all parts of Germany to meet and interact with him.
Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, Minister/Head of Consular and Mr. Michael Nyaaba Assibi, First Secretary /Political and Diaspora and the junior staffs of the Ghana Embassy in Berlin really put up a good event. The well-organized show was a clear indication of good a working relationship between the embassy and the community leadership.
Nana Oti Atakora Boadum III, the Akwamuhene of Asante-Mampong Traditional Area gave vote of Thanks. The gathering was moderated by Ms. Portia Agyeiwaah Okai-Neyeh of Radio TopAfric and Nana Owusu Kyekye Ababio of Radio Africa.
Opening prayer was done by Pastor Jerry Aidoo of Gospel Believers International Church-Berlin and closing prayers by Scheick Imam Hussein, Islam Africa e.V, Berlin.
God Bless Ghana!
God Bless Germany!
Photos: Ebenezer Quansah, Video: Yanick Nsigi
Topafric Media Network
Fighting disinformation and raising awareness of the risks of exile: These are the goals of the Saloum Rapatak association, which has been active in Senegal for more than seven years. Jimane – whose real name is Ousmane Thioune – is a radio host and the president of Saloum Rapatak, an organisation based in the city of Kaolack, 189 kilometres southwest from the Senegalese capital of Dakar. He tells Leslie Carretero how his organization raises awareness of the dangers of illegal migration.
What is the role of Saloum Rapatak?
We want the Senegalese people to stay and invest in their country. Young people are the future. If they leave, who will run Senegal in the years to come? Who will take care of the fields? Senegal is not a poor country; one can work the land or raise livestock. We are in a stable country, not at war. We must believe in ourselves and invest here!
Through concerts, radio shows and forums, we educate young people about the risks of immigration. We go to meet the residents of the villages in the region. They are the least informed, it is important that they know the reality of exile and that they can have a future in Senegal. Migrants who have returned to Senegal after experiencing hell share their experiences. Some, for example, went all the way to Mali, just to return home after having become aware of the dangers.
Why is there such a need to raise awareness?
Young people leave here every week in the hope of reaching Europe. But they don’t know what awaits them on their route. Smugglers organize departures from Kaolack in the shadows, and lie to those wishing to leave. They tell them that everything will be fine and that the journey is safe, but that is not the case.
Senegalese youths detained in a prison for irregular migrants in Libya, where the conditions have been described as horrible. Many embark on the journey unaware of the dangers on the way / Photo: IRIN
The traffickers take the migrants by bus to Mali, and then on to Niger. From there migrants cross the desert in often catastrophic conditions. Arriving in Libya, they are entrusted to another man. In war-torn Libya, weapons are prevalent. It’s very dangerous. And people from sub-Saharan Africa are frequently mistreated there. One young man told me he had been attacked in the street and put in prison by the militia. Once he was locked up, they tortured him and asked his family to send money in exchange for his release. People have to know what’s going on there so they don’t listen to what the smugglers tell them.
Another problem comes from Senegalese immigrants themselves. They don’t talk about the problems they experience but instead glorify their situations. We are fighting many forms of disinformation.
Why did you launch this project?
About 10 years ago I learned that friends had left by bus from the central market in Kaolack, heading for Europe. They lived well in Senegal, they had a nice life. I said to myself, “These people are crazy. Why leave everything from one day to the next?” I haven’t heard from them since. I think they are dead. I think it’s terrible.
Raise Hope for Congo was a campaign of the Enough Project launched in 2008 which worked to build a constituency of activists to advocate for an end to the ongoing conflict in eastern Congo. We need the full force of our activist base behind us to ensure this new approach is successful, so we combined the Raise Hope for Congo campaign back into the full Enough Project constituency base in order to amplify our efforts.
The campaign collaborated with national and local groups across the U.S., as well as local Congolese organizations, to build this grassroots movement.
Raise Hope for Congo focused on educating activists and their communities about the conflict in eastern Congo, the role of conflict minerals funding the conflict, and the effects of sexual violence as a weapon of war used against Congolese women and girls.
Together with the leadership of a few key companies, legislators, and a number of Congolese and international activists, Raise Hope for Congo helped transform the supply chains of the world’s leading electronics companies to weed out conflict minerals and help build a conflict-free minerals trade in Congo; partnered with Maman Shujaa, the Hero Women of Congo, to successfully have former Senator Russ Feingold appointed as the highest-level U.S. Special Envoy to Congo and the Great Lakes Region, and maintained the pressure needed to ensure his successor, former Congressman Tom Perriello, was appointed; andpresented at the United Nations alongside Ambassador Samantha Power and actor and activist Robin Wright on the linkages between conflict and sexual- and gender-based violence.
