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The Ghana Community in Hamburg is to conduct an election to elect new executive members of the Ghana Union. We are therefore asking and challenging all legible Ghanaians in Hamburg and its immediate surrounding to make themselves available. We are appealing to all community leaders; professionals, artisans, religious-Leaders, ethnic and youth leaders to help mobilize the masses for this all-important exercise.

The following Ghana Union Executive positions are to be contested for:
1. President
2. Vice President
3. General Secretary
4. Vice General Secretary
5. Welfare Secretary
6.Financial Secretary
7.Youth Organizer
8.Organizing Secretary
9.  Women Organizer

Responsibilities:
To support the social and economic welfare of Ghanaians in Hamburg
To provide the needed leadership for economic growth
To stimulate the spirit of patriotism amongst Ghanaians living in Hamburg
To encourage networking amongst Ghanaian institutions home and abroad
To serve as a mouth piece of the Ghana Community

Eligible:
Candidates interested in positions of the President and vice Presidents must belong to a Ghanaian affiliated organisation, for instance, Asanteman Union, GaDangme Union or Ewe Union and be Ghanaian irrespective of the passports they hold.

Candidates interested in the position of Youth Organizer must not be more than 35 years old before elections are conducted, and be Ghanaian irrespective of the passports they hold.

All other positions have no restrictions except attaining the voting age of 18 years.

Date and venue of ELECTIONS will be made available after contesting candidates have registered and campaigned for a stipulated period 

Please pass this vital information to all Ghanaians.

Contact:
Desmond John Beddy -/Electoral Team
Tel: 017632140550
email: 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A working visit to Ghana Embassy Berlin: The social and economic advancement of a Diaspora community to a large extent depends on the policies, efficiency, and competence of the embassy and particularly the Ambassador in charge. The embassies have two major focuses, one is the interest of the home country, and two is the interest of the people in the Diaspora. It is no secret that the first is of paramount interest to the embassy staffs.

The complaints about the working ethics of the embassy in Berlin become a daily talked about issue. A fact finding mission to the embassy was inevitable. To avoid a long essay, let’s overlook the immediate past where the Ghana Embassies worldwide had no passport booklets, which was an extremely embarrassing development in our history.

Online Passport form
Before travelling to Berlin, I visited the Ghana Embassy Berlin website: http://berlin.ghpassportonline.com/ and filled the passport forms. As a Systems Engineer, I must admit it was not user friendly, a mixture of Postal Codes as practiced in Germany and Post office Box as done in Ghana. 
Then again, the Calendar integrated in the program could be better, though I finally found a way out. Let’s be honest we don’t apply for Passports on a daily basis. 

But one could tell that it is a one system for all countries approach. I would suggest that the forms be adjusted to suit the Ghanaian embassies in various countries. This is a matter of deactivating some of the buttons, and working on the default fields. The forms accept too many errors…

Nevertheless let’s be proud we are advancing with the technological age as a country, there is always room for improvement.

Submission of Passport forms & Processing
When, I arrived around 10.30 the passport section -/front desk was filled to capacity, I spent majority of the time there, speaking to junior staffs of the embassy, A family from Manheim, a mother and daughter from Dortmund, a man from Stuttgart, and a lot of Ghanaians from Hamburg.

Challenges noticed
My forms were full of errors, and that of a post graduate student from Hamburg as well. Some of the errors couldn’t be detected by the program, while others were man-made. The inability to complete the forms well is the main challenge and the source of delay.

Names
Most Ghanaians have multiple and compound names, for instance Beddy, John Desmond then again Beddy, Desmond John. Sadly some could not tell what their surnames was. All detected errors had to be filled manually by the workers at the counter. The allocated time of 20 minutes per person is absolutely inadequate since the error rate is about 80% per applicants.

Appointments
People coming to process their passports without appointments made up about 30 percent. Those with tangible reasons were served, the question is what tangible reason is? Kofi who comes from far away Munich has to insist on seeing the Boss, since his reason was not accepted. Funerals remain the number one reason why people insist they must be considered. 

Older citizens and mothers with babies without appointments are considered to the detriment of those already waiting impatiently and hungry. Everyone is served according to the time of appointment.

Finger print machine
Another addressable challenge is the finger print machine, I had to try several times before it succeeded, remember at any given time it was someone else’s turn.

For the first time I felt sad for the workers, the telephone was constantly ringing, picking a call means not serving the people, and then again people don’t go straight to the point. Is it about a Passport or Visa? People first begin with a very long story without coming to point.

Visa Section
The Visa section which has been separated from the Passports section was a good decision, it was quite orderly, except one could notice it was a temporary arrangement not an outstanding working environment for a staff. 
Ghanaians holding German Passports have complained bitterly about higher visa fees as compared to other European countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. Since it is a huge source of income to the government, I advise they take advantage of the RIGHT OF ABODE, which is obtainable at the Ministry of Interior for a fee.

