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FEATURE: How Uncontrolled Arms Fuel Ethno-Religious and Political Crises in Africa



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For decades, Africa has grappled with a high rate of small arms and light weapons (SALWs) proliferation. From one community to another, possession and use of illicit arms by non-state actors has become a common trend and appear to have gone out of control. It is strongly linked to the current tumultuous and tense atmosphere daily experienced in various parts of Africa. While the weapons themselves may not necessarily be the root cause of most emerging, increasing, and unending armed crises that have claimed thousands of lives in the continent, they are the major factors fueling them.

In the last two decades, millions of lives have been lost as a direct result of wars in Africa. Millions have lost their loved ones, including little children who were orphaned, just as many suffer various degrees of permanent disabilities. In Somalia, for instance, the year-long instability remains unresolved as a result of regular SAWLs proliferation into the country. It is documented that weapons such as the PKM general-purpose machine guns are sold in Mogadishu’s Bakara market. A report by Oxfam International showed that privately-owned firearm, licit and illicit, in some African countries are as follows: Libya 900,000; Nigeria: 2,000,000; South Sudan 3,000,000; Sudan 2,000,000; and Somalia 750,000. This begs the question: who is responsible for the proliferation of arms into these violent-torn African?

Sources of SALWs

Many findings have shown that the proliferation of weapons into Africa has both external and internal influence. Reports from a 2006 study suggest that members of Forces Nouvelles, an Ivorian rebel group, were behind the smuggling of weapons into Ghana and Mali, trading them for food and consumer goods. Apart from this intra-continental illicit arm movement, traffickers from other continents were also found culpable. The study showed that “most of the illicit small arms used in Africa originate from China, Israel, and more than 20 OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) members.”

The diversion of legally acquired arms is another common source of uncontrolled and illicit arms. Various factors, including the illegal sale of arms by officials, are responsible for this unlawful diversion. For example, some Nigerian soldiers have been arrested for illegally selling arms to Boko Haram members. Also, there have been some accusations of Ugandan and Ethiopian soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) selling weapons from their stockpiles to traders in Somalia’s illicit arms market. In Libya, there was a report of military armoury looting after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. All these looted and stolen weapons by state agents usually end up in the hands of insurgents who use it to unleash mayhem on their perceived enemies in various African communities.

Though supplied and distributed by both external and internal forces, most of these weapons are imported from other continents. At the height of the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria back in the early 2000s, most of the sophisticated assault rifles and other weapons used by the militants were made in countries like Germany, Belgium, Russia, United States, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, and China, a report by The Jamestown Foundation found.

Another angle to this is locally manufactured weapons. Though these may not be as common as the imported ones and not as sophisticated either, however, they represent a sizable proportion of illicit weapons in Africa. The level of production also varies from one country to another. Some of the commonest locally made SALWs are firearms, small bombs, and grenades. For instance, in Ghana, small arms, such as unsophisticated riffles, are usually made by local blacksmiths. As far back as 2004, it was reported that there were an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 illegally produced guns in just five regions in the country. Nigeria and Benin republic are other African countries reported to have high manufacturing of arms.

Human Costs

In the past few decades, many African countries experienced different types of wars, unrests, and insurgencies that left them with incurable scars and unrepairable losses. In just three countries – Rwanda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 4.3 million to 8.4 million people lost their lives between 1983 and 2005. The number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) has also increased dramatically in the past few decades, owning to multiple occurrences of violence fueled by arms proliferation. The recurring ethnoreligious and political crises have also contributed to the recent spike in forced migration that has turned many Africans into asylum seekers in the U.K., U.S., and other developed countries.

A report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) found that Africa accounted for 52% of all global armed conflict incidents in 2014, despite the continent having only 16% of the world’s population. Between 2011 and 2015, 87% of the 236 global high-intensity conflicts occurred in Africa, some statistics from the Heidelberg Conflict Barometer shows. The rate of violence has also heightened recently as more deadly groups spring up in various parts of the continent. Within four months into this year, Africa has recorded several violent conflicts that have claimed thousands of lives.

