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global subject maps

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r

May I invite readers to navigate to the following: http://www.worldmapper.org. From an African perspective, I'm afraid it makes for depressing reading and puts into perspective of how insignificant we are, on many measures. The most shocking maps concern the various health measures; hiv/aids incidence, expenditure, infant mortality, adult mortality.

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GhanaThink Managing Executive abocco

mapping Africa's issues

Some friends and I were just talking about the "electrifying the world map" and how most of Africa has "lights-off" or unreliable power/energy.
Case in point was Nigeria, and how in the midst of serious power shortages (per population, considering land mass, etc) the country has still been able to maintain a growing economy and production industries.
So if they had the interrupted and reliable power supplies the UK enjoys, various industries would boom and they'll produce much more capacity.
It's disheartening to look at these maps but I think it drives home the point that we have to improve our infrastructure on various levels and most especially energy.
The world is becoming more green and Africa must jump on the bandwagon with alternative energy sources.
Energy discussion

As for the data on worldmapper, I think we've heard it all before eh.
I am not saying screw the data (maybe, I am) but heck, I am not down, am still opmistic about my continent. :-)

r

funny optimism

Your comment about optimism reminded me of an article I read in the economist newspaper; apparently we as Africans are some of the most optimistic people on the planet, despite all the obstacles in our way! :)

OMANBA

Re: Mapping Africa's issues

Well said Abocco. Life is too short to waste on the Pessimistic issues and the morbid. Besides what do they know? We may be down but we are not beaten. I say down with the maps and sod the data. We've heard it all before. I have seen poverty in Europe and America and diseases far beyond the African person's comprehension.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

r

who should publish positive statistics

I find the maps interesting from a design and data measurement point of view.

I think it is very important to measure and be able to make accurate conclusions from good quality data. Please do not dismiss the importance of data collection. Without it we cannot measure our performance, both in absolute and relative terms

For example the malaria situation is really depressing. What makes me even more sad is that our science base is so poor, research into 'neglected tropical diseases' (see the excellent journal, public library of science) primarily occurs due to non African funding.

It makes me wonder, are there any Ghanaian tertiary education institutes that have published some "positive" data about what they do. The public need to see such work in order to justify taxation, for one reason at least.

OMANBA

Nobody disputes the

Nobody disputes the importance of data collection. What i wont accept however is to take a case like this as a given because somebody somewhere said so. Do they have all the right facts, figures and knowledge of the terrain they talk about or do they just add up some figures on paper and map them? How extensive was their research and how widely did they travel, interact and collect information to arrive at this conclusion?
If we are to go by the negative labels that our continent is always classified with, i doubt if there will be any room left for positive feelings about ourselves. And if we dont believe in ourselves then who will?

Our science base is not poor; certainly not at the study level. It is at the implementation end that lack of logistics, funding and support come into fore and hinders progress.
For example,there is all the talk about how Africa is ridden with HIV , but the propaganda never touches on the facts that the big drug companies like Bayer, Glaxo and the rest are blocking the manufacture of anti-retroviral medicines in poorer countries because they only own the trade marks. They would rather hog the market and sell their medicines at exhorbitant prices which is obviously not going to be affordable and watch millions get infected and die! At times like these the hands of our scientist, researchers and pharmaceutical companies are tied and they wont be able to help their people the way they should.

Infant mortality and adult mortality? What better example like the poor zones of Ethiopia and Somalia which are naturally not green belts and see constant aid action year after year in the form of food, clothes and blanket handouts without any long term solutions like irrigation, modified crop farming and animal husbandry or even resettlement to end the harrowing pictures we see on our screens year after year. Yet it serves the propaganda well to be seen as helping out year after year with the temporary handouts and we never finish the head count of deaths each time famine strikes.

As for Malaria, it is just a lack of common sense in preventative measures which is hindering progress. I doubt if it can be iradicated altogether because mosquitoes are a natural occurence. Still, we might want to count our blessings, for apart from malaria and a few tropical diseases; We dont have a high occurrence of Cancers, depressions, alzheimers, tooth decay, mental illnesses and much more life threatening illnesses that are prevalent in the West. Those are some of the facts you will never see mapped out. Its always about the Negatives where Africa is concerned. Like i said; WHAT DO THEY KNOW?

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

r

the beauty of scientific rigour

One of the prime principles of scientific research is peer review. Ususally, scientific research is published with the means of similarly trained scientists to replicate the experimental conditions and validate the data. So to question the conclusion (however uncomfortable) without full appreciation of the research methodology is an ignorant position to take. Unless you are suitably qualified to validate the methodology, you would be wise to accept the finding, rather than ignore/denigrate it. On the occasion that fraudulent research occurs, it is usually exposed by persons trained similrly to the fraudster.

I question your statement that the science base is not poor. How many mathematicians, chemists, geneticists, engineers are trained to doctorate and practising in Ghana? Furthermore, how does this compare internationally?

I also take issue with those who complain about "big pharma". The response is simple: train Ghanaian personnel to develop the vaccines, drugs, genetic engineering knowledge etc. and the associated patents. However, we canot achieve this, for the various reason stated elsewhere. If India can do it I do not accept that Ghana cannot either (but obviously not at the same scale). I never understood why southern Africans beg for international companies to supply drugs for free/low cost. Why should they, from a business perspective?

What's most depressing, because of our collective scientific ignorance, we are unable to even measure our own positives!

I'm not as concerned what "they" know as about: "what do we know"?

OMANBA

What is your calling?

For someone who is always ready to impress it upon us lesser mortals here that you are the ultimate forum scientist designate, i find your questioning very strange indeed. Surely you should know more and educate us and show us the way forward?
But alas it is always; ''Is Ghana/Africa able to do so and so Scientifically'' followed by your emphatic response...NO! Why bother asking us the questions in the first place if you already got the answers and are too set in your ways to even take on board plausible commentary from others?
You condemn, mock, insult and rubbish anything Ghanaian/African that has a link to science and yet you sit in Abrokyiman and make comparisms? Mon dieu!

My brother, my question to you today is WHAT HAVE YOU ALSO DONE WITH YOUR SCIENTIFIC INNOVATION FOR GHANA/AFRICA? No disrespect to you but sometimes you come across as being ashamed about your roots and feeling too good to fit in your Ghanaian and African boots.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.