Category Archives: International

Ghana and Jamaica Agree to Visa Waiver

Ghanain President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (left) with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a recent meeting in Kingston.

Ghanain President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (left) with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a recent meeting in Kingston, Jamaica.

By Malcolm Speaks

A visa waiver agreement has been established between Jamaica and Ghana and is set to go into effect on July 1, as announced by the two countries’ leaders.

Speaking to reporters, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the travel measure as both countries pledged to negotiate and finalize a restart of their dormant Ghana-Jamaica Permanent Joint Commission for Co-operation trade agreement. Prime minister Holness delivered the news while Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was at his side. He was visiting the island on a two-day Caribbean tour in order to promote “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019.”

This visa campaign is unprecedented and aimed at encouraging African-Americans and Africans in the diaspora to return home as part of a movement that marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619.

“We can’t have visas standing in the way of those relations, so the decision has been taken by my Government… to provide visa-free arrangements for Jamaicans in Ghana, and facilitate and make it easier for you to accept our invitation to come and join us for the Year of Return,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He added that, “the relationship that we are forming here in Jamaica, will form part of this process of solidifying the relations between those of us on the continent of Africa and those of you in the Diaspora outside Africa.”

After bilateral talks between the two leaders, Prime Minister Holness said the initiative is “central in our discussions” and will aid in building “on the fraternal bonds … between our two countries and [taking] our peoples to greater heights.”

Prime Minister Holness continued: “We can use this initiative to forge increased inter-personal connections and, at the same time, deepen trade and commercial relations between our respective countries.”

President Akufo-Addo stated that the intention is to use the symbolism of ‘The Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ to take concrete steps to solidify the relationship between not only Jamaica but other countries in the region.

President Akufo-Addo then sealed the bond by presenting a floral tribute at the shrine of Marcus Garvey who was an inspiration to Ghana’s founding president Kwame Nkrumah. The Ghanaian flag colors are also inspired by the “Red, Black, and Green” flag created by Garvey and the United Negro Improvement Association.

Ethiopia Restores Internet Service

By Chuma Kisu

According to some estimates, internet service has been disrupted four time since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has led the nation.

According to some estimates, internet service has been disrupted four time since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed first began leading the country in 2018.

According to international reports social media users indicate that internet connectivity has been restored across Ethiopia after four days of an unexplained shutdown.

The internet rights group, NetBlocks, were among the first to report of the outage
on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Reports are unclear as to why there was an outage. However, according to reports, there was a similar outage about the same time in in 2016 and 2017.

The government and state-run operator, Ethio Telecom, has not commented on the issue officially. Some feel this agency may be behind the outage.

On Wednesday, text messaging also suffered an outage as people widely reported an inability to transmit messages. Despite the return of connectivity, SMS remains inaccessible.

Pro-democracy activists and journalists in the country have meanwhile chastised the government for turning off the internet at a time when reforms are being rolled out by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government.

One activist, Atnaf Brhane, observed that the internet had been shut down for four times in the period that Abiy has been in charge.

Presidents of the Congo and Burundi Meet

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi (left) and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi (left) and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi met with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza during his visit to the east African nation on Friday, June 14, 2019.

During the working visit the two leaders of the neighboring nations agreed to have a peaceful co-existence. According to the Burundi Presidency, the two committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship that unite their two countries.

“The two Presidents stressed the need to strengthen regional and sub-regional integration organizations in the promotion and consolidation of peace, security, stability and sustainable development,” said Ezechiel Nibigira, Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tshisekedi and Nkurunziza agreed to subdue militias in their nations as well.

“The two presidents decided to resolutely activate the joint mechanisms to eradicate armed groups operating on Congolese territory and to monitor very closely all security issues of two neighbouring states;” said Ezechiel Nibigira, Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tshisekedi had just come from the neighboring nation of Tanzania where he had successful discussions with President John Magufuli.

The President’s visit is part of his efforts to boost the chances of his country joining the East African Community.

Ghana, A Cultural Journey

By Ni-Ammun Onyemachi Safohin Kobiona Yankah

The "Wall of Return" symbolizes Ghana's desire to have members of the African diaspora to repatriate to the continent.

The “Wall of Return” symbolizes Ghana’s desire to have members of the African diaspora to repatriate to Africa.

In March 2019, the “Year of Return,” we traveled to Ghana with the support of Dionne Ferguson of Our Good Journey Together and toured this beautiful country with John Kweku Eduafo of Authentic Ghana Tours.

We were taken to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra. Dr. Nkrumah, who became the first President of an independent Ghana, is buried there. We then visited the Dubois Centre in Accra, which was the home of the great African-American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois after he moved to Ghana. His wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois, a venerable freedom fighter in her own right, is also buried there.

We traveled to Kumasi and visited the Centre for National Culture, the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum, and the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site. While in Kumasi we were told the story of how the Golden Stool came down from the sky onto the lap of Nana Osei Tutu I, who lodged a sword into stone and said that if someone comes for the stool, he must retrieve the sword in order to do so. Lastly, while in Kumasi, we visited a huge street market, which had approximately 11,000 vendor locations. This market has been said to be the largest open-air market in all of West Africa.

We also traveled to Lake Volta, which is man-made and was created in the construction of the Volta Dam under the personal supervision of Kwame Nkrumah. This was the only man-made lake in the world until one was constructed by China. This dam provides electric power to the nations of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast as a measure of self-sufficiency and self-determination.

We were taken to the village of Apenyi in the Central region of Ghana, where I was formally welcomed into the village. I was given cloth & sandals that belong to the chief of the village. I was invited to sit alongside him and the queen mother along with the council of elders. Afterwards, I was invited into the chief’s home to share a drink with him & the queen mother. This was an overwhelming experience that I will never forget!

We were taken to Assin Manso “Slave River,” where as kidnaped Africans, we took our last bath in the Motherland before being forcibly taken to enslavement castles along the coast prior to sailing to the Americas and Europe. Thus we never saw our ancestral homeland again. Here, a wall of remembrance has been erected where Africans in the diaspora who return to Ghana can record their return on the wall itself. The Ghanaian government promised to engrave these recordings. An inscription was made in stone at this site, which reads, “NEVER AGAIN!“

We visited Cape Coast Enslavement Castle in Ghana, which has now been converted into a museum. Here we also saw the infamous “Door of No Return”, which was one of the last images of Africa many of our ancestors saw before sailing to the Americas and Europe. We learned that the “Door of No Return” was renamed “The Door of Return,” thus we now have returned to our Beautiful homeland.

We visited the Elmina Enslavement Castle, which is now a museum. The tour guide was very well versed in African history as well as the history of enslavement in this castle. The spirits, tears, anger, agony and dehumanization of our ancestors can still be felt there. Yet we exclaim in resounding unity with our sisters and brothers throughout the continent and all of the diaspora, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN!!!