In The Spotlight
Over the past four years, President Akuffo-Addo of Ghana has gained a kind of global popularity that is rare for an African leader. I was sixteen and living with a relative within walking distance from his Nima residence in Accra when I saw him speak on television. The year was 2007. Through the cacophony on Ghana's airwaves and the fog of a nation still in transition, Akufo-Addo's voice cut through with a sense of purpose, clarity, and assurance that made him very relatable and trustworthy. I believe it is this quality, more than anything, that has allowed him to guide Ghana so ably during this pandemic. It has also endeared him to a global pan-African audience that has long yearned for an African leader who is both willing and able to defend the dignity and independence of the African people and countries. But there is more to Akuffo Addo than that.
To his credit, Mr. Akufo-Addo has had a transformational presidency so far. He has, at the very least, changed the way Ghanaians and other Africans think of basic education with his policy of free secondary education. His Year of Return initiative has made Ghana the epicenter of Afro-globalism in Africa in ways not seen since Nkrumah. But there is also no doubt that part of Akufo-Addo's legacy has been the institutionalization of corruption and the personalization of public institutions in ways that threaten the credibility and integrity of Ghana’s democratic institutions with permanent damage.
From the beginning of his first term of office, Ghana was besieged by chaos and violence, courtesy of a group known as the Invisible Forces, which is a band of unsanctioned, self-serving, and violent thugs tied to the president's political party, the NPP. But how invisible can a group be to be found at the residence and office of the President? In one incident, they assaulted an Assistant Superintendent of Police at the Flagstaff House, Ghana's version of the White House. In another, they assaulted an officer of the law in the Ashanti Region. Their punishment for the latter was a fine of one thousand eight hundred Cedis, which is less than 270 euros, and a promise of good behavior. To put that in perspective, the cost of beating a police officer in Akufo-Addo's Ghana, providing you're of his political persuasion, is less than the price of sleeping in some hotels in Accra for a night.
More recently though, we have seen greater involvement of soldiers in civilian affairs. It has increasingly become common for the political class and the rich to use the nation's men and women in uniform for their private and sometimes nefarious purposes. Just recently, a soldier was photographed carrying the bag of an individual reported to be the president’s private lawyer. In another incident, a troop of soldiers was caught on camera accosting a police task force and a journalist at an illegal mining site. The task force had gone there to arrest a band of mostly foreigners who had been mining there illegally. Turns out, the country’s soldiers spend part of their time securing illegal mines operated by foreigners.
Then there was the event of January 6, 2021, when uniformed soldiers broke into Parliament in the name of law and order. Akufo-Addo’s government has yet to offer a good defense for that brazen attack on our democratic norms because there can be none. But like the extra-military activities of the early days of his first term, this too happened under his watch, and one can only conclude with his knowledge because the contrary is far worse.
Internationally, President Akufo-Addo has branded himself as a defender of Ghana and Africa’s economic interests and dignity. But paradoxically, he has used the powers of his office to entrench the ability of his cronies to loot the country. Corruption in Ghana indeed predates the Akufo-Addo government. But far from doing something about it, he has set himself on a course to institutionalize corruption in the country and in so doing, deprive multiple generations of Ghanaians of the chance of ever believing again in their government. If we can’t trust an Akufo-Addo-led government, whose government can we trust?
From the beginning of his first term, the president has had ample opportunities to make good on his anti-corruption promises. One of the first incidents involved the then president of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was caught on tape in a sting operation taking a bribe of $65,000 (sixty-five thousand) from a man he thought was a foreign investor. Mr. Nyantakyi would go on to advise the investor on how to ‘take care’ of Ghana’s president, vice-president, and others. Not long after the publication of this undercover investigation, one of the journalists involved was murdered while leaving his family home. Mr. Nyantakyi has remained a free man.
In another undercover story, the head of Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the agency responsible for awarding government contracts, was caught on tape admitting to having set up a private company that was receiving contracts from the very agency he was heading. This individual, Adjeinim Boateng Adjei, was awarding himself contracts he would later sell for profit to third parties. Mr. Adjei remains a free man.
Then came in late 2020 a case involving the nation's Auditor-General, John Domelevo, who was forced to take a vacation by the President only to return to an office that was no longer his. Then a few weeks ago, a desperate Akufo-Addo finally brought himself around to removing the Auditor-General from office, this time for good. Mr. Domelevo was just months away from retirement.
