Monday, November 30, 2015

Dr K.Y. Amoah
Dr K.Y. Amoah, Founder and President of the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), says Ghana’s democracy would be strengthened if the various political parties become more policy and development oriented rather than election oriented.

According to the ACET boss, most political parties often pay less attention to Ghana’s public policy needs, which results in the population’s increased doubt about our democratic stability.

Speaking at the 10th Anniversary Memorial Lecture of the Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II in Accra on Friday, Dr Amoah said Ghanaians must ensure that political parties work towards the betterment of Ghana’s democracy and the citizenry rather than for the betterment of their party members.

The late Oyeeman Ampem II, who was born on October 29, 1930 and died on November 26, 2005 at the age of 75, was enstooled as the Chief of Amanokrom on August 4, 1975 and reigned for 30 years. The late Chief, who was an economist, a statistician and a business executive, was known in private life as Emmanuel Nii Noi Amaboe and was the chancellor of the University of Ghana.

“Too often, our political parties appear to operate solely as election machines, paying too little attention to Ghana’s public policy needs. Party manifestos are ad hoc and always realistic. Financing is weakly regulated and hardly accountable. Rational development discourse gets drowned out by personal political disputes. Of course, the sense of perpetual political campaigning brought on by elections overload doesn’t help,” Dr Amoah stated.

The former Executive Secretary for UN Economic Transformation (ECA) indicated that political parties could turn their manifestoes into medium-term policy programmes as a basis for campaigning and educating the public or establish a joint commission to regulate party activity and support programme development.

He also counselled government to promote macroeconomic policies and regulatory environment to allow businesses to flourish, lead in the production of gods and services, and create jobs for our growing labour force particularly the youth.

The event brought together personalities like former President John Agyekum Kufuor; Prof Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Chief Executive for the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation; Dr Cadman Mills, Co-board Chairman for the Atta Mills Memorial Foundation; and Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong ,Attorney General, among others.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kobla Nyaletey
Kobla Nyaletey, Head of Markets at Barclays Bank, has predicted that the local currency, the cedi will depreciate further against the major foreign currencies in 2016.

According to him, most of the currencies in West Africa depreciated significantly in 2015 as a result of lower oil prices and tourism receipts.

“If the number of tourists falls then the foreign exchange earnings to those economies fall as well. For 2016, in particular, I think the currencies will depreciate again. Fundamentally, the point is that these currencies should weaken versus the dollar but it is the quantum of the weakness which then becomes the subject for conversation,” Mr. Nyaletey told BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview in Accra recently.

He indicated that the weak global oil price had been a key influence towards the weak currency position that Ghana witnessed this year.

“Given that today oil prices are around $48 per barrel, next year it is forecast to average $53 and that isn’t a quite recovery. As a result, these economies would see some amount of pressure as well,” he said.

Earlier this year, a dollar was sold at GH¢4.3 on the market. It is now selling at GH¢3.82.

He added that the challenges that confronted the Ghanaian currency this year would largely remain in 2016.

“In the case of Ghana, we should begin to see some recovery towards the end of 2016 as new oil production from the Tweneboa, Enyera and Ntomme (TEN) projects come on stream,” he noted.

Bank of Ghana’s Measures

“The mandate of the central bank is to achieve price stability and therefore in instances where the currency begins to move in a disorderly manner, the central banks must intervene to eliminate that harmful movement in the currency,” he said.

Mr Nyaletey added that BoG cannot continue to inject money into the country’s economy to stabilize the cedi.

“Central banks cannot continually and perpetually defend the currency. Central Bank action should be once in a while. It should simply be targeted to eliminate such disorderly movement. The central bank cannot on daily, weekly, monthly and throughout the whole year defend the currency. That is not realistic and unsustainable,” he said.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Alewa is cheap local toffee which is too sweet and stains your tongue. It's a treasured relic of Ghanaian childhood in the 90s, much like 'poki' or 'asaanaa' is also the title of Ofori Amponsah's comeback track. 

The song is exceptional, an instant classic, and we're only now realising fully, how much we've missed him.  The lost angel is back knocking on Satan's door, and he bears enticing gifts. There's a lot of talk about drawing blood. It's unsettling, what  perfect  pair that is.

At least that is the sentiment of several people here. Why? Three years ago, Ofori Amponsah announced that he had had a change of heart and was leaving highlife, the sound of his relevance and what had gained him much affection from Ghanaians, to pursue gospel music. He left us with open jaws and a new jargon, 'higher love', for that, he had said, would be what his brand of gospel would be known and called. His new gospel album was going to be a demonstration. This album has yet to be released, but no yawa. He even started a church, the Family of Faith and Love Ministries at Ofankor. 

Indeed, it was not the first time this was happening even in Ghana and we both know  it will not be the last. K.K. Kabobo, Papa Shee and Lord Kenya have all made somewhat  smooth transitions from secular music to church matters as a result of seeing the light. 

But still, Mr 'All 4 Real' was leaving and it was shocking, but we are Ghanaians and so we would pull through...we always have. We have survived coup d'etats, ethnic conflict, successive underwhelming governments, corruption scandals, 'dumsor' and load shedding. There's a difference, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, will have you know. He's the power minister after all, we aren't. 'We can live with disappointment', we had said, holding hands and patting one another's back. 'We've been tested so much, it's not so bad anymore'.

Three years on, though, Ofori is back, and he might not be a pastor anymore. And like the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15, we have accepted him. We have bathed him and kissed him and put a ring on his finger. It was not easy for both of us, but we are forgiving in that way, and the song is the bomb, so... 

He has been compared to the biblical dog returning to its vomit, but walaahi, this is delicious vomit...true alewa! Remember how, as children, we constantly took the Alewa from our mouths, turning it with just thumb and finger,  and smiling because it was too nice? Remember how we sucked on it in so many different ways in relish? Ahaa! 

The song itself begins gently. It sneaks up on you the way a woman wearing a transparent nightie over nothing but white lingerie would appear behind an unsuspecting lover. 

