Monday, May 29, 2006

final excerpt...

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Excerpt 4/5: CITI97.3FM's Nana Agyeman Castigates Ghana's Prediliction for Foreign Coaches

  • callers get ready to rain invective on Doya on his comments, whilst text messages are saying he should be sacked...

  • too many (foreign) coaches who walk around with a ball under their arm, and we say "coachito" (Nana Agyeman). Ghanaian coaches need to be trained overseas...

  • racist-one.wav
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    The Black Stars Coach Saga--CITI97.3FM extracts (cont.d)

  • the coach does not have any real regard for the Black Stars...

  • UK-trained Ghanaian coach Nana Agyeman comments on Doya, and the impact of his racist statements on the morale of the Black Stars...

  • ballunder.wav
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    excerpt#2: even though the coach has made racist remarks, should we keep him, or say because we have little time for the World Cup, we should dismiss his comments?

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    This is the first recording I made from the Accra-based radio station CITI 97.3FM, where the host, Bernard Avle, is beginning to open the phone lines, and text messages for listeners to comment on the racist comments by Ghana's Black Stars' coach, Doya, that Africans do not have discipline. Recorded the day after Africa Union Day (25 May) on 26 May, 2006

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    Monday, May 08, 2006

    More on Public Health care, or Korle-Bu; & How ECOBANK Won the Day

    I woke up to the news on CITI-FM about the 14-yr-old boy who was suing Korle-Bu for having been operated on the wrong leg. Briefly taken aback, I was very happy that I had been given the opportunity to comment on something that had preoccupied me the whole weekend, and that was evidently the passing of Nana Amma, mentioned earlier, who had passed away from complications surrounding an operation for brain tumour.

    When I got to work, I made sure that I called with the contribution that ran something like this:

    I think it’s important that whilst we are talking about Korle-Bu, we also bring in the question of private versus public health care. A lot of people might be tempted to beg or borrow money to go private, because they hear it is faster and more efficient. As I indicated, my good friend passed away at a private institution, and that, for me, speaks volumes. The more we talk about the negative aspects of Korle-Bu, the more we might go to feed the perception that private is better. We should also be talking about public investment in our public health care institutions. A debate needs to be had so that people’s relatives don’t go dying [in droves] on us…”

    I suspect I rambled a bit, but I called my Mum to check whether the argument was sufficiently coherent; she agreed in the affirmative. However, one thing I forgot was to include the fact that when something goes wrong in a private hospital, no-one gets to hear about it, but once it’s Korle-Bu, it’s as if it’s the worst institution in the country!

    The debate evidently continues, but I am glad that CITI FM decided to spend a large amount of time covering it…as well as the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) Awards, which was, foolishly in my view, sponsored by AREEBA Ghana—yet again!

    On the news front, ECOBANK has won, according to the Daily Graphic the most-covetted “Bank of the Year”. Here’s the Graphic article:

    Ecobank Tops Them All


    Ecobank Ghana Limited has been adjudged the Bank of the Year 2005, the fourth time, at the Ghana Banking Awards ceremony in Accra at the weekend.

    The award ceremony, which was on the theme: “Efficiency and Competitiveness in Banking Industry”, saw 19 banks receiving various awards in 12 categories namely, Best Corporate Bank, Best Retail Bank, Best Product Innovation, Best Bank in IT infrastructure, Best Growing Bank and Best Bank in Trade Financing.

    The rest of the categories are Best Competitive Pricing, Best Bank in Advisory Services, Best Bank in Customer Care, Most Socially Responsible Bank, Best in Short Term Loan Financing and Best Bank Long-term Loan Financing.

    Commenting on the awards, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Mr Samuel A. Adjei, said it was due to the hard work and the focus given to the various products which were tailored to the needs of their customers.

    Mr Adjei commended the bank’s customers and members of the staff for their commitment to the bank and said the award would urge his team to aspire for more laurels.

    Ecobank won in several other categories including Most Socially Responsible Bank, Best Growing Bank, Long-term Loan and Short-term Financing, Best in IT, Trade Finance as well as the Best in Corporate Banking.

    Merchant Bank, Ghana, Ghana Commercial Bank, Unibank, Standard Trust, Standard Chartered Bank, Agricultural Development Bank, SG-SSB Bank, among others, had plaques, handshakes and certificates.

