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Ghana in the World List of Tourist Attractions

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Secretary General of the International Committee on Tourism Attractiveness and Sustainable Tourism Development, Professor Anicet Gabriel Kotchofa, and the Chairman of the International Committee, Vladimir Piskurev, in a solemn ceremony has presented International Certificates of Particular Tourist Attractions to the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana – H. E. Oheneba Dr. Leslie Akyaa Opoku-Ware.

The Spring Session of the International Committee on Tourism Attractiveness and Sustainable Tourism Development, at its meeting in Istanbul, unanimously decided to include in the World List of Tourist Attractions two tourist sites from The Republic of Ghana.

The Republic of Ghana is one of the most unique countries of the African continent. The ancient history of this land has revealed to the world many unique cultures and peoples.

The Republic of Ghana in Africa have attracted tourists from time immemorial. Wild savanna fauna, mangroves, lagoons and sand dunes issued a challenge to bold travelers. But ordinary tourists who prefer a comfortable beach vacation, alternating with distant excursions from the extreme, have discovered Ghana relatively recently.

The Republic of Ghana is washed by the Guinea Bay from the south, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean. Neighbors of the country – Cote d’Ivoire (in the west), Burkina Faso (in the north) and Togo (in the east). Equatorial jungle, the green savannah sea and the cleanest water area of ​​the Atlantic are the main wealth of the country.

The Republic of Ghana called the “fortress country” – along the whole coastline there is a whole series of ancient forts founded by Europeans – 250 forts of the coastline have 15 forts and castles, for the most part listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Her Excellency Oheneba Dr. Leslie Akyaa Opoku-Ware noted in her speech that the Republic of Ghana will move forward in the development and popularization of such remarkable places as the St. George’s Castle in Elmina and the Mole National Park.

“I believe that tourists from all over the world should be given the opportunity to assess the whole panorama of our country, cultural, historical, natural heritage,” she said.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary noted that business cooperation in promoting tourism as an integral part of trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation is an urgent and promising task for The Republic of Ghana and includes mutual assistance in promoting tourism products of their countries in organizing exhibitions and other events.

“For our country, it is a great honor to receive the International Certificates of Tourism Attractiveness for two sites, the interaction between representatives of the tourism industry of the Republic of Ghana to promote national tourism products will serve as an additional guarantee for increasing the interest of tourists to tourist facilities and recreational opportunities, as well as mutual growth of the tourist flow,” said Dr. Akyaa Opoku-Ware.

MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.

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How African Countries Can Chart a Path to Recovery

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The current state of world affairs continues to weigh heavily on global growth prospects, with new and ongoing crises taking an enormous toll on global economies, particularly those of developing countries. Just as we prepared to emerge from the pandemic and resume life under new normal conditions, COVID variants and the Russian invasion of Ukraine introduced additional shocks across markets. The costs of these persisting crises are absolutely staggering.  

To put orders of magnitude on these costs, compare the January 2020 World Bank Global Economic Prospects projections for global gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2020 and 2021 (at 2.5 and 2.6 percent respectively) with actual growth, which was -3.3 percent for 2020 and 5.5 percent for 2021. The difference between the projections and actual growth during the pandemic translate to a cumulative global forgone output of $8 trillion, or slightly above one thousand dollars per person living on earth between 2020 and 2021. Moreover, taking into account that the World Bank still expects 2022 global GDP to be 1.8 percent below its pre-pandemic projections, one could also add the projected forgone output for 2022 ($1.7 trillion) for a cumulative loss of $9.7 trillion.

The real costs have distinct variances across global regions. If we were to repeat the exercise comparing projected regional growth rates for Sub-Saharan Africa in January 2020, which had growth at 2.9%, 3.1%, and 3.3% for 2020, 2021, and 2022, with actual growth over the same years resulting in -2.2%, 3.5%, and 3.6%, the foregone output for the region would be $180 billion over 2020-21 and $265 billion over 2020-22. While these numbers are not of the same order of magnitude as the global estimates, it is worth noting that $265 billion represents approximately the combined GDP of Kenya, Angola, and Ethiopia.

