Student protests in Ghana resulted in the temporary closure of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The cause: police use of force in the arrest of students following a vigil to protest the possibility of all-male halls becoming mixed.

The Conversation Africa’s Moina Spooner spoke to Justice Tankebe about Ghana’s police service, and their use of force.

Does Ghana have a professional police force? What is their reputation? Is it justified?

To say a police service is professional is to claim that there’s a code of ethics that governs them, there are credible structures of accountability and that these ensure their integrity in delivering a certain quality of service to the public. These features remain undeveloped in Ghana’s police force.

The police’s reputation is it intimidates, is violent, corrupt and that it treats civilians unfairly. Earlier this year there were reports of police officers brutalising citizens without provocation. This included a video of a woman and her toddler being beaten in Accra. Police are also accused of being trigger-happy. In one incident police killed seven young men that they claimed were robbers.

This type of violence happens for a couple of reasons. I conducted two studies of Ghanaian police officers. The first showed that most police officers supported the use of force for a range of reasons. Including; they didn’t have strong bonds with the service and the rules about when and how to use force don’t have legitimacy in their eyes, so they disregard them. This lack of legitimacy was put down to the fact that there are high levels of corruption in the police force.

My second study revealed that officers were treated badly by their supervisors. The result is that officers take their frustrations out on civilians and that the supervisors lose credibility in encouraging good behaviour. Improving police treatment of civilians therefore requires paying attention to the moral climate within police departments in Ghana.

To address the problems there needs to be a proper diagnosis. This isn’t being done. Ghana’s police managers believe the issues can be traced to problems with individual rogue officers. For example, the national police chief, Asante Appeatu, said that:

we must fire the bad apples because they are dangerous.

But the problems facing Ghana’s police are systemic. There are conditions within the police service – like poor supervision, poor training, and unfair treatment of lower-ranked officers – that make misconduct more likely to happen. Focusing on individual officers diverts attention from these conditions and it also means police managers can avoid responsibility for the problems.

How does it compare to other countries in the region?

There’s no systematic tracking of police violence in the region which makes country comparisons impossible. My own work has focused on Ghana and, as Director of the African Institute of Crime, Policy and Governance Research, I have started to collate cases of police violence in Ghana. With time this will be extended to other countries so that a solid basis for comparison can be made.

Is the government taking steps to address police violence?

Rhetoric about curbing police violence haven’t been matched by concrete action or strategy. The government’s approach is reactive, responding to public pressure to investigate instances of police violence. There are no efforts to delve into the broader issues and to develop national standards.

If this type of impunity persists, the rule of law loses credibility and police become part of the problem rather than the solution. Unless government takes steps to address police violence, the situation is bound to worsen.

There are a few things that can be done.

Firstly, there needs to be independent and credible oversight institutions that can investigate serious cases of police violence and other forms of misconduct. For instance in England and Wales, the independent office for police conduct investigates misconduct by individual officers while the inspectorates of criminal justice regularly inspects police forces with the aim of improving policing and ensuring public safety. Ghana needs similar institutional arrangements.

Ghana’s police also need to develop a strategy for dealing with public disorder. This should guide the training of officers on how best to handle public order so that they can manage situations, like the one at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology campus, discretely. It was clear from the way the police behaved that they reacted impulsively, escalating tensions. Policy direction and regular training will help avert unnecessary violence.

Thirdly, part of the problem with the police in Ghana is that they confuse legality with legitimacy. They believe that just because their orders are lawful, they are legitimate and deserve public compliance. This mindset means they pay only lip-service to the hard work of understanding and engaging with local communities, taking complaints seriously, improving treatment of civilians, and holding officers to account.