Why would the Akufo-Addo do that? According to him, the president before him, John Mahama, had intended to nominate a different person for the job but changed his mind when he realized he wasn't going to remain president much longer after the 2016 election. In a letter to civil society organizations, the president writes in part:
''After losing the election, it became necessary for former President Mahama to change his nomination for Auditor-General with the sole aim of saddling the then president-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, with an Auditor-General, whose allegiance was to former President Mahama, instead of the nation.''
In Mr. Akuf-Addo's defense, he is right to question why a lame-duck president will nominate someone to serve a president from an opposition party in such an important role. But there's very little sense in the actual substance of Mr. Akufo-Addo’s argument. Remember he said his problem with the Auditor-General was that he wasn’t the former president’s first choice? But why would a supposedly corrupt former president have a loyalist as his second choice? More importantly, Mr. Akufo-Addo could have raised his concerns at any point during his presidency, but he did not. It was not until the Auditor-General had launched an investigation into the President’s cronies that Mr. Akufo-Addo started to question his loyalty.
So what we have in Ghana is a president who fights harder to protect the wealth of his cronies than the wealth of his country. But far more alarming is that we have a president with a law degree who is brazenly indifferent to our democratic norms and rule of law. Ours is a country where no one can trust a constitutional office holder or even their neighbor to do what is right. No one believes they can be successful through hard work alone without going abroad or cutting corners. The executive branch of our government has become a hedge fund, with the president's campaign donors, political affiliates, and family members acting as its managers. Their governing philosophy is that of a win-win: nothing benefits the people unless it benefits them personally.
They say to us why can’t you just be proud to have Boris Kodjoe milling about the beaches of Accra? Why can't you just be content with the free basic education we’ve given you? Why can't you get behind your president for refusing to sell your precious cocoa to those cutthroat Swiss? And we say to them:
Because Kumah and Issah are appreciated less in their own country than an African with an American passport. Because we see with our own eyes that the very politicians who have given us free basic education are rushing to take their kids to schools abroad. Because we see no difference between our exploitation by men we do not know and our exploitation by men we know.
President Akufo-Addo has a clear choice to make in his second act: between his country and his friends.
I had the privilege to attend the 2016 African Youth Education Awards (AYEA) in Hamburg which for me belongs to one of the well-organized events by the African Diaspora in Hamburg.
In terms of event management, the African Diaspora has constantly been linked to a clichee of disregard for time, ill-prepared programs, less attention to detail and unprofessionalism.
Traditionally, one can also argue that most African communities in Germany have placed much focus on socio-cultural programs (Outdoorings, Funeral Celebrations, Cultural Shows, etc.) to highlight their existence in the public domain.
I humbly want to proclaim that the AYEA program is now one of the leading platforms to showcase a different image of the African Diaspora in Germany.
My confidence in making such a proclamation thrives around my personal observations whilst attending the AYEA awards. Essentially, I'd restrict my opinions to the following:
The organizers of the AYEA have clearly understood that the regard for punctuality directly translates into respect for participants and also lays the foundation for effectiveness.
The program started on time - which was the first surprise I took notice of- and it was executed within the allocated time. This brings to mind that I have to give a big credit to the 3 young African female moderators who combined glamour, professional expertise and resolute assertiveness to drive this event to the expected targets.
Attendance & Awards:
The AYEA program was patronized by signficant personalities from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Hamburg Local Government, Embassy of Uganda, Notable Parliamentarians, Student Associations and many more distinguished individuals. For me, this platform delivered the ever so important avenue for vital engagements between the political divide in Germany and the African Diaspora. The presentations stressed the need for the African Diaspora to consolidate its position within the society at large by taking advantage of all integration avenues.
At the same time, the awards to our young African brothers and sisters can be seen as powerful motivation factors, however, I am of the view that they clearly depicted an increasing trend of the African youth walking a different path in comparison to the older generation. Specifically, this is an indication that they have embraced the idea that achieving excellence in education is a core prerequisite for career development and social integration in Germany.
The event sequence combining formal presentations, entertainment acts and motivational speeches were driven in a manner which captured my attention from beginning to end. Boredom factor was zero and I believe this is achievable through experience which the organizers have gained in the last couple of years.
