Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second ‘Ghana Property Expo’ launched

The second ‘Ghana Property Expo’ has been launched with a call on Ghanaians to actively identify opportunities and invest in the real-estate sector.

The Property Expo, organised by Smart Investors Group in Accra and scheduled from July 30 - 31, 2010, is under the theme “Spreading Home Ownership”.

The event is aimed at providing opportunities for prospective property owners to meet and assess players in the real-estate industry.

It will also provide participants with education, a comprehensive information base on the country’s property opportunities, as well as a portfolio of property investment opportunities, financing and aftercare services.

Kojo Biney, Chief Executive Officer of Smart Investors Group, launching the event in Accra explained that property should be seen as a money-making tool in the country.

“We want to groom people to patronise the products of real-estate developers and help to make the industry very vibrant.

“Property is an investment for the future. There is going to be a lot of competition in the industry, and therefore we should make our products attractive to the investing public.”

“The public needs continuous education so that they can see the need to own houses. We need to prompt people into action. We have got to prompt people to invest in properties.” Biney said.

He urged players in the real-estate industry to reach out to the public and advise them to understand the need to direct their investment into acquisition of properties.

As part of the exhibition, participants will attend seminars on how to venture into home financing, make profit from properties, as well as buying your first property and how to build a strong property portfolio.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Putzmeister unveils industrial pump

A new industrial pump aimed at providing solution to engineering and industrial customers for handling and transportation of solid materials has been introduced onto the market.

The pump, manufactured by Putzmeister solid pumps, a German firm, is robust and has been designed with flow-optimised abilities, long piston stroke and high volumetric efficiency for the delivery cylinders.

Rudolf Gansl, Managing Director of Putzmeister, at the programme said: “The Company focuses on modern dynamics with a state of the art assembly plant located in Aichtal near Stuttgart in Germany.

“Since our establishment 50 years ago, we have been providing solutions to engineering and industrial customers with the most difficult task of handling and transporting near solid materials.”

He explained that the products have been manufactured specifically to provide tailor-made solutions for the transportation of solids and other difficult industrial raw and waste materials.

“With strategic subsidiaries on every continent, Putzmeister Pumps have applications in the industries where it would be useful in the lifting of underground water from extreme depths of about 1,500 meters and are also used in mixer feeding, reactor charging, de-sludging of storage tanks and drilling platform applications, Gansl remarked.

Sahel -Sahara bank’s strategic ambition

Sahel-Sahara Bank (BSIC Ghana Limited) is hopeful of becoming a first-class finance house in the country within the next five years, when it will be positioned among the top-10 banks.

“We are an ambitious bank and we intend to achieve our five-year strategic corporate target with a continued focus on branch expansion strategy and innovative products development, which will augment our clientele base in the financial sector, said Mr. Robert Kow Bentil, Managing Director of the bank.

He made this statement when he led a delegation from the bank to pay a courtesy call, on Business and Financial Times (B&FT), Africa’s leading provider of business information.

It was meant to acquaint them with the dealings and operations of the organisation.
Bentil said: “We will be introducing products that will cover the young and the elder generation, which will take care of their pension and old age.

The bank presently has 10 branch outlets in the major cities including Accra-Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi, and intends to continue its expansion drive this year with five more roll-outs to bring the total branch network to 15 and regional coverage to seven.

He explained that the bank, which operates under a universal banking licence that allows it to undertake all banking-related activities, has the objective of bringing banking to the doorstep of Ghanaians and will continue to introduce new products to delight its customers.

The Bank, in its two years of operation, has grown its asset base to about 80 percent over its first year figure with the customer base increasing almost 300 percent to date.

The bank ‘s performance has been impressive over the years, with its deposit portfolio growing over 270 percent and 250 percent in advances last year; its products have also been increasing over the last two years of its operation in the country - it also offers trade finance products.

He indicated that as an African bank currently operating in 14 African countries it will provide a financial platform to facilitate regional integration and extend financial services, aimed at strengthening the work culture of the Arabic, Francophone and Anglophone countries on the continent.

It also has the objective of promoting and facilitating regional trade between Ghana and the rest of Africa, contributing to the country’s export diversification efforts by providing a platform to enable the country realise its long-term objectives of developing into a major agro-processing economy - taking advantage of the medium to long-term funding to be made available by Sahel-Sahara Bank (BSIC GH Ltd.)

Mrs. Edith Dankwa, Executive Director, B&FT, in her welcome statement said the company has positioned itself as the Africa’s leading provider of business information and that such strategic partnerships are always welcome – emphasising that “our doors are always open, which policy is aimed at promoting business.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

IFC deepens commitment on climatic change

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) says its new global environmental and social standards framework is being developed reflect its strategic commitment on climatic change.

The Director of Environment and Social Development of IFC, Greg Radford, said “The policy is of critical importance for private sector clients that need a high level of certainty on roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations before entering into a financial transaction.

“It is also to strengthen standards and improve on better ways of addressing emerging issues that have reshaped the operating environment.”

The framework, which is currently undergoing consultations among stakeholders, will be effective by January 2011 and focus on the policy and performance standards in social and environmental sustainability.

It will also consider policy on disclosure of information accompanied by performance standards, guidance notes, and environment, health and safety guidelines.

These will provide private sector clients with a clear and comprehensive view of requirements in their engagement with IFC.

Radford explained this in Accra at a media briefing after a stakeholders’ consultation on the IFC’s operating standards involving some 45 participants from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and the United States of America.

The consultation was also part of a series of global consultations with academics, civil society groups, financial institutions, government officials, private sector representatives, and other resource persons to discuss ways of improving IFC’s standards on sustainability.

“IFC is committed to being a leader in sustainable banking through a process of continuous improvement, and our stakeholder’s views are critical in helping us to adapt and remain relevant.”

IFC’s experiences over the years have shown that companies that do not manage their environment and social issues face both financial and reputational risks; at IFC, one of the core principles is to manage climate change and sustainable business.

“At IFC we have environmental and social performance standards that apply to all our investments; we ensure that the local communities where we operate are well protected.”

Mary-Jean Lindile Ndlovu, IFC’s Country Manager for Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Updating IFC’s performance standards is important for Africa, as it will help continue implementing innovative projects that improve sustainable economic growth in the region.

