Cocoa beans are pictured in Ghana’s eastern cocoa town of Akim Akooko REUTERS/Kwasi Kpodo/File Photo.
Some Ghanaians are panicking over reports of the Chinese entry into the cocoa industry.
The Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences recently reported that the Chinese island of Hainan has exported cocoa beans to Belgium.
South China’s island province of Hainan was responsible for the exported cocoa beans.
The first batch of 500 kg of cocoa beans worth 3,044 euros (about $3,600), was produced in Xinglong, a township of Hainan with a tropical climate, China Daily reported.
“Cocoa is a raw material for making chocolate. With the increasing demand for chocolates, Hainan has been expanding its cocoa planting area and making breakthroughs in technological development,” said Hao Zhaoyun, a researcher with CATAS.
“As Belgium is dubbed ‘kingdom of chocolates,’ exports to the country indicate that our cocoa production standards have been recognized by the international community,” Hao added.
Panic in Ghana Ghana’s COCOBOD, the agency that handles issues related to cocoa farming and export in Ghana is assessing the impact of the impact of cocoa beans by China.
Although COCOBOD appears concerned, it maintains that the quantity of the Chinese cocoa export is too small to affect Ghana as the second largest cocoa producer in the world.
But there are concerns about the impact on price of cocoa beans on the world market if there is no increase in production and consumption.
Ghana’s Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has cautioned the government not to panic but rather initiate steps to modernize agriculture to mitigate any impact.
According to the General Secretary of GAWU Edward Kareweh the government of Ghana must transform cultivation of cocoa, its harvesting and processing to generate more revenue from cocoa production.
“We have to immediately change how we produce cocoa in this country. For more than 100 years we have been using cutlasses and hoes on our cocoa farms.
If we look at how we even harvest and store the cocoa beans, it is also not the best. We must sit up looking at the capacity of China and what they can do when they enter a particular industry” he said.
A Ghanaian renowned businessman, Sam Jonah expressed worry at a public event saying “The Chinese having helped pollute our rivers through illegal mining activities and having, in connivance with some Ghanaians acquired large tracks of farmlands in the cocoa growing areas have started producing their own cocoa.”
On Social media many Africans are worried very soon, China could outdo the leading producers of Cocoa, all found in Africa.
Cocoa is mainly produced in tropical regions such as West Africa with Ghana and Ivory Coast the leading producers.
China has now exported cocoa to Europe. Apparently they have grown 2 billion trees over the last 6 years, using agronomists from Ghana, paying them $3800 or so per month.
Production of yam, garri
Meanwhile, China has also packaged garri like rice and exported to Europe. On the packages, the Chinese have boldly claimed in writing that “from cassava grown on uncontaminated soil”. This has psychological influence it places in minds of consumers out there and the financial damage this will do to the African exporters wanting to compete. African exports will be shunned outright very soon, if they do match the advertising war.
Thirdly, China have also turned her attention on the pona yam, which is indigenous to Brong-Ahafo and the Northern part of Ghana. According to the “leaked” document, it shows that China is vying to become the world’s biggest producer of yams in a matter of a few years – with pona as its “star” or most lucrative yam export.
Nigeria currently exports about 70% of the world’s yam market but not Pona. The problem here is China will again insinuate that our lands are all contaminated, and crush the African exporters. The Chinese are in Africa plotting to subjugate and finally eliminate Africans – because whoever is hungry and thirsty does not care about gold, land or property.
Food and water is next strategy in their war against Africa. That is, the first phase was the loans, followed by the contamination of the land with galamsay…. Look at Zambia and how the Chinese are ruining the land there extracting bauxite, or the Congo with the extraction of coltan, etc. It is not just in Ghana facing Galamsey or illegal mining by the Chinese, etc. Africans need to wake up the game is on, it is either they make it or perish…..one thing will happen.
If you are an African of means, of moderate wealth, please stop accepting the fancy but illusive idea that educating your children in the West, namely Europe and North America, is a good idea, enhances for your sense of achievement, of self-worth and/or is good for the inter-generational transfer of the fruits of your labour. Experience strongly suggests otherwise.
Many businesses in Africa do not outlive their founders.
Many families of wealth in Africa soon descend into poverty or average living following the death of the patriarch. There are too many shuttered big mansions in disrepair across the continent because said patriarch has died, and his sons and daughters are somewhere in Europe and North America enjoying the easy life, while in dead-end jobs, for the most part.
‘These children are unlikely to return to Africa’ After more than half-a-century of moderately wealthy Africans sending their children to the West to study, the evidence is now becoming clear that most of these children are unlikely to return to Africa to take their parents’ business and wealth to another level.
