Ghana Moving Forward Without Aid Requires A New Paradigm Of Thinking.

My trip to the  United States is a blend of pleasure and business, but knowing me, It becomes more  business than pleasure. Prior to my departure from my home country Ghana, I had sent emails to the Ghana mission in New York and Washington announcing my presence in the country and asking for the possibility of meeting the team in the embassy to discuss relevant things.  Little did I know that I would be faced with the biggest challenge ever of having access to what is supposed to be my country’s high commission. Do I need any special protocol to access my states people? I am very concerned because if something as common as answering the phone becomes another bureaucratic process, I wonder where we are heading to.

From meetings in New York and getting on the phone to talk to the  Ghana mission in New York and Washington, I concluded that the government of Ghana either made very wrong decisions selecting the team that works at the embassies or they have ill trained personnels working there. How do we even begin to talk about trade or tourism promotion when the first point of call, the gate way to the country isn’t responsive?
One of the key purpose of the establishment of missions, I believe is to look out for the interest of citizens, but I doubt if this is the case of Ghana as I have heard most Ghanaians living here complain bitterly about how inefficient the system is and how they have had to go through many challenges to access simple services as passport renewals.

I read on the Ghana New York website a few reasons for relocating to Ghana and it included:

A stable political environment, with established democratic institutions and systems to ensure good governance.
Abundant, adaptable, easily trainable and cost-effective labour force.
Excellent sea and air connections with Europe and the USA
A strategic and central location within the West Africa sub-region providing access to a total market of around 250 million people. A dynamic private sector willing to collaborate with foreign partners. A high degree of personal safety.
While most of these remain true, I am not too sure about  how investors can be convinced to invest in Ghana when the first point of contact which usually is the missions are not ready to engage. While these observations are from my personal view and experiences, I know that many others have experienced same and agree that to attract investments, we must be ready.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel this readiness especially with our missions abroad, its almost like people forget where they are, why they are there and the agenda they are supposed to be promoting.
Must it be the case always that we must call in favors to access our own embassies to access information? and even in the cases for some of us that can call in favors, it takes a very long time to even get responses so I wonder what the missions are busy doing and not having dedicated people to come to the phone.
You see, I realized earlier that the challenge is not where Ghanaians are, but its the mindset that needs to change. If you visit the Ghana mission’s website in New York, there is a link to access relevant ministries in Ghana, key to which includes https://ghanaconsulatenewyork.org/useful_links.php but guess what when you contact the email addresses there? you are lucky if you receive a response. Is it that we are not e-commerce savvy as well, especially in a fast technologically paced global space?
On this same website, one of the very important part of any economy trade, has the website link  http://www.moti.gov.gh/home/  not working  so I am wondering where visitors should go to to access relevant trade information

Developing countries usually require foreign direct investments and increased market access for their goods and services to help grow their economies, and embassies play key roles in bringing these into the country. We need to have effective leadership in all our diplomatic missions. I am beginning to question the role Ghana’s missions play abroad. So let’s consider a simple scenario of a foreign investor who has heard so much about Ghana, excited about the prospects there and wanting to do some business, calls the contacts online and sends several emails and receives no response. What do you think is going to happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

Information must be readily available and accessible, we must remove all barriers that affects and limits trade in our country and foster ways of creating investor friendly relations. The typical lackadaisical Ghanaian attitude that we import abroad must stop, we must quickly adopt a global mindset of approaching business and development and endeavor as much as possible to be good stewards and ambassadors of our country. We must be meticulous with information we put out there and ensure that people are responsive. I love Ghana, committed to Ghana and will continue to work on my efforts to promote the center of the world. We must all get involved to build something great and beautiful

Namibia Bans Foreign Travel For Government Officials

Namibia has banned all foreign travel by public officials as the southern African country tries to rein in government expenditure.

The ban will be in place until at least February, the country’s presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.

“No request for outbound travel by ministers, deputy ministers and other political office bearers will be considered until after the end of February,” the statement said.

“This directive is specifically in the interest of curtailing public expenditure,” the statement added.

The country’s economy is heavily dependent on mineral exports, but the global price contraction in the commodity market has affected its main exports, uranium and diamonds – leading to severe budget cuts.

The presidency said the directive applies with immediate effect.

The cash crisis has led to President Hage Geingob grounding his presidential jet. Last week, the president took a scheduled commercial flight to attend the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

The country’s defence ministry will send thousands of soldiers on leave next month because the army has run out of money to feed them or to pay water and electricity bills, The Namibian, an independent newspaper, reported Wednesday. At least seven military bases will be affected by the move, the report added.

Soldiers who are currently on leave have been told not to report back to work.

In August, Moody – the credit rating agency – downgraded Namibia’s debt status to junk.

 

Source: Aljazeera

Liberia’s George Weah Slashes His Salary and Vows to Change ‘racist’ Constitution

President will divert some of his wages to a development fund and seek to allow foreign ownership of property.

Reuters

Liberian president George Weah

Liberia’s newly sworn-in president, George Weah, pledged to cut his own salary by a quarter during a nationwide address in which he warned of tough times ahead for a “broke” country.

