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Looking back in history, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country where Europeans arrived to trade, first in gold, and later in slaves. It was also the first African nation to achieve independence from its colonial power - Great Britain. Despite being rich in mineral resources, and endowed with a good education system and efficient civil service, Ghana fell victim to corruption and mismanagement soon after its independence in 1957.
Nine years later, in 1966, and tired of the corruption and mismanagement, its first president and pan-African hero, Kwame Nkrumah, was deposed in a coup.
By this time Togo, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria had also achieved independence, adding to the then naïveté of West African self-determination. Liberia, with its freed African-American slaves, added to the mix, in the struggle for maturity.
After Nkrumah, years of mostly military-style rule followed until, in 1981, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings staged a second coup. This moved Ghana towards greater economic stability, and democracy. In April 1992 a constitution allowing for a multi-party system was approved in a referendum, ushering in a period of sustained democracy that is enjoyed to this day.
John Kufuor succeeded Rawlings and was re-elected in 2004. In 2008 John Atta Mills won the presidential election and took over as head of state. But, he died in July 2012 and was constitutionally succeeded by his vice president John Dramani Mahama, who subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election. As one of Africa’s most-followed leaders on social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook, he went on record to say that all of West Africa is under the threat of militant criminal elements under the guise of Islam.
Being a staunch campaigner for sustainability, Mahama has a keen interest in environmental affairs, particularly the problem of single-use plastic waste pollution in Africa.
Under his rule, Ghana is a well-administered country by regional standards, and is seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa. Even so, there is an underlying fiscal problem that poses a distinct threat to the country (discussed below). Ghana also needs a comprehensive job creation strategy to accommodate the poorly educated, especially women with a 65% literacy rate. Male literacy stands at 78%.
A 2011 World Bank report on Ghana’s infrastructure paints a mixed picture. Ghana has succeeded in increasing household access to telephone, power and water services by developing its national infrastructure backbones. In so doing, includes equal services to rural areas. However, despite Ghana’s success with increasing access to infrastructural services, the quality of service remains low. Perhaps the most dramatic case is in the water sector, where exceptionally high losses divert more than half of the water produced, leaving little to reach end customers, who are thus exposed to intermittent supplies. Until this issue is resolved, Ghana’s recent technical achievement of the Millennium Development Goal for water supply will remain a hollow victory. Power supply is also increasingly subject to reliability problems that stem from neglect of aging transmission and distribution assets. Even in mobile telephony, the increasing rate of dropped calls has become a concern. This overall pattern suggests that Ghana may benefit from a systematic framework for regulating the quality of public services, which is impacted by disruptive labour unrest.
• Energy: With its installed generating capacity of 1.985 million kW, Ghana produces about 8.213 billion kWh and consumes about 5.311 billion kWh of electricity, giving it 1.036 billion kWh of exports when it has the surplus, which today does not occur as, more recently, power shortages in Ghana have worsened because of a shortfall in natural gas, falling water levels at the hydroelectric dam and unexpected maintenance at plants. This leads government to cut power to factories for 48 hours at a time and to residences for at least 24 hours.
Crude Oil production is roughly 79 630 bbl/day, with imports of 32 060 bbl/day to meet the country’s consumption shortfall. Ghana’s proved crude oil reserves are approximately 660 million bbl. Ghana produces 50 million m3 of natural gas and consumes 120 million m3, the difference of which is imported. Of its own proved reserves, it has 22.65 billion m3.
As to Carbon dioxide emissions from its consumption of energy, Ghana produces 9.005 million Mt per annum.
Is South Africa a good place to invest? Yes, it is, but there are a few things that need to be addressed, sooner rather than later. Even so, the ANC’s post-election statement, that it is to focus on business development and the implementation of the National Development Plan, is good news.
Zimbabwe – Tony Stone
Zimbabwe is a land of amazing potential and opportunity.
Will Zimbabwe be saved at the 11th hour, as South Africa was saved? Or, will we flip-flop through history because it’s leaders don’t understand the concepts of human rights and democracy.