Business in Ghana

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Archive for April, 2014

Norway to restage 1914 ‘human zoo’ that exhibited Africans as inmates

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 29, 2014

From The Guardian Newspaper

Artists claim recreating exhibition will help country confront its colonial past. Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire is not convinced.

And for the record, neither am I.  I think this is the most insulting racist idea anyone ever came up with.

As part of mammoth celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution, the government is funding two artists to re-enact a “human zoo”, which will open to the public on 15 May.

Oslo’s original human zoo or Kongolandsbyen was central to Norway’s world fair in 1914. The artists claim that the new project, which they named European Attraction Limited, is meant to provoke a discussion on colonialism and racism in a post-modern world, engaging with Norway’s racist past in the process.

Some anti-racism organisations and commentators have labelled the project offensive and racist. Is there any artistic value in the re-enactment of such a dehumanising spectacle, especially in a world not yet fully healed of racism? Is this an abuse of art? Or will the re-enactment reverse the modest gains of the equality struggles, especially when the world engages with the subject of race so superficially?

Norway’s 1914 human zoo is not the most widely known historical fact in the country, or elsewhere. But, for five months, 80 people of African origin (Senegalese) lived in “the Congo village” in Oslo, surrounded by “indigenous African artefacts”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Made In Nigeria Nissan Patrol Rolled Out In Lagos

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 28, 2014

VENTURES AFRICA – Six months after Nigeria introduced a new automotive policy – aimed at discouraging the importation of wholly assembled automobiles and encourage local manufacturing – early responder to the policy, Renault-Nissan has rolled out its first production line in the country.

The company said on Friday that it had become the first major vehicle manufacturer to build a car in Nigeria after the government announced the new policy – although Innoson Motor Company (IVM), in 2012, was the first to produce made in Nigeria cars at its Nnewi plant.

The first vehicle to be made by the Renault-Nissan in Nigeria, a black Nissan Patrol, rolled off the production line at its Lagos assembly plant, marking the start of a new era in the West African country’s automotive industry, a statement by Nissan’s country representatives, Stallion Motors indicated

The roll out of the Nissan Patrol followed an agreement signed by Renault-Nissan last year on local assembly with regional conglomerate, Stallion Group. According to Nissan, plans on production of two other models, the Almera and NP300 have reached an advanced stage, with early May a focus for the first release and August projected for mass production. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sneaking It Past You and Me. Critical News, 27th April 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 27, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I still have no water and the load shedding exercise that was supposed to be extended for two weeks, five weeks ago, is in its sixth week and showing no signs of letting up.  Now we are not even shown the civility of a timetable and dates when power will not be in your home.

And it is hot.  An intense heat rejected by the car windshield, which is now constantly complaining to the air conditioner that it simply cannot handle any more direct sun.  I spend most of my parking, seeking Neem and Mango trees just to stay out of it.  I called Meteo to see if there was any historical reason why it should be so hot this time of the year, but they have budgetary constraints and could not tell me anything until they received some money to buy fuel for the generator.

So where the gas processing plant at?  I thought we were going to be commissioning it by the end of this month?  That gas would flow from Atuabo and we would be able to power the generating plants, give us cheaper supply, but even more importantly, regular quality current and voltage.

This time Armah Kofi Buah, still in the energy seat, is silently hoping the heat will move up north. Read the rest of this entry »

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Untangling Nigeria’s Power Lines

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 25, 2014

Africa’s Top Economy Produces Half the Electricity of North Dakota—for 249 Times More People

By DREW HINSHAW

LAGOS, Nigeria—The quest to turn the lights back on in Nigeria is pitting some of the country’s richest men against rusted power lines, pilfered electricity and grenade-lobbing saboteurs.

Nigeria’s government built only 12 power plants since independence from the U.K. in 1960—all of them now in disrepair. Meanwhile, its population tripled to 174 million. The result: Nigeria produces less than half as much electricity as North Dakota for 249 times more people. Blackouts strike 320 days a year, according to the World Bank.

Now, Africa’s top economy has asked its wealthiest businessmen to get the plants humming again. Last November, the Nigerian government auctioned off six power plants, including a 50-year-old tumbledown facility located near swampland.

That plant now belongs to Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian mogul whose company made its name running a local Hilton resort. In the months to come, the hotelier hopes to jolt the power plant back to life, pushing out a surge of electricity into this country where big city offices charge their laptops with car batteries and the poor eat by candlelight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Exclusive: Nigeria favors local firms in $40 billion oil contract awards

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 23, 2014

By Emma Farge and Tim Cocks, Reuters

DAKAR/LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria has awarded most of its long-term oil contracts worth an estimated $40 billion a year to local companies, according to a confidential list seen by Reuters, meaning global traders need to partner with them to access crude from Africa’s top producer.

Global commodity traders, refiners and Nigerian dealers jockey at an annual tender for access to the OPEC member’s prized crude oil, which is easy to refine and produces more high-value fuels.

The contracts cover around 340 million barrels of oil, worth close to $40 billion annually based on current Brent prices, and run for a year, though they can be renewed. They were allocated to just 28 companies, versus around 50 in 2012, the last time they were awarded.

