Thursday, March 31, 2011

The changing faces of Land Rover cars

The transitions and transformations of Land Rover cars over the years have been excellent, as it evolved through a lot of series. The capabilities of early Land Rovers were simply endless and so very special, especially when considering the availability of machinery and advent of technology.

The uniqueness of Land Rovers were endless, even in the initial years of manufacturing. One of the key features which attracted the attention of many in owning and using Land Rover is it's off road performance apart from the on road performance.

The wide varieties of body styles available, even for the initial model were something incredible. It widely ranges from a simple canvas like top, more of like a pick up vehicle to a 12 or 13 seat wagon, able to carry passengers.

Apart from all these, alterations and more adaptations were incorporated to Land Rover models, both by in house manufacturers and by third party vendors. It has to be repeatedly mentioned about the exquisite axle articulation functionality of all Land Rover models. This was a stupendous feature which made Land Rovers appear more distinguished from other models, making them popular and luxurious.

Below are the current releases of the range rover models:

2011 Land Rover Discovery 4

Bold, flexible and more luxurious is the first impression of the new Land Rover Discovery 4. It features a new progressive, more contemporary exterior and more tactile all-new interior that provides increased levels of craftsmanship and comfort.

It has meticulous attention to design and detail that is without compromise, materials are more premium, creating a superior ambience for quality and prestige. Its seats are ergonomically designed.

A fresh attitude gives the new Discovery 4 a more refined, more modern presence on-road and off-road.

With two new engines both setting new standards for performance come with new levels of power, economy and refinement, the new LR-TDV6 3.0 advanced sequential turbo diesel engine uses the latest materials and sequential turbochargers to optimize responsiveness by delivering increased torque at very low revs.

This is one of the most technically advanced diesel engines in the world and uses unique, parallel sequential turbochargers for the first time in a V-engine. The new LR – V8 petrol engine improves driveability and harnesses the very latest technology for outstanding overall performance.

There are plenty of attractive features in the new Discovery 4, such as striking new headlamp styling, incorporating the unique Land Rover ‘night-time’ signature*, a new two-bar lattice grille, a new re-profiled front bumper with improved aerodynamics and the option of new 19 inch or 20 inch lightweight alloy wheels.

Also new are three exhilarating exterior body colours, Nara Bronze, Ipanema Sand and Bali Blue, which join the distinctive, new Discovery 4 line-up.

The interior of new Discovery 4 offers both supreme luxury and class-leading flexibility by offering stadium seating and second and third rows of seats that can be folded independently of each other. Safety systems include the Roll Stability Control, Roll Stability Control (RSC), four-channel all terrain ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), Electronic Brake Assist (EBA), Electric Parking Brake (EPB), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Central high mounted stop lamp and Airbags, side and head curtain (1st, 2nd, & 3rd row).

The Land Rover Discovery 4 has improved off-road capability compared to its legendary predecessor. Comprehensive changes include new suspension components, revised steering, bigger brakes, improved traction control, and enhancements to the award winning ResponseTM Terrain system, which helps optimize the vehicle for almost any road or off-road driving situations.

The new, full-colour infotainment Touch-screen, standard on high line derivatives, is located at the top of the new centre console. A choice of In-Car Entertainment options are available including Harman/kardon premium LOGIS7 SYSTEM incorporating premium ‘theatre-style’ audio quality.

The new Discovery 4 features advanced technology that helps keep the driver connected with the road and provides an enhanced, more engaged and entertaining drive. It makes getting behind the wheel and heading for the open road pure pleasure.

2011 Land Rover Freelander 2

Efficiency, it seems, is the name of the game these days and Land Rover is no exception to playing the green card. With a new range of diesel engines and some sleeker style, the 2011 Freelander 2 is said to be more powerful and efficient than the outgoing model.

The range-topping 187bhp SD4 will hit a very respectable 40.4mpg combined, whilst the more frugal variants in the range will see up to 45.4mpg.

This brings the Freelander's CO2 emissions tumbling to as low as 158g/km on the eco-tweaked eD4. That is enough to make it the most efficient Land Rover ever produced. Despite the reductions in both economy and emissions, the 2011 Freelander 2 has not had its performance neutered, with torque levels rising by around 15 lb/ft across the range making for more efficient towing and performance.