Considering these massive economic setbacks and hard times ahead, the most important question governments should be asking themselves is: What combination of policies will enable our economies to rapidly recover while adapting to the evolving and acute challenges brought on by the war in Ukraine – all while charting a long-term path to greener and more resilient growth?

In my view, the first policy recommendation needs to include strategies that increase the rates of COVID vaccination. Currently, only 12 percent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is fully vaccinated, far from the continental target of 70% percent. In fact, in order to reach the target, vaccination efforts would need to increase six-fold! Recent analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that assumptions about low COVID numbers in Africa could actually be the result of low testing rates, masking a deeper threat with much higher case numbers. Low vaccination rates not only expose a country to the emergence of new COVID variant waves, as we are seeing today with emerging waves of the Omicron variant, but also creates hospitable breeding environments for new variants.

A second policy recommendation would be to focus on building an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. Pre-dating the pandemic, debt levels were already on the rise in several countries, reducing the buffers needed to respond to possible shocks. The fiscal response to COVID-19 has further reduced buffers with many countries having to adopt measures that will allow them to regain a sustainable fiscal position, with the consequence of the reduced ability of the public sector to act as an engine of recovery. The private sector has to become the solution for a realistic recovery effort with public policy aimed at improving the investment climate and attracting private investment. Policies that create affordable, reliable access to sustainable energy will be crucial to enabling companies in Sub-Saharan to thrive and compete in the global economy. Currently, the cost of reliable access to electricity is about 50 times higher in Africa than in OECD economies, creating significant barrier to doing business in the region.

The third policy recommendation requires a deepening of regional integration efforts. Prior to the COVID pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, the world had already entered into a phase of deglobalization. This is worrying given the major gains realized from trade and the international exchange of goods, services, and ideas.  Yet, Sub-Saharan Africa has an opportunity thanks to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), now the largest free trade area in the world as measured by the number of countries participating.

A successful implementation of the AfCFTA would boost the region’s income by $450 billion by 2035, raise exports by $560 billion, boost wages by 10.3% for unskilled workers and 9.8% for skilled workers, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty while driving wage growth for women. It is estimated that reducing tariffs will boost intra-African trade by 15-25%, and the biggest income gains will come from measures to reduce red tape and simplify customs procedures. This opportunity will only become more important over the coming decades, when Sub-Saharan Africa will become the largest continent in terms of population, based on current projections, from 2060.  

The road ahead is not an easy one, but the cost of inaction risks dire consequences for the region’s economies and people. While there is great uncertainty, one thing does remain certain – the resilience of Africans and their ability to innovate in times of crisis. The World Bank has been and will continue to support Sub-Saharan Africa to build back resilient economies that can weather the challenges ahead.  

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European Union vs Eurasian Union: Geopolitical and Economic Significance for African Union

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Understandably the African Union, pan-African organization uniting 55 African States, has the legitimate mandate for building external relations with institutions and organizations outside Africa. The AU has established long-term working relations with European Union and now seeking to build similar links with Eurasian Union. Interesting to examine both the European Union and the Eurasian Union within the global changes in relation to African Union. 

Our key focus here is on the Eurasian Union and the African Union. This article, therefore, explores some historical background and basic definitive facts aim at deepening readers’ understanding of its evolutionary processes, expectations and limitations. Experts discuss, here at length, their views relating to the geopolitical implications of new relations between the African Union and the Eurasian Union, often comparing it to the European Union.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has held several diplomatic talks with his counterpart, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, over these years. Documents indicated that the question of Eurasian Union-African Union has been on the agenda. For instance in March 2018 and, even far back before that, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, both diplomats discussed this same topic. 

Lavrov emphasized during the interaction that “Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, we have supported more proactive tiers between the Eurasian Economic Union and the African Union Commission.” Some 12-18 months previously, which means in 2016, the Eurasian Economic Union’s member-countries submitted the relevant proposals, about formally establishing relations, to the African Union Commission.