Finally, police legitimacy needs to be part of a strategy. Unless police officers command legitimacy –- that is, they are perceived to be effective, to act lawfully, and to treat civilians fairly –- violence will remain a stable feature of their interactions with civilians. The strategy should involve training which puts more emphasis on building better relationships with civilians through fair treatment – explaining decisions, listening to civilians, being respectful, trustworthy, and being impartial. It could also involve investing in equipment – like body-worn cameras by officers – to track and capture data on interactions with civilians. These significantly reduce the use of force by police.The Conversation

Justice Tankebe, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Cambridge

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Ghanaian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Alhaji Rashid Bawa, has clarified the controversy surrounding the closure of 400 Nigerian businesses in Ashanti, Ghana.
 
Bawa made the clarification while speaking at a programme organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday in Lagos.
 
The envoy, who was represented by the Minister, Counsellor for Trade and Investment, Sintim Asare, explained that contrary to reports that 400 Nigerian businesses were closed, only 117 were shut in Ghana.
 
According to him, the businesses were closed because they were not registered, evaded tax, their owners did not have work permits and a large percentage of them dealt in fake drugs.
 
Bawa noted that the closure of the businesses did not affect only Nigerians but other nationals, including Chinese and Indians.
 
He said the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, under which the businesses were shut, was meant to protect small businesses in the country by preventing non-Ghanaians from engaging in petty trade, adding that some of the closed businesses have been reopened.
 
“We are committed to the ECOWAS Treaty and we cannot fight Nigerians, because they are our brothers. Some of the 117 businesses have been reopened.
 
“For those that are still shut, the owners were given time to regularise their papers and they are doing that, while others have simply shut their shops out of fear of attacks or in solidarity with their brothers who have not opened theirs,” the envoy said.
 
Reacting, the representatives of various Nigerian businesses in Ghana said the reasons presented by the Ghanaian envoy were not true.
 
Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, while citing similar occurrence in 2007, said the attacks on Nigerian businesses in Ghana have become a recurring trend.
 
Nnaji argued that the Act completely eroded the rights of other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) citizens in Ghana, even as Ghanaian citizens continued to enjoy privileges all over West Africa.
 
 
Source: NAN

Ghana has a serious flood problem. Over about 50 years, 4 million people have been affected by floods, resulting in economic damage exceeding USD$780 million. At least one major flood disaster has occurred every year over the past 10 years.

Floods are not uncommon in West Africa. Rainfall variability and land use changes have made them increasingly common throughout the region.

In Ghana’s urban areas, like Accra and Kumasi, floods are mostly triggered by seasonal rainfall combined with poor drainage, the dumping of waste into waterways and the low elevation of settlements. In northern Ghana, some floods are caused by spillage from a dam in Burkina Faso.

The floods expose communities to health risks, food shortages and mental stress.

The problem is Ghana’s government currently reacts to the floods using coping strategies. These don’t deal with the underlying risks, are expensive and don’t consider that floods will get worse. The government must take steps towards more proactive flood risk management.

Reactive strategies

After every flood, the country’s national disaster management organisation – along with the military, police, and other emergency personnel – is deployed for rescue and emergency relief.

The government then repairs damaged infrastructure, clears waterways and demolishes properties built close to drainage channels.

The problem is this doesn’t deal with the underlying causes of the floods, or prepare people for them. Money that could go towards future prevention is instead spent on perpetual cycles of recovery.

These coping strategies will get more costly because the flood risk is set to get worse. The amount of rainfall classified as “heavy” is projected to increase between 2010 and 2050, with the wet seasons projected to get wetter and the dry seasons drier.

This will be felt intensely in the urban areas as populations continue to grow. Already, about 40% of Accra is classified as “highly prone” to flooding. This will increase as, due to more building, less water will drain into the soil.

The case for flood risk adaptation

The government needs to make the country more resilient and able to withstand the challenges posed by intense and frequent floods.

Ghana participates in a variety of adaptation programmes. Like the resilient cities network and the Africa Adaptation Program. But this hasn’t translated into action.

The government has also taken on projects to protect against floods, but these are focused on the coastal areas. For example the Keta sea defence project.

The current greater Accra Metropolitan Area sanitation and water project is constructing drains and culverts in Accra. But this isn’t a major part of the project.

