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February 19 2014

February 18 2014

February 11 2014

‘Blogging Ghana’ to Establish Country's First Physical Social Media Hub

Blogging Ghana's proposed Social Media Hub. Photo used with permission.

Blogging Ghana's proposed Social Media Hub. Photo used with permission.

Internet penetration in Ghana is about 14 percent and has been on the up and up for the last decade as more Ghanaians, especially young people, have hooked up to the web. As a result, the number of Ghanaians on various social media platforms is also increasing rapidly, and some now see a need for a physical social media hub to facilitate the activities of the many people who use social media or want to learn about it.

Enter Blogging Ghana, the country's largest organization of bloggers and social media enthusiasts with more than 100 members. The group launched a campaign on January 20, 2014 to establish Ghana's first ever social media hub, explaining on their website:

A physical meeting place, a hub, will go a long way to provide a platform for the experienced bloggers in the organisation to train students and professionals on how to use blogging for creating #MoreStories and use social media to advance their agenda as citizens in Ghana.

As part of the campaign, Blogging Ghana hopes to raise 10,000 US dollars through crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo. The hashtag used for the online campaign is #morestories. The organisation also launched a video campaign on YouTube:

Africa on the Blog, a multi-author blog by people of African heritage, which is supported by Babs Saul and Sarah Arrow, explained the history of blogging in Ghana:

The blogging and social media scene in Ghana has improved in the last five years. The West African country has seen the number of bloggers in the country grow from just a handful in 2005 to several hundreds this year. This trend was facilitated by a bold step taken by a Swedish blogger who had moved to Ghana some five years ago. Kajsa Hallberg Adu who is now the Chair of Ghana’s biggest association of bloggers brought all the bloggers who were active online under one roof to discuss their passion. With time, this small group of internet users decided to introduce blogging and the use of social media tools to many other people who may be interested but just didn’t know how. This selfish desire to spread such knowledge lead to what has today become the nation’s biggest blogging and social media event.

Edward Amartey-Tagoe, the director of corporate services at Blogging Ghana, also recounted how things were half a decade ago:

Some five years ago, there were only a handful of bloggers in Ghana, since then, bloggers and Internet enthusiasts have been organised under one umbrella body to build capacity, learn and share ideas from one another. Today, we are an influential organisation with a yearly event and awards ceremony who produce local content online on blogs and on various social media channels. We want to share our skills and create #morestories!

ENews Ghana published the campaign on their website:

Bloggers in Ghana are creating Ghana’s first Social Media hub for bloggers and social media enthusiasts to meet, interact and share more local content from and we think it will make a great feature on GOOD.

Social Media is growing in Ghana and we (Blogging Ghana) has over the past 5 years been a leader in Ghana. In 2012, with funding from USAID, UKAID, EU & DANIDA, we used social media to cover Ghana’s elections; raising awareness of the issues and empowering politicians and citizens. We also in 2013 organised Ghana’s first social media awards which was huge success. The organisation’s work has been featured on Joy FM, Citi FM, Mashable, Aljazeera and BBC.

We want to do more and get more Ghanaians to use social media to tell their stories. We want to overcome the internet and power challenges bloggers face.  We have therefore launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a haven/hub with a co-blogging space to and create the much needed local content.

Spy Ghana, an online news agency, quoted Blogging Ghana Chair Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha):

It makes sense for a social media organization to use our online network and do crowd-sourcing to fulfill our dreams. We think Ghana in ready for a meeting place for social media enthusiasts and we cannot wait to create #morestories about Ghana for the world to read!

Award-winning blogger Macjordan (@Macjordan) expressed his support for the social media hub on his blog:

BloggingGhana is pleased to launch an Indiegogo campaign towards the creation of a Social Media Hub in Ghana for bloggers and citizen journalists to be trained in Social Media and increase local content creation.

BloggingGhana – Ghana’s largest community/network of bloggerscitizen journalists and social media enthusiasts is reaching out to all and sundry to chip-in and support this worthy cause.

I’m very pleased and honored to be a part of this organization and would appreciate your support in any way.

February 03 2014

Searching for Solutions to Open Defecation in Ghana

Open defecation is a huge health problem facing Ghana. Sixteen million people in Ghana use unsanitary or shared latrines, while 5.7 million have no latrines at all and defecate in the open. This has led to outbreak of diseases such as cholera when human excreta and urine pollutes water bodies. Open defecation costs the nation a whopping sum of 79 million dollars per year.

