Lost Talents: How Ghanaian Graduates Survive In China

Many Ghanaian students who have successfully completed their studies at various universities in China prefer to stay and work in the East Asian country rather than return home and contribute their quota to the economic development of their home country.

These students – whose education in the world’s second-largest economy were either funded by the Chinese government as part of the ongoing cooperation between China and Ghana in the area of education, or by the government of Ghana-funded Scholarship Secretariat – opt to teach English in the Asian country for a bigger pay cheque instead of returning home.

Daniel Asare, who graduated from a medical school in Hainan – a province in China, tells B&FT that he prefers to teach English Language in Sanya, a city in Hainan Province, rather than come to Ghana to practice as a physician.

His reason? “I teach Chinese children English as a private worker; but trust me, I make double the salary a medical doctor makes in Ghana. So, tell me why I should go back home?

“I make between 10,000 Yuan (GHȼ7,040) and 15,000 Yuan (GHȼ10,000) every month through teaching, but how much is a medical doctor’s salary in Ghana? So, I prefer to teach than to practice medicine in Ghana,” he said.

His colleague, Emmanuel Asamoah, had a similar story to tell. He is not convinced that he can make it in Ghana because of how much he is earning in China.

The two medical school graduates are just two of the over 80 Ghanaian students schooling and or working in Hainan Province alone.

The number of Ghanaian students and professionals living and working in Beijing, the capital of China, who have refused to come back home after their various studies is far higher.

Some have lived there for six years after completing their university education and have been able to integrate into Chinese society.

Anthony Kwami, an IT specialist who successfully completed his master’s degree in a university in Beijing and has successfully registered his business here in China, says the opportunity to make a decent income is higher in Beijing than Accra.

Kwami, who has a valid work permit, was quick to say though it is not easy to make a living here, it is better than doing business in Ghana.

“China has a population of about 1.4billion, so imagine if you have even 0.01 percent of that population as your customers; you can survive better than doing business in Ghana, where getting a market for your products and services is always difficult.

“China has the market, so no matter what services or product you bring to the market, you will get people to patronize it. Remember, too, that Internet penetration is huge here; so, there is a market for IT professionals,” he said.

China is the second-largest economy in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 82.7trillion Yuan and boasts a robust manufacturing sector that is creating jobs for millions of its citizens.

Source: Myjoyonline

Operation Vanguard Storms Aisha's Galamsey Site

Image - Operation Vanguard
Operation Vanguard

Ashanti Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Operation Vanguard on Wednesday, April 18, conducted operations at illegal mining sites in Asuogya-Gyaman, Nyamebekyere-Gyaman and the environs of Bepotenteng in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region.

Intelligent report revealed that the site was linked to Aisha Huang who is standing trial for illegal mining.

Colonel Amoah-Ayisi, the Commander of the Joint police/military Task Force of Operation (JTF) Vanguard revealed this after the operation and admonished Ghanaians to stop aiding the illegal miners to deplete Ghana’s forest reserves and river bodies.

He said, the team could not arrest any person on the field, but managed to secure expired Non-Citizen Republic of Ghana Identity Card of two Chinese Nationals who managed to escape.

The two identity cards had same name with different images - Lu Qiuying and Suspects’ identity would be given to the appropriate security body for further investigations.

Colonel Amoah-Ayisi said two excavators, five industrial generators, five changfans and other earth moving equipment were immobilised and items seized included five water pumping machines, three generator sets and other mining equipment.

Concurrently, the riverine team of the Joint Task Force also was on the Ofin River and immobilised 24 Changfans on the river along the Dominase general area in the Central Region.

He called on patriotic Ghanaians not to betray the state with the little stipends issued them as compensation for feeding the illegal miners on the movements of the JTF.

Colonel Amoah-Ayisi bemoaned the extent to which some Ghanaians listened to lies peddled by the galamseyers and made a lot of media storm out of it.

The propaganda does not help our course and tends to thwart the efforts of the JTF.

“Peddling untruths about operations of the JTF and personnel will not deter us and we will continue to work for a better future that will ensure our environment is sanitised.

He advised that in the case of any unprofessional conduct, involving any personnel of operation vanguard; the public should report to the relevant institutions such as the Police, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Defence Intelligence (DI), any Public Relations unit of the security services, CID’s including all other recognised institutions empowered by the state to investigate public officers. “Appropriate sanctions shall be applied on those individuals when allegations are found to be true,” he assured.