Outside the obligatory facelift has brought with it new bumper mouldings and slight changes to detail. The lights have received new surrounds and finishes, as have the door and boot handles. The new, sleeker nose is especially handsome.

Inside new seat and dashboard finishes have been added, alongside a new dial layout to bring the interior up to date, while the new ‘premium pack’ brings electric seats to the party. The Freelander 2 retains the outgoing car's safety features, boasting seven airbags and the all-important five-star Euro NCAP rating.

2011 Range Rover Sport
Range Rover Sport HSE provides premium levels of prestige and comfort. The front grille with its Jupiter dark finish gives a strong, assertive appearance. There are Xenon headlamps with Range Rover signature ‘concentric circle’ LEDs, and a choice of stylish 19 inch alloy wheels.

Inside there is the luxury of leather seats – electrically adjustable for driver and front passenger – as well as a choice of either walnut veneer or Anigre gloss finish for the centre console and door inserts. Push Button Start is a convenient touch. Automatic climate control – of course.

A harman/kardon audio system with Portable Audio Interface for iPod and MP3 is available, as well as Hard Disk Drive Premium Navigation and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity. Land Rover’s unique Terrain Response system is standard, and takes another step forward with new Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control. On-road performance can be enhanced even further with the Dynamic Pack, comprising Adaptive Dynamics and Dynamic Response.

For even greater levels of comfort and technology, the Range Rover Sport specification includes seats in Leather/Alcantara, and the driver’s seat features electrically adjustable seat bolsters and memory pack; also included are electrically adjustable, heated power fold exterior mirrors.

The Parking Aid has been extended to include the front of the vehicle, while a Rear View Camera helps reversing by displaying a wide-angled image on the Touch-screen. For extra style, The option of 20 inch 15-spoke alloy wheels. For even greater levels of luxury.

Express your individual sense of style and taste with a unique set of accessories for your Range Rover Sport. Choose from a variety of alloy wheels, carrying and towing options, and exterior and interior styling accessories that not only add personalization but can improve capability and practicality.

2011 Range Rover Vogue

The 2011 Range Rover Vogue includes a new, V8 diesel engine, new 8-speed transmission, two Terrain Response upgrades and subtle external styling. These help the luxury SUV model retain its position as one of the world’s luxury vehicles.

The 2011 Range Rover Vogue retains its position as one of the world's most complete luxury vehicles. Its combination of reduced CO2 emissions and superior engine performance continue to make it a clear industry benchmark and with the introduction of the all-new 'super diesel', the Range Rover Vogue will be delivering under 9.5 litres/100km for the first time.

A new, class-leading V8 diesel engine, new 8-speed transmission, two significant “Terrain Response” upgrades and subtle external styling all combine to ensure the 2011 Range Rover Vogue retains its crown as the king of the luxury SUV segment. The LR-TDV8 4.4-litre with parallel sequential turbocharging replaces the outstanding LR-TDV8 3.6-litre and is unique to the Range Rover Vogue.

The headline news, though, is that the combined cycle fuel consumption of the new LR-TDV8 4.4-litre is just 9.4 litres/100km, making this the first Range Rover Vogue ever to better 10 litres/100km.
This daunting combination is enough to catapult the Range Rover Vogue from rest to 100kph in a mere 7.8 seconds and complete the 80kph to 120kph dash in just 5.1 seconds.

For 2011, the Range Rover Vogue retains the same class-leading 5.0-litre LR-V8, supercharged petrol engine married to the ZF HP28 6-speed automatic transmission introduced in 2010. Developing 375kW and 625Nm torque the Supercharged LR-V8 will take the Range Rover Vogue from 0-100km/h in a breath-taking 6.2 seconds.

The 2011 Range Rover Vogue is further enhanced by improvements to the Terrain Response system in the form of Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control. Inside the cabin there are optional illuminated treadplates for the front doors, new transmission controls for the diesel model, and improvements to the entertainment system. Detail improvements to the exterior include new ‘Jupiter’ grilles and side vents for the diesel models.

A new Exterior Design Pack option gives customers the chance to give their Range Rover Vogue a more individual look and new colours and wheels have been added to the range.
However, Land Rover falls in the best category of best cars ever ruled the roads, and these flaws are too small for the think tanks to repair.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ghana's Trade Minister wants diversified economies

Ghana-The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hanna Tetteh, has called for a continental effort aimed at diversifying national economies away from primary production to ensure sustainable growth.

