Tag: Kirsty Osei-Bempong


Podcast: Should the African presence in Tudor England be taught in British schools?

Onyeka Nubia

Onyeka Nubia

Historian Onyeka Nubia is pushing for the African presence in Tudor England (1485-1603) to be included in Britain’s National Curriculum.

With the support of educational organisation Narrative Eye, the author of:Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, Their Presence, Status and Origins’, has already presented over 5,000 signatures to the House of Commons. 

“We wanted Black Tudors to be included in particular because it is pre-Trans-Atlantic slavery, pre-scientific racism and therefore would give ALL children a perspective of an African presence before Trans-Atlantic slavery kicks in. And it gives them a window into medieval which is even more interesting,” he told MisBeee.

“We are still pushing that and it’s hard work. Obviously, it’s not an overnight thing ….”.

In his book, Onyeka argues that Africans had a rich and diverse presence in Tudor England that transcends the familiar and singular slavery story.

In a series of exclusive podcasts with Onyeka, MisBeee explores what it meant to be an African in Tudor times, and how these African figures have shaped modern Britain.

Check out Part I: Introductions

And Part II: Abolitionist pioneers Ottobah Cugano and Olaudah Equiano.

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

An interview with Ghanaian author Frances Mensah Williams

Growing up between cultures, because the country you live in is different to your ancestral roots, can be a challenging journey of self-discovery. That’s why for me, reading From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams, was a complete revelation.

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Here was a novelist who skilfully articulates these insecurities about identity and deftly weaves them into an engaging story about cultural awakening.

If only this book had been around when I was growing up!
The novel, published by Jacaranda Books Art Music, charts the experiences of 20-something Ghana-born Londoner Faye Bonsu who grapples with understanding her place as an Anglo-Ghanaian.

Her understanding of herself is tested when her infuriating boyfriend Michael challenges her constantly about a heritage she knows very little about. When she decides to find out about her Asante roots, she realises there is much more to her than she previously thought.

 

Frances takes some time out of her busy schedule to share some insights with me on her book. She explains in the first of three YouTube vlog instalments here, why food features so heavily in the novel.

In part two, she explains why a book on the experiences of a British-Ghanaian living in London is every bit as authentic as a piece of ‘African’ literature set in a rural African country.
And in the final instalment here, she talks about a From Pasta to Pigfoot sequel, set for publication in April 2016, and a possible TV adaptation.

 

From Pasta to Pigfoot is Frances’ first novel but the Ghana-born author is a seasoned writer who has penned two non-fiction books. She is also the chief executive of award-winning UK-based human resource company Interims for Development, and is the publisher and managing editor of website and online magazine ReConnect Africa.

Frances’ other accomplishments include an inspiring TEDxTalks presentation at the beginning of the year entitled Where is home. And the bookworms among you will recall she launched From Pasta to Pigfoot at literary festival Africa Writes 2015 in July.
By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Ghana’s Gitmo dilemma

In the same week that Ghana’s interest rates soared to an eye watering 17.7%, a US Embassy official admitted Ghana would be sharing the upkeep costs for two Guantanamo Bay ex-detainees.

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef (left) and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby (right)

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef (left) and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby (right)

Yemeni Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Saudi-born Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were transferred on 6 January by the US to live in Ghana for two years.

The transfer followed an agreement between the two countries that reportedly has been going on for a year.


Truth and lies

Daniel Fennell, head of public affairs at Ghana’s US Embassy, said on TV3’s ‘Hot Issues’ programme that upkeep expenses were being shared by the two countries.

No sooner was that information circulating, Fennell then reportedly retracted his statement, falling in step with the

President Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing the bill for detainees' stay

President Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing the bill for detainees’ stay

official government line in Ghana. The country’s president John Dramani Mahama has denied that Ghana is footing any part of the bill or that he received $300 million for the detainees’ stay.

More revelations are emerging, namely that these men’s involvement in terrorism was downgraded to a minimal threat. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US misled recipient countries. It seems Ghana wittingly or unwittingly accepted this advice without conducting independent checks.

