LETS MAXIMISE ICT BENEFITS
President J. A. Kufuor has called on African leaders to harmonise their telecommunications infrastructure under a common regulatory environment in all the sub-regions under NEPAD arrangements to maximise the benefits of ICT for the development of the continent.
He said, it was also time to come up with an African ICT infrastructural backbone plan that will run across the whole continent and beyond.
He explained that harmonised telecommunication infrastructure and a cross-border ICT backbone were very crucial for Africa to be part of the emerging World Information Society, otherwise the continent would be left behind in the ICT revolution.
President Kufuor said these, when he opened the African Regional Preparatory Conference on the second phase of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in Accra yesterday.
The conference precedes the second phase of the WSIS, to be held in Tunis, Tunisia, in November. The theme for the three day conference is “Access, Africa's key to an inclusive information society”.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Mr. Mohamed Ghanouchi, the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Mr. Janis Karklins and President of the second phase of the WSIS preparatory meeting, were among 1,000 delegates who attended the conference.
The conference, which started with a series of pre-conference workshops on January 28, seeks to review progress made in implementing the plan of action adopted in the first phase of the WSIS in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2003. It will also debate methods of financing information and communication technologies in Africa and various aspect of internet governance, as well as address issues regarding Africa's participation in the Tunis phase of the WSIS.
PARLIAMENT REMAINS PILLAR OF DEMOCRACY
The Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, has stated that Parliament has demonstrated dynamism, resilience and the desire to reinforce a vibrant constituted democracy and good governance in the country.
He said, notwithstanding the history of interruptions in parliamentary democracy as a result of military interventions, the institution has managed its development in a pragmatic way.
He was speaking at an induction seminar for Members of Parliament (MPs) at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
The three-day seminar is designed to introduce the MPs to their roles and expose them to strategies for becoming effective legislators. It is also to serve as an opportunity for the re-elected MPs to classify complex issues on procedures, which might have confronted them in the course of their work.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes said, Parliament needed to make public policies effective because “if the voices of those most affected by government policies are not heard in the policy making process, those policies will not be successful”.
He expressed the hope that the seminar would enable participants to display confidence and understanding of the role that Parliament had to play in governance as well as enable them to demonstrate competence in the conduct of parliamentary business.
The Speaker further reminded the MPs that the seminar was aimed at re-orienting them to the environment of Parliament, its ethics, norms, values and attitudes expected from MPs in relation to the public, constituents and the media.
The Chairman for the seminar, Mr. J. H. Mensah, Senior Minister, expressed the hope that there would be more of such seminars to strengthen and consolidate parliamentary democracy in the country.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF AFRICA DEPARTMENT OF IRAN CALLS ON VEEP
The Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, last Monday, granted audience to the Director-General of the Africa Department and Secretary for the Special Committee of Africa of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Javi Ghoban Orgli, at the Castle, Osu.
Receiving him, Alhaji Mahama announced that the government of Ghana is exploring the possibility of deepening trade and diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He said, what was paramount in the new relations were investment, trade and the sharing of experiences in technology.
The Vice President commended the Iranian authorities for assisting Ghana in the areas of agriculture and health, and the establishment of the Irani clinic in Accra, the provision of $1.5 million to Ghana as manifestation of Iran's commitment to the development of the country.
Mr. Orgli said, the Islamic Republic of Iran was now focusing much attention on Africa.
MEDICAL OUTREACH AT TAIFA
The Central Aid of the Taifa branch of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) has provided free medical outreach for more than 1000 residents of Taifa, a suburb of Accra in the Greater Accra Region.
The programme was carried out in conjunction with the Christian Medical Missions Resource Foundation (CMRF), the Taifa Central Aid, an NGO and ICGC Taifa.
The Senior Pastor in charge of ICGC Taifa, Pastor Jonathan Quabla-Afrique, said the medical care for the people formed part of the church's social responsibility. He said the programme was made possible through a special fund-raising organised by the church on December 24, last year, dubbed “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh”.
CMRF was founded in 1991 by Group Captain Dr. Annankra at the 37 Military Hospital and the Mission had served in about 200 communities nationwide, more that 50 in Uganda and about 50 in Togo.
METHODIST WOMEN SUPPORT SCHOOL
The Kumasi Diocesan Women's Fellowship of the Methodist Church at the weekend presented assorted items valued at more that ¢20 million to the Kumasi Wesley Girls' High School to strengthen its Home Economics Department.
These included deep freezers, a table top fridge, an electric cooker, sewing machines among others.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Right Reverend Nuh Ben Abubekr, the Bishop of Kumasi said it was the vision of the church to make the school a first-class girls' second-cycle institution in the country, adding that the church would build a three storey dormitory block and adequately equip the science laboratory and the library.
The Diocesan President of the fellowship, Mrs. Elizabeth Duah, said as mothers, they had a sense of ownership of the school and would, therefore, do all they could to assist to improve its facilities.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT FOR KETA HOSPITAL
A five-member delegation of the Novisi Welfare Association, a benevolent group of Ghanaian-ewes resident in Botswana and South Africa, led by Mr. James Dorkenoo has donated assorted medical equipment worth ¢50 million to the Keta District Health Service at the Keta Hospital in the Volta Region.
The items included 10 digital blood pressure monitors, 10 theatre clamps, 50 forceps, 30 mosquito forceps, one manual blood pressure monitor, six kidney plates, one video cassette recorder and one telescope.
Receiving the items, the Keta District Director of Health Services, Dr. Atsu Seake-Kwawu, thanked the donors for their kind gesture and stressed that the donation would supplement the government's efforts at providing affordable and accessible health services to the people.
The chairman for the occasion, Togbi Gatsiko III of Dzelukope, reminded all citizens of Anlo of the responsibilities they owed to the health and educational institutions and called on the citizens home and abroad to donate generously either in cash or kind to assist their communities.
He called on all citizens to register and contribute regularly so that they can benefit from the National Health Insurance Scheme.
METRO TV GOES INTERNATIONAL
Metro TV will as from March 1, 2005 be available on the DSTV Bouquet across the West African sub-region.
The Chief Executive of Metro TV, Mr. Talal Fattal, signed an agreement to that effect with Multichoice Africa, operators of the 'DSTV Bouquet in Accra, while Mr. Harry Pratt, Multichoice's Business Development Manager, signed for his organisation.
Mr. Fattal explained that Metro TV via the DSTV Bouquet would broadcast Ghanaian programmes such as, news, business, advertisement and current issues live to all DSTV subscribers across the West African sub-region with a reach of over one million viewers in Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The Business Development Manager, Mr. Harry Pratt, said his organisation was an african company, and was committed to serving africans across the continent by helping them know everything across the continent and the world as a whole.
GHANA, EGYPT TO CO-OPERATE IN TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
Ghana and Egypt have prepared a draft co-operation agreement which aims at promoting the country's tourism sector.
The agreement covers training of tour guides and people who handle reception facilities and investment.
The aim is to make Ghana one of the top class tourism destinations in the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
The Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, made this known during an interaction with the media after the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, had paid a courtesy call on him at his office.
OTUMFUO URGES BANKS TO SUPPORT AGRIC SECTOR
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, yesterday appealed to banking institutions to develop special interest in the development of the agricultural sector in the country.
He said “agriculture remains a major source of income for many Ghanaians and it is very important in the development of the nation”.
The Asantehene made the appeal during a courtesy call on him by the Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Africa, Mr. Malcom Hewitt.
Mr. Hewitt commended the Asantehene for the various projects that he had initiated to the benefit of society, and presented a cheque for ¢100 million on behalf of the Bank to the Otumfuo's Education Fund.