Segun Awolowo excited over plans to stage “Awo” play in UK

Chief Segun Awolowo, grandson of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, late Premier of the defunct Western Region, is excited at the plan to stage the play “Awo”, in Uk in May 2024.

The play, which is produced by the Duke of Shomolu Foundation, was staged in Lagos in 2022.

It chronicles the life and times of the sage that died in 1987.

Segun, in a letter he personally addressed to Mr Joseph Edgar, Chairman, Duke of Shomolu Foundation, said himself and other members of the Awolowo family received the news with utmost joy and excitement.

“The news has elicited excitement not only to me, but all members of the family.

“I remember watching the play at the historic Glover Hall in Lagos (where my late grandfather equally saw great theatrical works in his capacity as Premier of the Western Region).

“I must state that I marvelled at such great artistical and historically accurate output.

“It is for this reason that I do not hesitate to not only endorse the UK showing, but to also render any kind of support within my means to make this exciting project record massive success.

“I personally look forward to hosting your guests at the cocktail that would be organised on the back of the momentous ocasion,” he wrote.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was also a Federal Commissioner of Finance, was one of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

Others in his league included Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first civilian President, and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister.

Also in that group was Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the defunct Northern Region. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

CIBN tasks bankers on economic growth, development

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has called on banking professionals and leaders to chart a course that will leverage the vast potential inherent in Nigeria’s economy.

The President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Dr Ken Opara, made the call at the 2023 Fellowship Investiture of CIBN on Saturday in Lagos.

Opara noted that in a rapidly changing world, the success of nations was often determined by their ability to harness their inherent strengths and overcome their challenges.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event had the theme: “Harnessing Nigeria’s Economic Potential for Growth and Development: Strategic Imperatives,’’.

According to him, Nigeria, with its abundant human and natural resources, possesses incredible economic potential.

The CIBN president noted that inequality, in terms of income and opportunities, had remained high and had adversely affected poverty reduction.

“Lack of job opportunities is at the core of high poverty levels, regional inequality, and social and political unrest.

“High inflation has also taken a toll on household’s welfare, pushing more people into poverty.

“Given these numerous challenges, it is abundantly clear that our journey toward harnessing Nigeria’s economic potential for growth and development is marked by both promise and complexity.

“Addressing these challenges requires visionary leadership and collaborative efforts to transform adversity into opportunity.

“The path ahead demands resilience, creativity, and a commitment to shaping a brighter future for our country.

“Hence, it is incumbent upon us, as banking professionals and leaders, to chart a course that leverages the vast potential inherent in our nation’s economy.

“We must explore innovative strategies and approaches that will drive sustainable growth, foster development, and ultimately uplift the lives of all Nigerians,’’ Opara said.

He, however, said unlocking these potential required strategic imperatives that would go beyond mere recognition but deliberate action and innovative thinking.

He said, “According to data released by the World Bank, Nigeria remains Africa’s largest economy with $477.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product.

“While Nigeria has made some progress in socio-economic terms in recent years, its human capital development ranked only 150 out of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index.

“The country continues to face massive development challenges, including the need to reduce its dependence on oil for exports and revenues, diversify its foreign exchange sources, close the infrastructure gap, build strong and effective institutions, address governance issues, and strengthen public financial management systems.’’

Prof. Joseph Nnanna, the Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigeria Plc, while speaking on the theme, said the multidimensional concept of growth and development encompasses far more than mere economic indicators.

“Nigeria’s overreliance on oil export has rendered its growth trajectory susceptible to endogenous and exogenous shocks in global oil prices, leading to economic instability.

“However, amidst these challenges lies a path forward, through strategic imperatives that can unlock Nigeria’s vast economic potential.

“Economic diversification emerges as a crucial avenue, leveraging the untapped potential of non-oil sectors to promote inclusive sustainable growth.

“Also, human capital development takes centre stage, acknowledging that education and health are at the core of economic growth.

“Lastly, infrastructure development stands as another cornerstone, underscoring the importance of building a modern and efficient infrastructure network,’’ Nnanna said.

These strategic imperatives, he said, were not standalone solutions and would need to be complemented with addressing policy implementation, resource allocation, corruption, and leadership.