“The state of the economy that my administration inherited leaves a lot to do and to be decided,” the former international soccer star said on Monday in an address apparently aimed at managing expectations following his election victory at the end of last year to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising,” Weah said. “Unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”

But since winning the poll in the poor, coastal west African nation, the award-winning former AC Milan and Paris St Germain striker has been at pains to show just how daunting he understands the task ahead to be.

“In view of the very rapidly deteriorating situation of the economy, I am informing you today, with immediate effect, that I will reduce my salary and benefits by 25%,” Weah said, pledging the savings to a development fund for Liberia.

The announcement of a pay cut for himself is likely go down well on a continent long used to officials in high office awarding themselves extravagant pay rises and perks.

Liberia suffered civil wars from 1989-2003 that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Then, as it was recovering in the past decade, it was hit by low prices for its chief exports, iron ore and rubber, and an Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016.

Africa’s oldest republic was established by freed slaves from the US and declared independent in 1847. As a quirk of that history only “people of colour” are constitutionally allowed to become Liberian and only Liberians can own property.

Weah described these clauses as “unnecessary, racist and inappropriate”. He said he would push to allow anyone to apply for citizenship and for foreigners to own property.

Nobel peace prize winner Johnson Sirleaf, who was barred from running again, was applauded for shoring up peace but criticised for failing to tackle corruption or do much to spread economic gain beyond her elite circle.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

Leadership Through My Eyes

Attendees At Lead2Lead Conference

I recall my time in Westminster Palace, in the House of Commons we discussed a few leadership issues.I had sponsored my self to the high profile meeting because prior to the meeting, even though I had informed the Ghana High Commission in London about the importance of the meeting, I didn’t see any representative there. Perhaps, it was not a priority to attract such investment.

I looked across the room to identify fellow Africans who had traveled to London on the tax payers money. I had listened to most of the conversations and asked myself, if the taxpayer would be happy about how their leaders represent them while away, if they knew some of them didn’t have their interest at heart.

So the issue of leadership in Africa has been challenging, its endemic and ingrained. So when I told my friend that I was attending a leadership event, he said “You know my views on this so called “Leadership Summits” He meant in so many ways that it would be another talk shop, one that would have people wear the best of clothes and come do a talk party, eat the choicest of meals and use their VIP tags to explore all the priveleges  and go back home talking about how great the food was or how they wished they had more drinks.

Well, I had same thoughts, and shared a tweet about it saying ” I hope to hear something that I haven’t heard before that would make a difference”

Well, I attended the Live2Lead event because of the reputation of the individual that invited me and the brand that she represented. I shared the content of the event with another friend who got a ticket and I had my fingers crossed that we weren’t going to be disappointed.

Over the years, John C. Maxwell’s books had inspired and caused a shift in my disposition so I attended the event, and oh, my friend did too and wasn’t disappointed she did.

One thing however got me thinking a lot, I realized during the role call of institutions present, there were a lot from the churches and a few from corporate Ghana and none from any politically affiliated group, so I asked why.

Why did we have a lot of leaders from the Christian faith attend the event in their numbers? someone passed a comment and said, “well, the church shapes our society, so perhaps, its a good thing they came in their numbers to get some knowledge so they can influence their followers positively.”  While I agree, I am also concerned about policy makers who do not invest in seminars and forums like this one.

So at least I heard something that was put differently from how I have received it in the past ” Follow a leader because of what they have seen of the future. Leaders see more than others see and they see before any one else.” John C. Maxwell.

Conference Panelist Mr. Ebo Whyte Sharing His Take On Leadership

This was the international highlight for me during this event.

A Ghanaian playwright, popularly known as Uncle Ebo Whyte, when asked to comment about leadership in Ghana, commented by giving an illustration. He stated that, if there was a ship that docked on the shores of Ghana asking Ghanaians to get aboard to be taken to America, the ship won’t sail because the volume of desperate people that want to leave the shores will sink it.

This was some food for thought, because the challenge of growth and development is a mindset. The playwright had challenged Ghanaians to see the need and take the lead.

If there are many challenges in the country, then perhaps, there are many opportunities to fix these challenge by getting thinkers to offer the solution needed for growth. Unfortunately, the challenge has been lack of thinkers  and people that see beyond obstacles.

I recall when history was told, when the Belgians in South Africa realized they couldn’t go back to their country and were stuck in South Africa, had to create memories of their home country in the new land they found themselves in by developing it to the standard they were used to,hence the development that is much admired today on the land.

The right attitude, coupled with a renewed mindset and a selfless persona that is inspired by servant leadership can build Africa. It’s important however that the cleaning up continues so there is the avoidance of stench which corrupts and becomes endemic to growth and development.

If You Can’t Honor Your Word, Don’t Make A Commitment

Some people take so many things for granted when it comes to business. First of all,  if any one decided to do business with you, its because they have built some level of trust, confidence and to some extent relationship with you. Honoring your word is a key test of a person’s reputation or commitment.