An article published by SpyGhana indicates that:

Although Ghana has chalked tremendous progress in some of the eight areas of the development goals including MDG 7, Target 7c, which is to: “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation”, whereas it has already surpassed its target of 78% for water, the country has failed woefully in increasing access to improved sanitation.

Crawling at a snail’s pace of one percentage point increase each year, access to improved sanitation in Ghana is now at 15% according to the latest Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report released few days ago.

This means only 15 out of 100 Ghanaians now have access to improved sanitation, which is 39% short of Ghana’s sanitation MDG target of 54% that expires in 2015.

To further compound Ghana’s unenviable sanitation status, the open defecation rate in Ghana has now increased from 19 per hundred Ghanaians to 23 per 100, according to the MICS report.

But Clean Team Ghana is a sanitation company in Ghana that is working to change that by providing innovative and affordable in-house toilet facilities to urban communities. The YouTube video below shows how Clean Team is improving urban communities in Ghana by helping households have access to safe and clean toilet in their homes:

The company organised a Twitter debate on the 24 January 2014 to engage sanitation experts, government, social enterprises and the online community to deliberate on how open defecation can be eradicated in Ghana. The debate was organised using the hashtag #OpenDefecationGh.

In response to why people defecate in the open, Green Ghanaian (@GreenGhanaian) tweeted:

Naomi Kokuro (@Naamsb) commented:

Valeries Labi (@ValerieLabi) agreed:

Naomi Kokuro (@Naamsb) emphasised:

How can open defecation be eradicated in Ghana? Ghana Wash Project (@Gwashproject) suggested:

Naomi Kokuro (@Naamsb) argued:

   Edu Afrique (@EduAfrique) tweeted: 

Gameli Adzaho (@Gamelmag) pointed out that:

Asante Pious (@Asantep2005) noted:

Delali Kumapley (@DKumapley) remarked:

Valeries Labi (@ValerieLabi) wrote:

Francis Kumadoh (@Kumadorian) commented:

Replying to Francis Kumadoh (@Kumadorian) tweet, Ghana Wash Project (@Gwashproject) wrote:

MIT Environmental Engineering student J Knutson (@JKnoot) advised that:

Co-founder of Clean Team Andy Narracott (@AndyNarracott) wrote:

Nii Kwade (@Niikwade) emphasised the need for collaboration:

Grace Aba Ayensu (@Aba_Ayensu) complimented the effort of Clean Team:

Victoria Okoye (@Victoria_Okoye), media and communications expert, noted:

Peter Jones (@HCPeterJones), British High Commissioner to Ghana, tweeted:

Ghanaian Online Community Remembers BBC Presenter Komla Dumor

Photo by BloggingGhana member Nana Kofi Acquah on Komla Dumor’s 41st birthday. Used with permission.

Photo by BloggingGhana member Nana Kofi Acquah on Komla Dumor’s 41st birthday. Used with permission.

On 18 January, 2014, the world was hit with the shocking news of the sudden death of Ghanaian BBC presenter Komla Dumor, who was known in the Ghanaian community as the “Boss Player”. Komla was the presenter for the BBC World News and Focus on Africa.

Upon hearing the news of his death, Ghanain President John Mahama tweeted:

Blogging Ghana, an organization of bloggers and social media enthusiasts, organised a Google+ hangout discussion on 24 January, 2014 in remembrance of Komla. The hangout was spearheaded by Jemila Abdulai and Gameli Adzaho, members of Blogging Ghana.

They wrote in a blog post on the group's website:

Members of Ghana’s online community would justifiably want to quickly forget last Saturday 18th January 2014 for the sad tidings the day brought. From noon or so, rumours started filtering into various online platforms that “something bad” might have happened to leading BBC world service presenter Komla Dumor.

Like the pitiful notes and sombre drumbeats of bad music emanating from a player outside our control, the dreadful news continued to self-propagate, finally filling our hearts and minds with misery. And as the pitch increased, the clouds darkened, and our worst fears descended like torrential rainfall. Komla Afeke Dumor, the “boss player”, is gone from the earth and has taken his vim to another sphere.

Ghanaians mourned together on Twitter with the hashtag #RIPKomlaDumor.

