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2024, January

 West Africa Times | Serving The Community Since 2001 | Page 1  

WEST AFRICA TIMES

– Telling Our Own Story Since November 2, 2001 –

VOLUME 23 NO.9 DECEMBER 2023 FREE

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Text Box: Op-EdMigration to the West Amidst Political Interference

Introduction

T h e       A f r i c a n continent has witnessed a complex interplay of political, economic, and social dynamics over the years. Among the myriad factors influencing the lives of  its inhabitants, political  interference from Western powers h as   e me rg e d   as   a significant catalyst for migration. This article delves into the intricate relationship  between political  interference by  the  West  and  the migration of  Africans to Western countries, e xploring  h istoric al roots,  contemporar y e xample s,   and   th e multifaceted impact on

Historical Context

To understand the contemporary migration patterns from Africa to the West, it’s crucial to delve into the historical context of colonialism. Europe an   po we r s, i n c l u d i n g Br i t ai n , France, and Belgium, colonized vast swaths of Africa, often drawing arbitrary borders that divided ethnic groups and created political instability. The effects of colonization lingered long after the formal end of colonial r ule, contributing to power imbalances and political fragility in many African nations.

P o s t – c o l o n i a l

challenges, including po wer str ug g les, corruption, and human rights abuses. The Cold War further exacerbated tensions, as the West and the Soviet Union vied f or  inf luence on t h e c on t in e n t , often suppor ting authoritarian regimes aligned with their geopolitical interests. T h is g e opolitic al maneuvering deepened existing political fault lines and sowed the seeds of instability that persist in some regions to this day.

C o n t e m p o r a r y Dynamics

The 21st century has seen a continuation of

from Western powers in Africa, manifesting in various forms such as military interventions, economic exploitation, and   suppor t f or autocra tic  re gimes. These dynamics have contributed to a range of consequences, including ar med            conf licts, economic  crises,  and the violation of  human rights.

  1. Armed Conflicts and Instability

O n e     g l a r i n g c o n s e q u e n c e         o f political  interference is the e xacerba tion of   ar me d c onflic ts. Western interventions, ofte n d ri v e n b y strategic interests, have

violence and internal strife in countries like Libya, Somalia, and Mali. T he resultant instability has led to the displacement of millions, with many seeking refuge in Western nations.

Example: Libya’s descent into chao s following the NAT O intervention in 2011 not  onl y  led  to  a po wer vacuum b ut als o fac il ita te d t h e rise of armed militias and human trafficking networks. The ensuing instability forced many Libyans to flee, and the country became a major departure point for migrants, including those from sub-Saharan

individuals and societies.

Africa faced numerous

political  interference

inadver tently  fueled                                                

Cont’d on page 10

A publication of

WEST AFRICA TIMES, INC.

Reflecting On The Past, Embracing The Future: A Year-End Message From West Africa Times

Joseph “Sonny” Vanderpuye

Editor / Publisher

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:

  • Rev. Muriel Vanderpuye
  • Rev. C. John Thompson-Quartey
  • Dr. Katherine Carboo
  • Rev. Cephas Amartey
  • Taalib Saber
  • Carly Ahiable

Tel.: 571.758.0789

sonnyahp@gmail.com

ISSN 2770-5889

www.westafricatimes.com

As the sun sets on another  remar kable year, we find ourselves sta nding       a t           the crossroads of  reflection and anticipation. The jour ney  through  the pages of  2023 has been a collage of  triumphs, challenges,  and  the resilience that defines the spirit of West Africa. The West Africa Times, as  the  harbinger  of stories  that  resonate with the heartbeat of our vibrant region, takes this moment to extend hea r tf elt  g ra titude to  our  readers  –  the driving force behind our pursuit of  journalistic excellence.

In a wo rld tha t constantly evolves, our duty as purveyors of tr uth and guardians of public discour se becomes increasingly vital. This year, West Africa Times has strived to bring you not just news but nar ratives that encapsulate the essence of our diverse c om m u n i t ie s. Fr om bustling markets to serene villages, from urban landscapes to the untouched beauty of our natural wonders, each

story has been a collage piece contributing to the larger picture of West African life.

As we glance back over the year’s headlines, it is impossible to overlook the challenges that have tested our collective resolve. T he specter of global issues has touched us all, from the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic to the environmental concerns that demand our attention. In times of crisis, West Africa has shown its mettle, with communities coming together to support one another, and our leaders navigating uncharted waters to safeguard the well-being of our people.

Amidst the headlines d om i n a t e d b y t h e macrocosm, we must not forget the microcosm of individual stories that shape the collage of our societies. West Africa Times has been honored to bring you tales of triumph over adversity, profiles of unsung hero es, a nd glimpses into the dreams and aspirations of our fellow citizens. These stories are a testament

to the indomitable spirit that courses through the veins of West Africa.

In the realm of politics, the year has been marked by elections and transitions, underscoring the impor tance of democracy in our region. We have witnessed the power of the people as they exercise their right to choose leaders w h o will guid e our nations into the future. Yet, with this power comes  responsibility

– a responsibility to hold those in authority accountable, to ensure that the promises made during campaigns are translated into tangible improvements in the lives of our citizens.

Economic dynamics have played a crucial role in sha ping the narrative of the past year. West Africa, with its wealth of resources and e ntre pre ne urial spirit, has g rappled with the complexities of development. From the tech hubs of Lagos to the agricultural landscapes of Burkina Faso, our region is a kaleidoscope of economic endeavors. West  Africa  Times

has endeav ored to provide insights into the economic pulse of the region, exploring the challeng es and opportunities that define our path forward.

In the cultural sphere, West Africa’s rich collage has continued to captivate the world. Fro m the bea ts o f Afrobeat echoing across the globe to the vibrant hues of our traditional fabrics adorning fashion runways, our cultural footprint is indelible. The arts, in all their forms, serve as a bridge connecting us to our roots and propelling us into the future. West Africa Times remains committed to showcasing the artistic brilliance that emanates from our region, celebrating the storytellers, musicians, and artisans who enrich our lives.

As we bid adieu to 2023,  let us car ry fo rwa rd the lesso ns learned, the moments cherished, and the resilience that defines us as a people. The coming year holds the promise of new opportunities and challenges, and together,

as a community, we shall navigate the uncharted waters that lie ahead.

To our readers, thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of bringing you the stories that shape our shared narrative. Your support fuels our commitment to journalistic integrity and the pursuit of truth. As we step into the future, West Africa Times pledges to continue being your beacon in the realm of news, culture, and community.

In the spirit of unity that defines West Africa, let us welcome the New Year with open hearts, open minds, and an unwavering belief in the potential that lies within our grasp. May the year ahead be one of prosperity, peace, and progress for each and every member of our diverse and dynamic community.

Wishing you a joyous festive season and a Happy New Year from all of us at West Africa Times. Together, let us script another chapter in the ongoing story of our remarkable region.

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Burkina Faso Changes Official Language

U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Liberian Officials, Including Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Over Corruption Allegations

In a significant move aimed at  reinforcing c ultural id e ntity and democra tizing institutions, th e Burkinabè government has adopted a bill revising the Constitution, marking a de par ture from French as an official language.

The new legislation positions na tional languag es a t the forefront, designating French as a “working language.”

This decision comes against the backdrop of a broader wave of constitutional changes in West Africa, echoing Mali’s earlier move this year, reflecting strained relations with France and a renewed emphasis on autonomy.