When you say yes, it means you have verbally accepted a proposal to honor your word with the delivery of a service or product. It’s important that before you say yes, you think through the request hard and long so that you don’t end up messing up your hard earned reputation.

Scenario 1:

David, a young man in the print industry is an example I would like to to share today. Our first meet up was via the computer. I had googled print companies in Ghana and chanced by his company  www.customandprint.com

I thought that his concept was interesting and for a minute didn’t think that it was a company in Ghana as people around here are still getting used to doing things online. But his business model was awesome, I loved it  because it offered convenience and no time wasting and so I tried my first order.

David personally delivered my first t-shirts when the courier company failed to pick up my order from his office. Showing up at my residence and he had worn my trust. He said he would deliver and he had honored his word. David assured me that if I had any challenge with the order, he would personally pick it up and replace it at no charge to me. Well, a few days later, I noticed a challenge, gave him a call, showed him the evidence and in no time, he drove personally to pick up the product for a replacement like he said he would.

What this had done for me as a client is strengthen my trust for him and his company and increased his reputation as a service provider. It has harnessed our relationship and its what will make me a loyal customer.

Scenario 2

Jeremy and I have known  each other for some years, although not perfect, had delivered on most occasions until now. Complacency is something that we have to be mindful of if we are running a business. We must be even more mindful when our customer base increases. This is a good reason to be more creative and find new ways of delivering on our word. Many customers means, you have to stop thinking as a sole proprietor and seek partnerships or joint venture else, you end up taking on too much and destroying your hard earned reputation.

Jeremy is overwhelmed, he has taken on too much that he can handle and this is affecting his delivery. He has began making excuses.

Excuses, can be a way of  reducing our reputation. Customers like people that always find a way to solve a challenge instead of giving reasons why something can’t be done or having a narrow approach to solving a challenge.

I had given Jeremy an opportunity to earn, he had said yes, began the delivery process but jumped ship when he hit a road block. Instead of looking at how to deal with this challenge, he decided to find the easy way out without thinking of the long term effects.

Sometimes we all do this, we allow our emotions to have  the best part of us  especially while engaged in the delivery process as service providers. What happened to the customer is right all the time? Whilst some people would argue this, I think that the statement helps service provider to always give off their best. So let’s just say that you as a service provider is right and the customer is wrong.

How do you communicate this information in a way that is a win win. I have observed that hearing the customers complaints or challenge is a way of improving our own skill sets and strengthening our brand. If a customer makes an observation, its because its a challenge.

So after agreeing on delivering the service and only honoring his word for a few days instead of what was intended, Jeremy refuses to answer his phone or return my calls after several attempts. I got very frustrated, angry and disappointed for this kind of treatment. I felt that he had disrespected me. Instead of going on to fix the challenge, he was very adamant and kept on defending his own position and why he did what he did.

Who amongst these two would you continue to do business with?

Tell Me About Your Accommodation In Ghana?

 

 

Amazing experience, a hustle free rental process

The importance of accommodation can not be over emphasized and the current housing deficit in Ghana presents an opportunity and a challenge at once. While the real estate industry could be the next gold mine in the country, its non enforceable rent control regulations has made the cost of living very expensive and not encouraging a lot of savings.

Not  long ago MoveHub, an international relocation company  rated Ghana as the most expensive country to live in on the African continent. While this is arguable, the research findings was based on a few factors and  assessment on a range of costs, such as the price of groceries, transport, bills, restaurants and rents.

It was easy for me to find accommodation and  arrange a monthly pay plan any where else but Ghana.

The challenge of a rent advance almost impossible for most people, could also be due to a few factors. In my opinion, I think that the lack of credit worthiness of some or most Ghanaians push landlords to charge at least 24 months rent advance. They don’t have to worry about collecting their money until after two years and they can use the bulk sum to solve immediate challenges. This too is understandable.

While landlords argue that the cost of building and the investments they make developing the properties doesn’t not give them such flexibility to provide a short term rental service, prospective tenants complain about the long term tenancy agreements.

I have always considered ways of making accommodation affordable but almost always hit with some road block because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, the problem didn’t seem to go away.

During my monthly business light talks called Kasabiz, I was very happy to engage a patriot of the land who has also being concerned about this challenge and had taken proactive measures to ensure that this challenge be come a thing of the past. A true stalwart and an astute individual with a high sense of quality and attention to detail.

He had observed his living standards in his resident country Canada and over the years had tried to offer some level of comfort to Ghanaians by bridging the housing gap and offering an alternative solution in a secure environment with an awesome condominiums to assist Ghanaians.

Dr. George Obeng a well composed almost perfect even in his imperfect state as described his modest self in the very subtle of reaction, is a good example of the many Ghanaians doing amazing. For the first time that I know of, its very simple and easy to rent an estate. Register for a visit, fill up property details form, wait for a response and you are good as gold to have an amazing experience in any of the condos with an all inclusive pay plan.

So when next you are in Ghana with the family and for a longer stay, I recommend you check out www.summerhillestate.com

You may want to consider the options available to you if you live in Ghana and exploring a more flexible way to make rent.