Daily Archives: April 6, 2018

MoneyGram Foundation Promotes Literacy in Ghana

Children receive reading books and school supplies

ACCRA, Ghana, April 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — MoneyGram, a global provider of innovative money transfer services, is thrilled to announce that the MoneyGram Foundation has distributed books, notebooks and school supplies to about 1,000 students at Osu Home Primary & JHS School in Accra. The event reflects MoneyGram Foundation’s commitment to improving lives of children worldwide by providing equal access to early education.

MoneyGram Foundation Supports Literacy in Ghana

“As studies show, educational skills can improve over time when interventions start at an early age. I’m happy to be here today with my colleagues from MoneyGram to distribute school supplies and talk about the importance of reading. Through our donation and engagement, we hope to inspire the change that will improve educational opportunities for children across Africa,” said Patrick Appiah, MoneyGram’s regional head for West Africa.

The books are part of a global book distribution grant through First Book, a U.S.-based nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for kids in need. The donation is just one of many educational efforts funded by the MoneyGram Foundation in the region. In 2013, the Foundation awarded a $60,000 grant to Pencils of Promise to support the establishment of an e-reader program in four community schools in Ghana.

Since 2013, the Foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants towards building infrastructure, supporting technology, and promoting literacy in Africa.

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About MoneyGram

MoneyGram is a global provider of innovative money transfer and payment services and is recognized worldwide as a financial connection to friends and family. Whether online, or through a mobile device, at a kiosk or in a local store, we connect consumers any way that is convenient for them. We also provide bill payment services, issue money orders and process official checks in select markets. More information about MoneyGram International, Inc. is available at moneygram.com.

MoneyGram Foundation (PRNewsFoto/MoneyGram)

About MoneyGram Foundation

MoneyGram established the MoneyGram Foundation in 2012 to help children around the world gain access to educational facilities and learning resources. Its mission is firmly rooted in the belief that education is at the heart of better economic opportunities, healthier families and individual freedom and empowerment. The MoneyGram Foundation is focused on inspiring minds and improving lives and grants funds to deserving organizations with this mission in mind. To learn more, please visit moneygramfoundation.org or connect with us on Facebook.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 350,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in North America exclusively serving kids in need.

Media Contact:
Maria Bankiet-Kamińska
Tel: + 48 22 377 2185
Mob: + 48 885 889 696
Mail: MBankietKaminska@moneygram.com

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/663534/OSU_BOOKS_12.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/293601/MoneyGram_Foundation_Logo.jpg

Spokesman for South Sudan’s VP Quits, Blames Government for Country’s Suffering

The press secretary for South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga has resigned, saying he cannot serve a government that is subjecting its people to suffering.

David Mayen Dengdit told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus that he left his position a week ago because of what he called bad government policies.

“I would be a hypocrite if I pretended to be serving two masters: A government that is sending its people away, that is subjecting its people to different forms of sufferings, and the same people who are victims of our government. I could not do both at the same time,” said Dengdit, who is now in Denver, Colorado.

The government of President Salva Kiir has been fighting rebel groups since December 2013. The civil war has pushed an estimated 4 million South Sudanese from their homes and left at least 6 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

Office: Dengdit requested time off

Dengdit is a longtime associate of Igga. Dengdit began working for Igga in 2008, when the vice president was the speaker of the national legislative assembly in Juba.

Kalisto Lado, the deputy press secretary in the vice president’s office, told VOA that Dengdit has not submitted a resignation letter.

“We were surprised to hear him talking to VOA that he has tendered his resignation,” he said. “What we know is that he took some time off to visit his family in Kampala [Uganda] and his mother and sister in the U.S. He also requested some time off to seek medical attention.

“He was a good press secretary. … We don’t know the motives behind his resignation. We wish he had first consulted us before resigning.”

War crime accusations

Dengdit said the government’s counterinsurgency policy in parts of eastern Equatoria and Yei River states has pushed thousands of people from their ancestral lands.

Dengdit said he traveled recently to Uganda on a bus and witnessed ghost villages along the once-busy Juba-Nimule highway, which connects South Sudan with east African countries.

“I can attest to you that if a population census is conducted tomorrow, the Madi tribe would not be counted because they have all been pushed to refugee camps in Uganda,” he said.

Kiir visited the South Sudanese border town of Nimule last month and apologized to residents whose villages were destroyed during a government campaign to fight rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition in the area.

“I am sorry to see Lowa Pari in the shape I have seen this morning,” Kiir told a small crowd of people who turned up at a trading center during his visit. “This was once a place where the population used to be active. Now it is vandalized; there is nothing there and I am sorry for that.”

Dengdit said, “A skewed counterinsurgency strategy by the Kiir administration is responsible for the sufferings of civilians in South Sudan, for the war crimes that have been committed against the civilians in greater Equatoria, in greater Upper Nile.”

He said the government practices a policy of blanket condemnation of civilians in villages across South Sudan.

“This is happening in Lainya [county]; this is happening to [the] Kakwa in Yei [state] and Morobo [county in Yei]. This is happening to [the] Kuku in Kajokeji [county],” the former press secretary said.

Pay issue

Dengdit also said he has not been paid since November.

When he was last paid, the money wasn’t enough to cover basic costs, Dengdit said. “When your salary comes, it is not enough to provide you with water for 30 days. A barrel of water is now 200 South Sudanese pounds,” (about $1.50), he said.

