Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This month, the World Bank in collaboration with Africa Gathering will host a series of brainstorming sessions on youth employment in Africa. The sessions will be held in Ghana, Kenya and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the following dates:
  • Friday, April 20 – Accra, Ghana
  • Tuesday, April 24 – Nairobi, Kenya
  • Friday, April 27 – Kinshasa, DRC
“We want to hear from Africa’s young people themselves about how we can do more to create good paying jobs,” said the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa Shanta Devarajan. “These sessions are vital to hear directly from them.” The World Bank is creating a report on youth employment in Africa, where input from the continent’s youth is paramount. The brainstorming sessions will be held to collect real-time feedback, which will be reviewed and highlighted in the report. “Who better to offer solutions to youth employment than those who are most greatly impacted,” Devarajan said.

 There are an estimated 7-10 million young people seeking employment every year in Africa. Even countries that are reducing poverty at a rapid rate, such as Ethiopia, have not solved the youth employment challenge. If Africa’s youth cannot find productive jobs, the continent will not only fail to sustain growth and poverty reduction, it risks periods of civil unrest—as experienced in the Middle East and North Africa recently—because the expectations of these young people, fueled by growth and globalization, will be unfulfilled.

Join the conversation on twitter: #Jobs4Africa

 About Africa Gathering
Africa Gathering (AG) draws inspiration from the traditional, symbolic African Baobab tree the place where people can gather to share knowledge, exchange ideas and learn from each other. Under AG’s tree all speak openly, from activators to innovators, from artists to technologists. Under our tree we celebrate the change-makers and their work, we connect them to like-minded people, we share their passion for a positive Africa. Gathered under this tree, we bring African ideas and innovations to the rest of the world so that they can be recognised, used and celebrated. We provide an online and offline exchange forum that allows ordinary but amazingly talented African activators to champion their projects and concepts so that their achievements can be given exposure, gain momentum and attract interest from a global audience.

For more information, please visit: www.africagathering.org

 Contacts: World Bank: Nicole Amarteifio, namarteifio@worldbank.org; Africa Gathering: Mari√©me Jamme, marieme@africagathering.org Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankafrica Be updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldbankafrica For our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Will Nkrumah live for ever?

The First President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, t...Image via WikipediaMany years ago, in the 20th century, a baby boy was born to an Nzema couple. This gifted lad grew up years later to become leader and President of a nation once colonized by the British. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, led the fight for Ghana's independence and drove the nation into its first republic. Nkrumah was celebrated by many from all walks of life, at least until 1966 when his regime was kicked out of power by the Nation's first coup makers.

I never met Nkrumah, he didn't grow old enough for that to happen, and I surely wasn't born early enough to witness this African legend. I read about him in school, visited the mausoleum where he was buried and listened to many scholars highlight his exceptional rule and governance tactics. A lot was done to preserve Nkrumah and what he stood for.

At this point I'm wondering whether these preserves will be present for the generations which will come after us to have access to. Can my great-grandchildren tell their children about Dr. Nkrumah? Or will his memory fade as the world begins to focus more on what technologies will enhance human lives on earth. I am slowly beginning to challenge the ''Nkrumah never dies'' assertion which seems to suggest the pioneer's legacy and memories will be kept till eternity (or at least for as long as possible). As the years pass by, and more pressing issues come up, will institutions have the luxury of spending time to transfer such knowledge from one generation to another?

The government's initiative of declaring Nkrumah's birthday Founder's day (or is it Founders' Day)  was welcomed by most Ghanaians as a step in the right direction with regard to attempts to idolize our former president. What we need to ask ourselves is, did Ghanaians applaud this holiday declaration because one more day had been added to the long list of holidays we already have? or we were excited because we finally get the chance to set aside a day by which we can remember Nkrumah by? A conscious effort must be made keep Nkrumah's history alive, else our great grandchildren might not get to hear about him, at least not the way Americans  about George Washington.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

The world celebrates Mandela Day today.