Writing your Story:
Unfortunately, Africans (both on the continent and in the diaspora) have never had the joy, resources and the platform to write and communicate their own history (culture, religion, traditions, etc.) to the rest of the world. This role has often been occupied by foreign media, especially western media who, evidently, have always presented Africans in the light of their own expectations, imaginations and purposes.
Going forward, this situation has to change and the AYEA showcased that this is a viable avenue for the African Diaspora to tell its own story.
Logistics, Hospitality and Services:
As a Professional Project Manager, I could see that a lot of planning, time, resources and engagements have been invested into this event or I'd say project.
The outcome was simply remarkable - participants neither noticed any technical issues nor logistical challenges.
On the other hand, I thought the representation and involvement of the African Diaspora in Hamburg leaves much to be desired. Yes, more hands on deck! Hamburg has the largest number of Africans in Germany and I am convinced they could put more resources together to expand the dimensions of this event. I'd also expect to see more African businesses in Hamburg taking up the role of sponsors for this event.
By Alex Kofi Appiah PMP
Senior IT Project Manager
TopAfric Media Network
The KidsRadio project aims at strengthening the self-confidence of children and young adults. It is designed to offer the participants a platform where they can learn how to be radio presenters. It is a way to help them decide early on what they wish to pursue in life.
The Ultimate goal is for one or two extraordinary talented kids to have their own radio program at Radio TopAfric.
The program is design for kids and young adults between the ages of 10 -21, who want to run a radio program and become stars of tomorrow. It will also teach them how to blog as well.
The workshop which will run for 12 weeks and will accommodate about 6 participants every 4 weeks. Workshop training will take place only on the weekends. So that means a batch of 6 participants will be trained in the first 4 weeks. Then after the 2nd batch will start their training from week 5 – week 8. Then the 3rd and final batch will start and end in week 9 - 12
The workshop will only last for 90 Minutes each Saturday. From 2pm – 3.30pm
Module 1: Research & Interview:
A: We teach them how to research topics and personalities via the internet prior to hosting an interview or prior to doing a live show on radio.
B: We also teach them how to find topics of interest.
C: We teach them how to work in groups and also how to ask the right questions?
Module 2: Promo & Equipment
A: We teach them how to promote themselves through social media
B: We teach them how to handle the Microphone and equipment
Module 3: Record live show & Blog
A: We teach them how to record a live radio show
B: We teach them what needs to be done after ending a live radio show and also how to post a recorded show on a blog site as well as how to blog.
Our co-operation partner is LUKULULE e.V. They will provide a network of young artists and professional artists that will be helping TopAfric and participants. For example, a play coach will work with our participants so that the participants will be strengthened for a live online show.
The participant will be glad to be part of this one time experience, after the course, all participants will receive a certificate from TopAfric.
The workshop is led by Jesse Georgy, a journalist from NDR, who has experience in team leadership at the Lukukule e.V.
The workshop is expected to start in January and end in March 2017. The program is sponsored by Aktion-Mensch and supported by Lukukule e.V. & TopAfric e.V.
Visit: http://www.kids-radio.org for registration or call 017632140550
Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KidsRadio-1793356290917430/
Mr. Smith - We have to talk! So heisst die neue Radioshow bei TopAfric die Montag bis Freitag ab dem 12.01.2017 um jeweils 15:00 Uhr ausgestrahlt wird. Moderiert wird die Sendung von dem selbst ernannten "Gentleman of Talk" Shadon Smith (30), der sich mit vielen Themen auseinandersetzt die unsere heutige Gesellschaft betreffen.
Themen wie z.B. die Frage nach der Rollenverteilung zwischen Männern und Frauen im 21. Jahrhundert. Gehören Frauen hinter dem Herd während der Mann das Geld verdient, oder geht die Frau arbeiten und der Mann zieht sich die Kochschürze an? Brauchen Frauen heutzutage überhaupt noch einen Mann für ein glückliches Familienleben? "Mr. Smith - We have to talk!". Neben den Sozialen Themen werden auch politische Themen behandelt wie die Frage nach Donald Trump: Kann es mit ihm besser werden? "Mr. Smith - We have to talk!".
