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Recurring separatist agitations: should conflict-torn African countries renegotiate their nationhood?



Agitations for self-determination have become commonplace in Africa, with recurring devastating effects largely responsible for its current social and economic retardation. They have fragmented many nations and divided others along religious and ethnic lines. Indigenous and foreign political scientists and observers have attempted to pinpoint the roots cause of these crises. The underlying causes are believed to include poor political structures, social and political inequalities, and colonial powers’ forceful amalgamation of regions with different ideologies and belief systems.

The imposed merger denied the indigenous peoples the opportunity to choose if they were ready to coexist. Therefore, since the start of their nationhood, many African countries have existed amidst mutual distrust and rancour.This has led to devastating unrest and bloody division in countries like Ethiopia and Sudan, from which Eretria and South Sudan emerged. There are several yet undivided ones that have also had their share of civil wars between some regions and their central governments.

Nigeria, for instance, has grappled with ethnoreligious unrest since its amalgamation in 1914. The mutual resentment would later degenerate into a full-blown civil war six years after independence between the separatist Biafra Army led by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu and the federal military government from 1960 to 1967. Around 500,000 to 2 million Igbo civilians died from starvation. Though the country has managed to stay as one since the war, the perceived ethic marginalization and other widespread factors responsible for the conflict remain unaddressed. Over five decades after the war, the country still experiences separatist agitations from the same Biafra people and many other indigenous people, especially from the south.

In Cameroon, the Ambazonia people of the anglophone southern region have been at the loggerhead with the central government controlled by the Francophone region for the past four years. Began like a low-scale insurgency, the warspread into most parts of the southern regions within a year and resulted in thousands of deaths. Before gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993, the Eretria region fought the central government for years, resulting in thousands of deaths. Even after their separation, the two countries renewed their enmity, which degenerated during the border control conflict between 1998 and 2000, leaving gravy impacts on both sides. Similarly, the southern Sudanese engaged the then Sudanese government in an almost two-decade civil war. Before gaining independence, around 2 million people were killed, and at least one out of every five southern Sudanese were believed to make up the causalities.

The conflict between the Tigray rebels and the Ethiopian Army has been ranging for over a year, with 10,000 deaths and more than 230 massacres. In what started as a power tussle between a regional government and central authority, the crisis has plunged the country into its worst famine in decades and is gradually tilting towards another self-determination fight in a country that just lost one of its former regions less than two decades ago.

These cases and many similar others show that separatist agitations are more of an ideological struggle and cannot be effectively settled with military guns and barrels. Unfortunately, most African leaders have shown to only understand a forceful approach and are less concerned about resultant recurring bloodletting and economic losses from the wars. For the past six years of its administration, President Buhari of Nigeria has been fighting renewed and emerging separatist movements emanating from the Biafra people of the southeast, Odua nationalists of the southwest, and other regions in the country. Despite the government’s use of forceful arrests, imprisonments, and intimidations, the movements persist and have led to an overstretched military force. Similarly, the Paul Biya-led government of Cameroon has failed to end the Ambazonia War despite years of military repel.

Given the recurring nature of these crises, many analysts have suggested peaceful resolutions such as referendum and restructuring, which will give the agitating regions the first-ever chance to decide their nationhood. But checks by Immigration Advice Service show that some African countries do not make provision for such in their constitutions. The Nigerian constitution, for example, has undergone series of amendments since 1999, but in each of these amendments, there has always been a “dubious omission” of a referendum. This begs the question: who is afraid of the peaceful dissolution of these conflict-torn African countries? The answer may not be farfetched given the political structures in most African countries.

There are individuals and groups who benefitted from the long-existing rot in the system and would rather have the status quo remain. Major actors are politicians who have weaponised poverty, illiteracy, and religious indoctrination to keep the masses under their feet. There are poor African countries with some of the most expensive costs of governance in the world. Despite their outrageous salaries and allowances, these politicians still exploit the weak system to loot the treasury with reckless abandon, leaving their citizens even more devastated with hyperinflation, high unemployment rate, and other economic crises.

Similarly, some regions benefit at the expense of others and, as such, would always resist a breakup or restructuring of their countries. In Cameroon, the francophone region has ruled the country since its unification with the anglophone region in the 1960s. The incumbent, Paul Biya, has been ruling for the past 38 years after a peaceful transfer of power by his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo. Apart from his sit-tightism, most of Biya’s policies have been found to be unfavourable to the British anglophone part of the country, leading to the current unrest. In the same vein, the underlying cause of the ongoing Tigray crisis is rooted in regional governance crises. In Nigeria, the revenue-buoyant southern region was believed to have been merged with the revenue-challenged north, so the former could subsidize the latter. And to date, northern Nigeria still benefits immensely from the oil revenue and VAT collection from the south due to the existing sharing formula that is more favourable to the former.