When the clock hit midnight, one of Africa's most respectable Politicians turned 93 years. This day marks his twentieth year as a free man after spending a greater part of his life behind South African bars. Personally, Madiba is a man I revere. I therefore see the United Nation's declaration of his birthday as the Mandela International Day as a good and a deserving gesture. There aren't too many political icons like him on the African continent.

Today, as South African the anniversary of the Nobel Laureate, people everywhere are encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to reach out to others in their communities in any way they can. Each minute representing a year spent in politics by Nelson Mandela. Reach out to someone close to you and touch them with your talents or resource. Let them feel special and make a difference in someone's life. The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good.

Give 67 minutes to change the world on Mandela Day on Vimeo.



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Thursday, July 14, 2011

All you wanna know about the Chale Wote Street Art Festival


What is the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival?
The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival is the collective effort of many young people—ranging from artists, musicians and writers to designers, students and activists—who will work together to produce Accra’s first annual street art festival. This one-day festival will take place in the working-class Ga community
of Jamestown and will include street painting and stencil work, sidewalk painting and chalk art, graffiti murals, large photography displays, live music performances, spoken word and dramatic storytelling, cultural dance and drumming, youth art workshops and much more. We are expecting more than 2,000 patrons to attend the festival. Our target audience includes art lovers,
students, artists and musicians, tourists, Jamestown residents, and everyday people throughout the greater Accra region.

The purpose of the festival is to promote the exhibition of alternative art in Ghana and to nurture an appreciation for different kinds of art among Ghanaians. CHALE WOTE means “Man, let’s go!” or is a reference to slippers worn on the
feet. Each of us comes from different walks of life but we all have something
valuable to contribute. This festival is completely “Do-It-Yourself” with the
talented energies of many people needed to make it happen. We are encouraged
by this collectivity and use CHALE WOTE as a way to mobilize an excitement
for public, alternative art, especially among young Ghanaians. In the spirit of
camaraderie, creativity and fun, CHALE WOTE is an accessible term used by
Ghanaians regardless of language.

What is alternative art?
Alternative art is not afraid of breaking boundaries or taking risks. Our folktales—
Ananse the Spider for example—dare us to be different. Alternative art is, simply,
that which is different or outside of what we normally consider to be art. It is the
mixing of many elements to make something new, energizing and thrilling. It is
flexible, experimental and critical of how the world’s leaders often neglect the
interests of marginalized people. By taking art out of the traditional spaces of
craft shops, museums, galleries, weddings and funerals and into the public street
space of Jamestown, we are opening up how art is experienced, hopefully, in
new, different and spectacular ways.

Alternative art is when a Jamestown kid makes a kite out of disposed water
sachets and rubber bags, or Wanlov the Kubolor merges his Ghanaian and
Gypsy roots into a remarkable album, or a graffiti artist maps the history of a
neighborhood on the side of an abandoned building. Alternative art can turn

something ugly or wasteful into something beautiful and functional. Alternative art
is a innovative solution to everyday problems affecting our communities.

We believe that everyone is an artist. Each one of us is distinct, special and
talented in our own way. Essentially, we are all different. Difference is a good
thing because it means we are all creative beings with the ability to make and
appreciate art. The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival is a platform for different
kinds of art produced by artists and youth in Jamestown and throughout the
greater Accra region. We foster a culture of awareness about alternative art in
Ghana as a way to transform the creative potential of young Ghanaians.