Much more needs to be done. Ghana must fully transition from coping strategies, to proactive, long-term measures. These include:

  • Structural flood protection measures – like storm drains or levees. These need to be constructed to protect all at risk areas, and not just the coastal areas

  • Improve early warning systems to ensure timely flood risk alerts. This should include; a 24 hour monitoring and warning service during peak rain seasons and an education program to help communities understand the risk, respect the warnings and know how to respond

  • Social protection – like affordable social housing – which will move more people out of informal settlements built in flood prone zones

  • Strategies aimed at improving the natural environment – for example, creating riparian buffer zones that protect and expand wetlands so that vegetation slows and absorbs flood waters

  • Encourage households to adapt and advise on actions they can take, like using more water resistant building materials

  • Restore lagoons and rivers

  • Proper waste management. Ghana has a huge solid waste problem. Poor disposal of solid waste often leads to the blocking of drains and drainage systems, preventing flood waters from flowing through

  • Moving homes and businesses out of flood prone locations. They can choose to do this, or the government can facilitate it by buying out at-risk properties

  • Build new homes on elevated ground or foundations

  • Strict planning to avoid construction in flood-prone areas

  • Deal with spillage from dams by building canals that channel the water. These can be dammed and the water used for irrigation.

The initial cost of adaptation measures will be expensive, but it will pay off. Research shows that for every US$1 spent on flood risk reduction, it saves at least US$4 to US$9 otherwise spent in an emergency response when disaster occurs. The Netherlands is a classic example of a country that has taken flood risk adaptation seriously. A quarter of the country is below sea level and 60% of its people in flood-risk areas but the measures it has taken have reduced the likelihood of major flooding.

Ghana can take advantage of predictions and past experiences of floods to aggressively pursue flood risk adaptation. Failure to do this will increase flood disasters, and social and economic disruptions.The Conversation

 

Jerry Chati Tasantab, PhD Candidate, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle; Jason von Meding, Senior Lecturer in Disaster Risk Reduction, University of Newcastle; Kim Maund, Head of Discipline-Construction Management, University of Newcastle, and Thayaparan Gajendran, Associate professor, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

President of Ghana‎, Nana Akufo-Addo‎ has stressed that Nigeria needs to get it’s policy formulation and implementation right, by necessitating value addition, particularly in the oil sector.
 
Akufo-Addo, who was guest speaker at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN 46th annual general meeting and lecture in Lagos, with the theme; “Mainstreaming Policies To Catalyze Industrial Renaissance”, was represented by Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior minister of Ghana, noted that Nigeria as a big brother to other African countries, need to lead in the area of policies that would make Africa economically sufficient and self-sustaining.
 
‎”Our lazy approach of always rushing to the international market to sell our resources in their raw state which fetch us peanuts must stop. It is far better to leave our resources untapped till our future generations rise up to the challenge and conscientiously develop the best policy-mix that prioritises industrialization as the most convenient cause to drive the much needed effects in our socio-economic development”.
 
‎”Why should Nigeria find it difficult to maximize the fruit of their oil industry for the benefit of her people? Our policies must of necessity move in the direction of value addition – i.e. processing of our raw materials.‎ It is all a function of how defective we have developed the appropriate policy framework to support institutionalization of mechanisms that effectively trigger a more holistic and functional industrialization policy and drive”.
 
Akufo-Addo also added that beyond policies, Africa needs to have the right economic pilots and advisory council and end an era where weak‎ boards are appointed to run strategic economic positions.
 
‎”One other challenge we face in our industrial thinking is our inability to forge and institute a strong and relevant corporate governance culture, systems and processes to drive the purpose, strategy and the vision of our business models. This often lead to the creation of weak, irrelevant boards of governors who are active and rubber stamping of what has been so determined rather than giving a strong and effective responses to counter decisions that are not in the interest of the organizational development”.
 
“Having effective policy alone is not enough. We should have men and women of substance who are resolute and driven by results and understand the policy framework guiding the business environment to play their effective advisory roles for our investment. Let us therefore begin to be circumspect with those we put at the helm of affairs as board members to advise us on the productive application of our investment”.
 