Kiir has acknowledged on several occasions that his government has no money to pay its soldiers and civil servants.

In March, Kiir told his new finance minister to devise ways to revitalize the collapsed country’s economy.

Dengdit, however, maintained the country has money from oil revenues. “We are still exporting 150,000 barrels [of crude oil] per day even today. Where is that money going?”

He said South Sudan’s capital, Juba, is crowded with women, men and street children begging from well-wishers.

“There is a total meltdown, there is a complete collapse of the economy, [and] people cannot make ends meet,” Dengdit said.

Source: Voice of America

Former S. African President Zuma Appears in Court on Corruption Charges

Former South African President Jacob Zuma appeared in court Friday to face corruption charges. The appearance was brief but significant, coming just under two months after his resignation.

Addressing supporters outside the courthouse Friday, Zuma criticized the charges as politically motivated.

“Innocent until proven otherwise,” he said after appearing at the Durban High Court to face charges of fraud, racketeering, corruption and money laundering.

Earlier, a defiant Zuma smiled and waved to hundreds of supporters as he entered the building.

In court, the prosecution told Judge Themba Sishi that they have agreed with the defense to postpone the case until June 8.

The postponement was mainly to give Zuma a chance to finalize his review application, objecting to the decision to re-charge him.

Zuma was not asked to plead or pay bail. The judge only warned him to appear on the next court date.

Andile Mgxitama, one of the Zuma supporters who prayed, sang and danced outside the court, said “we are here to stand with the president of the people.”

“We will stand with President Zuma now,” he said, “and we will stand with him until the land returns. Hands off Zuma.”

For many South Africans, seeing the former president in the dock was surreal. And for Sizakele Dhlamini, it is a positive development in African democracy.

“It is a norm in African countries that former presidents or current presidents who break the law, they are left to go scot-free,” said Dhlamini. “South Africa has proven beyond reasonable doubt that it’s doable. It can be done.”

Zuma’s party, the African National Congress, has decided not to support him during his court battle, even though some ANC members came out to support him Friday, saying they were doing so on their own.

Political analyst Karima Brown said this could be a big blow for Zuma.

“This is a man deeply at odds with his own organization,” she said. “For someone like Jacob Zuma, who has been in the African National Congress for more than sixty-five years, that is a deep, deep wound.”

The charges relate to kickbacks Zuma allegedly received in connection to a European arms deal undertaken by South Africa in the 1990s. A representative for French arms dealer Thales SA is facing charges similar to Zuma’s.

Zuma first appeared in court for the same charges in 2007. They were dropped in 2009, but the Democratic Alliance party convinced the court to reinstate them, leading to Friday’s appearance.

As usual, Zuma’s supporters demanded that he sing his trademark songs Friday � and he did not disappoint.

Source: Voice of America

RAMAPHOSA CONGRATULATES AL-SISI ON HIS RE-ELECTION

PRETORIA– South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended warm congratulations to his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, on his re-election as President of Egypt.

The Egyptian National Election Authority announced that President Al Sisi had been re-elected to the high office for a second term following the presidential elections in March.

President Ramaphosa said he was committed to working with President Al Sisi to forge closer strategic co-operation between South Africa and Egypt, focusing in particular on economic and security co-operation.

The President said further that the two countries need to continue working together in pursuance of continental integration, peace and security as well as the fight against all forms of terrorism and extremism.

South Africa and Egypt enjoy cordial relations dating back to the days of the liberation struggle against apartheid.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY AGREEMENTS WILL HELP SOUTH AFRICA REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS

PRETORIA– South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says the signing of agreements for 27 renewable energy projects earlier this week is expected to result in a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the country by 8.1 million tonnes per year.

The renewable energy programme is [confirmation of] South Africa’s commitment, together with 195 other countries around the world, to the Paris Agreement for the reduction of CO2 emissions worldwide. It also makes us part of the ever and fast changing global world of a renewable energy industry. I can proudly say that it is also an effective climate change mitigant and a water-smart programme. The 27 projects are expected to offset 8.1 million tonnes of CO2 per annum, he said when he signed the projects here Wednesday.

With energy generation being the biggest consumer of water, Radebe said the devastating impact of the current drought, specifically in the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces, over the last few years had highlighted the impact of climate change and water security.

Generating electricity using renewable energy is an efficient way to minimise water consumption in the energy sector. The projects, once fully operational and at maximum capacity, will save 9.6 million kilolitres of water per annum compared with similar megawatt-hours (mWh) of electricity from fossil fuels. This is equivalent to the water needs of more than 1.2 million people a year, said the Minister.

The renewable energy programme will further stimulate an indigenous renewable energy industry and contribute to socio-economic development and environmentally sustainable growth.

The renewable energy projects are expected to offer cost-competitive rates for electricity. The estimated, average portfolio cost for all renewable energy technologies under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme has dropped consistently in every bid round,” Radebe noted.

Indications are that prices will continue to decrease in future rounds as demonstrated by the recent Solar PV and Wind prices elsewhere in the world. The lower prices coming from the renewable energy projects will provide the much needed relief to indigent households under the current economic conditions.”

The national energy regulator, Nersa, will continue to play a critical role in ensuring justifiable tariffs to the consumers, while allowing investors in electricity generation to receive a fair return on investment.

We have to acknowledge that we may not always be achieving the low prices as reported in other parts of the world, however there is a necessity to ensure support of the programme to the transformation objectives of our country, said Radebe.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK