Public told not to build around buffer Zones

By: Mildred Siabi-Mensah GNA
Takoradi, March 9, GNA – The citizenry have been called upon not to raise structures or dump waste along the buffers zones of the country’s water bodies.

This is because leaving the buffer zones undisturbed contributed to maintaining the ecosystem, ensured protection and improvement of biodiversity.

Lawyer Bernadette Arabs Adjei, Principal Legal personnel at the Water Resources Commission at a workshop on the development of buffer zones said buffers provided the needed goods and services on sustainable basis to support the livelihood of local communities.

The workshop was to solicit input from stakeholders on a legislative instrument and dissemination of the Dam Safety Regulations (LI 2236).

Reduced vegetation cover along water bodies coupled with increasing pollution from domestic and industrial waste had resulted in sediments and its subsequent deterioration in water quality of natural water bodies, Ms Adjei noted.

The objective of the LI is aimed at ensuring that all designated buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies are protected in a sustainable manner.

Ms Adjei said the LI sought to ensure that buffer zones were incorporated into the local land use plans, provide specifics on alterations of natural conditions in some areas and exclude the exploitation or occupations that were inimical to the purposes of designated zones.

Dr. Bob Alfa, Surface Water Engineer at the Commission, entreated Ghanaians entrepreneurs in that sector to acquire the necessary licensing from the Commission in the guidelines regarding the sector was followed.

Participants during the plenary discussion called for more community engagement and awareness on the subject to win their corporations.

The assemblies were also urged to establish bye laws to protect buffer zones.



GWCL calls for steps to prioritise wastewater treatment

By: Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, March 9, GNA – The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says less than 10 percent of wastewater in the country is treated and therefore called for measures in prioritising its recycling to enhance socio-economic development.

Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department (WQAD) of the GWCL, made the call at the media launch of this year’s World Water Day, in Accra, on Thursday, on the theme: ”Water and Waste Water”.

She said the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource were enormous because safely managed, wastewater could serve as an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

She said as a nation, we must ensure systematic reduction in the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re-use of both liquid and solid waste.

According to her, a large proportion of wastewater generated was discharged directly into the environment without or with very little treatment because the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies that were responsible for waste management lacked the capacity to manage them effectively.

She said pragmatic steps must be taken to improve the sources of water by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping of liquid and solid waste as well as minimise the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies.

The Chief Manager of the WQAD of the GWCL noted that most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional and therefore partially treated wastewater were discharged back to the environment which could negatively affect the ecosystem and pose a health risk to the surrounding communities.

She said: ”Water has to be carefully managed throughout the various paths of the water cycle from fresh water abstraction, pre-treatment, treatment, distribution, use, collection of grey water, post-treatment, re-use of the treated wastewater, and its ultimate return to the environment, ready to be abstracted to start the cycle again.

Mrs Macauley observed that water was essential to human existence and core to sustainable development, and also played a critical role to the wellbeing and prosperity of the people.

She said the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 explicitly recognised universal access to water as a human right and considered it as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.

She noted that water was needed for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes and, therefore, called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to maintain its wholesomeness and availability.

The Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah, who chaired the function, reiterated the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining which had polluted major water bodies across the country.

He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore the issue of illegal mining should be tackled with all seriousness and perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law.

The World Water Day is celebrated by the international community on the 22nd of March each year, to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme: Water and Waste Water,” provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about how wastewater can be a valuable resource to the country’s economy and how its safe management would aid in investment as well as the health of the populace and the ecosystem.

Some activities earmarked for the celebration include public awareness creation through radio and television discussions, editorials, writing of feature articles, radio news commentaries and special in-depth news interviews.

The celebration would be climaxed on March 22 with tour of some water recycled plants by various stakeholders.



One village one dam policy is key to agriculture growth

GNA Feature by Samuel Adadi Akapule
Bolgatanga, March 11, GNA – Ghana did not err when the country agreed with a group of African countries in 2003, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, to allocate at least 10 per cent of public budgets to agriculture.

This was aimed at achieving six per cent growth in agriculture. One of the many good reasons for the decision is that empirically, it is established that agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than industrial investment does.

As a matter of fact, agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect than any other sector.

