AMBASSADOR SVANIKIER'S FAREWELL MESSAGE TO THE GHANAIAN COMMUNITY
FAREWELL MESSAGE TO THE GHANAIAN COMMUNITY
AMBASSADOR JOHANNA ODONKOR SVANIKIER
Dear Ghanaian Sisters and Brothers in France,
Happy New Year! I wish to inform you that my tour of duty as Ambassador of Ghana to France and Portugal and Permanent Delegate of Ghana to UNESCO, La Francophonie and the OECD Development Centre has come to an end. Unfortunately, due to my constrained and heavy schedule, I am unable to see you to say goodbye before I leave. During my time in Paris, I have had the privilege to meet many of you at some of the activities organised by our Mission. I hope to return to visit France someday and to meet more of you. To those who sent me kind messages, gifts and cards during my stay in Paris I would like to once again say thank you! I wish to acknowledge the hard work, cooperation, warmth and loyalty of those of you with whom I was fortunate enough to work and interact with. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!
During my duty tour in France, despite severe financial constraints we developed a world class Embassy of Ghana website for the Mission where there was previously nothing at all and introduced an online application system for visas. Internal and external communications at the Embassy have greatly improved with the public now having the opportunity to communicate directly with the Embassy through a dedicated email address. There are plans in motion to continue modernising our consular services and improve service delivery to the public.
Both National Days during my tenure have been filled with joy, camaraderie and exciting experiences with Ghanaian food fairs, made in Ghana products, a fashion show, the Winneba Youth Choir and lots of traditional and contemporary singing, drumming and dancing. This year Ghana will celebrate its 60th Independence Anniversary and the Mission has plans to continue the trend of a creative and fitting celebration for such an important landmark. There will also be an African Diaspora Homecoming Conference organised in Accra under the patronage of UNESCO to celebrate this landmark event. You may access the website for registration at http://destination-ghana.org. Brussels Airlines is offering 20% off their fares to participants and I am delighted to inform you that following a series of discussions with Air France from the time I first arrived in Paris they have finally decided to commence direct flights to Accra this year. Their maiden flight will be on the 28th of February.
During my time in Paris the Mission organised four Presidential visits in the space of one year and the Ghanaian Community participated in events surrounding some of these visits. At UNESCO we raised money from the private sector for a project to teach girls computer coding in Ghana, we partnered in the TeachHer project in Addis Ababa where six Ghanaians participated in training and we made significant progress in working to add more sites in Ghana to the World Heritage List. We opened offices at UNESCO and successfully campaigned for Ghana to be a member of the Executive Board at UNESCO. Our Parliament also ratified the seven UNESCO Cultural Conventions last year. Ghana was admitted to membership of the OECD Development Centre a year after my arrival in Paris following productive discussions with the Centre. We held a reception for the James Barnor Photo Exhibition and brought his work to the attention of the Ghanaian government and people resulting in him receiving a National Award from His Excellency John Dramani Mahama last year.
We took a large delegation from France to Ghana in February last year and the French returned the favour with a visit to Ghana by Prime Minister Manuel Valls in October 2016 with a large government and business delegation from France. He promised formalised exchanges between educational institutions in France and Ghana and the opening of a Business France office to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries. It was my joy and passion to serve my country and returning home gives me an even greater opportunity to continue to do so. I hope that you will also continue to play your role as Ambassadors for Ghana in France.
Thank You and May God Bless our Homeland Ghana!
Ambassador Johanna Odonkor Svanikier
GHANA INAUGURATES A NEW PRESIDENT
Accra, 7th January 2017
Ghana has successfully sworn in Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the 5th President of the 4th Republic of Ghana at the historic Independence Square. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia was also sworn in as his Vice President.
His Excellency Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 53.8 percent of the total valid votes cast during Presidential and Parliamentary elections held on the 7th December 2016.
In his inaugural speech, the new President stated that he is in the unique position to draw from the lessons of three former ex-Presidents namely; John Dramani Mahama, John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings, who represent the continuation of Ghana's thriving democracy.