She noted the need for the establishment of strong institutions as key prerequisites to development and growth, as well as for the diversification of economies.

Ms. Tetteh was addressing the opening session of a two-day International Policy Conference in Accra.

The Conference, themed “Competitiveness and Diversification: Strategic Challenges in a Petroleum-Rich Economy”, is the first of its kind and was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

“Ghana has commenced the production of oil and the Draft Oil Bill has recently been passed by parliament, awaiting presidential assent; but apart from conversations around oil revenue, have we heard of diversification into other related industries?” she queried, noting government’s commitment to use the oil resources to ensure that industry becomes the anchor for national development.

In recent times, industrialists in the country have complained about increasing costs of doing business, mainly as a result of a crunch on credits as well as high lending rates by commercial banks to small and medium sized enterprises - which incidentally form the bulk of manufacturing and other industrial enterprises.

President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Nana Owusu-Afari, has noted that the situation has led to consistent underperformance of industry vis a vis the services and agricultural sectors, thus undermining efforts at adding value to Ghana’s exports.

Presently, the services sector has surpassed agriculture as the biggest contributor to Ghana’s GDP.

Worryingly, Ghana’s exports have not diversified in the past 25 years, and commodities such as cocoa, gold, timber, and fish continue to account for approximately the same proportion of total exports as they did before economic growth accelerated: 48 percent of GDP; 90 percent of foreign export earnings; and 70 percent of total employment respectively.

Consequently, Ghana’s economic base remains narrow, inward-looking and - to the extent it does export commodities - vulnerable to commodity price shocks.

The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves and subsequent production and exports have reinforced concerns about the risk of Dutch Disease, especially if a broad economic base is not built by productivity gains in other key economic sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture and services.

The ability of Ghana’s firms to cope with the effects of an anticipated oil-boom remains unclear.

In a speech read on his behalf by Hanna Tetteh, the Vice President John Mahama said the underlying economic dynamics and structural forces of the resource curse, to be addressed by the Conference, will enable the policy-making community and other African oil economies to have pragmatic policy options.

The Secretary General of UNIDO, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, admonished African leaders to move away from rhetoric and take bold initiatives that will help build competitive and diversified economies.

He called for African leaders to be ambitious, since that is the catalyst needed to propel them to bring about the needed structural changes that create wealth and opportunities for decent jobs on a sustainable basis.


More mining contracts to locals now

New regulations have been finalised to boost participation of local contractors in the mining sector, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mike Hammah, has announced.

These regulations, which constitute subsidiary legislations, are targetted at giving effect to the new policy on local content introduced by the government to enhance the development of Ghanaian enterprises - by confining the provision of specific products and services in the mining sector exclusively to local contractors.

The Minister explained that the new regulations will also assist regulatory agencies in the mining sector by enhancing their capacities to prosecute their mandate more effectively.

In furtherance of this policy, he said, the Ghana Chamber of Mines is working closely with World Bank experts to develop arrangements that will compel mining companies operating in the country to award contracts for the supply of some 28 products and services exclusively to local contractors.

Apart from creating jobs and economic opportunities for locals, this is an effort to enhance the outcome of mining operations on indigenous populations - a vexed issue that has been a source of strife between inhabitants of mining communities and mining companies.

Mr. Hammah disclosed this at a meeting with officials of Golden Star Resources Limited (GSRL), a Bogoso-based Canadian mining firm with substantial Ghanaian holdings led by Daniel Owiredu, Vice-President Operations, Ghana.

The GSRL team had called on the Minister to formally introduce the company to him, following assumption of his new role as sector-head.

The strong push for local content and participation in mining is part of work under the Mining Sector Support Programme, a Ghanaian government initiative that is being sponsored by the European Union.

Other activities being carried out under the programme include an environmental-impact and national strategic assessment of large-scale mining operations over the years in order to find ways of maximising benefits and mitigating adverse consequences.

Mr. Hammah affirmed the government’s commitment to shore-up the mining sector to become a major contributor to the national economy through the promotion of value-addition as a vehicle to create a vibrant downstream industry with effective linkages to other economic sectors.

