The fake U.S. embassy in Accra, Ghana /Courtesy of U.S. State Department
The fake U.S. embassy in Accra, Ghana /Courtesy of U.S. State Department

Bewildered citizens are trying to figure out how Turkish and Ghanaian organized crime rings were able to operate a fake U.S. embassy in Ghana, Accra, for over a decade.

Issuing legitimate and counterfeit visas and ID documents, costing as much as $6,000 to people from across West Africa, the country’s State Department confirms that the business was in fact a sham.

“In Accra, Ghana, there was a building that flew an American flag every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.,” The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Bureau said in a statement. “Inside hung a photo of President Barack Obama, and signs indicated that you were in the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. However, you were not. This embassy was a sham.”

The “embassy” was shut down by Ghanaian authorities this summer and authorities have arrested several suspects and reportedly confiscated 150 passports from 10 countries.

The investigation also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.


Zimbabwe Banks Run Out of Bond Notes

Citizens demand more bank bonds. /Courtesy of Peta Thornycroft

Though many banks in Zimbabwe plead for more bond notes, financial institutions and government officials across the country tell residents that they have totally run out of extra currency.

Speaking at a residents meeting on Dec. 4 in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo, Khuphukile Mlambo, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said it was very unlikely that the RBZ would introduce more bond notes to boost the money supply.

He also noted that some illegal money changers are grabbing the money from local people and re-banking for personal profit.

“Stop making any form of illegal transactions as you are being cheated,” Mlambo said.

Parliament is reportedly working on a public outreach program to gain citizens’ views on creating a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, which would ensure a long shelf life of bond notes.


Bank Launches Online Platform for Fashion Entrepreneurs

Fashion veteran Clive Rundle’s fashion collection Courtesy of Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

With fashion reigning high in the world of economics, the African Development Bank is encouraging continental fashion designers to push for greater wealth with the launch of the bank’s online platform, Fashionomics.

A prototype of the website provides access to research reports, details of design schools, access to funding models and financing sources and lists of jobs and business opportunities.

Raking in an estimated $2.5 billion in apparel exports a year, fashion experts expect that number to double within the next decade.

“There’s a lot of beautiful crafty fabric that gets developed on the continent but having access to that means you’re going to have to go on a fact-finding mission,” said Shaldon Kopman, fashion entrepreneur and founder of luxury brand Naked Ape. “You’re going to spend a lot of money to get into those markets.”

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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