“It is important to ensure that the people who are affected by our projects are adequately consulted so that we can address their concerns and improve the impact of our initiatives,” she stressed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

HFC Boafo Microfinance rescues active poor

HFC Boafo Microfinance Service Limited is hopeful of becoming a fully-fletched savings and loans company in the next five years, whereby it can meet the credit demand of over estimated 50,000 people - covering those in rural areas and the active poor - and help to maximise their options in pursuit of shelter, business, education and other opportunities.

Ghana’s microfinance industry has made very significant progress with regard to the reduction of poverty and empowering women - two of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Presently, the biggest proportion of loan funds available from the industry goes to market women, besides many others belonging to one association or another.

Undoubtedly, the economic emphasis in the country seems to be shifting away from the restrictive poverty eradication agenda and is now angled towards generating domestic economic growth by - among other measures - making it easier for the informal sector to have access to finance.

There is still a large part of the potential microfinance market that remains untapped, especially in the rural and peri-urban areas. Most of the microfinance operators are realising this - and are planning to expand their branch networks out from the big cities where the market is approaching saturation, with some of the banks also setting up special-purpose subsidiaries to compete in the microfinance and credit sector.

Already, institutions like HFC Boafo microfinance are making efforts to further spread their operations to anywhere they can find an attractive concentration of the informal sector.

Since it commenced operations in April, 2007, HFC’s Boafo Microfinance has grown to include a loan portfolio worth nearly US$3.0 million and a client base of more than 5,000 active borrowers.

Boafo, which means "helper" in the native Twi language, combines Ghana's largest mortgage lender HFC Boafo with CHF to provide a “helping hand” to low- and moderate-income Ghanaians in their pursuit of business, shelter and educational opportunities.

It is estimated that in Ghana, 1.9 million urban poor face limited access to credit to improve or build their homes or expand their small-scale enterprises.

In its role as a unique supplier of non-mortgage housing microfinance loans, HFC Boafo:
• Lends for the improvement or expansion of homes in informal settlements
• Lends for business expansion to improve household incomes
• Requires less collateral coverage for loans to informal sector entrepreneurs than that required by other lenders
• Offers access to savings services through the HFC Bank
• Offers consumer education on managing credit and home improvement projects

Dr. Joseph Kimos Adjei, Managing Director of HFC Boafo Microfinanace Services, expressing his optimism told B&FT its business portfolio volume could increase from the current 5,000 loan clients and more than 8,000 depositors. It expects to grow its portfolio to between eight and ten million by close of 2010, disbursing three million Ghana cedis per month.

Dr. Adjei explained that HFC Boafo derives its strength from its joint venture partners by combining international best practice in micro-finance through the support of CHF International with availability of funding support from HFC Bank, as well as the comfort of doing business in the Bank’s extensive branch network.

“The relationship with HFC Boafo exposes our clients to commercial banking operations, which is very important when they require larger loan amounts or overdraft facilities in the future.

“Customers of HFC Boafo can easily graduate to be customers of HFC Bank and benefit from their products and services without necessarily being required to build their credit record with the Bank.”

HFC Boafo operates from some selected HFC Bank branches where it has large concentration of micro and small-size businesses. Currently, it operates from the following branches of HFC Bank: Tudu, South Industrial Area at Agbobloshie, Adabraka, Batsoona and Post Office Square, all in Accra, as well as Tema, Ashaiman, Koforidua, Techiman, Adum and Tarkwa Maakro, (Suame-Kumasi) Takoradi, Kasoa and Agona Swedru.

HFC Boafo microfinance has been positioned to provide a unique opportunity for low and moderate income Ghanaian households to achieve some level of comfort. Its diverse products have been packaged to help this group of people achieve their dream of owning decent shelter, growing their business and aiding their educational pursuits.

HFC Boafo currently provides five core loan products to its clientele: Busy Bee for micro and small-sized enterprise development; HI-5 for home improvement in five areas; land purchase, structure construction, roofing, fittings and finishing. Its Boafo Express loans also advances loans to groups to augment working capital.

It also provides cash collection services, ‘Susu Collection’, to its clients - especially market women who cannot leave their goods behind and go to the Bank to transact business.

HFC Boafo has also entered into a tripartite agreement with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) informal sector fund and the HFC Bank Ltd, to help offer working capital loans to contributors to the fund to help expand their businesses.

The pilot scheme under the agreement has already commenced in Accra and Koforidua and will be rolled-out in branches upon successful completion of the pilot phase.

New UT Bank unveiled on GSE

UT Financial Services Limited (UTFSL) has listed 91 million additional shares to acquire UT Bank, and changed its name on the Ghana Stock Exchange to UT Bank Limited.

By this, over 300 million shares have now been issued to raise some additional capital, which will be injected into the bank, in order to meet the GH¢60 million minimum capitalisation requirement stipulated by the Bank of Ghana in 2010.

Among the benefits in the merger and acquisition, is also to increase customer base of the bank, access to cheaper lending, balance sheet leverage, to meet future capital requirement, as well as technological improvement.

It would also enable the bank to create more employment and provide more capital investment to improve the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
It also marks the completion of the merger process between UTFSL and UT Bank which aims at making the Bank more competitive in the industry of 26 banks.

UT Holdings which presently holds 70 percent of the share holding structure has operated UT Collection, UT Properties, UT Logistics and UT International alongside UT Financial Services, giving its target market clientele balanced financial products to choose from.

In November last year, UT Holdings acquired 51 percent stake in BPI Bank to become the majority stakeholder. BPI Bank was formerly controlled by Hopaco Ventures of Malaysia at 93 percent and the rest by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

The CEO of UT Bank, Captain (rtd.) Prince Kofi Amoabeng explaining to B&FT said: “The merger of the two companies will position UT Bank as a vibrant lending bank more especially to the (SMEs) which constitute over 85 percent of the country’s business sector.

“It would also change the face of banking in the country through fast, efficient and respectful delivery of service, maintaining the core proposition of loan in less than 48 hours.”

“Our hope is to make banking accessible to the general public and ensure transparency in the Banks operations.”

Amoabeng assured investors of good management and high returns on their shares.

UTFS, which was recently voted the Most Respected Company and its CEO Voted the Most Respected CEO by its peers is also ranked fifth on the Ghana Club 100, started of as a finance house-a non bank financial institution in 1997.Over 13 years, the company carved a niche for itself as a fast and efficient provider of financial solutions delivering superior loans.

