personal experiences and code :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ghana: state of our nation at 50

There are a ton of Ghanaians (and well wishers) who will be joining friends and family to celebrate Ghana at 50 on 6 March (at home and around the world). There's quite a bit to be thankful for after 50 years of independence, as anyone who listened to/read the president's State of the Nation address will attest to.

There were particular sections I was very interested in (from the president's address), and will like to draw attention to:

(i) on Economic Performance:
government has implemented various policies and programmes which have enabled it to transform the macro economy from years of stagnation to the current growth rate of 6.2%. From 40.5% in 2000, inflation now stands at 10.2%; while the commercial banks’ lending rate which stood at over 50% five years ago is now around 20% and is still falling.

Even if you are no student of Economics, those numbers should tell you that the results from programs the government has embarked on over the brief period they have been in power have been a net positive. There are other tidbits worth noting in the address; for instance, remittances from Ghanaians abroad amounted to over 4 billion US dollars last year; read that again!

(ii) on ICT (and this is one dear to my heart):
today the revolution of Information Communication Technology is fundamentally changing the way the world works and decreasing the marginal cost of production and raising productivity across all industries. The Government will continue to place emphasis on the potential of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to provide the foundation for transforming the nation’s economy.
...
To ensure that every District has access to high speed internet connection and promote a wider penetration of ICT services throughout the country, including distance education and tele-medicine, the Government has secured from the Government of China, a concessionary loan facility of $30 million to construct a national Fibre Optic Communication Backbone
Notably missing from this section is the rollout of mobile WiMAX in Ghana, which is expected to be the first ever nationwide deployment. Less than 10 years ago, I had to travel from Kumasi to Accra (about a 3-4 hour bus drive) to get to a decent (28k ;P) internet connection. Having experienced the possibilities on the network abroad, it is easy to see how vertical solutions can be eked out of what is currently available and targeted for the marketplace that these infrastructural upgrades are going to open up. India became a technology hub when policies at the highest level were enacted with those goals in mind, so Ghana is certainly following the right model here.

On a somewhat-related note, the Google Foundation's Believe Begin Become project in Ghana--a collaboration with the local private sector for entrepreneurship development and business networking--for this year has been launched.

We have come a long way in 50 years; what technology and sound policies have done for India, let it do for us too.

Ghana, ayekoo!

cheers,
-- eokyere :)


Links:

Ghana @ 50 -- http://www.ghana50.gov.gh/
Ghana: State of the Nation Address, 2007 -- http://tinyurl.com/25xd3h
First Nationwide Mobile WiMAX Is Targeted For Ghana -- http://tinyurl.com/2f7pda
Ghana: Believe Begin Become 2007 Launched -- http://tinyurl.com/2teelo

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting info, I remember Gibraltars celebrating 300 years of British rule, which is not at all the same thing, but it is a time to look back on progress and hopefully to think now is as good as it has ever been, in particular with your 28k connection you speak about :p

Btw, is it your birthday soon? If so when?

eokyere said...

it's the big 28 in two days; you should have left a name/link :)

Adrian said...

Very good, I'm sure when your running Ghana things will be even better!

eokyere said...

haha; my political ambitions (if any) should be quite modest :)

Evelyn Dede Ofei said...

Interesting Chief, very interesting.
Seeing as the theme for the anniversary is: Championing African Excellence, we can only hope that the rest of Africa will see Ghana as the trailblazer of the” independent/free, stable and capable” ideology.
We must also not forget the past i.e. how we got to this stage. As the president stated: “We should rejoice in the fact that in spite of many periods of uncertainty and difficulties in the last 50 years, we have managed to pull together as a nation to this day “
However, we must not allow the past to define the present and future but rather regard it as a testament of how far we’ve come; and look forward to a future full of hope, achievement and total wellbeing of each Ghanaian both home and abroad.

adrian said...

Like it, "I do not seek high office.....". Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country Eokyere!

eokyere said...

i should watch what i say to you on IM ;P

[a/] said...

Ayekoo Indeed!! With out a shadow of a doubt the change has been fast and frenetic. I can personally attest tothe difference in the Accra vista between the time I left in 98 and the last time I was there in 2005. I'm informed reliably that the pace continues

Michael said...

Indeed the socio-economic growth and business climate in Ghana is quite interesting and probably unparalleled in West Africa. Nonetheless the words of our greatest leader and liberator(NKRUMAH)..." THE INDEPENDENCE OF GHANA IS MEANINGLESS UNTIL THE TOTAL LIBERATION OF AFRICA" still rings true.

50yrs from that statement mother Africa is still sweating it out, unable to provide its people with the three most basic things i.e. food, shelter,clothing. Corruption,neo-colonialism and imperialism is still very much active and eats the political fabric of this continent.

TOTAL liberation therefore has to take on a new dimension and as we face this new challenge i believe we all have a part to play no matter where we are or what we do. Ghana once again is paving the way and Africa must follow. Ghana Ayekooo!!

Richard Leggett said...

>>Btw, is it your birthday soon? If so when?

It was me haha! Let's all go for some tapas for a birthday lunch!

eokyere said...

@ rich: as they say "only in AmeriKQA" ;P

eokyere said...

@ dede/michael, indeed. you might be interested in samia nkrumah's interview here (http://www.myzongo.com/Nkrumah-had-wanted-to-return-to.html)

she states: Political independence was not regarded as an end in itself but the means to achieve economic freedom and advancement.

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

Hi Eokyere!

I like your blog; I appreciate the article you used, and will be using it for Global Voices's Ghana section. I review Ghana blogs maximum twice a week for the website, and am glad to have found yours!

cheers!

eokyere said...

good stuff, emmanuel. glad you found it useful.

cheers,
Emmanuel :)

Anonymous said...

I know that there is only one Micheal Essien and Ghana/You should be proud about him.