Historical Context of French-Speaking Africa:

Text Box: AfricaT he     linguistic

often refer red to as “Francophone Africa,” comprises nations that were once under French colonial r ule. T his historical connection has deeply influenced these countries, including Burkina Faso.

Colonial ties with France have historically dicta ted the use of French as the official language in many West African nations.

T he le gacy of French colonialism left an indelible mark on the region, impacting governance structures, le gal systems, and educational institutions. Over the year s, this linguistic influence has sparked debates about cultural autonomy and th e ne e d to re c laim indigenous languages.

Bur kina F a so’s Constitutional Shift:

I n r e c e n t developments, the U.S. Depar tment of State has imposed sanctions on high-profile Liberian of ficials,  inc luding S am u e l Tw e ah , t h e Minister of Finance and Development Planning, and Senators Albert Chie and Emmanuel Nuquay. These sanctions, executed under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign  Opera tio ns,

Samuel Tweah

Nuquay suggest their misuse of public positions f or pe r sonal gain, involving solicitation and acceptance of bribes to manipulate legislative processes and public funding, particularly in the mining sector.

The sanctions extend to the immediate family members of the accused individuals, underlining the g ravity of the charges.

Koije e is ac c use d of engaging in corrupt acts, including bribery and misappropriation of s t at e as s e t s , an d allegedly pressuring anti- corruption investigators to halt their inquiries.

T h e se ac tions underscore the United Sta te s’ c ommitme nt to holding individuals accountable for corrupt practices and human rights abuses globally.

landscape of  Africa has

T h e         r e c e n t   and Related Programs

This announcement

The sanctions were

long been shaped by the

legacy of colonialism, with French and other European languages exerting influence over political, economic, and cultural spheres. French-speaking Africa,

constitutional changes in

Burkina Faso align with broader trends in the region. The government’s decision to prioritiz e national languages over

Cont’d on page 7

Appropriations Act, 2023, reflect the United States’ dedication to combating corruption globally.

T h e   alle ga tions against Tweah, Chie, and

follows the designation of Jefferson Koijee, the Mayor of Monrovia, by the U.S. De par tment of the Treasury, citing serious human rights abuses and corruption.

unveiled during the opening of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption, emphasizing the   inter na tional

Cont’d on page 7

U.S. Bolsters African Ties With $14.2 Billion In Trade Deals To Counter Chinese Influence

In a bid to counter China’s escala ting influe nc e in Afric a, the United States has sealed 547 new trade and investment deals totaling

$14.2 billion over the past year.

This robust surge, re f le c ting a 67% increase from 2022, is a key component of the Prosper Africa trade and business initiative. Young demographics are identified as pivotal to fostering strategic and economic partnerships. Judd Dever mont, the Se nior D ire c tor f or African Affairs at the

U.S. National Security Council, underscored the remarkable year in

U.S.-Africa relations, with prog ress on the commitment to invest $55 billion over three years. Anticipating surpassing 70% of this goal by the end of 2023, the engagement encompasses broadening trade and investment, fortifying food and health security partnerships, steering digital transformation, bolstering security and

governance cooperation, and promoting diaspora- driven initiatives.

T his push follows President Joe Biden’s resolute commitment, made during the U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit, to significantly elevate collaboration with the continent.

T h e       U . S .       i s strategically emphasizing the economic and political

importance of Africa, advocating for increased representation on global platforms such as the G20, IMF board, and UN Security Council. In conflict-affected regions, the U.S. has ade ptly adjusted its approach, employing sanctions in Sudan and championing peace negotiations in N ig e r. T h e Bid e n administration stresses

a n u an c e d  s t ra te g y, c ombining sanc tions with active engagement to address challenges in conflict zones.

Trade and investment serve as linchpins in these diplomatic maneuvers, with a spotligh t on transformative initiatives lik e the African Continental Free Trade Area, aiming to unify nations and stimulate eco no mic pro sperity across the continent.

T h e       U . S .       i s concurrently investing in addressing fundamental d rive r s  of   c onflict, channeling efforts into electoral   processes and  anti-cor r uption measures.

Burkina Faso Shifts Official Language, Navigating Historical Ties and Democratic Reforms

Cont’d from 6

French is seen as a pivotal step in fostering cultural and linguistic so v ereignt y. T his move is rooted in the country’s commitment to democratic values and the r ule of law, as ar ticula ted by the tra nsitio na l government.

The bill not only redefines languag e preferences but also introduces key reforms aimed at strengthening democratic institutions. One such innovation is the establishment of tr ad i tional an d alter na tive dispute resolution mechanisms, s h o w c a s i n g     a c om m i t m e n t    t o i n c o r p o r a t i n g indigenous practices into the legal framework. This holistic approach to governance reflects an e ffor t t o b r i d ge traditional and modern elements in the pursuit of a more inclusive and culturally g rounded system.

Political Transition and Popular Demands:

T h e d e c is ion to revise the Constitution comes amid a period of  political transition.

colonial powers, framing the issue as a question of political, economic, and cultural sovereignty.

Bur kina F a so’s Shifting Alliances:

I n re c e nt y e ar s, Bu r k i n a Fas o h as experienced a geopolitical realignment, distancing itself from its historical ties with France, a former colonial power. Captain Traoré’s administration has activel y sough t closer ties with Moscow, reflecting a broader trend of African nations di v er sifying their diplomatic partnerships.

This strategic shift signals Burkina Faso’s pur suit o f a mo re inde pendent fo reig n policy, free from the constraints of historical dependencies.

Security Challenges a n d D e m o c r a t i c Consolidation:

Burkina Faso’s move towards constitutional reform occurs against the backdrop of significant security challenges. Since 2015, the country has grappled with escalating violence perpetrated by jihadist groups, a crisis that has claimed over 17,000 lives.

The constitutional changes seek to address not only linguistic and cultural aspects but also to bolster national security by expanding t h e  m an d at e  of   t h e

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Constitution in response

to popular demands for change.

T he countr y has witnessed  se v eral d e m o n s t r a t i o n s ad v oc a ting   f or   a

reflects the government’s commitment to enhancing security apparatuses in the face of ongoing threats. Simultaneously, the abolishment of institutions such as the

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Liberian Officials, Including Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Over…

Cont’d from 6

Rights Accountability Act, empowers the U.S. to target those involved in corruption and human rights abuses.

Se c ti on   7031(c ) mandates that foreign

development planning. Born on May 6, 1971, in Mar yland County, he is a graduate of the University of Liberia and holds a Master’s degree in economics from George

in national politics.

His ties to the Congress for Democratic C hang e ( C DC) a nd his role in projecting George Manneh Weah into politics are notable

ne w  c onstitutional

High Court of  Justice                                                 

gove r nme nt  officials

Washington University.

aspects of  his political

framewor k,   with

citizens seeking greater political, economic, and cultural sovereignty.

Prime Minister Apollinaire Joachimson Kyelem of Tambela empha siz ed    the

and  the  Mediator  of

Faso signals a broader restructuring of the legal and judicial landscape, a lig ning with the transitional government’s vision for democratic consolidation.

collaboration  against corruption.

As part of a broader initia ti ve, the U.S . Depar tment of State is designating over 30 i n d i v i d u al s u n d e r Section 7031(c), while

linked to significant cor r uption or g ross violations of human rights are g ene rall y ine ligible f or e ntr y into the United States, compelling public or private designation under

Tweah has worked in economic consulting, played k e y roles in Liberia’s development projects, and served as Minister of Finance and Development Planning since January 2018.

journey.

