Press zooms in on plans to explore regional market for renewable energy investments, others

The plan by the government to explore the regional market as part of its efforts in opening up the renewable…

The plan by the government to explore the regional market as part of its efforts in opening up the renewable energy for investments and the forecast by the World Bank that Ghana’s inflation rate will end this year at 9.8 percent are some of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Ghanaian Times reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the government is exploring the regional market as part of its efforts in opening up the renewable energy for investments.

He said that the country was being positioned to become a major exporter of reliable and competitive electricity in Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).

In a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the 7th Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra yesterday, the president said that these efforts would help the country rake in more foreign exchange earnings, contribute to the regional economic inclusiveness strategy and strengthen energy security and peace in the sub-region.

Organised by the Energy Commission (EC), the fair is a platform for stakeholders to promote the benefits of renewable energy in order to identify opportunities and facilitate investment in the sector.

Under the theme: “Removing barrier to renewable energy development in Ghana,” the three-day event comprises a conference; an exhibition of innovation, and final competition of the Senior High School Renewable Energy Challenge.

In the speech read by Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Cecilia Dapaah, President Akufo-Addo said the government was leaving no stone unturned in providing quality leadership in the country’s quest to develop a sustainable energy economy with very few challenges.

As co-chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates of the 2030 UN SGDs, he restated his commitment to the development of renewable and clean energy in the country and globally by spearheading the implementation of the 17 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The newspaper says that Ghana’s inflation rate will end this year at 9.8 percent in line with the Bank of Ghana’s target of 8% +/-2, the Africa Pulse Report by the World Bank has predicted.

The expected 9.8 percent inflation rate means average change in price of goods and services will be marginal from now till the end of the year. Inflation surged to 9.7 percent in August 2021 due to increase in food and transport prices.

According to the World Bank, the recent surge in inflation is due to a weaken cedi coupled with a rise in food prices.

However, inflation will decline further next year, signaling a reduction in interest rates.

“In Ghana, weak domestic currency combined with a rise in food prices pushed headline inflation from 9 percent year-on-year in July to 9.7 percent in August 2021, slightly closer to the upper bound of the official target band of 6 to 10 percent. It is estimated to remain close to the upper bound at 9.8 percent in 2021 and gradually decrease to 6.8 percent in 2023,” the report said.

“In the West and Central Africa sub-region, inflation in Nigeria remained high at 17.4 percent year-on-year in July 2021, although it has been decelerating slightly for the past four consecutive months. The average inflation for this year is projected at 16.5 percent, way above the official target band of 6 to 9 percent,” the report explained.

But despite inflation being lower in Ghana than Nigeria, cost of loans in Nigeria is less expensive than in Ghana.

The Ghanaian Times also reports that Ghana loses seven percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to mental health disorders, translating into about $5 billion for last year alone, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr Caroline Amissah, has disclosed.

She has therefore called for issues of mental health to be given the needed attention it required in order to help reverse the trend.

“We already know from a Ghanaian study that loss to GDP because of mental health consequences is estimated around 7 percent. That is not all, global estimates of the burden of mental health disability are quiet significant,” she emphasised.

Dr Amissah disclosed this at a seminar organised by the Mental Health Authority (MHA) as part of activities to commemorate this year’s celebration of the World Mental Health Day.

The global theme for this year’s celebration is Mental Health in an unequal world, with the local theme being ‘the state of mental health in Ghana: Realigning resource allocation.’

Addressing participants ,Dr Amissah said globally, mental disorders accounted for 32per cent of years of disability and 13 percent of disability adjusted life years.

“In the same vein, in sub Saharan Africa, mental disorders and substance abuse is estimated to hover around 19 percent of the disability-related disease burden,” she said.

She said research in mental health had had unequal attention constituting about four per cent of health research.

The situation, she explained, had impacted the present estimation of national prevalence of mental disorders, stressing that “That notwithstanding, there are suggestions of high prevalence of mental disorders with associated high treatment gaps above 90per cent.”