In Ghana, research has shown that at the national level, agricultural public expenditure has the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity.

It is well established that for every one marginal cedi invested in agriculture, GH¢16.8 is returned. This is much higher than feeder roads returns of GH¢8.8 and GH¢1.3 for health.

In spite of this growing evidence of agriculture being the key in tackling poverty and transforming lives, the right amount of public investment is yet to be made in the sector.

In fact, researchers and think tanks including the Africa Centre for Energy Policy have it that agriculture share of public spending in Ghana is less than 10 per cent.

This is not only raising questions on the country’s commitment to the Maputo Declaration but also negatively affecting livelihoods.

Though very sad, it is not surprising to hear that the 3.6 per cent agricultural growth target for 2015 was not achieved.

Fortunately, the country has very huge potentials to grow and develop agriculture to the desired level, to accelerate development for improved livelihoods.

There are enormous agricultural investment opportunities in the country particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (SADA), which occupies more than 50 per cent of the total land space of Ghana.

The Zone has vast land for agriculture and could be targeted for total economic transformation of the country through agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, if the production of tomatoes and rice alone were the focus of Ghana, the nation would have been saving $ 400 million annually.

Targeting the SADA Zone and other parts of the country with the One Village One Dam Policy for all year round cropping of tomatoes and rice and revamping the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Tamale Rice Mills for agro-processing and value addition is the surest way and probably best policy option to help the country save $ 400 million annually and achieve sustainable macro-economic stability.

There is no doubt that the introduction of One Village One Dam Policy will undoubtedly increase food productivity and security, meet agricultural sector growth targets and fast-track the country’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the goals on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Another justification for the introduction of the policy is that, research has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the upsurge of climate change is having a great impact on food production and a telling effect on food security in the Northern Ecological Zone of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority.

History has it that in the 1980s, the Upper East Region used to have rainfall in April and farmers could get busy on their farms by the tail end of April and early May.

Those days, farmers got abundant harvests that enabled them to feed their families throughout the dry season.

But the question one may ask is that, is it the same situation today? Certainly no, the situation got worse after the 1990s when the Region started recording first rains of the year in May and June.

As if this delay was not enough, the rainfall pattern also became erratic thereby affecting food production adversely and causing food security problems.

Nowadays farmers in the area, particularly smallholder farmers, find it difficult if not impossible to feed their families throughout the lean season, which stretches up to five months in the year, before the onset of the next farming season.

The Upper East scenario cuts across all the ecological zones of SADA including the Northern, Upper West and Volta Regions, as well as some parts of the Brong- Ahafo Region.

The signs of climate change in the zones are becoming so alarming that if measures are not taken now, it would worsen the food security situation in all of those areas.

The provision of dams and dug-outs would not only help harvest rain water for agricultural activities particularly in the dry season.

It would also take care of the large volumes of water that usually engulf parts of the Region whenever the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso is opened, which often leads to the loss of human lives, animals and the destruction of farmlands and other valuable properties.

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off.

Its benefits include the availability of water for gardening, for livestock, irrigation, domestic use (with proper treatment), and indoor heating for houses.

In many places like the Guangzhou province in China, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Beijing (China) the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation.

All these are good lessons for Ghana to learn and to adopt. Rain water, which is a resource from God must not be allowed to go waste while we the country wallow’s in hunger.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the One Village One Dam Policy is the Key to Sustainable Agriculture Growth and Development in Ghana, particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones.

The Government must be commended for taking a bold decision to initiate the move and earmarking GH¢94.5 million for the One-Village-One-Dam in the 2017 budget.

What is needed urgently is for the Government to facilitate the process by encouraging local public-private partnerships and also going into partnership with foreign investors to help the construction of more dams and dugouts as well as de-silting old ones.

When this is done it would help accelerate the transformational agenda and help Ghana to make significant gains in the achievement of the SDGs.



Water, the neglected commodity of our time

A GNA feature by Godwill Arthur-Mensah
Accra, March 10, GNA – Freshwater is undoubtedly the most essential commodity in the 21st century and it is being used for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes.

However, over the years various socio-economic activities of man have destroyed such a valuable resource, which plays a pivotal role in human survival.

The menace of illegal mining popularly called galamsey had polluted the country’s major rivers, streams, lakes and underground water sources.

Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), told journalists at the launch of this year’s World Water Day in Accra that most of the Company’s water treatment plants had come under threat in recent years as a result of societal pressures.

Some of these key drivers and societal pressures that impacted negatively on the water resources included rapid population growth, bad economic policies and unregulated agricultural practices.

Others are rapid urbanisation, climate variability and change, indiscriminating discharge of wastewater into the environment and ineffective enforcement of environmental and sanitation laws, as well as encroachment on water bodies and discharge of untreated industrial waste.

According to her, these societal pressures affected the Company’s ability to discharge its core mandate effectively.

She said the GWCL currently operated 93 water supply systems with an average production of 874,496m3/day with potable water demand estimated at 1,131,818m3/day, while the demand shortfall estimated at 257,322.18m3/day.

With regard to access to drinking water in the country, Mrs Macauley indicated that the urban water supply coverage was estimated at 85 per cent and the rural water coverage estimated at 76 per cent while the national water supply coverage was pegged at 80 per cent.

Moreover, she said, the Company had to grapple with numerous operational challenges as a result of inadequate management of water and wastewater in the country.

According to her, these challenges had deteriorated raw water quality and water sources resulting in high chemical consumption for water treatment and operational losses, as well as frequent unscheduled shut downs, high maintenance cost, reduction in life span of water treatment plants, low revenue generation to recover cost and threat to public health.

Currently, she said, some water treatment plants such as Kibi, Osino and Anyinam on the Birim River in the Eastern Region, Abesim on the Tano River in the Brong -Ahafo Region and Daboase on River Pra in the Western Region, had been suspended in view of the activities of illegal mining, while water supply to the coverage areas affected.

According to her, a number of other water treatment plants are under similar threats and at the verge of shutting down to protect plants installation and public health.

Mrs Macauley said if these threats were not checked and addressed holistically, it would jeopardise the Company’s quest to attain the economic freedom desired as a nation.

Due to rapid global growth, accelerated urbanisation and economic development, the quantity of wastewater generated and its overall pollution load had increased globally.

She said wastewater management had been seriously neglected, adding that wastewater management had been grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable resources.

The 2017 United Nations Water Factsheet indicates that, globally, more than 80 per cent of the wastewater generated flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or re-used.

It is also estimated that 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faecal maters, putting them at the risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene caused 842,000 deaths each year.

According to her, the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource were enormous because safely managed wastewater could serve as an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

As a nation, we must ensure systematic reduction in the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re-use of both liquid and solid waste.

A large proportion of wastewater generated was discharged directly into the environment without or with very little treatment because the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies that were responsible for waste management lacked the capacity to manage them effectively.

There must be pragmatic steps to improve the sources of water by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping of liquid and solid waste as well as minimise the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies.

Mr Macauley said most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional therefore partially treated wastewater were discharged back to the environment, which could negatively affect the ecosystem and pose a health risk to the surrounding communities.

Water has to be carefully managed throughout the various paths of the water cycle from fresh water abstraction, pre-treatment, treatment, distribution, use, collection of grey water, post-treatment, re-use of the treated wastewater, and its ultimate return to the environment, ready to be abstracted to start the cycle again, she stated.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2010 explicitly recognised universal access to water as a human right and considered it as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah has called on stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining with much seriousness instead of paying lip service to the problem.

He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore perpetrators of illegal mining must be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Mr Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed, the Country Director of WaterAid, said 3,600 children die every year worldwide out of diarrhoea as a result of poor quality of water consumed by them and bad sanitation practices.

She said children lose instructional hours at school because they spent valuable time searching for water while teenage girls stayed out of school because their schools lacked menstrual hygiene facilities.

The country had good water management policies but institutional arrangements are elaborate, which have constrained their effective implementation therefore the WaterAid Country Director called for strict enforcement of such policies.

According to him, there must be serious funding of water management challenges while metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies are empowered to deal with wastewater at the local level.

In addition, he said the assemblies must enact bye-laws to deal decisively with water pollution offenders in order to serve as deterrent to others while the civil society organisations engage with the government, traditional authorities and other stakeholders to find solution to the water challenges.

The World Water Day is celebrated by the international community on the 22nd of March each year, to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration is: ‘Water and Waste Water,’ therefore provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about how wastewater can be a valuable resource to the country’s economy and how it’s safe management would aid in investment as well as the health of the populace and the ecosystem.

Some activities earmarked for the celebration include public awareness creation through radio and television discussions, editorials, writing of feature articles, radio news commentaries and special in-depth news interviews.



Zimbabwe: Dams Swell Up As the Rainy Season Ends

The dam at Umzingwane, southeast of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, is registering 100 percent full. This is in part due to the remains of a tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm Dineo may have lost its character after it made landfall in Mozambique on February 15, but it carried its rain well inland. It headed northwest towards the Kruger National Park. The rain topped up dams and rivers, but it did, of course, cause flooding.

According to a report by Civil Protection Zimbabwe, one of the areas worst affected by Dineo was Tsholotsho District in Matabeleland North, where the Gwayi River and its tributaries burst their banks, inundating homes, fields, schools, infrastructure, and sweeping away livestock.

Tsholotsho received 72mm of rain in a 24-hour period as ex-Dineo moved along the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa, while 72mm fell in Bulawayo and 100mm in Matopos.

Sixty percent of the crops planted in the flooded areas during the January planting window have been water-logged

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere said most southern parts of Zimbabwe, namely Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Manicaland and some parts of midlands were still receiving rain in excess of 100mm a day.

At the full dam in Umzingwane, each further shower causes an overflow which inevitable causes flooding downstream. Luckily, most recent significant rains in Zimbabwe have been in the north, beyond Harare. Forecasts show significant showers dying out this coming week as the rains head north.

The wet season in this part of the world runs from October to March and the cyclone season is part of it, especially for Mozambique and Madagascar. There is a cyclone now developing and heading for Madagascar. It is not forecast to hit the African mainland.


South Africa: Is ‘About 40 Percent’ of Johannesburg’s Water Used to Irrigate Gardens?

A Johannesburg mayoral committee member has claimed that “about 40%” of the city’s water is used to irrigate gardens. While South Africans need to be serious about saving water, Anthony Still’s claim is unproven.

Speaking on Radio 702, member of the mayoral committee for environment and infrastructure services in Johannesburg told listeners that “about 40% of the water that is used in Joburg is used on irrigating gardens”.

South Africa’s biggest city has to reduce water use by 15% due to the country’s ongoing drought. Anthony Still said to achieve this, residents would have to change their water use patterns.

“If you look at where we are going to have to get this 15% savings in total water use… ” Still told listeners, “it’s from garden irrigation that we got to get it.”

While South Africa’s water-stressed position remains evident, proper solutions need to be built on facts. Two of our readers challenged us to #AfricaCheckIt, so we went looking for the source of the 40% figure.

Different versions of the claim

Janette Koboekae (31) collects water from one of the few communal water taps available to the residents of the Zandspruit informal settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Photo: AFP/MUJAHID SAFODIEN

To start off, there are different versions of this claim. While Still implied that 40% of total water use in Johannesburg is for gardening purposes – as tweeted by Johannesburg Water and the City of Joburg – he said in a later media release that “more than 40% of potable water in Gauteng is used for gardening purposes”.

Still’s spokesman Anda Mbikwana referred us to Johannesburg Water where executive manager for marketing and stakeholder relations, Hilgard Matthews, told us that the “40% speaks to households” only. This is how Johannesburg Water phrased it in some tweets.

Households, businesses and industrial customers buy almost two-thirds of the water Rand Water supplies to Johannesburg Water, Matthews explained. (Note: The utility’s latest available annual report shows that it received no income for 35.8% of its water in the 2014/15 financial year. This is called “non-revenue” water and included physical losses at 16% of the total water supplied to Johannesburg Water.)

However, the utility does not report data for household, business or industrial customers separately. To provide such a breakdown, the utility would “need to look at the tariff codes to start splitting our billed volume into these categories and this will take some time”, Matthews said. (Note: We will update this report when they do.)

Because of this, it is impossible to say exactly how much of the city’s water goes to residential houses or how much is used for gardening.

So how did this claim come about?

Water use studied in Cape Town

Matthews directed Africa Check to a 2005 study, in which households were asked about their perceived water use, as the source of this statistic.