Maame Aba recalled how she heard about Komla's death:

GanyobiNaa, an occupational hygienist and a photographer who was a participant of the Google+ hangout discussion, stated:

Macjordan reflected on Komla's interview skills:

Bernard Kelvin, a bestselling author in Ghana, emphasised the uniqueness of Komla's journalism work:

Blogging Ghana tweeted a question:

Maame Aba responded:

Blogging Ghana asked the online community to share their personal interaction they had with Komla:  

Papa Nkpa responded:

Gameli noted:

Jeanne expressed her sadness:

Kwame Anim commented on the moments he had with Komla:

Jemila commented on Komla's effort to help Africa tell its story:

GanyobiNaa pointed out that:

Jeanne tweeted:

Non-Ghanaian fans and friends of Komla also took to Twitter to express their sadness and views about Komla:

Ameyaw Debrah tweeted:

Julie Gichuru from Kenya also tweeted:  

Robert Alai expressed his sadness:

Trevor Ncube noted:

Nana Asaase prayed:

US Embassy Ghana expressed their condolence:

Errol Barnet tweeted:

August 29 2013

Ghana's Supreme Court Tosses Case Challenging President's Legitimacy

The Supreme Court of Ghana ruled today, 29 August, 2013, that the country's president was validly elected in presidential elections late last year, a highly anticipated judgment in what's been described as the biggest legal battle in Ghana's history.

After President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won the December election with 50.70 percent of the votes, beating his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who polled 47.7 percent of the votes, the opposition NPP challenged the results arguing that there were gross and widespread irregularities at more than 10,000 polling stations.

The judges unanimously dismissed their petition today, according to GhanaDecides, an initiative that works to better inform the electorate. The verdict raised mixed reactions within the Ghanaian online community.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama. The country supreme court has ruled that Mahama's election in December 2012 was valid. Photo courtesy Chatham House. Used under CC-BY-2.0 license.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama. The country's supreme court has ruled that Mahama's election in December 2012 was valid. Photo courtesy Chatham House. Used under CC-BY-2.0 license.

GhanaDecides (@GhanaDecides) tweeted from the courtroom just few minute before the pronouncement:

Laura Frempong (@Lauriedat) described the peaceful silence just before the pronouncement of the verdict:

Some Ghanaians cracked jokes to ease the tension, such as Kobbie (djkobbie):

Mahama himself (@JDMahama), who immediately prior to the elections had served as vice president, then president for four months when his predecessor died, commented on the verdict moments after it was handed down:

Writer Jemila Abdulai (jabdulai) noted the brevity of the court's pronouncement:

African and world literature blogger Kinna (@kinnareads) tweeted about the acceptance of the verdict by the opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwa:

IamAKAKPO (@Devyphylx) ridiculed international media in his tweet:

Patrick Quantson (@PatrickQuantson) disagreed with the judgment of the court:

Blogger Claudia Andrews (@Claudieandrea) advised:

Ekow (@ekowmaisse) advised the electoral commission to reform the system:

Ghana Awaits Judgement in Legal Battle for Presidency

The Ghanaian Supreme Court will decide today August 29, 2013 whether Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama was legitimately elected following presidential polls held on 7 and 8 December, 2012. The petition is considered the biggest legal battle in Ghana's history.

President Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won the election with 50.70 percent of the votes, beating his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who polled 47.7 percent of the votes.

The opposition NPP challenged
the results arguing that there were gross and widespread irregularities at more than 10,000 polling stations.

NPP's projected the results showing Nana Ado winning. Photo source: Nana Ado (NPP's presidential candidate) Facebook page.

The hearing of the petition began on 16 April, 2013. The petitioners are NPP's presidential candidate Nana Akuffo Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP national chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey. The respondents are President John Mahama, the Electoral Commission and the ruling National Democratic Congress.

Ghanaians and friends of Ghana have been tweeting messages of peace as the whole country anxiously await for the verdict. In an attempt to create atmosphere of peace ahead of the verdict, Ghana's political parties played a football match with former national football team players on 26 August, 2013, to pledge peace and unity.