This chocolate complexioned woman is always smiling, it's one of the many things which makes her beautiful. But tonight, her smile is more than a smile. She knows what she's doing, and she knows she's got you exactly where you're supposed to be. This is the song's feel.

'You be my queen of Sheba..., you dey make me shiver..., baby I love you'

Regular lyrics, cliché even. But have Ofori Amponsah sing it and it's a totally different story. The voice is a musical instrument too, and Ofori's voice is special; a playful tenor which,  on this song, lends itself in a kind of falsetto. It's teasing and tasty ...almost like he's swallowing on sweet saliva. His vocal delivery on this song is enjoyable, because he's enjoying himself. You can tell that he's 'aware' of the song and how it comes across; amorous and mildly saucy, because we can hear, in addition, that he's smiling...the way he sustains the last word in this line in verse 1:

'...da naa ɔtuu tuo naa, okum aboa'

Also, notice how the backing vocals are merely above a whisper in this line of the chorus, also prolonging meaningfully, the word ' love' here:

'... baby I love you', and part of the bridge which introduces Sarkodie's verse: '...ɔdɔ  ei, si dwom sa ɛ...'

Theres also a line where he compares this woman to food and soup. It's not that that there's anything wrong with that...only his inflection of the words. Ei Pastor that! Pastor Pastor!

Can he render this exact joyful and seductive  sound live on stage? Will he succeed in wowing a live audience as it is the one true test of an artist's capabilities to perform? Uhmm... I don't want to talk about it.

Instrumentation on this song is a contrast to Ofori's lyrical behaviour in the song --It's hard-hitting and masculine. Kaywa, who has been responsible for the majority of the city's highlife hits now, blurs the point of blend in these two situations, and again succeeds in ensuring suitability to  easy-flowing waist movement in local wax print, handkerchief in hand...or two fingers running down a sweaty torso. There's special trombone sound in corners of the song. It hits a specific vein and tendon. When you're dancing you'll know. 

Sarkodie is different: he's random and powerful. He says things which raise the eyebrows and neck hair. Only he too, can come up with innuendos that are so technical, mischievous and funny, that radio can identify that something troubling has been said, but can do nothing about. Not many artists can manage this. 

His performance on this song is energetic. His tone is energetic, and so is the texture of his rap lyrics. Another of his many strengths as a poet is the nature of his delivery; it's quick and sharp, and he can stuff as many words as there possibly can be in brief moments that few can match. But it's not the endless outpouring of words that he exhibits here. Perhaps that style is not completely appropriate for every situation, especially this one. His impetus is felt in his bars. In the intro to the song, he blurts his trademark interjection, 'huh!', just so you know what time it is, and delivers the following:

' kantam dinsie sɛ mentɔ w'odɔ mu da, awusu me abɔ mi pusa mapim/ wo nsa aka mi yi diɛ sikasɛm nyɛ  w'asɛm kɛse, mifri Akyem/ ma minfa ka wo, sɛ eebia w'abusua ampini koraa aa wa nyim/

It's not all he says, but let's pause for a second. That last line right there, which loosely translates as 'let me touch you with it, so that in case your family entertains reservations, you're already pregnant', is what I mean by Sarkodie's wit with words and suggestive language and how many times he's found his way around radio.
He delivers a full verse in the middle of the song where he mainly discusses a beautiful girl and the methodology and politics of love, after which Ofori Amponsah returns with one more verse which feels like it was channelled from Songs of Solomon. It's an apt collaboration. 

The song can take constant replay, and in that way it's brilliant. It's something comparable only to Ofori's own earlier works but it's also distinct in the kind of classiness it comes in. And when it is the song which orders your body movement and not you, you know we have a song.

The Alewa man, or Pastor Alewa, if you like, has faced perpetual persecution in the wake of his return, or for it. Also, he has been accused of theft of the song...or title. I can't quite unpack the conundrum yet. This is interesting, considering that Ofori Amponsah left an impressive catalogue of highlife models before being called by God. But he's been away for three years and has opened the floodgates for misgivings  and an array of 'isms', mainly  scepticism  and cynicism.

But every time something great has been made, there has been a torrent of negative energy. But is it right, is it fair to Andy? Wouldn't I want to find out the truth or otherwise of the story? Whatever happened to the danger of a single story, for which reason I don't want to look at the other dimensions and theories regarding this song's true owner? Uhmm...I don't want to talk about it. 

By Gabriel Myers Hansen

The writer can be reached  on @myershansen 

Monday, November 23, 2015

A construction worker working on a ten-storey building belonging to the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), James Quarshigah, died when the first floor of the building caved in on Sunday in Accra.

James Quarshigah died following the caving in of part of the building being executed by Israeli company AMANDI Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of SuperTech Limited (STL) of EC’s biometric voters’ register fame. AMANDI Holdings Limited has received several contracts from government including the renovation of the arrival hall at the Kotoka International Airport among others.

Sunday’s accident, which saw ten other workers sustaining various injuries, has sent shivers down the spines of the workers, who have since complained about their safety on the site and expressed fear that the whole building would collapse in future because of some obvious defects.

According to the workers, the inferior materials used and the fast rate at which the building was being put up accounted for the collapse.

Speaking about the incident  on Monday, they said the building caved in while they were casting concrete on the first floor.

“We the workers on this site won’t be surprised if that building collapses totally in future because we have been working with them from foundation. You have no idea the rate at which the contractors forced us to get to the level the structure is now. Before this incident on Sunday, any one of us who is assigned to go and work on the ground floor is always afraid. As we were casting concrete for the first floor, it caved in together with the fresh concrete and iron rods,” they said.

They recounted that the deceased, James Quarshigah, met his untimely death at the ground floor of the building while fixing the support beams while the rest cast concrete simultaneously.

The 10 workers who sustained injuries from the incident were rushed to the Ridge Hospital, 37 Military Hospital and the Adabraka Polyclinic for treatment.

When the site was visited, work had halted and there was heavy police presence.