Speaking on his company’s operations, Mr. Owiredu reported that Golden Star had spent over US$50million on care and maintenance, mine rehabilitation and the training of over 150 newly-recruited employees in preparation for the re-opening of the Prestea underground mine.

He entreated the Minister to expedite arrangements for the issuance of a licence to allow the company commence operations on the Prestea South gold project.

The licencing process has been stalled by the company’s inability to hold a public hearing on issues regarding the concession because of protestations by the community people against the commencement of operations on the land.

Mr. Hammah, who warmly received the appeal, expressed the hope that mining companies will continue to operate within the confines of the law - in a way that deepens the good relations between government and the industry, and facilitates the attainment of sector objectives.


Develop human capital for oil industry

Mr. Dodji Attiogbe, an Administration and Management Consultant expert, says the nation needs to quicken its human capital development in the oil and gas sector to help lead future government international business negotiations and contracts.

He also urged government to establishment national petrochemical training institutions to broaden the country’s pool of knowledge and expertise for national development.

“The oil and gas sector operates on innovations; we must realise the potential of knowledge as an asset and therefore invest time and resources to maximise knowledge-sharing,” he said.

Mr. Attiogbe made this statement in Accra at a capacity building programme organised by the Chartered Institute of Administration & Management Consultants-Ghana (CIAMC), under the topic “The Role of the Professional Administrator in Building Knowledge Management Culture in an Oil and Gas Economy”.

The programme was part of the CIAMC’s mandatory continuing professional education, aimed at upgrading the knowledge of members and making participants aware of the dynamics in the oil and gas industry.

Professor John Bright Aheto, National Executive Council Member, CIAMC, indicated that for the past nine years the institute has been at the forefront of providing - to the nation and beyond - professional administration and management consultant as strategic change managers.

“Industrialised economies have moved from natural resources to intellectual assets; CIAMC must champion the cause for a development-oriented knowledge management and sharing culture,” he stated.

Mr. Samuel Asafo, Registrar, CIAMC, urged the business executives in the country to continue learning and to acquire new knowledge.

“In an organisation’s infancy, or in small firms comprising a few members, organisational learning can be considered synonymous with individual learning. However, as organisations grow, a clear distinction between individual and organisational learning development must be established.

“Lessons from various learning styles reveal that without motivation, it is unlikely that the individual will have any incentive to learn.”

Mr. Asafo encouraged administrators and managers in various fields to foster learning in the organisation to create learning so as to establish a knowledge-reservoir that becomes a core asset.

“As we learn and re-learn, we must develop strategies whereby people share their mistakes with fellow colleagues. In large organisations, this could prevent costly mistakes from recurring due to blame cultures that may be dominant.

“As knowledge workers, we should be able to harness what we have, ascribe value to our intellectual capital, market it and avail it to organisations and national development.
“We must champion the effective use of knowledge for organisations to sustain competitive advantage,” Mr. Asafo stressed.

Hyundai Stop Malaria campaign launched

Ghana's Deputy Minister of Health Joseph Mettle-Nunoo has officially launched the Hyundai Stop Malaria campaign with a call for greater commitment towards fighting malaria.

“The State, Corporate Ghana and Non-Governmental Organisations have a critical role to play to help rid our communities of malaria. Not only does malaria affect our productivity, it also affects our children negatively - in diverse ways.

“If malaria is the leading cause of death among infants, then it becomes even more imperative to fight it with all we’ve got because it’s an attack on the very future of this country,” he said.

Mr. Nunoo made this known in Accra at the launch of the Hyundai-Auto Plaza Stop Malaria campaign, aimed at educating and creating public awareness about the existence of malaria, the causes and how one can prevent it.

The campaign is meant to reduce the menace of the disease and contribute to the fight against it. It is also meant to change the deep-rooted perception of some illiterate rural folks that malaria is an evil disease caused by malevolent spirits.

Mr. Jihad Hijazi, Chief Executive Officer, Auto Plaza, said the programme is targetted at acknowledging and appreciating the health implications of an unhealthy environment and the need for change among others.

“We cannot allow malaria to rob us of our precious human capital as a country. Malaria must be stopped with all the resources at our disposal,” he said.

More than 7,500 cases of malaria are reported daily, and it is the leading cause of death among children under five years.