Tweeting about peace, Viasat 1 Ghana (@Viasat1Ghana) wrote:

The Obroni (@I_LoveAzonto) advised:

Esau Yakub (@MisterYakube) reminded Ghanaians about Martin Luther King's message:

DKS (@DoWuSem) prayed:

Akua Blakofe (@MsBlakofe) pleaded with fellow Ghanaians:

As expected, security personnel are on high alert as Ghana Elections (@ghanaelections) reported:

Some businesses will not sell alcohol today, Martin Asiedu-Dartey (@martincitifm) reported:

Police sirens have been blazing since morning, tweeted web developer A Hesse (@ArmahH):

The streets were empty early morning today in Accra, the capital city:

It looks like a holiday, noted Sylvester Addo (@silverscholar)

According to broadcast journalist Benjamin Tetteh (@benjieluv) in Accra, shops are closed and even markets are empty:

Nnenna (@nnenna) asked:

winvoyah wñ (@nderba_nderba) stated why he thinks the judgement is important:

Nnenna (@nnenna), an activist and trainer, asked:

Ghanaian writer and blogger Jemila Abdulai (@jabdulai) announced:

Kofi Yeboah (@kofiemeritus), Ghanaian blogger and Global Voices author, warned foreign media:

Martin Asiedu-Dartey (@martincitifm) said that Ghanaians have been asked to celebrate in moderation:

Finally, Nnenna (@nnenna) had a dream:

August 19 2013

Kilombo Conference on Africa, Africans and social Justice

The Kilombo Centre for Citizens’ Rights and Conflict Resolution, Peki, Ghana is organizing the 2nd Kilombo Conference on Africa, Africans and social Justice. The conference is aimed at bringing together a large and representative gathering of Africans and people of African descent to discuss issues bothering on Africa, Africans and social Justice. It is taking place from Friday 27/09/2013 to Sunday 29/09/2013.

August 16 2013

Who Will Win The ‘Biggest’ Legal Battle in Ghana's History?

The Ghanaian Supreme Court will decide on August 29, 2013 whether Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama was legitimately elected following presidential polls held on 7 and 8 December, 2012.

The Ghanaian Electoral Commission declared President Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) winner with 50.70 percent of the votes, beating his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who polled 47.7 percent of the votes.

The opposition NPP challenged the results arguing that there were gross and widespread irregularities at more than 10,000 polling stations.

The hearing of the petition began on 16 April, 2013. The petitioners are NPP's presidential candidate Nana Akuffo Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP national chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey. The respondents are President John Mahama, the Electoral Commission and the ruling National Democratic Congress.

MyJoyOnline has uploaded a video on its YouTube channel (below) of closing argument by counsel for petitioners, Phillip Addison. On August 7, 2013 during his closing arguments, Phillip Addison asked the court to declare Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of NPP President because the petitioners were able to prove serious malpractices such as over-voting, persons voting without undergoing biometric verification, presiding officers not signing signatures and duplicated serial numbers on pink sheets (result forms). If there were not infractions, he argued, President Mahama would get 41.79 per cent of the valid votes cast, while Nana Akufo-Addo would have 56.85 per cent of the valid votes cast.

Given the emotive nature of the petition, the two major political parties in the country, Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have pledged their commitment to ensuring peace during and after the judgement.

NPP's projected the results showing Nana Ado winning. Photo source: Nana Ado (NPP's presidential candidate) Facebook page.

Many Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians have taken to blogs and Twitter to share their views and opinions about the greatest legal battle in the history of Ghana. There has never been a successful presidential election petition on the African continent.

Many analysts are speculating the outcome of the petition and what the future holds for Ghana's thriving democracy.

Who will win the petition? Answering this question, Dr Yaw Ohemeng identifies democracy as the ultimate winner:

At the time that the petitioners filed their case at the Supreme Court there were those who dismissed their action as that of sore losers. There were others who also thought that the action would deepen democracy in Ghana. I subscribe to the latter view on the basis that even ahead of the ruling, the benefits to how we practise democracy in Ghana have began to accrue and over the coming years will become even more apparent.

It is a fundamental principle of democracy that anyone who feels aggrieved should be able to avail themselves of legitimate means of seeking redress. For democracy to thrive, the principle that no one is above the law should be upheld. Seeing the sitting President (though not in his Presidential capacity) being a respondent in a case before the courts should be ample demonstration of this principle. The thinly-veiled warning by Justice Atuguba for the President to conduct himself in a manner that would not be contemptuous of the court will also serve as a plank in the type of democracy that Ghana is seeking to build. I am looking forward to the day when a sitting President can be questioned under oath by investigators.