In January, over 100 people were killed in Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye villages in Niger. In Nigeria, over 36,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram since the deadly jihadist group started its religious war in 2010. Between February 2020 and January 2021, the daredevil group killed over 650 persons. Other recent attacks by the group include series of kidnapping of school children and slaughtering of dozens of farmworkers in the northern part of the country.

Another recurring crisis is the herder-farmer clash, usually perpetrated by the so-called Fulani herdsmen, in some African country, especially Nigeria. Ranked as the world’s fourth deadliest militant group, reports show that Fulani herdsmen killed 2,539 people in Nigeria between 2017 and May 2020. They have also kidnapped hundreds of people.

Financial Costs

The crises have contributed mainly to the continent’s current state of economic downturns, considering the high level of impoverishment in most violence-torn African communities. A report by the World Council of Churches showed that armed conflicts cost Africa 18 billion U.S. dollars annually. Another study also showed that some 24 African countries, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, spent around 300 US billion dollar between 1999 and 2007. “This sum is equivalent to international aid from major donors in the same period.” If this fund was not lost due to armed conflicts, it could solve health problems like HIV and AIDS in Africa, or even address the continent’s needs in education, clean water and sanitation, and prevent tuberculosis and malaria, the study found. In Nigeria, billions of dollars have been spent on security in the past few years, especially on the war against the Boko Haram insurgency. In 2017, another $1 billion was approved from the excess crude oil account to further prosecute the war. Such a huge amount would have gone a long way if spent on various economic challenges facing the country.

Addressing the Root Cause

For Africa to experience peace, tranquillity and development, concerted efforts must be made by its leaders at all levels (political, religious, and ethnic). To start with, African leaders need to address the underlying causes of political, ethnic, and religious grievances across the continent. This includes solving the problems of the high level of illiteracy, poverty, and inequalities across the continent. Only then will any efforts towards curbing arms proliferation will yield positive results. Also, African countries must leverage their membership in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to regulate the international transfers of arms into their country.


Olusegun Akinfenwa is a political correspondent for Immigration News, a news organization affiliated with Immigration Advice Service (IAS). IAS is a leading U.K. immigration law firm that helps people migrate and settle in the U.K.


People & Lifestyle

Betty de Mould @ 70



Betty Mould

Leading up to the 2008 elections, the NDC political party had gained “notoriety” from people especially the opposition parties as being abrasive and aggressive.

I’m sure the party did an introspection analysis and decided to give a fresh face to the party and also introduced some fresh faces as spokespersons.

The likes of Dr. Alex Segbefia, Hon. Hanna Tetteh, Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu amongst others.

I’m till this day spellbound anytime Mrs. Iddrisu speaks. Her great command of the queens language. I mean she is from British Accra (James town) what do you expect?

Her grace, charm and class always comes through. Such an @awula” her French tips finger nails 💅 was one to notice.

When NDC annexed power in 2009, she served the country in various capacities. Last I heard of her politically was when she contested for NDC Party Chairmanship.

Last week March 22nd 2023 marked her platinum jubilee as she turned the big 70 a septuagenarian par excellence.

The day was marked with a brunch at her residence and hosted friends and family to a high brow dinner at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel on Saturday the 25th 2023.

Here to share some pictures of what went down to mark the day.

I wish her the best on this 70th milestone. I say three hearty cheers 🥂

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An exceptional Lawyer with a rich experience in the legal field.
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Beautiful 😍
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With Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang.
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With husband Alhaji Iddrisu
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Go Betty
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The face beat is on point 💄👌🏾
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The dinner menu… It screams bougie!
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Omg this is gorgeous
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Joyce Bawa Mogtari, leading member of the NDC
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Former Attorney General, Hon. Marietta Brew
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Emefae Hardcastle, member of NDC legal team.
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The chief organizer herself 🙌🏾 Obuobia
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Edudzi Tamakloe and Obuobia, boogie down!
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Victoria Hammah and JB

Written by Nana Kwesi Acquaye

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Pura Collaborates With The Metropolitan Museum Of Art On A New Collection Of Fragrances



