Daily Archives: August 3, 2017


Ghana can access 500 million US dollars annually from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its development programmes over a three-year period in view of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's prudent management of the economy, says AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

We will we work with you to move Ghana towards the commercial window of the Bank, he declared here Wednesday when calling on President Akufo-Addo. I want to assure you that we will provide the maximum amount support for you and your government to succeed. You have put together an excellent team, a first-rate team, and I have every confidence that it will succeed.

Adesina noted the successes being chalked in transforming the Ghanaian economy saying: I must commend you for the growth that I am beginning to see. The economy is going to grow this year at 6.3 per cent, and next year at 7.4 per cent. The medium-term outlook is great, at about 9.2%. You (President Akufo-Addo) have always said you wanted Ghana back, and a Ghana Beyond-Aid. This kind of growth trajectory is exactly what is needed for a Ghana Beyond-Aid.

Adesina, who is on a three day working visit to Ghana, also lauded the clarity of President Akufo-Addo's vision and the path he was taking Ghana's economy, which, he said, "has enhanced the image of the country and its standing with the global, international financial community".

He also commended the government for the efforts at stabilising the macro-economy. The results are quite evident, he noted. If you look at the inflation rate, it has gone down to 12.1 per cent. The debt stock in relation to the size of the GDP (gross domestic product) has also gone down to 67 per cent, from what you inherited. These are all great signs of your stewardship in the few months that you have taken over. That is a very good tone.

The AfDB President also expressed his delight at the stability the government had achieved in the rnergy sector and gave an assurance that the Bank would support Ghana deal with the issue through partial credit guarantees and partial risk guarantees to reduce the debt levels, "because the power sector has to work very well.

On cocoa, Adesina described the leadership of President Akufo-Addo and that of President Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire as crucial. As both of you mentioned to me, it does not make sense for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to produce 64 per cent of the world's cocoa, and yet be at the short end of the stick of not being able to control the market. So you have given us specific instructions of what you wanted and we've moved on that, he said.

We have received a request for 1.2 billion US dollars from Ghana's Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Cote d'Ivoire, and we will be looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest."

Additionally, Adesina stated that a Stabilization Fund had been set up to make sure we are able to deal with downside risks in terms of the volatility of prices".

The third is to recapitalise the cocoa plantations because they are quite old, and it requires an injection of money by the State to do that.



Officials from countries contributing troops to the East African Standby Force are holding discussions in Addis Ababa this week about the manoeuvres it plans to conduct in Sudan in November this year.

The four-day meeting has brought together diplomats, military officers and civilian officials to confer on ways of conducting the manoeuvres, says the Head of the Foreign Relations and Military Co-operation Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence, Major General Desta Abchu.

He told the media here that soldiers, police and civilian officials from the 10 member countries will take part in the manoeuvres.

Recalling the holding of previous manoeuvres in other member countries, Gen Desta said the upcoming exercise was aimed at strengthening the capacity of the standby force.

Although there are budgetary and input constraints arising from tough economic conditions in some member countries, the plan had so far not faced any significant problem, he added.

During the meeting, diplomats and experts of member countries had held discussions first, followed by the military leaders and defence ministers conferring on Wednesday.



The State has filed an application in the High Court here to disallow expert evidence supporting the legalization of dagga (cannabis), which has further delayed the so-called dagga trial in its third day Wednesday.

Partners Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke had approached the High Court in Pretoria to declare the current laws against dagga invalid but it was further frustration for the "dagga couple", as time is running out for experts they've brought in from overseas to support their case.

One expert now has to go back to the United States without testifying as a result of continuing court delays.

Clarke said: "These are very prominent scientists and doctors and they have very busy lives and I have been negotiating with these experts for over five years and if I might put it in the public domain, it cost me about 180,000 Rand (about 13,600 US dollars) to get Dr Abrahams (one of the experts) here and he has been sitting in court doing nothing for three days. Can you imagine how that makes us feel?"

The state is pushing ahead with its late application to strike-out evidence, the experts citing that it's irrelevant and lacks accuracy.

