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COVID-19: Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo opens land, sea borders after 2 years

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Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has announced the opening of sea and land borders, 2 years he announced the closure of borders to the West African country in the wake of the global pandemic – Covid-19.

The president made the announcement in his 28th Covid-19 address on Monday. The announcement takes effect immediately.

The president stressed that the economy would soon rebound and cited a “review premised on the background of rapidly declining Covid-19 infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign … and the increased capacity in the public and private health sectors”.

The World Health Organization says Ghana has so far vaccinated over 14 million people with a single dose and over five million fully vaccinated – 16.3% of the population.

A vaccination overview obtained from https://ourworldindata.org/

The president also declared that all in-person activities such as private parties, churches, mosques, cinemas are to resume at full capacity as long as the audience is fully vaccinated while fully vaccinated travellers to Ghana will not have to take tests when they leave for the West African country nor will they have to take a test upon arrival in Ghana.

According to the World Bank, Ghana’s rapid growth was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2020 lockdown, and a sharp decline in commodity exports. The economy had grown at an average of 7 percent in 2017-19, before experiencing a sharp contraction in the second and third quarters of 2020.

The economic slowdown had a considerable impact on households. The poverty rate is estimated to have slightly increased from 25 percent in 2019 to 25.5 percent in 2020.

With the declaration of the opening of borders, Ghana’s economy is projected to recover gradually over the medium term, thanks to commodity price growth and strong domestic demand. The West African country largely depends on cross-border trade with Togo, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.

Metro

Tinubu’s policies in the best interest of Nigerians— VP Shettima

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday once again justified the policies and programmes of the President Bola Tinubu administration, insisting that they were in the best interest of Nigerians.

Shettima, who was speaking during the APC Professionals Forum’s Policy Roundtable Conference on the “Asiwaju Score Card Series” at the Shehu Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, reiterated that the thrust of Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” was repositioning Nigeria, given the circumstances and peculiarities of the nation.

“Every country’s journey is distinct. Every country is shaped by its economic history and challenges. We respect the efforts of other nations, but we are focused on what works best for Nigeria,” Shettima, who was represented at the event by Special Adviser to the President on General Duties (Office of the Vice President), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, noted.

He opined that the 8-point agenda of the Tinubu administration “provides a clear framework for its policies and programmes,” outlining areas of concentration to include “driving job creation, economic growth, food security, poverty eradication, access to capital, the rule of law, anti-corruption efforts, and inclusive development.”

“These initiatives are not just plans on paper; they are actions being implemented to create tangible improvements in the lives of everyday Nigerians,” he explained.

Shettima cited examples of the administration’s investments in agriculture and other sectors, which, according to him, are intended to reduce the nation’s reliance on imports and boost local production, adding that the ongoing Renewed Hope Housing Scheme promises to address the housing deficit and stimulate economic growth.

“Similarly, we are also focused on reducing unemployment and underemployment through various initiatives, including the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative, Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises, and the Expanded National MSME Clinics.

“These programmes are designed to create more job opportunities and foster economic inclusivity,” he emphasized.

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Choma resident, Chabota, knocks journalists for abusing freedom of speech

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A Choma resident, Sleddy Chabota, has spoken out against what he perceives as the abuse of freedom of speech by some journalists.

While acknowledging that journalists operate in a challenging environment, Chabota argued that those who face difficulties often do so because they violate the guiding laws.

In his analysis of media operations in Zambia, Chabota observed that some journalists and individuals misused their freedoms and then complain when they face legal consequences.

He stated that, like homes, countries have laws and guidelines that everyone must follow to maintain peace.

Media freedom and freedom of expression exist in Zambia. The only challenge is that some people abuse freedom of speech and every nation has rules. When you follow the rules set by the government, you are on the safe side. But if you abuse freedom of speech, you end up saying the government is at fault,” Chabota told the Zambia Monitor in Choma.

Chabota highlighted that insulting people, including the President and elderly individuals, constituted an abuse of freedom of speech.

He stressed that journalists, tasked with carrying information to the public, must adhere to Zambian laws and promote peace.

When asked about media regulation, Chabota dismissed claims of over-regulation, labeling those who make such claims as selfish.

He argued that only individuals who cross the boundaries of freedom of speech assert that the media was overly regulated.

“The media is not over-regulated. Only selfish individuals say it is. Journalists must follow the laws and gather factual information, not hearsay. For example, some media reported that a footballer had died when it was not true. They did not verify the facts from the ground,” Chabota said.

Chabota’s views underscored the necessity of adhering to established laws and standards, which guide all individuals and professionals in their conduct.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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