The Ghanaian ‎President did not fail to address the trade issues affecting Africa in general, while mentioning models that could propel the African continent to economic viability.
 
‎”Africa has a population of about 1.3 billion people. Yet our combined GDP is about $2.2 trillion. When we compare to USA with a population of about 328 million people with a GDP of about $18.3 trillion. Same with Europe with a population of about 743 million and a GDP of about $17.3 trillion. By population, Africa is about 4 times that of the USA. Yet, USA’s GDP is about 8times that of Africa. Yet, we are the most endowed continent on earth.
 
“This means that Africa must begin to trade among ourselves concentrating on areas of comparative advantage. We must begin to break the trade barriers among ourselves and form alliances with the various countries Associations of Industries and Chambers of Commerce of the various countries. Through these associations, we may get to know the needs of the various countries and where they are opportunities of trade”.
 
On the ‎Africa Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Akufo-Addo maintained that, the agreement is “critical to our economic development especially its ability to boost private sector multinational businesses within the framework of Public-Private Partnerships in a free movement of goods, services and people”. But, “it is important that we do not rush into taking decisions that will not have the buy-in from all critical stakeholders who drive business growth in Africa”.
 
‎”I welcome the organizers of the AfCFTA to adopt the bold strategy to undertake a wider consultation with all stakeholders in the massive sensitization and road show programme across Africa, and I am happy that this activity is done in consultation with and within the framework of the African Union Commission of Trade and Industry”, he maintained.
 
“Once we get both inter- and intra-Africa trade, investment and industrialization policy mix on the right tangent, we stand the chance of leading the new frontier to affect global industrial decisions for the interest of our people”.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
The Chinese Government has expressed readiness to invest N2.16 trillion ($60 billion) in Africa in the next three years.
 
The Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chao Xiaoliang disclosed this in a post-summit article entitled, “FOCAC Beijing Summit: A New Milestone in China-Africa Relations”.
 
Chao said the new investment drive was one of the outcomes of the just concluded summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC).
 
He said China would also in the next three collaborate with African countries in industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“President Xi Jinping has announced that China will launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years.
 
“The eight initiatives are in areas of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“To make sure these eight initiatives are implemented, China will extend 60 billion U.S. dollars (N2.16 trillion) financing to Africa in different forms which includes 15 billion U.S. dollars (N5.4 trillion) grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans.
 
“China will also encourage Chinese companies to invest more than 10 billion U.S. dollars (N3.6 trillion) in Africa in the coming three years,’’ he said.
 
According to him, China and African countries are destined to be good friends, good brothers and good partners.
 
Chao said that the Chinese government had also planned to set up ten Luban vocational workshops and an China-Africa innovation cooperation centres for youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
 
“There will also be a tailor-made programme to train 1000 Africans, as well as offer of 50,000 government scholarships to Africans.
 
“There will also be training opportunities for 50, 000 Africans through workshops and seminars and 2000 exchange opportunities for African youth,’’ he said.
 
Chao said the Summit was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, 49 other Heads of State and Government, African Union (AU) Commission’s Chairperson and more than 240 Ministerial representatives from 53 African countries.
 
The consul-general said the meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, ended with the signing of more bilateral cooperation agreements between China and Nigeria.
 
He added: “We are confident that the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the meeting between the two Presidents will bring new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.
 
“FOCAC Beijing Summit has set a new milestone for China-Africa relations. China with Nigeria and other African countries are ready to join hands to build a China-Africa community.
 
“A community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity,
common security, and harmonious co-existence.’’
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA

The use of non-biomedical methods to treat mental disorders in developing countries, like Ghana, has long been acknowledged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 80% of people who need mental health care in developing countries go to indigenous or faith healers for care.

Some studies have been done to explain the popular use of non-biomedical health care alternatives, and various reasons have been suggested. These include an alignment of the illness beliefs of patients and healers, easier or more flexible accessibility, and cost.