    Mr Afotey Odarteifio, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Initiative Ghana (CIG), the organisers of the programme, said the award was to give the banks an even playing field that would have a positive effect on the consuming public.

    He said the aim of CIG was to work towards the creation of an excellent corporate environment in the country.

    Story by Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu

    Till the 25th of May!!

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra...Thoughts on the Death of a Good Friend at a Private Hospital; Japan-Ghana relations; STANBIC/ECOBANK

    The week began pretty much the way it ended last week—with news on the President John Agyekum Kuffuor’s re-shuffle, with many key ministers being “fired”. Fired because some are perceived to be playing the political game of campaigning for 2008. This, unfortunately, included people like former Sports and Education Minister Osafo-Maafo. I use that word “unfortunately”, because in my view, he did quite a good job – what with his introduction of FCUBE, which provided a decapitation grant (free education for pupils up to primary school); free buses for pupils; loans for teachers, and whatnot, and better conditions for teachers—not to mention qualification of Black Stars, which Osafo-Maafo was instrumental in.

    The Paradox of Korle-Bu, or Public Health Care

    I am still reeling from the news of the sudden death of one of my very good friends (pictured above), Nana Amma, at a private hospital near the Spintex Road. It is Day Three since I heard the news that she passed away on Mayday, but I wake up every day feeling that I can give her a call. I still have not deleted her phone number, neither have I deleted the last txt msg she sent me. I won’t either. I want to preserve them for posterity, and for her memory. I even went to the trouble of saving our online chats on msn messenger. I am still grieving, because I miss her very very much.

    Why Nana Amma’s passing is critical in this weekly review is because it calls into question the debate of private versus public health care. A lot of people, including myself, appreciate the efforts of public health care, but see it as still insufficient. I have tended to believe that private is better, because of the quality of the time spent with you, and the service provided. Nana Amma’s case has proved a rude shock that this is not always the case.

    Once my work colleagues heard the news, everyone wondered why she did not go to Korle-Bu, which is one of the biggest hospitals in the sub-region and the continent. It was only this week that the Graphic reported that the President had inaugurated a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computer Technology (CT) Centre "to help in the diagnoses of serious diseases" at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

    The machine, procured at the cost of ç27.5billion "will be used for the early detection of diseases, such as stroke, cancer, and breast diseases which are not easily detected by the normal X-ray machines."

    Regrettably, it came too late for Nana Amma.

    She will be more than sorely missed.

    In other considerably less lugubrious news, the Japanese prime minister Koizumi was in Ghana this week. I suspect that his visit has resonance with the attempt by China to take over Millicom—operators of Tigo, in the sense that it heralds, or reflects, the interminable competition between the two countries on expanding their appetite overseas for goods and markets in Africa. Whilst we are on mobile news, Areeba might just be taken over by South Africa’s MTN. In my view, though the profit-motive is never far away, it might just be good riddance to Areeba who have been taking us for more than a ride for too long!

    On my way to Tudu (located not too far from NOVOTEL), to buy electricity yesterday, I caught sight of Stanbic Bank, one of South African’s biggest banks. I was not amused, yet ironically very bemused. All I could see was this edifice at the Airport City Tower, where ECOBANK opened its offices some weeks ago, next to the recently-embattled Ghana International Airline’s offices reminding me of the ongoing battle between SADC and ECOWAS. ECOBANK Ghana is the sixth largest bank in the country, with original investment from sub-regional body, ECOWAS.

    Whether there is SADC money in Stanbic Bank, it is hard to say, but it’s clear that the South Africans are moving in Ghana in a big way.

    Whilst foreign investment is fine, once it falls under the purview of serious government regulation, I do not think that the leitmotiv calling for FDI from all over, including the South Africans (there is Woolworths here, DsTV, many South African brands, etc...) is altogether healthy for Ghana's fragile economy and nascent democracy.

    MTN coming into Ghana is giving me serious mental pabulum on whether Ghanaians ought to accept every Tom, Dick and Harry of the investment world to entrench themselves in the country.

    As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra...Thoughts on the Death of a Good Friend at a Private Hospital; Japan-Ghana relations; STANBIC/ECOBANK


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