However, the judge didn't appear impressed by the State's late application. Judge Natvarla Ranchod said: "I don't think one should be arguing the relevance here because I cannot at this stage make a decision on that and that's in fairness to the defendant as much as its fairness to the plaintiff."

The trial continues.



Experts in South Africa say climate change has come faster to South Africa than was expected and that droughts are becoming more prolific in the country.

University of Cape Town water researcher Kevin Winter said here Wednesday that this had given planners little room to come up with pro-active measures to mitigate the impact of climate change. He was commenting on the water crisis in the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality.

There is a major concern that the city will run dry as not enough rain has fallen and Winter said the interval between one drought and the next was becoming shorter.

The average level of the six major dams providing water to the city is effectively at only 17 per cent of capacity and there is a major concern that the city will run out of water as not enough rain has fallen so far and only one month of (the Souther Hemisphere) winter remains.

Cape Town Weather Office forecaster Henning Grobler said only light rain was predicted for this week and the Western Cape Provincial Government has begun clearing silted water canals running into the Voelvlei Dam near Gouda.

The Cape Town city government has stepped up enforcement measures to deal with high water users with the Water Inspectorate to install water management devices at properties with unjustifiably high use this week. The devices were previously used to assist with unpaid water bills.

The Mayoral Committee Member for Water, Xanthea Limberg, said many consumers were still not adhering to a daily savings target of 87 litres per person per day and officials will forcibly reduce water usage by restricting supply.

Stubborn high users have received warning notices. We will be forcibly reducing the water use of those who cannot justify their high water usage. We will see our face cases this week, many water users continue to inspire us with their efforts and we thank them for understanding that this is our new normal. Our rainfall thus far in July has been minimal.



A joint coordination meeting, between Arab League (AL) and African Union (AU) Commission, kicked off in Cairo, Wednesday.

The meeting was held at the level of senior officials and specialised organisations' heads.

Addressing the meeting, Assistant Secretary-General of the AL for International Political Affairs, Khalid al-Habas, said that, hosting this important meeting comes within the framework of mutual keenness on continuing coordination and consultation.

Al-Habas reiterated that, Arab-African cooperation had been achieved through the periodical meetings, held at various levels.

Meanwhile, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira al-Fadil, stressed the importance of the presence of a delegation from the AU, that comprises different administrations specialised in technical issues, to be discussed in this meeting.

Fadil said that, AU considers this partnership as one of the most important ones.

This meeting is expected to raise recommendations to the coming joint meeting, that will be held between AL Chief and the chairperson of AU Commission, scheduled at the end of the year.



Scientists have found a 72 per cent decline in sperm count in African men over the past 50 years, says a study published in the June 2017 issue of African Health Sciences.

Dr Pallav Sengupta, the Head of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine of Malaysia's Lincoln University College, is quoted as saying in the study: This is a threat to the procreation of the future generations."

"I was amazed at the magnitude of the problem. A 72 per cent decline over time is a dangerous downward trend. This situation is indeed scary, says Uchenna I Nwagha, a co-author iof the study and Professor of Obstetric Biology and Reproductive Medicine at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Physiology College of Medicine of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

The current concentration is also very near to the World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off value of 2010 of 15A�106/ml, which is a major issue of concern.

The study says that after a systematic review and meta-analysis which retrieved data following MOOSE guidelines and PRISMA checklist, they found that the possible major causes are poorly treated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and hormonal abnormalities, consumption of excessive alcohol and tobacco smoking.

Recently published articles cite exposure to pesticides and heavy metals as principal triggers of decreased sperm count among African men.

"We have put forth the evidences of the decline and discussed various causative factors over the past 50 years like lifestyle, food habits, disease prevalence and others, said Dr Sengupta, the lead author of the study report.

More than one factor is involved in this decreasing trend, correlation with a single factor is difficult to establish. But we are also working on their correlations for our upcoming reports."

In the meta-analysis conducted, the researchers retrieved data from 14 studies which were conducted during 1965 and 2015 on altering sperm concentration in the African male. The studies were done in Nigeria, Tunisia, Tanzania, Libya and Egypt among males aged 19 to 55.