Why is the festival happening in Jamestown?
We are excited by the unique history of Jamestown, particularly the community’s
fishing, boxing and Brazilian cultures. The colonial architecture, the die-hard spirit
of the people, and the intimacy with the ocean in Jamestown is an inspiration for
many local and international artists. Several historical forts stretching back to the
14th and 16th centuries—once held enslaved peoples and prisoners—are home to
this area. We will be working in concert with the Jamestown community— artists,
students, cultural performance groups, NGOs, business owners and street
vendors—to make the festival a success. It is important to have the enthusiastic
participation of the community for this event to be truly productive. Our hope is
to facilitate creative networking with people who live and work in Jamestown
so that we can help the community to continue producing innovative art events
throughout the year. We are committed to connecting our human and creative
resources to Jamestown organizations and youth interested in extending the
aim of the festival into sustainable programs. As the festival expands each year,
CHALE WOTE will move to different areas of the city.

Why a Street Art Festival?
As a culture, our shared expectations/ aspirations/ anxieties have defined the
boundary lines for inclusions and exclusions as far as art is concerned. As an
alternative art forum, the event is necessary to open up discourse to include
other dimensions of experience and perception (even though perception has
always been intrinsic to the experience of art, this makes a sort of deeper/
further inquiry into both subjects). The intention is not to prescribe what to [or
not to] recognize or identify as art but to open up possible constitutions and
interpretations of the genre—chiefly through participation, whether actively or
merely through observation.

The festival literally serves as a hybrid form of several genres of art brought to
the doorsteps of Jamestown residents. The city of Accra, for the purpose of the
festival, will be treated as a big canvas where there will be annual migrations of
the event to various spaces within the city’s peripheries. The event will gradually
paint a portrait of the city bit by bit. Painting the bigger picture from a singular
perspective (specific place in the city) makes it all the more interesting and could
also be another strand of documenting the project. We can have a map of Accra

and chart our travels through the city each time the festival happens and put
these images on display.

What can I expect to see at the festival?
The CHALE WOTE! Street Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, July 16th,
2011 from 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public. The
festival will feature vibrant and colorful painting and chalk art on the sidewalk
space from the Lighthouse to the Old Kingsway Building Ruin. If authorized,
we will block off the street within this area to paint it for the festival. If this is
not allowed, there will be a team of artists working to paint and stencil the
street beginning at midnight on July 16th. There will also be teams of artists
(professional and students) painting the walls of permitted buildings and the
sidewalk space continuously along the ten-minute walk from the Lighthouse to
the Old Kingsway Building Ruin. Detailed program schedules (in English and Ga)
will be available the day of the festival (along with sidewalk sign posts) to help
patrons get from one area to the next.

The festival will feature a number of activities for attendees to check out:
acrylic street painting and stencil work, sidewalk painting and chalk art, large
photography displays (on posts and by projector), three large installation
art exhibits, graffiti wall murals, live DJ and music performance sets,
spoken word and dramatic ensembles, cultural dance and drama troupes,
capoeira demonstrations, a kids’ creative corner, an alternative hair styling
competition, “trash to treasure” workshops, stilt walkers and acrobatic troupes,
bike stunts, and skateboarding and roller skating performances.

There will be seven main zones of activity: 1) The Lighthouse 2) The Mantse
Agbonaa car park 3) The Pharmaceutical Building side street 4) Small
Performance Square 5) The street in front of the Brazil House 6) Ebony & Ivory
Hair Salon and 7) The Old Kingsway Building Ruin.

Here is a tentative schedule of activities:

LIGHTHOUSE

• Live music DJ set (10am – 5pm)
• Installation art exhibit (10am – 5pm)
• Jamestown vendors (10am – 5pm)
• Photography exhibits on a projector (6pm - 10pm)
MANTSE AGBONAA PARK (10am – 10pm)

Graffiti murals on the walls bordering the car park
10-15 Large photography exhibits (individual and collages)
10-15 Alternative craft vendors (canopy tent on the outside of car park)
Children’s art expo
Festival patrons will park in this area (directed by a Jamestown traffic
controller)

PHARMACEUTICAL BUILDING SIDE STREET (12 noon – 5pm)

• Motorbike and bicycle stunts
• Skateboarding area
• Roller skater troupe
SMALL PERFORMANCE SQUARE (3pm – 8pm)

