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African Continental Free Trade Area to change fortunes of Africa



Imports duties, Newscenta, Benchmark values, scrapped, general goods, GRA, vehicles,
Photo: GPHA

All is set for trading in goods under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to begin this year.

On September 26, the historic trading in goods under AfCFTA will commence from Ghana where the various processes will be demonstrated to the whole world.

Trading in goods will constitute 70% while services take up the remaining 30%.

Africa is now the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, and we must make it count.

Covering a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion across 54 member states of the AU that have signed up to the agreement, it will provide the vehicle for members to trade among themselves in a more modern and sophisticated manner.


It will also offer a huge opportunity to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of the continent for the benefit of all Africans and give protection in how to deal with other trading blocs.

The AfCFTA is a determined attempt by African countries to unlock Africa’s tremendous potential to deliver prosperity for all Africans.

It is expected to lift over 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and boost the incomes of nearly 68 million others who live on less than $5.5 a day.

It will boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035 (a gain of 7%) while adding $76 billion to the income of the rest of the world.

The trade pact is expected to increase Africa’s exports by $560 billion, mostly in manufacturing and spur larger wage gains by 10.5 per cent for women and more than 9.9% for men.


Boost wages for both skilled and unskilled workers is estimated at 10.3 per cent for unskilled workers and 9.8 per cent for skilled workers.

Under AfCFTA, extreme poverty is projected to decline across the continent—with the biggest improvements in countries with currently high poverty rates.

West Africa would see the biggest decline in the number of people living in extreme poverty, with a decline of 12 million, more than a third of the total for all of Africa.

Central Africa will see a decline in poverty for 9.3 million people.

Similarly, Eastern Africa will witness poverty declining fir 4.8 million people.


In Southern Africa, 3.9 million are expected to be lifted out of poverty.

Countries with the highest initial poverty rates will see the biggest declines in poverty rates.

For example, on Guinea-Bissau, the rate would decline from 37.9% to 27.7%.

In Mali, the rate will decline from 14.4% to 6.8%.  In Togo, poverty will decline from 24.1% to 16.9%.

Of the $450 billion in income gains from AfCFTA, $292 billion will come from stronger trade facilitation—measures to reduce red tape and simplify customs procedures.


Creating a continent-wide market will require a determined effort to reduce all trade costs.

It will also require creating competitive business environments that can boost productivity and investment, as well as promote increased foreign competition and foreign direct investment that can raise productivity and innovation by domestic firms.

In a few sectors facing job losses, governments will need to be ready to support workers with adequate safety nets and policies to retrain workers.

Governments will need to design policies to increase the readiness of their workforces to take advantage of new opportunities.

By increasing regional trade, lowering trade costs and streamlining border procedures, full implementation of AfCFTA will help African countries increase their resiliency in the face of future economic shocks and help usher in the kinds of deep reforms that are necessary to enhance long-term growth.



MTN cuts sod for $25m ‘Ghana ICT Hub’