But many of these studies of non-biomedical health care systems in Africa tend to assess the healers as one homogeneous group of practitioners. In our study, we argued that different types of healers may hold different worldviews. These in turn influence how they conceptualise or think about different disorders.

We conducted interviews with 36 participants from four different categories of non-biomedical healers in Ghana’s capital Accra. The categories of healers were herbalists, Pentecostal Christian faith healers, traditional medicine men (also called shrine priests) and Muslim clerics/healers.

Using case vignettes, we examined the healers’ notions about three different types of mental disorders – schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We examined their ideas about the nature and perceived effects of the different disorders, as well as their thoughts on the causes.

Understanding the different beliefs about different disorders is important in efforts to improve mental health care in developing countries. In particular, with increased calls for collaboration between biomedical and non-biomedical health care systems, it’s important to understand how the different groups of healers think about different conditions.

Different views on different conditions

Our data suggest that indigenous and faith healers’ views on psychotic illness were similar to biomedical notions. But they held different views on depression and PTSD. These views were fluid, and obviously influenced the choice of treatments they offered patients.

All the healers readily identified the case vignette of schizophrenia as an example of mental disorder. This was often described as “madness” by the healers. Some local names that the healers used included “abɔdam”, “εdam” and “sεkε”. These names are often used to describe people whose behaviour is perceived as disruptive, disorganised or overtly dysfunctional.

Although the participants believed spiritual factors like witchcraft and curses could cause such a condition, they were also aware that certain physiological processes (such as traumatic brain injury) as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol could account for it. They all considered it to be a severe condition which required urgent intervention.

So for this psychotic disorder there weren’t major differences in the views of the various categories of healers, and their views were similar to biomedical understanding of psychotic disorders.

But this wasn’t the case for all the disorders.

For example, most of the healers were quite firm in their views that post-traumatic stress disorder was not a mental disorder. Rather, they considered it to be a normal reaction to a traumatic experience. The healers thus endorsed more psychosocial explanations for PTSD.

Depending on their orientation, they described different causes for the symptoms of PTSD. For example, pastors, described PTSD as being due to the presence of a “spirit of fear”. Some herbalists also believed the symptoms were physiological manifestations of “thinking too much”.

Given these different notions of cause, their recommended treatments also varied. However, all the participants emphasised the need for some form of counselling. In most cases, the healers believed that PTSD could develop into full-blown “madness” (ie disruptive/psychotic behaviours) if left untreated.

There was a great deal of difference between the healers when it came to depression. Most of the herbalists had physiological explanations for the symptoms and did not consider depression to be a mental disorder. For their part, the traditional medicine men viewed depression as a milder form of mental illness. Some pastors did identify the condition as depression, while the Muslim clerics saw it as potentially resulting from Jinn possession.

As expected, the recommended treatments were based on the identified cause. For instance, the herbalists mostly recommended treating the underlying physiological condition through herbal remedies. The pastors advocated biomedical care as well as spiritual interventions like prayer and fasting.

Collaborating

In many African countries traditional and faith healers are viewed as community leaders and their views are likely to reflect those of their patients. Consequently, biomedical professionals who treat patients who are also seeking help from indigenous and faith healers, would benefit from understanding the different beliefs about different disorders. This can then form an important part of clinical training and practice.

In addition to this, the healers’ positions of influence within their communities is a unique opportunity to enhance the reintegration and monitoring of patients once they return to their communities. Their influence can also play a key role in fostering patient behaviour change and treatment compliance, as well as eliminating stigma.

But this can be done only through appropriate collaboration with community-based healers. It can only work effectively if there’s an appreciation of the different views of different healers. Understanding this diversity of approach may be crucial in developing a framework for collaboration amongst different types of healers (including biomedical practitioners) to improve mental health care.The Conversation

Lily Kpobi, PhD Student, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University and Leslie Swartz, Distinguished Professor, Stellenbosch University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

During the visit of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Nigeria, Volkswagen took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of both the Chancellor and His Excellency, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in that country. The Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer signed the agreement on behalf of Volkswagen with the Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah.
 