In fact, Moussa Mahamat during his trip to Moscow in November 2021, Lavrov stressed “the relations between Russia and the African Union are on the rise and expanding in various areas. But today, we have a perfect opportunity to consider the entire scope of ties between the Russian Federation and the African Union, to see how we can progress in the context of implementing the Sochi summit decisions and preparing for the second summit of the leaders of Russia and African countries.”

In the new emerging global economic order, Russia seems to be leading the Eurasian Union, now fast-tracking and stretching all muscles to link up with African Union. The aim is to showcase, Russia’s power-muscles and its regional allies to Europe and the world. 

Lavrov and Mahamat have agreed to transform the “documents approved at the first Russia-Africa Summit” into “An Action Plan 2022 – 2025” that will reinforce and determine the necessary directions for partnership with Africa. “The Russian side also expressed a hope for translation into practice of cooperation between the African Union and the Eurasian Economic Commission in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi,” says the statement posted to official website.

Lavrov has attached importance to establish cooperation between African Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which has until now remained a conceptual thought or a grandiose idea. The EAEU is an economic union comprising countries located in northern Eurasia, founded by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia by treaty that entered into force on January 1, 2015. As of May 2018, two republics joined – Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Eurasian Union’s key objectives include increasing cooperation and economic competitiveness for the member states, and the promotion of stable development in order to raise the standard of living in member states. It was created partly in response to the economic and political influence of the European Union and other Western countries that are desirous to penetrate the former republics of the Soviet Union.

Media reports and official documents show that in November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed an agreement setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015. The member states put together a joint commission on fostering closer economic ties. Russia is the most active player among the EAEU, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have some interest in African affairs. Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have extremely little interest in Africa, according to policy experts interviewed for this article.

Experts say while European Union is a practical well-functioning and well-structured organization, and its policies ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, the Eurasian Union members are still struggling to deal with their internal issues and most importantly their post-Soviet slippery or thorny relations with Russia. But the question most often asked is, excluding Russia, what African Union hopes to gain from this diplomatic relations with the members of the Eurasian Union.

Professor Fernando Jorge Cardoso, Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (Autónoma Lisbon University), argues in an emailed interview that “the European Union includes giving out national sovereign powers, including on matters of trade and money. I do not see any Eurasian Union to do that – it is not even necessary to go into political arguments to come to this conclusion. The Union speaks about cooperation and economic agreements, and that should be another line of considerations – in any case one does not exclude the other. Second, African governments, in general, have shown they are very much pragmatic. They will accept everything coming from everywhere, as far as it pays…so, why choose one partner at the exclusion of another?”

The European Union is simply incomparable to the Eurasian Union, says Dr Mohamed Chtatou, a Senior Professor of Middle Eastern politics at the International University of Rabat (IUR) and Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. According to him, the later looks like a hocus-pocus business, half-political, and half-kind of military, and as such does not have any economic biting-power in the global world. 

Explaining explicitly his point, he said: “The African Union needs major economic investments for the time being. And the economies of its member states are on upward movement, so they badly need capital and transfer of know-how. For the moment, the economic presence of Russia in the African continent is minimal albeit the Russian Wagner group putting political pressure on the countries where they exist. Worse, Russia wants economic concessions but it does not seem to engage in large investment in Africa.”

“The European Union is a substantial economic power with a lot of strength and worldwide ramifications. It is also a political power to reckon with. With the Russian war on Ukraine, the Eurasian Union will lose its little credibility and, as a result, will probably go down the drain. Another strength of the European Union is its democracy and strong institutions, which the Eurasian Union countries lack. So one cannot compare the incomparable,” concluded Professor Chtatou.

As economic power, European Union consists of 27 members, it would soon have a larger numeral strength, in future, by three new members – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The European Union has members such as United Kingdom, Germany, France, The Netherland, Denmark, Sweden et cetera that have played significant contributions to Africa’s development compared Eurasian Union members such as Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

At this stage, it appears the Eurasian Union has some glaringly obvious limitations when compared to European Union. An insight into both organizations – African Union is encouraged by diplomatic adventure to establish relations at that level with the Eurasian Union.