As a Christian and a family man, Tweah is married to Delecia B. Tweah, and they have four daughters. The sanctions against him and others signify  a  significant

significance of drafting

I n t e r n a t i o n a l

the Department of  the

the provision.

B e y o n d         h i s   move  by  the  United

a new Constitution as

a means of asserting Bur k ina F aso’s inde pendence. He highlighted the need to  move  away  from

Implications:

Bur k ina   F aso’s d e c ision to sh ift its official language and alter constitutional provisions car ries  inter national

Treasury is designating two individuals and 44 entities under Executive Order (E.O.) 13818.

This executive order, built  o n  the  Glo ba l

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., one of the individuals facing sanctions, has a background rooted in public education and a career spanning various

pro f essio na l ca reer, Tweah has been active in social and political life, demonstrating leadership in stud e nt advoc ac y during  his  university

States in addressing alle g ed cor r uption within the Liberian government, emphasizing the impor tance of accountability in global

constitutional models                                                

i n s p i re d  by  for m e r

Cont’d on page 10

Magnitsk y   Human

roles in economics and

years and involvement

governance.

OJeanne, Celebrating A Year Of Excellence!

OJeanne,  a  proud African  inter national brand renowned for its captivating Afrocentric style,   impeccab le craftsmanship ,  and timeless elegance invited fashion enthusiasts on December 9, 2023 to mark the first anniversary of its  fashion  emporium nestled in the heart of Alexandria, Virginia.

At the event, Jeanne Akua Afriyie Williams, the Creative Director and Founder of OJeanne, affectionately known as OJ, expressed her utmost g ratitude for the incredible journey of the brand since its humble beginnings in Tema, Ghana, 19 years ago. According to her, OJeanne continues to evolve and its patrons remain committed to evolving with it.

“Indeed, it is due to your exquisite taste in a vibrant fusion of authentic traditional Ghanaian craftsmanship and contemporary design that led to our expansion to the United States, and a further exciting venture of opening a new shop in 2022 to deliver an exceptional customer experience to our valued clients,” she declared.

OJ added that, “the whole team would like to thank you for choosing us as your c ultural ambassadors – to adorn you with collections that pay homage to the rich heritage of  Ghana

– transcending borders and fostering a dynamic connection between the diaspora and spirit of the continent.”

In othe r e xc iting news, OJ announced that the OJeanne official website is finally active. Check out [www.ojeanne. com] for their latest collections,  exclusive r e l e as e s an d offe r s , latest trends, blog posts, collaborations and more.

Meanwhile, in August 2023, OJEANNE started a series of e xc lusive fashion Masterclasses. T h e c ompre h e nsi v e course covers a wide range of topics, from under standing   the

p r in c i p l e s of d e si gn to e xplo ring the unique pa tter ns, embellishments, and finishes that distinguish their gar ments. T he limited slots for the Masterclasses will be communicated on the now-active website and their Instagram page.

At the anniversary, OJe anne launc h e d a ready-to-wear capsule collection. The pieces were o ne- o f – a – kind kimonos ador ned in vibrant African prints. As the fashion brand marked its shop opening anni v er sar y, each kimono represented a unique story, blending the timeless g race of Japanese design with the rich weaving of African heritage. The kimono pieces were available alongside the Fall\Winter collection which is heavily characterized by their latest Abronoma design, which loosely translates as “Dove” in Twi. Every piece from the Abronoma collection; embodying sophistication, warmth, and a hint of Kente and royal satin as a running theme, boasts of audacity and grit.

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Alexandria, VA 22309 to immerse one’s self in a symphony of colors and patterns embodying a celebration of diversity and style.

J o i n   O J e a n n e in cele bra ting their anniversary by booking an appointment to get a view of  the wonders o f their Fa ll/Winter Collection, the capsule kimono collection, and seize the opportunity to enroll in their esteemed fashion Masterclass. You can always visit their website for all your style needs.

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Migration to the West Amidst

Political Interference

Cont’d from 4

Africa.

  • E c o n o m i c Exploitation and Inequality

Economic interference by Western powers has also played a pivotal role in migration patterns. Unfair trade practices, resource exploitation, and d e bt b urd e ns imposed by international financial institutions have contributed to economic d i s p ar i ti e s , p u s h i n g many Africans to seek better opportunities in the West.

E x a m p l e :     T     h e exploitation of  natural resources in  countries like th e De mocratic Re public of   Cong o , where   multinational corporations benefit from the region’s wealth while local populations suffer, h as le d to e c onomic hardship.

In response, many Congolese have sought economic refug e in Western countries.

  • Su ppor t f or Authoritarian Regimes

The West’s historical support for authoritarian re gimes in Africa, often justified by Cold War considerations or geopolitical interests, has perpetuated political repression and human rights abuses.

In the face of oppressive governance, individuals and families often see migration as

behind.

  1. I n d i v i d u a l Ex p eriences a nd Challenges

Mig ra nts f ro m Africa face a myriad of challenges as they navigate the complex journey to the West.

F rom perilous journeys across deserts and seas to the difficulties of ada pting to new cultures, the personal toll is immense.

A d d i t i o n a l l y , ma ny mig ra nts  f a ce d isc rimina tion and xe noph obia in th e ir host countries, further complicating their quest for a better life.

  • Brain Drain and Loss of Talent

T he mig ration of skilled professionals, often referred to as the “brain drain,” poses a significant challenge to the development of African nations.

Doctors, engineers, academics, and  other p r ofe s s i on al s s e e k oppor tunities in the West, leaving behind gaps in crucial sectors.

This loss of talent hampers the ability of African countries to address pressing issues such  as  healthcare, e d u c a t i o n , a n d infrastructure.

  • D i a s p o r a Co nt rib ut io ns a nd Cultural Exchange

On the flip side, the African diaspora in the West has contributed significantly to their host countries.

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a means of escaping persecution and securing a better future.

Example: The support for autocratic regimes in Equatorial Guinea,

cultural diver sity to contrib uting to the workforce and economy, migrants bring unique perspectives and skills. Moreover, members of

landsca pes  of   both

sending and receiving nations.

Addressing the root c ause s of mi g rat ion requires  a  n uanced

Burkina Faso Shifts

Official Language, Navigating Historical Ties and Democratic Reforms

Cont’d from 7

dynamics as its erstwhile

allies seek to redefine their relationships.

These changes not only impact diplomatic ties  but  also  reflect

Assembly prepares to

vote on the bill, the outcome will lik el y shape Burkina Faso’s trajectory in the coming years, influencing both

where the government’s

the diaspora often play a

under sta nding     o f                                                 

a   broad e r   sh ift   in

domestic governance and

control over oil resources has led to vast wealth accumulation for a select fe w, h as re sulte d in political repression.

Citiz ens seeking political freedoms and economic opportunities have sought asylum in Western nations.

Impact on Individuals and Societies

T he mig ration of Africans to the West due to political interference has profound implications for both individuals and the societies they leave

crucial role in advocating for positive change in their countries of origin.

Conclusion

T he  mig ra tion of Africans to the West due to political interference is a complex and m ultifaceted phenomenon dee pl y rootedinhistoricallegacies and contemporar y geopolitical dynamics.