• Spoken word and poetry (Ehalakasa)
• Capoeira demonstration
• Cultural dance group and drummers (from Jamestown)
• Bonfire & story-telling (Jamestown person)
• Dramatic troupe
BRAZIL HOUSE AREA (10am – 5pm)

• Live Music DJ set
• Capoeira demonstration
• Face Painting
• Cultural dance group and drummers (from Jamestown)
• Stilt walkers & acrobatic troupe
• Kite-making workshop from rubber bags and water sachets
• Youth tire race (paint a tire and race it)
EBONY & IVORY HAIR SALON (10am – 1pm)

Funky Hair Art Competition (audience judges 5 contestants on who is the
best)
OLD KINGSWAY BUILDING RUIN (10am – 10pm)

Graffiti murals by artists & a teaching workshop (10am – 5pm)
A Youth Drawing Corner (10am – 4pm)
Workshops: 1) recycling old materials into cool accessories with Auntie
Renee 2) recycling waste into cool art with Tei Huagie and 3) making toys
and footballs out of junk workshop (for children and youth) (11am – 4pm)
• I.U.B. installation art exhibit behind the building
• Live music DJ set
• Live music performances (6 – 8pm)
• Block party music by DJ (8 – 10pm)

Who produces The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival?
More than twenty Accra-based artists, activists, writers, students and musicians
are working together to produce this street art festival. The idea developed into a
project during The Talk Parti Series, a monthly discussion held by ACCRA [dot]
Alt organizers, Ghanaian filmmaker Mantse Aryeequaye and cultural scholar,
Dr. Sionne Neely. ACCRA [dot] Alt is a social enterprise that began in October
2010. The organization acknowledges and encourages the exploration of globally
experimental art forms in film, music, photography and design by Ghanaian and
African diasporic practitioners and audiences. ACCRA [dot] Alt is working in

Collaboration with multiple organizations to stage this festival, including the Fund
for Contemporary Art, DUST Magazine, and Ehalakasa among others. For more
information about The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival or ACCRA [dot] Alt,
contact Mantse Aryeequaye by email at reddkatpictures@gmail.com or phone
(011) +233-244897948 or Dr. Sionne Neely by email at sionnene@gmail.com
or accra.alt@gmail.com or phone at (011) +233-260508908. Visit us on
www.facebook.com/ACCRAdotAlt to find out what we are up to next.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mobile Number Portability in Ghana



A few days ago, I was at another informative session of Mobile Monday (MoMo) held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence (KACE). I was privileged to learn from experts in different sectors of ICT in Ghana. Among the presenters, Saquib Nazir of Porting Access Ghana (the company in charge of the Mobile Number Portability project in Ghana) made a presentation on MNP and answered dozens of questions on the topic afterwards.

Mobile Number Portability or MNP enables mobile users to switch from their current mobile network to other networks within the same country without losing their numbers. This means if a Vodafone customer used the number 020-1234567, he could switch to a MTN and access the new networks services without losing the number 020-1234567. This process is different from the number customization service introduced by Airtel, then Zain which only allowed you to customize the phone number whiles maintaining the networks number of 026. In Ghana the Minister of Communication some years ago announced the full implementation of MNP on 1st July 2011. No one really knows how consumers are going to react to MNP once it starts', Saquib confessed. During the MNP sessions I learnt a few things I would love to share with you;

The Process
After July 1st if you wanted to switch to a different network for whatever reason, you would have to physically walk into the new networks office and request a switch. A new registration procedure will be initiated to register you as a user of the new network, after which the new network will send a notification to the old network via Porting Access Ghana. You would have to purchase a new SIM and get rid of the old one from your previous network. Also, unless your new network decides to pay for the cost of switching, you may have to bear the cost yourself.

The process could take between 5 min to 24 hours. Your application for the switch may be declined if your previous network had blocked your number. This may be due to non-settlement of debt (especially in the case of Post-paid contracts).