There is something unique about Ghanaian's presidential election petition as Patrick Smith shows:

Similar efforts to scrutinise and assess presidential elections in the United States in 2000 and in Kenya in March this year took less than two weeks, and the judges’ conclusions – to endorse the election of George W. Bush and Uhuru Kenyatta, respectively – were highly contested.
In Ghana, it will have taken more than 50 days of tortuous legal argument, all broadcast live on national television.
The petitioners from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) surprised almost everyone in their efforts to prove that their presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, was unfairly denied victory.
The judges and their advisers were awash in paperwork.
The NPP submitted copies of result sheets from more than 11,000 out of 26,000 polling stations, deluging the court with nearly half a million documents.

Bigger questions, he argues, revolve around issues beyond the petition:

Beyond the immediate drama of the courtroom, there is a nagging question. Was it all worth it?

Doubtless, the Supreme Court judges have dutifully analysed the mechanics of the elections and are likely to make constructive recommendations.

But bigger questions weigh on Ghana's politics beyond the judges’ competence.

How functional and fair is the winner-takes-all system – with a presidency that appoints the cabinet, the heads of the parastatal companies and the regional premiers with few formal requirements to consult other parties?

Worse still, the institutions trying to make the government accountable, such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, lack the resources and the political backing to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.

As the wait for the Supreme Court to rule continued, a message from the grassroots surfaced: a survey by Berlin-based Transparency International reported that 20 percent of Ghanaians thought that corruption in the country was increasing, particularly among police officers.

Long after the learned friends have spoken, these are issues with which Ghana's politicians will have to grapple.

No matter what the court decision will be, says Angela Slater, Ghana will have to live with the results of one of the biggest legal decisions the country has ever seen:

Can Ghana handle the Supreme Court batting down election results and potentially deposing the current administration? Are Ghanaians able to accept the consequences of the judicial review entrenched in their constitution? This is the question that keeps Ghanaians up at night, and it is the reason you can’t go anywhere without hearing about those pink sheets [results forms]. The concern is legitimate. One of those jailed for contempt of court [The Supreme Court jailed Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, Managing Editor of The Daily Searchlight and Stephen Atubiga, a member of the ruling National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) communication team for criminal contempt] was a member of the incumbent party who threatened violence if his party was deposed by the court decision. Although he later apologized, his threat plays on the fears of many Ghanaians who know all too well what it means to live under threat of war.

The trial is now coming to a close, and soon Ghana will have to live with the results of one of the biggest legal decisions this country has ever seen. In making its decision, the court has three options: to uphold the election results, call a new election, or award the election victory to the opposing party.

Ameenu Shardow discusses the possible effects of the court's ruling on Ghana's 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zambia, which takes place a few days after the verdict:

The Players
The players who will be representing Ghana on that day will certainly not be immune to the emotions and general mood of the country by then. They are an extension of the larger Ghanaian community so not to kid ourselves, they will be affected. This prospect however can be either good or bad depending on the immediate aftermath of the verdict.
Bad in the sense that a lacklustre performance will be displayed depending on key factors such as a) the state of the country by then b) if they will enjoy that massive support they have been so used to in Kumasi c) will there even be a functioning government in place to promise fat bonuses and the like (dependent on verdict).

1) I suggest the Ghana FA and other related agencies to start getting their plans and all other arrangements in place from now as time really is not on our side.
2) Make an alternative plan including an alternative venue outside the country if need be to ensure the match comes off regardless of what becomes of our country by the time. This will be very difficult due to factors I have earlier mentioned in this piece.
3) Be part of the campaign to educate our people that our dear nation must go on as usual regardless the ruling that is made. Another difficult task but it’s worth the shot.

Ghana Decides, a non-partisan project that was formed to foster a better-informed electorate for free, fair and safe 2012 elections using online social media tools, has prepared pre- and post-verdict events to keep citizens and the world informed and engaged:

The decision to broadcast the petition on national television has given Ghanaians a very rare opportunity not only to see proceedings in the nation’s highest court, but also to have a better understanding of the electoral law.

In preparation for the final ruling which is expected on August 29, 2013, Ghana Decides has outlined a list of activities to keep the citizenry and the rest of the world informed and engaging.

Firstly, Barcamp Tema, which comes off on Saturday, 10 August , 2013 will include a “Peace, One Ghana” segment in which participants would be required to write a peace message inside a printed speech bubble and pose for pictures with it. On Twitter, follow #bctema and #tema00.

A Twitter debate on the election petition will also be held on Tuesday, 13 August at 2PM. We suggest that people follow Ghana Decides (@GhanaDecides) to be able to participate in or follow the debate.

