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abocco's blog

Patrick Awuah, founder of Ashesi University and educating a new generation of African leaders

Posted by abocco on Wed, 05/06/2009 - 10:32 GhanaThink Managing Executive

When my friend sent me an email asking if I wanted to attend a lunch with Patrick Awuah, I was ecstatic. I had met Patrick before, at the Harvard Business School African Business Conference in 2005 but being able to get this face-to-face time over a free meal was too good to pass up. Patrick Awuah is my hero. I tried to tell him when I saw him but I don't know if he understood the gravity of my statement. Patrick is the kind of person most of us must aspire to; an individual whose heart is set on Africa's development, has taken, continues to take steps to realise the African dream. What has Patrick done to deserve my awe? He started the Ashesi University, a model university in Accra which is setting the pace for educating the next generation of African leaders, entrepreneurs, etc.


First-rate hospitals and medical institutions in Ghana

Posted by abocco on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 20:25 GhanaThink Managing Executive

When a female soldier in a Ghanaian movie (Scorned) was shot in the line of duty and taken to hospital, she wasn't taken to Korle Bu. She was taken to Lister Hospital, a modern healthcare facility in Accra, not very far from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange. Lister's website says the Lister Hospital and Fertility Centre is the most technologically advanced private hospital in West Africa. From the movie and the susequent scenes in and around the hospital, it looks modern, clean and high-class. Basically, the healthcare costs there will be high. I wonder if the National Health Insurance Scheme would suffice for costs there. In the era, where countless government personalities have to fly abroad to get excellent medical care, it's refreshing to know about institutions like Lister Hospital, however small they are. There should be more Listers and the public health system should catch up with the needed state investment.

How many world-class hospitals are in Ghana? Last time, this issue came up, someone said there was one; the Trust Hospital. I have never been there before, and haven't known of any friends/family who had treatment over there. Nyaho Medical Centre is also highly regarded, as well as the Ridge Hospital to some extent. Is Dr. Edward Mahama's hospital great? What about Dr. Edmund Delle? Does he even have his own private clinic? With the growing middle-class, it should be prudent to operate more and more private clinics where people have the bang to buck. Or a buck for every bang suffered. You get the point.


A letter to the West – Sending the right messages and signals to our African leaders

Posted by abocco on Sun, 03/01/2009 - 04:30 GhanaThink Managing Executive

a-plus kwame hiplife hip-life west africa peace war

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

I was at the recent Harvard African Business Conference. Why did I go? I went just because it was an African business conference and I had been attending as long as I knew it existed. I went because credit is crunching and it would be nice to pay some more attention to what I could do back home and it became absolutely necessary. I went to network and identify partners for various undertakings in the future. I went to identify the leaders of the future as well. As you know, most of our African presidents are not the best people to write home about, especially with Barack Obama front and center in leadership chatter. A-Plus chastised a whole lot of African presidents in his 'A Letter to the West' song, likening their reigns to horror movies. One president who is turning his own horror movie story into a feel-good one is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. In fact, this last weekend has made me a huge fan of his. People, Obama is not ours but we may have one ourselves, and he’s called Paul Kagame.


BarCamp Ghana 08 - It's only the beginning

Posted by abocco on Tue, 12/23/2008 - 16:36 GhanaThink Managing Executive

from the MIghTy African

When I first heard about BarCamp from my GhanaThink buddy, I was apprehensive. What is this BarCamp that I have heard of before? I still don’t know why it’s called BarCamp, even after helping organize BarCamp Ghana. What I do know is is that the concept of a BarCamp is excellent. It has almost everything I want in a gathering of minds, hands and people. BarCamp Ghana 08 came off yesterday, December 22nd at the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence for ICT – AITI. Ever since I arrived in Ghana on Tuesday the 16th, I’ve had many ideas of a blog and subject matters to write about, but the excitement that is BarCamp generated for me trumps all.

My first real experience with BarCamps was BarCamp Africa. It was organized by a group of people, mostly non-African who were passionate about or had some interests in Africa. Google sponsored the BarCamp, giving us a whole building for free – an auditorium, a kitchen/bar with free food all day (yay!) and more than 10 rooms all with internet, power, etc. Attendees were charged $25 which was a bargain fee, considering how much the HBS ABC costs, or even SABF. (Google these). When I first got to the Google premises, the organizers were wearing T-shirts, yes tee-shirts, not suits, smart casual shirts and slacks, but the same attire I slept with the other day. They gave me one and some info, and I proceeded to the auditorium. More people there were wearing these white T’s (you’d have thunk we were going to break to partake in some hip-hop video.