Moderiert wird frei aus dem Bauch heraus, wobei auch die Interaktion mit den Zuhörern ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Sendung ist. Die Radioshow steht unter dem Motto "Deine Meinung zählt". Somit sind alle Zuhörer bei Mr. Smith - We have to talk! aufgerufen sich zu den Themen zu beteiligen und über die Studiohotline mitzureden.
Euch erwartet eine unterhaltsame Show mit angenehmer RnB und Hip Hop Musik aus den 90er bis 2000er Jahre, ebenso viel Charme und Emotionen in den Moderationen. We have to talk!
We need to radically rethink the notion that Britain is helping Africa to develop. The UK's large aid programme is, among other things, being used to promote African policies from which British corporations will further profit. British policy in Africa, and indeed that of African elites, needs to be challenged and substantially changed if we are serious about promoting long term economic development on the continent.
UK companies’ increasingly dominant role in Africa, which is akin to a new colonialism, is being facilitated by British governments, Conservative and Labour alike. Four policies stand out. First, Whitehall has long been a fierce advocate of liberalized trade and investment regimes in Africa that provide access to markets for foreign companies. It is largely opposed to African countries putting up regulatory or protectionist barriers to such investment, the sorts of policies where have often been used by successful developers in East Asia. Second, Britain has been a world leader in advocating low corporate taxes in Africa, including in the extractives sector.
Third, British policy has done nothing to challenge multinational companies using tax havens; indeed the global infrastructure of tax havens is largely a British creation. Fourth, British governments have constantly espoused only voluntary mechanisms for companies to monitor their human rights impacts; they are opposed to enhancing international legally binding mechanisms to curb abuses.
The result is that Africa, the world’s poorest continent, is being further impoverished. Recent research calculated, for the first time, all the financial inflows and outflows to and from sub-Saharan Africa to gauge whether Africa is being helped or exploited by the rest of the world. It found that $134billion flows into the continent each year, mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid. However, $192billion is taken out, mainly in profits made by foreign companies and tax dodging. The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58billion a year. British mining companies and their government backers are contributing to this drainage of wealth.
We need to radically rethink the notion that Britain is helping Africa to develop. The UK’s large aid programme is, among other things, being used to promote African policies from which British corporations will further profit. British policy in Africa, and indeed that of African elites, needs to be challenged and substantially changed if we are serious about promoting long term economic development on the continent.
By Mark Curtis
Mark Curtis is an author and consultant. He is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde and Visiting Research Fellow at the Institut Francais des Relations
Freedom they say is taken and not given especially when one or groups are held down by Baboons and Monkeys in the zoo without a cogent reason other than Mr White man dictated it. As part of the effort from the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) to take freedom from Islamic Republic of northern Nigeria and her southern slave counterparts.
The controversial and charismatic leader of the group (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the top leadership has announced the 16th of February 2019 as the D-day for the much awaited Referendum-date for Biafrans to cast votes to prove to the whole world their aspirations and seriousness to secede from the darkest damnable evil zoological contraption called Nigeria and into a nation.. There is no doubt the date chosen by IPOB coincides with the date of Nigeria general election coming up on the 16th of February , a ploy to cast aspersions and to demonstrate to the world Biafra's rejection of the Nigeria state as a willing partner.
Biafran Referendum unlike many others will be a Sit-At-Home Instead of the masses trooping out en mass to vote people they will vote by complying with "Sit-at-Home" order. Many thanks to Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his deputy Uche Mefor and to all the hardcores Ipob's all over for the massive awareness in the land of 'milk and honey' (Biafraland) through the finest and second to non-Radio Biafra London. From all indexes and indications Biafrans at home and abroad are ever ready to obey the 'stay-at- home' as a way to support the good work of their leaders call for Referendum and Freedom.
The world is watching, while the Islamic oligarchs are scheming in disarray one things is for sure Biafrans are ready to leave Egypt and no amount of pressure will dissuade the children of God's not to end the 'devil and long spoon' romance with Almajiris north. Let us take solace in the wise counselling of supreme leader who always says 'In the end the popular wishes of the indigenous people of Biafra shall prevail and Biafra will come… Nigeria as a state has failed in every ramifications the only things awaits her now is to finally to crumble to earth. By boycotting the "repetitive deception" in the name of voting is the best way to go about the injustice and injury perpetuated by Fulani Oligarchies to Biafrans.