“In doing so, Nigeria can move beyond the constraints of its past, harness the strength of its resources, and emerge as a beacon of inclusive growth and development on the African continent,’’ he stressed.

NAN reports that a total of 449 individuals were conferred awards at the event: 20 Honorary Fellows (including one Posthumous Award), 154 Elected Fellows and 275 Honorary Senior Members. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Deputy PM and FM Confers with Special Envoy of South Korean President

Addis Ababa, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, conferred on Friday with South Korean President Special Envoy and Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Bang Moon-Kyu.

Demeke welcomed the Special Envoy and praised the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and the Republic of South Korea, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Having lauded the historical relations between the two countries, Demeke congratulated South Korea for its election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council effective from 2024.

Recalling the 60th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and South Korea, the specials envoy expressed his honour to visit Ethiopia.

He came with high-level delegation composed of the Vice President of the Korean Import and Export Exim Bank, representatives of LG Company, and other textile and chemical companies.

He also expressed his country’s desire to invest in Ethiopia in various fields.

The Special Envoy pointed out that the Korean Import and Export Exim Bank would avail 900 million US dollar low interests and long-term loan to Ethiopia, it was indicated.

The South Korean delegation also inked cooperation agreement with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration on the same day.

The special envoy delivered the message of the South Korean President to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inviting him to attend the upcoming Korean African Summit which would take place in Seoul in 2024.

In conclusion, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke reaffirmed Ethiopia’s desire to further scale up the bilateral relations in investment and trade sectors.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

IGAD Refugee Policy Instrumental in Galvanizing Int’l Support: UNHCR Senior Protection Coordinator

Addis Ababa, The newly validated Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Refugee Protection and Management Policy is instrumental in galvanizing international support towards easing the pressure faced by refugees in the region, a UNHCR senior protection coordinator said.

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states convened a meeting to validate the IGAD Policy Framework on Protection of refugees last week.

The policy framework is expected to be presented to the ministers in charge of refugee affairs and heads of state at the 2023 Annual Stocktake for endorsement, it was learned.

Speaking to ENA, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Senior Protection Coordinator Senay Terefe said that the policy aims to ensure harmonized policies in terms of access to territorial asylum to refugees.

The refugee protection and management policy is also primarily ensuring collective approach among the IGAD member states towards a crisis that has faced the region.

According to the coordinator, the policy has components which look at consolidating an inclusive policy approach towards refugees, health, education and communication as well as social sectors.

Most importantly, the new policy seeks to mobilize and galvanize international support for a significant number of refugees in the region.

The alarming growing number of refugees has been creating pressure in many ways across the IGAD region.

The IGAD region is home to millions of forcibly displaced individuals due to complex interlinked factors compelling people to move.

The UN Refugee Agency revealed that the region hosted over 5 million registered refugees and asylum seekers as of August 2023. Furthermore, there were over 13.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region as of July 2023.

The coordinator stated that the number of refugees in the IGAD region is the largest even in Africa.

Particularly, IGAD has been witnessing that refugee numbers are increasing at alarming points following the ongoing Sudan’s crisis.

“I think 5 million refugees is a very large number. I think it is the largest on the continent. We have seen that refugees are feeling destitute without basic survival means. This is also creating pressure in refugees hosting areas which are usually economically underserved in the countries where people receive them,” Senay noted.

He added that these areas where the refugees have been sheltered are poorer than other parts of the country, and that means the pressure is at the sub-national level as well as the national level.

Many argue that the magnitude and complex nature of the displacement situation is one of the most pressing challenges in the east African region.

Therefore, the coordinator said IGAD needs to take collective action through its political mandate to address the alarming refugee trend in the region.

UNHCR is working with governments in the IGAD region to ensure that they receive the lifesaving supplies, address the humanitarian funding gap and the technical challenges, Senay stated.

However, long term solutions are necessitated in partnership with government, private sector and multisectoral stakeholders.

Speaking on Ethiopia’s role in which the country is hosting close to one million refugees, the coordinator pointed out that it has also piloted a number of initiatives and solutions for refugees.