Carried out by a consulting engineering firm, 149 households in the City of Cape Town were surveyed either via the internet (32) or questionnaires handed out (117) in the suburbs of Mitchells Plain, Philippi, Athlone and Durbanville.

The study found that, on average, garden water use was “the most significant use overall” for respondents surveyed via the internet, who were “likely to be the higher income users”. It accounted for 37.6% of the total water these respondents estimated they used.

The study did not provide an estimate for the percentage of water used for gardening by people who received questionnaires by hand. These people were “assumed to be low-income users” by the researchers. It did note, however, that only 15% of households surveyed via hand-out questionnaires reported using water for gardens. In these cases the volume reported was minimal, at 100 litres.

No accurate water use studies available

When asked how the findings of a Cape Town study informed water use in Johannesburg, Matthews told us that water use patterns “remain the same” given similar demographics in the two cities. He told us that the high consumption reflected a lack of “financial appreciation for water” by consumers.

However, one of the authors of the 2005 study, Professor Heinz Jacobs, told Africa Check that while the claim “sounds quite reasonable”, he thought garden water use in Johannesburg would be lower than in Cape Town “due to the summer rainfall in Gauteng”.

Civil engineer and adjunct professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s school of governance, Mike Muller, told Africa Check that while “the claim would seem reasonable” there is no data to support it.

Jacobs said that data of this nature has typically been mined from monthly water consumption records from municipal consumer meters, or consumer surveys. But these “are notoriously inaccurate”, he said.

More accurate methods to determine the different purposes a household uses water for are costly and therefore studies of this kind have not yet been conducted in South Africa, Jacobs told us.

Conclusion: Claim that ‘about 40%’ of Joburg’s water is used to irrigate gardens unproven

Johannesburg’s mayoral committee member for environment and infrastructure services, Anthony Still, claimed that about 40% of water used in the city is for irrigating gardens.

Johannesburg Water said that the claim actually referred to household water use. The statistic appears to have originated from a 2005 study which surveyed 32 high-income users in Cape Town.

Experts told Africa Check that while this figure may seem reasonable, it remains unproven. Expensive studies would need to be carried out to verify it.

The Major Problem Of Africa -A Continent Blessed With Human Capital And Natural Resources


Many people believe that leadership is a major problem of Africa. Issues like corruption,abuse of power, lack of transformational and generational leadership have been a major talking point in Africa recently.

From the spade of a decade, this has resulted to the development of leadership programmes with the aim of nurturing responsible citizens who will transform the African continent.The youth have been targeted to transform this generation so that Africa, a continent blessed with human capital and natural resources will become the hub of hope,opportunities and possibilities.

Many young Africans have been beneficiaries to most emerging leadership programmes,traineeship and fellowships .These leadership programmes have been prepared to offer tailor made solutions to the problems of leadership.A lot of funds have been spent by foreign donors, Philantropist and local government because they believe the youth is the future. These programmes have instilled leadership skills among participants.

There have been emergence of motivational speakers, empowerment coaches and mentors who have nurtured many young people to become change makers and transformational leaders but still, the problems of Africa keep tripling. Have we asked ourselves why?

Every young person in Africa assumes to be a leader but still the critical problems affecting African countries are yet to be addressed . The ultimate goal of leadership is to solve problems.Are we really solving these problems? I think we have not paid attention to the major problem of Africa.

The major problem affecting Africa is our mindset and attitude.We always want the rules to remain same.So whenever the rule changes, we complain. Instead of us to adapt to the change by formulating new strategies, we turn to complains.

Until we understand that, the rule will not always remain same, and change our mindset on certain things, our progress will keep long .

Africa should understand that, the game will change,if not, disappointment will always abound. Our strict adherence to some outmoded cultural practices have been one of the reasons why Africa’s progress is taking longer.

Sometimes, when you delve into the attitude and mindset behind the adherence to some of these practices you will wonder.

The typical African is so adamant to change that, we equate new ways of doing things as being “western” and when an African embraces global change and starts thinking differently ,they tag them as being Obroni “white person ”

We are always comfortable with the little we have. Instead of us to explore into new areas, we keep to what have been in use for centuries.

