Ghana To Holds First National Internet Governance Forum


Prof. Nii Quaynor, Member of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is convening the First Internet Governance Forum in Ghana.

The theme for the forum is “Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation”, the recently adopted theme for the global IGF

 

Internet Governance Forum Logo

Other key themes to be covered in workshops include:

  • · Internet Governance for Development (IG4D), Chair: Ms Dorothy Gordon, DG AITI-KACE
  • · Managing Critical Internet Resources, Chair: William Tevie, DG NITA
  • · Emerging Issues, Chair: Ernest Brown, President GISPA
  • · Affordable Access and Diversity, Chair: J. Peprah, Dir Regulatory Administration, NCA
  • · Security, Openness and Privacy, Chair: Charles Aboah, NSC
  • · Youth and Internet Governance issues, Chair: Godfred Ahuma, Internet Society, Ghana

Special Guest: Minister of Environment, Science and Technology – Hon. Sherry Ayittey

Keynote Address and official Opening of Ghana IGF by Ghana’s Minister of Communications, Hon Haruna Iddrissu

About the Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. It brings together all stakeholders in the Internet governance debate, whether they represent governments, the private sector or civil society, including the technical and academic community, on an equal basis and through an open and inclusive process. The establishment of the IGF was formally announced by the United Nations Secretary-General in July 2006 and it was first convened in October / November 2006.

About Ghana Internet Governance Forum

The first IGF in Ghana funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa is a collaboration between the West African IGF Consortium, Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT, Internet Society Ghana Chapter, GhNOG, GISPA, and GARNET. The Event is supported by the National Communications Authority (NCA), and hosted by National Information Technology Agency (NITA).

The forum will afford the opportunity for dialogue with key stakeholders from civil society, business, government, academia, the technical community and researchers to discuss issues regarding the governance of the Internet in Ghana and ways of promoting and strengthening the local multi-stakeholder process.

Invitation to attend event

WHAT: Ghana Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

WHEN: Friday, 11 March 2011 at 8:30am

WHERE: at the Ghana India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT, Opposite Council of State

The forum will afford participants the opportunity to dialogue with key stakeholders from civil society, business, government, academia, the technical community and researchers to discuss issues regarding the governance of the Internet in Ghana and ways of promoting and strengthening the local multi-stakeholder process.

Hope to see you there….!!!

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Ghana’s Vice Pres. John Dramani Mahama :: Wired For Freedom In Africa


His Excellency; John Dramani Mahama. Vice Pres. of Ghana

Ghana’s Vice President; John Dramani Mahama wrote a brilliant article which touches on many issues including democracy, IT proliferation, and the forward match to freedom in Africa. It also delves a little bit into the continent’s past to shed light on the present and to make a case for the future.

I fully endorse the content of the article as representing the aspirations of the African people at this point in history.

Below is the full text. Enjoy & share your comments/opinions.

************

As Egypt undergoes a change in power, Ghana’s Vice President; John Mahama explains how digital technology has energized the quest for change across Africa.

Watching the Egyptian crowds as they listened to a speech by their now former President, Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, who had been in power since the assassination of Anwar El Sadat in 1981, only confirmed what is becoming more and more obvious: that for Africa there is no going back to the way things were; the only way we can move is forward.

But Egypt is only the latest evidence of this trend. Any astute observer is aware that the desire for democracy is spreading through the African world like a contagion.

In 2010 there were at least a dozen presidential democratic elections in African nations, places like Guinea that hadn’t had an election since 1958. In 2011 there are scheduled to be nearly two dozen presidential elections in various nations — including Egypt, which is currently in the midst of what could most certainly be called a people’s revolution.

Though the methods being employed by protesters can be alarming at times in their ferocity, the demand for freedom itself is not altogether surprising. Just as there were signs, over a half century ago, foreshadowing the collapse of colonialism on the continent, there have been signs recently pointing toward the end of an era of dictatorship. What is, however, most fascinating about this inevitable death is the pivotal as well as provocative role that digital technology is playing to bring it about.

For the most part in recent times, we Africans have taken our requests for democracy to the polls, not the streets. Unfortunately, in some nations, that has not resulted in any real change. And ultimately, that is what sparks all revolutions: the urgent, non-negotiable need for sustainable change.