Its net worth improved by 52 percent over 2007 to GH¢16.8 million in 2008, out of which GH¢3 million was raised from an Initial Public Offer.

Other key performance indicators also showed improved performance including total assets, which went up by 68 percent to GH¢ 127.8 million, profit before tax up by 28 percent to GH¢7.6 million and interest income, a 17 percent growth. Business loans grew by 24 percent and auto loans, by 253 percent.

‘Adopt technological growth for poverty reduction’

Accelerated growth of technology-adoption by government and businesses is an essential tool for addressing the challenge of poverty reduction in the country, Mr. Solomon Adiyiah, Principal Consultant, eSolutions Consulting, has said.

“The public sector, which is heavily dependent and generally overburdened, is convoluted with manual processes. This impedes data collection and reporting methods, and has invariably led to poor service provision, corruption and fraud.

“Ghana is seriously lagging in the use of information technology to provide government services, and this issue has been exacerbated by the lack of appropriate technical skills and a robust network infrastructure,” he said.

Mr. Adiyiah made this observation in Accra at a media interaction aimed at creating a common platform for industry players and policymakers to brainstorm on ideas to help improve organisation’s operations through best-practices in business and IT strategic planning and transformation, business process improvement, technical project management and outsourcing.

It was also to share experiences in the IT industry - meant to promote the ethos of value-based business and technology consulting in the country.

The programme brought together IT experts from the sub-region, representatives from government agencies and private sector operators as well as media operators.

Mr. Adiyiah said: “The country is competing with other African countries for foreign investment, and administrative functions must enable foreign companies to operate efficiently and effectively. These expectations must drive political action to speed-up electronic government initiatives in the country.

‘The provision of effective business and IT consulting services will help the country’s corporate institutions make the necessary advances in the field of acquiring new technologies to help create new high-tech jobs and generate growth in both public and private sectors.”

He emphasised that different organisations have different attitudes toward change; eSolutions Consulting works to understand each client’s specific goals and constraints and create a tailor-made programme that meets their objectives and fits with their organisational culture.

These include identifying opportunities to realise quick savings - perhaps by taking over the management of the existing IT environment right away. This optimised IT environment will cost less to operate and maintain, and will enable the organisation to concentrate on its core business.

“Drawing on our experience, we believe we can help organisations improve on their operations through best-practices,” Adiyiah remarked.

eSolution’s current clientele base in the country includes Vodafone, AngloGold Ashanti, Cocoa Board, Volta River Authority, Ministry of Communications, Ghana Health Service and Internal Revenue Services.

eSolutions Consulting is a consultancy company with service offerings and solutions specifically developed to meet the challenges facing organisations operating in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Its consultants developed the Ghana Government Enterprise Architecture framework, which focused on a technology blueprint for the computerisation of the public sector.

‘Gov’t urged to resolve conflicting interests in extractive sector

Government must take prudent steps to resolve conflicting interests within the extractive sector as they may pose a major challenge to the promotion of local content in employment and procurement in the country, Benjamin Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission has said.

“A major challenge to the promotion of local content in employment and procurement is the need to resolve conflicts of interest that may occur within and/or between government and operators.

“Governments play many roles, as policymakers and regulators in both short- and long-term periods and this has the tendency of resulting in conflicting interest with the operators,” said Mr. Aryee at a seminar organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines that brought together experts from academia, policymakers, stakeholders and industry players from the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Speaking on the topic ‘Increasing Local Content In Resource Development: A Key To Sustainable Development’, he explained that local suppliers in the country are faced with key challenges such as limited capacity to access and take advantage of information on existing and prospective market opportunities.

Concerns have been raised about some critical issues that have revealed grey areas in the local content policy for the emerging oil and gas industry.

B&FT has gathered that the concluded draft local content policy, which is to be a model for other sectors including the minerals and mining sector, is expected to be passed into law by Parliament soon and will provide for an initial 50 percent participation by Ghanaians - in terms of staffing companies servicing the sector as well as in the delivery of goods and services.
The extent of local participation is subsequently expected to increase to well over 80 percent within a decade.

“There is a general absence of demonstrated capacity due to poor quality control assurance as well as well structured corporate entities based on integrity and good corporate governance, which is required to pool resources for larger ventures.”

Aryee observed that the country’s mining sector has made modest contributions to the development of the economy at large, but it can and should take up the challenge to catalyse broader-based sustainable development through optimal use of local content strategy.

“It would require enhancing the engagement between government, industry and other stakeholders to implement strategies developed to achieve broad-based local content to benefit the citizens.

Estimates according to the Minerals Commission show that services procured by the mining firms in 2008 alone came to US$680 million, and they continue to go to foreigners because the locals have not positioned themselves to take advantage of these opportunities in the sector.

An estimated total of US$10 billion has been invested in the mineral and mining sector from 1980 to 2009, which is the leading export sector. In 1991 the sector became the single-largest contributor to total merchandise exports, except in 2004 when it was overtaken by the cocoa sector.

Mining however became the leader again from 2005 and has since provided an average of about 42 percent to total merchandise exports.

The major minerals currently being mined in commercial quantities in Ghana include gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese.

More than 24,000 people are employed by the large-scale sector, comprising eight companies producing gold and one each producing bauxite and manganese.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inflation drops amidst anxiety

* Eleventh monthly fall in inflation raising hopes of further rate cut
* But utility, public sector wage hikes could reverse trend

By Ekow Essabra-Mensah

Headline inflation rate declined for the 11th consecutive month by almost one percentage point, in May 2010, amidst anxieties of inflationary pressures being built by recent massive increases in utilities tariffs, which took effect beginning June.

The May inflation rate dropped to 10.68 percent, a further decline of 0.98 percentage points from the April figure of 11.66 percent, from latest figures released by Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

Current downward pressures on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) were driven general by both the food and non-food sectors, but the food component, which constitutes 44.91 percent exerted much more pressure with a 1.12 percentage decline from the April figure as compared to the 0.84 decline registered in the non-food component for the same period.

Dr. Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, briefing the media in Accra, explained that the items in the non-food basket such as recreation and culture (30.81%), hotels and restaurants (20.75%), alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotic (20.39) were among the non-food sub group that recorded high inflation rates above the group average of 14.98 percent.