Dialogue with Junior Staffs
It is no secret junior staffs could not say much, these days getting a job is not easy, and nobody wants to lose his or her job. At least they revealed they sometimes work on Sundays. Then again one said they come to work as early as 6.30 in the morning.

Dialogue with the Head of Consuler Section
I first congratulated Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, Minister and Head of Consuler section about their good works and that within a short period they have introduced Visa and Passports online. Ghanaians love good news first.

I asked our senior diplomat how many times he goes downstairs to take questions. He confirmed several times a day, and added that Mondays and Thursdays are hectic. I went straight to the point, what are you people doing to address the challenges at the Passport section?

As I came to post we used to serve about 200 people per month, but as of today we are serving about 800 people per month. The concrete step is that we have acquired two capturing and processing gadgets in addition to the existing one. Soon we shall have two staffs at the front desk at a given time. One of the gadget is a mobile system, thus we will be travelling to the major cities to capture and process the passport forms. The people are then spared the stress and time of travelling to Berlin. 

We have already arranged with the community leadership in Freiburg to go and have their forms processed and Bio details captiured there. For Hamburg it is going to be easier since we already have a Consulate there.

Receiving Calls
I had difficulty asking why calls are not picked at the reception, based on what I noticed.

What could be done
A form of Ticketing System could be introduced, with first and second level support. Two or three well trained workers with adequate efficiency in English, German, and some local languages could answer calls. They can solve minor issues and forward those complicated issues to the rightful workers.

IT- Training:
The leadership should constantly be upgrading and updating their staffs with periodic training, to keep them informed since the IT world is extremely dynamic.

More Staff & System
Obviously the consular section is under staffed and needs a few more working hands. Some could be employed on four hours basis per day. From 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon.

Time per Applicant
Time allocated to each applicant is inadequate, it needs to increase from 20 minutes to 30 minutes or decrease the appointments per day.

Community Leadership
Community leaders like UGAG, Ghana Unions, Opinion Leaders, Chiefs and Pastors who have access to the top hierarchy should occasionally undertake familiarization tours to the Embassy, dialogue with the Embassy and propose how best their people can be served. Let us be reminded that positions goes with responsibilities.

God Bless Ghana
God Bless Germany
Desmond John Beddy

Naming of streets is now an important issue which the Ghana government has begun to embark upon. However the impact is trivial and educational awareness is unpopular. As a young Ghanaian growing up in a suburb of Accra, I vividly remember the houses were constantly receiving new house numbers like K 123/V, then T 342/C but the street names were missing.  All these years I don’t remember directing someone using the house number or street names.

In my part of Ghana; we gave directions to people by using descriptions; take the bus to Kasoa, a light at the Goil Petrol Station, you see the Pentecost church in front of you, turn right, you will see a lotto kiosk, then turn again left you see a big white house with a blue gate, you see a young lady selling Waakye, ask her of Antie Maamle.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t privileged to grow up in the airport residential areas where one could notice some orderliness.

In Germany, it is Mönckebergstraße 1, 20095 Hamburg; Trust me, it is unique. 

Nevertheless the average Ghanaian in Hamburg is still using the same Ghana method of description. Take the U1, get out after 4 stops, and then take the bus 4, after 4 stops you see a Penny Markt, opposite is a tall story building. The truth is we enjoy giving such descriptions.

But one would have expected that a developing nation should progress in this direction of naming streets and Houses. Naming of streets, houses and properties is essential if Ghana wants to develop effectively and efficiently.

Street addressing system involves naming streets and numbering of both developed and undeveloped properties along them, that is to say streets and properties are allocated official addresses. It makes it possible and easy to locate a plot or property. This goes with several other advantages; easy identification of locations, helps quicker response of emergency services from the fire fighters and police emergency services. Efficient postal delivery and faster business operations.

A unique house numbering also goes with other benefits like statistical data collection, tax collection, improving navigation system which makes it easier for people to find their way around in cities or towns and google mapping amongst others.

Street naming has other traditional significance, acknowledging prominent citizens and distinguished people and also paying tribute to those who have given distinguished service to their respective communities or country at large.  Younger generations are thereby motivated to attain similar goals and have streets named after them.

The questions is why hasn’t Ghana taken advantage of the numerous benefits that goes with street naming and house numbering. A presidential decree in that direction has still not yielded the required results.

The following challenges could be identified, irresponsible issuing of building permits for property development without proper planning.

Issuing permits without taking into account the nature of land and the immediate environment (water ways, drainage, paths and roads). Physical developments on unapproved layouts is common, therefore, a considerable number of developed properties have no permits as well as addresses.