The Volkswagen Brand thus took the next step in expanding its influence and presence in Sub-Saharan Africa. This comes a day after the signing of the MoU in Ghana in the presence of Chancellor Merkel and Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia whereby Volkswagen committed to set up a vehicle assembly and conduct a detailed feasibility study for the development of an integrated Mobility Solution in Ghana.
 
In the MoU, Volkswagen undertakes to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub on the West Coast of Africa. This will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees. The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.
 
In turn the Nigerian Government undertakes to accelerate the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy, currently under consideration. This includes the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.
 
The Government has committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
 
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, who signed on behalf of his government, said: “The MoU is a major step in our walk towards the development of the automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.”
 
“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering with relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria. Our overall objective is to restore assembly and develop local content, thereby creating employment, acquiring technology and reducing pressure on the country’s balance of payment, ” added Dr. Enelamah
 
Thomas Schaefer commented: “This week Volkswagen has been able to demonstrate with conviction that it is serious about its intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are well placed to become a dominant player in Africa, as the continent continues to stabilise and develop economically, as the last frontier for the automotive industry.”
 
Volkswagen has a fully-fledged manufacturing facility in South Africa, and assembles vehicles in Kenya, Algeria as well as in Rwanda, in conjunction with an Integrated Mobility Solution offering Community Car Sharing and shortly to be launched Ride Hailing.
 
Under its TRANSFORM 2025+ brand strategy, Volkswagen is strengthening the regions and focusing on new up-and-coming markets. Alongside North and South America as well as China, the Sub-Sahara region plays an increasingly important role. Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region could develop into an automotive growth market of the future.
 
Volkswagen will continue to grow its importer network in Sub-Saharan Africa and explore other opportunities for growth and development. As a next step, exploratory talks are being held with the Government of Ethiopia.
 
“We are only starting with our initiatives in Africa and will continue to develop sales and service networks where applicable. We are also looking at future assembly locations to determine if the markets have the potential and the necessary policy frameworks to be developed, to accommodate vehicle assembly,” added Schaefer.
 
Thomas Schaefer is also the President of the Association of African Automobile Manufacturers and stated in his capacity as the President that he believed that it was important that a Pan African Auto pact be developed to promote and grow a connected Auto Industry in Africa.
 
“Africa’s time is now and with good alignment between the African countries with automotive aspirations we can create intra African trade and a Win-Win situation for all,” concluded Schaefer.
 
 
Source: Vanguard
The Board of Directors of Ecobank Nigeria Limited has announced, the appointment of Patrick Akinwuntan as the Managing Director designate of Ecobank Nigeria, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
 
Prior to this appointment, Akinwuntan was the Group Executive, Consumer Banking responsible for leading the Consumer Banking business across Ecobank’s global network of 40 countries, 36 of which are in Africa.
 
As a seasoned banker with over 20 years of senior and executive management experience, Akinwuntan has held several strategic positions for the Ecobank Group in Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria.
 
He had previously been a Group Executive Director on the Board of ETI and earlier, Executive Director in Ecobank Nigeria.
 
Akinwuntan started his career with Ecobank in 1996 as Head of Commercial Bank and Regional Head in Ecobank Nigeria and since then he has held various senior and executive positions in Nigeria and within the Ecobank Group, including Executive Director, Retail Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Group Chief Finance Officer, ETI, Group Executive Director, Operations & Technology, amongst others.
 
Prior to joining Ecobank, Akinwuntan was a General Manager, Springfountain Management Consultants, Lagos from 1993 – 1996; Deputy Manager – Corporate Finance, Credit and Marketing, Manufacturers Merchant Bank Plc, Lagos from 1991 – 1993, and; was a Supervisor in Ernst & Young International (Chartered Accountants), Lagos from 1987 – 1991.
 