Dr. Constance Bart-Plange, Programme Manager, Ghana National Malaria Control Programme, mentioned that malaria causes absenteeism from work and is a proximal cause and consequence of low productivity and under-development.

She said the fight against malaria is multi-faceted and that it takes preventive activities like use of insecticide-treated nets, administration of malaria medicines to prevent women and indoor residual spraying to kill adult mosquitoes.

She revealed that a new initiative - the affordable medicines facility for malaria - has been introduced by the health sector to ensure that people suffering from malaria have access to effective and speedy recovery therapy at an affordable price.

Auto Plaza Limited is the accredited Hyundai car distributor in the country.

Exciting year for oil

Independent oil exploration and production company, Tullow Oil Ghana, has observed that 2010 was a transformational year for the company.

“First oil from the Jubilee Field in December, last year, has established the company as a successful deepwater operator,” said Kevin Quinn, Licence and Business Services Manager, Tullow Ghana.

He noted that future exploration in Ghana looked very promising therefore, the company, in 2011, would develop new major oil fields as well as undertaking exploration to open up new basins.

Tullow, with its Jubilee Field partners, had an exceptional performance in 2010 achieving gross production of over 69,000 bopd from five wells and full production capacity of 120,000 bopd is expected to be reached by July, this year, when remaining four production wells are completed and brought on line.

On 5 January 2011, the first lifting of Jubilee crude oil, a 650,000 barrel Tullow cargo was successfully completed and three liftings have now been completed to date, with total crude lifting estimated at 3.3 million barrels of oil.

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) lifted its first consignment of 950,000 barrels on Wednesday. A lifting arrangement allows the four major Jubilee Field partners; Tullow, Anadarko, Kosmos and GNPC to offtake oil, in turns, from the floating, production storage and offtake vessel, FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.

Jubilee partners expect that once plateau production of 120,000 bopd is reached; there will be an average of three offtakes each month. Water injection to two wells is currently around 110,000 bwpd and a further four water injection wells will be completed during 2011 to maintain plateau oil production levels.

Gas injection will commence in March to a single well, the second injection well is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2011. Quinn explained gas injection will be maintained for two years, by which time gas pipeline and other infrastructure, being undertaken by GNPC, would be ready to offtake gas from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.

"The business is well balanced and well funded to implement an exploration-led strategy," Quinn said, when he briefed the media, last Wednesday, on the performance of Tullow Ghana and the outlook for the oil and gas sector in the country.

Tullow Oil posted a 361 per cent rise in pre-tax profit for 2010 to $152 million from $33 million while sales revenue for the year to December was up 19 per cent to $1,090 million from $916 million.

Operating profit was $235 million, rising 56 per cent from the previous $151 million.
Quinn noted that the outlook for 2011 is very positive for Tullow and its Jubilee partners. The field, which commenced production in November 2010, is expected to ramp-up to 120,000 bopd (gross) during 2011 and plans for further development with potential new field developments, Enyenra and Tweneboa, in Ghana are under review.

Tullow is expecting 75,000 to 125,000bopd on the back of the development of the Enyenra and Tweneboa Fields and that first oil could follow in about two-and-a-half years after sanctioning of the project.

Mr Quinn said the commercial viability of the two fields would be confirmed by the end of this year after further appraisal and testing and "that if all went well Tullow would submit a plan of development by the first half of the 2012."

This development, he said, could double Tullow's output from Ghana by the end of 2014.

Additionally, Jubilee partners are planning work for Phase 1a of the Jubilee development, to comprise between five and eight further wells, commenced in the fourth quarter of 2010. This development will help maintain field production at plateau levels and develop further reserves.

It is anticipated that the investment decision will be made in the third quarter of 2011 following analysis of reservoir performance and submission of plans to government.

Quinn disclosed that sub-surface planning work is well advanced and has already identified the additional well locations. A deepwater rig to execute the programme starting early in 2012 is currently being tendered.

Operator of the West Cape Three Points (WCTP) licence, Kosmos Energy, also has submitted a Declaration of Commerciality for the Mahogany East, previously known as “Southeast Jubilee‟ area in September 2010. The Plan of Development for Mahogany East is currently under discussion with government.