Implications
Once your porting request is completed, all stake-holders databases' will be updated with the new information. All mobile services on the previous network including MTN Mobile Money, Tigo Cash and ZAP services will be terminated as you get access the services on your new network.

For developers in the mobile sector who have registered users to access a particular product, you would need to register such users again if they should port their numbers from one network to another. SMS sent to ported numbers may not be received unless they are registered again on their new networks. No one really knows how it will affect the industry we all are stake-holders of. Let's keep our fingers crossed and count down to 1st July 2011.

These are some issues you may want to think about, I encourage you to join me at the next Mobile Monday session in June.

Monday, June 6, 2011

CNN and Nokia Announce International Partnership

CNN and Nokia today announced a multi-level international collaboration where Nokia becomes a key part of CNN's roster of mapping providers, delivering its rich mapping services to the international news network. The collaboration harnesses the companies’ strengths in global newsgathering, user-generated content, mapping technologies, and location-based services. The collaboration debuted with the use of Nokia’s 3D Maps across CNN’s platforms in its recent coverage of the British royal wedding.

"This collaboration is a great fit for us as both companies share a similar philosophy on connecting people beyond borders through the combination of compelling news content
and highly sophisticated technology,” said Tony Maddox, Managing Director, CNN International. “The international scale of each of our businesses makes the scope of the collaboration particularly exciting.” “Nokia and CNN share the belief that news is now mobile, powerfully democratic, and can immediately be shared by people around the world,” said Jerri DeVard, Chief Marketing Officer Nokia. “We are pleased that CNN wants to use Nokia’s innovative
mapping services for its international news platforms, and we are excited to work with CNN to deliver a compelling news service to users of Nokia phones.”

The collaboration also includes the CNN App for Nokia which provides mobile access to CNN's world, business, sport, entertainment and technology reporting, as well as live streaming video. The app also allows users to share CNN’s news via their own social channels, and participate in the reporting process with direct access to CNN's participatory news community, iReport. The CNN App for Nokia is available in Ovi Store.


About Nokia

At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia's NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks
globally.

About CNN

With its strong heritage of offering extensive coverage and analysis of international events and stories of global importance, CNN is the world’s leading global 24-hour news network celebrating more than 30 years at the forefront of delivering fast, accurate, impartial news to a global audience of more than 260 million households. With its global team of 4,000 news professionals based across 45 bureaux worldwide, CNN continues to invest in intelligent and compelling news, feature and documentary programming across its traditional and digital platforms. CNN’s service continues to evolve, embracing social media, encouraging user-generated content via its community site iReport and reaching its audiences in new and exciting ways. CNN can be accessed online and on mobile devices and its distribution outlets include airports, hotel rooms, cruise ships and syndicated news agencies.


Media Enquiries:
Osagie Ogunbor
Head of Communications, Nokia West Africa
Tel. +2348023125926
Email: osagie.ogunbor@nokia.com

CNN International PR
Tel: + 44 207 693 0662
Email: syreeta.clarke@turner.com


Saturday, June 4, 2011

The revolution of the web hits Ghana

Yesterday, Founder and technical director of Asilia wrote a blog post on Afri-Love.com in which he highlighted 5 reasons why Ghana is the next African app powerhouse. I couldn't agree with him more. One other reason I would want to add to his 5 points is, the obvious rise in interest in technology activities among Ghanaians.



Yesterday, I attended Web@2011 conference at the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in Accra where I was given the opportunity to present on the topic Driving traffic to your website. I was amazed at the different sectors of life the participants came from. There were some folks from Education, Media, Marketing, Business and Health. This comes after the Online 2011 conference organised by the same organiser, Maximus of PopoutWeb in April where the same trend was observed.

