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Why 2021 MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs holds promise for Africa — President, Harvest Foundation 

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The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE)2021 report, released at the end of March, 2022, has continued to attract reviews from key institutions within the African continent.

The latest of such reactions emerged Tuesday, as the President, Harvest Foundation, Mrs Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, spoke against the backdrop of MIWE 2021 report which highlighted 13 best African countries for women entrepreneurs.

In the 118-page report, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Malawi and Egypt were named as top destinations for people seeking a safe haven for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

MIWE 2021 involved a survey of 65 countries, and Botswana at 35 was Africa’s best performing country. The top positions, expectedly, were occupied by entities from North America, West and Eastern Europe, and Asia.

According to MasterCard, its sample size of 65 economies represents 82.4% of the world’s female labour force.

Speaking to the report on Tuesday, Mrs Ugo-Ngadi said that though the revelations showed a comparatively weak performance by African economies, they should be regarded as a challenge to managers of the continent’s economies.

“The MIWE report is, no doubt, an incisive and compelling read. Africa’s best performance standing at 35 out of 65 indicates that a lot more work needs to be done to redress the narrative.

“The reason for this weak performance is not far-fetched. African governments are more guilty of United Nations findings which note that only 10% of all policy measures put in place globally are gender sensitive and are geared towards addressing women’s needs,”Ugo-Ngadi noted in a statement.

The release added: “Reworking the African narrative must be deliberate and well thought out. African leaders, from Cape to Cairo, must open up themselves to fresh understanding of where the global economy is headed. The reality is that across the entrepreneurial landscape, women have become one of the essential elements defining the global economy’s most valuable assets.

“African leaders must come to a realization that African women entrepreneurs hold the key to a regeneration of the continent’s economy, and this is why the Harvest Foundation has committed to piloting the first-ever African Woman International Trade Fair.

Ugo-Ngadi also called for the urgent removal of the barriers stopping African women from reaching their full potential saying, “Women have the numbers. There is an immediate need to factor that into policy making if African female entrepreneurs hope to increasingly occupy an improved place in the 37% accounting for global GDP.”

 

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Ivory Coast aims regional shipping hub, completes $953 million container terminal

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West African country, Ivory Coast is making waves at becoming a regional shipping hub as it has completed construction of a second container terminal at its main port in Abidjan.

The project, financed by China’s Eximbank by 85% and 15% by the Ivorian state costs about 596 billion CFA francs ($953 million).

The new container terminal, called Cote d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), started operations on Nov. 1 but was officially unveiled at a press conference on Friday. It is able to receive large ships from Asia, Europe, and America that previously had to land goods in South Africa, transferring them to smaller ships to reach West Africa.

The technical director of the terminal Andre N’Doli, remarked “we are no longer a second port. We are becoming a hub,”

“In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” he told reporters.

According to official data, there has been growth in recent years in the country’s maritime sector. Ivory Coast shipped goods worth USD 12,717 million in 2019, an -8.5% dip as compared to the previous year.

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Ghana makes strong push to save currency, Cedi, orders mining companies to sell 20% stock

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As part of its many initiatives to out of its current economic challenge, Ghana has ordered all large-scale mining companies to sell 20% of their entire stock.

The gold rich country wants the companies to pay the Bank of Ghana with refined gold at their refineries from Jan. 1, 2023.

According to Vice-President, Mahamudu Bawumia said in a social media post on Friday, the government is planning a new policy where gold rather than U.S. dollar reserves will be used to buy oil products.

The move is meant to tackle dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with the demand for dollars by oil importers, which is weakening the local cedi and increasing living costs.

“The Bank of Ghana and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) will coordinate with the large-scale mining companies to ensure compliance with this directive,” the vice-president said.

“The gold to be purchased by the Bank of Ghana and the PMMC will be in cedis at spot price with no discounts,” he added.

The VP further revealed that community mining schemes and licensed small-scale miners will also have to sell gold to the government.

Statista reports that gold reserves in Ghana stood at a volume of 8.74 metric tons from the first quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2021.

Moreover, gold mine production in the country reached a volume of 150 metric tons in 2020, an increase compared to the previous year. Ghana did not suspend its production of gold in 2020 amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ghana hinted at the Gold for payment policy in May but the continued fall to a point of being rated worst in the world demands pragmatic measures. Hopefully, the gold-for-pay policy will bring some solace.

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