The development of the Mahogany East reservoirs, which are extensive but generally thinner than in the main Jubilee reservoirs, is currently planned to consist of a four to six well tie-back to the existing Jubilee subsea infrastructure when capacity is available.

However, an accelerated development as part of an integrated project with other WCTP discoveries may be considered depending upon exploration and appraisal success in the WCTP licence, Field partners have disclosed.

Source: B&FT

Oil palm apex board proposed

A strong proposal has been made for the establishment of an independent apex body to oversee the development of the Ghana’s oil palm industry.

Stakeholders made up of industry experts, operators, consultants, exporters and government officials made this proposal at the first national oil palm stakeholder workshop intended to help come out with a master-plan that would guide the development of the sector.

“The time has come for the country to establish a specialized board made up of industry experts to drive the sector’s growth and to meet international best practice, Colin Watson, MASDA Consultants-UK, lead consultant developing the oil palm master-plan told B&FT.

“Ghana is a net importer of oil palm, the order of 50,000 metric tones per year-a figure that is estimated to hit over 150,000 metric tones by the next 15 years. This demand would be driven by increased population growth, urbanization, and per-capita consumption in the country.” he projected.

Mr. Kwasi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said, an estimated unmet demand of oil palm in ECOWAS sub-region is between 850,000 tones and 1,000,000 tones annually, a huge market which the country can take advantage of if properly managed.

“The country is said to have a total area of 305,758 hectors of oil palm. More than 80 percent of this is cultivated by private small-scale farmers who mostly use volunteer of unimproved planting materials. This has contributed to the very low productivity of the Ghanaian oil palm industry, he observed.

He indicated that the development of the master-plan document which would be the blue print of the country’s oil palm sub-sector’s development would seek to address challenges of the sector as well as take competitive and comparative advantages.

The policy document is being spearheaded by Ministry of Agriculture with support of Agence Francaise de Developpement and was commissioned in July 2010.

He revealed that government’s prime interest in the master-plan is to improve cooporatin and coordination among all stakeholders along the entire oil palm value chain with the view to increasing productivity, efficiency, profitability and employment.

“Increasing profitability is one of the most efficient and sustainable ways Ghana can use to capture the benefits of the unprecedented high prices for palm oil and its derivatives including palm kernel oil for the benefits of all the players in the palm oil value chain and the Ghanaian economy,” said Mr. Ahwoi.

Government has up-to-date spent 2.4 million euros on the oil palm project and is expected to commit additional one million euros on its production.

Mr. Joseph Baidoo-Williams, Head of Tree Crops Development Unit, MOFA in an interview with B&FT explained that the master-plan 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.

“The policy document will seek to outline set of projects and programmes to be executed within the next 15 time frame. This is aimed at maximising development outcomes for the communities while supporting smaller businesses, as well as alleviating poverty,” Mr. Baidoo-Williams said.

The country’s first international commercial trade in oil palm took place in 1820.Starting from the wild harvesting, oil palm evolved into agricultural crop and plantation were established by 1850. This led to oil palm becoming the principal export of Gold Coast.

In 1880s, oil palm accounted for 75 percent of the country’s export revenue until it was overtaken by cocoa exports in 1911.

Universities of Ghana and South Africa sign MoU

University of Ghana Business School has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership to deepen leadership development and influence higher education in the sub region.

The three year partnership agreement is targeted at enhancing curriculum development, promoting academic exchanges and bringing together high level expertise to deliberate on improving higher education among two institutions.

Professor Naa Ayikailey Adamafio, Dean, International Programmes, University of Ghana said, the partnership is in fulfillment of the school’s strategic drive of transforming it into a world class educational centre.

“World class universities have major strategic partners of which to share information and academic exchanges that would help in its transformation prospects.

“University of Ghana Business School is on the path of transforming into a world class university, and its aims at becoming a model of higher education on the continent,” she remarked.

Professor Narend Baijnath, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of South Africa, observed that there is shortage of high quality leadership in governance, managerial and accountancy across the continent.

This calls for strategic alliance among educational institutions to mitigate the effect on both public and private sectors.

He explained that the partnership between the two institutions would seek to attain curriculum development that would greatly influence leadership on the continent.

“High caliber leaders would lead to better governance, while sustainable governance and would also receive collaboration leading to that good quality leadership that would impact on national development,” Prof. Baijnath remarked.