Ghana ICT Hub, Newscenta, MTN Ghana, Accra, Digital centre, $25m,

Ghana’s biggest telecommunications network, MTN Ghana, has cut sod for the construction of a $25 million ‘Ghana ICT Hub’ at the Accra Digital Centre.
The ‘Ghana ICT Hub’ aims to develop an ICT ecosystem in the areas of health, agriculture and education through on-site and remote access delivery to facilitate skills development and job creation for the youth in Ghana.When completed, the Hub will consist of a physical infrastructure designed to provide 4,000 square meters of space with ancillary facilities and unique features.
The Ghana ICT Hub is expected to be completed in approximately 18 months from when construction begins.
The sod cutting ceremony forms part of MTN’s fulfilment of a promise to support Ghana’s digitalization agenda during its 25th anniversary celebrations in 2021.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh, stated that the project is to support innovation and new tech start-ups to drive the growth of the Ghana ICT ecosystem.
He said that when completed, the ‘Ghana ICT Hub’ is expected to train over 200,000 youth in ICT and digital skills and generate more than 100,000 jobs within the first three years.
He added that the Hub will be an ultra-modern office facility, providing office spaces and meeting venues for more than 100 tech companies that will incubate new ideas and innovations, driving the start-up buzz in the hub after completion.
“The establishment of the Ghana ICT Hub will help build the future we want for our youth and foster new sources of economic growth for Ghana,” he stressed.
The CEO of MTN Ghana indicated that as the world continues to evolve, it is important for Ghana’s youth to be equipped with ICT and digital skills to stay relevant and competitive, especially within the region when one thinks of the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Our purpose is to prepare the youth of Ghana to have better prospects succeeding and competing in the global digital economy,” he noted.
He mentioned that MTN’s dream is to transform Ghana through ICT enablement.
He explained that “The Ghana ICT Hub project is only a small part of a broader project called the ‘Ghana Innovation Hub’ project”.
According to Mr. Adadevoh, there are three pillars under the “Ghana Innovation Hub” project, which are the Ghana ICT Hub, the Accra Innovation City Project and the Ghana Education Platform project.
“We believe in playing our part in Africa’s transformation and this investment is directly in line with that belief,” he added.
Board Chairman of the MTN Ghana Board, Dr. Ishmael Yamson, said that the board is excited about the impact the projects will have on the youth and what it means for job creation, innovation and Ghana’s competitiveness in the Sub-region.
“Beyond that, there is no doubt that we are already exposed to the global marketplace and competition for skills and talent; with the advent of remote work, we stand to be counted if our youth are skilled in the relevant technologies such as coding, AI and Robotics, and have a place to put their learnings to practice,” he explained.
The Minister for Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, expressed Government’s gratitude to the MTN Group and its leadership for their kind gesture, adding that they have become a model for emulation.
“I must say that your continuous commitment, partnerships, and efforts to be at the frontier of championing digital innovations in Ghana is extremely commendable,” she said.
The Minister stated the ICT hub will facilitate the paradigm shift needed to accelerate Ghana’s progress with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
She mentioned that the ICT hub will complement Ghana Digital Centres Limited’s focus on a nationwide network of digital transformation centres and interventions nurturing new businesses.
“I believe this edifice will significantly deepen Ghana’s current digital strides to reposition Ghana’s image within the sub-region and the continent” she added.

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Jannah Villas fuses African feel into real estate projects  



Jannah Villas, Newscenta, real estate, hotel, Adenta,

Real Estate business continues to grow in leaps and bounds with the increasing demand for places of residence by members of the high-class in society.

The industry goes a long way to boost different levers of the economy from importation of building materials through to local production of others and the use of local human resource in the building process.

For a company like Jannah Villas, a new real estate and property management outfit, there is the increasing need to continue to build alliances and consolidate the gains that the industry has chalked over the years despite existing economic challenges.

Jannah Villas, a real estate company, recently unveiled a 60-bedroom apartment hotel at Adentan in Accra.

Speaking at the launch of the hotel apartments at a ceremony at Adentan in Accra on Saturday, the Board Chairman of the company, Osman Barrie, said the facility is expected to provide a serene home-like apartment hotel environment different from the usual hotel facilities available in the hospitality industry in Ghana.


He said the hotel apartments would in addition afford guests a unique ambiance for a short or extended stay from home with their families as well.

“There are bed and breakfast studio apartments suitable for groups, families and friends that need privacy while on vacation or short stay, with access to a swimming pool, play area and outdoor kitchen,” he added.

Jannah Villas, located a few kilometres from  the West Africa Senior High School at Adentan, has a fully furnished two bedroom apartments, restaurant, fitness centre, swimming pool, conference hall and event space.

Hawa Suleiman, a senior official had this to say: “Jannah means heaven in Arabic and that is the experience that we look to giving our clients and patrons.

“Additionally, we have a unique proposition in the form of pro-African fittings and furnishing where we prioritize for instance bamboo and African wood to replace some steel fittings. Ours, is to create that African and cosmopolitan feel, call it an Afro-politan experience for clients.”


Shelter and its importance

Shelter is an important part of life, an importance emphasized by the role of accommodation on the Abraham Maslow Theory of Needs.

Shelter is a safety need according to Maslow’s theory and recent moves by government with the rent policy, National Rental Assistance Scheme, shows that government is keen on seeing to quality accommodation and safety of citizens.


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She quits insurance sales manager job to become poultry farmer

The story of Hannah Aidoo, who holds master’s degree in economics



Hannah Aidoo , Newscenta, poultry farming, Mankessim, economists,

Growing up in a farming home, Hannah Aidoo defies all odds to venture into agriculture business to support her education and life.

The young ambitious lady took up this career eight years ago and has since employed other women and young people on her poultry farm.

As the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of H A farms based in Mankessim in the Central Region, she produces a range of nutritious and reasonably priced food items, including eggs, poultry, snails, catfish, vegetables, and food crops.