No doubt most Ghanaians are outraged. Ghana enjoys an international image as a friendly and safe country compared to some of its neighbours. In such uncertain times when countries such as Burkina Faso and Egypt most recently, and latterly Nigeria and Mali faced terror attacks, preserving that haven of relative tranquillity is paramount.

Whether you believe the men, who were interred for almost 15 years without trial, pose a threat to Ghana or not – the process taken to agree their transfer to Ghana is dubious. These men are reportedly self-confessed terrorists with Atef believed to have trained at an Al Qaeda camp, according to Joy FM and Wall Street Journal reports.

Yemen in particular, where Atef is from, is considered to be a hot bed of terrorist activity. This is probably why US president Barack Obama recently signed a defense authorisation bill barring detainees from being transferred to Yemen.

 

Republicans v Democrats

The Republicans are currently trying to push through a moratorium to prevent more detainees leaving the prison because they are considered a risk. And yet the official line from Ghana’s government remains that these men pose no threat and are under 24 hour surveillance.

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay

Seems contradictory….. Why monitor them if they are considered low risk? And if they are so low risk why hasn’t the US taken them in? US law prevents the country from accepting these detainees. On top of that, there would be a public outcry.

Closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has been an Obama pledge. So it’s unsurprising that he is keen to dispense of the prisoners even if – to some – it looks as though he is exporting terrorism.

The two prisoners, the first to be sent to a sub-Saharan country, are also the first of 17 due to leave the prison in early 2016. Obama is under pressure to reduce prisoner numbers below 100. With 17 due to go, the total facility population will drop to 90, according to online publication defenseone.com
Some have been already been sent to Uganda and Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa, and Georgia and Slovakia in Eastern European, according to multiple media reports. But where are the rest going to and can Ghana expect more?

 

Keeping mum

Those with authority in Ghana have been economical on these details. Under Ghana’s laws, people considered to have terrorist connections are barred from entering the country. So why would Mahama not only flout this legislation but also deny Ghanaians the right to this knowledge?

Most Ghanaians learnt about these revelations through US’ Fox News. Even with the cat out of the bag, the Ghanaian government is inadvertently stoking up fears and conspiracy theories by saying very little.

Joy FM revealed that those in Ghana’s security council (the interior and foreign ministers) were not fully aware of Mahama’s plans. Many have questioned why the Ghanaian public was not deemed important enough to be told. Possibly because the government knew the response would have been not too far away from the current reaction…Sound familiar? Didn’t Ghana follow a similar route in its reported involvement in Ebola testing in the country?

 

Friend or foe?

So what’s in it for a Mahama? Well, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended Ghana for its role in image.imghelping to combat Ebola. Taking on these ex-detainees may be another way Mahama can curry favour with the West and the international community …..even if it is at the expense of Ghanaians. Afterall, this may be his last few months as president….elections are scheduled for 7 November 2016.

Of late, Mahama has been saying the decision to take in the ex-prisoners was out of human compassion and because of Ghana’s alliance with the US. But wasn’t Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961? And wasn’t one of the tenets of that organisation that members were not for or against any major power bloc?

With evidence emerging that the US may be have misled recipient countries, I wonder how Ghana’s decision will impact national security and that of her neighbours. Could the presence of these men have repercussions for Ghana politically or dissuade current or future investment?

It is unclear how much access these men have to the wider Ghanaian public or what level of surveillance there is on their telephone and internet activities. We are not clear what happens after their two years expire. Do they gain Ghanaian citizenship? Do they go home? Or can they invite their families over?

What we do know is that Ghanaians are struggling to survive as utility and fuel costs soar and Dumsor continues to blight the country.

Don’t Ghanaians deserve to be put first in their own country? Afterall, doesn’t charity begin at home?

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

An interview with An African City Nicole Amarteifio

 

An African City creator Nicole Amarteifio (c) MisBeee Writes

An African City creator Nicole Amarteifio (c) MisBeee Writes

YouTube web series An African City is back for a second series and is due to premiere in January 2016, much to the delight of avid fans. For those of you that have been living under a rock since 2 March 2014, the 10-part series, which was the brainchild of Ghana-born Nicole Amarteifio, charts the experiences of five successful and professional women who return to Ghana from the US to settle.