When Tunisian authorities in the city of Sidi Bouzid seized Mohamed Bouazizi’s unlicensed produce cart and the unemployed computer-science graduate set himself aflame, it took no time at all for that act of protest to turn into a trending topic. After Bouazizi’s self-immolation, the youth in Sidi Bouzid took to the streets. Because of the broadcasts of a single satellite channel, the world watched as those young men displayed their rage and frustration — and a hashtag (#Sidibouzid) was created.

The final condition to create this perfect storm was, of course, the WikiLeaks release of classified U.S. State Department communications, revealing that even the ambassador of one of the nation’s strongest allies shared the beliefs of most Tunisians about their leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali: out of touch, surrounded by corruption, determined to stay in power.

It’s no wonder that when protests began in Egypt, one of the first measures authorities took to quell the burgeoning insurrection was cutting off all access to the Internet.

No Facebook; No Google; No YouTube; No Twitter; No WikiLeaks. Also cut off were SMS and BlackBerry Messenger services. And satellite television as well — no Al-Jazeera.

In December, I made my first official visit to Egypt as Vice President of Ghana. I met with the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik, and toured the Smart Villages High-Tech Park in Cairo, where more than a hundred technological companies like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are housed. I was impressed with how fully Egypt had embraced IT and thought that they might even serve as a model for other African countries. In many ways I was right to assume that; of course I had no idea that the example they would set with technology would be the attainment of social justice.

Repressive regimes thrive on ignorance — the ignorance of their people, and the ignorance of the outside world. For too long, the image of Africa has festered under the haze of the Western world’s ignorance and its resulting apathy. A relevant example of this is the unofficial annexation of Tunisia, Algeria and the continent’s other northern nations, for reasons of race alone, to the Middle East. (Though the majority of Egypt’s land mass is in Africa, a portion of that nation, the Sinai Peninsula, is in the Middle East, making it transcontinental.)

Africa is, and has been for the past several centuries, a continent of artificial boundaries and of divisions constructed along the lines of race, class, tribal and ethnic grouping — divisions cleverly constructed for the purposes of conquering. It is an infrastructure that, by design, lends itself to dictatorship, to the powerlessness of the masses.

It wasn’t so long ago that if you wanted to post a letter from Ghana, a former British colony, to any of the countries that border us – Côte d’Ivoire, Togo or Burkina Faso, all former French colonies — it would be routed through Europe first before finally arriving at its destination. The same was true of telephone calls, and it was virtually impossible to travel by air from one African country directly to another. Now all you need to be connected via computer or mobile phone to anyone anywhere in the world is a signal.

A little over a decade ago, as Minister of Communications, I was privileged to be part of the process of deregulating and liberalizing the previous monolithic state-owned telesector in Ghana. Initially, people did not understand the new technology and were hesitant to embrace the monumental changes that seemed to be required. Mobile telephony as a communication tool was, for all intents and purposes, in its infancy, and only a privileged few had access. Looking back now, I can feel only a sense of satisfaction in seeing how telecoms and ICT have exploded not only in Ghana but across the continent.

Every year since 2000; the Internet population in most African countries has doubled. Over the past decade, the spread of telecommunications and ICT in Africa went from below an average of 3 percent teledensity to a whopping almost 50 percent.

“Knowledge is power, and information is liberation,” Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general, has been quoted as saying.

Mobile phones and the Internet are liberating Africa in a way that even independence from colonialism could not. Digital technology is redefining our political landscape and will continue to do so in ways that we have yet to even imagine.

What makes digital technology such an ideal tool for social and political empowerment in the formation of new democracies is the fact that it is ever changing; new media and applications are constantly being produced to meet the shifting needs of users. When President Mubarak shut down the Internet in Egypt, Google and Twitter joined forces to create “Speak to Tweet” to help people circumvent the block and post their tweets.

History has shown that when it comes to the fight for freedom in Africa, as one nation goes, so goes the entire continent. I am hopeful that now democracy will ultimately prevail in Egypt. The people of Africa deserve to live with dignity and in peace, to have their voices heard, to be free.