The 72-year-old Lawyer also charged Ghanaians to be active citizens in the change process and not spectators. He stated, "the change can and should start now. I urge you to be citizens, not spectators, citizens, not subjects, responsible citizens building our communities and our nation. Let us work until the work is done.” On the role of the private sector, President Akufo-Addo stated, “we are indeed counting on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs.” He further stated that his government “will stimulate the create juices of innovators, we will bring to life the adventurer in you. It is time to emerge and to dream again, it is time to try that business idea again.”
For potential investors and trade partners, the new President underlined the fact that his government will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of the Ghanaian economy. President Akufo-Addo underlined the fact that the doors of Ghana are open again and that this is the best time to manufacture and sell in the country.
The ceremony was attended over 15 African Heads of State including His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, who was also the special Guest of Honour. In his address, the Ivorian leader urged Ghanaians to enviously protect the country’s democracy. He further explained that democratic governance leads to a peaceful nation building, a pre-requisite for eventually sustainable economic development.
Also in attendance were other dignitaries and heads of state from all over the world including the French Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen, who represented President Hollande.
His Excellency Akufo-Addo served as the Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South Constituency of the Eastern Region from 1996 to 2008. He also served Ghana as the Attorney General and then as Foreign Minister in Former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s NPP government from 2000 to 2008.
His Excellency William Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the son of *Edward Akufo-Addo, the former President of Ghana (Ceremonial 1969 to 1972). His father also served as Chief Justice from 1966 to 1970.
*He was a Ceremonial President because Executive powers were vested in Prime Minister during the Second Republic.
FRENCH PM IN GHANA
ELECTIONS IN GHANA: PEACEFUL TRANSITION
Ghanaians went to the polls on 7th December and have elected Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo as their new President.
A team has been inaugurated by His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama to ensure a smooth transition of power from the old government to the new.
The inauguration of the new President will take place on the 7th of January 2017.
CELEBRATING JAMES BARNOR – THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHER TO SHOOT GHANA IN COLOUR
James Barnor helped put black women on the covers of British magazines and documented fashion in a country marching towards independence. Now, aged 87, he has taken to Instagram and a London gallery is exhibiting his work.
James Barnor began working in 1947 and set up his photography studio, Ever Young, in the Jamestown district of Accra in the 1950s. He photographed members of the local community and accepted commissions from the press.
His early works recorded Ghana as it headed towards independence and came to terms with modernity through new inventions, music and fashion. In the 1960s, Barnor moved to the UK to continue his work with South African magazine Drum, for which he shot numerous cover images throughout the decade, as well as developing his own brand of street reportage and documentary photography.
The images he took in England made up an alternative vision of the Swinging Sixties, documenting the black British experience. His covers for Drum were instrumental in bringing black models into the mainstream British media.
Barnor returned to Ghana in the early 1970s to open the first colour processing studio in the country. During this period, he was the first person to shoot outdoors and process images in full colour.
Sean Jacobs, the founding editor of the popular website Africa Is A Country, has described Barnor’s work as ‘decolonising Ghana’, though Barnor said he thinks the country is still in the grip of colonialism.
Barnor returned to London permanently in 1993. Many of the images that will be displayed at an exhibition at the October Gallery are taken from his extensive personal archive.
Despite working as a photographer for more than six decades, Barnor’s work has only recently been in the spotlight. In 2007, the curator Nana Oforiatta-Ayim took an interest in his work and helped organise his first exhibition. ‘She was the first curator/writer to organise a show of my work and she is the first one who suggested I should do a book,’ Barnor said. An exhibition of his work, titled Mr Barnor’s independence diaries, took place at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, south London, later that year. In spring 2010, Barnor’s first US exhibition was presented by Autograph ABP.
Embracing contemporary photography, Barnor recently set up an Instagram account aged 87. A collaborative exhibition between Barnor and the award-winning Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni is on show at the October Gallery in central London until 30 September.