The cast includes journalist Nana Yaa, Harvard graduate and marketing manager Sade, Ngozi, who works for an international development agency, entrepreneur Zainab, and Oxford graduate and lawyer Makena.

As with most of the five leading characters in the show, Nicole was schooled and worked in the US before deciding to return back to Ghana. Her inspiration for the web series came from feeling tired about the single story told about Africa and its people, and wanting to challenge these stereotypes.  

The series is unashamedly modelled on the US blockbuster Sex and the City and just like Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, it has enjoyed huge success on YouTube. So much so, that Nicole is embarking on a second season, according to a post on the show’s Facebook fan page.

_mgl1713But An African City continues to divide opinion with some viewers critical of its sexual content and its apparent focus on the elite in Ghana. One of the memorable episodes features Sade, who was raised in Texas by a Nigerian pastor father and Ghanaian mother, arriving at the customs office trying to retrieve her vibrator. When bribing the customs agent fails to work, dropping her well-known father’s name into conversation does the trick.

Although Nicole has also been accused of playing up to stereotypes, she has made it clear from the start that she set out to write a story about Westernised African females. The series has comedic elements but also explores some of the social issues [sexism, affordable housing, corruption] still faced on the continent. Her aim is to hold up a mirror to African society and draws on real experiences to reflect what many of us have experienced when going back home.

Ahead of the second series launch, Kirsty Osei-Bempong revisits an earlier interview with Nicole after the first series was aired in 2014. In the interview Nicole explores audience reactions to the web series, and her future plans. Let’s see how many have come to fruition in Season 2.

 

Kirsty Osei-Bempong: What has been the global response to An African City?

Nicole Amarteifio: What we’ve seen is people around the globe are ready for fresh new content from Africa. For so long, the story about Africa was poverty, war, and disease. So for somebody to come up with a story about five successful, educated, fabulous women ‘talking about sex all the time’, it was something different – something new.

 

KOB: And speaking of sex, how was that received in Ghana?

NA: First of all, all the talk about Ghana being conservative….whatever! All I know is that there’s a lot of people who come up to 1526400_496071583832099_1706091554_n-e1395686675729me and tell me that it’s their mothers that introduced them to the show. People stop me in restaurants in Accra and say ‘thank you’.

They are overlooking whether it is prudish or not conservative enough. They are looking at the fact that finally they feel that another story about the African woman is being presented. And because they relate to the girls, they are saying ‘thank you’ for making me and my story visible on screen.

I also think it’s about priorities – and asking the question of whether the conservative and non-conservative issue is more important than allowing these women’s stories to become visible. Making their stories visible is more of a priority for many and those women have appreciated that from us.

 

KOB: You’ve successfully launched the series on YouTube, where next?

NA: Our first thought has been M-Net (A South African subscription-funded TV channel) which has dominated the TV space. And when you are a TV producer, that is your ultimate goal. What I’m only just learning is that there are so many networks around the globe that are interested in African content. So we will see……

At the same time, we have really enjoyed the web experience of putting content on YouTube. It has meant that wherever someone is in the world – if it is an African woman in Italy or Canada, she can access the show, and I love that. I also love the online conversation, whether it is good or bad, critical or positive. So there’s a part of me that is conflicted about traditional versus non-traditional media platforms when it comes to showing Season 2.

 

an_african_city_episode_2KOB: Longer term, what are the plans for the show?

NA: Setting aside budget constraints, I would love to see more African cities represented in the show. It would be lovely if the girls took a business trip to Lagos, a romantic trip to Kigali, or a conference in Nairobi. That is our ultimate goal.

 

KOB: Will we see men playing a more central role?

NA: Well, Nana Yaa will have a serious boyfriend and Makena will be dating Stefan. But I think it is ok if we focus on women. 

Listen, African men have ignored us for so long, When the West writes books on the best African stories – most of those collections will be just stories by African men. When African men consolidate collections – ‘best stories out of Africa’, they tend to forget about African women. So I think it is ok if An African City has five female leads. It’s ok and I don’t think the show should apologies for that.

