Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yet-again Shambolic Preparation for the Media

Have just left the Press centre, which is located near the non-existent NGO centre, leaving behind a less-than-amused Mrs.Anthony (contact person in the successful accreditation of my colleague and I's pass), who bemoaned the dearth of documents for the media by the ACP Secretariat.

I am not too amused either. I had wanted to follow the agenda, as a delegate from South Africa made an

intervention about Economic Partnership Agreements, and how the MFN clause would be detrimental as regards the EPA and the SADC region.

Conversely, a colleague who has registered as a delegate obtained the necessary documentation. Looks like the memberd of the fourth Estate, as referred to by MOFEP official Dr.Anthony Akoto-Osei [Look closely at the picture of the speech I obtained from the ACP sect place upstairs and you will see that the speech failed to reflect the fact that the late Honourable Baah-Wiredu is no more, therefore someone ought to have been more efficient and inserted "the late" at least!!] well and royally-snubbed.

I guess it just goes to underscore the rather regrettably-shambolic state of organisation.

That there is no wireless internet connecton for bored delegates and members of the media to browse when need be only represents the apogee of this most unencouraging state of affairs this side of Accra on a holiday like this when one could have been at a seminar on EPAs at GNAT hall, or at home. Naturally chilling...

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6th ACP Summit Diary: Day One

This was how it all started:a quiet room that would not quite be filled to capacity, but would resonate with the francophone and anglophone voices, chiming along with Arab-looking faces, glum, bright, broad-smile, contemplative faces.

That most of the people in the room were in smart suits, and mostly men only went to remind one of the gender equality challenges that exist--note that the theme of the Sixth ACP summit is "Promoting Human Security and Development"--as well as the challenge on keeping one's time. I don't want to believe that if the world were run by Africans, we would all be late! Ghanaman time (gmt) is bad enough; I do not want Africa Man Time!

The Council of Ministers was supposed to start at 9h00. It is some two minutes to 10! Although I have had the opportunity to do some mobile blogging, I would have preferred we start on time so that we finish accordingly. Still, it has given me the opportunity to observe and witness sycophancy and deference at work.

Sycophancy as exemplified by posse of delegates hovering around a plenipotentiary who might know next-to-nothing about the meeting, but have the lucky break of being a career diplomat who has happened to pull strings to become ambassador; and deference as evidenced by men and women dressed in sharp suits giving muted bows to passing plenipotentiaries.

If I have given the impression that I am this side short of cynical about this whole process, you would not be far off the mark! After all, I have heard enough of the anecdotes, and seen enough--both first-hand and otherwise--to convince me that gatherings like these are not just a dull affair, but ones that do little to advance things considerably.

Having said all that, I am paradoxically excited to be in here to observe and witness a bunch of diplomats read speeches and pay lip-service to promoting human security and development when a large number of the

leaders of the 77 ACP countries chose to perpetuate human insecurity a liberalisation of everything that ineluctably produces poor development. If that were not the case, Sudan would be the last country to have been given face here.

And what of Mauritania, a country that the AU has suspended I believe on account of staging a coup?

A quick stroll down reveals two delegates from Mauritania are here.

Enter formalities.

Everyone is seated at 10h18. I see Mr.Bradley, husband of an official of a United Nations University - run programme in Brugges, Belgium, looking smart, and, erm, very assistant to the Secretary-general of the ACP-like.

He hasn't changed one bit from last I saw him in the <a href="http://www.acpsec.org">ACP building</a> four years ago...

languages are: English, French, Arabic...
(council of minsters giving one minute silence to Mwanawasa, victims of cyclone of oregon, and to Baah-Wiredu)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Still as Unpredictable

This evening's journey home was a lot smoother than usual in the sense that the traffic was largely-absent. Went to GOIL filling station to buy something, get out and meet who but my work colleague.

I am in her car en route to the estate home.

I swear there's a Higher Power regulating not just the collapsed financial markets...

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The Verdict is Complete: Shambolic Registration

It's some fifteen minutes past three in the afternoon. It is cool inside this tent I--and many others -- are in, and I am profoundly disappointed.

I am disappointed because only in April this year, Ghana played host to UNCTAD XI, the organsation of which was commended by observors and guests alike. Only a few weeks ago, Ghana also played host to an OECD-sponsored Aid Effectiveness Forum.

How is it then that for registering yet-another conference of an international dimension, the obtention of the badges would be as laborious as it is today? I have been here for some two hours now, and cannot understand it. Is this how shambolic the registration would have been tomorrow? A great job I did it today. I sure hope the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Information and National Orientation play a better tuhe next time, cos this one

was dissonant with a quality of organisation that UNCTAD had set as a precedent!