I have always insisted there is no shortcut to development, for Ghana to become a developed country, what ought to be done right has to be done.   Poor housing and property development due to irresponsible issuing of permits and disregard for laid down regulation affects correct street naming and house numbering, which finally have negative impact on the movement of goods and waste of time. 

Besides there is no political will on leaders to do the right thing neither do they pay attention to educational awareness?  

An abstract of the book "The History of Ghanaians in Germany"
Chapter 33 Ghana -The Way Forward
REDUCE NUMBER OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS! IF YOU WANT TO DEVELOP 
AUTHENTIC NATIONAL IDENTITY -/DATA
SOCIAL AND VOLUNTARY WORK

NAMING OF STREETS & NUMBERING OF HOUSES IN GHANA

NEED FOR DOWNSIZING THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA FOR DEVELOPMENT

Compiled by
Desmond John Beddy -/TopAfric Media Network

His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who was on official visit to Germany at the invitation of the Chancellor Angela Merkel had a town hall meeting with the Ghanaian Community on Sunday, the 11th of June 2017 at the M'a'ritim HotelHotel in Berlin.

The meeting by all standards was very successful. The president was highly impressed by the huge attendance and thanked Ghanaians in Germany for their immense contribution in making him the President of the republic of Ghana.

“Beloved citizens of Ghana, I want to assure you that Ghana is not a poor country, we failed to set our priorities right, we haven’t managed our human capital and resources well. My government is in to address these deficits and also fight corruption in our country. I want to remain in the History Books of Ghana as the President who made outstanding and visionary promises to my people and fulfilled them.

My government has assembled the best men and women of this great country who will work tirelessly to make Ghana great gain. He went on to say his government seems to be doing something that is catching the attention of the rest of the world and Germany particularly. Ghana has been selected among three African countries and whose leaders are attending G20 Summit, and we have secured €100 million grant for the nation”.

The president who spoke later in the evening took time to answer the questions posed to his delegation by Mr. William Nketia, President, Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany (UGAG)

The first of the questions was on (ROPAL) the right of Ghanaians abroad to vote. The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians living abroad of readiness to work with them to safeguard the full implementation of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law (ROPAL). He however made it clear that, only the Electoral Commission has the right to implement the Ropal bill, hence the Diasporas should adopt an advocacy approach, “Make more Noise”

On the question of Dual Citizenship, the president promised Ghanaians that the time is due, and that his government will champion the cause. The crowd was constantly applauding the president.

The third major question was the high cost of Passport and Visa; the question was handled by the Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who could be mistaken for a beauty queen. She told the impatient gathering that the prices will be reviewed by parliament and that Ghanaians should not hold the Ghana mission responsible. 

Ghanaians have problem understanding why prices in Germany as compared to other European countries were extremely high. 

Ghana entry Visa fee 2016 -/Single Entry
Germany: 100€ Holland: 60€  France: 50€ Belgium: 70€ England:  60£

The plain truth is that Ghanaians holding German Passports are technically not Ghanaians. No government easily wants to loose hard earned foreign currency. Ghanaian-/Germans wants to eat their cakes and have it...

Mrs. Gina Blay, Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, who is yet to present her letters of credence to the German government, was introduced to the gathering. She appeared very calm and the president praised her as a good listener. The community welcomed her and promised to give her the necessary support that will make her succeed.

Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister of Finance gave a brief account of the economy, “We were able to raise $2.2 billion on the local market, this has brought some stability into the economy and helped stabilized the cedi, he said softly.

Mr. Francis D. Kotia. Ag. Head of Mission, Embassy of Ghana, Germany gave an inspiring speech, he presented Ghanaian in Germany as peace loving, law abiding and hardworking and commended the president for his quest to move fast with his desire to make a change. Mr. President, your vision of inviting the past president went viral and made Ghanaians in Germany proud.  

The GHASPORA project was also presented to the delegation, the core objective was aid the government in adding value to agricultural products and to partner government to invest in the recycle sector of the economy.

The Social Entrepreneur, Mr. Desmond John Beddy was applauded for his outstanding social interventions in promoting awareness among students of African origin on the importance and significance of education for their social and professional integration in Germany. He has over a decade held the Ghanaian Flag very high in Germany.

Also at the meeting was Director of Protocol Amb. Hassan Ahmed, Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante-Bediatuo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yoofi Grant. The president was grateful to the Ghanaian community who came from all parts of Germany to meet and interact with him.

Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, Minister/Head of Consular and Mr. Michael Nyaaba Assibi, First Secretary /Political and Diaspora and the junior staffs of the Ghana Embassy in Berlin really put up a good event. The well-organized show was a clear indication of good a working relationship between the embassy and the community leadership.

