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Nuclear Power Project critical to Ghana’s energy transition plan – Minister



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Ghana’s first nuclear power project is a critical component of the country’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) to help move towards cleaner energy.

The ETP is a pathway towards transformation of the global energy sector from fossil-based to zero-carbon or clean energy.

The nuclear power project, which is being managed by the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), seeks to add nuclear power to the country’s generation mix to provide green sustainable power to fuel industrialisation.

Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Energy, in a speech delivered on his behalf at the opening of a training programme for selected journalists on Wednesday, said Ghana was a signatory to the Paris Agreement as well as other international protocols, which required that the country achieved net zero carbon emission by 2070.

The three-day workshop was organised by the NPG and formed part of efforts to promote and sustain media involvement through knowledge sharing, and to widen information reach on Ghana’s efforts to include nuclear power as the country’s green energy solution.

It is on the theme: “Nuclear Safety, and Environmental concerns, strengthening public understanding.”

Dr Prempeh said the country, realising the potential of nuclear power since 2008, had taken careful steps in the quest to include nuclear power in the energy mix.

He said the steps included the inauguration of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreements on cooperation on the peaceful uses of atomic energy and establishment of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority and NPG.

The country, he said, was taking steps to identify the preferred site for Ghana’s first nuclear power plant and the announcement of the vendor country.

The Minister gave an assurance that the government would work with partners, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to deploy a safe nuclear technology for development.

“The steps outlined by the IAEA, which Ghana is following religiously, are to ensure that any fears associated with the deployment of nuclear power in Ghana are eliminated,” he said.

Dr Seth K. Debrah, Director, Nuclear Power Institute – Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, said Ghana required a zero emissions electricity base-load for sustainable and affordable electricity production.

The Akosombo Dam, which has served as the country’s electricity baseload for six decades, has been facing a drop in water levels due to climate vulnerability.

In that regard, he said the country “will be in trouble” if it failed to adopt a green solution for electricity production.

Source: GNA

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AfCFTA records significant progress – Wamkele Mene 



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Wamkele Mene

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has made significant progress in the last few years, thanks to the commitment of the continent’s heads of state, Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, has said.

Speaking at a meeting with media managers, Mr Mene said the Secretariat had been able to make significant progress in trade rules, especially the rules of origin, which are key to measuring the movement of goods across borders.

He said with over 5,000 different products being traded on the continent, it was always going to be difficult, adding that a fragmented regime was an affront to trade and investment.

“We have now been able to negotiate almost 90 per cent of the rules of origin. So, 5,000 products that we have in Africa we now have agreement close to 90 per cent. It is a remarkable achievement,” adding that every single item has to be negotiated.

“We’ve produced all the certified documents to trade with and it is now up to the member states to cooperate diligently with the process to make sure that trade is fully exploited,” the Secretary General noted.

However, he said negotiations are still ongoing on textiles, sugar and automobiles, adding that the textile sector, for instance, was very sensitive to most countries because of its nature of job creation and the capacity to absorb millions of people.  “So, most countries are apprehensive of the liberalization of textiles and so also is the auto sector. Some countries are advanced in the auto sector,” he said.

Mr Mene said the continent would start trading based on the rules of origin agreement, adding that all the documents needed to begin the trade are in place and those member countries needed to ensure that trade duly happened.

He said some countries including Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Cameroon and Mauritius have their customs systems in place, which could allow them to import, and export based on the agreed rules of origin.

Mr Mene said the governments needed to do much work on the customs infrastructure although all countries could not be ready at the same time.

Touching on the private sector, Mr Mene said it is the pillar of the implementation of the AfCFTA as about 60 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is derived from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that create the jobs.

He also said that the Secretariat and the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) had launched the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System – a cross-border, financial market infrastructure enabling payment transactions across Africa to boost intra-Africa trade and for financial inclusion among SMEs.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is to create a single market for goods and services, eased by the movement of persons to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.

Launched in August 2020, the trade pact, which is expected to connect about 1.3 billion people across 55 countries have seen 43 countries deposit their instruments for ratification to start trade.

It is also expected to move about 30 million people out of extreme poverty, boost Africa’s income by seven per cent to $450 billion by 2025, and add $76 billion to the income of the rest of the world.

Source: GNA

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Mahama calls for national economic dialogue over CCC+C downgrade



John Mahama

Former President John Mahama has called for a national dialogue to help salvage Ghana’s ailing economy.

Mr Mahama believes the national platform will bring together some of the country’s best brains together to find solutions to the economic challenges.

His comments are in relation to the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recent downgrade of Ghana’s foreign and local credit ratings from B-B’ to CCC+C with a negative economic outlook.

S&P indicated the downgrade was due to intensifying financing and external pressures on the economy.

In a Facebook post, Mr Mahama said: “There appears to be no end to the problems with the Ghanaian economy, with the recent downgrade to CCC+/C junk status.”

To him, the Mid-Year budget review many thought will bring back investor confidence in the country’s economy did not.

The situation, he believes, is, therefore, a worrying situation and needs an immediate remedy.

Mr Mahama in 2021, while speaking at a lecture dubbed: ‘State of the Economy: the Score Card’, made a similar call.

During the event held at the Cedi Conference Centre of the University of Ghana in Accra, he called on the government to constitute a national forum on the economy to find lasting solutions to the country’s economic challenges.

He explained such consensus was demonstrated when his administration convened the Senchi Economic Forum, leading to the formulation of the Senchi Consensus.

Dr Gideon Boako, an aide to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, however, shot down the calls, stating it will be a waste of time.

In his view, no effective policy decisions can be taken on such platforms, adding participants will only drag issues with no conclusion arrived at.

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We expect BoG to hike policy rate by further 1.5% – Standard Bank



Africa’s biggest bank, Standard Bank, expects the Bank of Ghana to increase its policy rate by between 1.0% and 1.5% percent.

This will push cost of borrowing further up.

In its latest report on Ghana dubbed ‘Africa Market Revealed’, it said the policy action by the Bank of Ghana is vital to help tame the falling value of the cedi, as well as slow down inflation.

“We expect the MPC [Monetary Policy Committee] to hike its key policy rate by a further 100-150 bps [basis points] in 2022. Inflationary pressures are accelerating; the MPC clearly stated its intention to tame that by its aggressive 450 bps hike of the policy rate, to 19.0%, between March and May [2022]”.

The cedi has come under severe pressure lately, with investors losing some value of their cedi-denominated assets. This has also escalated inflationary pressures.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana increased the policy rate by 450 basis points in May 2022, a move that tame the depreciation of the local currency temporarily.

However, the challenge still persists, a reason many had questioned the decision by the MPC to keep the policy rate at 19% in July 2022.

Standard Bank said the lack of external funding may deplete the country’s foreign exchange reserves as well as the MPC’s ability to mitigate dollar/cedi volatility.

“The lack of external funding may deplete FX reserves as well as the MPC’s ability to mitigate US dollar/Ghana cedi volatility”.

It added that “inflationary pressures may become more entrenched, should the government fail to secure IMF funding, international oil prices remain elevated, and global risk appetite worsens further”.

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