“Ethiopia is a key country for the stability of the IGAD region. Ethiopia hosts close to one million refugees. The country has also piloted a number of initiatives and solutions notably through the global refugee forum commitments it has made in giving access to livelihood opportunities to refugees, the initiative around industrial parks where refugees are allowed enable to become self-reliant.”

For him, in many ways Ethiopia offers a lot of examples for the region and can serve as a better example in exchanging good practices for other IGAD member states in terms of protection and solutions for refugees.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

ATI Expanding Access to Mechanization for Small Holder Farmers

Addis Ababa, The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Institute (ATI) said that it is expanding access to mechanization for small holder farmers with the aim to boost production and productivity.

The Government of Ethiopia has embarked on a ten-year economic development plan (2021-2030) where agriculture is the priority sector.

The agriculture sector is projected to grow at 6.2 percent per annum, and agricultural export revenue to increase.

To achieve these, the government seeks to leverage on developing the huge unutilized arable land, modernize production systems, and improve uptake of technology.

With respect to modernizing production systems, Agricultural Transformation Institute Deputy Chief Executive Officer Yifru Tafesse said access to mechanization has been one of the critical bottlenecks that have been affecting production and productivity.

This is because the land holding system is very much fragmented and the average land size less than one hectare per farmer, which has been quite difficult to really provide mechanization service for small holder farmers.

In this regard, ATI has introduced in 2019 agricultural commercialization cluster that has brought at least a minimum of 30 farmers together with minimum of half hectare land so that they can have at least 15 hectares per cluster, the deputy CEO added.

That way they can afford to rent or buy mechanization services to plough and use in their farming system. This is the kind of initiative introduced to expand access to mechanization to small holder farmers.

Duty free privilege has also been provided for import mechanization services, so that farmers can get it relatively at a lower price. These are some of the initiatives we have taken to improve access to mechanization, Yifru elaborated.

In addition, ATI also established 10 standardized mechanization service centers that provide mechanization maintenance services in four regions of the country.

If there is a maintenance issue, farmers can take their agricultural machineries for maintenance in those centers.These are some of the initiatives to increase mechanization in agriculture.

“Access to mechanization was below five percent, but it has now increased to ten percent and very soon that will increase to 15 percent. So I think this is a significant. In addition to that, regional governments are really providing priorities to support farmers to have access to mechanization through cooperative system. These are big initiatives that really foster mechanization,” the deputy CEO elaborated.

Data show that more than 3.5 million household farmers are benefiting from the agricultural commercialization cluster which will pave the way to transform the agriculture sector from subsistence to commercial.

Yifru noted that ATI has a number of initiatives that will make food self-sufficiency; and we have for example harvested 104 million quintals wheat last Ethiopian year.

In the highlands only, we used to produce only 55 million of quintals. Now that has been doubled because of the initiative of the Prime Minister Abiy, the deputy CEO stated, adding that as a result the country was able to become not only wheat self-sufficient but export wheat.

Similarly, ATI is aggressively moving into rice production in Amhara and Oromia regions. Therefore, Yifru revealed that the country will very soon be rice self-sufficient.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Countries in HoA Should Unite to Fight Common Threat of Al Shabaab: Defense War College Dean

Addis Ababa, Countries of the Horn of Africa (HoF) should stand united in the fight against the terrorist Al Shabaab, which poses an imminent peace and security threat to the region and beyond, Defense War College (DWC) Dean, Colonel Tilahun Demssie, said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Colonel Tilahun said that terrorism is a global peace and security threat that should be dealt with concerted effort.

The prevalence of cross border organized crimes like drug trafficking, illegal human trafficking, and contraband activities coupled with poverty and security challenges are among the fertile ground for terrorists in the Horn of Africa, he said.

Lack of durable peace and security in the region draws terrorists to organize, create cells, and operate, the colonel stated, and added “terrorism is a common threat for everyone and we have to understand each other as a region; especially in the Horn of Africa.”

He underscored “the issue of terrorism requires cooperation and all the countries in the region have to understand that the threat is not only for a single country rather it is a threat for everybody.”

Thus, the countries can develop common strategy against the terrorist threat, he pointed out.

“Al Shabaab is not the threat only for Somalia; it is a threat for Ethiopia and for all the countries in the region. Ethiopia has contributing a lot since 2006 to fight against Al Shabaab and we are still doing,” he elaborated.