Perhaps then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said it best when, in his presidential-campaign speeches, he noted:

“Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change” especially when they are armed with the unifying force of digital technology.

His Excellency; John Dramani Mahama, the Vice President of Ghana, is on Facebook. Visit his page here:Facebook page.

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Watching the Egyptian crowds as they listened to a speech by their now former president, Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, who had been in power since the assassination of Anwar El Sadat in 1981, only confirmed what is becoming more and more obvious: that for Africa there is no going back to the way things were; the only way we can move is forward. But Egypt is only the latest evidence of this trend. Any astute observer is aware that the desire for democracy is spreading through the African world like a contagion.

 

In 2010 there were at least a dozen presidential democratic elections in African nations, places like Guinea that hadn’t had an election since 1958. In 2011 there are scheduled to be nearly two dozen presidential elections in various nations — including Egypt, which is currently in the midst of what could most certainly be called a people’s revolution.

 

Though the methods being employed by protesters can be alarming at times in their ferocity, the demand for freedom itself is not altogether surprising. Just as there were signs, over a half century ago, foreshadowing the collapse of colonialism on the continent, there have been signs recently pointing toward the end of an era of dictatorship. What is, however, most fascinating about this inevitable death is the pivotal as well as provocative role that digital technology is playing to bring it about.

 

For the most part in recent times, we Africans have taken our requests for democracy to the polls, not the streets. Unfortunately, in some nations, that has not resulted in any real change. And ultimately, that is what sparks all revolutions: the urgent, non-negotiable need for sustainable change.

 

When Tunisian authorities in the city of Sidi Bouzid seized Mohamed Bouazizi’s unlicensed produce cart and the unemployed computer-science graduate set himself aflame, it took no time at all for that act of protest to turn into a trending topic. After Bouazizi’s self-immolation, the youth in Sidi Bouzid took to the streets. Because of the broadcasts of a single satellite channel, the world watched as those young men displayed their rage and frustration — and a hashtag was created.

 

The final condition to create this perfect storm was, of course, the WikiLeaks release of classified U.S. State Department communications, revealing that even the ambassador of one of the nation’s strongest allies shared the beliefs of most Tunisians about their leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali: out of touch, surrounded by corruption, determined to stay in power.

 

It’s no wonder that when protests began in Egypt, one of the first measures authorities took to quell the burgeoning insurrection was cutting off all access to the Internet. No Facebook; no Google; no YouTube; no Twitter; no WikiLeaks. Also cut off were SMS and BlackBerry Messenger services. And satellite television as well — no Al-Jazeera.

 

In December, I made my first official visit to Egypt as Vice President of Ghana. I met with the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik, and toured the Smart Villages high-tech park in Cairo, where more than a hundred technological companies like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are housed. I was impressed with how fully Egypt had embraced IT and thought that they might even serve as a model for other African countries. In many ways I was right to assume that; of course I had no idea that the example they would set with technology would be the attainment of social justice.

 

Repressive regimes thrive on ignorance — the ignorance of their people, and the ignorance of the outside world. For too long, the image of Africa has festered under the haze of the Western world’s ignorance and its resulting apathy. A relevant example of this is the unofficial annexation of Tunisia, Algeria and the continent’s other northern nations, for reasons of race alone, to the Middle East. (Though the majority of Egypt’s land mass is in Africa, a portion of that nation, the Sinai Peninsula, is in the Middle East, making it transcontinental.)

 

Africa is, and has been for the past several centuries, a continent of artificial boundaries and of divisions constructed along the lines of race, class, tribal and ethnic grouping — divisions cleverly constructed for the purposes of conquering. It is an infrastructure that, by design, lends itself to dictatorship, to the powerlessness of the masses.

 

It wasn’t so long ago that if you wanted to post a letter from Ghana, a former British colony, to any of the countries that border us – Côte d’Ivoire, Togo or Burkina Faso, all former French colonies — it would be routed through Europe first before finally arriving at its destination. The same was true of telephone calls, and it was virtually impossible to travel by air from one African country directly to another. Now all you need to be connected via computer or mobile phone to anyone anywhere in the world is a signal.