In sub Saharan Africa, the sun is a very great asset. Energy shouldn’t have been our challenge but unfortunately, we have not bought the idea of the solar system of generating energy.

Other continents are making good use of renewable energy but many African countries are still relying on hydro electric power as the chief source of energy.

The attitude and mindset of the African makes it so difficult to adapt to global change. Inferiority complex is another major problem facing many Africans. We set some rules for ourselves and stick to them for centuries with the fear of failing if we change them .The world is not for cowards, it’s for risk takers and as people, We should adapt to change by formatting our African way of thinking.

When the Europeans, Americans and Asians realized that, the game has changed, they moved by finding ways of adapting to the global change but the African is still committed to the old ways of doing things. Therefore, we have been left behind in development. 80% of African countries are categorized as developing countries.

The most frequently used phrase by a typical African is ” this is how our ancestors did it”

Meanwhile, what worked for the Nkrumah’s, Sankara’s and Madiba’s cannot work in our generation.

Being traditional or African doesn’t mean you should be very rigid and adamant to change.It is time for Africans to move forward by adapting to change if we want to be at par with the rest of the world.

Change, is very pivotal to the development and progress of every human race. Our colonial masters set the rules for us and we have been very obedient that, we have forgotten the game has changed.

We are in an era of change and the world will continue to see great innovations.In this era of technological advancements,most of the continents have bought the idea of vocational, technological and entrepreneurship education but African government are sticking to theoretical form of Education which was given by our colonial masters centuries ago.

Hence, we produce talkers who mostly find themselves in politics and enrich themselves by stealing from state coffers.

The 20th and 21st century saw many innovations and inventions. The Americans,Europeans and Asians went to space for the first time in history. Africans are yet to land there. It is not because we are not capable but because we have limited our mindset to certain things which doesn’t embrace change.

There is no university in the world that an African student haven’t completed but still, we are lagging behind in development.

Many African government is over reliance on donor support before any important project can be initiated. Will there always be foreign aid?

In few years to come, robots will take over most of our work.This will result to frictional unemployment. Instead of African government to introduce programs in robotics, coding and soft skills development in schools to equip students ,we are still sticking to the bookish curriculum.

One thing I have learned about the Americans is that, they see what will happen in the next two decades and prepare themselves ahead.Instead of Africans waiting for a change to occur, we should be prepared in advance so that, it will not take us for a ride. We don’t plan ahead so when change occurs we find ourselves wanting.

We still believe in Africa time. When a meeting is scheduled at 10am, a typical African would report at 12pm, if you ask, the response would be, it’s an African time. This African time mindset needs to change because it mostly affect efficiency and productivity. It’s very unfortunate that, about 70% of Africans have this mindset.How will we move forward with this obsession?

At some point in the 17th century, Africa was better than Asia in terms of resources and wealth but now, most African countries are depending on the Chinese for livelihood. The secret of the Chinese is that, they foresee the change long time ago and prepared adequately towards it.

Our problem as a continent is our inability to quickly adapt to change,act quickly, think outside the box, study situations quickly and respond to changes to find new opportunities.

For Africa to move forward, our attitudes and mindset should change.

God bless Mother Africa and make us great.
Kenneth Gyamerah.
Youth Activist



Open letter to chiefs in ‘galamsey’


Dear Nananom,
You are deemed powerful and influential in many facets of our lives. You have, and continue to be the face of tradition whenever our culture is mentioned. You are the ones we resort to for wisdom when political systems appear to fail us. It is you we run to, when family matters seem unsolvable.

In fact, our heritage glitters to the world when you adorn yourselves in that colourful Kente cloth, necklaces, bracelets and other rich regalia.

Nananom, simply put, you are the unifiers of the spirit and soul our ancestors left to keep.

But Nananom, some of you in the last few decades have shown, by your decrees and actions that you are disappointing.

Some of you have disgraced yourselves and the very thrones you sit on. You have brought into disrepute the thrones your forefathers spilled bloods to pave way for your occupancy today. Some of you have brought into question, the dignity, the respect and the honor our tradition has long enjoyed.

It is regrettable to see many of you in the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions engaging and defending ‘galamsey’ [Illegal mining] silently. Some of you own Changfans used to pollute ancestral rivers your grandparents guarded jealously.