The consequences of such migration extend beyond individual stories, shaping the economic, social,  and  political

historical  injustices,

ongoing geopolitical r e al i t i e s , an d a commitment to fostering inclusive and equitable global relations.

As the world continues to g rapple with th e implications of political interference in Africa, finding sustainab le solutions that prioritize human rights, economic justice, and political stability is imperative for a more just and equitable future.

r am i fi c a t i on s . T h e move echoes Mali’s similar constitutional amendment earlier in the year, where French was relegated to a working language.

This trend underscores a broader sentiment in the re gion,  signaling a reassessment of the historical relationships between African nations and their former colonial powers.

France, historically a significant player in West Africa, now faces evolving

geopolitical alignments,

with African nations exploring partnerships that align more closely with their aspirations for autonomy and self- determination.

Conclusion:

Bur k ina F aso’s constitutional revisions, notably the shift in official language, symbolize a multifaceted approach to na tio n- b uilding , encompassing linguistic, cultural, and institutional d ime nsions. As th e Transitional Legislative

international relations.

The move reflects a broader trend in French- speaking Africa, where nations are asser ting th e ir  ind e pe nd e nc e a nd redef ining their relationships with former colonial powers in pursuit of a more sovereign and self-determined future.

ECOWAS

Trade Officials Strategize

for Regional Prosperity

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In a significant stride toward regional economic integration, the Economic Community of West African Sta tes (ECO WAS) orchestrated a pivotal Regional Meeting of Trade Officials in Abuja, Nigeria, from November 28 to 29, 2023.

T his ga thering , rooted in the historical context of ECOWAS, aimed to address key trade issues, fostering both in tra-re gional trade and the active engagement of West Africa in the global trade landscape.

E  C  O  W  A  S  ,

established in 1975, has been a driving force in promoting economic coopera tion and integration among its member states.

Originally founded with   th e   g oal   of f ostering econo mic inde pendence and development, ECOWAS has evolved into a vital regional organization, encompassing 15 West African nations committed to shared prosperity and stability.

W e l c o m i n  g par tic ipants to th e ECOWAS Commission

Director of Trade at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria, chaired the meeting.

In her opening remarks, she expressed g ra titude f or the ECOWAS Commission’s organizational efforts, underlining ECOWAS’ enduring commitment to advancing regional interests.

Mrs.  ABDULAHI

c h arac te riz e d th e meeting as a cr ucial oppor tunity to  build u p o n E C O W A S ‘ achie v ements in trade   promotion, u rgi n g offic i al s to engage in constructive deliberations.

T hroughout the meeting, Trade Officials meticulously reviewed and v alida ted the ECOWAS Trade and Investment Promotion Strategy (ECOTIPS).

Additionally, they d elibera te d on th e recommendations from the Technical Note on Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT), intending to present these insights to the for thcoming gathering of ECOWAS Minister s o f Tra de for consideration and

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He adquar te r s, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, A c t i n g D i r e c t or of Trade, emphasized the integral role of trade in ECOWAS integration efforts.

Acting on behalf of Mrs. Massandjé TOURE- LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Ag riculture, Mr. SOFOLA highlighted

adoption.

T he session also addressed progress in shaping key frameworks such as the ECOWAS Common Commercial P olicy (CTP), the Re gional Trade and Transport Facilitation Strategy (RTTFS), and the Non-Tariff Barrier (N TB) Elimina tion Strategy.

Impor tantly,  with

regards to the Ministerial Conference, participants urged Member States to accelerate the ratification of the Fisheries Subsidies Ag reement ahead of MC13, scheduled for February 26-29, 2024, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

T his  ga thering , a ttended by senio r Trade  Officials  from

West Africa’s Battle Against Cocaine

Trafficking: Seizure in Senegal Sparks Concerns Amidst Regional Challenges

West Africa has emerged as a cr ucial transit z one for the trafficking of cocaine from South America to Europe, as reported by the United Nations Office  on  Dr ugs  and

the  need  for  robust

policies   to   f or tif y national economies.

T h e me e ting’s outcomes, he noted, would provide essential guidance to T rade Ministers in navigating various regional trade instr uments and initiatives.

Mr s. Zulaikha ABDULAHI, Deputy

The meeting included

updates on the status of ne gotiations and the implementation of pivotal agreements, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the outcomes of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).

the  Member  States,

representatives from the ECOWAS and UEMOA

Commissions, as well as delegates from the World Tra de Org anisa tio n (WTO) and the AfCFTA Secretariat, exemplified the collaborative spirit and inclusive approach that define ECOWAS’ p u r s u it of r e gi on al economic prosperity.

Crime    (UNODC). Notably, the origins of this illicit trade can be traced back to cocaine- producing nations such as Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. The intricate ne twor k  involve s  a transatlantic journey, with West Africa serving as a key waypoint for the transportation of  these

narcotics.

Recent developments in Senegal underscore the gravity of the situation, with military authorities announcing a significant seizure of nearly 3 tons of pure cocaine by the navy. The interception took place off the coast on the night of November 26-27, 2023,

with the FOULADOU patrol vessel successfully thwar ting the illicit shipment, located 150 kilometer s offshore. The seized boat and its cargo were subsequently brought back to the Admiral Faye Gassama Naval Base on November 28, 2023, and handed

Cont’d on page 13

Winner Of Ghana’s Election 2024

To Send Opponent Into Stretched Opposition

By Carly Ahiable, Political Writer

Ghana is gearing up for a consequential back-to- back presidential contest between the National Democratic Cong ress (NDC) flagbearer, Former President John Dramani Mahama, and the newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, V ice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

The campaign has intensified, with both candidates locked in a political sho w do wn that could potentially determine the fate of their respective parties.

Ghana’s political landscape has witnessed various transformations, including a shift from a system without a Vice-President  in  the

Former President John Dramani Mahama, and the newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

lost the 2016 general elections to Nana Akufo- Addo, securing 44.4% of the votes.

Bawumia’s Career: Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, an academic, economist, and f or me r D e puty Governor of the Bank of Ghana, partnered with President Akufo-Addo in the 2008 and 2012 general elections as a compromise candidate.

Currently serving as Vice President, Bawumia boasts an impressive academic background, inc luding a Fir st Class Honors De g ree in E co no mics f ro m Buckingham University, a master’s de g ree in economics from Lincoln College, Oxford, and a

Fir st Re public to a Second Republic with a ceremonial President, Prime Minister, and Head of State.

T h e c o u n t r y eventually adopted an executive gover nance str ucture reminiscent of the American system in 1979, albeit without a se c ond le gisla tive chamber.

Dr. Bawumia emerged as the NPP’s flagbearer, benefitting from his status as the ‘establishment

candida te’ in the par ty’s re c e nt contest. President Nana Addo Dankwa Ak uf o-Ad d o h as expressed confidence in Bawumia’s ability to secure victory in the upcoming presidential election.

Ho we v er , the motivations behind Bawumia’s presidential aspirations remain unclear, considering his seven-year tenure as Vice President alongside Akufo-Addo.

Some critics, both

within and outside the par ty,  argue that Bawumia’s victory could potentially shield corrupt individuals within the current government.

T his   perce ption stems from the belief that as an ‘establishment candidate,’ he may be less inclined to hold current

government appointees

accountable. The NPP’s election rules, seemingly skewed in favor of the ‘establishment candidate,’ have sparked controversy, with concer ns raised about fair ness and transparency.