It is, therefore, not surprising to see those forces fighting to keep the countries together with coercion despite cyclical armed conflicts. At the same time, the agitators have proven to be resilient in achieving their mandate even in the face of fierce intimidation. It can then be deduced that leaders of such countries are only postponing the doomsday as their adamant non-negotiability stance puts their nations on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode.

Considering the conflict trend on African soil in the past few years, it is a no-brainer that the continent has had enough bloodshed and socioeconomic retardation for its leaders to re-strategize their approach to governance. It is high time they demonstrated selfless leadership and perhaps flexibility in their views. The law books should be reviewed and amended to reflect equitable resource control and political representation, and most importantly, rights to self-determination. With these in place, countries can coexist or separate peacefully if and when needed withoutbloodletting, displacement, starvation, and untold humanitarian crises.

Olusegun Akinfenwa writes for London Immigration Lawyer – a UK based law firm that offers immigration services globally, including the Republic of Ireland citizenship and immigration process.


People & Lifestyle

The Hilla Limann Foundation donated to the Tamale children’s home to mark 24 years of the anniversary of the late president Hilla Limann’s death



It is been 24 years since the untimely demise of the late Dr Hilla Limann, president of the 3rd Republic of Ghana. In a philanthropic move to mark the occasion on Sunday, 23rd January, the Hilla Limann Foundation led by the Daughter of the late former president, Dr Zilla Limann donated some house hold items to the Tamale children’s home in the Northern region. Madam Janet, received the items for the the children’s home.
Speaking to reporters who covered the event, Dr Zilla Limann reiterated the resolve of the Hilla Limann Foundation to preserve the legacy of the late former president who was a philanthropist, hence the decision of the foundation to embark on this donation exercise. It was her hope that the children’s home will benefit from the donation which she believes with alleviate some of their plight.
Dr Hilla Limann was the president of the 3rd Republic of Ghana from 1979 to 1981. He was unceremoniously toppled by a military junta led by the late Jerry John Rawlings. The administration of the late Dr Hilla Limann is best remembered for being able to diffuse an economic blockade that devastated the economy of Ghana in 1979 and led the country back on track. Under the administration of the Late Dr Limann, the country gradually gained its respect back in the eyes of the international community and soon was able to attract in foreign investors into the country.
Dr Limann died on the 23rd of January, 1998. He left behind a wife and 7 children.
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Countries do not expect to achieve 2030 global education targets



A new report released today by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report finds that, according to their own benchmarks, countries will not achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.This is a wakeup call for the world’s leaders as millions of children will continue to miss out on school and high-quality learning.

The report, National SDG 4 benchmarks: fulfilling our commitments, compiles the findings from the culmination of a two-year global process convened by UNESCO. Participating countries identified their targets for 2025 and 2030 relative to six key SDG 4 indicators on: early childhood education attendance; school attendance; completion; minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics; trained teachers; and public education expenditure. The commitment made was to accelerate progress between now and the deadline relative to the rate countries achieved from 2000-2015. The findings show that even if countries reach their benchmarks, the world will still fall short of the ambition set out in SDG 4. This is even before taking into account the potential consequences of COVID-19 on education development.

“It is a real step forward that some two-thirds of countries are realistically assessing their chances of achieving the SDG 4 goals. It is critical that nations hold themselves accountable to their commitments for their children. However, almost halfway to our deadline, the process has shown that, even by their own assessment, most countries are not expected to get close to the 2030 goal,” said Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. “The next step must be to encourage all countries to submit benchmarks and determine which policies to prioritise before 2030.”

The report shows that according to their own measures, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central and Southern Asia are on course to achieve universal early childhood education. Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Western Asia will not achieve this goal, where it is estimated that roughly two in three children will be enrolled in early childhood education by 2030 (up from less than half currently).

According to their plans, all regions will meet or be very close to achieving universal primary education. Challenges will remain in sub-Saharan Africa where 8% of children of primary school age are still predicted to be out of school in 2030 (down from 19% currently).

By 2030, countries in sub-Saharan Africa expect to be able to achieve a reduction in the rate of out-of-school upper secondary age youth from 47% to 32%; those in Central and Southern Asia expect to reduce their rate from 32% to 17%. In North Africa and Western Asia, the benchmarks show that countries believe they can reduce the rate from 28% to 14% and from 19% to 11% in Latin America and the Caribbean. The process has delivered a reality check with regards to the goal of universal completion of secondary education by 2030, which no region is on track to achieve. Completion rates are expected to land at 89% at lower secondary and 72% at the upper secondary level by the deadline.

Countries are the least confident about the ability to accelerate progress in mathematics skills: by 2030, globally, benchmarks show that an expected 26% will still not be able to do basic mathematics in the early grades, 32% at the end of primary and 34% at the end of lower secondary.