Therefore it now behold upon any sane minded Biafran that had made up his or her not to vote to carry others alone in the direction of this noble call. Hurray! Biafra is about to be free, do your part now. Cast your vote by adhering to "Sit-at-Home" order on the 16th of February 2019..May Chukwuabiama bless Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and all the principal officers of IPOB. Iseeee iseeeees iseeeees. Happy birthday to me once again.
By KC Adams
At just 31 years old, Rebeca Gyumi has a list of accomplishments anyone twice her age would be proud of. She has successfully challenged her country's legal system, winning a landmark ruling in 2016 to raise the age of child marriage for girls in Tanzania from 14 to 18; started a foundation to advocate for girls' education; won the UNICEF Global Goal Award and was named 2016 Woman of the Year by New Africa Magazine. Now, she's on her way to New York to collect the 2018 Human Rights Prize awarded by the United Nations.
"I was pretty much shocked. So shocked and caught unaware that I was even considered for such a prestigious prize," she tells CNN.
Gyumi was just a child herself when she started to see the injustice happening around her. She was 13 when some of her schoolmates were forced to drop out of school because of pregnancy and were married off. Volunteering at a youth initiative at the age of 20, she began to realize it was a national problem and not just a local one happening in her hometown of Dodoma.
"It bothered me that the age for boys to be married was 18 but for girls it was 14," she says.
It wasn't until she was in university studying law that she learned about the Law of Marriage Act of 1971 and saw the potential in trying to mount a legal challenge against it.
In 2016, with a couple of years as a lawyer under her belt, Gyumi and her colleagues decided to do just that. They started work on a legal case to petition against the Marriage Act, compiling reports to prove that child marriage for girls was an issue nationwide and why it needed to be stopped.
According to the country's national demographic and health survey of 2015/16, two out of every five girls marry before their 18th birthday with a prevalence rate of 37% nationwide, giving Tanzania one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.
"Lots of people were not amused and thought we were disruptive, saying 'young people have tried before and failed.' But when we started attending sessions in court with a positive outcome, organizations came back and said they were willing to work together with us."
Gyumi and her colleagues persevered and in 2016, at the age of 29, she was victorious. Tanzania's High Court ruled that sections 13 and 17 of the Marriage Act were unconstitutionaland that the age for girls to legally marry should be raised to 18.
"I was so happy that day for the fact that a girl child had won. I was overwhelmed with joy," she says.
"I felt duty bound to fight for the girls I had interacted with. They didn't have enough information to know how to challenge what was happening to them."
While her success was celebrated by many around the country, some hard-liners and traditionalists were not happy, attacking her for promoting a "Western culture."
Furthermore, the landmark ruling was subsequently thrust into legal peril when the government appealed against it last year. One of the arguments of their appeal states that child marriage can actually protect girls who get pregnant out of wedlock.
The case is currently in Tanzania's high court with a verdict due soon. Despite the challenge, Gyumi remains steadfast.
"For me I feel like we are at the moment where our country really needs to defend girls' rights. This appeal does not send a good message of our country's intention to protect girls generally. It will look really bad on the government if they win. There is no victory in winning a case that allows girls to get married younger. It's not a victory a country can be proud of."
Even if the law is upheld, Gyumi says there's still a lot of work to be done.
"The change in the law is not the only thing we're advocating for. We need to make sure the law is implemented at a ground level. We need to teach girls around the country to stand up for their rights and continue engaging with communities."
Gyumi's success is testament to the power of education, a cause she now advocates for through her foundation, Msichana.
"The fact that I'm here today and doing what I'm doing is due to education. My family didn't have a lot but they sacrificed what they had to give me an education. Imagine what it's like for other people in my country, if they're able to get an education and explore life without limits, without boys telling them 'you're a girl, you can only go as far as this,' those kind of voices can then be challenged."
Winning the 2018 Human Rights Prize puts Gyumi on the international stage alongside other activists such as Malala Yousafzai, Denis Mukwege and Nelson Mandela, and it's not something she takes lightly.
"It's not just a personal honor but my country's honor, putting our country on the map. It's a proud moment for me and for the girls I stood up for and for the ongoing global progress that is happening around girls' and women's rights."
Asked what her message is to other young girls out there, her answer is simple.
‘It’s not just about my experience and my sympathy, it is about the community who needs a voice at the local assembly, we must therefore do everything necessary to be part of the political dispensation’.