The verdict on the petition will be covered live by accredited personnel of Ghana Decides on social media. This will be followed immediately by post-verdict interviews to find out the reactions of Ghanaians to the ruling.

Barcamp Tamale, which will be held on 17 August , 2013, will also feature the “Peace, One Ghana” segment.

A Google + Hangout some time in August will take more post-verdict reactions from the public.

kumadorian hopes that other African countries are learning from the Ghanaian experience of resorting to the rule of law rather than violence:

Once again Ghanaians have shown to the whole world that it is better to resort to the rule of law to resolve disputes rather than through violent means. This was as a result of the Election Petition Case before the Supreme Court of the country. This has shown how democracy is gradually gaining grounds in the country and i hope other African countries are learning some lessons from what just happened in Ghana. Currently the Justices of the Supreme Court are yet to come out with their ruling on the Election Petition. As they take their time to come out with a ruling that will not jeopadize the nation’s fledgling democratic dispensation, Ghanaians have been asked to accept the ruling of the Justices of the Supreme Court. The National Peace Council and the two political parties involved in the dispute have all taken it upon themselves to educate their followers not to resort to violence when the final ruling comes out.

He concludes:

Lets all do our best to ensure that the peace that we have enjoyed in this country is sustained and strengthened. We have only one Ghana and there is no place like home. God bless Ghana my homeland and make her great and strong.

Louise Burke, an Australian journalist and photographer living in Ghana, imagines what will happen after the verdict:

So, what happens after the decision?
The potential reaction to the decision is very much an unknown factor right now.
In the weeks since the court heard final comments from both parties, community and religious leaders have been urging Ghanaians to accept the result without violence.
Most people who I have talked to believe the result will likely be peaceful, with potential for some pockets of protest.
Despite a series of military coups since independence was granted in 1957, Ghana’s modern political history is relatively non-violent.
However, the country is not immune to small eruptions of protest. In the short time I have been here there was a situation in a suburb of the capital, Accra, where protests by drivers over the state of the roads led to some rioting.
There has also been a noticeable increase in police and military displays on the streets in preparation for the decision.

On Twitter, Dorsah Gariba (@gdpharm95) hopes Ghana will score political democratic leadership in Africa:

July 24 2013

Sympathy for the ‘Devil'

Sympathy for the ‘Devil’

This past Sunday’s #New_York_Times features a delightful article (“A Visit From the Devil: Feared Traditional Priest From #Ghana Spends a Year in the Bronx“) on Ghanaian priest Nana #Kwaku_Bonsam’s year-long residency in the Bronx. Reporter Jed Lipinki is fairly non-judgmental and respectful in his depiction of what is commonly called #African_traditional_religion (ATR), [...]


June 19 2013

‘China Open Mic': Examining China's Development Footprint in Africa

The Ghanaian government arrested about 169 Chinese illegal miners early June as part of a crackdown on illegal mining in Africa's second largest gold producer. All 169 miners were later released after talks involving the two countries. However, 1,072 Chinese gold miners in Ghana have returned to their homes since the crackdown.

The arrests and the release of the miners were the topic of the very first China Open Mic Google hangout organised by China Open Mic Sunday, June 16, 2013.

China Open Mic logo. Image source:

China Open Mic logo. Image source:

China Open Mic (@ChinaOpenMic) is an open space that aims to inform and transform thinking on China in global development in the digital age, and to explore how China’s development can benefit all. It offers an open and comprehensive perspective that connects currently divided narratives on a rising China in international media.

Introducing the topic, Andy Shuai Liu, founder and editor of China Open Mic and a communications consultant for international development, wrote:

The recent arrests and release of Chinese miners* in Ghana have started another round of debates over China’s growing presence in Africa. Much has been covered in international media. Many discussions have looked at issues such as China’s foreign investments and Chinese labor in Africa.

One of the ideas that the discussion explored was, does it matter if the cat is white or black?:

If we look back at the recent history, we will be reminded that Deng Xiaoping, the reformist Chinese leader, encouraged economic development by all means when he opened up the Middle Kingdom to the world in 1979.

“It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice,” said Deng.

Today, we may be in a world that is just a bit different. Can we then still say, “Don’t mind the illegal miners, so long as they’ve got us gold”?