P r i o r     t o     t h e e le c tion, c and id a te s in the NPP flagbearer race committed not to resign from the party after the results were announced, a measure

aimed at preventing mass resignations.

Ho we v e r, f or me r Trade Minister Alan Kyeremanteng defied this agreement and resigned following the NPP Super Dele ga tes Cong ress, which narrowed down the candidates to five. The congress revealed

ope n   suppor t   f or

Bawumia by government officials, ministers, and senior par ty leaders, raising questions about adherence to internal election rules.

Despite the initial anticipa tion of a landslide victor y for Bawumia, the outcome of the NPP primaries fell short of the projected 75% or more. Lawmaker Kennedy Agyapong, a contender in the race,

posed a substantial challenge, creating a less predictable scenario.

Both    M ah ama a nd B awumia sha re commonalities in their bac k g round , h aving received their secondary education in Tamale and hailing from families with significant political

le gac ie s.  Bawumia’s

father, Alhaji Bawumia, held prominent positions in various politic al regimes, while Mahama’s fa the r, Emman uel Adama Mahama, was an accomplished rice farmer, teacher, and influential figure in the political landscape.

As Ghana prepares for this pivotal presidential contest, the candidates’ political histories, party d ynamics,   and   the

evolving nar rative of their campaigns will undoubtedly shape the nation’s political future.

Mahama’s Career: John Dramani Mahama’s journey in politics began as a secondary school teacher and eventually led him to serve as a Member of   Parliament.  Over

time, Mahama evolved

into a seasoned politician, ultimately becoming the Vice President. Following the death of President John Evans Atta Mills, Mahama assumed the presidency on July 24, 2012, in ac c ord anc e with the countr y’s constitution. During his initial four-year term, Mahama implemented effecti v e economic policies that enhanced Ghana’s creditworthiness,

re store d in v e stor confidence, and stabilized the economy. He focused on infrastr ucture development and initiated the E-project, aiming to build Day Secondary Schools in underserved communities.

Despite      these achievements, Mahama

PhD in Economics from Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Specializing   in Ma cro eco no mics, International Economics, Development Economics, and Monetary Policy, Bawumia returned to G h ana  i n  2000  an d ascended through the ranks at the Bank of Ghana.

President  Kufuor appointed him Deputy Governor in 2006, setting the stage for his role as Vice President and the Head of the Economic

Management Team.

Despite being dubbed the ‘Economic Messiah,’ Bawumia’s e c onomic polic ie s fac e d c h alle ng e s during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war, leading Ghana to borrow from the Inter na tional Monetary Fund (IMF).

NPP Government Failures: After seven years of NPP rule, a critical assessment reveals a struggling

economy with depleting national reserves, low g ro wth ra te s, h igh unemployment, elevated taxes, costly imports, and business operations. Other challenges include s oar i n g i n fl a t i on ,  a d e precia ting Ce di, in v e stme nt losse s, and over three million

Winner Of Ghana’s Election 2024

To Send Opponent Into Stretched Opposition

Cont’d from 12

Ghanaians living in poverty in major cities. T he g o v er nment’s initial refusal to seek IMF funding quickly changed, and despite stringent conditionalities imposed by the IMF, the government faced difficulties securing the second tranche of the bailout. Inter nal and external shocks, such as the impact of COVID-19 and the Ukraine war, have further battered Ghana’s economy under the leadership of the NPP government.

C ha lleng es in Ghana’s Economic Landscape:

Ghana’s economic stability has been shaken by a combination of internal missteps and external shocks, despite the nation’s wealth in oil and mineral resources. Critics attribute the economic downturn to the administration’s flawed policies, accusing the President and Vice President of recklessly managing finances and fostering corruption. In contrast, the government points to e xte r nal factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as culprits impacting its economic strategies.

Weak Fundamentals a n d C u r r e n c y Depreciation:

Dr. Bawumia’s often- cited war ning about weak fundamentals has materialized as the Cedi

realization since the NPP assumed power.

NPP Scandals and Corruption Failures:

The NPP’s vow to tackle corruption has faltered, evidenced by the Office of the Special Prosecutor struggling to prosecute mone y laundering charg es against former Minister Cecilia Dapaah.

T he ‘Gold Mafia in Gh ana’ sc and al implicating President N an a A k uf o-A d d o re mains unre solve d , and a report on illegal mini ng auth ore d by Professor Kwabe na Frimpong-Boateng was shelved for two years before leaking to the press. The government’s response to this report, which implicated certain individuals in supporting illegal mining, has faced public criticism.

Political Hurdles for Dr. Bawumia:

Challenges loom for Dr. Bawumia, notably the inability of the NPP to control illegal mining, w h ic h ma y impac t the par ty’s electoral prospects. The formation of the Movement For Change (MFC) by Alan Kyremanteng, following his resignation from the NPP, poses a potential threat to Bawumia’s votes. Recent par ty expulsions, coupled with dissatisfaction among party loyalists, could lead to mass resignations and ‘Skirt and Blouse’ voting, reducing support for the NPP flagbearer.

Regional Discontent and Unfulfilled Promises:

Traditional  NPP

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shar ply  de preciated,

stronghold, the Ashanti                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

leading to escalating inflation. The exchange rate,  which  stood  at

Region, has expressed

dissatisfaction with the lac k  of  development

West Africa’s Battle

Against Cocaine…

Cont’d from 11

Sahelian part.

Exper ts  from  the UNODC emphasize that

the  UNODC  in  June

highlights the scale of the problem, indicating

statistics  under score

the  urg ent  need  fo r comprehensive strategies

GHS4 to the dollar in

compared to Mahama’s                                                

drug trafficking in Africa

that 30 to 40 tons of

and   inte r na tional

2016, has now soared to GHS12, illustrating the currency’s drastic decline.

President and Vice President’s Campaign Promises:

Campaign promises such as ‘One village one dam,’ ‘One district one factor y,’ ‘One constituency one million dollars,’ and ‘One house one  toilet’  resonated

tenure under the NDC.

The King of Ashanti, Osei Tutu II, launched a fund appeal for the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, highlighting neglect in the region’s he alth sector. Dr. Bawumia, amid unmet promises and economic challenges, pledges a ‘blue economy.’

NDC’s Strategy and Readiness:

over to the appropriate

authorities.

T his substantial seizure, deemed one of the largest in the country’s history, reignites concerns regarding the pervasive issue of drug trafficking in West Africa.

The region grapples with f o r mida b le cha lleng es, rang ing from political and socio- economic complexities

operates as a “true vicious

circle.”

Not onl y does it contribute to the growth of organiz ed crime, but it also exacerbates tensions among armed groups, providing them with crucial financial resources.

The intricate web of drug trafficking has far- reaching implications for the stability and well-

cocaine  and  heroin

transit through West Africa annually.

The estimated value of this illicit trade in Europe is a staggering

$1.25 billion. Over the period from 2019 to 2023, the institution reports that 80 tons of cocaine were seiz ed in West Africa, predominantly in seven countries, including Cape Verde, Senegal, and

cooperation to address the

multifaceted challenges posed by drug trafficking in West Africa.

Efforts must extend beyond mere interdictions to encompass initiatives that tac kle the root causes of this issue, such as po v er t y, governance issues, and the underlying socio- economic disparities that contribute to the

d uring  th e  e le c tions                                                

to heightened security

being of the region.

Guinea.

perpetuation of the drug

but have seen limited

Cont’d on page 21

risks, particularly in its

Da ta  relea sed  by

T hese   alar ming

trade in the region.

