Daily Archives: July 11, 2018

African Bicycle Contribution Foundation Contributes its 290th Bamboo ...

NABDAM DISTRICT, Ghana, July 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF), a U.S.-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, today announced that it has recently distributed 50 additional Ghanaian-made bamboo bicycles, in the Nabdam District, northeastern Ghana. Forty of the bicycles, manufactured by the Kumasi-based Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (GBBI), were contributed to girls, ages 13-18, who attend the recently established Girls Model School in the District; an additional four were distributed to farmers, four were contributed to teachers, and two bicycles were given to healthcare workers. The Nabdam District event included ABCF’s 290th bicycle distributed in Ghana, since the foundation’s inception.

Map of Ghana with ABCF/GBBI icons marking bamboo bike distribution sites (July 10, 2018).

Ghana’s Nabdam District, which is bordered on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the east by the Republic of Togo, is the least urbanized region in Ghana. Less than 16 percent of the population resides in urban areas, and about 28.5 percent of adults in the region are classified as illiterate. Additionally, 84.9 percent of the employed population is engaged in skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery occupations, and 50.3 percent of the population is self-employed.

Notably, nearly one-third of the local residents live approximately 15 miles from the closest hospital, and the students at the Girls Model School travel a minimum of 9.3 miles each day, on foot, to and from school. Also notable is the fact that, in Nabdam, the proportion of males who have attended schools is consistently higher than that, for females, at all levels.

A UNICEF report on the impact that bicycles have for school-aged Ghanaian girls, found that 95 percent of rural girls attend school more regularly after having gained access to a bicycle, and 70 percent of those who received bicycles demonstrated higher academic performances, in their subsequent school work.

Headmistress of the Girls Model School speaking at the ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike distribution event.

Commenting on the Nabdam District event, the Foundation’s executive director, Patricia Marshall Harris, stressed the important role GBBI CEO Bernice Dapaah, and her leadership of her Ghana-based company, with a predominately Ghanaian female workforce, can play in inspiring young women at the Girls Model School to achieve Ghana’s national aspirations for academic, economic and social advancement for women across the country.

“While Ghana continues to make impressive strides towards building a globally respected democracy and a strong sub-Saharan African economic profile,” said Ms. Marshall Harris, “we at ABCF and GBBI join Ghana’s government and economic leaders in recognizing  that the full realization of the country’s potential can only be achieved when Ghana’s young girls and women are provided improved access to educational opportunity, and are challenged to join as partners and leaders in all that the country wants to achieve.”

At the event, which was held at Kongo, in the Nabdam District, remarks were presented by Mr. Timothy Naasal Yuornuo, district director of education; by Kongo-Sapaat-Nab Namaalteng, chief of Kongo; by Mrs. Meiri Seidu, director, Health Directorate; and by Mr. Amos Agyapong, production manager, GBBI. The event, which also included a Girls Model School Cultural Display, was moderated by Mr. Francis Sapaat and the opening and closing prayers were offered by Rev. Martin, a Roman Catholic priest.

A group of the 40 ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike recipients at Nabdam District’s Girls Model School, shortly after receiving their new ABCF/GBBI bamboo bicycles.

In his remarks, Mr. Sapaat, budget/NGO officer, Girls Model School, said, “The distribution of bicycles was timely considering the daily distance they cover to and from school. It is a high relief to pupils and parents, since students will now be early to school and back home.”

Who is ABCF?

The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF) is a 501©3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to generate funding to underwrite the distribution of bicycles to under-resourced students, teachers, and transport-dependent small farmers and healthcare workers, in Ghana. The Corporation has made a commitment to finance the free distribution of 2500 bicycles in Ghana, over its first five years of operation.

Kongo-Sapaat-Nab Namaalteng, chief of Kongo, speaking to students, teachers and family at the ABCF/GBBI bamboo bike distribution, at Nabdam District’s Girls Model School.

ABCF works in partnership with the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, which produces the iconic Eco-Ride bamboo bicycle; the Bright Generation Community Foundation, the Respect Alliance, and the U.S.-Ghana Chamber of Commerce. Included among the foundation’s corporate and charitable non-profit sponsors are Independence Blue Cross, the Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Dr. and Mrs. Colon A. Romero.

For further information about ABCF, please contact the ABCF offices: info@africanbike.org.

Contact: A. Bruce Crawley
African Bicycle Contribution Foundation
Tel: 215-751-0140
Email: abcrawley@africanbike.org

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717009/Ghana_Map.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717010/Headmistress.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717011/girls_on_bikes.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/717012/chief_of_kongo.jpg

Police recover 36 parcels dagga in Marikana informal settlement

During normal patrolling duties and visible policing in the area, Philippi-East Crime Prevention Unit members arrested a 47 year old man in the Marikana Informal Settlement this morning for possession of dagga.