Beginning in 2015, the Enough Project broadened our efforts to focus on what we believe to be the real underlying cause of conflict in Congo and other conflicts in East and Central Africa: grand corruption linked to violence that manifests in a system of violent kleptocracy. This shift was informed by our work on addressing the conflict minerals crisis in Congo, and there is still much to be done to combat the conflict gold trade, impunity, and kleptocracy in Congo and to support the Congolese reformers calling for change.
Source: The Enough Project, Center for American Progress
Algeria plans to grant residency rights and job permits to illegal African migrants, responding to a shortage of workers in farming and construction while also seeking to combat a surge in racist sentiment.
Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s plan follows the launch of an anonymous online campaign that blames African migrants – whose numbers are unofficially estimated at 100,000 – for taking jobs and spreading the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
Youth unemployment is running at around 30 per cent in Algeria, but the country also faces a shortfall of workers in some sectors as it tries to steer its economy away from over-reliance on oil and gas production.
To determine the number of beneficiaries of the scheme, the interior ministry is organizing a census while security services will screen potential residency candidates.
“They will get a residency document which will allow them to get a job,” Tebboune told lawmakers on Friday night. “We won’t allow any NGO or individual to tarnish the image of our country.”
He gave no further details on the scheme.
African migrants in Algeria are mostly from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and have come to escape acute poverty and terrorism back home. Some use Algeria as a transit country en route to Europe via neighbouring Libya.
“That’s great news, I will be happy if I can work under the framework of the law,” said a young Malian working illegally in a housing project as a mason in Ouled Fayet, west of Algiers.
Tensions between Algerians and the migrants often boil over.
A year ago in Bechar, in western Algeria, rioting broke out after a local woman was believed to have been kidnapped by the migrants.
The online anti-migrant campaign has shocked many in Algeria, which sees itself as a leading influence in the Sahel region and more widely in Africa, for example negotiating a peace deal in 2015 in Mali.
The campaign also appears to have embarrassed the government in a country that takes pride in its history as a bastion of anti-colonialism after its own 1962 war of independence against France.
Last month a hashtag “No to Africans in Algeria” was widely shared on Twitter and Facebook, calling for expulsions to protect Algerian families and prevent “chaos”.
Amnesty International’s local representative, Hassina Oussedik, has urged the government to do more to protect African migrants.
Algeria has embarked on politically sensitive reforms to modernize its still largely state-run economy, but it has been hit hard by a crash in oil prices that has deprived the country of more than half of its revenues.
The migrants already present in the economy tend to work illegally and are very often underpaid, human rights groups say.
Some economists doubt the government’s plan will make much difference to Algeria’s workforce, while others view it as a way to further monitor traffic across its southern borders, where Islamist militant groups are active.
“The goal of most of the migrants is definitely to reach the El Dorado in Europe,” economist Arslan Chikhaoui told Reuters. “Algeria is still only a transit destination.
Kenya court annuls presidential election result
Marking a major setback for Kenya's president, the country's Supreme Court has accused the electoral board of committing "irregularities and illegalities" during the election.
Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday annulled the presidential election result, saying the electoral board committed "irregularities and illegalities." The August 8 election pronounced President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner.
"The presidential election held on August 8 was not conducted in accordance with the constitution," said Judge David Maranga, announcing the verdict of four out of the court's six judges.
The electoral board "failed, neglected or refused to conduct the elections in accordance with the constitution," Maranga added.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's challenger during the presidential election, rejected the initial result in the wake of the vote, prompting violent protests that left at least 16 people dead and dozens more injured.
Odinga and his National Super Alliance, a coalition of opposition groups, were given access to the electoral commission's electronic server to verify the result of the election.
Supervised by independent technology experts, Odinga claimed to have discovered that the electoral commission's computers were manipulated to hand Kenyatta the victory.
"This is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa," said Odinga after the court's announcement.
The Supreme Court's ruling marked the first time a presidential result had been overturned in Kenya.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
The Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, constituted to deal with the dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d'Ivoire), will deliver its Judgment at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 23 September 2017.
The Judgment will be read by Judge Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber. The Judgment will be read at a public sitting. The reading of the Judgment will be broadcast live on ITLOS’s website.
In September 2014, the Government of Ghana dragged Côte d'Ivoire to ITLOS in Hamburg, Germany, after the francophone neighbour began laying claim to some offshore oil concessions and adjoining seabed being developed and exploited by various companies, including Tullow Oil plc., within Ghana’s territory.
Ghana’s resort to ITLOS under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) followed 10 failed attempts at negotiations between the two countries. Ghana wants ITLOS to declare that it had not encroached on Ivory Coast’s territorial waters. Ghana filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.