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Trevor Noah To Host 2024  Grammy

Rudy Giuliani To Pay Nearly $150 Million In Damages

TREVOR NOAH is

set to return as the host for the fourth consecutive year at the 2024 Grammy Awards, according to an announcement made on his podcast “What Now? With Trevor Noah.”

The 66th Grammys will showcase Noah’s continued success as the host of the prestigious music awards ceremony.

Known for his wit and humor, Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, te l evi sion h ost, and political commentator who gained international ac c l ai m as t h e h os t of “The Daily Show,” succeeding Jon Stewart. His unique perspective and engaging style have made him a popular figure in the enter tainment industry.

Text Box: USAHeading into the 2024 ceremony,  SZA  leads

with an impressive nine nominations, notably for her revenge anthem “Kill Bill,” recognized in categories such as record of the year, song of the ye ar, and be st R &B performance.

Phoe be Bridg er s follows c losely with seven nominations, six of which are shared with her band boygenius.

T he sta r- studded lineup of nominees also includes Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Miley Cyr us, Billie Eilish , Brand y Clar k, Jon Batiste, and producer Jac k Antonoff, each earning six nominations.

The 2024 Grammy Awards are scheduled to take place on February 4 and will be broadcast live on CBS and Paramount+ from the Cr ypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

RUDY GIULIANI,

the for mer mayor  of N e w York , h as be e n instructed to pay nearly

$150 million in damages to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, for mer Georgia election workers he defamed following the 2020 presidential election.

The pivotal question, common in major jury a wards, center s on whether Freeman and Moss will recover any of the awarded funds.

Giuliani, once the attor ney for e x- President Donald Trump, has pledged to appeal the jur y’s decision. Throughout the trial, Giuliani and his legal team asserted financial constraints, but the actual extent of his financial standing remains elusive. Efforts by Freeman and Moss’s a ttor ne ys to ascertain Giuliani’s net worth were impeded by his non-compliance with subpoenas.

A spokesperson for Giuliani has refrained from commenting on his

current financial status. Joh n Langf ord , th e attorney representing Freeman and Moss, has expressed determination to e nsur e t h e two women receive ever y available penny from Giuliani to satisfy the judgment. They plan to swiftly secure a final judgment and pursue Giuliani’s assets in other jurisdictions.

Le gal e xpe r ts, inc luding f or mer Department of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, anticipate that Freeman and Moss may only receive a fraction of the awarded amount. The mandated payments include $16,171,000 to Freeman, $16,998,000 to Moss for defamation,

$20 million each for emotional distress, and a total of $75 million in punitive damages.

Despite e xisting fines and debts, Giuliani has received sporadic assistance, inc luding fundraising efforts. His financial challenges have been exacerbated by legal

fees and outstanding bills. Giuliani’s three-bedroom Manhattan apartment, listed for $6.1 million, remains on the market.

T he possibility of Giuliani declaring bankr uptcy to shield himself from damages remains uncertain.

In similar cases, such as that involving far- right figure Alex Jones, ba nkr uptcy ha sn’t absolved individuals of their obligations. Freeman, addressing reporters, underscored that while money won’t resolve all her problems, her life has been permanently altered.

Undeterred, Giuliani pla ns to a ppea l, dismissing the awarded amount as absurd. He maintains his defamatory comments against Moss and Freeman without presenting evidence to support his claims.

Observers note that w hile Giulia ni may not afford the entire jud gme nt, th e c ase establishes a precedent for defamation suits.

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Decoding The Magi’s Gifts: A Journey Into The Hidden Depths Of Gold, Frankincense, And Myrrh

In   the   timeless narrative of the Nativity, amidst the  shepherds and  celestial  beings, three  figures  emerge from  the  shadows  of antiquity — the Magi. Cl oak e d  in   wi s d om and  m yster y,  these Eastern sages present gifts  that  transcend cultural and temporal boundaries. While the Gospel  of   Ma tth ew (2:11) merely alludes to their offerings of  gold, frankincense, and myrrh, a recent study by Cardiff U nive r sity  in  Wale s unravels a captivating possibility that extends be y o nd   theo lo g ica l inter preta tions  and delves into the medicinal practices of antiquity.

Text Box: FaithT h rough out th e ages, theologians and scholars have dissected the symbolic significance of the Magi’s gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, revered treasures in the ancient world, create a narrative that reaches beyond material wealth. T he Book of Isaiah (60:6) foretells a glorious restoration, with nations presenting gold and frankincense to proclaim the praise of the Lord. Yet, might these gifts,

laden with spiritual symbolism, conceal a more pragmatic purpose?

A       h i s t o r i c a l e xplora tion  re ve als th a t  King  Se le uc us II  Callinicus,  in  243 B.C.E., offered the same trifecta of  gifts — gold, frankincense, and myrrh

— to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus. This echoes the Magi’s gesture and suggests a longstanding tradition of presenting these precious commodities to honor divinity. While the specific number of gifts remains unspecified in Matthew’s gospel, the association with the Three Wise Men has persisted through tradition.

T he la y er s o f symbolism inherent in each gift offer profound insights into the nature of Jesus himself. Gold, symbolizing kingship, foreshadows the regal destiny awaiting the newborn. Frankincense, with its fragrant allure and ties to priestl y rituals, signifies a role transcending ear thly realms — a spiritual priesthood. Myr rh, used in embalming and hinting at mor tality, alludes to the profound

sacrifice awaiting the young child. This trinity of gifts, immortalized in the Christmas carol “We Three Kings,” becomes a revelation of Jesus’ royal, priestly, and sacrificial identity.

Y e t ,       a m i d s t t h e    t h e o l o g i c a l interpretations, a recent scientific inquiry from Car d i ff   U n i v e r s i t y introduces a provocative twist. Could the Magi, in their wisdom, have bestowed gifts beyond symbolism — gifts with ta ng ib le,  medicinal properties?

At the heart of this inquiry lies frankincense, one of the Magi’s offerings, sourced from trees in Nor th Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Traditionally valued for its aromatic qualities and used in spiritual ceremonies, frankincense has recently attracted attention for its potential medicinal benefits. According to the Cardiff University study, frankincense contains an active ingredient capable of alleviating arthritis by inhibiting inflammation responsible for cartilage breakdown and ensuing pain.

This revelation not only infuses a layer of practicality into the Magi’s gifts but also validates the traditional use of frankincense in treating arthritis within the communities where the resin-producing trees flourish. The Magi, originating from the East, may have possessed knowledge of this ancient remedy, intertwining the sacred and the practical in their offerings to the infant Jesus.

As we navigate this delicate balance between sacred symbolism and pragmatic healing, the Magi’s gifts emerge as a bridge connecting ancient spiritual traditions with the practical world of medicinal wisdom. The intersection of theology and science  becomes a ca ptiva ting realm where the mystical and the practical converge, prompting us to reflect on whether these gifts

were not only symbolic gestures of honor but also a prescient attempt to alleviate potential human suffering.

The enduring allure of the Magi’s gifts lies in their ability to transcend time and interpretation, weaving a narrative that embraces both the divine and the ear thly. In a world where spirituality and science often seem at odds, the Magi’s offerings beckon us to explore the harmonious interplay between the sacred and the practical, encouraging us to reexamine age-old nar ratives with fresh perspectives.

