EBOLA Disease: Health Tips-Ghana

Ebola Virus

• Avoid travelling to areas of known outbreaks

• Wash your hands frequently: use soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs

• Avoid bush meat: wild animals (chimps, Monkeys, bats, etc) are frequent hosts of these viruses (Ebola and Marburg). Humans contract the virus from infected animals, and spread from human to human through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles. Health care workers and family care givers are particularly at risk.

• Avoid contact with infected people (dead or alive). One who dies from Ebola infection still remains contagious.

• Follow infection-control procedures: universal precautions (gloves, gowns, masks, eye shields, etc, especially when in contact with infected persons or remains).

• Do Not handle remains: specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains using appropriate safety procedures.

• Report to the nearest health facility (clinic, hospital) with signs and symptoms of flu or malaria which could just be early manifestations of Ebola infection especially in those with supportive travel history, i.e., recent travel to Ebola native areas. These early signs and symptoms will develop within 5 – 10 days.

DO NOT WAIT FOR LATE SIGNS/SYMPTOMS (such as bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, eyes, ears; diarrhea, vomiting, etc) which are usually fatal. Fatality rate is as high as 90%.

Ebola prevention tips

Ebola prevention tips

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CTA: High-level Panel to Discuss Investment in African Agriculture

April 4th, Palais d’Egmont,
Place du Petit Sablon 8, 1000 Brussels (09:00 – 13:00)

High-level Panel to Discuss Investment in African Agriculture

Tanzania’s President Kikwete and Commissioners of the European and African Unions will
join a high-level panel in Brussels to discuss investment opportunities in African
agriculture. The panel will meet against a background of increasing confidence about the
prospects for African agriculture and the continent’s food system. 2014 is the African Union’s ‘Year of African Agriculture and Food Security’ and, on Friday April 4tha high-level panel of top decision-makers from Africa and Europe will meet in Brussels to discuss opportunities for investment in African agriculture and ways of improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The panel’s main underlying purpose, however, will be to focus international attention on the rapid transformation now taking place in food production and distribution in Africa.

The high-level panel includes Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and African Union Commissioner Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, as well as the Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and several senior figures from the private sector and public institutions. The event is organised by the CTA (the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation), in partnership with the European Union, the ACP Group and the African Union, and will be hosted by the Belgian Government.

Entitled ‘Realising the Promise of Agriculture for Africa’s Transformation,’ the High-level Panel has been timed to coincide with the 4th Africa-EU heads of State Summit. It aims both to highlight the most significant opportunities for transforming agriculture in Africa and the role of partnerships among government, the private sector, smallholder farmers and investors to achieve win-win outcomes.

Modern African agriculture and food systems are changing rapidly, bringing the potential for the continent not only to feed itself but also to grow a surplus to help ensure global food security. Africa’s agricultural GDP has been growing at an annual rate of 4 per cent since 2003, encouraging experts and political leaders to agree that now is a time of great excitement and optimism.

“African agriculture and food systems are undergoing significant transformations,” says Michael Hailu, the Director of CTA. “Africa now has the potential both to feed itself and to grow a substantial surplus for export, which will not only improve the continent’s balance of payments, but also help tackle global food insecurity.”

Fulfilling Africa’s potential, however, will require a major effort from both within and outside the continent. Political leaders are aware that sustaining the momentum of transformation is as important as attracting further investment. A key factor too will be ensuring that decisions are taken from a sufficiently broad perspective.

“We need to look at the needs of smallholder farmers as part of food systems and supply chains and consider agricultural productivity, food security and nutrition in the context of both overall economic development and social stability,” says Michael Hailu.

“CTA’s main purpose has always been to make a difference on the ground and, in particular, to improve food security and the livelihoods of smaller farmers. Governments, development partners, NGOs and private investors are now paying more attention than ever before to agriculture as an engine for socio-economic growth. It is time for us all to redouble our efforts and play an active role in the process of transforming agriculture in Africa to achieve its true potential for food and nutritional security and the prosperity of millions of citizens.”

The prevailing mood of optimism, however, cannot mask the fact that formidable challenges remain. Africa still has the highest rate of undernourishment in the world – one in four people are without enough food and, in sub-Saharan Africa, 54 million children under the age of five lack the level of basic nutrition necessary for proper health and development. Furthermore, shifts in demographics and global economic trends, together with environmental challenges, such as climate change, are aggravating existing problems with potentially devastating consequences for Africa.

“This is why the High-level Panel and the whole discussion about transforming African agriculture is so important,” says Michael Hailu. “What is happening in African agriculture and food systems has the potential to reshape the global food system for the better.”