Today, smart fragrance company Pura announces their collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to introduce a collection of six fragrances. The scents were developed to enable customers to experience art across time and cultures through fragrances inspired by extraordinary pieces at The Met.
The Pura smart fragrance diffuser plugs into any wall outlet and uses wifi and Bluetooth technology to connect to an accompanying app that allows customers to adjust fragrance intensity, set schedules and timers, switch between scents, and more with fragrances that are clean and safe. Founders Richie Stapler and Bruno Lima designed Pura to be a sleek enhancement to any room while capturing the power of fragrance to make life better and more memorable.
When creating the scents, Pura’s Chief Fragrance Experience Officer Mara Dumski said, “We were so excited to work with The Met to develop scents connecting back to their inspiring collection of art. Aiming to evoke moods and tell a story, our collaboration offers an entirely new way to experience The Met collection of 5,000 years of art while also creating a sense of home and personality through art-inspired fragrance.”
“As fans of Pura, we are excited to launch this unique home fragrance experience which adds a new dimension to art appreciation,” said Josh Romm, Head of Global Licensing and Partnerships at The Met. “Art has the power to create connections and transport people across time and place, and this program provides a new and exciting opportunity for fans of The Met to experience art, history, and cultures of the world from the comfort of home.”
All compatible with the signature Pura smart fragrance diffuser, the fragrances included in this collection are:
  • Blue Water Lotus: This refreshing, floral fragrance represents the beauty of lotus flowers depicted in carvings on the Temple of Dendur. Notes of blue water lily, blooming jasmine, and grounding undertones of frankincense and myrrh beautifully round out this efflorescent scent.
  • Egyptian Sandalwood: This musky, woody fragrance recalls the Egyptian landscape and pays tribute to the significance of art and architecture in Egyptian rituals and culture. Cardamom and Ancient Egyptian incense blend with papery papyrus, rock rose, sandalwood, and cedarwood, creating a warm and inviting scent.
  • Bamboo Forest: The structure and order of the Astor Court contrasts beautifully with the flora found within. Fresh notes of bamboo blend with orchid and plum blossom. Cooling Chinese eucalyptus soothes the senses as sandalwood and patchouli ground in this calming scent.
  • Spiced Woods: This woody fragrance draws inspiration from a serene mountain retreat, highlighting the juxtaposition of a man-made structure nestled in an organic location. Himalayan azaleas blend with Indonesian balsam, cypress, and sandalwood, creating a warming, spiced scent.
  • Terracotta Rose: This earthy yet refreshing fragrance represents the detailed work of Greek artisans with salt and mineral notes blending seamlessly with earthen terracotta. Geranium and muguet bring floralcy and brightness as herbal undernotes of rock rose and cypress give beauty and balance to this tranquil scent.
  • Perfume Immortelle: This uplifting fragrance represents Roman artisans’ dedication to detail, movement, and humanity. The sweet immortelle flower, which never fades nor wilts, represents the enduring quality of the magnificent Roman marble statues. Bergamot and olive flower lend a bright freshness, blending with a base of cypress and myrrh.
Each fragrance retails individually for $21.99, and sets retail for $89. The collection will be sold on, part of the Impact affiliate network, and at The Met Store and online at
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Kati G Responds to Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide In Ghana



Kati G spearheads Suicide Awareness Ghana

Finally suicide can be acknowledged as a mental health issue and not a criminal act that would land you in jail or persuade an individual to commit the act of suicide to avoid jail time .

It was obvious why real cases of attempted suicide haven’t been recorded properly or why most people have feared to come out and declare their own personal mental health struggles. Being jailed for a mental health struggle is not a solution.

Like others I celebrate and commend parliament for taking the right steps and actions to decriminalize suicide and focus on providing help as an alternative to reduce suicide and educate the public on the subject.
As a Mental Health Advocate I will make it my personal initiative to educate the public on suicide awareness to prevent the rise.

Kati G.
Let’s Talk About It: Suicide Awareness Ghana

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The 7th Ibero American Film Festival Held In Accra



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This year’s edition of the Ibero American film festival was held from Wednesday 22nd March to Wednesday 29th March 2023 at the Pacific Alliance, located at Airport Residential Area in Accra.