Is Pan-Africanism affecting my Ghanaianness?

Posted by abocco on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:35 GhanaThink Managing Executive

It's been two weeks since my last post. I didn't see this silence coming when I started blogging. But what you should know is, I got stories, lots of stories. Last Thursday, I attended a meeting regarding a new NGO set-up to raise funds for students in one district in Kenya. One of the founders has been my Swahili tutor for two quarters. To show that I belonged, I started speaking the little Swahili I knew to whoever would listen. "Why are you studying Kiswahili?" This is the question other people at the meeting asked me. I responded "Marafiki zangu 'plenty' wanatoka Afrika Mashariki" which means 'a lot of my friends are from East Africa'. My Swahili tutor went on to say 'This guy is a Pan-Africanist'. That is a cool thing to hear given my love for Kwame Nkrumah, but is it really a cool description? How are Pan-Africanists seen today? People blamed Nkrumah for concentrating too much on other African countries and he eventually began to alienate his own people. Will being a Pan-Africanist thread me on the same path?


The story of the Ghanaian movie 'industry'

Posted by abocco on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 10:01 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Blog entry culled from MightyAfrican's Blog
Many years ago, we used to have movie cinemas in Ghana. When movies were being advertised, they will say - showing at Rex Cinema, Roxy Cinema, among others. These days we don't hear that anymore. When that guy with the loud voice is promoting the new Agya Koo movie and the new Van Vicker flick, you are directed to the same stores that distribute Ghanaian music for you to buy the latest movies. There is everything wrong with this trend, but let's go back to see how we got here in the first place.

When I was in Presec around 2001, Ghanaian movies were up and coming. We had movies like Stab in the Dark, Stab in the Dark part 2, Ripples, Diabolo, You can't laugh, Who killed Nancy, among others. Some of our major actors even joined forces with Danny Glover and Omar Epps in 'Deadly Voyage'. We were encouraged by the productions. We had movie houses like Harry Laud Productions, Miracle Films, Venus Films, among others. Ghanaian movies were lauded, they were interesting and people actually wanted to watch and buy them.


Supa chompia - in search of African (super) heroes

Posted by abocco on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:08 GhanaThink Managing Executive

kwame planeteer super hero captain planet supa chompia ghana africa earth environment

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

The other day some friends (Ghanaian and Nigerian) and I were having a regular conversation that followed after watching a regular Nollywood movie. The conversation turned to discussing other things; African music, high school boarding house experiences, education systems, studying for PhDs and hurrying up Masters degrees, gold diggers, wastemen, etc. Eventually, we ended up talking about African leaders, politics and what we needed to do as Africans to develop. The latter issues have been on my mind a lot lately. The emergence of Obama has caused me to think even more about the issue of leadership. It has me dreaming of Kwame Nkrumah. At this point in Africa's lives, it needs visionary leaders, inspirational figures, uniting heads, iron men, super men, super heroes. Who will save us? Wanlov da Kuborlor thinks a 'Supa Chompia' will, and even describes his super powers in his song of the same title.


Ghana needs to win something at the Olympics

Posted by abocco on Fri, 08/22/2008 - 02:33 GhanaThink Managing Executive

ghana olympics vida anim beijing 2008 sportsHere comes my first non-museke/music related blog post, say yay! Post is from my blog (that I just started) - Why so serious - blogs of a MighTy African

The Olympics is totally the biggest sporting event. Some may argue for the World Cup, but even though the Mundial is grand and is centered around the passion of the nation (aka football), all other sports have some different fans who pay attention to the Olympics. For instance, I have a couple of friends who could care less about football but will stop work to watch Michael Phelps and the 100 metre sprint.

I didn't catch the opening ceremony, it's always the greatest spectacle of celebration. Ghana's contingent was very small and they were clad in kente. I've heard people complaining about the choice of attire, about how kente has been accepted by the greater Black community and we can't claim it anymore. Nonsense! People should know we are the originators! :-) The Ghanaian contingent held their own, you can't miss us, we are colourful and we stand out.