ACP Sabina Osei-Bonsu, Accra Central Divisional Commander, said the site had been barricaded to prevent anyone from tampering with evidence at the scene.

“Investigations are currently ongoing but the Accra Mayor, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, had also ordered some engineers with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to form a technical team as soon as possible to investigate the incident. Our checks today revealed that most of the injured persons have been treated and discharged,” Miss Osei-Bonsu said.

Workers Protest

Meanwhile the workers have alleged that they were forced by the site and project managers to work 17 hours for seven days.

“Some of the workers work from morning, 6am, till 12 midnight and once you complain that you are tired they will sack you. Even our remuneration as compared to the work we do on the site is appalling.  If you get hurt on site, the best the site manager will recommend is that you should be sent home. Once you are sent home, that is the end,” another worker disclosed.

Some other workers noted that they had no off days and if for any reason they missed work for a day, they would be sacked.

“Artisans are paid GH¢25 while labourers are paid GH¢20 per day. The site manager and project manager have put fear in workers that with the slightest thing you will be sacked,” they disclosed.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ifeyinwa Ikeonu interacting with Ignacio Burrull
Ifeyinwa Ikeonu, Acting chairperson of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity and Regulatory Authority (ERERA), says the West African cross-border electricity market will encourage trading among the member states by the end of 2016.

According to the ERERA boss, the launch of the electricity market at the end of 2016 would address the twin problem of energy access and energy security in the region.

Speaking at the 6th meeting of ERERA’s Consultative Committee of regulators and operators in Accra on Tuesday, Mrs Ikeonu said the regulators and operators would review the draft dispute resolution procedures and enforcement rules prepared by ERERA for the discharge of its quasi-judicial functions with regards to the regional electricity market.

“In 2013, there was a directive of the ECOWAS council of ministers which mandated all member states to meet certain obligations that would form the framework on which we can build on the regional market. Some of the issues that were tackled in the directive included the issue of open access. The ground rules have been put in place to ensure that come the end 2016, phase one of the electricity market would be launched,” she said.

She said some of the documents to be reviewed at the two-day meeting included the dispute resolution mechanism and the enforcement proceedings for ERERA and the revised strategic plan for 2016 to 2020.

They would also consider proposals on the rebranding of the institution’s annual Electricity Regulatory Forum to make it more effective.

Earlier this year, Mrs Ikeonu presented three documents that had been approved by ERERA to fast-track the establishment of the electricity market to the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP).

The documents covered the regional market rules, the tariff pricing methodology, as well as WAPP operational manual.

Ignacio Burrull, European Union (EU) Head of Cooperation in Ghana, disclosed that the cross-border electricity market of which the EU has been a strong supporter would become valid in the electricity sector and in West Africa.

Mr Burrull added that the EU has so far invested about EUR 1.1 billion into the regional integration and cross-border electricity market to build interconnections.

“This support will even increase in future; the ambitious goals of ECOWAS to increase the share of renewable energy to 31 percent of its energy mix and to achieve 100 percent access to sustainable energy by 2030 are fully endorsed by the EU at regional and national levels.

The event brought together representatives from Energy Commission, Volta River Authority (VRA) and GRIDCo, as well as representatives from other energy related institutions from ECOWAS countries.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gregory Afoko
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has officially charged Gregory Afoko – brother of Paul Afoko, suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – who was arrested in connection with the fatal acid attack on Adams Mahama, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the party, with murder.

This, according to Commissioner of Police (COP) Prosper Kwame Agblor, Director General of the CID, was contained in a directive issued from the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department. Both Gregory Afoko and Asabke Alangdi, the two suspects in connection with the death of Adams Mahama, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder.

Meanwhile, Alangdi is still on the run.

COP Agblor told journalists in Accra yesterday that his office was going to formally charge Gregory Afoko accordingly and forward the charge sheet to the AG’s Department to enable it include it in the bill of indictment, summary of evidence and committal proceedings to move the case from a magistrate court to the high court.


He added that a manhunt had been launched within and outside Ghana for Asabke Alangdi, who fled soon after the incident together with his wife leaving behind their little son.

“We are working together with Interpol to arrest Alangdi who is currently on the run. Anyone who has information about his whereabouts should contact the CID for a handsome reward,” COP Agblor stated.

However, he said the Attorney General’s Department had also advised the CID to release Musah Issah, one of the accused persons standing trial over the murder of Adams Mahama, due to insufficient evidence against him.

“The AG’s Department says we do not have enough evidence to connect Musah Issah to the murder therefore we should release him.”

Attack On Adams Mahama

On Thursday, May 20, 2015 Adams Mahama, a contractor and the Upper East Regional chairman of the NPP, left his house at about 7am in a Toyota Pick-up with registration number NR 761-14 and returned home at 11pm and was allegedly ambushed by the two suspects who poured a liquid substance suspected to be acid on him.

“When Adams Mahama got to his gate in the vehicle, the two suspects signalled him to roll down his glass and they poured acid on him from his head down. He started shouting for his wife and mentioned the names of Gregory Afoko and Asabke Alangdi even on his sick bed. Adams Mahama died a day after at 8am,” the police officer recounted.

He said in the course of their investigations, they retrieved a blue-black tracksuit from Gregory Afoko’s room which contained acid burns. Gregory also had some burns on him which forensic analysis later confirmed to be acid burns.

Cause Of Death

Meanwhile, the CID boss disclosed that a pathologist report from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital indicated that the cause of Adams Mahama’s death was “shock lungs and extensive acid burns.”

The case is already before a magistrate court presided over by Worlanyo Kotoku and has been adjourned to November 25, 2015, awaiting the advice of the AG.

According to the police charge sheet, after his arrest Gregory was asked to lead the police to the house of his accomplice (Asabke Alangdi) but “he rather took them to the father’s house. Police later located the house of the second but the suspect had got wind of their presence and absconded with his wife, leaving behind their baby.