“The current fall puts inflation at its lowest level since December 2007 and leaves the West African frontier economy in line to reach single digit well before the central bank's end-of-year target,” she said.

Analysts however contend that with electricity tariffs hiked up by 89 percent and water also going up by 36 percent, inflationary pressures are bound to build up.

“Aside of the average of 42 percent increase in electricity bills that domestic consumers are to be confronted with at the end of June, most consumers will have to bear the additional burden of pass through costs on products of producers who mainly use electric energy in their production processes,” said analyst.

Government officials have attributed the continuous drop in the inflation rate to the effects of government’s relatively tight fiscal and monetary policies and the stability of the cedi against major trading currencies in the past quarter.

Inflation slowed from 20.7 percent in June after the cedi closed down its decline against the dollar. The cedi, which declined 15 percent against the dollar in the first half of 2009, rose 4.5 percent in the second half of the year and is little changed this year.

With the consistently declining inflation rates there is increasing possibility of further interest rate cuts by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) next month.
The BoG lowered its policy rate to 15 percent in April and has cut a total of 3.5 percentages points since November.

The outlook, as assessed by the BoG, points to lowering inflationary risks, an indication that the real value of money will continue to rise, and banks would become more willing to reduce lending rates.

In the previous year, the rate of inflation, which stood at 18 percent in October 2009, declined to 16.9 percent in November and then to 15.9 percent in December 2009.
Meanwhile, government says it is on course to achieving its stated objective of single digit inflation this year as inflation rate continues to record falling rates.
The government’s end of year inflation target is pegged at 9.2%.

“Government's sound macroeconomic policy characterised by fiscal and monetary prudence in 2009 and 2010 has kept inflation expectations well anchored,” Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning has said.

Merger of revenue agencies to improve tax compliance

The amalgamation of the three revenue agencies aimed at reducing tax evasion is an international best practice that would enhance revenue mobilization and improve tax compliance, Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has disclosed.

The three revenue agencies undergoing the integration process are the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Value Added Tax (VAT) and Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

The process would operate mainly on an improved automation technology platform under the e-Government project to reduce costs and enforce the tax law efficiently.

Government and its development partners including the World Bank and German Agency for Technical Corporation (GTZ) have already pledged $104 million for the establishment and operation of the GRA.

At media interaction in Accra organized in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association and aimed at providing an informal platform for the management of the Authority and the stakeholders, Blankson said: “In modern tax administration, voluntary compliance is the bedrock on which efficient and enhanced revenue mobilization is founded.”

This requires a partnership with taxpayers in which constant information flow between taxpayers and the tax administration is essential.

He revealed that the focus of the reforms is to establish an Authority that places a high premium on service delivery. It is for this reason, that taxpayers segmentation is being undertaken, envisaging that at the peak of the reforms revenue collection would be maximized for national development.

“Improvement of information linkage and sharing information among the various divisions of the Authority would be one of the major benefit to be derived from the integration.

“Programmes and sub projects have been designed and are being implemented with activities aimed at developing a blueprint that would provide the strategic direction of the Authority.

Government believes the integration will make them more efficient and cut out tasks which are presently duplicated,” Blankson said.

The CEPS, IRS and the VAT collected a total tax revenue of GH¢4,567.00 million last year. Out of this amount, the IRS and VAT collected domestic tax of GH¢2,544 million.
The total national revenue for 2010 is expected to grow by 20 percent with domestic tax revenue also growing at 26.5 percent.

They observed that the target comes with its obvious challenges, especially, when the shape of the Integrated Revenue Agencies had not yet crystallized.

The Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791) received Presidential assent on December 31 2009 and has been passed to establish the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

It passage will integrate the management of domestic tax and customs divisions and modernize domestic tax and customs operations through the review of processes and procedures.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New strategy to boost Palm Oil production

A new global strategy that could raise Ghana’s competitiveness in palm oil production is being developed by experts from the World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The strategy, to be ready in September 2010, is expected to quick-start a multi-million dollar oil palm programme for policymakers and government and will focus on access to financing, certification, land-use policy, technology transfer, and infrastructure development from the farm to the port, as well as pricing mechanism and marketing.

This is aimed at maximising development outcomes for the communities while minimising adverse social and environmental impacts of the sector and supporting smaller businesses, as well as alleviating poverty.

Analysts say the strategy is timely as Ghana is expected to export 36,000 metric tonnes of palm oil to China next year, following the conclusion of a US$21.6 million deal between Chyuan Chya Ghana Limited and China-Africa Economic Trade Limited.

The palm oil to be exported by Chyuan Chya will mainly be purchased from small and medium-scale smallholder producers across the country.

Current forecasts anticipate the country being faced with a net deficit of up to anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 tonnes of the valued oil palm commodity, estimated at about US$35 million annually, following slippages in the production of the commodity.

Outlining the set of principles to guide the IFC's future engagement in the palm oil sector at a news conference in Accra, after a consultative process aimed at helping to identify key issues affecting the sector, Mary-Jean Ndlovo, Country Manager, IFC, said: “IFC believes that investing in the palm oil sector results in many development benefits for local communities.

Oil palm can be readily cultivated in many developing countries and is highly efficient in producing a valued commodity with a variety of uses.”

The IFC has to date invested US$132 million in palm oil projects in West Africa, Asia, Central America and the Ukraine.

“Palm oil production can be the basis of a thriving local economy, producing jobs and other benefits for local populations,” Ndlovo said.

Mr. Mark Constantine, Principal Strategy Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC), said the process is aimed at supporting smaller businesses to undertake their activities in an environmentally friendly manner.

IFC recognises that the palm oil industry poses a number of social and environmental challenges. These include the impact of palm oil production on local communities, forests, wildlife habitat, and endangered species.

These challenges, the IFC believes, can be managed within its sustainability framework which provides guidelines on how to address and resolve issues related to community engagement, as well as protection of biodiversity and wildlife.

The World Bank has identified the palm oil sector as holding tremendous potential to create jobs and reduce poverty.

Recent trends in world price suggest that crude palm oil when properly nurtured could easily become a major foreign exchange earner for the country.

Average Crude Palm Oil (CPO) prices increased 76 percent in 2007 from the 2006 level of US$473.9 per tonne.

The rising trend in world demand has been precipitated by increasing demands on the commodity for bio-fuel purposes.

