Liberia’s newly sworn-in president, George Weah, pledged to cut his own salary by a quarter during a nationwide address in which he warned of tough times ahead for a “broke” country.
“The state of the economy that my administration inherited leaves a lot to do and to be decided,” the former international soccer star said on Monday in an address apparently aimed at managing expectations following his election victory at the end of last year to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising,” Weah said. “Unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”
But since winning the poll in the poor, coastal west African nation, the award-winning former AC Milan and Paris St Germain striker has been at pains to show just how daunting he understands the task ahead to be.
“In view of the very rapidly deteriorating situation of the economy, I am informing you today, with immediate effect, that I will reduce my salary and benefits by 25%,” Weah said, pledging the savings to a development fund for Liberia.
The announcement of a pay cut for himself is likely go down well on a continent long used to officials in high office awarding themselves extravagant pay rises and perks.
Liberia suffered civil wars from 1989-2003 that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Then, as it was recovering in the past decade, it was hit by low prices for its chief exports, iron ore and rubber, and an Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016.
Africa’s oldest republic was established by freed slaves from the US and declared independent in 1847. As a quirk of that history only “people of colour” are constitutionally allowed to become Liberian and only Liberians can own property.
Weah described these clauses as “unnecessary, racist and inappropriate”. He said he would push to allow anyone to apply for citizenship and for foreigners to own property.
Nobel peace prize winner Johnson Sirleaf, who was barred from running again, was applauded for shoring up peace but criticised for failing to tackle corruption or do much to spread economic gain beyond her elite circle.
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Ebenezer Inkumsah has organized two events as part of Barrie’s Black History Month celebration. – Chris Simon/Metroland
The Barrie resident has been organizing local Black History Month activities for more than two decades. This year’s celebration includes two large events planned in February.
A concert honouring late Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti runs Feb. 9. The concert will feature Femi Abosede. Kuti was an Afro Jazz innovator who shaped the music scene on continental Africa, Inkumsah said.
“We put events together every year,” he said. “History is skewed because it’s always told by the victors. But Black History (Month) celebrates the accomplishments. We just want the community to come out, celebrate and enjoy.”
Admission to the Kuti tribute is $25 and it takes place at Five Points Theatre, 1 Dunlop St. W., at 7:30 p.m.
On Feb. 23, Sankofa Through Sound with Tuku, Lisa Michelle, Najla Nubyanluv and Amina Alfred will be held at Georgian Theatre, 1 Georgian Dr. Admission is free and the event, which is geared toward students, begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sankofa translates into ‘go back and get it’ in Ghana’s Twi language. The event is intended to be a musical and visual odyssey, told from the viewpoint of people of African descent living away from home.
“It’s not what is (typically) in the media; it’s for us, by us,” Inkumsah said. “It’s our narrative. We’re there to share our heritage and culture while we highlight the contributions of African people around the world.”
Ghana and West Africa was considered the hub of the slave trade, he said.
The Barrie area played a prominent role in African-Canadian history. Between 1819 and 1831, settlement of black people along Wilberforce Street in Oro Township was sponsored by the government of Upper Canada. Among the black settlers were veterans of the War of 1812.
After generations in Oro-Medonte, the black families moved to find better jobs — some settled as shipbuilders in Collingwood — because soil conditions in the township were poor.
However, the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church remained and is now a National Historic Site of Canada.
Further details can be found at barrie.ca/theatretickets.
Russia’s Mriya Resort & Spa in the Crimea has been named the best holiday hotel and resort by the World Travel Awards.
The hotel won the award in the world’s leading leisure resort category. Russia’s Aeroflot airline was named the best brand and the city of St. Petersburg best tourist destination.
The Mriya Resort & Spa has won the award for the first time. Its competitors in the category were the Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, the Italian Forte Village Resort and Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh Resort in Egypt.
The World Travel Awards doesn’t specify whether the Mriya hotel is Russian or Ukrainian. The Crimean hotel was opened in 2014. The resort is 30 kilometers from Yalta, and offers 422 rooms and villas in a property of 270,000 square meters.
The owners want to build a winery, a winemaking school, a wine restaurant and a cheese factory near the hotel.
In 2016, the hotel was visited by over 100,000 guests and had an 83 percent occupancy rate, CEO Grant Babasyan told Vedomosti daily.
According to Booking.com a room in the hotel costs about $230 per night.
Russia’s largest bank Sberbank spent $300 million building the Mriya hotel, and is the sole owner.
After a few years of great partnerships of the SheTrades initiative in third world and developing economies around the globe and over many years since the establishment of the International Trade Center, its building every day and growing its numbers especially as it relates to women in trade. While the SheTrades portal offers a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to connect verified buyers and sellers, it’s also gradually growing to be the movement it was cut out for i.e. a community of women developing new friendships and partnerships in business across the globe.
Ethel Cofie, CEO of Edel Technology Consulting
There has been a lot of talk about the initiative and many campaigns held and in several countries, awareness has been created in the quest to connect one million women to market by 2020, an ambition that is been worked on with such alacrity and great speed. West Africa in the month of November 2017 had a taste of it with the initiative traveling to Ghana and Nigeria. With Anna Mori and Loly Gaitan been great officers of the ITC working with passion and drive to support women in business.