The percentage of trained teachers is expected to increase between 2015 and 2030 to over 90% in each level of education. The fastest growth is expected at the pre-primary education level, from 70% to 94%. Still, by the deadline, countries in sub-Saharan Africa expect that, despite their best efforts, over a quarter of teachers at the pre-primary level will remain untrained.

“These nationally determined targets do not yet take into account the possible impact of COVID-19 on education which we know has significantly slowed down and may have even rolled back progress on education. It is also troubling that a fifth of countries do not have plans with targets, so there is still work to do before a full realistic picture of where we aim to be by 2030 is available,” added Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report.

The current benchmarks will be reviewed in 2022 to see if countries deem a significant revision of expectations as a result of COVID-19 school closures is necessary.

Notes to editors

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People & Lifestyle

AFCON 2021: Ghanaian Creative Content Producer, Ekow Barnes, produces campaign for global sportswear brand, New Balance



Ghanaian creative content producer and writer, Ekow Barnes, whose latest work is a campaign for global sportswear brand New Balance, is launching a new production company.

The company, called WB Group, brings together creatives across the African continent to meet the growing demand for high-quality production work.

Ekow Barnes, with years of production experience, has worked for many global brands including Mercedes Benz, Johnnie Walker, Away, Birkenstock and Facebook. Launching this new company with his co-partner, William Annoh is part of their vision to create a high-value team on the continent that can serve the global demand for creative production and services. ”Having so much creative talent on the continent, the launch of WB Group simply seeks to harness the wealth of African creativity through creative collaborations to produce for brands – data-backed and strategy-led visual stories that are nuanced with African values and exuberance” he says

“WB Group is a leading next-gen production studio that specializes in still and moving images and exists to champion the creative arts agenda by sharing relevant stories and brands that matter. We work in tandem with brands to create, produce, and distribute thought-provoking, purpose-driven content for ad editorial, cultural and other media projects. Working with teams of artsy photographers, artists, producers and crew, WB Group brings partner brand’s visions to life while averting stereotypes and re-representing marginalized communities through visuals and data-driven storytelling,” reads the newly formed company’s profile.

Setting the tone for the company’s excellence, the debuting campaign produced by WB Group for global streetwear brand: New Balance, features striking visuals of the New Balance ‘The Lion Roars’ boots designed for the Senegalese football player, Sadio Mané. Being an African focused production company, the visuals take a step from New Balance’s regular style and introduce new sceneries with African overtones that elevate the campaign and tell a compelling story. The campaign invites people to share in Sadio Mane’s vibrant and bright culture and his unrivalled drive to win.

Watch the full campaign visuals here follow WB Group on Instagram, and visit their website to learn more

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People & Lifestyle

The Embassy of Peru in Ghana honours Chris Koney



The Embassy of Peru in Ghana has honoured Ghanaian Marketing Communications professional, Brand and Talent Management Expert and media practitioner, Jonathan Christopher Koney, popularly known as Chris Koney.

This took place during a ceremony to announce winners of the maiden Ghana – Peru Arts contest held at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon on Tuesday 30th November 2021.

The event was attended by several dignitaries including the Head of the Peru Mission in Ghana, His Excellency Abel Antonio Cardenas Tuppia, Honorary Consul of Peru in Ghana Hon. Ghassan Yared and the Director of the Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Ghana, Dr. Joanna Boampong. Others were representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional rulers, and members of the media.

A citation signed by His Excellency MC Abel Antonio Cardenas Tuppia read, “we applaud your selfless dedication towards the promotion of a positive image of Peru in the Ghanaian media. Your devotion and commitment in the framework of the Ghana – Peru Art Contest will forever be remembered and we are honoured to have partnered with you as a judge in the maiden edition of the contest. You are a real master of your craft. We appreciate you, thank you”.

The Embassy of Peru in Ghana launched the Ghana – Peru Arts Contest as part of activities marking the two hundredth independence anniversary celebration of the Republic of Peru. The contest was open to Ghanaian non-professionals between the ages of 18 and 25 years who were expected to produce artworks and literature that illustrates the theme of friendship between Ghana and Peru.

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How Mandla, an African language e-learning platform is helping to preserve African languages



In the language learning community, African languages have long lacked the attention they deserve. For those of us living outside the African continent, the motivations for learning an African language can be both personal or professional. Fortunately, thanks to the development of free, online resources, there’s never been a better time to learn an African language.

Here are three reasons why you should take advantage and learn an African language today.

Learning an African Language Can Shape Your Professional Trajectory

Sub-Saharan Africa alone is home to more than a billion people—roughly 1/7th of the world’s population. Africa is both young and growing, and the economic explosion of countries like Nigeria suggests the continent is set on a growth trajectory— despite centuries of inequities and marginalization from the twin forces of racism and colonial exploitation.