According to her, she works to produce these proteins to help her neighborhood and the nation as a whole while also keeping the health of the nation in mind.

In the last five years, Hannah has employed five persons, comprising three females and two males.


How the journey started

With a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Management and a Master’s in Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), she decided to start a poultry farm in 2017.

Hannah Aidoo , Newscenta, poultry farming, Mankessim, economists,

She revealed that she had previously established a fresh yoghurt business in 2015 but was unable to maintain it owing to a lack of funding and rolling power outages popularly called dumsor.

“As a result of that, I chose to accept an offer as a salesperson in 2015 with an insurance firm to make some commission,” she explained.

Hannah worked extremely hard and rose to the position of sales manager.


Through these periods of her life, she disclosed that she saved part of her commission each month to start her business in the future.

It was at this point that Hannah decided to launch her poultry business.

She mentioned that at that time, fresh chicken and eggs were in high demand in her neighborhood.

In light of that, she stated, “I decided to start planning, preparing for, and building my poultry house.”

By the beginning of 2018, she constructed a 300-housing capacity facility and ordered her first batch of 350 layers which arrived in August 2018.


Despite farming being challenging and time-consuming, she was able to increase capacity to 600 layers.

For the sake of health-conscious Ghanaians, she added, “We are currently building a 2,000 housing capacity to help us to produce more healthy and economical eggs and meats.”

Hannah confirms that life as a poultry farmer is exciting aside few challenges in the system.

Challenges as a farmer

The CEO of H.A. Farms told this newspaper that money has been her biggest issue since she started because poultry requires a lot of labour and resources.


According to her, attempts to obtain loans from certain financial institutions had been unsuccessful due to their exorbitant interest rates and her inability to provide the necessary collateral security required.

Hannah Aidoo , Newscenta, poultry farming, Mankessim, economists,

Hannah noted that despite all the biosecurity precautions she has taken, some investors still view the poultry industry as a high-risk sector to invest in.

She added that her expansion plans have been constrained by the ongoing increase in the cost inputs, particularly feed, day-old chicks, and medications, as well as the fact that her purchasing power and funds have been declining daily.

“It looks like the poultry sector is gradually collapsing due to the persistent increase in the feed and other inputs cost.

“Most poultry businesses have shut down because they are unable to cope with the high cost of production,” she explained.


The youthful CEO lamented the fact that Ghanaian poultry farmers still find it difficult to compete with importers of frozen chicken since their cost of production is substantially lower than what is produced in Ghana.

Also, she said frozen birds are considerably cheaper compared to what is produced locally.

She stated that as a result, local broiler producers are finding it difficult to sell their fresh chicken due to the high cost of production.

“We learned from our research that there is a high demand for eggs and chicken due to their high nutritional value, so with the majority of our poultry farms closing, the existing gap will widen even more, leading to more imports of eggs and chicken, which will cause high inflation and put a strain on our economy,” she stressed.

Hannah appealed to the government and other stakeholders to assist in saving the poultry sector because if it is allowed to fail, many jobs will be lost.


Greatest achievement

Hannah touted her company’s receipt of a $10,000 grant from Standard Chartered Bank Women in Equipment programme, administered by the bank and the Ghana Climate and Innovation Center, as one of her accomplishments.

The money according to her was used to enhance the technology used on the farm.

She stated that her greatest accomplishment was that her business was able to give the people in her community access to extremely nutritious protein items such as eggs and chicken while creating direct and indirect employment for some of the women and young people in her community.

She added that she also gives manure generated from the droppings of chicken to farmers who grow crops.


Issues with gender bias

“When I tell people I own the business and that I started it from scratch, they often advise I get married so that my husband can help me run the business as if a woman isn’t capable of managing a successful agribusiness” she sighed.

The young CEO mentioned that others also assume her poultry farm belongs to her father or husband.

She said that she has not come across any obstacles or restrictions that prevent women from working in the agriculture business adding that the capital and labour requirements of some agribusinesses is the only thing that might deter women from working in agriculture.

“I believe that women are capable of anything given enough financing, access to technology, and the correct motivation” she emphasised.


Final words

She urged young people to create businesses in the agricultural industry since it is exciting and lucrative, noting that she had many possibilities and exposure there that she wouldn’t have had if she hadn’t been a farmer.

“Given that there is already a market for the food we will produce, I think making a smart and deliberate investment in agriculture is one of the finest moves someone can make,” she stressed.

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