Crude petroleum price determinants continue to push upwards pressure on the price, and demand for CPO is steadily rising in India, China, Europe and the America for bio-fuel. In view of this development, investors have been diverting their investment portfolios into CPO.

Ghana’s major producers, Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) and Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TOPP), Ghana Oil Palm Development and Norway Palm turn out around 80,000 tonnes per annum as against 90,000 tonnes demanded by Unilever alone.

Land area cultivated by the four is barely 30 percent of the national endowment. The rest is either lying fallow or cultivated on subsistence basis by individual smallholder farmers.

GCNet enhances trade facilitation

Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) says the US$25 million investment in its operations is aimed at ensuring domestic revenue enhancement and compliance with the World Trade Organisations trade facilitation regulations.

This has ensured the development of a secured and robust virtual private network which includes acquisition of a radio frequency with broadband fibre-optic links powered by satellite systems.

The investment has over the years made a significant improvement in revenue collection at all collection points connected to the system, thereby plugging most sources of revenue leakage and augmenting transparency of operations.

Emmanuel Darko, Deputy General Manager, GCNet, made these disclosures in an interview with B&FT in Accra and explained that GCNet has been established to develop and operate a customised electronic system for processing trade and customs documents, recording the results of this validation and processing and its related duty and tax payments.

The service - which covers 98 percent of all customs-related trade including imports, exports, warehousing, free zones and transit transactions country-wide in 2008 - recorded a revenue increase of GH¢13.67 million, indicating an increase of 37 percent from the previous figure of GH¢12.38million.

“The Service has been established to enhance domestic revenue collection through business process re-engineering and integration of income tax and value added tax administration.

“GCNet has successfully executed its corporate mission to date to become the foremost public-private partnership for the provision of enhanced solutions for trade facilitation and revenue mobilisation in the country and the sub-region,”

Mr. Darko disclosed that currently 40 Ministries, Department and Agencies have been connected to the platform to ensure trade facilitation; to improve the country’s export competitiveness; and to attract export-oriented investors.

He indicated that GCNet will continue to invest in ICT infrastructure, hardware and software to ensure that its operating systems are stable, reliable and secure to meet its high operational standards and requirements.

“This ICT capacity has also been developed with substantial flexibility and scalability to meet client-needs and emerging exigencies.

“In spite of the current hardware capacity, GCNet is committed to a programme of new investments in ICT to ensure that it deploys systems at the cutting edge of technology which meet international best practices.”

Employing international standards electronic systems to support CEPS and other government agencies for their operations at the ports, GCNet has assisted Ghana to become one of the most efficient countries in Africa with regard to import and export valuation and clearance at the ports.

Presently GCNet - in collaboration with its partners including CEPS and the Ghana Shippers Authority - is leading implementation of the single window concept in the region which allows the effective monitoring and clearance of goods in transit through various countries.

Mr. Drako promised the network would continue to deliver excellent services through continuous investment in ICT infrastructure.

The operations of GCNet has become a hallmark in the port management industry of the country and is being hailed by other countries who are adopting it, he said.
Industry operators from the Shippers Council have acknowledged the enormous benefit of the system attributing it to the significant improvement in port clearance time - achieved through the speed of process and elimination of duplicated paperwork.

GCNet was incorporated in 2000 as a private-public sector partnership, with CEPS, Ghana Shippers Authority, Ecobank Ghana Limited, Development Finance Holding (a subsidiary of Ghana Commercial Bank) and Societe General de Surveillance, as shareholders.

In addition, the intervention of GCNet has enhanced trade facilitation through improvements in the processes for company registration and the issuance of documentation through the deployment of an electronic portal for government MDAs.

Local developers excite Google

Senior Google executives are enthused about the level of training and education of Ghanaian web developers, which they say makes the country an icon in the tech world.

Google’s Vice President of Engineering for Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Dr. Nelson Mattos, told B&FT in an interview in Accra that the decision of the company to set up a local office was largely informed by the abundance of skilled workforce in the technology sector as well as the commitment of government to the development of the sector.

“Ghana has a large population of highly qualified individuals and Ghanaians are pioneers and technology savvy. The country was the first to connect to the world (internet) in Africa so we see Ghana as a role model for the adoption of internet in Africa,” he said.

Last week more than a dozen Google senior executives, engineers and product developers were in the country for a two day developer and technology entrepreneur outreach in Sub Saharan Africa.

The outreach programme dubbed G-Ghana brought together developer, tech entrepreneur, marketers to focus a day on Google's technical programming tools for developers with the second day being dedicated to building, optimizing and promoting businesses online.

The event also served as a platform to discuss the future of web application development and learn technologies to aid in creating them locally.

Dr. Mattos explained that the outreach programme was geared towards educating application developers to use technology and open source to create new web solutions that will be beneficial to local businesses.

And from what transpired at the G-Ghana show, Dr. Mattos said: “The level of training and education in Ghana is very good.”

He said Google office in the country, which is led by Estelle Akofio-Sowah, was working on three dimensions: making the internet relevant to Ghanaians, make internet affordable and also bring new products that will better serve Africans.

He said though Google products developed internationally is still very relevant to people here on the continent, they want products that wills specifically address challenges on the continent.

In a related development, a 12-year old pupil of the Morning Star School in Accra, Kwabena Asumadu has been crowned the national winner of the Doodle 4 Google ‘Love Football’ competition.

He is now one step closer to being a global winner as he emerged top winner in the doodle for Google National championships. He will have his logo design on the Google Ghana homepage for a day -, which will be seen by millions of people. He will also receive a laptop, Dongle, Printer and a framed copy of his winning doodle.

Kwabena beat off strong competition from over 300 other children from around the country who entered the competition to design a Google Doodle around the theme ‘Love Football’. Entrants also provided a supporting statement outlining their passion for football in line with the theme.

The Google Ghana team chose Kwabena’s doodle, with the supporting statement “the pivot of the game!” as the overall winner after thoroughly vetting and evaluating all entries that were submitted last month.

To celebrate his success, Kwabena was invited alongside 39 other finalists to attend an exclusive event at the planetarium in Accra where they engaged in exciting activities in the arts as well as fun and games.

All the finalists had a chance to interact with the Google Ghana team before attending a prize giving event where Kwabena was crowned winner.