AMSCO holds corporate governance workshop

The African Management Services Company- AMSCO, in collaboration with Norwegian Fund, a development partner has organized corporate governance training workshop for local businesses executives.

The two-day workshop was aimed at creating awareness on corporate governance as a key contributor to ensuring the sustainability of companies.

The training was attended by stakeholders of AMSCO namely, the International Finance Corporation and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The UNDP actively supported the initiative.

Ms. Theodora Acquah, Senior Capacity Development Officer, AMSCO, said the workshop was positive, pointing to a greater need for corporate governance training within the Ghanaian business environment.

She indicated that as a regional project of the UNDP set up to develop management capacity in Africa, AMSCO intends to organize a series of corporate governance workshops in the country and also carry out active monitoring and evaluation in its effort to significantly impact African businesses.

Atlas Copco gives to school children in Obuasi

Atlas Copco Ghana, a worldwide giant industrial productivity solution provider has presented items worth GH¢1,500 to the Obuasi Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region in commemoration with the country’s 54th Independence Day anniversary.

The items included set of jerseys, non-alcoholic beverages and water to deserving pupils and students who participated in the Independence Day parade in the Municipality.

Ms. Susan Manu, the Deputy Human Resource Manager and Administrator Manager of Atlas Copco, presenting the items said the donation was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to aid the celebration of Ghana’s birth 54 years ago in the Municipality.

Ms. Gladys Mante, the company’s Communication Officer said the donation was to further cement Atlas Copco’s cordial relationship with the Municipal Assembly over years.

She said the company had rendered various support services to the Municipality, mainly in areas of health and education.

Friday, March 11, 2011

UBA pledges to support economy

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has pledged to support the country’s economy, its Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Philips Uduoza has said.

Mr. Uduoza made this pledge when he led a delegation of senior executives to pay a courtesy call on the management of Bank of Ghana in Accra.

The visit was part of a routine tour of selected countries within the sub-region with UBA presence to interact with the bank’s stakeholders.

He expressed full confidence in the Ghanaian economy, adding that UBA will continue to offer major support for businesses in the country and help boost the financial sector.

The Deputy Governors entreated UBA Ghana to continue to develop more local talent for the growth of the local banking industry.

United Bank for Africa PLC is West Africa’s largest financial services group, with assets in excess of US$20billion. It offers services to more than 7.5 million customers across 750 branches and over 2,000 ATMs in 19 African countries

With presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail and corporate banking.

Its innovative Africa Trade Platform - a seamless payments and collections initiative - facilitates and eases settlement and encourages trade across Africa.

Ghana's new seed law to regulate farmers

The promulgation of the plant and fertiliser Act by Ghana's Parliament last year will regulate, monitor and ensure seed quality in the country’s agricultural sector, said a Director of the Agriculture Ministry.

“The rationale behind promulgation of the law is to stimulate competition among seed industry practitioners, engender price stabilisation and offer employment to Ghanaians.
“For seed to serve as an investment tool, its quality should be guaranteed and its cost accommodating,” he said.

Dr. Kwame Amezah, Director, Agriculture Extension, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, made this known in Accra at a first stakeholder workshop aimed at updating practitioners and interpreting the new law to help recorgnise the importance of the plant and fertiliser Act in agricultural development.

The three-day workshop jointly organised by Ministry of Food and Agriculture and ACDI/VOCA-ADVANCE was also aimed at gathering the input of key actors in the agricultural sector to provide input into development of a regulatory framework that will allow the law to become an efficient, secure vehicle to ensure appropriateness, availability and access to the genetic resources needed to develop the country’s agricultural sector.

The workshop was also targetted at bringing all relevant stakeholders in the seed, plant protection and fertiliser industries together to create awareness about the Act and its proper interpretation.

It was also to provide an opportunity for participants to make recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework to enhance the law.

The plant and Fertiliser Act 803 provides for the efficient conduct of plant protection to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases, and to regulate the import and export of plants and planting materials.

The law will also provide regulation and monitoring of export, import and commercial transaction in seeds and related matters - and as well as control the regulation of fertilisers in the country.

Dr. Amezah said: “Seed is subject to a number of policy decisions, and a seed-law has the task of creating transparency in the operation of these policies and translating national responsibilities.