Loly Gaitan of the ITC in action; explains the SheTrades initiative to Japhet Duga, a business leader.
In this picture is Mr. Doni Kwame, MD of the World Trade Center( immediate left) Loly Gaitan (ITC,Geneva) and Paa Kwesi Inkumsah (TradeBridge Ghana Ltd)
Seeing approximately 95 women all in one space in a meeting that had targeted a maximum of 60 people was overwhelming , we had to close the doors to prevent the excessive numbers that kept trooping in.
This first pilot of the workshop in Ghana, proofs that there is the need for knowledge for women entrepreneurs to expand, grow and build. My first hand interaction with many of the women entrepreneurs revealed a few need areas key to which was access to finance for some,creating marketing for others as well as assistance with getting ready for the export market for others.
One key interest that immediately tested the relevance of the workshop was how both corporate and public sector leaders in Ghana pledged their support for women in export.
It was even more refreshing when a lady walked to me to say a big thanks for convincing her to stay and sharing with me the instant value she had been connected to a buyer for her oil palm business.
Chiedza Makonnen, SheTrades Beneficiary in Ghana and Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of EximBank, Ghana
While many have good products, I realized with keen interest that there was also a challenge with packaging themselves to be more attractive and sort out for. The many examples shared by women leaders, breaking barriers in technology and other areas from Ghana and Kenya offered great value as motive actors to encourage women to keep on going.
While women have been more entrepreneurial especially in sub saharan Africa, they have been the most marginalized and its a new dawn for them to receive the support they need to keep shining their light in trade and export.
President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Mrs. Patricia Sappor supports the SheTrades Initiative.
Women were encouraged that sometimes they win and sometimes, they learn as the affable president of the chartered institute of bankers in Ghana, Mrs. Patricia Sappor threw more light on the need for financial discipline of women entrepreneurs, a point that was well received and buttressed by Mr. Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of Exim Bank Ghana who pledged his support as much as possible to position Ghana as an export ready market.
To make the SheTrades initiative work requires the support of all, both male and female and its great to know that there are a lot of men supporting women in this effort. It was very touching to see a husband that came with his wife and took on the responsibility of baby sitting his child as well as nephew so both mothers, all business owners could focus on the business of the day. In many small ways, every one is making that contribution to ensure the success of this initiative.
The day long activity ended on a great note with women networking with each other, full of energy, hope and the ability to do more and win more.
Supporting The SheTrades Initiative with Amazing Women
Tourism anywhere in the world is a great income generator.its an opportunity that needs more attention if it must attract tourists. While a lot of factors like peace and security make a destination attractive, branding of a destination wets the taste buds and serves as a motivation to visit a destination.
My travel around the world has given me a very good appreciation of different countries and how they prioritize tourism. Let’s for a minute focus on the Brand SA or the Maldives, we can consider Mauritius too if you like.
I love South Africa and all of it, its people as well as its sights and sounds and how their government constantly make the country attractive via promotions. Just recently while away in Europe, I experienced again awesome promotion of a country and selling points that would make you want to book your next holiday to that destination.
While my country Ghana has a lot of scenery and awesome places to visit, its promotion internationally has not been the best. Every year, we attend different tourism events, key to which is the World Travel Market (WTM) which is hosted each year in London with the potential to attract many people from different walks of life who are interested in buying tourism packages. The unfortunate thing however is that, the creativity put in to make visitors interested in Ghana, isn’t the best and least attractive.
My comparison of WTM in 2013 and fast tracked to 2017 of Ghana has seen very little improvement. The question however is, what makes it difficult for the tourism authority to implement great ideas that they see each time they travel and what are the barriers if any that prevents them from achieving them?
Let me show you what I mean. In 2013, this is how the architecture of the Ghana stand looked like.
Ghana Stand, WTM 2013
Now, let’s compare it to 2017 and see what actually changed.
Ghana Stand at WTM 2017
Look very closely and see if there has been significant change 4years on, and each time, the country visits London for the travel market, which makes me question a lot of things. Do the authority lack creativity in selling Ghana better? I think that it would be great to start a conversation in this regard.
Let me share with you the structures of other countries and you be the judge.
A bit of Malawi at the WTM 2017
To stand out and be different, Malawi decided to import a bit of its architecture from home to give people the feel and taste of the country.
A spark of Madagascar at WTM 2017
While the Madagascar stand isn’t too different from the Ghana one, compare the two and see how attractive and appealing this is. The word is not be boring, but exciting, tourism represents holiday, seeing new things and having fun, it should not be static like Ghana has depicted each year.
Finally, find below the presentation of Botswana
Botswana at WTM 2017
The little things can make significant impact if we pay attention to the details.
While I would like to show you more, I would want to end here and engage the Ghana Tourism Authority with ideas that are inexpensive and can help the country promote its tourism better to attract more. I had asked tourism expects to rate Ghana’s marketing initiative in WTM the past years and have all given a 5 out of 10 when we could be at 8 and easily with a lot of ideas that can be implemented. To be the tourism destination in the sub region, Ghana must spend time and money on promoting the destinations.