These children are more likely to use your money to create a life for themselves in the US and the UK and leave you still struggling at your business well into the moment you are practically at Heaven’s Gate (or Hell’s Gate, who knows).
Your life’s work, all that you struggled to create, will either be inherited by relatives – some very distasteful ones too – or just ‘evaporate’. Imagine worrying from your grave about that abominable cousin now living in your mansion! Assuming of course that your doors are not shuttered forever, and everything lost.
Keep your eyes open Look around you and you will see what I am talking about.
Do not think that your children will not be like “Okon’s children”: your neighbour who died not too long ago and whose business has since been closed, whose big agricultural plantation is dying, while the paint his house has begun to peel away and the once beautiful compound has gradually been overtaken by weeds.
Clearly, you did not build your beautiful mansion for roaches, rodents, bats, and perhaps, a lone security guard. There are way too many estates, many businesses, many offshoots of dynasties of wealth across Africa that have died because children were sent overseas by their parents to study with the hope that they would return before to inherit the estate and assets.
Instead, your children fly in for your funeral, sell off what they can, and zoom off on the next flight. Is that all that your life was for?
Go local, go continental, but stay in Africa If you are a person of wealth in Africa, have your children attend local universities. Or some university in another African country, a country perhaps poorer than yours so that they must return. You can even send them to India or the Philippines. But not to Europe, the USA or Australia.
Do not subsidise your children to kill your life’s work. If your child wants to go the UK and USA, he/she should pay for it alone. You daughter/son does not have to have an MBA to manage your business, you can always hire one. Your son/daughter does not have to be a lawyer to handle the legal affairs of your business, you can always hire one. With money, you can buy all the skills you want.
Let civil servants, international civil servants and NGO employees, teachers and soldiers educate their children in the West. If they do not come back, society would not lose much; most of the children of this group will come back to become, like their parents, civil servants and teachers and soldiers, not entrepreneurs, not wealth creators and not asset creators and builders.
Allowing them to remain in the West could be actually welfare-improving: they will send remittances back home to their retired parents on government pensions and to help siblings and relatives.
THE RACE TO TRANSFORM
Their remittances could even seed dynasties of wealth if properly invested. And the children of politicians and the rentier class? Most will return to continue the political dynasty. Unless their parents used their overseas studies as a conduit to siphon off their loot to safety in corrupt western banks and financial institutions or to launder money in real estate.
No Kagame or Kenyatta or Mandela will want to live abroad indefinitely where their names and pedigree may not travel far in social and business circles.
The real loss Our societies lose when the children of the entrepreneur, the businessman/woman, the wealth and job creator, stay behind in the West after their studies, where their social worth is less than it would be were they to return to Africa to grow their parents’ firms and businesses.
Do not get me wrong! Society still loses when the children of civil servants, university professors, NGO workers, customs officials choose to remain in the West after completing their studies. But, it is easier for Africa to replace Cheikh Anta Diop and Kofi Anan than it is to replace Strive Masiyiwa and Aliko Dangote. It’s easier to replace Sir Louis Mbanefo than to replace Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Words of advice No wealth painfully created should needlessly “evaporate” into the ether. Africa’s entrepreneurs and wealth creators, if they must, should send their children to study in countries where they can easily “recover” them and bring them home to carry on with the task of building dynasties of wealth.
Kasirim Nwuke (Economist with more than 25 years of experience at the national and international levels. He works and writes on economics, science, technology and innovation, and society with special focus on the digital economy.)
Bill Gates, a co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), says the world still does not have enough data to understand why COVID-19 numbers have not been as high as predicted in Africa.
The American philanthropist who invests heavily in healthcare in Africa said he is, however, happy to have been wrong about COVID-19 rates in Africa.
“One thing I’m happy to have been wrong about—at least, I hope I was wrong—is my fear that COVID-19 would run rampant in low-income countries,” he wrote in his end of the year note.
“So far, this hasn’t been true. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, case rates and death rates remain much lower than in the U.S. or Europe and on par with New Zealand, which has received so much attention for its handling of the virus.
“The hardest-hit country on the continent is South Africa—but even there, the case rate is 40 percent lower than in the U.S., and the death rate is nearly 50 percent lower.”
According to Gates, “more than 1.6 million people have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 75 million cases and tens of trillions of dollars in economic damages”.
The US has been the hardest-hit country in the world — while South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised nation, has been the most affected in Africa.
Bill Gates had warned early 2020 that Africa could be the worse hit by COVID-19, stating at a conference that the virus would overwhelm health systems in the world’s poorest continent.
Melinda Gates, also a co-chair at BMGF, said the developing world will be hard-hit, she added that she foresees bodies lying aroundin the street of African countries.
But this has not been the case –and the world does not understand why.