“A gallon which contains some of the substance and a plastic cup were retrieved at the scene for forensic examination.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Richard Anamoo, Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), says his outfit would soon begin the construction of a terminal to boost the exportation of agricultural produce to other countries.

According to the GPHA boss, work on the terminal, which is estimated at $10 million, would commence in January 2016 and completed in eight months’ time.

Mr. Anamoo made this known when Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Krysta Harden led a 26-member trade delegation to the GPHA headquarters in Tema on Monday.

“A lot of groundwork has been done by the private sector. We have given them the agreements and everything. Some of these agricultural produce to be exported include pineapples, mangoes and bananas, among others,” he said.

Mr. Anamoo, after taking the US delegation on a tour of the Tema Port, added that the contract had been awarded to Super Meridian.

The project would generate over 1,000 jobs during the construction period.

Ms Harde disclosed: “We could export our poultry and pork to Ghana and could also import the mangoes, pineapple, bananas and other things that we don’t grow much in the US that our consumers want.”

The US team also visited a cocoa site at Nsawam in the Eastern Region where they were educated on the processes cocoa beans go through before they are exported to international market.

Noah K.  Amenyah, Public Affairs Manager at Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), said his outfit was collaborating with farmers to work on cocoa sustainability programmes that were replicated in various parts of the country.

He said COCOBOD was optimistic the cocoa season would be better this year.

“The season has just begun and there are indications that we are doing well. As of now, production has exceeded what pertained around this time last year. We have projected to get 850,000 metric tonnes cocoa nationwide.  Last year, we did 782,000 metric tonnes,” he said.

When the delegation visited Blue Skies Ghana Limited at Nsawam, Anthony Pile, Chief Executive of the company, commended the team and expressed hope that the visit would foster a strong relationship between his outfit and the US companies.
Kofi Ampong
Kofi Ampong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Broll Ghana Limited, says Ghana is still ripe for property investment despite the current economic challenges.

According to Mr Ampong, there were various indicators apart from the currency that entice foreign investors to invest in real estate and property in Ghana.

Mr Ampong, who was speaking at the two-day West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) Summit in Accra on Wednesday, said some of the indicators include political stability, cost of land, cost of building material and a mature market, among others.

“Investors don’t only look at the currency. Yes there might be some currency risk here and there but they also look at political stability, a mature market, cost of land, cost of building material and more importantly they look at whether they have a very solid middle income group who have disposable income to spend,” he said.

The WAPI Summit aims to serve as a link between industry players in the sub-region and the international investors and developers.

The two-day summit also seeks to highlight industry strengths, current themes and trends of the region and how they can be harnessed to address challenges facing the region’s real estate industry.

He added that interest in property investment has gone up in recent times due to empirical evidence that Ghana has a solid and sophisticated middle-income group compared to most West African countries.

“Because of this evidence within the span of 4-5 years, we have seen a lot of malls in Ghana. There is going to be a 19,000 square metre mall in Takoradi, 27,000 square metre Mall in Kumasi, Meridian Mall in Tema and Mallam Mall, among others. This tells you that despite the problems with cedi depreciation, investors still have interest in the country.

There are other economic indicators that are favorable in the country that investors can take advantage of.  Investors are looking for good returns, they are not ‘father Christmas’ because most of them also go and borrow,” he said.

Adeniyi Adeleye, Head of Real Estate Finance at Stanbic Bank West Africa disclosed that the growing economies in West Africa have resulted in an increased demand for quality developments across the entire real estate industry.

Base Sebonego
Base Sebonego, founder of Mosele Legal Service and Botswana’s richest man according to Forbes Africa, is expected to explore various investment opportunities in Ghana.

As part of his visit, Mr Sebonego would attend the maiden edition of Passion for Africa Business Forum (PFABF), an initiative that seeks to encourage Africans to invest in Africa and salute the trailblazers.

“Every quarter a highly successful personality on the African business front is selected to tell his story and also contribute to the discussion of Africans, seizing the golden opportunities presented by the continent as the new frontier of the global economy.

“The personality is also patted on the back with the Pan-African Business Achievement Award to encourage him or her to do more.

“We think Mr Sebonego has contributed to the continent and needs to be celebrated as such,” organizers said.

Mr Sebonego would visit the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) and the Minister of Trade and Industry to explore various investment opportunities in Ghana.

He would also work in consultation with Stockrush Ghana Limited, organizers of the event, to outline some investment potentials in his country that Ghanaian entrepreneurs and businesses can exploit through a project dubbed, ‘Ghanaians Investing Abroad (GIA).’

At PFABF, Mr Sebonego would share the stage with great minds from Ghana’s business community to help inspire the youth to invest in Africa.

He would also be presented with the Pan-African Business Achievement Award at a special gala which will be attended by dignitaries in the country.

The 41-year-old Sebonego runs an affordable legal insurance company that serves the people of Botswana.

Mosele Legal Services has three branches countrywide and over 30,000 subscribers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bisa Kdei
Mansa is beautiful, in the way that it was produced --it's happy, pounding and familiar. It's both fresh and classic in the many experienced sleights Kaywa flays as sound engineer as usual; utilising magically the konga, trumpets and guitars, which are pillars of highlife music anyway. I should also make special mention of lavish piano work,especially when Bisa requests an interlude from Kaywa toward the middle of the song. Highly spiritual.

The song is accessible and useful in the way that it makes you nod your head and want to dance; you can play it in a club or at a street carnival, you can play it at a naming ceremony at Madina, and at the same time it's perfect for the late afternoon party on the Sunday after returning from a funeral thanksgiving service. It's right for the gym and for pump on a dull Monday morning.

But by making Mansa too, Bisa KDEI has been disrespectful to one of the very foundations of the Ghanaian's happiness --highlife ( the other being quarreling with trotro conductors), which is what many of today's musicians have been accused and crucified for endlessly.