 

KOB: Could you see this show becoming a global brand? 

NA: One of my favourite comments on YouTube was from somebody who wrote: ‘I’m a Puerto Rican American born in New York an_african_city_salonbut live in Italy. What do I have in common with all these girls? Everything!’

That’s my favourite quote because it shows that it’s an African story or a story for African women but it’s a story that’s still for everyone. It’s a universal story and that melts my heart when I read that comment.


By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Testing boundaries: an interview with Gold Coast film co-producer Kwame Boadi

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ghanaian TV director Kwame Boadi of inGenius Africa about his move into feature film production. Many of you may know him for such TV series as Sunshine Avenue, Abiba, and Sun City.

Well, he has recently co-produced an arthouse film set in Ghana called Gold Coast that looks at Denmark’s presence in Ghana during the 1830s.

The 2015 arthouse film was written and directed by Daniel Dencik and is a depiction of 19th century life three years after the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was officially but not totally banned in 1833. Slavery was finally abolished in Danish colonies in 1848, according details from the BBC.

The film arrived in London on 11 October and was screened at local cinemas for a week. Some of you will have read my assessment of the film in my previous blog ‘Gold Coast: A lucid look at Denmark’s colonial past’.

I caught up with Boadi to dig a bit deeper into how and why he got involved in the film; when the film will be coming to the African continent and exploring his views on slavery. Enjoy!

 

MisBeee: How has the film been received so far?

Kwame Boadi: It has been very well received. Everyone is saying it is very heavy but you cannot treat a slave story lightly. We hope we can find a sales agent so we can release it in the UK.

MB: Can you tell me why it was important for you to be part of this film?

KB: I was drawn mainly to the fact that for lots of Danes in Denmark, their history of the slave trade is not that well known. So for me, that was a good point because it meant the film would help educate them the better.

And then when I saw the script, it had lots of redeeming values. Very interesting characters such as the missionary’s wife, and the central character Wulff as well. And it was my first feature, so I thought it would be a good learning experience for me.

MB: So how did documentary and film director Daniel Dencik and the team find you?

KB: So the Danish guys behind the film had not come to Africa before so they started looking around in Denmark for Ghanaian contacts. Fortunately for us, the Ghanaian connection they found happened to be my business partner’s roommate in Germany.

My business partner – Oliver Safo – is half German and half Ghanaian and lived for a time in Germany. His roommate, when he was in Germany, was a Danish guy who is also in the industry – a sound engineer. So, Gold Coast producer Michael Haslund and the rest of the team came across this guy and thought it would work. They called us and we took it from there.

MB: The film is powerful and the scenery is amazing. I have been to Cape Coast and Elmina castles before but it looks as though this film was shot in different locations.

KB: Elmina was the central location – we spent about three and a half to four weeks over there. We had wanted to use the Osu Castle [the Danish fort also known as Christiansborg] because of course it used to be the centre of government. [Fort Christiansborg was built by the Danes and Norwegians in the 1660s]. But it has been modernised and lost a lot of the historical aspects.

FullSizeRender(1)

One of the sites for the film ©Michael Haslund

Instead, we used Elmina. Although Elmina is a Dutch castle, we adapted it and the Danes brought us some Danish motifs to decorate it.

We spent a bit of time at the Cape Coast Castle, Fort Amsterdam in Abandze, Central Region and Fort Batenstein in Butri in the Western Region.

All the greenery and the beaches were in the Western region in the Beyin area. We spent two weeks there and we filmed a very small part of the film in Burkina Faso [north of Ghana and neighbouring Cote ‘d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin, Niger and Mali].

MB: So in total, how long did it take to film the entire production?

KB: The shooting time was three and a half months but of course we spent about two years from the moment that Michael and the team got in touch to when we finished shooting.

MB: Did you need background historical knowledge before starting the film or had your Ghanaian education meant you were well-versed in the country’s slave history?

Yes, we needed to do some research but fortunately there is a Wulff family living in Osu on the route to Osu Castle who are descendants of Wulff Frederik Wulff. So, during the research period, we spent some time with the family conducting test shoots and that helped to fill some of the gaps.