He commented: “I am so excited that I have won this year’s competition and I can’t believe that my design is going to be on the Google Ghana homepage for millions of people to see. All my friends and family are so happy that I have done so well and I’m excited that my doodle will be among those competing globally.”

The Google Country Lead, Estelle Akofio-Sowah said: “The standard of entries in the Doodle 4 Google: Love Football were outstanding and mostly because most of our kids are excited and proud to have the world cup come to Africa. This exercise has shown great wealth of talent of our kids today. Kwabena's doodle shows true artistic ability and creativity that needs to be harnessed in many more kids like him in our schools.

Source: B&FT

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mining injects US$2.9bn into economy

Ghana’s mining and mineral industry injected a total of US$2.9 billion into the economy in 2009, representing an increase of 27 percent from the 2008 figure of US$2.3billion.

Latest figures released from the Ghana Chamber of Mines revealed that gold revenue was up by 28 percent from US$2.2 billion in 2008 to US$ 2.9 billion in 2009.

The rise was due to an appreciation in gold output by 13.3 percent from 2,585,993 ounces in 2008 to 2,930,328 ounces in 2009 coupled with an increase in the average realised gold price by 14 percent from US$852 per ounce in 2008 to US$970 per ounce in 2009.

Average aggregated cash cost was US$668 per ounce in 2009 compared with the US$651 per ounce recorded in 2008, indicating an increase of six percent.

Mr. Jurgen Eijgendaal, the former President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, made these known in Accra at the 82nd Annual General Meeting.

He explained that the increase in gold production at the Golden Star Wassa Limited, Chirano Gold Mines, Gold Fields Ghana-Tarkwa, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi, Golden Star-Bogoso and Newmont Ahafo cumulatively offset the decline at the AngloGold Ashanti-Iduapriem mine, which accounted for the rise in overall production of gold.

Gold production at the Gold Fields Ghana Tarkwa mine increased slightly, by about one percent, from 659,308 ounces in 2008 to 664,515 ounces in 2009. This marginal increase was on account of the installation of an expansion plant in the middle of the year which dampened the adverse effects of the teething problems encountered and the lower grade ore mined.

Output at Gold Field’s mine at Damang also increased marginally by about three percent from 197,025 ounces in 2008 to 202,505 ounces in 2009. The increase was helped by the build-up of crushed ore stockpile in 2008 that ensured a consistent feed to the mill in 2009.

Cumulatively, the Gold Field group produced a total of 867,020 ounces in 2009 compared with the 856,333 ounces produced in 2008. This represents an increase of 1.3 percent.

AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine’s output was 313,331 ounces of gold in 2009, an increase of about 6.8 percent on the 357,102 ounces it produced in 2008. This was on account of improved ore grades. On the other hand, AngloGold Ashanti Iduaprim’s outturn was down five percent from 200,139 ounces produced in 2008 to 189,964 ounces in 2009. The decrease at the Iduapriem was mainly due to a corporate decision to match output to the limited capacity of its tailings storage facility.

Overall, the total output of the AngloGold Ashanti group increased by 2.52 percent from 557,241 ounces in 2008 to 571,295 ounces in 2009.

Golden Star’s Wassa mine recorded an outstanding 78.5 percent increase in production from 125,438 ounces in 2008 to 223,843 ounces in 2009, with its production at the Bogoso/Prestea mine increasing by about nine percent from 170,485 ounces in 2008 to 186,054 ounces in 2009. Together, the Golden Star group produced 409,897 ounces in 2009 - representing an increase of 38.5 percent on the 295,923 ounces in 2008.

The outturn at the Chirano Gold Mines was 182,463 ounces in 2009. This was 52.4 percent higher than the 119,696 ounces it produced in 2008. The increase was attributable to the successful development of the underground to commercial levels in the last quarter of 2009 as well as the processing of increased quantities of high grade ore from the underground at Akwaaba mine.

Output at Newmont Ahafo’s mine was 533,000 ounces in 2009. This represents an increase of 1.7 percent on the 524,000 ounces it produced in 2008.

The Precious Minerals Marketing Company’s (PMMC) total purchases and export of gold from small-scale miners increased substantially, by 81 percent from 202,535 ounces in 2008 to 366,653 ounces in 2009.

PMMC’s purchases and export of diamond from small-scale miners was down significantly by 41 percent, from 598,042 carats in 2008 to 354,443 carats in 2009.

Manganese revenue also increased, by four percent from US$62.3million in 2008 to US$64.9 million in 2009.A strong result, considering the fact that shipment of the mineral declined by seven percent from 1,089,025 tonnes to 1,012,941 tonnes in the same period.

The fall in shipments was on account of the credit crunch, which had a huge adverse impact on businesses all over the world as well as on the demand for minerals.
Business for Ghana Manganese Company started to improve from the beginning of the second quarter onwards, following a rise in the global aggregate demand for the mineral.

In these circumstances the company was able to increase the price of manganese, which eventually increased its revenue.

Bauxite shipments recorded a downward move of 29.34 percent from 693,991 tonnes in 2008 to 490,367 tonnes in 2009. The decline in volume was in addition to the drop in realised price from US$28.55 to US$22.75 per tonne within the same period, which led to a corresponding reduction in bauxite revenue by about 44 percent from US$19,810,287 in 2008 to US$11,157,480 in 2009.

Bythe end of the year, the industry was giving direct employment to a total of 12,294 people. Of these 98 percent were Ghanaians and two percent expatriates.


Mr. Dan Owiredu, Vice President (Operations) Africa for Golden Star Resources Limited, has been elected as the new President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines in succession to Mr. Jurgen Eijgendaal, the Managing Director for Ghana Manganese Company, at the end of the 82nd Annual General Meeting of the Chamber in Accra last Week.

Mr. Jeff Huspeni Regional Vice President for Newmont’s African Operations and Mr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for AngloGold Ashanti, were also elected First and Second Vice Presidents respectively.

Mr. Owiredu was until the election the 1st Vice President of the Chamber. He is expected to serve for the next two years as President, after which he will be eligible for re-election for a final two-year term as stipulated in the Constitution of the Chamber.

Mr. Owiredu is taking office at a time when the industry is facing a wide-range of challenges.

Fortunately, he brings to the office considerable knowledge and practical experience of the mining industry in Ghana, Guinea and Mali in particular and on the continent as a whole.