Speaking of the importance of support by the international community, the colonel said that they need to provide support in terms of finance and technology to combat the global threat posed by Al Shabaab.

The Ethiopian Defense Force is highly experienced and has full capability to conduct operations against terrorism, he said.

“Al Shabaab knows very well Ethiopia because since 2006 we are fighting against Al Shabaab. They know what we can do, of course they have their own objective and dream but when they try to attack Ethiopia, they never succeed. We are always successful in the operations against Al Shabab. So they have to think three, four and five times before they try to attack Ethiopia,” Colonel Tilahun stressed.

Today one country might be safe from terrorism but there is no guarantee for tomorrow, the Dean said, and noted “So we have to work together against the common threat.”

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Improving Mining Processing Methods Central in Meeting Economic Reform: Mineral Dev’t Institute

Addis Ababa, Upgrading mining processing methods to meet Ethiopia’s ambition is crucial as the sector is one of the pillars of the Homegrown Economic Reform, according to the Mineral Industry Development Institute (MIDI).

Endowed with abundant natural resources that have not been significantly exploited, the nation is carrying out a major reform program in the mining sector with a view to attracting investment.

MIDI Director-General Guta Legesse told ENA that it is very important Ethiopia upgrades the mining processing methods so that we can add value to our products and sell at the international market.

“We have been selling rough minerals in general, and we have done pre-assessments on the advantages and the disadvantages of the practice. We have learned that there are a lot of consequences for allowing rough exports of minerals,” he elaborated.

According to him, the activities undertaken on technology, human resource, and training facilities are important in increasing the values of minerals.

“Now, we have been working on encouraging value addition and processing.”

Guta further noted that Ethiopia has a variety of minerals, including natural gas, iron, gold, and gemstone, among others.

“There is huge potential for this country, and mining is one of the pillars of the growth for the Homegrown Economic Reform,” the director-general pointed out, adding that “there is room, there is potential, and there is a possibility to develop some of these minerals and be the hope for our generation in the next few years.”

Guta revealed that 25 percent of the Ethiopian export comes from the mining sector.

The government is working to increase export revenue from minerals. Besides, attempts are being made to substitute some of the significant imports related to mineral processing, it was learned.

Ethiopia’s mining sector has strong potential to contribute to the country’s long-term development, social progress, and economic growth.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Olympic Games qualifier: Nora Häuptle names 23 players for Benin double-header

Black Queens Head Coach, Nora Häuptle has invited 23 players ahead of Ghana’s Olympic Games Qualifier against Benin.

Ghana managed to cruise over Guinea with a 7-0 aggregate in the preliminary round to book a date with Benin in the second stage.

Ahead of the much-anticipated clash, the Swiss gaffer had settled on four local and 19 foreign-based players who would seek qualification in a two-legged fixture.

This would be a difficult battle for Benin coming up against a well drilled Ghanaian side who are yet to lose a match after seven games, netting 27 goals.

The players were Ernestina Abambila, Grace Acheampong, Anasthesia Achiaa, Vivian Adjei Konadu, Princella Adubea, Blessing Shine Agbomazi, Adama Alhassan, Susan Ama Duah, Mary Amponsah, Grace Asantewaa, Gifty Assifuah and Evelyn Badu.

The rest were Doris Boaduwaa, Portia Boakye, Azumah Bugre, Jennifer Cudjoe, Janet Egyir, Linda Eshun, Cynthia Konlan Findib, Alice Kusi, Kerrie McCarthy, Stella Nyamekye and Safiatu Salifu.

The first leg fixture is scheduled for October 27 ,2023 in Cotonou with the return leg fixed for October 31,2023 at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Let’s leverage data and digital technology to enhance the tourism sector

Mr Jeremy Gray, Technical Director, CENFRI has called on stakeholders in the tourism sector to leverage data and digital technology to enhance growth.

This, he said, could be done by increasing Ghana’s presence to attract more tourists, leveraging available information to improve and stimulate the tourism ecosystem, enabling value-adding services and innovation, and improving services and products to better serve tourists.

Mr Gray was addressing the opening session of workshop organized by the African Tourism Research Network (ATRN) in collaboration with the

Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) for tourism stakeholders’, in Accra.