For those of you Nananom involved in this, whichever way you look at galamsey, its negative and long term effects are damaging than the short-term happiness you pursue.

I just don’t get it! It is from you we heard for the start that “nsu a nsu, nsa a nsa”. [If it is water, let it be, if it is alcohol, let it be].

But let me respectfully ask, Nananom that, can drops of water from Pra, Ankobra, Tano or Birim; rivers of old, be used to perform these naming ceremonies these days?

It is shocking all this while that some of you have been accused by political figures that you are involved in the practice, no chief across the country has taken the bold step forward to amass support to end it. It is very shocking!

National House of Chiefs; please be concerned. Be concerned because many of your members in these three regions are fast losing the respect of the middle class and their very own local subjects.

When your subjects go wayward, see how you unleash traditional punitive measures to correct them! Why is it so hard for the National House of Chiefs to clean its house when some of its members are involved in activities that threaten the very people from whom they draw their powers?

Another thing! Is it not a shame that water pots in your chambers are now filled with sachet water? Your ancestors use to fill their pots from the riverside. The cool rivers that your ancestors used to fetch water while in their farms have been polluted.

Your ancestors knew some of the major rivers have alluvial gold in them. But did they choose their personal interest over their people? Absolutely not! They knew the over 2,000 communities dotted around major rivers depend on them for everyday well-being.

Nananom, take a tour, for example, to the Daboase Water Treatment Plant and see for yourselves whether you will drink tap water again if you return.

Go and see the turbid yellowish raw water that end in your kitchens at home and see if you will be convinced to take it. It’s very disappointing Nananom.

The Changfans and excavators you have bought just like the politicians and other businessmen, and have given them to desperate unemployed youth to head into cocoa farms and river bodies are open to Nana Nyame [God].

We have heard of those of you too who demand that ‘galamseyers’ visit your palaces and pay monies to you before you give them the go ahead.

Nananom, will you be men enough to stand tall to your predecessors should they wake up today to question your deeds? Hmm!

Finally Nananom, please stop facilitating foreigners and other people from mining in the Upper Wassa, Fure River and the Tonton Forest Reserves in the Western Region.

As we speak, the Forestry Commission and the Minerals Commission have given permission to people to prospect for gold in these reserves.

Question: When the gold is found in commercial quantities, will the forest reserve be depleted because of the gold?

Must we mine gold no matter where it is found? How many of the reserves have been added by the present generation to warrant taking down the previous?

God is watching us all, and he speaks of destroying those who destroy the earth at Revelation 11:18. Read it!

Nananom, I respect tradition and people who stand for it. Forgive your son if you find my submissions offensive. Those of you who are not involved, please get your colleagues to stop it OK? It’s not good.

For some traditional heads to be losing their respect because of these things, it will be disappointing if tradition collapses under your watch. Thank you.

Your son,
Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/



Burundi: The Nile – A Source of Energy, Food and Water for All


River Nile is a transboundary resource shared by 11 countries in the Nile Basin, each with different and, sometimes, conflicting interests. This scarce resource is a source of water, energy and food, all of which are essential to human well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Projections in the Nile Basin region, however, indicate that demand for energy, food and water for domestic and industrial use will increase significantly over the next decades under the pressure of population growth and mobility, economic development, urbanisation and climate change among others. Agriculture in the Nile Basin consumes more water than any other sector and the demand for water for agriculture rises as the demand for feeding the increasing basin population also increases. At the same time, water is needed for energy generation, particularly for hydro power, which is the preferred source of energy for various reasons; key among them the low production cost, which makes power affordable to the urban and rural poor. On the other hand, energy is needed to produce, transport, treat and distribute water; the more energy we need, the more water we use, and vice versa.

The water, energy and food security nexus reflects the fact that the three sectors are inextricably linked and that actions in one area more often than not have impacts in one or both of the others. This calls for a balancing of the act of exploitation to ensure sustainability for our future generations, for we are, but only stewards of these resources. These linkages have always been present, but as the Nile Basin population races towards 600 million, there is need for more cooperation and conscious stewardship of the Basin’s water resources for wise and sustainable use of resources.

In addition to shared challenges in the Nile Basin such as climate change, environmental degradation, rising populations, the countries also share access to mechanisms that can help them to mitigate some of these challenges.