 

A little over a decade ago, as minister of communications, I was privileged to be part of the process of deregulating and liberalizing the previous monolithic state-owned telesector in Ghana. Initially, people did not understand the new technology and were hesitant to embrace the monumental changes that seemed to be required. Mobile telephony as a communication tool was, for all intents and purposes, in its infancy, and only a privileged few had access. Looking back now, I can feel only a sense of satisfaction in seeing how telecoms and ICT have exploded not only in Ghana but across the continent.

 

Every year since 2000 the Internet population in most African countries has doubled. Over the past decade, the spread of telecommunications and ICT in Africa went from below an average of 3 percent teledensity to a whopping almost 50 percent.

 

“Knowledge is power, and information is liberation,” Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general, has been quoted as saying. Mobile phones and the Internet are liberating Africa in a way that even independence from colonialism could not. Digital technology is redefining our political landscape and will continue to do so in ways that we have yet to even imagine.

 

What makes digital technology such an ideal tool for social and political empowerment in the formation of new democracies is the fact that it is ever changing; new media and applications are constantly being produced to meet the shifting needs of users. When President Mubarak shut down the Internet in Egypt,

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Article: The Changing Pattern of Migration in West Africa


[Cross-linked from Future Challenges Organization Article: The Changing Pattern of Migration in West Africa]

When the word Migration (Human Migration) is mentioned in some parts of West African settlements; there’s mixed reaction where people turn to jubilate while others cry in sorrow. Some families in West Africa have seen and tasted the positive side of it meanwhile, others haven’t.

Migration in Africa is dynamic and extremely complex. (Hope you do agree with me on this.) This is always reflected in the feminization of migration, transformation of labor flows into commercial migration and brain drain from the region. Completing this picture are trafficking in human beings, the changing map of refugee flows, and the increasing role of regional economic organizations in fostering free flows of labor. What follows is an overview of some of the most important trends.

Photo of West African Women

It is very difficult, almost impossible or even blasphemous to predict the future with absolute certainty. This is especially true with modern

society where change is a daily occurrence. In the context of West Africa’s future, however, there seems to be an exception to this rule. This is because the patterns are so regular that many West Africans are sure beyond doubt that there will be hunger tomorrow. This hunger is only a step away from chaos. And chaos is a regular pattern in West Africa.

The traditional pattern of migration within and from Africa — male-dominated, long-term, and long-distance — is increasingly becoming feminized. Anecdotal evidence reveals a striking increase in migration by women, who had traditionally remained at home while men moved around in search of paid work. A significant share of these women is made up of migrants who move independently to fulfill their own economic needs; they are not simply joining a husband or other family members.

According to Political Activist & Kenyan Environmentalist: Wangari Maathai;

Women are responsible for their children; they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve. African women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.

The increase in independent female migration is not confined by national borders: professional women from Nigeria and Ghana now engage in international migration, often leaving their spouses at home to care for the children. Female nurses and doctors have been recruited from Nigeria to work in Saudi Arabia, while their counterparts in Ghana are taking advantage of the better pay packages in the UK and United States to accumulate enough savings to survive harsh economic conditions at home.

The relatively new phenomenon of female migration constitutes an important change in gender roles for Africa, creating new challenges for public policy. For instance, before the outbreak of civil war, an ongoing economic crisis in Cote d’Ivoire did not prevent female migration from Burkina Faso.

This was possible because women gradually clustered in the informal commercial sector, which is less affected by economic crises than the wage sector, where most male migrants work. This emergence of migrant females as breadwinners puts pressure on traditional gender roles within the African family.

With the recent civil unrest in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA); some African women who traveled to seek greener pastures will be caught in these disturbances. What’s the future like for the uneducated African woman who sees migration as the best tool for curbing poverty in her family? Are there any organizations ready to help, empower and support these women?

Photo Credit: Scrapetv.com

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Why Isn’t Ghana’s Telecommunication Industry Getting The Needed Attention Despite Oil/Gas Find?