The Commander of JTF re-iterated that some individuals were using the name of Operation Vanguard to extort monies from illegal miners and they were tracking them and would soon be arrested for the law to deal with them, he added.

Colonel Amoah-Ayisi urged the illegal small-scale miners to remain patient for government to roll out appropriate measures to sanitise the mining sector to operate in peaceful and sustainable environment.

On logistics, the Joint Task Force Commander disclosed that each FOB can perform three to four patrols per region in a day.

At present, he said they could only manage one patrol at a time due to lack of vehicles. Government is constrained with resources for Operation Calm Life, Cow Leg and other Security Institutions.

He further called on well-meaning institutions and individuals to support the effort of government with vehicles, drones, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) among other related equipment for the JTF.

He was confident that when issued with adequate logistics, it would lead to much success to restore Ghana’s forest reserves and river bodies.

Source: GNA

Ghana Is Broke - Ken Thompson

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson, has given his plain diagnosis of the state of Ghana's macroeconomy, describing it as frail.

Speaking at the CIMG-hosted event, Ken Thompson engaged in a hypothetical conversation with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta where he sought to show that the cedi was overvalued using the Big Mac Index -- published by The Economist to measure purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies.
Mfoni mbuayɛ ɛma ken thompson
Ken Thompson, CEO of Dalex Finance
According to the Dalex Finance CEO, the overvalued cedi made Ghanaian exports expensive and non-competitive, while imports were relatively cheap.

He notes that this development results in stunted economic development and unemployment.
Ken Thompson makes the case that the trickle-down effect of the overvalued cedi will jeopardize most, if not all government policies including the“Planting for Food and Jobs” programme.
He said the polices are likely to be non-competitive because of the overvalued cedi.
Ken Thompson argues that the state of Ghana’s economy started experiencing challenges since 2017.
“We spent almost 100% of all our revenue including grants on three line items as follows: compensation to employees, interest payments, and, statutory payments, example GETFund, District Assemblies Common Fund, and NHIS."

Mr. Thompson also raised concerns over the rise in government expenditure which he described as worrying.

“Since we spend over 100% of our revenue on these 3 items, all our other expenditure is done from monies borrowed. We are borrowing to fund consumption and not to fund investment.
"Our debt is piling up (70% of GDP), and, we may not be in a position to repay in future. Even before then, any natural or man-made disaster could send us into a default tailspin of government obligations causing intolerable hardship, widespread business failures, and mass unemployment,” he stated.


Touching on the solutions that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Attah, should take to rescue the “sinking ship”, Ken Thompson stated that increasing taxes and reintroducing property rates could deal with the issues of revenue generation once and for all.

“We are not likely to reduce our expenditure on salaries in the short term, and even though there has been some capping of statutory obligations the net effect is negligible. Our only hope is to increase revenue in the short to medium term in order to fund consumption expenditure,“ he stated.
He is, therefore, expecting the government to get the informal sector to start paying individual taxes, enforce evidence of tax payment on property registration, for example, vehicle registration, company registration, land title registration and increase taxes across board especially property taxes.

"That is our hope in the short term, and reduction in profligate spending, example stopping the purchase of numerous Toyota Land Cruisers that cost over GHC 600,000 each,” he admonished.

Ghana May Struggle to Repay Lenders' $1.3 Billion Cocoa Loan

Ghana Cocoa Board may struggle to fully pay back loans of $1.3 billion as this season’s harvest will likely be smaller than first anticipated, according to the head of the industry regulator.

The world’s second-biggest grower signed for the loans with lenders such as Credit Agricole SA and Natixis SA prior to the start of the annual harvest in October to pay farmers for their beans. Ghana will probably not meet its target of 850,000 metric tons due to dry weather and plant disease, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive officer of the regulator, said Monday in an interview in the capital, Accra.

While recent rains may improve yields in the smaller harvest that runs from June to September, they may not be sufficient to make up for losses suffered in the main harvest that continues until then, he said. He declined to give a new forecast for the crop.

“We are only praying that we’ll be able to meet our collateralized facility because the crop wasn’t as good as anticipated,” Aidoo said. “We just started paying the first installment” in February, he said.

On Tuesday, Aidoo said the board does expect to meet its financial obligations for the crop year.

“We have shown over the past 25 years that Cocobod is credible and has never defaulted and will not default this year,” he told reporters.