Kwame Ghana - the personification of our nation

Posted by abocco on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 08:03 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

There has been a lot of controversy in Ghana lately about the recent National Honours Awards and who deserves awards and who should be giving them out. Naturally, we would want 'Ghana' to give out these awards and not the president of the nation or a bunch of people with various interests. So what if Ghana was a person? What would Ghana have to say to its people? If Ghana was a monarchy, the king would be Ghana. We don't have that. My buddy, Okyeame Kwame personifies Ghana in his Kwame Ghana song and tells us what Ghana has to say to its people. 6th march 1957 was a Wednesday while July 1st, 1960 was a Friday. Maybe Kwame Ghana's message sums up the thoughts of Okyeame Kwame, who after all is a Ghanaian as well.


Ghana - past our history, presenting our situation, and dreaming the future

Posted by abocco on Tue, 04/22/2008 - 07:31 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

Countless people have asked me about my three month stay in Ghana. Everytime the question is asked, I give a slightly different answer. The default thing to say is - it was great. I normally prefer pointed questions - my indecisiveness cripples my answers to such general questions. My stay in Ghana inspired and taught me a lot, it made me understand how various things work in Ghana (especially in industry) and how comfortable or uncomfortable I could find myself in my own land. Most people seek out my opinion on going back, and my answer is always the same - eventually I will go back and soon. Why would I? My friend Becca would help out here with her song called Ghana.


Green card - pursuing America for Ghanaian development

Posted by abocco on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 16:45 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

I just got back to Uncle Sam's Abode last weekend. It was a long flight. As usual, I had wanted to extend my stay. In fact, I had overstayed my welcome. I met a Facebook friend and made a new friend as well. I had this burning desire to talk to this friend I made because I overheard him say he went to IPS (the one near Legon). Hey, maybe I just wanted to speak Pidgin with somebody. After talking to him for awhile, I realised Asumasi was on the Green Card path and heading towards the land of milk and honey. His IPS education was on hold. Almost seconds later, Wanlov da Kuborlor's Green Card song came to mind.


Awurade Asem - using what the Good Book has to say for national development

Posted by abocco on Mon, 03/10/2008 - 12:06 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

After a long night partying in Accra, I arrived home in the wee hours of the morning. I decided to skip church in order to get some sleep in. Sounds like the wrong thing to do, I know. Later in the day, my cousin came from church to find me playing some great gospel music and made a mention of how it is not the easiest thing to 'do bad things' and then switch into worship and praise mode. I agreed and we proceeded to talk about how hypocritical some of us Christians are. Do we use God's word like we should? How serious do we take it? Cee says Awurade Asem(God's matter/word) is very good to her. What can we do to see the same in our lives?


Number one fan - belief, motivation and support from our leadership

Posted by abocco on Mon, 02/04/2008 - 13:14 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

When the African Cup quarter-final clash between Ghana-Nigeria game went on recess (half-time) as a drawn game, I was tense. Really tense. Both teams seemed up to the task and it was going to take something special to separate them. I even suggested that President Kuffour should go to the Black Stars' dressing room to motivate and inspire the 'boys'. After all, he postponed his favorite pastime -travelling - to stay in Ghana to inspire them and watch this dreaded duel with the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Eventually, Ago-goal struck and Ghana carried the day in the presence of their 'Number one fan', John Agyekum Kuffour. JAK, we join 5Five to give you kudos.


Africa money - the absence and presence of money in our system

Posted by abocco on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 14:23 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

Many government projects in Ghana are not done according to schedule due to the absence of funds. It's sad to read about infrastructural projects being launched and then the beneficiaries have to wait extra long to benefit. Is there really no money in the system? We pay lots of taxes but we don't see the taxes at work. We see them buying the four-wheel drives, building the nice homes and financing the trips abroad. This is our money, Africa's money and some people are spending it in ways that do not benefit Africa at large. But who will say it? You bet it would be Barima, formerly known as Sidney. The most controversial hiplife artiste is out again and out to criticize the Ogas and bosses chopping Africa money.


Yesu wo m'afa - ensuring that our prayers are answered

Posted by abocco on Mon, 01/21/2008 - 16:35 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

After seeing my favorite Black Stars agonisingly hit the goal post three times in the opening game of CAN 2008 and remain deadlocked with Guinea, I began wondering if this victory was to be. We finally scored and then the Syli Nationale replied almost immediately. Just when I was about to give up, Sulley Muntari produced a moment of magic two minutes to time and scored the winner. Ghana's biggest newspaper, the Daily Graphic, said sometimes one is tempted to believe that God is a Ghanaian. Apparently, God was on our side, and Esther Smith would agree with her song 'Yesu wo m'afa'. No matter how many heartbreaking missed chances we suffered, we would win in the end.