Côte d'Ivoire, in February 2015, filed for preliminary measures urging the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”
Ghana maintained that Côte d'Ivoire began issuing threatening letters to oil companies operating in the disputed area after millions of dollars had been invested to develop the affected oilfields.Exploration and exploitation work on the Tweneboah-Enyera-Ntoumme (TEN) project being operated by Tullow Oil Plc., and its partners would have been affected had the tribunal ordered a suspension of all activities.
However, in April 2015, ITLOS, in its provisional measures, said ongoing projects in the disputed fields, including the $7.5-billion TEN project could proceed while the substantive case was being dealt with, but ordered that Ghana should not start new explorations within the same fields.
The provisional measures followed legal and technical representations made by both countries at ITLOS’s Special Chamber in Hamburg, Germany, on March 29 and 30, 2015, after which ITLOS ruled thus:
THE SPECIAL CHAMBER,
Prescribes, pending the final decision, the following provisional measures under article 290, paragraph 1, of the Convention:
(a) Ghana shall take all necessary steps to ensure that no new drilling either by Ghana or under its control takes place in the disputed area as defined in paragraph 60;
(b) Ghana shall take all necessary steps to prevent information resulting from past, ongoing or future exploration activities conducted by Ghana, or with its authorisation, in the disputed area that is not already in the public domain from being used in any way whatsoever to the detriment of Côte d’Ivoire;
(c) Ghana shall carry out strict and continuous monitoring of all activities undertaken by Ghana or with its authorisation in the disputed area with a view to ensuring the prevention of serious harm to the marine environment;
(d) The Parties shall take all necessary steps to prevent serious harm to the marine environment, including the continental shelf and its superjacent waters, in the disputed area and shall cooperate to that end;
(e) The Parties shall pursue cooperation and refrain from any unilateral action that might lead to aggravating the dispute.
Decides that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire shall each submit to the Special Chamber the initial report referred to in paragraph 105 not later than 25 May 2015, and authorises the President of the Special Chamber, after that date, to request such information from the Parties as he may consider appropriate.
Decides that each Party shall bear its own costs.
(signed) Boualem BOUGUETAIA, President of the Special Chamber (signed) Philippe GAUTIER, Registrar
Before ITLOS’s provisional measures, Côte d'Ivoire had, in a 27-page application signed by its Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr Adama Toungara, urged the tribunal to also direct Ghana to refrain from granting any new permit for oil exploration and exploitation in the disputed area.
Côte d'Ivoire argued that it would suffer severe and irreparable economic injury if its request was not granted by the tribunal.
It also accused Ghana of attempting to prejudice the tribunal’s decision by going into the merit of the case with volumes of documents and witness statements, but Ghana faulted its neighbour for departing from the law, making baseless accusations, being inconsistent, and failing to produce witnesses and expert evidence.
Ghana also reminded Côte d'Ivoire of its lack of consistency and merit in filing for preliminary measures.
The absence of credible data and evidence from Côte d'Ivoire, according to Ghana, at the time, was due to that country’s handicap in producing factual documents to back its case.
Ghana, which was led by then-Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, also reminded the tribunal of Côte d'Ivoire’s failure to challenge the evidence of its technical witnesses, which, according to it, tore Côte d'Ivoire’s case in shreds.
“We invite you to firmly decline the application before you,” Mrs Appiah-Opong said, with the argument that Côte d'Ivoire had failed to prove that Ghana had encroached on its territorial waters to warrant the stoppage of activities, including the exploration of oil in the disputed area, until the final determination of the dispute.
“There is no justification in law, logic, and fairness or on the evidence for the measures sought. They will be unprecedented, an invasion of sovereign rights that stand in the face of representations made by Cote d’Ivoire for more than four decades, on which others and we have relied,” she stressed.
Leading a team of local and international lawyers and technical staff from relevant agencies, Mrs Appiah-Opong told ITLOS’s five-member panel that “until Ghana was well advanced with its oil exploration programme on its side of the boundary, there were no difficulties”.
“At the time when Cote d’Ivoire had much more oil and gas production than Ghana, there were no claims about moving the maritime boundary,” she added.
“In 2009, Cote d’Ivoire started to make representations to Ghana about its desire to alter the boundary. Yet, its public position did not change. None of its inconsistent positions has any proper justification in law.”
The tribunal is presided over by Judge Boualem Bouguetaia, with Judge Rudiger Wolfrum, Judge Jin-Hyun Paik, Judge Thomas Mensah and Judge Ronny Abraham as members.
Judges Mensah and Abraham were appointed by Ghana and Ivory Coast, respectively, in accordance with the rules of the tribunal.
The two countries ended their oral submissions in February 2017.