The board purchased 625,111 tons of cocoa for the season through Feb. 22, compared with 640,075 tons for the same period in the previous crop, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While Ghana may not achieve its forecast for the season, it’s already selling cocoa at a loss after it chose not to lower prices for farmers even as global prices slumped by a third from July 2016 through the end of last year. The regulator is losing the equivalent of about $600 for every ton sold this season, it said in February.

The board is in talks with the government on ways to pay for operational expenses and liabilities as the cost of debt on local markets is too expensive, Aidoo said on Monday. Over the past year, it sold bills and notes at rates of as much as 22 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are still discussing with government and we’ll find some solutions,” Aidoo said.

For the next harvest, the cocoa board will target a harvest of 900,000 tons and again seek to raise $1.3 billion in syndicated loans, he said. Last month, the International Cocoa Organization forecast a 900,000 ton harvest for this season.

Use Ebola Outbreak To Build Better Public Health System - Africa Urged

The Ebola crisis of 2014–16 mobilized unprecedented financial assistance for West Africa to strengthen outbreak surveillance to prevent another crisis. The region has developed an ambitious blueprint over the last two years, but the effort has now reached a tipping point for success.  Careful and transparent transition planning and sensitivity to the unique diversity of the region will be key to realizing the potential and offering an excellent model for Africa in the future.
Image - Health workers carrying an Ebola patient
Health workers carrying an Ebola patient
The West African region is recognized by the global public health community as being particularly vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks, including those caused by diseases that jump the species barrier from animals. This is critically important both to the region and rest of the world. The challenge in the wake of Ebola has been to ‘build back better’, that is not only to replace the frail systems that failed the community in the past but to reinforce them to assure the health security of the population for the years to come.

Both financial resources and political will were abundant immediately after the Ebola crisis. Among the extensive international funding, the World Bank made a notable contribution of more than $400 million to improve infectious disease surveillance. This funding is dedicated to enhancing surveillance in the region to improve detection, alert and response to outbreaks in the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The money is unique in that it is directed only towards building public health surveillance systems and not the usual disease-focused approach. It is brokered through the health arm of ECOWAS — the West African Health Organization (WAHO).

During extensive consultations across the region, led by the WAHO, an ambitious blueprint evolved. Each country with a national coordinating institute is to share surveillance data systematically with a regional hub. All 15 countries are to be networked into a Regional Centre for Disease Surveillance and Control (RCDC), located in Abuja, Nigeria. The countries, in turn, are to benefit from enhanced resources in data analysis, laboratory services, rapid response and disease investigation and ‘One Health’ expertise from the RCDC. This regional center is part of a pan-African system of five centers linked to the African Union Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. West Africa currently provides the most advanced of these centers.

Prospects for long-term success

As global attention on West Africa wanes, this effort is reaching a tipping point. National governments must move quickly to designate and empower their coordinating institutes, but at the last report, just nine of the 15 countries had designated their national coordinating institute.
At the core of the vision is the new RCDC. The plan is for it to be fully staffed in early 2018. However, the management challenge in the context of West Africa is complex and should not be underestimated. For example, donor agencies often have their own agendas, some favoring approaches that are not entirely aligned with the overall regional planning by WAHO. In addition, within WAHO each line of work tends to be carried as an independent brief. Therefore, integration under the RCDC by the end of this year presents a serious challenge.

Consultations over the past two years have invited extensive country input into the planning process. This has helpfully produced a plan tailored to the culture and national interests of West Africa — one of the most diverse regions in the world. Informal disease surveillance networks from around the world have been included in discussions. It is now time to move from words to action.

Beginning construction

In November, Chatham House partnered with the RCDC to convene a roundtable in Abuja on information and material sharing. The immediate nature of the challenge of operationalizing the network was a key driver of these discussions. Participants from across the region were eager for more transparency in the process and strongly advocated the inclusion of informal as well as formal networks to ensure success and sustainability. This informal participation, including regular communication using both technology and physical meetings, is essential to building trust.

Challenges are legion, but the approach is feasible. However, careful and transparent transition planning on the part of WAHO and its national and regional partners will be important, and complex management of this kind has not historically been a particular strength of WAHO. Above all, sensitivity to the unique diversity of the region will be vital.

The opportunity to build a system that protects a very vulnerable part of the world from threats such as that posed by the 2014–16 Ebola crisis must be seized. Success would provide an excellent model for Africa in the future. The coming months will define whether it arrives.

Lost Talents: How Ghanaian Graduates Survive In China

Many Ghanaian students who have successfully completed their studies at various universities in China prefer to stay and work in the Eas...