The Panel will be followed by a special event in the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels to celebrate CTA’s thirtieth anniversary. “We are proud to celebrate three decades of service to agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific,” says Michael Hailu. “We will mark this important milestone by applauding the invaluable support the European Union and the ACP Group have given to CTA over the years as well as by recognising the contribution of our many partners in our efforts to advance food security, prosperity and sustainable resource management across the ACP.”

To mark the anniversary, CTA will launch a book entitled, Stories of Change: Transforming Lives through Agricultural and Rural Development.

Download Press Release: CTA-Press_Release_Eng [pdf: 383kB]

Register on line at http://brusselsbriefings.net

For more information, please contact:
Joshua Massarenti
Tel.: +32 (0)488 57 76 13

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USAID invites Concept Papers for New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Food and Security (BFS), Office of Country Strategy and Implementation Support (CSI) is accepting Concept Papers for New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund. Applications can be made for 3-year grant to implement project in one to six New Alliance Countries Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania. It should contribute to the achievement of each country’s New Alliance yield targets through ICT-enabled agriculture extension promoting at-scale adoption of the priority agriculture technologies.

Applications that combine experience across types of ICT modes, such as mobile-phone-based-services, Internet-based information portals, television, content delivery services, video, radio and GPS, and those having experience in ICT-enabled agriculture extension services are encouraged. The fund is for the projects that can forge sets of scaled ICT-enabled services and change them as needed depending on results and changing conditions to increase the adoption rates of new technologies by smallholder farmers.

Eligibility Criteria –

The proposed project must be conducted in one of the six New Alliance Countries (NACs) – Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal or Tanzania.

The applicant must be e an NGO (not-for-profit organization); a private business, services or consulting firm; or a college, university or foundation to submit proposal for the first five countries of NACs.

Sub-grantees require to have the same eligibility as lead applicants but they can also be government entities such as public agriculture extension or advisory service units or entities owned by a government (at least 50% of ownership is held by government).

Not-for-profit agencies such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Universities, and government entities are eligible to apply for Tanzania.

Applicants must also have within the past five (5) years a minimum of two (2) years’ experience in planning, managing, monitoring, or directly delivering ICT-enabled services.

For profit businesses must waive profits and/or fees to be eligible to submit a Concept Note or Application.

For profit businesses must waive profits and/or fees to be eligible to submit a Concept Note or Application.

Application can be submitted for one to six countries. Separate concept notes should be submitted for each country.

Project implementation period must be limited to three years.

Selected Concept Notes will be invited to submit full applications.

For more information, visit www.grants.gov and search for funding opportunity number RFA-OAA-14-000012; click Full Announcement and download relevant documents.

PS/ Syecomp Business Services Ltd, GHANA, is open to partnership opportunities in the formulation of the project concept papers and proposal. Kindly send us a mail: epomary@syecomp.com and sallavi@syecomp.com. Thanks

Credit: USAID, AgriLinks

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Investors Rally to Finance New Ghana Commodity Exchange

Commodity EXEleni, a private company positioned as the premier commodity exchange promoter in Africa, announced on Thursday the formation of a private-public investment consortium to finance the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX).

Investment consortium partners include Ghana’s top tier financial institutions, Data Bank Agrifund Manager Ltd, Ecobank Ghana Ltd, UT Bank Ghana Ltd, as well as IFC, 8 Miles Fund and eleni, with minority stakeholding by the Government of Ghana.

The consortium partners and the Government of Ghana have jointly signed a Letter of Intent with the aim of completing the investment process by April 2014 and launching the GCX over a 12 month period through early 2015.

A second consortium is also in formation for a large-scale investment in warehouse and logistics infrastructure and equipment in eight delivery sites around Ghana as a strategic eco-system partner to the GCX.

In his second State of the Nation Address delivered on February 25, President John Dramani Mahama announced that as part of efforts to create an orderly, transparent and efficient marketing system for Ghana’s key agricultural commodities to promote agricultural investment and enhance productivity, the Government had committed itself to the establishment of a Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) and associated Warehouse Receipt System (WRS).

This move is to encourage market access and fair returns for smallholder farmers and to facilitate the formalization of informal agricultural trading activities. It is expected that the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange will position it as a West Africa regional hub for commodity trading activities.

The GCX will start with spot and future trading of primarily agricultural commodities, including maize, soybeans, paddy rice, palm oil, groundnuts, among others and will introduce other key agricultural and non-agricultural commodities in what is envisaged as a future regional trading platform.

“This exchange will undoubtedly have a transformative impact on our economy and we are very pleased to be backing it, stated Samuel Ashitey Adjei, MD of Ecobank Ghana Ltd. “Following on the success of the Ethiopian model, the African commodity exchange momentum is real.