I just got my picture taken some twenty minutes ago, with a view to getting my badg. It is now 15h25. I hope to be outta here by 4pm latest...

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Taxi Tales: The driver's made a killing

By the time this thing goes to the web, the hole in my pocket would have been that more deeper, for I foolishly asked the driver to wait for me as I run like hell past Parliament House (Ridge) and headed towards what looked like a white tent to obtain my accredited pass for the ACP Summit tomorrow.

I have been in a queue for the past thirty minutes. Everything is A-ok. Kinda. Just want my pass so I can get outta here. Time is 14h35, and can well imagine that the taxi driver must be feeling that considering the rather-sweltering heat, must have gone and done a runner.

Certainly something my dark side would want me to do. Question is: will I succumb to the easiest option out there right now? Or will I listen to that omscient conscience...

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As Luck Would Have It...

As I get into bed, my mind is as yet unsettled as I ruminate over the strategies I need to deploy to make this a successful week.

First off, too often, international conferences come and go, and we are left with missed opportunities. I have yet-another priviledge to cover, along with a colleague, proceedings of the Sixth ACP Summit that begins on a day that has been declared a holiday--30th September!

Although, I have made necessary plans, I am not particularly encouraged by the lack of information flowing from the ministry of national orientation on collection of badges. When I tried contacting a source there on Sunday, I found myself with the phone being switched off throughout the day. It is worrisome as the badge holds the key to participation!

Still, not one to buckle, I will give it a shot later today.

To get back to the luck, last Friday evening, there I was getting out of the GOIL filling station on the Spintex Road (http://www.spintexroad.com), when whom should I meet but a fellow blogger! This was more than a case of six degrees of separation, for not only did he recognize me, but he lives some four lanes away from my place!

For me, the encounter just reinforced the need to be necessarily parsimonious with whatever you say, for it might just come back!
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Always-Inexplicable Traffic

Currently in a shared taxi en route home. There is traffic here that is as inexplicable as it is a regular diet of the average commuter heading home.

The passing of the late Finance minister Baah-Wiredu has dominated news. May his soul rest in peace...

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Thumping Good Nuisance

There must be a veritable bonfire of vanities exploding on what should be a cool, Sunday night in a suburb somewhere outside Accra.

Otherwise, what could possibly explain loud, thumping noise reverberating in genteel surroundings around 11.30pm? As I head for bed around midnight thirty, I cannot help but wonder who such people might be.

Clearly people not needing to go to work very early, or folks that work in professions some considerable mile away from the law?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

It Can Only Get Better for the CPP

I am reminded on this most auspicious of days-the 99th anniversary of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah-of the ruling UK Labour government's theme song back in 1997 when they swept to power with the song "things can only get better..."

The irony today for the latter is that Gordon Brown is facing down the toughest opposition against his rule that many consider ineffectual. Bottom line is that many feel that if there were an election today, the Conservatives would sweep back to power.

Back in Ghana, it TRULY can only get better with the elections now that the party is strengthened with the dynamic vice prez that is Dr. Abu Foster...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...Broke!

These days--and it's not just because it's an election period--no matter how careful you are with your money, the primary considerations that enter your budgeting are:

1. credits for your phone
2. if you have a car, petrol. If not, transport

Given that quite a number of us own more than one phone, the amount allocated for units becomes all-too-high!

You might have noticed that my series on Westernisation was a non-starter on account of the comments I got when I submitted it to Ghanaweb.com. A combination of bad formatting by Ghanaweb and an attempt to get ideas from an article that might not have been fully-fledged all conspired to get me tremendous criticism from a large number of readers who called me unprintable names.

I still think it was great food for thought to fashion a better argument on the putative westernisation of Accra.

I am only really mentioning it at this stage, because I am wondering how even I whom many might consider middle class is "suffering" from the way money is spent so quickly and easily these days, I wonder how the "working class" and itinerant vendors are doing?

God have mercy on all of us!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Closing ceremony @ 19h16

YAO GRAHAM: Thanks to SEND Foundation...staff of Ghana College of surgeons...to volunteers...to interpreters...

CHAIR:input over the next few days will be decided this evening at 7.30pm.


As closing ceremony of Aid Effectiveness Forum beckons...

it is important to drink deep--or not at all!!

This "The World Debate" is an opportunity in a lifetime to watch and participate in a BBC debate. Though I have to say that my participation will be rather minimal, as aid effectiveness is far from being my forte!

It's going to take place at Ghana's National Theatre, and people have to be seated before 5.45pm.

Straight from office to work!! (if not earlier!)

Am off to try and blog closing session...



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