Below is the recording of the hangout posted on YouTube:

The panel was composed of specialists in China-Africa relations:

Jemila Abdulai (@jabdulai), founder and editor of Circumspect, a blog on Ghana, Africa and development

Shuang Bin (TBC), scholar in democracy and governance with a focus on China-Africa relations

Hongxiang Huang, freelance journalist for Southern Weekly and the Atlantic, founder of China-South Dialogue and business representative for a Chinese company in Kenya.

Merlin Linehan (@MerlinLinehan) (TBC), founder of advisory firm China in Africa and specialist in trade and investment in China and other emerging markets

Winslow Robertson (@Winslow_R), historian, specialist in China-Africa relations, and founder of the Sino-Africa DC group

The panel addressed the following questions:

What are the historical linkages between China and Ghana?

How are the poor in Ghana and in China related to the escalation of the dispute over gold mining?

What are the challenges for both China and Ghana to ensure that their development efforts are fair to, and can benefit, all?

Looking ahead, how can China, Africa and international communities work together to strengthen the rule of law and promote good governance for optimal development outcomes?

In this post, Andy Shuai Liu, who was the moderator of the hangout, shared a summary of what he learned:

1. How do local people think of illegal mining and Chinese miners in Ghana?:

Jemila Abdulai: Foreign investors, including Chinese ones, make profits with Ghana’s gold but do not invest back in local communities where people’s livelihoods largely depend on gold

2. How is the Western media covering these issues?:

Winslow Robertson: Media coverage in the U.S. and Europe is split between balanced reports linking to the facts and reports that might be over-interpreting the issue

3. How have China and Ghana interacted historically?

Winslow Roberts: This is one of the situations where the Chinese government and the Ghanaian government have friendly relations; but then Chinese citizens and Ghanaian citizens in different sectors might have different relations.

4. According to Deng Xiaoping, the reformist leader who opened up China to market economy and foreign investments in 1979, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” Does it matter now which cat catches the mice?

Hongxiang Huang: Yes, the black cat and the white cat can both catch mice. But maybe in the long run, the black cat, [for example]… does not only catch the mice. It can also damage the furniture… and cause other problems.

See the full summary here.

June 16 2013

Follow ChinainAfrica Open Mic Hangout Online

The #ChinainAfrica Open Mic Hangout on Chinese miners in Ghana and China-Africa relations is live online. Watch it on YouTube and follow it on Twitter using the hashtag #ChinaOpenMic.

June 07 2013

Chinese Allegedly Mine Gold Illegally in Ghana

Xinhua News reported that 124 Chinese allegedly involved in illegal gold mining were arrested and detained in Ghana. Nationalists demanded the Chinese government to protect and avenge its citizens. On the other hand, more reflective comments criticized the discrimination against African people in Chinese gold mining business in Ghana. Offbeat China has the details.

May 18 2013

Conference Brings Together Women Writers of African Ancestry

Yari Yari Ntoaso is an international conference on literature by women of African ancestry. You can follow in on Twitter using #YariYari hashtag or on Kinna Reads blog.

April 23 2013

Ghana's First Ever Social Media Award Winners

The results are in for Ghana's first ever social media awards.

Thirteen people and organizations were awarded on March 23, 2013 for their outstanding use of social media to create content and promote their work during ceremony in Ghana, which was attended by US Ambassador to Ghana Gene A. Cretz. The contest was hosted by Blogging Ghana, a group of bloggers and social media users writing out of Ghana or about the Ghanaian experience.



Blogging Ghana's website displays the following as the winners of the various categories listed:

  1. Best Business and Commerce Blog  -  eStock Analysis.
  2. Best Technology Blog  - Techy-Africa.
  3. Best Organisational Blog  -  AccraDotAlt.
  4. Best Showbiz and Entertainment Blog  -
  5. Best Activist Blog   - Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women
  6. Best Citizen Journalism Blog - Circumspect
  7. Best Lifestyle Blog  -
  8. Best Creative, Literary, Short Stories, Poetry Blog  -
  9. Best Photo Blog  - A window to Ghana and Africa – Nana Kofi Acquah
  10. Award for Personality with the Best Social Media Presence  - @mutomboDaPoet
  11. Best Original Content goes - Kodjo Deynoo Poetry
  12. Best Blog - Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women
  13. Honorary Award for Exemplary Social Media Activism - Ghana Decides

According to Blogging Ghana website, nominations for the award were received from 314 people, totaling 1,128 nominations spread over 13 categories. That averages about 87 nominations per category.

