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Dec 16, 2014

Ghana must cut “ghost workers” from payroll before aid resumes -EU

ACCRA, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Ghana must remove “ghost workers”
from its public sector payroll before the European Union resumes
budget support suspended a year ago, the EU ambassador to the
West African country, William Hanna, said on Tuesday.

EU grants worth up to 200 million euros ($250.14 million)
could be crucial as Ghana seeks to recover from a fiscal crisis
that has slowed the rapid GDP growth the country enjoyed for
years due to its exports of gold, cocoa and oil.

Nov 24, 2014

U.N. to miss Dec 1 Ebola target due to rising Sierra Leone cases

ACCRA (Reuters) – The U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission will not fully meet its Dec. 1 target for containing the virus due to escalating numbers of cases in Sierra Leone, Anthony Banbury, the head of UNMEER, said on Monday.

The mission set the goal in September of having 70 percent of Ebola patients under treatment and 70 percent of victims safely buried. That target will be achieved in some areas, Banbury told Reuters, citing progress in Liberia.

Nov 19, 2014

Ghana’s budget targets sharply narrower deficit of 6.5 pct/GDP in 2015

ACCRA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Ghana aims to narrow its budget
deficit to 6.5 percent of GDP in 2015, from a projected 9.6
percent this year, as it seeks a financial assistance deal with
the IMF, Finance Minister Seth Terkper said in his budget speech
on Wednesday.

Economic growth will also slow sharply to 3.9 percent in
2015 from an expected 6.9 percent this year, Terkper said, a
further sign that lower commodity prices and a fiscal crisis are
hurting the West African state.

Oct 27, 2014

Don’t let quarantine hysteria deter Ebola health workers: U.N

ACCRA (Reuters) – Governments must avoid doing anything to deter health workers from coming to West Africa to fight Ebola and quarantine decisions must not be based on hysteria, the head of the U.N. mission battling the virus said on Monday.

The U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Illinois have issued new quarantine rules for people returning from West Africa in response to fears that U.S. federal guidelines do not go far enough to contain an outbreak centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that has infected 10,000 people.

Oct 18, 2014

Ghana’s main opposition party elects Akufo-Addo as 2016 candidate

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to retain Nana Akufo-Addo as its leader for the 2016 election, setting up a rematch of the last poll when he lost narrowly to President John Mahama.

The election is also expected to be close given that the ruling National Democratic Congress government has faced economic headwinds including rising inflation, a stubborn budget deficit and a currency that has fallen sharply this year.

Oct 8, 2014

U.N. Liberia medic catches Ebola; Sierra Leone burial teams end strike

ACCRA/FREETOWN (Reuters) – A medical official with the U.N. Mission in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus and is receiving treatment, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Separately, burial teams in neighboring Sierra Leone said they had ended a strike over unpaid bonuses that had left highly infectious bodies piling up, increasing the threat that the virus would spread further.

Oct 8, 2014

West Africa cocoa farmers see favourable weather for new season

ABIDJAN/ACCRA, Oct 8 (Reuters) – West Africa appears set for
another strong cocoa crop in the 2013/14 season due to
favourable weather, farmers said on Wednesday, though fears of a
spread of the region’s Ebola epidemic have raised concerns over
Ivory Coast’s harvest.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, harvested a
record 1,740,842 tonnes of beans in the 2013/14 season, which
ended last week. Number two producer Ghana also recorded a
strong crop of around 900,000 tonnes of beans.

Oct 5, 2014

Ecobank to focus on existing businesses: CEO

ACCRA (Reuters) – Pan-African lender Ecobank (ETI.LG: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to wind down its strategy of rapid expansion across Africa and focus on existing businesses, especially in Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Kenya, its chief executive said on Sunday.

CEO Albert Essien said he aimed to expand existing businesses and make them more efficient, and thus more profitable.

Sep 30, 2014

UN Ebola mission head wants significant progress in 60 days

ACCRA, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The U.N. mission to combat Ebola
wants to see significant progress in fighting the deadly disease
within 60 days, including ensuring that 70 percent of cases
receive treatment, its new head said on Tuesday.

At least 3,091 people have died from Ebola since the West
African outbreak was first reported in the remote southeast
forest region of Guinea in March. The other two most affected
countries are Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Sep 16, 2014

Ghana starts talks with IMF with public sector reform on agenda

ACCRA, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Ghana opened talks with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday, hoping to secure
financial assistance to restore its fiscal balance but knowing
the road to success runs through painful public sector reform.

The government is in a stronger position than when it
announced the talks in August because it launched a $1 billion
Eurobond at a rate that surprised the market last week. It has
also secured a record $1.7 billion loan to fund cocoa purchases.