WE STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY
Bill Gates said, “we don’t have enough data yet to understand why the numbers aren’t as high as I worried they would get” — but gave probable reasons Africa was not as affected as expected.
“It helped that some countries locked down early. In Africa, another reason may be that the population is young compared with the rest of the world’s, and young people are less susceptible to the virus.
“Another reason could be that its large rural population spends a lot of time outside, where it’s harder to spread the virus. It is also possible—though I hope this is not the case—that the true numbers are higher than they look because gaps in poor countries’ health care systems are making it hard to monitor the disease accurately.”
Gates said one of his fears that have been justified is that “COVID-19 is having a ripple effect with other diseases. Last month, I was surprised to learn that it was only the 31stmost common cause of death in Africa. By comparison, it has ranked number four around the world, and number one in America.”
“Why does it rank so low in Africa? It’s not just the relatively low incidence of COVID-19 there. It’s also because shifting health workers to focus on the coronavirus disrupted efforts to detect and treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. As a result, COVID-19 stayed low on the list of health threats, but other problems came roaring back.
“Another reason is that patients are more reluctant to go to clinics for fear they might become infected—and that means more severe conditions are going undiagnosed. In India, for example, the diagnosis rate for tuberculosis has dropped by roughly a third. With more undetected cases, more people will probably die from the disease.
“This is another reason why the world’s goal should be to make sure that lifesaving tools reach—and are practical for—every country, not just rich ones.”
Gates said 2020 has been a year of scientific advances and failures, “but there is good news coming in 2021”.
**UN deadline for U.K. to end its adminstration expired Friday
**U.K. clings to last African territory for ‘security reasons’
The African Union urged the U.K. to comply with a United Nations resolution calling for it to withdraw from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which is considered part of Mauritius.
The U.K. is under increased international pressure to give up its last territory in Africa since the International Court of Justice ruled that the 1965 excision of the islands from Mauritius had been unlawful. The UN General Assembly affirmed the ruling in May and set a six-month deadline that expired Friday.
Almost all African nations support the resolution. AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat “requests the international community to continue its support to the Republic of Mauritius for a complete decolonisation of the Chagos Archipelago,” according to a statement on the website of the organization.
The U.K. argues it can’t give up the Chagos Archipelago for security reasons. It’s leased the biggest island to the U.S., which runs a military base there that supports operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. (Bloomberg)
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The American president Donald J Trump again blasts Nigerian government for their inability to deliver and protect the lives of its people.
Trump had kick against the killings of innocent Nigerians in the country especially in the northern part of Nigeria by bandits.
According to him the Nigerian government must stop sleeping and find everlasting solution to the crisis that is taking thousands of lives, Trump also says that the poor are the ones facing the insecurity crisis most,’ adding that their lives are more exposed to jeopardy than the rich.
In a brief conclave with journalists the American president also condemned the Canadian citizen who was recently kidnapped in Nigeria by gunmen, pleading with the Nigerian federal government to take immediate action to save the Canadian citizen.
In the pass four years till date Nigerian have been going through a lot facing challenges like, insecurity, poor economy, corruption, lack of education and employment.
“Nigerians need leaders who are ready to work, who are ready to deliver when call to power, leaders who are corrupt-free, Nigerians need leaders who listen to the cry of the people, the Nigerian government must stop sleeping.
Americans are not perfect but we are working so hard to remain the world number-one and I know many African countries are looking up to Nigeria so their leaders should stop working for their selfish interest Trump says.
Trump also talked about president Buhari 10 day visit to the UK adding that, it is wrong for a president to travel without handing over power to his vice and not notifying the people he serves to know about his foreign trip.
Nigeria is a nice country recognized in the world, the country would have been second most powerful and most wealthy country in the world if not for the corruption that have taken over the minds of its leaders.
“However Donald Trump says, in the history of Nigeria leadership, the present government happens to be the worst ever. A government who don’t take legal actions to stop the killings of its people. The only government who don’t attack on terrorist but unleashed attack on innocent Nigerians. The only government who negotiate with terrorist, its time Nigerians need to rise and kick out bad government and fight for their pride.
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Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation has called for the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari like that of President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir.
Making reference to revolution against Omar al-Bashir by the Sudanese, Fani-Kayode in a tweet on Thursday called on Nigerian youths to revolt against Buhari.
Recall that DAILY POST earlier reported that Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, stepped down, while the military took over after anti government protest.
Thousands of Sudanese had since poured in to the streets of Khartoum in early celebration of what many think could be the end of President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.
Reports had it that the revolution for Omar’s removal was led by a 22-year old, named Alaa Salah.
Speaking on the development, Fani Kayode called on Nigerian youths to summon courage and stage up a revolution to demand removal of Buhari from office.