In the excitement about Ghana’s Oil find; one sector which is seeing impressive expansion and “big money” deals is not getting as much attention as it should from Investors and commentators alike. I get regular emails from people enquiring about opportunities in the Oil & Gas sector in Ghana,whilst the Energy sector becomes saturated with foreign companies, ample opportunities exists in the Telecoms & ICT sector for both local and International firms.

Ghana ICT & Telecoms Summit

 

Ghana’s telecoms sector has enjoyed a financial boost in the last couple of years, deals across both fixed and mobile platforms have brought some of the biggest operators in the world to the West African state.

The controversial sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone for a reported $900 million dollars and MTN’s sale of 51% of its tower assets to American Towers for over $400 million are some of the well known deals that have been reported. However; there is a lot more happening on the ground with the government recently granting two Wimax licenses to operators in the country with a further three up for grabs.

The government has confirmed that Glo Telecom will be the sixth and last company to be granted a mobile license to operate in the country, with Glo expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011 some analysts are concerned the number of mobile operators in the country. MTN retains the largest market share of about 51.5% according to figures from the NCA.

A sure sign of maturity in the telecoms sector is the rush to outsource tower management and ownership to third parties as a means of diversifying revenue as focusing on core activities.It all kicked off in January 2010 when Millicom Ghana (Tigo Ghana) agreed to sell 750 base towers to Helios Towers Africa (HTG), the deal was the first major sales/leaseback to be completed by major African telecoms operator and an independent tower company on the continent.

The George Soros backed Helios Towers already has a well established operation in Nigeria and is looking to move further into the Ghanaian market. Vodafone Ghana also signed a ten year deal with Eaton Towers to takeover the operations and co-location management of its existing tower infrastructure. The deal is reported to be worth $45 million to Eaton Towers,who’s directors are ex-Vodafone employees. MTN rounded off the deals for 2010 with their joint venture with American Towers raising $428million for the Mobile operator, Airtel is also actively looking for a deal to introduce its Tower business for which it is well known in India to the African market, and Ghana looks to be the first country that might benefit from Airtel’s experience in tower management.

The National Communications Authority which regulates the telecoms sector has recently called for applications for licenses to build infrastructure, mostly communication towers. One would expect the existing tower companies in addition to Airtel to be granted licenses for further expansion. The tower business model is prevalent in India where the large population means mobile companies have to invest massively in tower infrastructure, but even the operators are still a bit hesitant about giving away full control of their towers compared to the US, where majority of towers are managed by third parties with American Towers and Crown Towers being the biggest players in the sector,

In order to prevent chaotic building of towers all over the country and to placate the citizenry who are nervous about the radiation effects of these towers, only licensed companies will be allowed to build and operate new towers, the hope is that the mobile networks will buy space from the newly licensed operators rather than build their own towers. Companies will have to pay an initial $25,000 fee in order to apply for the license and a final fee of $200,000 if their application is successfull.

The next battle for mobile operators in Ghana will be to discover other means of improving their revenues, no one knows this better than Airtel, whos’ African operations are not making any money as yet. Airtel is actively looking to expand its role in the Tower business and expects to be given a license in Ghana to build several more towers which it hopes to lease out to other operators.

Whilst the opportunities to make money in the mobile sector in Ghana remain buoyant, the network operators are increasingly looking at other sources of revenue as they’re forced to cut call prices in order to stay competitive.

It is against this background that Mobile World Magazine is organising the:

Ghana ICT &Telecom Summit. Dates: April 29 -30; 2011 in Accra, Ghana.”

It will be the first gathering where both operators and regulators will join officials from the Ministry of Communications to plot the future of the telecoms industry in Ghana.

Issues such as Mobile Number Portability, International Gateway taxes and improving rural connectivity will all be discussed at the summit. The role of infrastructure companies in the development of Ghana’s telecoms sector will be one of the key issues to be discussed by the delegates. The summit which is being chaired by Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah the outgoing chairman of the C.T.O and former Minister of Communications for Ghana will also explore growth strategies for the ICT market in Ghana and what role investors can play in driving this growth.

This has been a great year for the telecoms sector in Africa and Ghana especially, 2011 will be the year Investors look to recoup their investments. Mobile Applications, Mobile broadband and continued expansion in telecoms Infrastructure will be some the areas to watch over the next 12 months.

