Thursday, November 19, 2009

Enter Left for Ghana in ECOWAS, as Ghana Plays Host to a Regional Electricity Agency

Two important developments within the past two days have reminded me that Ghana might not be playing a low-key role in international diplomacy, albeit African geo-politics.

Now that one of my long-time blogger-followers since 2005--Daniel Hoffman-Gill--has migrated from my other blog to this one, I think it behooves me to be as clear as possible about where I am going with this post, as even in Ghana, few care about what ECOWAS means.

The Economic Community Of West African States is a regional organisation--just as the EU is of 27 countries--that has been in existence since 1975. It successfully, albeit controversially, resolved the crisis in Liberia, primarily by expanding its mandate from an economic imperative to a peace and security one as well.

In 2007, it changed its structure to an EU one, whereby there are now ECOWAS Commissioners for trade, human security, etc. The Secretariat in that year also became a Commission, rather than a Secretariat, with greater powers to facilitate a more people-centred organisation that would be meaningful for West Africans.

Now the boss, since 2001, has been a Ghanaian by the name of Dr.Ibn Chambas. Yesterday, I learnt from reports online that he has just landed a top-job in the Brussels-based African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group).

In the same vein, I found out today that the promise that Ghana would play host to one of the ECOWAS agencies--in this case the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) has been honoured, and it is in a very visible place on the famed-Spintex Road!

This evidently means nothing about Ghana in ECOWAS foreign policy, but the developments within the past two days is certainly nothing to be sneezed at.

For the record, I do hope that as the EU meet today to decide who becomes the President of the newly-empowered EU Council(thanks to the Lisbon Treaty) Tony Blair will miss it by inches--not because he is not competent, but because I don't think someone who never accepted that he botched the justification for the invasion of Iraq will be accountable to EU citizens!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A 37-yr-old Father's Strange Vodafone Ghana Tale

In 2019, when the-then 47-yr-old (former) carpenter looks back at when he won the grand prize of 1million dollars from Vodafone Ghana as part of its promotion, what will he say to his two children?

Will he still be in his Trassaco Valley house, or would he have left the place for fear of more snubs from the rather-rich entourage? Would his money be well-invested in stocks, and a part put aside for his kids, or would it have been finished?

It is certainly none of my business, but in a society in which a 37yr old carpenter can win a cool 1 million dollars, without recourse to how he will manage that money or the home that clearly is "inconsistent" with his profession, is a society I have serious issue with.

Forget the fact that Vodafone is so filthy-rich to have given a 4x4 vehicle PLUS an almost $400,000 home AND a $1m cash-prize to one person, and let us think about the upturned values that we are presented with.

Large amounts of money have a way of influencing us for better or for worse, and for many people it is for worse. Couple that with the artificial class that Vodafone has created, and you are left with an explosive set of circumstances that needs the wisdom of Solomon to manage.

Good luck to him and his family. I do hope he maximises the opportunity to obtain all the wisdom possible for him to lead a very fulfilling life!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Where did Ghana's 80's Go, or Reminisces of a No-Style Rookie High on Neneh Cherry!

Friday 6 November will go down in the annals of my personal history as a day of profoundly serious reminiscing.

I blame the BBC Worldservice for its daily reminders of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which ghanablogger Nana Abena has done well today to be one of the first bloggers to blog about this important and significant event.

It had to be purely serendipitous that I check out Nenneh Cherry's hit song of that year; in fact, I only found out a few days ago that it was indeed 1989 that the song became so popular. Whether it was my sub-conscious working over-time is moot. In November 1989, when the wall came down, I was only almost a year into writing a personal journal.

Twenty years later, I still write a journal of daily and weekly accounts and do not quite get how I am still chronicling my life! But I digress!

When "Buffalo Stance" came out, I re-call Samuel--my older late brother-- and I dancing to the song like the two goons in the background of the video. I know it was so cool then to do so.

The eighties was also the time of "cool"--funny dances a la Afro-American; usage of slang like "fresh", "cool", "wicked", etc--mostly to impress and let your friends know you were with it.

Upon reflection, I can say this song was one of many that possibly epitomized coolness. A quick look at the lyrics just brings it all home:

* no style rookie
* don't u mess with me
* who's looking good in every way?
* money-man
* bomb the bass

In all this, I could not help but wonder how Ghanaians were celebrating 1989 when I was busy giggling and jumping foolishly up and down with my brother (who was the quintessential cool guy, when I remained the classic dork) like I was in an American 'hood with homies on a chill-pill.

