#PatrioticSpaces: The Evolution of PMMC

The Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC) has been an important player in the gold industry in Ghana for many years. As a state-owned enterprise, it is responsible for the marketing and export of precious minerals, including gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. This evening, I had the opportunity to chat with the Managing Director of PMMC, Nana Akwasi Awuah, who provided a brief history of PMMC and shared some exciting updates about the company.

According to Nana Awuah, PMMC was established in 1963 as Ghana Diamond Marketing Board, charged with the sole responsibility to purchase and market Ghana’s diamonds. Over the years, the company has evolved and expanded its operations to include the marketing and export of other precious minerals especially gold. In 1989, the company was renamed the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited.

One of the key takeaways from my conversation with Nana Awuah was the process for becoming a licensed gold buyer or trader with a PMMC Licence. He explained that this licence only applies to trade within Ghana. To export gold, one needs a licence from the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources. This is an important process that ensures that the gold trade in Ghana is well regulated and transparent.

Nana Awuah also explained the Asantehene gold coins, which were minted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene. The coins were produced by a private company, but PMMC was responsible for the marketing and sale of the coins. This is an example of how PMMC works with other stakeholders in the industry to promote the gold trade in Ghana.

Another exciting update from Nana Awuah was that PMMC will be selling gold tablets from Easter. These tablets will serve as an alternative form of investment for people who want to invest in gold but may not have the means to purchase large amounts of physical gold. This is a great opportunity for individuals to invest in gold and diversify their portfolios.

We also discussed the Gold for Oil policy, which was implemented to solve two key problems: the pressures on forex and the supply of oil. However, it is helping to solve other problems, such as illegal small-scale mining, as now gold can be obtained from compliant mines. This policy has been successful in promoting the gold trade in Ghana and has helped to position the country as a key player in the global gold industry.

Finally, Nana Awuah shared his vision for PMMC. He hopes to make PMMC a world-class company and to see a robust gold trading market in Ghana in the near future. With the company’s rich history, experience, and expertise in the gold industry, there is no doubt that PMMC is well positioned to achieve this vision.

In conclusion, my chat with Nana Akwasi Awuah, Managing Director of PMMC, was informative and insightful. The evolution of PMMC over the years is a testament to the company’s commitment to promoting the gold trade in Ghana. With the new developments and updates, PMMC is poised to continue to play a vital role in the gold industry in Ghana and beyond.

Listen to the #PatrioticSpaces here.

#PatrioticSpaces is a platform dedicated to promoting patriotic conversations, national development and civic engagement on Twitter every Wednesday at 7pm. It is hosted by Kow Essuman (@kaessuman).

From Global Shaper To Young Global Leader

Today, the Forum of Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum announced the Class of 2023, which includes myself, in recognition of my exceptional leadership in the legal profession and commitment to promoting good governance and economic growth in Ghana and beyond. This year’s class consists of almost 100 young leaders from 45 countries, hailing from various backgrounds including business, government, academia, and civil society. You can find more information by clicking here.

The Young Global Leaders (YGL) is a community of individuals under the age of 40 recognized by the World Economic Forum for their outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments, and commitment to society, with potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership. The YGL program aims to develop and connect the next generation of leaders, empowering them to create a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive world.

There is a remarkable story behind my selection as part of this year’s class, which I will save for another time. However, I will say that we must always allow God to be God and stop trying to do things for Him. Sometimes when opportunities pass us by, it is not because we are unqualified or unworthy, but rather because God might be preparing us for an even better opportunity. Therefore, we should always thank God and look out for His will in our lives.

I distinctly remember how I became involved with the World Economic Forum. About a decade ago, my friend Fred Deegbe Jnr, of Heel The World, invited me to dinner at African Regent Hotel. There, he introduced me to a beautiful young woman who was his friend. Little did I know that this would be an interview to see if I was a good fit for the newly created Accra Hub of the Global Shapers Community. We chatted for a while, and I shared my views strongly, on how everyone should make an impact in their society or wherever they find themselves. The young woman eventually left, and Fred and I chatted a bit before saying our goodbyes. The following day, Fred informed me that I had been selected as a Global Shaper and would be part of the Accra Hub. He told me more about the Global Shapers and congratulated me. Apparently, the meeting had gone well, and the young woman was essentially interviewing me.