As we unwrap the layers of this ancient tale, the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh unfold not only as symbols of homage but as a testament to the enduring quest for wisdom, healing, and the intersection of the divine and the human.

The Three Wise Men

UK and Rwanda Forge New Asylum Agreement Following Court Ruling

The agreement was signed by Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta (R) and UK Home Secretary James Cleverly

British Home Secretary James Cleverly finalized a new asylum agreement with Rwanda after the UK’s highest court deemed the previous deportation initiative illegal. The treaty, signed during Cleverly’s visit to Kigali, needs more immediate details b ut re por te d l y inc lud e s commitments from Rwanda regarding the treatment of asylum seekers.

Despite the recent UK Supreme Court ruling against the deportation plan,

Cleverly expressed confidence that mig rants would soon be ar riving in Rwa nda, emphasizing the strategy’s pivotal role in the UK’s broader migration reduction efforts. Post-court concerns led to a renegotiation, seeking a binding treaty to address the court’s apprehensions about expelling asylum seekers.

Cleverly, upon arriving in Kigali, underscored Rwanda’s dedica tio n to upho lding refugee rights and discussed collaborative efforts to combat

g lobal  ille gal  mig ra tion challenges.

R wa nda ‘s De puty Government Spokesman, Alain Mukuralinda, outlined plans to establish a joint tribunal in Kigali with judges from both nations to ensure the non- deportation of immigrants sent to Rwanda. Parliamentary approval from both countries is required for the tribunal.

T he UK aims to send unauthorized asylum seekers to Rwanda as a deter rent against Channel crossings,

with Rwanda receiving an initial payment of £140 million and commitments for additional funding to support the accommodation and care of deported individuals.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to reduce net migration and stem the flow of asylum seekers, and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling posed a setback to his plans. Sunak also plans to introduce “emerg ency le gisla tion” designating Rwanda as a safe country.

I m m i g r a t i on M i n i s t e r Robert Jenrick defended the government’s actions, citing the prohibition against illegal entry.

A last-minute European Cour t of Human R ights injunction  in  June  2022 t   e   m   p   o   r   a   r   i   l                        y h a l t e d deportations.  Human Rights Watch  criticized the plan, urging  the UK government to scr utiniz e Rwanda’s human  rights track record, pa r ticula rl y co ncer ning refugees and asylum seekers.

In Remembrance of

Sydney Casely Hayford

Today, we pay tribute to Sydney Casely-Hayford, a partner whose influence on The New Ghanaian newspapers transcended the ordinary collaboration. Sydney wasn’t just a business ally; he was the heartbeat that propelled newspaper publishing to new heights throughout our ten-year journey. Together, we explored uncharted territories, crafting narratives that echoed the stories of Ghana within the heart of the United States. Sydney’s intellect and ingenuity were the pillars of our success.

He had a remarkable knack for turning challenges into stepping stones, shaping The New Ghanaian into a symbol of journalistic excellence that reached far beyond our initial aspirations. Beyond our professional pursuits, Sydney served as a mentor, a guide, and a wellspring of inspiration. His wisdom and humor shaped the narrative of our collective journey, creating an environment where creativity

thrived and laughter echoed through our shared spaces. As we reflect on his passing, let us not only recall the milestones but also cherish the enduring lessons and camaraderie he imparted.

Sydney Casely-Hayford’s legacy lives on, not just in the stories we told, but in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have been part of his journey. Though Sydney may no longer be with us, his spirit persists in the stories we share, the principles we uphold, and the impact we continue to make. In honoring his legacy, let us embody the resilience and integrity he exemplified, ensuring that the narrative he helped shape endures in our ongoing story.

Rest in peace, Sydney. Your chapter may have closed, but the imprint you left on our narrative remains everlasting.

Sonny Vanderpuye,

Editor / Publisher, West Africa Times.

Winner Of Ghana’s Election 2024

To Send Opponent Into Stretched Opposition

Cont’d from 13

T h e N D C ,  le d  by F or mer President Ma ha ma , a ims to confront Dr. Bawumia on economic, corruption, and project fronts. The aftermath of the NPP primaries has left the party divided, but the NDC recogniz es the enduring strength of the ‘Elephant.’

The party plans to challenge Bawumia’s campaign with critical videos and audio recordings from the recent NPP primaries, aiming to sway public opinion in their favor. T he effectiveness of this strategy remains uncertain.

T he Contest f or Running Mates in the 2024 General Elections:

T he f or thcoming 2024 general elections in Ghana are  poised to intensify as the two nor ther n candidates strategically select their r unning mates from the southern region to balance power dynamics in   their   respecti v e

strongholds.

In 2020, Ghana had a considerable voter base exceeding 17 million, with the majority being females, totaling around

8.8 million, while male voters constituted over

  • million, representing 48.26% of eligible voters. The electoral landscape includes 33,367 polling

stations, 38,622 voting

stations, 27 political parties, and a growing co unt o f 1 7 ,0 2 7 ,6 4 1 registered voters.

The critical decision of choosing a running ma te, pa r ticula rl y with regards to gender and regional origin in the south, remains a strategic secret for both flagbearers.

Political  analysts e m p h a s i z e              t h e importance of  selecting a running mate capable of garnering substantial votes from the candidate’s constituency,  re gion, and beyond. The ideal candidate should possess national popularity, enjoy bipartisan recognition, and be well-acquainted within  and  outside the party to influence votes across the country significantly.

Religion is deemed to  play  a  ne gligible

role in deter mining election outcomes, with suggestions that a political party selecting a religious leader as a running mate could be counterproductive.

Despite signals that Dr. Bawumia may  be le ve raging re ligious platforms for campaign pur pose s, politic al analysts downplay the impact of religious dynamics in electoral success.

Accusations from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) claim that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is engaging in ethnic and religious politics, a  charge the N P P re fut e s. N P P tradition since 1979 in v olv e d fe a turing Christian flagbearers, while the running mate slot alternated between a Christian from the south or north and a Muslim from the north.

T h e     N P P     h as broken this tradition by nominating  a  Muslim flagbearer from the north, presenting a challenge to  selec t  a  r unning mate from the southern region. However, there is  a  prevailing  belief within NPP circles that souther ners  may  not

be enthusiastic about a running mate from their ranks.

For mer  P re sid e nt J o h n               M a h a m a , representing the NDC, has announced plans to choose his running mate after consulting with the national executive and council of  elders of  the party.

The NDC maintains flexibility in selecting a r unning mate from any part of the country, prioritizing the ability to attract votes from non- traditional strongholds as a k e y fac t or f or victory. The unfolding dynamics of r unning mate se le c tions will undoubtedl y sha pe the strategic landscape leading up to the 2024 elections.

R unning M a te Selection Dynamics for 2024 Elections:

As preparations for the 2024 elections unfold, n ot ab l e t r ad i t i on al leaders are expressing their preferences for running mates, creating a nuanced backdrop for the political landscape.

T h e P aram ou n t Ch i e f of t h e G oas o Traditional Council in the Ahafo Ano Region, Nana Kwasi Bosomprah,

and the Queen Mother of Sunyani Traditional Council in the Bono Region, Nana Akosua Dua Sika Asor Brayie II, have jointly appealed to For mer President Mahama, urging him to consider selecting a running mate from their respective regions.

In the Central Region, opinion leaders advocate for the retention of Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyeman as Mahama’s r unning mate in the upcoming polls.