After graduating in Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), he joined the erstwhile Ashanti Goldfields Company Ltd. (AGC) and later successfully pursued an MBA programme at the Strathclyde University in Scotland. At the AGC, he was a key-member of the management team which implemented the Ashanti Mines Expansion Programme (AMEP), and thus prepared Obuasi to serve as the flagship of the African multinational which Ashanti became in the 1990’s.

Mr. Owiredu later led another AGC technical team that conducted the feasibility, planning, construction and the commissioning of the Bibiani Mine, after which he was appropriately appointed the first Managing Director.

As the Managing Director of Bibiani he introduced a comprehensive community development programme through which the neighbouring communities were provided with viable options in alternative livelihood.

He also actively promoted the development of Ghanaian skills as well as environmental control initiatives. In addition to these programmes, Mr. Owiredu led the mine to win the AGC Group Chief Executive’s Safety award for two consecutive years - namely 1999 and 2000.

He also managed the Siguiri Mine in Guinea and later the legendary Obuasi Mine. He also frequently travelled to the two other mines which were then in the Ashanti Group - Freda Rebecca in Zimbabwe and Geita in Tanzania - thus acquiring wide-ranging experience of mining in Africa.

Following the AngloGold Ashanti merger in 2004, he was appointed the Chief Operating Officer of AngloGold Ashanti for Ghana and subsequently the Deputy Chief Operating Officer/Africa with responsibilities for ensuring an effective and efficient energy and logistics policy.

He held this position until 2006, when he was head-hunted by Golden Star Resources as Vice President for Africa Operations.

‘Support local business’

A call has been made to African business leaders to consider supporting local industries by procuring their equipment and logistics within the continent.

Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, chairperson of the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) Council, made this call at the Digital Common conference for FOSSFA members in Accra,

The conference was aimed at spearheading excellence in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in Africa.

Ms Nwakanma also led a delegation to inspect the Omatek Computer Factory in Accra and commended officials of the company for their drive in pushing ICT forwards in Africa.

She again applauded the management of company for its efforts in building capacity for the citizens of the continent.

The General Manager, Mr. Nana Benneh, expressed delight for the opportunity by FOSSFA members to know what the company is doing and where the two could partner in advancing the African cause in ICT.

Mr. Saheed Onifade, the Production Manager, Omatek Ghana, revealed that they are currently assembling about 200 Personal Computers (PCs) per day and have plans to delve into solar power in Accra, even as they do commercial assembling for people or companies who wish to have their own brands.

He explained that Omatek computers are tropically adapted to cope with the weather situation in this part of the world.

This, he said, makes Omatek stand out among the foreign brands which do not conform to these additional features, stressing that every PC after being assembled is sent into the ‘burning room’ for several hours followed by a system report that shows the composition so as to ensure that every system complies with Omatek standards.

He pointed out that the Omatek Ghana factory was set up to serve the Ghanian market and other West Africa states.

“Omatek usually load both Microsoft and Open Source (OS) operating systems in every PC, so as to give customers the choice.

Omatek has a partnership with Madriva, an Open Source distributor, to load its e-learning package onto some of the PCs meant for educational institutions in a bid to bridge the gap between the cities and rural communities in Africa, Onifade said.

Ghanaian exporters urged to maintain safety standards

The European Union (EU) has asked Ghanaian horticultural exporters to strive to meet various regulations and standards to help meet the increasing demand from their buyers.

Exporters interested in the market must demonstrate fair and ethical trade as well as respect for the environment to keep their foothold in the market.

Ms. Morgan Webb, Policy Adviser, Pesticide Initiative Programme (PIP) who made this disclosure in an interview after the launch of the second phase of the PIP in Accra, explained that the growing concerns over climate change has focused attention on the horticultural production, which has brought the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-EU fresh produce trade into the spotlight.

“EU consumers have become more interested in the social impact of the goods they buy, and some retailer brands are going beyond quality and food safety messages on their labels to also include information about fair, ethical and sustainable trade.

“Retailers interested in the scheme must demonstrate fair and ethical trade as well as respect for the environment, emphasising that producers and exporters in the country must adapt and keep up with the new requirement,” Ms. Webb indicated.

She said to ensure that the horticultural trade continues to be a driver for economic growth, ACP countries - including Ghana - must have the necessary information, skills and human resources to maintain market access and capitalise on new opportunities.

She said local service providers trained by PIP had largely replaced the EU expertise in the delivery of technical assistance to producers and exporters, and that 42 companies and support structures in Ghana had benefitted from the programme.

Ghana Export Promotion Council’s (GEPC) export performance report for 2009 shows a sharp decline in horticultural exports - especially the leading crop, pineapple, which managed an export volume of only 29,000 metric tonnes (MT), representing an over-59 percent decline from the 2004 peak export volume of 71,000 MT.

Available data from the Sea-freight Pineapple Exporters of Ghana (SPEG) show that the number of their active pineapple exporters has dropped to 15, contrasting sharply with the 2004 membership of 42 exporters.

Mr. David Domes, a representative from the European Commission, explained that the PIP is fully in line with the guiding principles of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement which aimed at supporting the development of the private sector in ACP countries to alleviate poverty and to promote regional integration,

“Agriculture is a dominant economic sector, and sanitary issues are central to trade and regional integration in Africa. Specific laws covering different sectors would lead to enforcement, monitoring and verification of compliance.”

He indicated the agreements would provide the legal and regulatory framework for improved access of the ACP countries to EU markets, and that complementary measures were being taken to strengthen the supply capacity of African countries and to make sure the countries could actually benefit from improved markets.

The programme, which is initiated by the European cooperation, is being financed by the European Union and working to support the horticultural sector.

The second phase of the PIP is aimed at supporting the horticulture sector and improving on agricultural practice and food safety in the country.

The PIP was set up to help producers and exporters to make the necessary adaptation in installing traceability and food hygiene systems, as well as staff training to assist local service providers to enhance their competence and to recognise the expertise of ACP states in food safety.

The programme had supported 28 ACP countries covering 80 percent of product exports from the ACP to European countries.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Newmont Ghana creates platform for local businesses in mining areas

Newmont Ghana Gold has held its Business to Business (B2B) encounter with its partners - the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Technoserve International (Ghana), and the Ahafo Local Businesses Association (ALBA).