We can think of no better time and no better place than Ghana today to start a new thrust of developing an efficient and transparent price discovery platform. Ghana’s exchange has every potential to become a leading West African hub for globally traded commodities and we are excited to partner with the consortium to bring this idea to reality, noted Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive officer, eleni.

“The Ghana Commodity Exchange initiative has been in consideration for some time, and long overdue. It is an idea whose time has come, stated Mr Robert Dowuona Owoo, GCX Project Coordinator and former Head of Policy, Research and IT at the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Dr. Bawumia: Restoring the Value of the Cedi-Full Presentation

bawumiaDr. Bawumia: RESTORING THE VALUE OF THE CEDI. Download the full presentation below:

Dr Bawumia-Restoring-the-Value-of-the-Cedi (pdf:888kB)

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Opportunity International and The MasterCard Foundation Plan To Help 7M Out of Poverty With $22.7M Partnership

Opportunity International (OI) is a non-profit microfinance organization established in 1971. Over the last 42 years OI has provided $6 billion in microfinance loans and has reached over 5 million clients in 22 countries. In 2009, The MasterCard Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with OI and co-funded a $16 million project to expand access to saving accounts and agricultural loans in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Today, OI and The MasterCard Foundation plan to enter phase two of this partnership as they announce a $22.7 million expansion in funding, The Africa Growth and Innovations Initiative. The extension promises to support an additional 7 million people by providing access to loans, saving programs, and other financial services through institutions in Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

“We chose to expand this partnership with Opportunity International because they have proven themselves to be a strong partner and a leading microfinance institution,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation. “It’s rare to find an organization that is able to think outside the box, develop innovative approaches and still deliver such solid results.”

Jason Reindorp, Communications Director at The MasterCard Foundation, added, “The Foundation is open to working with smaller and newer social entrepreneurs, but feels those relationships are best served for innovation, and rarely scalable.” According to Reindorp, microloans make it possible for farmers to have a macro effect. He foresees financially sound individuals creating a rising tide effect within the close-knit communities.

In the second phase of this particular initiative the scale of training, services, and analysis will increase dramatically. OI will focus on providing agricultural loans to farmers for specifics crop purchases, expanding saving programs, developing mobile banking, and establishing branchless banking. There are plans to assess the project’s impact on the region’s poverty index.

Vicki Escarra, Opportunity International CEO, told FORBES, “ All aid is great, but microfinance is empowering. We create jobs and nothing is better than creating jobs. ” Escarra was CEO of Feeding America from 2006-2012 and prior to that she served as CMO at Delta Airlines. She explained, “While each experience has been extremely different they all involved leading a network–first planes, then food-banks, and now banks.” Opportunity has established a network of 16 banks and has partnered with 32 other local financial institutions.

Escarra is confident that the additional funding will allow the organization to quickly further its mission. OI currently serves 30% of Africa’s populations and has disbursed loans totaling more that $29 million since 2009. Agricultural loans often enable farmers to increase income, and in some cases they are able to achieve a 60% increase in crop yields. This boost allows farmers to invest in their family’s health and education. Escarra attributes OI’s past success in Africa to three things: the 17,000 employees on the ground who reflect the nonprofit’s values, the wide suite of services they provide, and the sustainable nature of the work they are doing.

All parties involved are hopeful about this new chapter. “Results to date have been very encouraging so we look forward to scaling the partnership to reach 7 million people in these 5 countries,” said Roy

Credit: Prerna Sinha (Forbes Staff)


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Ghana: Ministry of Food and Agriculture/ Japanese Grant 2KR-2012 Programme

20140325-065914.jpgThe Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) wishes to inform Ghanaian rice farmers and processors that MOFA under the Japanese grant programme for underprivileged farmers has taken delivery of 70 agricultural tractors, 43 power tillers, 35 rice threshers, 20 rice reapers and 5 rice mills for allocation to farmers and processors in the six (6) project regions ( UE, UW,NR,ASH, VR and GAR) on hire purchase basis.

Interested rice farmers and processors are informed to apply through their regional/District MoFA Directors to the Honourable Minister, MoFA, P. O. Box M37, Accra.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture also wishes to remind all defaulters of the 2KR Japanese grant assistance programme ( from 1983-2009) to endeavour to settle their debts immediately in order to sustain the programme and also to avoid any legal action.
All payments should be made by Banker’s draft payable to the Accountant, Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate ( AESD), Accra.
For further information call 0302-777789. Attention: Ing. J. K. Boamah, Director, AESD

SGD, Hon. Minister-MoFA

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