For the continent in the present day, it’s clear that challenges remain. But the region is bolstered by a young population and natural resources offering the potential to foster equitable economic growth and development. Young professionals and students intrigued by the prospect of a career in development, non-government organizations, translation and interpretation, or international business could all benefit from professional proficiency in one of the many African languages, including Yoruba, Twi, Swahili, and others.

Learning African Languages Can Help Connect to Your Culture

The population of the African diaspora is estimated to number around 140 million in the Western Hemisphere. Countries like the United States, Brazil, and others in both North and South America and the Caribbean boast sizable Black populations, which are the lasting legacy of the African slave trade.

Black people in these nations and elsewhere have been systematically subject to racist attempts to erase their history, identity, and shared-sense of culture throughout history. For many, however, learning an African language in 2022 represents an opportunity to meaningfully connect with a cultural and linguistic legacy that has been suppressed for centuries. And now, with the ubiquity of the internet and educational language learning platforms, the barriers to entry have never been lower.

Learning an African Language Can Combat Inequality in Language Education

The teaching of African languages can help connect Black and African people in the diaspora to their cultural and linguistic roots. It can also make for more robust and diverse language offerings in the traditional places where languages are learned.

Efforts have been made to diversify the languages on offer in American universities. Progress is hampered by a general decline in funding for foreign languages in general—even though African languages are of strategic importance to governments in the Global North.

Even technology has been slow to accommodate African languages. Language-learning giant Duolingo is expected to add Zulu and Xhosa to its roster in 2022—after many years of only hosting Swahili on the platform. However, new language-learning platforms are arriving on the scene with the express goal of promoting access to African languages—and the future of African language learning in the US and elsewhere looks bright.

Start Studying African Languages Today for Free

The bottom line?

Technology is making it easier than ever before for users around the world to explore their cultures and take advantage of all that learning an African language has to offer.

Looking to learn African languages at no cost? Then check out Mandla—the seamless new app designed for those looking to strengthen their connections to their African roots.

Click here to get started with Mandla on your desktop, or download the app on your Apple or Android device today.


Mandla, an African language e-learning platform started by a group of passionate first generation African students studying at elite colleges including Harvard, Vanderbilt, MIT and Cornell. The team was inspired by their personal desires to learn their mother tongues and found that there was a lack of resources to do so. Due to these challenges they decided to create Mandla. They are currently building a platform that not only teaches popular indigenous African languages but preserves others that are at risk for extinction.


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People & Lifestyle

Absa Bank’s Corporate Banking campaign to light up Accra



What does a Bank have in common with a cup of coffee, an adaptor, a cowrie or cake?

This is part of the thrust of Absa Bank Ghana’s new corporate banking advertising campaign that is set to get the capital talking for the most part of the first quarter of 2022.

The thought-provoking advertising campaign uses powerful creative imagery of unique products from several sectors of the economy and links their relationship to Absa Bank’s corporate banking mandate across the country and the continent. This is complemented by sector specific executions (Infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunication, oil and gas, power, mining financial institution and consumer goods) across a multiplicity of media channels and platforms.

The campaign, designed to shimmer and glitter in Ghana’s capital city and other regional centers on January 24th, 2022, uses four proof points – global reach, digital solution, value chain and expert solution– to drive home the Bank’s corporate banking credentials.

Absa Bank Ghana’s significance in Ghana’s economy has been a constant feature in the country’s developmental journey for more than a century. The Bank has supported several sectors, including empowering businesses to be sustainable and helping clients with transformative investment services. It has become a symbol of the Ghanaian financial identity since it first commenced operations as Barclays Bank in 1917.

The corporate banking business, especially, has a history of consistent financing support to many areas, including License Buying Companies in the cocoa sector and the largest single day domestic currency issuance in sub-Saharan Africa at US$2.25bn in 2017. Additionally, Absa Bank has acted as lead arranger for a number of big-ticket deals in Ghana’s finance and energy sectors.


As Regional Corporate Director for West Africa at Absa Bank, Ellen Ohene-Afoakwa says:

“Our fundamental task is to deliver value, experience, expertise and reach to ensure that our clients can put their businesses at the forefront of the financial world, whilst positively impacting their communities and powering their global vision. We are relevant in every sector of the Ghanaian economy from private, public, small and large entrepreneurship ventures and we shall continue to make capital available to grow the markets, transform the continent and maintain our image as the go-to partner of choice.”


Ultimately the advertising campaign is a call to action for both prospective and current businesses to partner a bank with demonstrable bravery and expertise to get things done. The campaign will utilize all key touchpoints in the external media space (TV, Online, Radio, outdoor, PR) together with an ambitious digital and social media approach.

It’s innovative creative execution, will undoubtedly elevate the conversation around the crucially important role Absa Bank plays in Ghana’s economy.

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