Ghanaians are gradually beginning to realize, technology can help us improve our lives, thus the expression of interest in IT. Speakers who were present at the Web@2011 event included the 'Bill Gates of Ghana' -Herman Chinery-Hesse (Founder of the SoftTribe). Herman presented an informative session on how to create wealth on the World Wide Web. Thomas Hess (Founder of ExplainerDC) followed with his presentation on E-mail marketing using his product Rocketseed as a case study. Charles Hansen-Quao of DreamOval highlighted the need for a user friendly website. Charles presented the audience with some free online tools with which webmasters can improve and test the speed of websites.

After lunch, attendees got a live demonstration of the payment system developed by Sheila Bartels-Sam's InCharge. InCharge is really solving the online payment problem within the country, making it easier now for local merchants to accept payment for the services rendered. Africa's first i-phone game developer, Eyram Tawia (Founder, Leti Games) offered his perspective from the Gaming world, after which Michael Dakwa, Co-Founder of Nandimobile spoke on Content Development for the Web

Monday, May 23, 2011

NOKIA AND MTN GROUP SIGN A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT FOR THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

Dubai & Johannesburg, 10 May, 2011- Nokia and MTN Group are pleased to announce signing of an agreement that will expand their strategic relationship to new key markets within Middle East and Africa MTN affiliates. The Framework agreement will permit the large community of MTN customers to benefit from the integration of Nokia devices and solutions.

Joint marketing and sales campaigns will be designed on a regional level and will bring consumers the latest Nokia mobile phones and smartphones, combined with value added services such as orientation and navigation tools, for seamless mobile communications while at work, home or on the go.

Building on previous success stories such as the joint launch of the Nokia C3 with MTN data and value add package in Nigeria, and the launch of the Nokia E7 and business tools for corporate clients in South Africa, the intention is to drive similar bundles, services and experiences in other MTN markets to add value to consumers.

The two companies will also collaborate to create hyper-local applications, such as Ovi Life Tools, which will soon be officially launched in Nigeria, bringing value to consumers through the provision of locally relevant data for farming, education and entertainment.

Mr Christian De Faria, Senior Vice President Commercial and Innovation MTN group
said, “Going to the market with a strategic partner like Nokia is of prime importance for our operations. We are convinced that our MTN customers will obtain immediate advantages for their cost effective and reliable communications thanks to a strong brand such as Nokia.”

Mr Chris Braam, Vice President for Nokia Middle East and Africa, added: “A strategic
partnership agreement with MTN Group brings us an additional opportunity to strengthen our existing relationships and bring a strong consumer proposition to other markets. We are committed to delivering outstanding communications technologies to the growing community of 141 million MTN subscribers in the whole of Middle East and Africa.”


ABOUT NOKIA

Nokia is committed to connecting people to what matters to them by combining advanced mobile technology with personalized services. More than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia, from our most affordable voice-optimized mobile phones to advanced Internet-connected smartphones sold in virtually every market in the world. Through Ovi (www.ovi.com), people also enjoy access to maps and navigation on mobile, a rapidly expanding applications store, a growing catalogue of digital music, free email and more. Nokia's NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, and Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the leading providers of telecommunications infrastructure hardware, software and professional services globally.

ABOUT MTN GROUP
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 31 December 2010, MTN recorded 141, 6 million subscribers across its operations in
Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com and www.mtnfootball.com

Media Enquiries:
Nokia
Delia Sieff
Email: delia.sieff@nokia.com

MTN
Maphamola Paul Lebelo
E-mail: lebelo_m@mtn.co.za
Tel: +2783 212 9918
ABOUT MTN GROUP

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Which telecom company offers the Best Customer Service?

Nandimobile is currently offering a customized version of it award winning Gripeline service to the organizers of the Ghana Telecom Summit 2011 for the purposes of collating votes for the telecom company in Ghana with the best customer service. The organizers of the summit will award the winner on the 29th April at a function in La Palm Hotel in Accra. Among the different categories, the Best Customer Service Category (bcsc) is the only one open to the general public.