March 25 2013

Ingérences et manipulations au Soudan

Quels facteurs ont conduit à la sécession du Sud au Soudan, après le référendum d'autodétermination du 9 juillet 2011 — qui a entériné l'existence de deux Etats, la République du Soudan du Sud et la République du Soudan —, et quelle en est la portée ? Selon l'ancien ambassadeur français au Soudan, arabisant (...) / Afrique, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), Israël, Soudan, Christianisme, Conflit, Islam, Religion, Ghana, Conflit du Darfour, Coup d'État, Mouvement de libération, Indépendance, Soudan du Sud - 2013/03

March 06 2013

Bloggers Duke it Out for Ghana's First Ever Social Media Awards

For the first time in the country's online history, the best and brightest of Ghana's blogosphere will be awarded for their social media savvy.

BloggingGhana, a group of bloggers and social media users writing out of Ghana or the Ghanaian experience, will recognize the best bloggers and social media mavens in categories ranging from technology to citizen journalism to photography in the country's first ever social media awards on March 23, 2013.

Logo of the organising committee. Image source:

Logo of the organising committee. Image source:

The competition is fierce. The blogging group received nominations for the awards from 314 people, totaling 1,128 nominations spread over 13 categories, according to their website. That averages about 87 nominations per category.

Categories for the awards include:

  • Best Technology Blog
  • Best Business & Commerce Blog
  • Best Citizen Journalism Blog
  • Best Creative, Literary Short Stories, Poetry Blog
  • Best Showbiz and Entertainment Blog
  • Best Lifestyle Blog
  • Best Activist Blog
  • Best Photo Blog
  • Best Organisational Blog
  • Best Blog

Other Social Media Categories

  • Personality with Best Social Media Presence
  • Organisation with Best Social Media Presence
  • Best Original Content


The Social Media Awards officially kicked off on January 8, 2013, launched under the theme “Content is King”. BloggingGhana co-founder Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) tweeted:

@kajsaha: With this tweet, I mandate the #Blogcamp13 team to go find the Best Blogger in 2012! May the best win! #233moments

BloggingGhana reported that they began to receive nominations only a few hours after the awards’ official launch. The nomination period closed February 1, 2013.

Born from a small meet-up of bloggers in 2008, BloggingGhana seeks to educate the general public in Ghana on social media and promote citizen journalism. Writing about that first meeting, BloggingGhana states on its website:

We wrote:

“we would like to bring the Ghanaian blog community together in real life! There is so much to say…about our green homeland, if Blogger is better than WordPress, if labels are useful, how best to boost and count traffic,  what Internet cafées [sic] are fast and of course how blogging changes your life…”

Continuing the tradition of bringing bloggers together offline, the organization hosted a day of workshops in Ghana on May 5, 2012, dubbed BlogCamp. Blogger and science teacher Gameli Adzaho wrote about the event in a post titled “Unforgetable memories of #BlogCamp 2012″:

There are some memories that are easily swept off by the tidal waves of time and events. There are others that are etched deep in our consciousness, replaying like sweet music in our minds as the days roll by. BlogCamp 2012, organised by BloggingGhana, Ghana’s biggest social media community, falls into the latter category. Held at Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on 5 May 2012, and sponsored by Vodafone Ghana, Google Ghana, US Embassy Accra, etc., Ghana’s first BlogCamp truly lived up to its theme of creating the “Voice of a New Generation”

To cast your vote for best of Ghana's blogs, visit here.

February 27 2013

Ghana: Vote for African Women's Development Fund Blog

Vote for African Women's Development Fund blog: “I’m really pleased that AWDF’s blog has been nominated in the category of ‘best organisational blog’. Many thanks to all of the AWDF staff that have contributed to this blog. I plan to revamp this blog soon with even more exciting content.”

February 06 2013

When Bob Marley Went to Africa

Sean Jacobs reviews Kevin MacDonald’s critically film, “Marley,”: “The film opens on the Ghanaian coast at the remnants of a slave post, the camera then pans over the Atlantic, finally settling on the green hills of rural Jamaica (Marley’s birthplace Nine Mile) from where it picks up Bob Marley’s story, thus cementing a link between the continent and its new world diaspora.”

February 04 2013

Ghana: Alternative Medicine Practitioners Invest in New Technologies

Alternative medicine practitioners in Ghana have decided to invest in new technologies, Kofi Domfeh reports:”M.Y. Ventures, a natural healthcare center, has introduced a swap card technology that helps protect the privacy and data confidentiality of patients.”

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