The Danes had conducted their own research and so had Jakob Oftebro, who plays Wulff. He also met the family. The rest of the team spoke with the family and even had more information than the family that they were able to share.

MB: There is this voicelessness that pervades the film. What was the decision-making behind that?

KB: That’s Daniel’s style – you know the director calls the shots. He thought that it would be more poignant if lots of parts of the film were voiceless. So what you find is that some parts are sometimes driven by voice-overs or by the score, allowing the pictures to speak for themselves. And I thought it was fine.

MB: So was Lumpa the slave boy -actually mute because I had read articles saying that he was.

KB: No he was not mute but that is an interesting story …….

At all the villages we shot at, it was smart to use locals to create business but also to cut down our own costs, so we went round to do castings. We went to this village Alabokazo – it is off the Beyin area also in the Western region – and were conducting some auditions there. But there were these four young boys playing soccer close by who were making a lot of noise.

 

John Aggrey aka Lumpa ©Michael Haslund

John Aggrey aka Lumpa ©Michael Haslund

One of them was asking questions and he was kind of interrupting our auditions. So I turned to one of the camera guys and said: ‘Go and tell these boys we will take some shots of them – so they can go away, and assure them we will add them to it.’

We weren’t going to add it to anything because at that time, they were not in frame. You see, earlier in the script Lumpa was supposed to be 18-19 years old and I was actually planning to cast Ghanaian TV star Lil’ Wayne.

For me in terms of the commercial viability of the project in Ghana that would have been splendid.  But Daniel said he wanted a younger boy on set someone who was 10 or 12 years. We had a long argument over that because that was not going to work too well for me. But the director calls the shots and in the creative areas, you have to follow their lead.

So, we had to start looking for 12-year-old boys. We had not captured any because we had not been looking for them but as we were going through our pictures, lo and behold we found these four boys that we had just taken randomly. These pictures were suggested as possible candidates for the part and John Aggrey – one of the four – was picked and became the star in the end.

MB: And he’s never acted before, has he?

KB: Never ever. He did so well so we have actually decided that we are going to fund his education to university. We have put him in a boarding school and he’s in class six now. We will take him through, if he is able to do well, he will go on to university and we will take it from there.

MB: So when can Ghanaians and other Africans on the Continent see the film?

KB: We own the film rights for half of Africa and the whole of Ghana so that is where my concentration is. Earlier we were looking to premiere in Ghana in December 2015, but looking at the schedule I would rather take it to Easter – March/April 2016, there about. I would have finished the second season of Sunshine [Avenue] and would have more time to organise and make a bit more noise. So it will premiere in Ghana, then I am looking to find a distributor for Africa.

MB: Is South Africa among the countries interested?

KB: Nigeria is interested and I know that South Africa would be.

I am looking to shorten the film as well. We in Africa are used to the American-style movies that move very fast. Gold Coast is an arthouse movie that drags a bit and I think that people would get tired of it. So I am thinking of bringing it to 90 minutes. I am still talking to Michael and the rest of the team, that is why I am waiting for them to finish the European tour first otherwise we will have two films coming out in circulation at the same point.

Once it has finished the European rounds (sometime early next year) then we can think about reducing it to 90 minutes. Then it will be pacier, a bit faster and we will indigenise it a bit more for our market by adding some more African pictures and sounds.

 

MB: I was one of a few black women in the audience on the opening night in London, and it wasn’t comfortable to see that degree and prolonged bouts of female nudity in the film.

KB: No, no you are right. You are dead right. I am sure if I were sitting in the audience, I would have been uncomfortable too. But for me, I believe in the shock and awe tactic too.

 

Female extra shot in the castle walls  ©Michael Haslund

Female extra shot in the castle walls ©Michael Haslund

In today’s times, we still have slavery everywhere. In Ghana’s Volta region you have these very small boys who are picked up and sold for a pittance in the Western and Central regions to go and work as divers for fishermen. So I have a different view about slavery. We [Africans] tend to say that we have not done anything wrong.