The NCA is also expected to confirm the five companies granted Wimax licenses to operate in Ghana. With the NCA (Regulator) now run by a former Investment banker it is hoped that relationships between operators and the regulator will improve and issues such as the International Gateway Tax, Sim Registration and Number Portability will be resolved amicably.

Post By: Tony Burkson

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Re-blogged: Thousands At Risk of Losing Their Homes in Accra, Ghana


This week, WITNESS, and other land and housing rights organizations, signed a public statement demanding a stop to the planned forced eviction of thousands in Ghana’s capital city Accra. The signature campaign was organized here at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal.

The communities living along the railway were told on 21 January to leave their homes to make way for the redevelopment of the country’s railway system planned for February. It was reported that the forced eviction possibly occurring this week would affect as many as 25,000 people.

Many of the Railway Dwellers have lived along the railway more than 17 years. Without the authorities properly consulting with the Railway Dwellers or even adequately counting their numbers, a forced eviction will only leave the communities homeless and impoverished.

I spoke with Frederick Opoku from the organization, Women in Slums Economic Empowerment – Ghana (WISEEP-GH), about this campaign and how the World Social Forum was used as a platform for action.

It seems like the trending issue here at the World Social Forum, Dakar is housing and land rights. My colleague Priscila also recognized this predominance at the Americas Social Forum in September 2010.

It must be said that the World Social Forum has had erratic access to schedules and designated places for meetings. Despite virtually all attendees battling scheduling and logistics problems, the upside has been organizations (at least those addressing housing and land rights) merging meetings and strategy sessions in solidarity. Once separate meetings have become collective and perhaps even more open to other movements.

WISEEP-GH and others have used the World Social Forum platform, not only to gather signatures against the forced eviction in Accra, but also to demonstrate at the Embassy of Ghana in Dakar. The demonstration on 7 February to stop the forced evictions in Accra led to a face-to-face meeting with the Ambassador on 9 February. The protest was lively and loud – and globally represented – as recorded here by the International Alliance of Inhabitants.

Urgent action needed

The forced eviction could happen any day. Besides issuing the public statement this week, Amnesty International also has gathered tens of thousands of individual signatures for this campaign.

Now, before 12 February, add your voice by joining Amnesty International’s call to the Government of Ghana to stop the forced eviction of the Railway Dwellers and place a moratorium on all other forced evictions until adequate safeguards can be implemented.

Read the full article and watch the video’s via Video For Change :: A WITNESS blog

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Ghana’s Population Reaches 24mil But; Cedi Keeps Depreciation. WHY?


Ghana: Population Density, 2000

Image by SEDACMaps via Flickr

Ghana’s first post-independence population census was in 1960 and counted about 6.7 million inhabitants. By 1970 the national census registered 8.5 million people, about a 27 percent increase, while the most recent official census in 1984 recorded a figure of 12.3 million.

The nation’s population was estimated to have increased to about 15 million in 1990 and to an estimated 17.2 million in mid-1994. With an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent for the period between 1965 and 1980, a 3.4 percent growth rate for 1981 through 1989, and a 1992 growth rate of 3.2 percent, the country’s population was projected to surpass 20 million by the year 2000 and 35 million by 2025.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the provisional results of the 2010 population and housing census indicate that Ghana has a growth rate of 28 percent. There has been a steady increase in the population of about 2-3% per year since 1990.

Ghana’s population is currently at 24,223,431million according to Dr. Grace Bediako (Government Statistician) who announced provisional results of the 2010 census a couple of weeks ago.

During this same period; reports indicates that, the Ghanaian cedi have depreciated against major foreign currencies especially the US Dollar on the international market.  As at today; you’ll need Ghc1.00 52pesewas to be able to get USD1.00.

Various reasons are been given for the sudden depreciation that saw the currency reach record lows in January 2011. These include a high demand for US dollars for importation of clothing, cars and foodstuff linked to an unexpected higher import spending over the Christmas period according to Food Security Ghana

In addition some analysts claim that offshore investors are selling government bonds, recouping Cedis and converting them into dollars – thus putting pressure on the cedi, which was stable within the 1.42 – 1.44 band for most of 2010.