The endorsement of Prof. Opoku-Agyeman is seen as a strategic move to maintain re gional balance and capitalize on her previous role as a running mate.

On the other side, Dr. Bawumia is facing pressure and potential interv ention from President Akufo-Addo in the selection of his running mate.

With the President endorsing Dr. Bawumia’s candidacy, he wields significant influence as a king-maker within the party.

Speculation suggests that President Akufo- Ad d o  m a y   im pose a r unning mate from the Eastern or Ashanti

Region on Dr. Bawumia, solidifying his control over the par ty and government even after stepping down from the presidency.

The characterization of P re sid e nt Ak ufo- Addo as a “lame-duck pre sid e nt” b y th e Speak er  of  Ghana’s P arliame nt, Alban Bagbin, under scores the shifting dynamics within the ruling party. Allegiance is gradually transitioning from the current president to the newly elected flagbearer, D r. Ba wumia. T h is shift has ramifications in Parliament, where NPP MPs are vying for the attention of their flagbearer, impacting legislative proceedings.

A m i d s t        t h e  calcula tions          and ma neuv er s   o f  the political  par ties,  the ultimate decision rests with the Ghanaian voters. Their preferences will determine who assumes the mantle as the next leader of the nation.

As the selection of running mates unfolds, it remains to be seen how these dynamics will shape the trajectory of Ghana’s political landscape in the forthcoming elections.

Season’s Greetings from West Africa Times!

As we approach the joyous holiday season, the West Africa Times family extends warm and festive greetings to our cherished readers and the entire public. In the spirit of love, unity, and celebration, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May this festive season bring you moments of joy, laughter, and reflection. As we gather with friends and family, let’s embrace the spirit of togetherness and gratitude for the blessings that surround us.

In the pages of West Africa Times, we’ve been honored to share stories, insights, and news that matter to our community throughout the year. As we usher in the holiday season, we look forward to another year of serving you with excellence and dedication.

May your homes be filled with the warmth of love, the glow of happiness, and the melodies of laughter. Here’s to a season of peace, goodwill, and prosperity for all.

Thank you for being an integral part of the West Africa Times family. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to bringing you more informative and inspiring content in the coming year.

Wishing you a festive season filled with love, hope, and wonderful memories!

Warm regards,

Sonny Vanderpuye, Editor / Publisher

Text Box: Health WatchAfrica’s Urgent Campaign Against The Hidden Threat Of Trans-Fats

Across Af rica, a pressing health concern is gainin g at te n tion as nations mobilize to combat the insidious effects of artificial trans- fats found in popular snack foods and cooking oils. These harmful fats, prevalent in baked goods, contribute to a multitude

by manufacturers for its affordability and prolong ed product shelf  life. However, the c onsumption

of PHOs raises leve ls  of   bad c h ole ste rol (LDL) w hile simultaneously lowering  good

South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria have taken the lead. These policies not only save lives but

$290 million saving in healthcare costs over the population’s lifetime.

Despite these strides,

many African n a t i o n s r e m a i n vulnera b le to trans- fa t -l ad e n products,

countries to rid their food supplies of trans- fats. In collaborative effor ts, Africa CDC and Resolve to Save Lives are committed to suppor ting interested countries by providing technical assistance. Aligned with this goal, Africa  CDC’s  2022-

of health issues, including

c h ole ste rol

l a c k i n g   2026 strategy for non-

clogged arteries, heart attacks, and premature deaths. Shockingly, an estimated 10,000 lives ar e l os t an nu ally in Africa due to coronary heart disease linked to trans-fat consumption, a number projected to surge without immediate intervention.

At th e h e ar t  of this health crisis lies an industrial process tha t adds hydrog en to liquid ve g e tab le oils, creating artificial

(  H  D  L  )  ,

sig nif ica ntl y e leva ting th e risk of stroke, hear t a ttac k, and, ultimately, p r e m a t u r e death.

The urgency to        ad d re ss

this critical issue was und e r sc ore d i n 2018 when the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the global elimination of trans-fats. To date, 56 countries,

also yield economic benefits, as evidenced by a 2023 cost-effectiveness analysis in Kenya. The study reve ale d th a t eliminating ar tificial trans-fats would prevent

e sse ntial n a t i o n a l re gulations f     o              r elimination. Governments are   urg ed to   s wif tl y adopt WHO-

recommended policies, e ith e r    imposing r e s t r i c t i o n s o n industrially produced trans- fa tty  acids or implementing a nationwide ban on PHOs.

communicable diseases addresses commercial determinants of health, with a specific focus on eliminating trans-fats.

Implementa tion of these best-practice policies not only saves lives but also bolsters economies, a crucial step toward building resilient populations and fostering prosperity. The time for African nations to unite against this preventable health threat is now, as they work collectively

trans-fats. The primary

encompassing nearly half

approximately 110,000

T h e         W H O ‘ s   to  ensure  a  healthier

dietary source, known as partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), is favored

of the world’s population, have implemented best- practice policies. Notably,

heart attacks and 49,000 hear t disease deaths, resulting in a substantial

RE PLA CE action package offers a detailed stra te gic   plan   f or

and economically robust future by making their continent trans-fat-free.

Seizing Healthcare Opportunities in Africa: Reliance Health’s Transformative Model Expands Across the Continent

An astute investor sees a promising opportunity in addressing the glaring healthcare deficit across the African continent, spanning from Nigeria to Egypt.

Africa’s healthcare system significantly lags behind other regions, as evidenced by its mere 2% contribution to global hea lth e xpenditure despite co mprising almost 18% of the world’s population.

Com p ou n d e d  b y a shortage of medical professionals, with just

  • doctors per 10,000

people, the continent faces a substantial healthcare imbalance.

One of the visionary pioneers recognizing and actively capitalizing on this healthcare gap is Mikael Hajjar, co-founder of the Africa-focused venture capital firm P1 Ventures.

Within the notable portfolio of P1 Ventures lies Reliance Health, a company that has evolved from its inception in 2015 as Kangpe, a telemedicine firm offering the enticing prospect of “a doctor in your pocket.” Driven by

the noble goal of making healthcare accessible and affordable in Nigeria, Reliance Health has transfor med into an integrated healthcare enterprise.

At its core, Reliance Hea lth now o f f er s a co mprehensive suite of services, including micro-insurance f or medical coverage, round- the-clock telemedicine suppor t, and ac c ess to me d ic al fac ilitie s through private clinics strategically located in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja.

T he company has recently expanded its footprint to Egypt, establishing a presence in the bustling city of Cairo.

On t h e ins u ran c e front, Reliance Health strate gica lly  ta rgets c or pora te c lie nts, presenting health insurance pac kag es tailored for employers to cover their workforce, with plans starting as low as US$50 per year.

N ot ab l e e n t i t i e s among its c lie nte le include the prominent e-commerce giant Jumia and the financial services

platform OPay.

Mikael Hajjar emphasizes the potency of Reliance Health’s model, noting its impressive scalability and its ongoing expansion across the African continent.

As th e c om p an y continues to bridge the healthcare gap and adapt to the evolving needs of the diverse African population, it stands as a beacon of innovation and progress in a sector that holds immense potential for positive impact and growth.

Merry Christmas!

“This Christmas, we extend our warmest wishes to our cherished customers at Boadi International Food. May your days be merry and bright, and may the coming year bring you success and prosperity. Thank you for choosing us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

 West Africa Times | Serving The Community Since 2001 | Page 24  

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