One of these is a 10-Member organisation called the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). Members are Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Established in 1999, NBI provides the only basin-wide platform to the Member States to discuss with trust and confidence and understand interests, positions and expectations of individual countries and chart ways forward to ensure the efficient and sustainable management and use of the Nile Basin’s water and related resources. Given the increasing challenges countries face today, this cooperation is paramount and needs support by everybody.

It is under this vision that, on February 22, 2017, NBI Member States will gather in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania to commemorate the establishment of the unprecedented Nile Basin Initiative. The day this year is dedicated to the theme ‘Our Shared Nile – Source of Energy, Food and Water for All’. It will provide an opportunity to highlight the importance of continued cooperation by the River Nile Basin States in the quest for food, water and energy security in the Nile Basin and to consolidate and build upon previous efforts.

Therefore, as water becomes scarce, and competition is growing between the energy and agricultural sectors, there is need for reliable and policy-relevant data and information to guide water allocation choices. Effective cross-sectoral consultation mechanisms across the NBI Member States are needed to ensure the development of concerted efforts to address this problem as part of an integrated, long-term strategy.

Let us all join hands and work towards sustaining Nile cooperation to ensure sustainable water resources in River Nile basin for the current and future generation!

Hon. Sam Cheptoris,

Chairman Nile Council of Ministers

Minister of Water and Environment, Uganda



We’re guilty of environmental abuse; let’s change – Minister


Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology Innovation, on Monday asked Ghanaians to be safety conscious and change their attitudes for a safe environment for the wellbeing of all.

He said the survival of human kind was at much risk against the background of how careless people’s attitudes had been toward the environment over the years.

“If you look at what is happening to the environment, it is something like a self-inflicted injury,” the iconic cardiothoracic surgeon stated at a meeting with staff of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a working visit to the Headquarters in Accra.

He explained:“We have to change our attitudes; there must be a change like President Akufo-Addo said, we should not be spectators but be active participants”.

“We know that our rivers are dead, some of them, we know that some of the rivers are dead; Offin, Ankobra, Pra Oda, there is no fish in them, in most part of the rivers.”

“And when you find animals and fish dying from our empty forests and dead rivers, it is only a question of time that it will reach the human beings.”

All the surface and ground water were also drying up, thus affecting the survival of the citizens in the surrounding communities, the Minister pointed out.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the negative attitudes of people, for instance, through mining, illegal logging, deforestation, erection of unauthorised masts, had led to many of the challenges facing the country today.

He said the issue of gas and gas stations and how gas cylinders were used and kept at home were bigger issues of concern, but more education would need to be carried out among the citizenry on the proper use and handling of such products to avoid disaster at homes and within the communities.

“I must stress that the problem is not with the gas stations alone, it is also about our attitude towards safety and improper handling of gas facilities in our homes,” he explained.

Speaking with so much passion, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said: “As Ghanaians we are more religious and we go to church so we should know that if you litter you are sinning against the environment and if you read the Bible in Revelation 11: 18, it indicates that when Jesus comes back he is going to judge those who have polluted the earth”.

He reminded the EPA officials that they had a major role to play in leading the crusade of keeping a safe environment.

He said the issue of Gender and the Environment; where women had to survive through the burning of charcoal, could also be solved through the provision of appropriate technology to the by-products of crops such as groundnut husks and saw dust, coconut husks, maize stocks and leaves, to stop the cutting down of trees to burn charcoal.

“We have a better way of helping women who make charcoal in a place like Sissala in the Northern Region. The groundnut husk and saw dust, maize stocks and leaves could be turned into charcoal.”

Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of EPA, said the Agency was set to collaborate with the Government to improve the environment through partnership with stakeholders, such as the Ghana Standards Authority and Town and Country Planning.

He said the Agency was also ready to develop a five-year strategic plan of activities as it awaited the first State of the Nation Address by the President, which would give the direction as to how the country would move towards its general development.

Mr Pwamang said the issue of plastic waste and illegal mining were major on EPA’s agenda and that more efforts were being made to expedite actions to address them.

As part of the Minister’s visit, a staff durbar was held where the Minister interacted with the staff of the Agency to know their peculiar issues and challenges.