Beautiful melody makes good music, but lyrics make for better music too, and in many ways, achieve class and perfect roundness. Highlife music is seen as the last resort for substance in lyrics, even above Gospel ( well except Yaw Sarpong and the Asomafo, or SDA hymns...or maybe Shasha Marley's 'Martha Tui', if you get what I mean), and so perhaps, if Bisa's inconsistency in his message was in Azonto, we might forgive him...but this is highlife, the language of proverbs and the thoughts of the Ghanaian octogenarian, and so it's disrespectful and requires thirty cows and the blood of teenage virgin girls to pacify.

Bisa begins the Mansa narrative by bidding farewell to Yaa Mansa, supposedly a lover or close friend , saying that he was returning to the town of his birth for three days...that if the grass was greener and there were wider smiles on that side of the fence, his return was in doubt.

Nice message! After all, like Amakye Dede advices; you should change environment if things change, because there's no point being clad with disgrace at one place. But in the lyrics that follow immediately, our desperate and broken narrator is someone else; there's talk about joyful dancing, and love at first sight, and knickers...even an invitation to Amerley, a Ga damsel, to join in the fun. Where is the continuity? Where is the plot? It's unfair and disrespectful, and even if it is condoned in other genres, this is highlife.

the writer, Gabriel Myers Hansen
But the song is a hit, and Bisa has gotten away with his lack of candour and flow in his lyrics...but then again, this is a town of 'substance-less' hits, from much of Ambolley's rap to 'Ye Wo Krom'. Something bad is happening.

Another question for Mansa is this: though it's highlife, it was not recorded live. Might it have affected the final product? Should highlife, or indeed all other Ghanaian music be recorded and performed live? Have our artist been too hasty and too lazy? 

Have they played smart with us for more than two decades? But then again, can Kwaw Kesse's 'Nonsense' be rendered live? What about Sarkodie's 'Illuminati'? Will it be the same? Years before Sarkodie's Mary album, Okyeame Kwame released the Versatile album, also live and also beautiful, but how come it didn't win him Artist of the Year, or a MOBO, or a BET if we required live sound so badly? Will Sarkodie's Mary live up to the bars that Rappaholic has set, for example? What does it matter if the song has been done and the youth is dancing? Should it matter?

The snare which introduces the song, and indeed runs for the entire three minutes and fifteen seconds of the number, feels plastic and inauthentic, which is the argument of Mark Okraku Mantey, Bessa Simons, Ambolley, as well as other live band 'vigilantes'.

When Bisa demands applause in the song, it's not clapping we hear. What Kaywa improvises with, is inadequate. Perhaps if actual live sounds were used, it would be something more than to be merely danced to --perhaps real atmosphere would have been achieved, and in the words of Bessa Simons, 'you hear something new every time '

Contemporary music producers have come under endless criticism because they don't use live instruments during recording...many modern disc jockeys too, because they don't use turn tables. But in their defence, the dynamics of song making have changed. Technology has made things easier. We don't walk as much as we used to, because of taxis. We don't stuff letters into bottles and hope our lovers receive them on the other side of the ocean. 

We don't even write letters anymore. The post office will soon become a museum, if it isn't already, because we have the internet and smart phones, and we don't feel guilty about it. Of course our music too was always going to be affected. Technology is like the phenomenon of's inevitable. Indeed there are songs which have been 'artificially' made and still accurately capture the same emotional climate of highlife music. Take Sarkodie's 'Adonai', take Obrafuor's 'Ghetto Love', both of which are highlife at the very base...

Maybe what modern producers require is practice, intuition and the most important instrument of all; a detail oriented ear. 

The process of creating music is spontaneous and accidental, and so though it's perfect to make music in company where there's creativity from various people, it's also possible to make music, great music, in solitude. And there, Fruity Loops might come in handy...might help capture that creativity in the bottle which is the artist's mind.

Bisa started off in the group Boys in Serious Action, which is what BISA stands for, and then began scoring music for Kumawood...mostly sad and lonely songs, or about God's time, you know, save for the Azonto Ghost exceptions. We've always been drawn to the morose too, for some odd reason. Remember Blind Messiahs and Ama Boahemaa?

Still, he has an enviable work ethic. In an age where artists prefer singles to a full body of work and people are growing a curious allergy to highlife, Bisa is already on his sophomore project. Apart from singing, he also does all backing vocals and produces music, so today, he's easily one of Ghana's most sought after musicians and widely regarded as the future of the genre; touring with the big names and receiving the blessings of revered veterans, never mind that on many occasions, I feel he could sing a higher key; really challenge his vocal capacities to get optimum performance, or do better on stage, he's still a hard worker.

A man's gift maketh room for him, but hard work is more important than talent. Fancy, Rex omar, who needs no introduction in Ghana and abroad in the genre, praising Bisa and prophesying greatness into Bisa's career on social media ...that's like being chosen out of the called . I hope, in all honesty and for all our sakes though , that it is for his work ethic and dedication to the genre, and not necessarily for Mansa.

He's most likely going to receive any award this land has to offer in the year under review, when it comes to highlife. Competition from R2bees' Concert Party and Makoma, as well as Pastor Ofori 'Alewa' Amponsah...and indeed, Kwabena Kwabena, might just not be enough competition.
But we deserve improved lyrics. If D-Black and Omar Sterling have had to prove their lyrical depth and dexterity in the past months, even after so much success, we should demand that from Bisa too, and indeed all our musicians, for after hearing and dancing, we should have something to listen to any think to, too.

By Gabriel Myers Hansen

Mansa mere ko me krom akodi n'ansa...

(The writer can be reached @myershansen on twitter) 

Monday, November 16, 2015

A book chronicling the historic drama that took place in CAL Bank in 2008 between the founder, Afare Donkor and management has been launched.

Ebenezer Amankwah, the author of the book, said it was inspired by the shocking resolutions which Afare Donkor made at an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) of the bank in 2008.

Mr Amankwah, who was speaking at the launch of the book titled, ‘Ahead of the Game: Afare Donkor and Ghana’s Financial Renaissance,’ in Accra on Thursday, said the EGM, which resulted in court cases and other legal tussles was the highpoint of the book.