A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), Patrick also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He is an alumnus of the senior executive program (SEP) of the Harvard Business School, an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
 
In line with our leadership and business continuity procedures, the outgoing Managing Director, Charles Kie, will continue to manage Ecobank Nigeria throughout the transition period and ensure a smooth handover to Akinwuntan.
 
Meanwhile, Chairman, Board of Ecobank Nigeria, John Aboh, has congratulated Patrick on his new appointment.
 
He said: “We warmly welcome Patrick back to Ecobank Nigeria and look forward to providing him with full support from the Board. I must, once again, extend our most sincere gratitude to Charles for his tremendous contributions to Ecobank Nigeria’s development and wish him every success in his future endeavors.”
 
Source: The Guardian
 
Google has announced that it will open an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in Africa, its first on the continent.
 
The Silicon Valley giant said that the new research hub will open in Accra, Ghana, later this year, announcing the move in a blog post published on Wednesday. “We’re committed to collaborating with local universities and research centers, as well as working with policy makers on the potential uses of AI in Africa,” Google’s blog post said.
 
Accra, located in the west of Africa, joins cities including Paris, New York and Tokyo, as well as Google’s Mountain View headquarters, in hosting an AI research center.
 
While the decision is the first of its kind for Google in Africa, the company has had offices on the continent for the past decade. It already operates a digital skills training program that it believes can ultimately benefit 10 million Africans. In addition, Google runs a separate initiative called Launchpad Accelerator Africa that it says supports 100,000 developers and over 60 technology startups in Africa.
 
But, Accra isn’t the only city in Africa positing itself as a tech hub. Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and Rwandan capital Kigali are both known for their credentials in tech development, for example. Meanwhile, Kenya has been singled out by Microsoft founder Bill Gates for its “pioneering” innovation of digital payments platform M-Pesa.
 
Ghana likely appealed to Google because of the quality of its education system and other feeder institutions, Lucy James, associate consultant with Control Risks’ Africa team, told CNBC via telephone on Thursday. The search company is focussed on “drawing in local talent and there’s no shortage of that in Ghana,” she said. Ghana also enjoys relative political stability, James explained. Meanwhile, it’s neighbor Nigeria — the continent’s largest economy which also promotes business center Lagos as a burgeoning tech hub – is more prone to civil unrest.
 
Nonetheless, the choice may seem unusual given that Ghana ranks 12th for Sub-Saharan Africa in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business index. Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa – another of the continent’s big economies – all come in the top five by comparison.
 
But, Ghana’s pro-business government and entrepreneurial society may have contributed to its selection. People in Ghana share the “sense that you can disrupt something and make a difference,” James said.
 
 
Source: CNBC

Ghana sold $2 billion worth of dual-tranche Eurobonds with 10- and 30-year maturities on Thursday and it will pay issuer-desired yields, government and transaction sources said.

The West African sovereign sold $1 billion each of the 10-year notes maturing in 2029 and a 30-year with 2049 maturity at 7.625 percent and 8.625 percent, respectively.

It set guidance for the May 2029 bond at 7.75 percent to 7.875 percent while the May 2049 was in the 8.75 percent to 8.875 percent range. The notes were first marketed in the low 8 percent area yield and low 9 percent mark.

Total books passed $5.5 billion, evenly split between the two tranches, lead advisers said.

“It’s a marked success for Accra because they got a low yield and a bigger size,” a sovereign debt market watcher told Reuters. “The pricing revision may have aided the deal and left investors unhappy.”

It was Ghana’s sixth sale since a 2007 debut. Lead advisers for the sale were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered. Ghana is rated B3/B-/B

The government plans to use some of the proceeds to refinance debt and up to $750 million as revenue for its 2018 budget. Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, is in its final year of a $918 million IMF credit deal to narrow fiscal deficit, inflation and public debt which hit 69 percent of gross domestic product in December.

The Thursday sale by Ghana followed similar big transactions by continental peers Angola, Kenya and Nigeria.

 

(Reuters)

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