Dr. Niklas Swanström, the Director of the Institute for Security and Development Policy, and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), argues in an email discussion for this article that African Union and African leaders have to keep in mind these basic facts: Eurasian Union lacks the potential to become an economic bloc, partly due to the economic weakness of its members, and rampant corruption but maybe mostly due to the dominant position of Russia. 

That Russia is using the Eurasian Union to influence the member states politically as well as economically, even if its economy is not able to carry the weight. The only solution would be to merge the Eurasian Union into the Belt and Road Initiative, but that would decrease the Russian influence and strengthen China’s control over what Russia defines as its sphere of interest.

Dr. Swanström, says further that, Kazakhstan, but also Kyrgyzstan, is concerned about Russian influence, not least after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There has long been a Russian interest to subjugate the Russian-speaking parts of Kazakhstan and the government in Nur-Sultan ponders how to balance Russia without provoking them too much. The war in Ukraine has, with all right, made it apparent for all members of the Eurasian Union that they could be the next target for war and territorial annexation.

As a political entity the European Union is represented, for instance, in the World Trade Organization (WTO). European Union member states own the estimated second largest after the United States (US$105 trillion) net wealth in the world, equal to around 20 per cent (€60 trillion) of the US$36 trillion (€300 trillion) global wealth.

Eurasian Union-African Union as a new paradigm that may connect the two regions, and attempt building a broader network of alliances for raising cooperation, if effectively coordinated not as diplomatic showroom. For now, Eurasian Union-African Union is only at its exploratory stage, it has extremely little potentials. During the next African leaders’ summit planned for Addis Ababa, Lavrov aready emphasized that “the signed agreements and the results will be consolidated at the forthcoming second Russia-Africa summit.”

Further, Lavrov explained that the two most important goals of the summit would be to sign off on a “memorandum of understanding between the government of the Russian Federation and the African Union on basic principles of relations and co-operation” and a “memorandum of understanding between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union on economic co-operation.” (https://www.intellinews.com/russia-preparing-for-second-africa-summit-to-build-closer-ties-as-it-pivots-away-from-the-west-247188/)

European Union members and business investors have been making consistent efforts at capitalizing on and exploring several emerging opportunities offered by the newly introduced African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which provides a unique and valuable access to an integrated African market of 1.3 billion people. In practical reality, it aims at creating a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments in Africa.

During the past years the European Union has held series of business summits, and been looking for ways of strengthening further aspects of various issues relating to development in Africa. That compared, Eurasian Union only started exploring around to define what to do with African Union.

The EU-Africa Summit on February 17-18, 2022, EU document, it said the summit is now focusing on the folloowing: Support AfCFTA implementation and the green transition; Improve trade and investment climate between the EU and Africa; Reinforce high level public private dialogue; Enhance long-term dialogue structures between EU and Africa Business Associations. 

With its new Global Gateway Strategy, the EU is demonstrating the readiness to support massive infrastructural investment in Africa. It also seeks to unlock new business and investment opportunities, including in the areas of manufacturing and agro processing as well as regional and continental value chains development. 

In a document entitled “Toward a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa” – the document sets forth what the EU plans to do with Africa. The Joint EU-Africa Strategy takes into cognizance their most common interests such as climate change, global security and the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Chatham House Africa Programme has monitored European Union and Africa, and has huge information resources. It has also documented their partnership guided by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which was adopted at the second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon.

Likewise the arguments continue. Dr Antipas Massawe, retired Lecturer from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, also listed his view points as follows:

· The EU is a lot more advanced and successful than the EAEU.

· It’s highly reliable economic alliances and/or involvements in most of the worlds developed and developing democracies makes it the world’s more globalized than the mainly regional EAEU.

· The fact that the EAEU is landlocked from the Africa by the EU, China and other non EAEU world’s leading economies that are sea linked to the African continent makes a democratization of  it for alliances with the EU, China, and the other world’s leading economies and economic alliances to become realizable of what could enable it globalize for a bigger share of the global and African economies.