Renaissance Capital, as reported by Bloomberg (interactive chart), also announced that Ghana’s inflation rate will rise this year on higher food and fuel costs, while economic growth will probably miss the government’s forecast of 12.3 percent.

The big question on Ghanaians’ minds is what government will do to ensure that consumers are not put under more pressure in 2011 given all the looming and actual negative factors that indicate the opposite.

Also, are we attributing this phenomenon in the financial trend to the symptom of the Dutch Disease which usually plagues new entrants in the league of oil producing countries?

 

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Why Africa Is Your Best Investment Destination.


According to Michel Bézy; in the last decade, things have been changing in Africa. Better governance, investments by Eastern countries, the end of wars, and the resolution of the debt crisis have all resulted in significant progress in supporting businesses and the resulting maturation of the business climate.

An interesting interactive graphic “The New Gold Rush” recently published by The Wall Street Journal shows how the rise of a new consumer class is shifting the balance in Africa.

WJS's Infographic on Africa: "The New Gold Rush"

You will find more than 9 million search results from Google by typing “investing in Africa.” But beyond interesting anecdotes many noteworthy papers and books have been published on the subject of “investing in Africa” in the recent years, including:

  • Paul Collier, author of the influential book, “The Bottom Billion,” published “Now’s the Time to Invest in Africa” in Harvard Business Review in 2009.
  • The McKinsey report Lions on the Move notes: “Today the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region”.
  • The annual flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Africa in 2008 increased to $62 billion, from $9 billion in 2000.
  • Wal-Mart Stores announced a cash offer of over 2 billion USD for a majority stake in the South African retail company Massmart Holdings, one of South Africa’s biggest retailers.
  • The CEO of the Rwanda Development Board makes the case for Rwanda in the Independent, a local media: Rwanda is now open for business.
  • My friend Ryan Allis, CEO of iContact, speaks about Why invest In Africa? in his Dare Mighty Things blog and provides good links for investments in Africa.

Ghana is also named amongst 17 other countries in Steven Radelet’s book: Emerging Africa – 17 Countries Are Leading The Way which provides a more in depth view of the success of some countries tagged as Emerging Countries. From; Growth, Governance and Good News in Africa (Next billion);

These countries (including Ghana) are putting behind them the conflict, stagnation, and dictatorships of the past and replacing them with steady economic growth, deepening democracy, improved governance, and decreased poverty.

Five fundamental changes are at work:

(1) more democratic and accountable governments;

(2) more sensible economic policies;

(3) the end of the debt crisis and changing relationships with donors;

(4) the spread of new technologies; and

(5) the emergence of a new generation of policymakers, activists, and business leaders.

The 17 Emerging Countries are: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Question: Why isn’t the oil exporting giants; Angola and Nigeria not included in this list?

 

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Big Brother Africa – Season 6 Is On…


Big Brother Africa Season 6

The Naspers owned M-Net subscription-funded television channel in South Africa and proud organizers of the Big Brother Africa reality show are happy to announce the opening of applications for the Season 6 of the most watched reality show on the continent of Africa.

The search for new housemates from the 14 participating countries including: Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe is on.

Do you have what it takes to enter into the Big Brother Africa Season 6 competition? Do you have the game plan, skills and intellects to win the impressive US$200,000 cash prize? If you do, this is your chance…

Before you go any further please remember you have to be 21 years or older and applications closes on Feb 27, 2011.

DOWNLOAD & FILL IN THE APPLICATION FORM

Step 1: Download the BBA 2011 application form.
Step 2: Please read carefully the “Information for Applicants” section on the BBA 2011 Application Form.
Step 3: Please complete the application form and attach your photographs.
Step 4: Email the completed application form to BBA@endemol.co.za or drop it off at the following Multichoice offices across Africa:
Angola-Luanda, Botswana-Gaborone, Ethiopia–Addis Ababa, Ghana-Accra, Kenya-Nairobi, Malawi-Blantyre, Mozambique-Maputo, Namibia-Windhoek, Nigeria-Lagos, South Africa-Johannesburg, Tanzania-Dar es Salaam, Uganda-Kampala, Zambia-Lusaka, Zimbabwe-Harare

M-Net has also confirmed that the new season of BIG BROTHER AFRICA 6 begins on Sunday May 1, 2011 and once more the dedicated DStv channel 198 will be providing 24/7 live coverage for the 91 day duration of the series.