In 2008, corporate Ghana was held spellbound when the founder of CAL Bank, Mr Donkor requisitioned an Emergency General Meeting of the bank with shocking resolutions.

That single act sparked a series of actions and reactions including a block trade on the Stock Exchange that led to intense criticism of the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

“Among his resolutions at the EGM was to sack the Managing Director and that was a daring audacious move that nobody had ever tried before. That EGM and the things that transpired inspired the writing of this book. The book also traces Afare Donkor’s entire career from his early beginnings,” he told Nii Ogbamey Tetteh.

The book also touches the exploits of Afare Donkor, tracing his innovation in forming Consolidated Discount House (CDH) and Securities Discount Company (SDC).  His integral contribution to the establishment of Ghana Leasing Company and the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) are all told in vivid detail.

There’s also the interesting role he played in the setting up of Databank Financial Services and his elevation in 2002 to the role of Ghana’s Ambassador to China in the President Kufuor administration.

Mr Amankwah, who is also the Corporate Communications Manager at Vodafone Ghana, urged the youth to work hard in order to survive in the business community.

The 240-page book, which was reviewed by ace broadcaster Kweku Sakyi Addo at the event, was published by Sedgewick Publishers.

“A lot has changed from Afare’s time but I think that is why the book is there. One can make the atmosphere and environment conducive for one to achieve what he did because it wasn’t possible at his time but he was still ahead of the game then and he did it,” he said.

Nana Addo Dankwa AkufoAddo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who wrote the foreword of the book, disclosed that Afare Donkor has contributed immensely to the advancement of this country.

“In the financial services sector of which he stood as an inventor and visionary and even the diplomatic field whiles as Ghana’s Ambassador to the people’s Republic of China under President Kufuor, he helped promote important initiatives in the relations between the two countries,” Nana Akufo-Addo noted.

A large number of corporate and political bigwigs like Elizabeth Ohene, Fred Oware, Nana Akwesi Abayie, Ken Ofori-Atta, Gayheart Mensah and Ace Ankomah, among others, attended the event.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mr Andani interacting with the contractors 
About $2.2 billion is needed to address the housing deficit in Ghana and this could be achieved only through private public partnership, Alhasan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, has stated.

Mr Andani, who was speaking at a ceremony to cut the sod for construction of the SKYVILLE premium apartment project at the site of the former Shangri-La Hotel yesterday in Accra, said government alone cannot provide the 1.7 million housing units, adding that the country needs 170,000 houses a year to bridge that gap.

The SKYVILLE Premium Apartment Project estimated at $200 million is a 297 multi-purpose apartment project.

It would include residential homes, exclusive branded shops, restaurant, cafeteria, fitness center, swimming pool and state-of-the-art Kassardjan office complex.

The project, initiated by KO&G, a Korean firm together with Ghanaian development firm Armen Kassardian, its strategic partner, spans a 150,000 square meter land at the former Shangri-La Hotel.

The project has Shinku Construction Company, a Korean construction firm and Stanbic Bank as its contractors and bankers respectively.

Mr Andani added that the project, which is expected to be completed in 30 months, would offer part of the 170,000 houses that are required per year.

“I’m absolutely sure that when this project is finished, any expatriate that we invite from any part of the world will come and see something that is world-class and of course the input into the economy is what will generate a lot more resources so that we can continue to provide accommodation to fill the housing deficit,” he noted.

Jojo Dines Clint, Chief Executive for KO&G, disclosed that the project would create over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs over the construction period and over 300 post-construction jobs.

“KO&G is an establishment with the core aim of providing luxurious but quality, unique and affordable infrastructure for prospective investors and home-owners alike. In Korea, we have provided funding to major construction companies in partnership for commercial and residential developments and we are happy to set up in Ghana with our premium luxury brand SKYVILLE,” Mr Clint said.

He urged investors to take advantage of the numerous opportunities in the housing industry.

“There is a saying that you don’t wait and buy real estate but you buy and wait,” he added.

“With our home network system you can watch and monitor your children play at the children’s playground at the comfort of your living room and your smartphone can easily switch on your air conditioner from the ground floor before you get into your apartment.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kofi Amoabeng
Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UT Bank and co-founder of the UT Group of Companies, has announced his retirement from the bank effective 31st December, 2015.

Mr Amoabeng would be succeeded by Stephen Antwi–Asimeng, the current Chief Operations Officer.

Speaking to journalists yesterday in Accra, Mr Amoabeng, 63, said he had attained the retirement age.

He stated that the board had put in place a successive plan together with a new team to ensure that the bank operates smoothly in his absence.

“The UT journey has been a fantastic one. If I look at all the acknowledgements, awards, recognitions and things like that, it has been a good Ghanaian story. I expect that as I go out, UT would still be a darling company to Ghanaians. I’m happy about what we have been able to build and I know the story is going to continue,” Mr Amoabeng he said.

Mr Amoabeng wanted to retire about three years ago, but the board prevented him from doing so because the bank was facing several challenges.

The bank’s foreign investors were not in favour of the move.

“We have put good plans in place to be delivered by the new team and I have faith in the team and their ability to develop the bank,” the outgoing CEO said.

Mr. Amoabeng and Joseph Nsonamoah, his business partner, started UT Bank as a non-bank financial institution in 1997, successfully transforming it into a universal bank with a focus on Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).

Joseph Nsonamoah, Board Chairman of the bank, said his outfit was ready to let “Kofi Amoabeng go because the board and Kofi himself think that the new team can lead the bank.”

Despite posting losses in the first quarter of 2015, UT Bank’s interim financial results for the third quarter of this year showed a steady improvement.

Mr Amoabeng, who would attend board meetings of the bank after his retirement, added that a new Loan Recovery Unit had been established with aggressive debt collection targets driven by a major internal effort to institutionalize a loan recovery culture in the bank.
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) says it has put several measures in place to help tackle child labour in cocoa-producing communities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to Nick Weatherill, Executive Director for ICI, child labour was prevalent in cocoa-growing communities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which has affected the education of children.