Irene was a guest on the Effiya Ephya Show in the studios of Radio TopAfric. The interview was about the upcoming European and Hamburg district elections ‘Bezirksversammlungswahl’. The elections are taking place on Sunday, 26 May 2019.
Born and bred in Hamburg-Billstedt, Irene Appiah is a mother and works with the Hamburg Ministry of Education ‘Schulbehörde’. The seasonal politician is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and is of African heritage, born in 1976 to Ghanaian parents.
She is contesting the Hamburg-Mitte local assembly elections and is seeking the assistance and support of the community to make it.
Question: Who can vote?
Persons who are 16 years and above.
Persons who are registered in Hamburg-Mitte for at least six months.
Persons who hold an EU and/or German passport.
Question: Do you have what it takes to represent your people?
Yes, long before I entered into politics, I have been a community activist, representing my people, helping with complex bureaucratic issues. My background as a solicitor has been very useful. Besides it is no longer about me, but about us. We have the numbers and must therefore use it to our advantage.
If we are able to mobilise our people well, we can make it. I will then be in a better position to help create educational opportunities for children of African heritage, help establish extra classes, continue with the African Community Centre, which we have already started. Remember most of our people are facing accommodation problems; we can help address this properly.
Question: How can one vote for you?
The postal voting system ‘Brierfwahl’ is the most ideal and comfortable way of voting, all eligible voters have been sent voting documents. Those who have not received them could apply at their various district assemblies ‘Bezirksamt – Wahldienstelle’. In my case Bezirksamt Hamburg-Mitte.
The documents include two voting sheets
1. Pink sheet, you can locate my name (Irene Appiah) on position six. Please, cross all five positions in front of my name.
2. Yellow sheet, my name (Appiah Irene) is placed at position 10, cross all five boxes for me. I will appreciate it most if people could take advantage of the postal voting.
Question: What should one do on the actual poll date?
On Sunday, the polling stations are open from 8.00 am till 18.00. Eligible voters are encouraged to go and cast their votes. As stated earlier, residents of Hamburg-Mitte, which comprises of the following townships:
Billbrook, Billstedt, Borgfelde, Finkenwerder, HafenCity, Hamburg-Altstadt, Hamm, Hammerbrook, Horn, Kleiner Grasbrook, Neustadt, Neuwerk, Rothenburgsort, St. Georg, St. Pauli, Steinwerder, Veddel, Waltershof and Wilhelmsburg, can vote for me.
In addition, those in Billstedt can also use the pink sheet to vote for me.
Question: What message do you have for your people?
I have been serving and representing the interests of the African community and will continue to do so. We have the numbers; we have the people and the competence to be relevant in Germany. Let’s be politically active and participate in taking decisions that concern us. If we refuse and fail to exercise our voting rights, others will decide for us.
I am confident we won’t allow this opportunity to escape us, go and vote, and vote for me.
One can reach Irene as follows:
t: 040 246989
Germans have watched with unease as Chinese enterprises have swallowed up arecord number of homegrown tech companies this year, sparking fears of German knowhow and intellectual property being sold off to the highest bidder.The wave of acquisitions has also stoked grumbles over China's easy access to the country's open markets, often through state-backed companies, while foreign investors there face tight restrictions.
"Germans seem to be growing more and more sceptical about China, and consequently more willing to pursue a tougher approach to Beijing," said analyst Hans Kundnani from the German Marshall Fund. In the clearest sign yet that Berlin could be squaring up for a battle, the German economy ministry this week said it was taking a closer look at two planned Chinese takeovers -- effectively stalling both deals.
The moves have not gone unnoticed in Beijing and Gabriel will likely face some prickly questions when he leads a 60-strong business delegation on a five-day trip to China and Hong Kong from Tuesday.
Germany's first punch came last Monday when the ministry said it had withdrawn its approval for Grand Chip Investment's 670-million-euro ($730-million) purchase of chip equipment maker Aixtron, citing security concerns. German daily Handelsblatt said the surprise reversal came after US intelligence services warned that Aixtron products could be used for military purposes. The deal is now back under review, a process that could last three months.
Days later, the economy ministry said it was also reviewing the mooted sale of German firm Osram's general lighting unit to a Chinese buyer.