When I eventually found out who the other young Shapers in my cohort were, I honestly felt inadequate. These were people who were shining in their various fields, with businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, disruptors, and more. I gathered all the courage I could and tried to fit in. At one point, I even complained to Fred, saying that I did not think I fit in because everyone else was “serious” and going places, whereas I was just a lawyer. However, Fred disagreed with me and encouraged me, stating that my expertise was needed in the group. He advised me to relax and play my part, and that is what I did.

In 2015, 80 Global Shapers from different Hubs were selected to represent the Global Shapers Community at the Africa Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, and I was among them. That was when I began to understand Fred’s advice. I made great friends at the meeting, some of whom I still keep in touch with today. After we returned to our respective countries, we collaborated on co-authoring a book titled “The Africa 80: Transformation Through Collaboration,” which was foreworded by Ashish Thakkar. My chapter in the book can be found on pages 138 to 141. We also established an Africa 80 Foundation to provide young Africans with a platform for their voices to be heard. My good friend and fellow Global Shaper from the Soweto Hub in South Africa, Cindy Pearl Maphumulo still carries that torch and I serve on the Advisory Board of the Foundation.

I actively participated in the Accra Hub, and later, when Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was elected President, he appointed me to serve as his Legal Counsel, a position I still hold to date. During this time, I maintained my engagement with the World Economic Forum and even accompanied the President to Davos in January 2020.

Therefore, being recognized as a Young Global Leader is a significant honor for me. Noting the exciting experience I had as a Global Shaper, I am really looking forward to collaborating with my fellow YGLs to create a more prosperous and equitable future for everyone.

Written by Kow Abaka Essuman, #YGL2023 #WEF

From Dust to Renewal: Reflections on Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season

Today, February 22, 2023, marks the beginning of the Lenten season for Christians all over the world. This 40-day period of reflection, repentance and renewal culminates with Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first day of Lent is known as Ash Wednesday, and it is a significant day in the Christian calendar. On this day, Christians attend church services to receive a mark of ashes (usually a cross) on their foreheads, which symbolises their mortality and the need for repentance. The ashes are typically made by burning palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration.

This morning, I attended the St. James Catholic Church in Osu, Accra for the Ash Wednesday Service, where I received ashes on my forehead with the priest saying, “Remember from dust you came, and to dust you shall return.” This very humbling reminder of my mortality reiterates the need for me to turn away from my sins, especially the ones that so easily beset me, and trust completely in the Lord with my all. The ashes, which will remain on my forehead throughout the day, symbolise my willingness to acknowledge my faults and seek forgiveness, whilst serving as a public declaration of my faith in God, and a commitment to live a more righteous life.

The practice of using ashes as a symbol of repentance can be traced back to ancient Jewish traditions. In the Old Testament, the book of Job describes the use of ashes as a sign of mourning and repentance. [See Job 42;6]. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of repentance and humility in the Sermon on the Mount, urging us to give, pray and fast, and not worry. [See Matthew 6.]

Let me preach a little. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us to give our gifts in private so that our Father, who sees everything, will reward us. And then, he teaches us how to pray and what to do when we are fasting. This shows the importance of acts of charity to the Christian life and the spread of the Gospel. Giving was a central theme in Jesus’ ministry, and whenever He gave, people stayed and listened to what He had to say about the Kingdom of God. When we carry out acts of charity, direct and indirect beneficiaries of those acts will be willing to listen to what we have to say and open to receiving the Gospel and all its benefits.

This Lenten season offers us a time to reflect and prepare, using acts of charity, prayer and fasting to deepen our relationship with God. When we take this season seriously, we will find spiritual growth and renewal, and ultimately find peace, joy, and meaning in our lives.

As we begin this Lenten season, let us reflect on our lives and renew our commitment to God. Let us use this time to seek forgiveness, grow in faith, and serve those in need, especially in these times when many people are in need. If you are fasting, the first few days are the most difficult, particularly if this is your first time. You will face every kind of temptation, including hunger. And so I pray that the Lord will strengthen you and help you to overcome all temptations and remain focused on Him. And let us always remember the words spoken as we receive the ashes: “Remember from dust you came, and to dust, you shall return.” Read my Lent Testimony to be encouraged to participate in this year’s Lenten season.