In a break with tradition, no contracts were given directly to global trading houses Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), Vitol VITOLV.UL, Trafigura TRAFGF.UL or Gunvor, with only Switzerland’s Mercuria winning a contract, according to a list that four industry sources verified as accurate. Read the rest of this entry »

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The only free cheese…

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 23, 2014

By Charles Wereko-Brobby (Dr), Chief Policy Analyst. Ghana Institute for Policy Options (GIPPO)

I got into a spot of bother recently for ‘putting the knife’ to one of our sacred cows. I put our civil society organizations (CSOs) into the same field as our politicians, opining that they only call on others to act instead of them taking charge and leading. Now I find it necessary, nay imperative, that I must return and train the full bores of my double-barreled guns onto the civil society organizations again, but without a hinge of apology this time, no matter what brouhaha ensues

Last Thursday, the Government of Ghana organised a stakeholder consultation on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. Arrogating themselves to the role of our stakeholders, the CSOs thronged the meeting with an assortment of politicians, producers, and the Great and the Good of Ghanaian ruling classes to do what our leaders always do best, namely to shout over the rafters about what we do not want, but without offering any alternatives whatsoever.

When the assembled folks found the Head of the EU Delegation in Ghana in their midst, they turned their guns onto him and bayed “Dzulo” ( Thief) with the shrillness and excitement that normally leads to a mob lynching without guilt being established. Claude Maerten, one of the gentlest souls I have met, had to be bundled and hurried out of the meeting like a cat on a hot tin roof; by a mob led by the representatives of the CSOs. Read the rest of this entry »

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In An Unequal World, We Need Inclusive Growth

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 22, 2014

By Jim Yong Kim

For a very long time, the rich have known to some extent how the poor around the world live. What_s new in today’s world is that the best-kept secret from the poor, namely, how the rich live, is now out. Through  the village television, the Internet and hand-held instruments, which a rapidly increasing number of the poor possess, life-styles of the rich and the middle class are transmitted in full color to their homes every day.

Last year, when I traveled with President Evo Morales to a Bolivian village 14,000 feet above sea level, villagers snapped pictures on their smart phones of our arrival. In Uttar Pradesh, the state in India with the highest number of poor people, I found Indians watching Korean soap operas on their smart phones.

We live in an unequal world. But while the rich world may be blind to the suffering of the poor, the poor throughout the world are very much aware of how the rich live. And they have shown they are willing to take action.

Inequalities hurt everyone. Women_s low economic participation creates income losses of 27 percent in the Middle East and North Africa. Inclusive growth, in contrast, builds a stronger, more robust social contract between people and their government _ and builds stronger economies. If we raised women’s employment to the levels of men, for instance, average income would rise by 19 percent in South Asia and 14 percent in Latin America. Read the rest of this entry »

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Epa Banku and Okro Soup. Critical News, 20th April 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 20, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

This week has been about Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) and how some Civil Service Organisations (CSO) are determined to “protect” Ghana by blocking the Government’s intention, if they can do so, to sign the EPA with the European Union.

We left the International Conference Center, Thursday after a somewhat rowdy interruption against the presence of Claude Maerten of the EU delegation when he requested to make a few points.  In the end, we did not quite get to question time and wrap up, the Minister was late for a flight and we all left with the blankness of wasted time.

I certainly felt so and headed for my favorite Banku and Okro soup joint, comfort food, preceded by a small bottle of Club beer.  I also like the place (can’t mention the name for good reasons) because the two sisters who run the joint are exceptionally favored by nature, with hips and style you leave extra tips with very little effort, if for nothing else than to entice a smile from either of these Madonna.

Negotiations on this EPA have been going on for fourteen years since the Cotonou Agreement.  I don’t think we should continue dragging it any longer.  What are we protecting?  Banku and Okro soup?  Import trade in the EU region in 2010 was over 3trillion dollars.  That is the equivalent of ninety-six times our GDP. Read the rest of this entry »

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See Saw, Down and Down. Critical News, 13th April 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 13, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Barclays says the economy is on a downward rollFitch says stable down to negativeIMF revised growth down from 8% to 4.8%Reuters says currency has depreciated 14.6% this year, down in comparison to the same time last year.  The Africa Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) says we have transformed backwards and we all in Ghana who belong to any credible independent think tank, buy kenkey from Osu or have an independent analytical view, say Ghana has gone down and lost its economic alleyway.

But our Government says things are looking up, so which seesaw are you riding?  Where is this economic seesaw headed if not bloated-debt down?  By the way, Government has still not taken up my suggestion to publish a list of all borrowed money and purposeful use.  How dare my impudent self, suggesting such a good governance thing?

As children you remember how you get on a seesaw and if the heavy dude in the neighborhood sits opposite, you know you don’t have a chance in Kotobabi to leverage your weight down hard enough to enjoy the thrill of the up and down.  You won’t even get the chance to crunch down and bump the other side higher into the air or even the sudden jump off to see how the opponent arrives to earth.  The children still do it today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Confusing The Big Man On High. Critical News, 6th April 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 6, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

What does a man who owns A Rolls Royce in Ghana look like?  I wondered as I wandered through the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, surreptitiously ogling any man I thought would fit my owner-description for the sleek black Rolls parked half up the curb outside the Tulip.

As I entered the lobby, I Ghana-friendly extracted who owned the topmost car status symbol from the door guards whether the person was Ghanaian.  And he sure was.

Elated and suddenly proud to be Ghanaian I puffed my chest and dared any of the expats crowded at the counter to even dare suggest that we wallow in poverty in Ghana.  If the Golden Tulip was good enough for visitors to queue for a room in this four star hotel, the status symbol of wealth parked outside was good enough to push us into a middle income economy.

So I cased the lobby and trundled through all the rooms and the restaurant, looking for my quintessential Rolls owner, determined to befriend and congratulate, just to get a flavor of the daring that says a Ghanaian just like me can flash wealth in an ailing economy classified as “heading for crisis” and be free to do so.

I knew he was male, such as I had gathered from the entrance, but I did not see anyone I could say for a fact fit my description of a Rolls Royce owning Ghanaian.  And why was it my concern? Read the rest of this entry »

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