Mr. Weatherill, who spoke to the media at a stakeholders’ conference in Accra on Monday, on the theme, ‘Working together: linking cocoa-growing communities, supply-chains and national policies,’ said though Ghana has made great strides in improving access to education at the primary level, more efforts must be made.

“With that prevalent in mind, we brought together all who have a role to play in thinking outside of the box to come up with new ways of working and putting them into place so that we could make progress to tackle a problem that is still a challenge in the sector,” he said.

ICI is a multi-stakeholder initiative which has important representation from different stakeholder groups, civil society, unions, chocolate and cocoa industry, among others.

Avril Kudzi, ICI Ghana National Coordinator, admitted that despite the progress Ghana has made in child protection and child labour eradication, there were still challenges in terms of getting enough teachers to rural cocoa producing communities and access to education for older age group of kids who often fell victim to more hazardous labour activities on farms.

She said as a result ICI has rolled out a number of interventions to help improve the situation.

“Part of our interventions is establishing and building the capacity of community members who we call the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC). These individuals in the community will nominate, then they will form a committee, we empower, train and equip them, then they go from house-to-house, identify the households, do awareness raising, check on children who are not in school.

“This Protective Cocoa Communities Framework (PCCF) is also a tool we use as a baseline and then throughout our intervention in the communities we continue to administer the PCCF to try and gauge the level of protectiveness,” she said.

She said as part of measures to motivate teachers to admit classes frequently, ICI was working with cocoa-producing communities to provide teachers’ accommodation.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dr. Joyce Aryee launching the book
Professor Kwesi Yankah, president of Central University College, says the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government must restore the dignity of former president Dr. Hilla Limann.

According to the linguistics professor, the narration about the presidency of Limann has over years been deliberately distorted for certain political advantage.

Prof. Yankah, who was speaking in Accra yesterday at the launch of a biography of Dr Hilla Limann, scholar, diplomat and statesman,’ said government should also name some important monuments after Dr Limann to restore his dignity.

Former President Dr. Limann, the only president of the third republic, was overthrown 34 years ago by ex-President Jerry John Rawlings on December 31 after being in office for 27 months.

“I call on the Mahama government to restore the dignity of the presidency of Hilla Limann and help to erase associated indignities and silence. The tragedy of over naming monuments after only a couple of past presidents is an embarrassment to us as a nation. Ghana also belongs to the Limanns of history,” he said.

The 650 page-book was written by Emeritus Prof Addae-Mensah, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana.

It was published by African Biographies Consult and distributed by EPP Books Services.

Prof. Yankah added that “this book should prick our conscience as a nation, a highly polarized entity where we have institutionalized the selective narration of history, failing amnesia in parts or deliberately distorting history for political advantage.”

He called on the government to rehabilitate the legacy of Dr Limann and give due entitlements to the family.

“Ghana also belongs to their widows and families who due to an accident of history never enjoyed the entitlements and benefits of their late husbands and fathers who once occupied the high office of president.

“We should arrest the continuous cueing of the national script in favour of political allies and leave for our children and future generations, a national script of all inclusiveness, a virtue Hilla Limann highly cherished and practiced while he lived,” he said.

Fulera Limann, wife of the former President, expressed optimism that the book would set the records straight.

“I therefore believe that almost 18 years after his demise, my husband’s prophecies have come to pass with the writing of this book. I have no doubt that this book will give account of my late husband’s legacy as a scholar, diplomat and statesman,” she disclosed.

Prof Ivan Addae-Mensah said he wrote the book to tell the story of Dr Limann the way he knew and experienced it while working with him to correct the distortions.

“Over the years, so many versions of events during the Limann administration have been told, most of which border on speculations and distortions,” Prof Addae-Mensah stated.

The event was graced by Dr. Joyce Aryee, Samia Nkrumah, Alhassan Andani, Archbishop Palmer Buckle, Gifty Afenyi-Dadzi, Prof Agyeman Badu Akosah and Prof Ernest Aryeetey, among others.

Friday, November 6, 2015

President John Mahama has challenged all citizens to support the works of African writers by improving on reading habits to derive in-depth knowledge which leads to social development.

Speaking at the opening of this year’s International African Writers Day in Accra, he said the youth must also be encouraged to interact with seasoned writers so they could appreciate the morals African authors highlighted in their literature.

Members of the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) dedicated the 22nd edition of the International African Writers Day to reflect on the contribution of the late Chinua Achebe.

The ceremony which brought together renowned writers from countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mali and other African countries, was under the theme: ‘Celebrating the Life and Works of Chinua Achebe: The Coming of Age of African Literature’.

President Mahama in the address delivered on his behalf by Elvis Afriyie, Minister of State at the Presidency, indicated the satisfaction he derived from reading Achebe’s books as well as the impact of the writer towards the publication of his maiden book ‘My First Coup d’État.’

According to him, Chinua Achebe was passionate about the African continent and, therefore, sought to highlight some of the challenges of the continent in many of his narratives.

“Achebe’s works mirror the challenges of societal integrity, cultural sovereignty and the dilemma of self awareness and self confidence in us as a people,” he said.

President Mahama added, “Achebe may be dead and gone but his thoughts, works and books are eternally with us.

“For the right education of our children, and the mind revolution which we Africans so desire to spur our development, our societies must make a conscious effort to seek knowledge for worthwhile leaving and the development of our societies from the Achebe’s of this world.”

He also advised people not to only read books written by African writers but should interact with them while they are alive.

Professor Atukwei Okai, Secretary General of PAWA, emphasized the need for the Ministry of Education to engage book publishers in an agreement in which 2,000 copies of books would be bought and distributed to libraries across the country.

He said such a policy would support the publishing industry and enable writers to devote much time to producing books to enlighten all members of society.

Henri Lopes, the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to France, in reviewing parts of Chinua Achebe’s books said the famous author was “more than an African writer.”

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Matilda Amissah-Arthur, wife of Ghana’s Vice President, says people must invest in themselves by buying books to read to help broaden their horizon.