So far there has been little official reaction from Beijing. But a bylined commentary carried by the official Xinhua news agency was scathing, accusing Germany of "protectionist moves" that called into question "Berlin's sincerity in securing an open and transparent investment climate".
"It is time for Berlin to let go of its delusional "China threat" paranoia," it added.
Crucially there has been no word yet on whether Chancellor Angela Merkel --who has championed close economic ties with Beijing -- approves of the idea. But Gabriel is likely to get a sympathetic hearing from at least some European peers.The new British government recently delayed the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear project over concerns about China's involvement, before eventually giving it the go-ahead.
In Brussels, an in-depth EU antitrust probe is holding up state-owned ChemChina's proposed mammoth takeover of Swiss seed maker Syngenta.
Rather, the latest manoeuvres should be seen as part of a growing debate about how "to get a level playing field" with China, Kundnani told AFP. Gabriel himself told reporters this week foreign investment with China could not be "a one-way street".
"We would like reciprocity," he said.
Foreign investors have long complained of the obstacles to doing business in China, such as the requirement to team up with local partners, while some sectors are completely off-limits. Friedolin Strack of the BDI federation of German industries said that despite the frustrations, German firms had benefited enormously from doing deals with China -- leaving Gabriel to tread a fine line during his visit.
"There are a lot of restrictions in Chinese markets," Strack told AFP. "Andwe should increase the political pressure and the pressure from businesses on China to remove these barriers.
"But if we say we are open only to those countries who are open with us, that would harm German companies."
Britain leaving the European single market will damage both the UK and EU member states' economies, the German car industry warned on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to head for the exit.
"The British economy is deeply woven into other EU countries," Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), told AFP by email. "A hard Brexit would be tough and expensive."
In a high-profile speech on Tuesday, May announced plans to quit the European single market as well as the 28-member European Union following Britons' vote to leave in June last year.
"Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe," May said. "What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market."
Since the Brexit vote, European leaders have insisted that Britain cannot "cherry-pick" elements of the single market by clinging to free movement of goods, services and capital but not labour -- the "four freedoms" that form the single market.
The prime minster added that she still wanted "tariff-free" trade with Europe and "frictionless" business ties in a new deal with the EU.
"Years will go by before new treaties are a done deal," VDA's Wissmann predicted. "Prospects like that scare away investors."
Britain is the German car industry's largest export customer, Wissmann noted, adding that 57 percent of all British car industry exports are destined for the EU.
Around one in five cars produced in Germany is sold in the UK, according to the VDA, while German firms operate around 100 sites producing cars or components in Britain.
"Car firms have a large interest in solutions being found that continue to allow intensive trade and the wealth creation associated with it," Wissmann said.
May should "ensure the UK's negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future," a spokesman for luxury carmaker BMW, which operates four sites in the UK, told AFP in a statement.
"Not only free trade but also cross-border employment opportunities and unified, internationally applied regulations are of proven benefit to business, the economy and individuals," the spokesman said.
Britain is expected to formally notify EU authorities of its intention to leave by the end of March, triggering a two-year negotiation on the terms of its departure from the bloc.
A fire in Helsinki has caused the death of a Ghanaian woman and her three children in the early morning of Friday. It is believed that the 40-year-old mother, known at this moment as Nana Ago and the children were sleeping at the time of the incident. The ages of the children are 8, 7 and 3.
Report from http://yle.fi indicates that a neighbor had called the police after noticing the fire in the early morning of Friday before 3 am. The report says that the Fire and Rescue Services reached the scene eleven minutes after they were called and they were able to extinguish the fire quickly. However, resuscitation attempts to save the lives of the victims failed.
The father and husband of the victims, John Owusu, who is also a board member of the Ghana Union Finland, was at work at the time of the incident. It is believed that the fire started from the sauna in their sixth-floor apartment and that the victims had died out of suffocation.
The police are still investigating the cause of the fire. The fire affected no other apartments in the building.
According to the Financial Secretary of the Union, Kwame Afreh, some executive members of Ghana Union Finland have paid a visit to the bereaved family in Helsinki.
The incident has been a shock to the entire Ghanaian community in Finland and some have already sent words of condolence to the bereaved family through various social media platforms.
In order to give Nana Ago and her kids a befitting Burial while supporting her husband she left behind who lost his family as well as all his belongings in the fire, It would be great if everyone could support the bereaved family in this difficult time by donating .
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