The Business-to-Business which ensures the integration of local businesses into the supply chain of corporate business, especially those in the mining industry, is a key component for a sustainable mining operation and local development.

The Business-to-Business encounter, organised annually as part of the mining company’s larger effort of linking up local business with foreign and national businesses, also aims at improving the capacity of businesses operating within the Ahafo Mine area.

To maximise local content in its operations at the Ahafo Mine, Newmont Ghana in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) set up a comprehensive intervention, the Ahafo Linkages Programmme (ALP), in 2007.

The overall goal of the Programme is to create income and employment opportunities for local communities around the Ahafo Gold Project, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and to help them become sustainable businesses.

George Brakoh, Newmont Ghana’s Manager, Local Supplier and Contractor Development, explained that the B2B encounter is a component of the ALP designed to help local businesses in the Ahafo area become better at doing business in line with international best practices.

“When we tracked contracts local businesses won and executed from contacts they made at the business-to-business encounter last year alone, they were valued at US$700,000” Mr. Brakoh said.

“We have seen the genuine desire of business people in our host communities to do business with Newmont, and even extend their business reach beyond the mining area. So through the ALP we have given them the needed training through Technoserve so that they can increase revenue while creating employment - and the results are encouraging,” he added.

Kwaku Appiah Dua, Chief Executive Officer of Multi-Wheels Ghana Limited, one of the local businesses, said through the first session organised last year, his company which purchases and rents heavy mining and earthmoving equipment has obtained contracts with large businesses who now appreciate his capacity to deliver on business promises.

“We tried to call certain big Accra-based companies to do business with us, but they declined. But when they came to B2B, they saw what we can do,” he said.

“I met many companies last year, including South Africa’s multinational, WBHO, and I have conducted business worth about GH¢50,000 with them till date.”

George Owusu of the IFC and Onsite Coordinator on the ALP, said there was an initial expectation of immediate returns on the part of some local entrepreneurs participating in the annual event, but this is no longer the case.

“Over time, many of them are beginning to see that even though contracts are a very important aspect of the business to business encounter, other benefits such as long-term commercial partnerships and networking are more important,” he said.

Mr. Isaac Nuako, Branch Manager, EB-ACCION, a savings and loans outfit which provides microfinance for businesses within the Ahafo area, commended the programme but said organisers should encourage more local businesses to participate next time.

Software to enhance staff-appraisal unveiled in Ghana

The Electronic Performance Management Software (E-PMS), which introduces a high level of transparency and objectivity in staff performance appraisal, has been officially unveiled in Accra.

The platform has been designed to run from a corporate Internet website and focuses on individual level performance and has built-in security features which prevent unauthorised access to e-forms. Security is further enhanced as all activities of users on the system are tracked with an incorporated e-mail function.

Alhassan Azong, Ghana's Minister of State at the Presidency Responsible for Public Sector Reforms, officially performed the launch in Accra and said: “To enable Ghana to be on a level playing field with other countries, organisations will need to move with dispatch to design and implement internationally accepted systems for performance management.

“If Ghana is to achieve its Millennium Development Goals, raise Gross Domestic Product to levels that assure an enhanced standard of living and become a middle-income country, then organisations in both the public and private sectors must adopt world-class performance management systems similar to those practiced globally. These systems are noted to be robust, challenging, and time-bound.”

He observed that the greatest challenge facing government, private sector managers and the country as a whole is the two-fold challenge of motivating and measuring performance.

There is therefore an urgent need for this country to design a tool not only for motivating employees to perform optimally at all levels, but also for measuring employee performance, he stated.

Mr. Azong explained the electronic performance management system provides not only a motivating tool but a well-calibrated instrument for achieving both objectives.

“What makes E-PMS even more attractive is that it is a home-grown solution for both the private and public sectors.”

Dan Acheampong President of the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners, (IHRMP) Ghana, said: “It is proven that the best way to strike a desired accord between strategy and performance is through an effective performance management system.

“Without a first-rate performance management system capable of being tailored to the strategic needs of an entity, the entity is certain to lose more than just time and money. It is certain to lose knowledge, its high-performing employees and, ultimately, lose its competitive edge.”

Kwadwo Asare Bediako, Executive Director of the IHRMP, explained that the on-line availability of performance data helps the human resource department and senior managers to know the targets of not only their immediate subordinates but also other employees in the organisation. This enables managers to monitor employee performance across the organisation. This promotes objectivity, verifiability and transparency in performance management.

“When targets and regular feedback on targets are available online, such performance data become accessible not only to the appraiser but also to other senior managers who are granted access to electronic target-setting forms,” he said.

Challenge Reality TV winner receives TATA Safari

The British Council Ghana officially handed over a TATA Safari vehicle to Jojo Chartei Quansah, the proud winner of the Challenge Reality TV Show Season 1, as the final part of his prize.

Jojo emerged as the winner in the keenly contested maiden-edition of the show, and has also benefitted from a full-board scholarship from the University of Westminster valued at £40,000, a living allowance and a brand-new laptop computer.

Since his return to Ghana, Jojo has been pursuing a successful career as the Loyalty & Business Intelligence Manager at Millicom Ghana Limited (TiGo).

Present to witness the vehicle presentation were Jojo’s family, representatives from TiGo and CharterHouse, British Council staff-members and members of the media.

Jojo Chartei Quansah, on receiving the car keys at the ceremony said: “I believe that I have become a truly global person with a UK education. I always tell people that I discovered the world by studying in the UK.”

Moses Anibaba, Director of the British Council, described Jojo as an excellent ambassador for Ghana in every way, and was proud to have him associated with the British Council brand.

Diana Yanney, Corporate Affairs and Education UK Manager who spoke on the significance of the initiative, said “Education UK is about the quality and value of our education, it is also about the contribution British Council makes globally and the strength of the partnerships we build. These partnerships go a long way to deepening Ghana-UK intercultural, educational and business relations. We believe that the Challenge will give many people an opportunity to experience the best of the UK through education.”

The Challenge Reality Show was initiated by the British Council through its education portal, Education UK, to offer brilliant Ghanaian university graduates the opportunity to study under a full scholarship at four leading universities in the UK. Other partners include the Cellular network Tigo, University of Westminster and CharterHouse Ghana.

The Challenge Reality Show is scheduled to return to Ghanaian screens later this year.