According to her, books play an integral role in the development of individuals, adding that the habit of buying and reading of books should be encouraged.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur, who was speaking at the launch of the 13th Ghana International Book Fair on Tuesday at the Trade Fair Centre, La in Accra, said she was happy the event was vibrant at a time when book fairs across the continent were collapsing.

“On the African continent and even in the world, the Zimbabwe fair used to be a force to reckon with but it is now gone down. The book fair in Lagos is also having problems. The Ghana Book Fair is standing but I would wish that we would explore more avenues to make it even better,” Mrs Amissah-Arthur said.

This year’s fair, which was on the theme, ‘Professional Book Publishing and the services, a resource for national development,’ brought together a host of member countries of International Publishers Association (IPA).

The Ghana International Book Fair was meant to celebrate the book as a major cultural tool relevant to the development of Ghana, as it is clearly presumed that without books the world would be at a standstill.

The five-day event, which is expected to end this Friday, would witness workshops on editing, digital publishing rights, buying and selling and printing.

The second lady pointed out that the book fair should not be limited only to those in the book trade.

“I will urge all of us not just visit the fair but to ensure that we see what is there and invest by buying some of the books. How else can you read, enjoy and understand by learning how to read a book,” she added.

The launch was attended by all stakeholders of the book industry in Ghana which include the Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA), Ministry of Education, Ghana Library Authority and Association and Ghana Book Development Council.

The Ghana Printers and Paper Converters Association, Ghana Association of Writers’ Copyright Office of Ghana, were in attendance.

Exploit E-Service

The Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, Rev Dr Edem Tetteh urged book publishers to take advantage of the growing electronic trend to develop more e-books, saying, “Developing countries like South Africa and Malaysia are leaving no stone unturned in embracing electronic services in various areas of operations. Ghana must not be left behind.

“It is time our publishers start churning out e-books for consumption not only by the reading public but also for education at all levels. There are various softwares available to aid every stage of the book publishing process and our publishers must be encouraged to use them.”

He disclosed that most youth in recent times do not read printed books but patronize books produced electronically.

“There is therefore a huge opportunity for publishers to venture into appropriate e-book production to reach the youth who are hungry to read from electronic platforms. Electronic publishing gives the author and publishers the visibility beyond the shores of Ghana,” he added.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gayheart Mensah
Gayheart Mensah, External Affairs Director at Vodafone Ghana, has subtly criticised business organisations for their ineffective deployment of Public Relations (PR) concepts and interventions.

Unless organisations in Ghana evolve in a way that promotes sustainability, the very survival of businesses would be difficult to guarantee, according to Mr Mensah.

Speaking at the CIMG Annual Marketing Conference in Accra recently, Gayheart Mensah said though PR department had become the pillar in engaging external audiences about a company’s efforts, there still remains a certain pervasive lack of understanding of the concept in corporate organisations.

“When I hear marketing agencies present marketing plans and add a line that they will also do some PR, my exasperation about the misconception worsens. Let me say with all the force I can command that what we marketers and marketing agencies do as part of an integrated marketing communications is not public relations. It is, at best, publicity, which is a tool for both marketing and PR,” he stated.

Mr Mensah added that PR has a very broad spectrum that includes stakeholder management, advocacy, reputation management, investor relations and crisis management.

“Marketers need to embrace the bigger picture and understand that PR is an overarching practice that encompasses every facet of the corporate life,” he said.

Mr Mensah, speaking on theme, ‘The Future of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – Evolve or Die,’ said, “I beg to differ on the differences people aspire to CSR and Sustainability. If the objective of any corporate organisation for undertaking CSR activities is not business sustainability, then those CSR activities ought to be interrogated.”

The Vodafone Director added that at no point should government consider legislating the CSR space, since it is an activity that should be voluntary.

“Invariably, a CSR law will reduce the concept to a mere self-administered tax on business, where government will prescribe for the organisations, where to channel that tax. All those win-win projects, where companies support areas that are natural fit for what they do to make money will be actively discouraged under a CSR law.”

The CIMG conference is organised annually to bring together marketing professionals and academicians across the country to deliberate on modern trends of the discipline, as well as adopt ways of strengthening the discipline in the corporate world.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Patrons waiting for the Chop Bar to open
Kofi Sekyere, Chairman of the Board of Delico Achimota Limited, owners of the recently opened Achimota Retail Centre (ARC), says Ghana has the right environment for investment despite the current economic challenges.

According to Mr Sekyere, the $60 million project was a long-term investment that would yield a considerable amount of returns in future.

Speaking to journalists at the official opening on Thursday, the board chairman expressed optimistic that Ghana would surmount the current economic challenges.

“Right now you know there are economic challenges but this is an investment looking into the future. We cannot just invest for a particular time. We believe that Ghana has the right environment, the challenges that we face, I think we will surmount them,” Mr Sekyere said.

The new shopping centre near the St John’s Grammar School sits on a total land area of 35,790m², of which 14,622m². It has a total of over 45 line shops and two anchor tenants – Shoprite and Palace.

The grand opening attracted many people that converged on the facility to have fun.

Mr Sekyere added that the retail centre was expected to employ over 500 people mostly from surrounding communities and at least 50 employees permanently to ensure management of the facilities.

A spacious parking area with capacity for about 600 cars, of which 300 constitute an undercover basement parking, is part of a string of modern architectural principles and special amenities incorporated in the mall’s design by the owners.

This, according to the owners, is to ensure optimum convenience and enrich the overall shopping experience of customers and visitors to the centre.

Ultramodern Chop Bar

One unique feature of Achimota Retail Centre is its varied chain of eateries, numbering nine in all, including an ultra modern chop bar and a uniquely Ghanaian gourmet outlet.

According to its managers, the chop bar serves a wide range of local dishes to all its customers, who want to have a feel of Ghanaian dishes and African dishes.

The retail centre will offer non-stop entertainment, give-aways and lots of funfair for families, children and shoppers over the next four days.

About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).


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