The Ghana Telecom Summit Ghana ICT & Telecom Summit 2011 is designed to explore the critical business, service and technology strategies needed to ensure market competitiveness and exploit emerging opportunities for increased growth and profitability in Ghana ICT market. The main even will be held at the KACE-AITI on the 28th April.


From today, Nandimobile will announce the company leading in the voting, daily. Individuals can vote (ie. MTN, Expresso, Airtel, Tigo and Vodafone) by sending their choice to 1945 preceding with the keyword BCSC. Eg bcsc Safaricom to short code 1945.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Motherboard - I am from Ghana and I don't sell bags of water

Anyone who has stayed in Ghana long enough will realize majority of Ghanaians and the authorities governing them are disgusted with the Sakawa problem just as much as any foreigner is. Sakawa is an off-shoot of what started as 'advance-fee fraud' or 419. This phenomenon has gradually grown into a lucrative engagement for some young people in Ghana. Advance fee fraud or 419 is reported to have originated from Nigeria and is gradually creeping into other parts of of the West African region.

It is obvious the Government of Ghana has made several attempts to nib this canker in the bud by putting measures in place. These measure I believe have gone a long way to reduce the prevalence of Sakawa. Because of the activities of these black sheep, Ghana has been blacklisted on several websites. We would therefore welcome any helping hands which intend to assist us in our crusade against the Sakawa culprits. Such assistance obviously doesn't include distorting facts and telling half-truth. In Thomas Morton's post on CNN, he created a couple of blunders. After reading his articles on CNN and motherboard.tv, it was still unclear to me what the writer wanted to achieve with that particular post.


Blunder 1
...there are dirt roads leading past the brand-new, gold-columned presidential palace, and it seems 1 percent of the country is blowing their country's GDP at bars with $50 cover charges while the other 99 is selling bags of water at stop lights

I doubt I'm part of the top percentile blowing Ghana's GDP, and I certainly am not selling bags of water at stop lights. This clearly means the author must have turned blind eyes to the many legitimate business men and women in the country who were in one way or the other contributing to the development of Ghana. Ghana is one of the most democratic nations in Africa, we have enjoyed a relatively stable political era since 1992. We have structures in place to ensure corrupt leaders don't squander the moneys raked in by the hard working workforce. Is the presidential palace really gold-columned? It is a bit weird a foreigner knows more about my country than I do!

Blunder 2

The Ghanaian government likes to boast that their unemployment rate is in the single digits ....The actual unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds hovers between 25 and 30 percent
Unemployment rate as we all may know is technical figure that represents not the number of people who are without jobs but rather the number of individuals who have been without job for a particular period of time, and have made or are making a conscious effort to find jobs within that period. For me therefore it is no wonder that governments everywhere in the world hide behind this definition to produce numbers that paint brighter pictures of their economy. If Ghana is a culprit then all countries round the world are too.

Blunder 3
Now, as we discovered when we went to Ghana with our video cameras, not only is Sakawa the country’s most popular youth activity and one of its biggest underground economies, it’s a full-blown national phenomenon

Sakawa is gradually becoming a problem we all need to devote our resources to if we intend to put a stop to it. It can say for a fact though that Sakawa is not the country's most popular activity in the country! I bet there are more Chelsea fans than Sakawa folks in Ghana.

Blunder 4

Just as I expected, the post missed a solution. Looks like Morton flew into the country, discovered this problem and left our shores without proposing a single solution. It is easy to identify problems, what is more difficult if coming up with solutions that can be implemented.

After watching the video and reading Morton's post several times, I still ask myself, 'did he intend to help us in our fight against credit card fraud or he only wanted to paint a black picture of a country which thrives to achieve excellence among its peers?'

By this post I would want to throw a welcoming hand to the writer and his team, to come up with suggestions that will rid Ghana of Sakawa. We hope for a better Ghana as much as all visitor do. We need all hands on deck!