The former minister wrote: “Her name is Alaa Salah. She led a revolution in Sudan. She called for the oppressive leader of Sudan to step down. She is only 22 years old.
“If only the youths of Nigeria had her courage, strength and conviction Buhari would have been out long ago!
“If you really want freedom you must be ready to risk all by openly opposing tyranny and evil, protesting in the streets and fighting for it. Anything short of that will result in failure and prolonged servitude and slavery.
“Some of us have paid our dues and have fought hard against Buhari over the last four years. We have suffered all manner of hardship and persecution for it. It is time for others to do their bit.” (Daily Post)
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This year, the African Union (AU) will unveil the design for a single passport for all Africans. The unified passport will ease the free movement of people while spurring economic growth. It will also promote intra-African trade, and eventually creating a continent with seamless borders.
In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat revealed that at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.
First introduced in 2016, the African passport remains exclusive to heads of States and other diplomats. Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame are the first recipients. The document will permit AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states, without requiring a visa.
The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans. At best, only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to Africans. At worse, travelers from South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries, respectively.
But now, the AU faces the challenge of making sure the passport lives up to its potential. That it doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.
For some, this move will no doubt be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees. Plus, some have been quietly tightening visa policies. Faki, however, stated the AU will push for more integration saying, “the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable.”
Why the single African passport is important
The passport is a step towards eliminating borders on the continent, aiming to enable deeper integration, increased trade and further development. Just as important, the passport is also a powerful symbol of unity across Africa. It’s also a step towards connecting African countries economically and politically.
An AU passport, therefore, represents the latest effort to create a common market spanning the continent, much like that in the E.U.
An African passport is an exciting development that can spur growth and improve living standards. To capitalize on this potential, the AU needs to plan two steps ahead. Crafting thoughtful regulations will be essential to ensuring the African passport’s economic promise is genuinely available to everyone and not subject to abuse. (Afro Hustler)
Says Nigeria’ll be left behind for non-signing of trade pact
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo expressed optimism that the government would sign the AfCFTA in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme.
Amechi Ogbonna, Cairo, Egypt
Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.
Obasanjo at IATF 2018 in Cairo, Egypt
He said it was absurd for Nigeria that had played many leadership roles on the continent from 1963 not to be part of the AfCFTA deal.
He said the rest of Africa countries was ready to proceed with the implementation of pact without Nigeria.
On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)
Obasanjo who featured at one of the closing sessions of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions titled “Conversation with former Nigerian president” and moderated by Nigerian journalist, Mark Eddo, regretted that at a time the country was needed to provide leadership by being on the table to sign the AfCFTA, even after debating it at the highest policy making organ of the Federal Government, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the leadership suddenly developed cold feet thereby leaving other nations who were looking up to it for direction in quandary.
“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.
He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”
Obasanjo, who also reminded his audience that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, with one third of its the population living in virtually all parts of the world, expressed optimism that the government would comply and sign the agreement in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme. He expressed satisfaction with the heavy presence of the Nigerian private sector at the Fair and urged the Nigerian authorities not to allow the opportunity to slip off their hands.
According to him, the AfCTA is the economic salvation that Africa needs to redeem the wrong perceptions of it left by colonialism.
“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”
He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.
According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.
Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations. (The Sun)
President Muhammadu Buhari with former President, Olusegun Obasanjo at AU summit
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has decried the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, expressing hope that he will change his mind before it is too late.
Obasanjo poured out his mind on the AfCFTA during a presidential panel, titled: ‘When Leaders Make History’ at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday. He was joined by the President of Zimbabwe, Emerson Mnangagwa.
Obasanjo said, “That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he signs it before it is too late.
“Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”
The AfCFTA treaty is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063 and is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency.
Also, the agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods and to liberalise services, while items identified as sensitive, which make up the balance 10 percent, will also be phased out later as tariff-free.
But the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr Frank Jacobs, said the government’s enforcement mechanism in the area of enforcement of rules of origin needed to be clearly defined before local producers could support the agreement.
It is believed that the AfCFTA treaty would improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development.
The Federal Government had delayed the signing of the treaty to allow for more deliberations and input from stakeholders and had set up a committee on the issue before the President would sign the treaty.
Speaking on the need for increased youth and women participation in politics in Africa, Obasanjo, who zeroed in on Nigeria, stated, “In our own part of the world, we have not done enough in this regard. Since independence, we have never had any woman as president and VP; no woman has contested governorship election and won.
“In the coming dispensation, all organs of political parties should have 30 percent slots for women, 30 percent for the youth, and 40 percent for the others.”
He said it was disheartening that the number of the women in the National Assembly was still very insignificant. (Punch)