If you can feel me, drop me a comment to this no-style rookie, but just don't mess with me!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Vodafone Ghana's Got What's Coming

Some of us hate to say "we told you so", but some of us really did carry on till the cows came home on how bad and inimical for Ghana the Vodafone deal last August was. Here is what I wrote for

The specialists can bandy around figures that point to gross inefficiency in GT till the cows come home, but they can never escape what the legendary Mark Twain wrote--to wit: “there are lies, damn lies and statistics.” Even if we were to accept the plausible argument that GT is mismanaged and in dire need of capital injection, we cannot take away from the fact that despite this “mismanagement”, GT was able to roll out DIALup4u, despite the fact that many foreign cards were on the market that enabled internet access with no less than a GT landline base. On top of that, GT rolled out an aggressive campaign around 2005/2006 of BROADBAND4U (est.2004), which is now reportedly available in all the regions of the country.

I am not quite sure how dedicated a Vodafone Ghana will be to ensuring that the remotest parts of the country will have broadband internet access. As a state-owned company, it will always be in its interest to ensure deep penetration of its products in the country--and the bottom line is not always what counts. Contrast that with any strategic investor that comes into the country: unless the government monitors, there will be scant attention paid to the provision of rural telephony.

I cannot get over the fact that no less than the UK's Serious Fraud Office is considering querying Vodafone Ghana over what it calls financial irregularities. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had this current administration not assumed power.

I do not believe for a second that they have a spotless record, but the retention of Ghana's fibre optic as a strategic national asset is nothing to be sneezed at. I do hope Ghanaians will strip away the polarization and politicization and remember that a fibre optic that is retained by Ghana is a deal that benefits Ghanaians--just the way our policy-makers should be looking at every aspect of policy.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Calling all Young Ghanaians Below 35years!

I have not yet had the priviledge of meeting up with Dr.Sammy Laryea, but I like what I know. He recently obtained his Ph.D and he is an ardent believer in Ghana. And he is young. He sent me a message on FACEBOOK over the weekend, asking I distribute this to as many of my networks as possible.

Go ahead and maximise its usage through networks you might know!

I think most of the Ghanablogging community already qualify.

Are you writing your bios already?;-)


Profiles of Ghanaian Successes: 200 Rising Ghanaian Stars

Call for Entries

People, we are seeking to publish a book containing profiles (brief success stories) of 200 rising Ghanaians stars under age thirty-five (35). The title of the book would be “Profiles of Ghanaian success: 200 rising Ghanaian stars” and would be published in January 2010.

Submission deadline for entries: 31 November 2009
Book to be published in January 2010
Criteria for inclusion: Must be Ghanaian below 35years

We are hoping that the book would become a wealthy source of knowledge and inspiration for the younger generation in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. The age limit of 35 also means that we are interested in learning from (and about) Ghanaians who have serious potential to be in the next generation of business, political, entrepreneurial and industrial leaders in Ghana, Africa, and beyond. Each profile entry should be brief (1000 words max). The entry should summarize the person's background, family, education, occupation, profession, best books, membership of major groups and societies, best movies, best quotations, favourite leaders, top five secrets or habits of their success, personal achievements and accomplishments, best moments of their lives, worst moment of their lives, highest aspiration in life, top five ideas for developing Ghana, advice for young people who want to become successful, etc. It would be truly excellent to learn and benefit from the life experiences and success stories of the 200 rising Ghanaian stars who would be profiled.

The accomplishments of some people are clear to many of us; such people would simply be invited to share an entry on how they have managed to become successful so that we can learn from their stories. The profiles of 200 young and successful Ghanaians would be truly interesting and inspirational. Bringing together the stories of these rising Ghanaian stars can inspire them to even greater heights. I am looking forward to reading about the lives of all these brilliant people and learning from the secrets of their success. I hope all of you would help us to produce this book in January 2010. Please feel free to bring to our notice any rising Ghanaians stars that you think should be profiled in the book and we would be happy to contact them. Alternatively, you can simply forward this Call for Entries to them.

Several people might love to have their profiles published. However, it is not possible to publish a profile of every Ghanaian under 35. Only the profiles of people whose life stories and accomplishments can truly inspire the younger generation in Ghana would be published. If you feel sure that your life story is compelling and can inspire young people in Ghana, please feel free to drop an entry about yourself into SALARYEA AT YAHOO.COM. We would assess it using our guidelines. Profiles will only be published based on merit to ensure integrity of the process. In order to be able to publish the book in January 2010, the deadline for submitting entries is 31 November 2009. We look forward to receiving your entries.

Best wishes

Sammy Laryea

Dr Samuel Laryea
Editor: Profiles of Ghanaian successes: 200 Rising Ghanaian Stars
Email: salaryea AT


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