Nana Oti Atakora Boadum III, the Akwamuhene of Asante-Mampong Traditional Area gave vote of Thanks. The gathering was moderated by Ms. Portia Agyeiwaah Okai-Neyeh of Radio TopAfric and Nana Owusu Kyekye Ababio of Radio Africa.

Opening prayer was done by Pastor Jerry Aidoo of Gospel Believers International Church-Berlin and closing prayers by Scheick Imam Hussein, Islam Africa e.V, Berlin.

God Bless Ghana!
God Bless Germany!
Photos:  Ebenezer Quansah, Video: Yanick Nsigi
Topafric Media Network

COPS in Kuwaiti police have detained a woman who filmed her Ethiopian maid screaming for help before falling from a window instead of helping her.

Shocking footage emerged showing the domestic worker clinging on to a window frame by her fingertips and howling in terror.
Dangling by just one hand she hangs outside the window, begging for help as she stares seven stories down.

The terrified maid is screams “hold me, hold me”.

But instead of helping, the Kuwaiti woman – who is reportedly her employer – simply stands and films her.
The woman holding the camera is heard telling the hanging maid: “Oh crazy, come back.”

Then, in a heartstopping moment, her grip finally fails her and she plummets seven floors, smashing into a metal awning.

But her employer does not even seem to react, simply following her down with the camera before posting the footage to social media, Al-Seyassah newspaper reported.

Miraculously the African worker survived her fall, which is said to have come about as the result of a last minute change of heart during a suicide attempt.

The metal awning which she slams into with a sickening thud seems to soften her fall, as she managed to limp away.

A second video shows emergency workers helping the woman down a ladder after her death-defying fall.

Paramedics rushed her to hospital where she was found to have suffered a broken arm and bleeding from her nose and ear, it was reported.

Cops have now referred the employer to prosecutors for failing to help the victim, the newspaper said.
The reasons for the maid’s attempted suicide, meanwhile, have not been revealed.

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights on Friday called on the authorities to investigate the case and refer it to court.

The oil-rich Gulf state is home to more than 600,000 domestic helpers, largely from Asia, many of whom complain of abuse, mistreatment and non-payment of wages.

Hundreds of maids escape their employers every year over abuse, and the government has set up shelters for them. Some seek help from their embassies.

Algeria plans to grant residency rights and job permits to illegal African migrants, responding to a shortage of workers in farming and construction while also seeking to combat a surge in racist sentiment.

Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s plan follows the launch of an anonymous online campaign that blames African migrants – whose numbers are unofficially estimated at 100,000 – for taking jobs and spreading the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

Youth unemployment is running at around 30 per cent in Algeria, but the country also faces a shortfall of workers in some sectors as it tries to steer its economy away from over-reliance on oil and gas production.

To determine the number of beneficiaries of the scheme, the interior ministry is organizing a census while security services will screen potential residency candidates.

“They will get a residency document which will allow them to get a job,” Tebboune told lawmakers on Friday night. “We won’t allow any NGO or individual to tarnish the image of our country.”

He gave no further details on the scheme.

African migrants in Algeria are mostly from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and have come to escape acute poverty and terrorism back home. Some use Algeria as a transit country en route to Europe via neighbouring Libya.

“That’s great news, I will be happy if I can work under the framework of the law,” said a young Malian working illegally in a housing project as a mason in Ouled Fayet, west of Algiers.

TENSIONS

Tensions between Algerians and the migrants often boil over.

A year ago in Bechar, in western Algeria, rioting broke out after a local woman was believed to have been kidnapped by the migrants.

The online anti-migrant campaign has shocked many in Algeria, which sees itself as a leading influence in the Sahel region and more widely in Africa, for example negotiating a peace deal in 2015 in Mali.

The campaign also appears to have embarrassed the government in a country that takes pride in its history as a bastion of anti-colonialism after its own 1962 war of independence against France.

Last month a hashtag “No to Africans in Algeria” was widely shared on Twitter and Facebook, calling for expulsions to protect Algerian families and prevent “chaos”.

Amnesty International’s local representative, Hassina Oussedik, has urged the government to do more to protect African migrants.

Algeria has embarked on politically sensitive reforms to modernize its still largely state-run economy, but it has been hit hard by a crash in oil prices that has deprived the country of more than half of its revenues.

The migrants already present in the economy tend to work illegally and are very often underpaid, human rights groups say.

Some economists doubt the government’s plan will make much difference to Algeria’s workforce, while others view it as a way to further monitor traffic across its southern borders, where Islamist militant groups are active.

“The goal of most of the migrants is definitely to reach the El Dorado in Europe,” economist Arslan Chikhaoui told Reuters. “Algeria is still only a transit destination.

http://www.theafricancourier.de/

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