He indicated that a seed-law is of paramount importance when the global food situation is not only precarious but also uncertain.

Mr. Olaf Kula, Programme Manager, West Africa Regional Office, ACDI/VOCA, explained that agricultural industry transformation requires investment, technology, capital and management; adding that successful Investment requires that technology be appropriate, available and accessible.

He observed that since the introduction of Ghana’s approved varieties of maize-seed, the country has seen many changes affecting the lives of farmers in positive ways.

“The evolution of the seed industry, resulting in higher yields for farmers, has proceeded well; ensuring that all actors benefit from commercial transformation in the country’s agricultural sector.

“But technological innovation needs a framework to ensure that we benefit from new technologies and that we can access them before they, too, become obsolete,” Mr. Kula remarked.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Call for new law for mines

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, Prof. Mireku-Gyimah, has called for speedy formulation of laws to define parameters for mining companies guidelines to carry out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

“Until CSR becomes enforceable by law, I would like to suggest that every mining company deliberates with its Mine Local Community (MLC) to identify its needs, and then formulate policies and guidelines for the provision of the needs.

“The Minerals Commission should grant the mining lease for the project only when the properly estimated costs of mitigating the environmental degradation and managing the CSR have been included in the economic evaluation, and the project is still found to be profitable.”

Prof. Mireku-Gyimah made this known as part of inaugural lecture, as a member of the Academy of Arts and Science, in Accra on the topic: “To mine or not to mine – The Economic Controversy and its Resolution.”

He explained that CSR module has been used at the Ahafo Mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), and it appears to be working successfully.

“The fact is that beyond paying compensation for affected lands, farms and properties, every mining company, as part of its CSR, should provide support to improve the socio-economic life of the community.

“When the mining project starts, all institutions responsible for the enforcement of the laws and regulations on mining must ensure strict compliance with the rules and regulations,” Prof. Mireku-Gyimah stated.

He said: “Since the costs of mitigating the environmental degradation by mining and managing CSR are high, these costs must be properly estimated and included in the economic evaluation of any mining project before making a statement on the profitability of the project.

“If after this the evaluation shows the project to be viable, then we can answer the question of whether we mine the mineral or not.”

He advised that it is possible to mine in a way that does not damage the environment, for mining is very beneficial to the economy and the country. It provides employment and social benefits, foreign exchange and internal revenue, and raw materials for local industries.

The President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof Francis Allotey, said Ghana may be subsidising mining in the country because mining companies do not factor in the cost of destroying the environment and human lives when assessing the economic viability of mining.

US$1.7b revenue from NTE projected

Ghana has projected US$1.7billion from Non-Traditional Export (NTE) revenue by 2011, Kwadwo Owusu Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), disclosed.

The projection is aimed at boosting the country’s export earnings, and as part of government strategy to sustain export revenue would improve performance of export companies to deliver superior contributions. It would also develop and enhance market access programmes for exporting companies.The country’s NTE products - which constitute 21 percent of the nation’s export revenue - include pineapple, yam, pawpaw, banana, pepper and cashew nuts (excluding Cocoa, Timber and Gold).

Last year, the Council roped in US$1.5billion.

Exports of Non-Traditional crops in the country have exceeded its target of US$1billion marked by the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), reaching an all-time high of US$1.2billion for 2007.

GEPC 2009 (NTE) performance report showed that export earnings amounted to US$1.215billion, a decline of 9.28 percent compared with the US$1.340billion earned in 2008.

This remarkable achievement represents a 30.5 percent growth over the 2006 figure of US$892million, and also a contribution of 27 percent to the total export earnings of the country for the 2007.

Mr. Agyeman attributed the consistent improved performance of the export earnings to support from the Export Development and Investment Fund.

He also mentioned product diversification and extension programmes and enhanced data capture through the Ghana Community Network System.

Mr. Agyeman called for more emphasis to be placed on development of the country’s NTE commodities.

He indicated that despite the euphoria generated by the oil find, non-traditional export commodities are still relevant to the country’s economic development.

“Now that the country has commenced the production of oil in commercial quantities, it behoves the government to take a closer look at the sector and its contribution to national development. If we allow this sector to die, we will lose a huge sector of the country’s revenue.”

The shows are expected to commence in April and will end in August this year. This will deepen the country’s drive to boost export revenues.