The festival was dedicated to the memory of the late Mexican Ambassador accredited to Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, H. E Enrique Escorza, who passed on in November 2022.

Being the seventh edition, the Ibero American film festival screened a variety of projects including features, short films and documentary films by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American filmmakers.1749300f 1ecd 433c a2f7 cb0d1739bf31

The film festival held each night from 6PM has the aim of promoting Ibero American stories, culture and messages of social impact. In addition, it showcases acclaimed films by directors from Brazil, Spain, Columbia, Cuba, Peru and Mexico with a diverse range of Latin American context and perspectives.

This year, the festival opened with the Columbian movie, Jerico; the infinite flight of days. Jerico is a film, which reflects a colourful, poetic and lush journey in a beautiful Colombian village, Jericó through the eyes of eight women of all ages and social conditions.

Other films including Achero Mañas’ directed Spanish drama film, El Bola, Cuban drama, Habana station, Peruvian movie, Viaje a Tombuctu Pixinguinha, and Brazilian project, Pixinguinha, were also screened.

Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Javier Gutierrez, Peruvian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Abel Antonio Cardenas Tuppia and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Mexico in Ghana, Arturo Agustín Salazar González, spoke about the importance of the Ibero American film festival.

The 7th Ibero American film festival closed on Wednesday, 29th March 2023 with the Mexican movie La Buenas Hiebas

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Listen to Nana Asamoah cover the classic Cyndi Lauper song ‘True Colors’




Nana Asamoah is excited to announce the release of his new cover song True Colors, available now on YouTube. (more…)

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AirtelTigo empowers students of Presbyterian Senior High and Technical School to Maximize educational potential



AirtelTigo Presents GHS 15000 to SRC of PSHTS

As part of its activities for the month of March in honor of International Women’s Day, staff of AirtelTigo interacted and donated to students of the Presbyterian Senior High and Technical School, Larteh in the Eastern Region during their Student Representative Council week.

During the day-long event, staff spent the day interacting with the students on various topics including embracing equity, Goal setting and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The students – comprising 70% females and 30% males were encouraged to explore various career paths and not restrict themselves only to what they learn in senior high school.

Presenting a cheque of GHS 15,000 and books to the students, Atul Narain Singh, Chief Marketing Officer at AirtelTigo, encouraged them to focused on their education and continue to do their best in their various courses. “He spoke about the vast opportunity available to them in a telecommunication company like AirtelTigo and expressed the willingness to have some of them intern or work with AirtelTigo after school in future.

AirtelTigo empowers students of PSHTS

Nancy Assor Asiedu-Amrado, Head of Brands and Communication at AirtelTigo, in her interaction with the students, highlighted the importance of maintaining balance in their academic life and gave them some goal-setting tips as well as she encouraged the students to learn how to say no to sexual advances and to stand up for themselves, if they find themselves in similar circumstances. She also cautioned the teachers not to entertain any form of bias in teaching the young girls and boys, but embrace equity.

Alex Offei-Lartey, AirtelTigo Head of Digital Marketing and New Product, also discussed the importance of attaining equity. He spoke on the topic “Boys are not left out: gender equity.” He spoke with the male students, who shared instances of how they supported and helped the female students.

The Director of Due Diligence and Planning, Esther Gyamfi, also shared a personal experience of how she leveraged on technology to advance in her career. Her life story provided inspiration for the students.

Sarah Odei-Amoani, GMB 22 representative for Eastern Region and Ghana’s STEM Ambassador was also present to grace the occasion. she urged the students to explore the many possibilities open to them in STEM education.

In her closing remarks, the headmistress of the school, Gladys Oforiwaa Okyere Otu, expressed gratitude to AirtelTigo saying. “On behalf of the staff and students of Presbyterian Senior High and Technical School, we are extremely grateful for your time and donation. For busy professionals like you to take time off your schedules on a weekday to travel and spend the whole day with us, it makes us feel special.”

Staff of AirtelTigo also toured the school facilities and had informal one-on-one sessions with the students.

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