The four-day workshop scheduled from October 20 to 25, which would be led by CENFRI and CDC Consult, would focus on insights from the Ghanaian tourism sector and recommendations for the public and private sectors.

He said despite the strengths and successes chalked by the sector, Ghana’s tourism sector was being held back by its limited use of data and digital technology.

‘Ghana offers a unique heritage and culturally based tourism experience, the tourism sector has been prioritised as a strategically important sector for stimulating growth and job creation and is rich with keen and energized stakeholders, however, data and digital technology remains underutilised among stakeholders.’

He noted that there was an opportunity to leverage on data and digital technology to grow the sector, by attracting and better serving more tourists, and to create employment opportunities, specifically for the youth.

Mr Gray said to speed up recovery and growth, the public and private sectors also have to prioritise restoring traveller confidence, promote domestic tourism, adopt and respond to new trends, increase information to tourists, improve cooperation and collaboration and build a more resilient and sustainable tourism sector.

‘In order for tourism operators to make the most out of data and technology, they must focus on enhancing Ghana’s digital presence to match its physical assets for visitors , enhance the use of data to inform policy decisions and drive industry growth and encourage innovation, market entry and ease of doing business.’

Mr Emmanuel Frimpong, President, ATRN, said the workshop would discuss the state of the Ghanaian tourism sector, diving into the key challenges that were hindering development, and the opportunities for growing the tourism sector.

‘This discussion will also focus on how data and digital technology are being used among private and public sector players. In doing so, we will explore the barriers to greater data and digital technology adoption and highlight the opportunities that the enhanced use of data and digital technology can unlock.’

He said it would also build on the challenges and opportunities and provide practical recommendations for public and private stakeholders to grow the tourism market.

‘These recommendations will provide practical and contextually grounded examples of what they would involve, why they are relevant and necessary, and how they can be effectively implemented.

‘In all 75 participants drawn from academia, private and public sectors will participate in the workshop, which will also have some training session specifically on the principles of tourism marketing and leveraging data for decision-making.’

According to Mr Frimpong, these training sessions would focus on how to create the most optimal digital presence for Ghana’s tourism sector, digitally handle selling propositions for national campaigns effectively communicating with tourists and turning interest and intrigue into booking and buying, and leverage data available to make strategic and well-informed decisions.

He said the objectives of the training sessions included providing key stakeholders in the tourism sector with the tools necessary to improve their businesses and champion the lessons and benefits from this training, and taking the training material and learnings to re-train association members, tourism operators and other relevant stakeholders.

Mr Kwesi Eyison, Ag President GHATOF, said the workshop was also to bring about transformation in the sector. ‘One of our priorities is the skilling up of innovation to bring about transformation in the industry to be able to compete locally and globally.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Hearts of Oak’s misery continues as FC Samartex holds them in Accra

Accra Hearts of Oak failed to secure all three points as they were held to a goalless draw by FC Sarmatex 1996 in a matchday six encounter at the Accra Sports Stadium.

It was the second successive draw for the Phobians at home this season, as they now languish in the relegation zone with four points despite having one outstanding game.

Hearts of Oak head coach Martinus Koopman strangely benched top striker Kashala Ramos and handed Hamza Ali a starting role upfront.

It was a lacklustre start from Hearts of Oak as they struggled to string passes together in the final third of the game.

Hearts of Oak were playing without a typical striker, and Hamza Ali struggled upfront as he was often left isolated and had chances.

The game was very cagey, with both sides struggling to create any chances as goalkeepers and both sides not making any crucial saves.

The first half ended scoreless.

FC Sarmatex started the second half the better side and nearly went ahead in the 53rd minute through Osei Wusu, but his effort was cleared off the line.

Despite the poor showing in the second half, Hearts of Oak had a glorious chance to take the lead, but Hamza Ali’s header was saved by goalkeeper Kofi Baah.

Hearts of Oak seemed to have gained momentum in the late quarter of the game, as they created few chances.

Hamza Ali had an opportunity to put Hearts ahead in the late stages of the game, but once again, goalkeeper Kofi Baah was equal to the task.

Both sides held on to share the spoils at the end of regulation time.

Source: Ghana News Agency