In case you need more information: please contact your local Multichoice Office. Download the application form now (file size 2.9 MB)

COMPLETE THE ENTRY FORM ONLINE

Step 1: Click here to access the online application form
Step 2: Please read carefully the ”Information for Applicants” section on the BBA 2011 Online Application Form.
Step 3: Please complete the online application form and upload your photographs.
Step 4: Submit the form online

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2010 In Review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,600 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 158 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 22mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 16th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was A Closer Look Into Ghana’s First Oil. A Blessing or Curse?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, ghanablogging.com, globalvoicesonline.org, and kojobaffoe.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for free sms to ghana, google baraza, red phone, taurian deveaux, and ghanamixtapes.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A Closer Look Into Ghana’s First Oil. A Blessing or Curse? December 2010
3 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Google’s Gmail Free SMS in Ghana March 2010
1 comment

3

Google Baraza – Q&A for Africa October 2010
2 comments

4

Sandi Owusu’s Diva Delicious Line…. May 2010
3 comments

5

About Mac-Jordan January 2010
3 comments

FCC Commissioner; Mignon L. Clyburn Meets With Ghanaian Media/Internet Users.


Gradually, Ghanaian bloggers and free-lance journalists in Ghana are getting the necessary attention and recognition they deserve to keep on impacting their communities positively and also creating awareness about social issues that needs to be discussed and addressed.

I was very glad (and a bit nervous) when Stephen Anti formerly of Joy 99.7 FM and now with the US Embassy in Accra extended an invitation to attend and also be a panelist on a round-table discussion on the topic: “Internet Use and the Ghanaian Media.”

The forum was held by the Information Resource Center (IRC) of the US Embassy  in honour of the visiting Federal Communications Commissioner; Mignon L. Clyburn who was in Ghana for a couple of days and wanted to meet and interact with media practitioners in Ghana.

FCC Commissioner; Mignon Clyburn

 

On the panel was Mrs. Abigail Bonsu from the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Isaac Yeboah from Multimedia Group Ltd representing MyJoyOnline, Emmanuel Dogbevi of Ghana Business News, Kojo Asante of Peace FM Online (he couldn’t make it, I guess) & I representing the prestigious Ghana Blogging Community, Future Challenges Organization & Global Voices Online.  Each panelist had 20-mins to present his/her ideas and opinions on the topic been discussed.

Mr. Isaac Yeboah was the first to take the floor, where he shared insights into the running of http://myjoyonline.com as a different organization from the radio station; Joy 99.7 fm. He also touched on content aggregation and how viral some political topics could shoot up with several comments where in another instance, an article about the Ghanaian 2011 Budget presentation won’t even be looked at by readers/news junkies.

Next was Mr. Emmanuel Dogbevi who talked about how he’s running ; http://ghanabusinessnews.com all by himself without any financial support from anyone. He’s actually motivated to continue this venture knowing that, it surely going to pay off someday. He also stressed on how his outfit is doing very well when it comes to reporting business news in Ghana and how he won’t allow any organization, company or person to stand in his way of reporting.

Mrs. Abigail Bonsu spoke briefly on what her outfit hope to achieve now that, traditional journalism is almost dying out because of new media (social media) been embraced by all and sundry.

I had a presentation prepared for my session therefore, I happened to be the last to speak. I spoke briefly about myself and the various organizations I’m connected to.I recommended the US Embassy in Accra to share info’s and other important contents from their outfit via Social Media platforms just like US Embassy Pretoria and Harare are doing. Follow them on Twitter here: @USEmbPretoria & @USEmbassyHarare. Would be very glad to see a US Embassy Accra Twitter account soon, though. #USEmbassyAccra

Please find my presentation below.

 

 

Photo Credit: Federal Communications Commission.

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