Have a happy and blessed Lenten season, and I look forward to hearing amazing testimonies after Easter!

Written by Kow Abaka Essuman, an advocate for Jesus Christ.

Getting Ready For Lent 2023

As we approach the season of Lent, I consider it worthwhile to remind you of the importance of observing this solemn period. Lent is a time of spiritual reflection, penance, and preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a season that reminds us of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross and invites us to turn towards him with renewed devotion and faith.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 22 this year. On this day, Christians around the world come together to receive ashes on their foreheads, in the shape of a cross. This powerful symbol reminds us of our mortality and our need for redemption. As the ashes are placed on our foreheads, we hear the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words are a call to repentance and a reminder of our ultimate destiny.

During the season of Lent, Christians are called to a period of fasting, prayer, and giving. This is a time for us to reflect on our own lives, turn away from sin and renew our relationship with God. Lent is an opportunity to examine our consciences, confess our sins, and seek forgiveness. Through prayer and fasting, we can draw closer to God and deepen our understanding of His will for our lives.

In the book of Joel, we read, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:12-13, NLT). Lent is a time for us to “rend our hearts” and turn towards God with sincerity and humility.

As we begin this season of Lent, let us pray for God’s love and mercy to be poured out upon us. Let us pray for understanding and the courage to embrace the sacrifices this season demands. Let us be generous to one another, especially those in need, remembering the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NLT).

May this season of Lent be a time of spiritual renewal and growth for all of us. May we draw closer to God and to one another, as we journey towards the celebration of Easter.

Read my Lent Testimony to encourage you to participate in the Lent season this year.

#PatrioticSpaces: Building a Resilient Education System in Ghana

Earlier this evening, I had a chat with Dr. Kwabena Bempah Tandoh, the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service on #PatrioticSpaces. The topic for the conversation was, “Building a Resilient Education System in Ghana.” Though we had a few challenges on Twitter at the beginning of the Twitter Spaces, we managed to have the conversation, which was well patronised by Twitter users. Below are a few of my thoughts on the conversation and a few key take aways.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of a resilient education system in Ghana. It disrupted education delivery, with school closures and remote learning becoming the norm. However, it has also presented us with an opportunity to reflect on our education systems and make necessary changes.

Investment and Collaboration are Key

Investing in education is investing in the future of Ghana. A resilient education system requires a long-term commitment to prioritising education, as well as collaboration among stakeholders. It requires support for teachers and the necessary infrastructure and resources to provide quality education to all children in Ghana. Innovative ideas like smart classrooms, icampusgh.com and other platforms for teaching and learning can prepare a country’s education system for uncertain times.

Personalized Learning is Crucial

Education is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Personalized learning is essential to ensure that every child gets the support they need to succeed. We must address existing inequities in the education system and ensure that all children have the same opportunities to learn and thrive. Dr. Tandoh explained how existing inequities and inequalities in the education system were enhanced by the pandemic and the steps that were taken to address them.

Technology Plays a Key Role

The pandemic showed us the potential of technology to support education delivery. However, access to technology remains a challenge for many children in Ghana. During the pandemic, practical steps were taken by the Ghana Education Service to bring teaching and learning to school children through television and radio. There were partnerships with telecommunications companies to ensure that education content was available and accessible for free. We must always ensure that all children have access to the necessary tools and skills to use technology effectively.

Early Childhood Education is Critical

Investing in early childhood education is critical to building a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Early childhood education can help bridge the learning gap and reduce inequalities in the education system. Dr. Tandoh assured listeners that Ghana has a very good track record when it comes early childhood education but there was more that needed to be done.

Inclusivity is a Must

We must ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, have access to quality education. An inclusive education system that meets the needs of all students is necessary.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, building a resilient education system in Ghana requires a collaborative effort among all stakeholders, including government, educators, parents, and students. We must prioritise education in our national budgets and policies, invest in early childhood education, and ensure that all children have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed in the 21st century.

At the heart of a resilient education system is a commitment to ensuring that all children have access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances. Let us continue to work together to build a resilient education system in Ghana, one that will provide our children with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Listen to the #PatrioticSpaces here.

#PatrioticSpaces is a platform dedicated to promoting patriotic conversations, national development and civic engagement on Twitter every Wednesday at 7pm. It is hosted by Kow Essuman (@kaessuman).