Police members followed up on information from the community about a shack where it was suspected that dagga was being stored and sold. They went to the address, identified themselves and asked permission to search the property, where they found 36 parcels of dagga in a bag. They arrested a 47 year old suspect on charges related to the possession of dagga.

Police are further requesting the public to come forward with any information of any suspicious criminal activities in the community by contacting Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or Philippi-East SAPS at 021 370 1900/4.

In an unrelated matter, two zip guns plus ammunition were recovered by Strandfontein SAPS members. On Monday (2018-07-10) at 06:00 police followed up on information received related to a murder which occurred on Friday 2018-07-06 at Leander Road in Bay View. Members acted on this information and found the zip guns buried on an open field. No arrest has been made yet and an inquiry was opened by Strandfontein detectives. The zip guns were booked into the SAPS property register.

Anyone with any information about firearms and drugs in the Strandfontein area is kindly requested to contact Strandfontein standby detectives at 082 469 3225. Anonymity for information given is absolutely guaranteed

Source: South African Police Service

Chinese Find Suggests Human Relatives Left Africa Earlier

Stone tools recovered from an excavation in China suggest that our evolutionary forerunners trekked out of Africa earlier than we thought.

Until now, the oldest evidence of human-like creatures outside Africa came from 1.8 million-year-old artifacts and skulls found in the Georgian town of Dmanisi. But the new find pushes that back by at least 250,000 years.

It’s absolutely a new story, said archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who did not participate in the study. It means that early humans were getting out of Africa way earlier than we ever realized.

That exit came long before our own species, Homo sapiens, even appeared. The researchers believe the tools were made by another member of the Homo evolutionary group.

The items included several chipped rocks, fragments and hammer stones. The 96 artifacts were dug up in an area known as the Loess Plateau, north of the Qinling mountains, which divide the north and south of China.

Some of them were as old as 2.1 million years, according to the study in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

We were very excited, said Zhaoyu Zhu, a professor at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, who led the field work. One of my colleagues suddenly noticed a stone embedded in a steep outcrop. After a short while, more artifacts were found � one after another.

The tools were distributed throughout layers of dirt, suggesting our unidentified ancient relatives came back to the same site over and over, possibly following animals to hunt. Researchers also found bones of pigs and deer, but were not able to provide proof that the tools were used for hunting.

Some experts not involved in the research think that the findings need to be taken with caution.

I am skeptical, said Geoffrey Pope, an anthropologist from William Paterson University in New Jersey. I suspect this discovery will change very little.

The problem, he said, is that sometimes nature can shape stones in a way that they look as if they were manufactured by hand. Scientists know, for example, that rocks smashed together in a stream can acquire sharp edges.

But Sonia Harmand, an archaeologist at Stony Brook University in New York, disagrees.

This could be, frankly, one of the most important [archaeological] sites in the world, said Harmand, who studies stone tools.

Source: Voice of America

VBS linked municipality receives intervention

Following a meeting with Limpopo municipalities that invested with embattled VBS Mutual Bank, Thabazimbi Local Municipality will receive provincial intervention in terms of sections 139 (1)(b) and 154 of the Constitution.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the intervention during his visit to Limpopo where he met seven distressed and dysfunctional municipalities in Polokwane on Wednesday as part of an oversight visit.

The intervention paves the way for assistance with financial affairs where a municipality is in serious or persistent material breach of its obligation.

The distressed municipalities include Mopani, Thabazimbi, Musina, Mogalakwena, Fetakgomo, Tubatse, Modimolle, Mookgopong and Vhembe.

He was joined by Deputy Minister Andries Nel, CoGTA MEC Jerry Ndou, Finance MEC Rob Tooley, Mayors and councillors.

Mkhize expressed concern that municipalities who invested with VBS Mutual Bank were approving unrealistic budgets without the funds to finance their projects.

The Minister also noted that there was a decline in revenue collection by these municipalities, which negatively affected their financial viability and ability to honour their financial obligations for bulk electricity and water.

The budgets should be aligned to the strategy and this will make it possible to ensure better and improved service delivery that benefits communities. The challenges of the municipalities that invested in the VBS Mutual Bank made this situation worse as the funds might have been lost forever, said Mkhize.

The failure to fill senior managers’ positions and unstable management arising from issues related to placement of employees within the institutions were among the number of the challenges faced by the municipalities.

The key posts are those of technical directors, chief financial officer and the Municipal Manager.

From the presentation by the province, there is progress in the filling of posts and the municipalities were urged to fast track the process more to ensure that strategic activities are successfully implemented, said Mkhize.

The poor audit outcome by the Auditor-General also highlighted severe strain and pressure faced by the municipalities.

Some municipalities are in coalitions and thus experiencing governance challenges. Challenges that emanate from the municipal amalgamation process post the local government election in August 2016, as is the case with Modimolle and Mookgophong local municipalities.

The amalgamation of staff has yet to be finalised and this has caused challenges and with no feedback mechanisms, said Mkhize.

He urged municipalities to go back to basics and efficiently provide municipal services to be able to attract investment in their areas, which could improve revenue collection.

We want clean municipalities and ensure that our communities are able to benefit, said Mkhize.

The Minister and Deputy Minister will today hold meetings in Thohoyandou and Malamulele.

Source: South African Government News Agency

SA on investment drive in Middle East

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has concluded his working visit to Nigeria, will continue with his three-nation visit which will now take him to Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

During his visit in Saudi Arabia, President Ramaphosa is scheduled to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud on Thursday in Jeddah in order to boost trade and attract investments.

The purpose of the State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to assess the status of bilateral relations, whilst focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

The state visit will also present an opportunity for South Africa to increase co-operation with Saudi Arabia in light of the country’s new strategy for Africa.

South Africa currently imports approximately 47% of its oil from the Arab country and regards it as a strategic partner in the Middle East.

The country is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy. Total trade amounted to just more than R55 billion in 2017.

After the state visit to Saudi Arabia, President Ramaphosa will proceed to the United Arab Emirates on Friday to meet Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE will be an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investments into the country.

The President will also use the opportunity to discuss the upcoming Investment Summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the Summit, the Presidency said.

South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994.

The relationship has a strong economic focus, with the UAE being South Africa’s main importing partner within the Gulf region.

According to the Presidency, the UAE is growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services, while many South African companies are benefitting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors.

A sharp increase has been witnessed over the last six years in total trade between South Africa and the UAE, with figures escalating from R6 billion in 2011 to R38.2 billion in 2017, a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.

On Wednesday, President Ramaphosa concluded his working visit to Nigeria where he participated in the 2018 Annual Meeting and the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Source: South African Government News Agency

SALGA launches seminars to inspire leadership in municipalities, 12 ...

SALGA launches seminars to inspire leadership in municipalities

Over 100 municipal leaders to graduate from Wits

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) will convene the inaugural Local Links Leadership Conversations Lecture Series Seminar on Thursday, 12 July 2018, at the WITS School of Governance (WSG) under the theme Honouring the Legacy of Nelson Mandela Through Inspiring Thought Leadership in Local Government Sphere. Post the seminar, approximately 105 municipal leaders who have undergone an extensive LGSETA funded programme, the Leadership in Municipal Governance Programme (LMG) in partnership with WSG, will be certificated in a graduation ceremony.

Former South African Public Protector Adv. Thulisile (Thuli) Nomkhosi Madonsela will deliver the keynote address.

Panellists for the seminar:

Councillor Parks Tau: SALGA President and United Cited and Local Government

Hon. Dr Zweli Mkhize: Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Reverend Frank Chikane: Chairperson of the Kagiso Trust

Sello Hatang: CEO of Nelson Mandela Foundation,

Associate Professor, Professor William Gumede: WSG,

Dr Robin Moore: Gauteng City Region Observatory, Executive Director;, Tsakani Ratsela: Deputy Auditor General

Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa: Moral Regeneration Movement, Chairperson, steered by the lead panellists

Members of the media are invited as follows:

Date: 12 July 2018

Time: 08:00 -13:00 (Seminar)

Time: 14:00 � 16:00 (Graduation Ceremony)

Venue: WITS School of Governance, Donald Gordon Building-Auditorium

The Local Links Leadership Conversations is one of SALGA Centre for Leadership and Governance intervention programmes. As a continuous development programme, it is anchored on an approach of delivering seminar styled/lecture series driven leadership conversations, based on specific leadership conversations themes which reflect the everyday complexities faced by local leaders in the local governance sphere with the aim of inspiring good leadership.

As part of its strategic agenda, SALGA continuously formulates and implements a range of municipal leadership focused interventions aimed at enhancing the capacity of municipalities to adequately respond to the challenges they face in local government.

In 2017, SALGA in partnership with WSG initiated LMG, targeting the municipal leadership echelon. The LMG is a unique professional training and development programme for municipal leaders structured as a formalised certificated programme and created in response to the inherent needs of the local government, political and administrative leaders, with executive and oversight responsibilities in the development of their localities.

Source: Government of South Africa