From the above discussions, there are two siginificant points to stress here: The first – with the Eurasian Union and African Union relationship, African leaders and members of the Eurasian Union have to study how to seek coherent common interests necessary for their strategic goals. Second, Russian Federation and the African Union, with their frequent interaction, have to move towards an integrated commitment in pursuit of realizing the Action Plan for 2022-2025.

The AU expresses its readiness to work closely with Russia in the implementation of the Action plan. At least, it is quite clear that Russia and African Union, instead of their previous “ad hoc” agenda, both will now have the finalized “Action Plan for 2022-2025” adopted during the forthcoming second Russia-Africa Summit. 

This 3-year plan will expectedly support Russian and African entrepreneurs in exploring ways of mutually beneficial cooperation. While exploring ways to support the efforts by African States, it necessary to encourage collaboration in establishing peace and security, consistently keep eyes on technology, infrastructural development, agriculture and industrialization, health and education, social and cultural spheres.

The African Union has to layout way, on behalf of African Governments and States, the development priorities, identify existing challenges and possible steps  toward achieving common or mutual benefits especially in promising areas of economic, trade and investment, social and cultural partnership between the Russian Federation and the African Union. 

In conclusion, the Joint Declaration of the first Russia-Africa Summit adopted in October 2019, reaffirmed the resolve to develop comprehensive cooperation between the Russian Federation, African States and leading subregional organizations in Africa, and the African Union. What is most necessary is for the African Union to define the strategic priorities and work with common sustainable development policies as stipulated by its own Agenda 2063 and strive to show commitments toward the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.

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China Opens its First Party School in Africa

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China has completed its first Political Party School in Tanzania, East Africa. It has taken in its first batch of students from six African countries. All of the political entities taking part have ruled their countries without interruption since independence. According to news agencies, 120 cadres from African ruling parties are attending the workshop at the US$40 million facility in Tanzania funded by the Chinese Communist Party.

The construction of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School in Kibaha, 40km outside Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, was financed by the six ruling parties of the southern African countries. The additional support came from the ruling party in Beijing through its International Liaison Department, the bureaucracy in charge of promoting Chinese ideology overseas and inter-party diplomacy.

The school provides a platform for China to enhance exchanges with leaders as a form of “party-to-party” diplomacy. Like many countries in southern Africa, Tanzania was greatly influenced by Maoism and the Communist Party during the 1960s and 1970s under founding president Julius Nyerere.

Although Sino-African relations have almost entirely shifted to economic engagement, with China’s presence in Africa increasingly associated with mega infrastructure projects, echoes of Chinese socialism can still be heard in Tanzania, as well as many other countries on the continent.

Political parties from South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe still look to learn from China’s governance and economic model. Observers say no African country has completely adopted the Chinese “model” but most appreciate some of its elements, such as a single-party state or state-led development.

In recent years, the party has intensified its push to solidify its political relations with African ruling parties, inviting hundreds of their officials on “study tours” to China each year. The approach remained consistent from the 1990s, when Beijing began aggressively promoting the “Chinese form of governance” in Africa, until Covid-19 put a stop to any form of gathering that risked further spreading the virus, although some meetings continued to be held virtually.

Song Tao, the then head of the International Department of the party’s Central Committee, gave a virtual address to attendees of the Southern Africa Youth Cadres workshop in early June, highlighting the long-term friendship and shared concepts of the parties.

“In the face of the changes and the pandemic both unseen in a century, the CPC is ready to strengthen experience exchange in state governance and administration with the six parties,” said Song, who has since been replaced by Liu Jianchao, a veteran diplomat.

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a senior research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and a research professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, in a recent paper published by the National Bureau of Asian Research said that “in Sub-Saharan Africa the CPC has focused on ruling rather than opposition parties and countries that matter for the Chinese economy.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the party, replied to a letter from the workshop participants with the hope that they “take an active part in the cause of the China-Africa friendship, carry forward and pass on the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation,” according to the South China Morning Post.

The Chinese Communist Party has set up relations with 110 political parties in 51 countries out of 54, as laid out in a white paper issued by Beijing at the end of the 8th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Dakar, Senegal.

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