MB: I appreciate that slavery still exists today and I know we played our part but I think that marrying what happened then and what is happening now diminishes the brevity of the Trans-Atlantic trade, which many modern-day countries are built on. And I think it gives racists license to defend what happened then by saying slavery is happening now. 

KB: Not necessarily, I disagree with you a bit on the human trafficking issue. It is not only blacks who are trafficked now. We have eastern Europeans that are being trafficked in containers – right? So I don’t know about it being a race issue. It is white on white, white on black, black on white, black on black. I tend to have a different view on that. If you are racist you are racist, if you are not well read you will pick anything to justify, something that is not justifiable.

And you must look at it in terms of a work of art. At that time, there was that school of thought that blacks were sub-human, and that is what Daniel wanted to show. And that is one of the reasons he made the black characters voiceless because that’s one of the aspects that will shock you.

I used to be a teacher, I taught for five years at Achimota School in Ghana, and one thing I learnt was that you can teach by positive example or by negative example. When this film was premiered in Copenhagen, some of the people were so distraught, especially the older ones. They came up to us and asked: ‘So do you hate us?’

Those with a good heart who didn’t know of Denmark’s participation in the trade and saw the brutality of it were completely traumatised. And I suspect it will make them better people going forward. They will tend to be nicer to black people when they meet them and that is fine by me.

MB: There seemed to be some symbolism attached to the use of white and dark clothing in the film. The Danish were often depicted in white as were the ‘native’ that had been converted to Christianity, while the rest wore darker or black garments. (check out my critique here). Was that intentional?

Jakob Oftebro and Ghanaian extras ©Michael Haslund

Jakob Oftebro and Ghanaian extras ©Michael Haslund

 KB: The blacks you saw and the change in Lumpa’s dressing was towards the end of the film. That was a funeral scene at the village. But apart from that the blacks you saw in the village were wearing calico and those were what they used to wear earlier and those weren’t necessarily black. So, I didn’t see that connection that you are referring to and I don’t think that was conscious. But it gives me food for thought.

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Kirsty Osei-Bempong is a journalist and blogger. She share news about Ghanaian arts, cultures and history on her blog site MisBeee Writes.

Review: Ghanaians in Parliament with London Mayoral Candidates

Ghanaians in Parliament: forging political partnerships

Kwasi  Kwarteng, Adam Afriyie and Sam Gyimah are the three MPs of Ghanaian heritage that spring to mind when I think of Ghanaians in Parliament… not a group of men and women from my motherland milling about metres from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.

portic

Portcullis House

But that is exactly what The Ghana Society created when it organised ‘Ghanaians in Parliament with London Mayoral candidates’ at Portcullis House. Ghanaians from all walks of life rubbed shoulders with MPs and London Mayor hopefuls under the banner of forging stronger trading ties between Ghana and the UK.

Ghanaian connections

Fittingly, the event, which as MCed by broadcaster Owusu Frimpong, was staged on Ghana Republic Day on 1 July and hosted by Kelvin Hopkins MP. Mr Hopkins has a long association with Ghana. He is also good friends with The Ghana Society UK  founder Maria Ampah Lovell and it seems is something of a regular at Ghana’s social events. But his ties with Ghana are deep and stretch back to his school days when he had the privilege of watching a game between amateur footballers from the former British colony play in England against Their colonial masters.

The then-called Gold Coast team played BAREFOOT except for bandages on their feet and yet still managed to beat the home team!!!!

 

London mayoral candidates

Healthy competition is always good, as is partnership and trade which were central themes to the Westminster meeting. uk ghDiscussion centred on how the UK can collaborate with Ghana to foster these longstanding ties. Panellists comprising writers, economists and politicians used the floor to explore how Ghana’s mineral wealth, manpower and expertise can be partnered with the UK.

And this is where contributions from London’s mayoral candidates was key. Some homed in on the need to celebrate multiculturalism …but for me the ones that stuck out were those that were able to draw parallels between Ghana and the UK.

Let’s hope that in the same way that incumbent mayor Boris Johnson has flown the flag for UK-India trade collaborations, these same seeds of change can be planted in the minds of Boris’ successor.

 

solarSolar energy

So Tom Chance, who is standing to be the Green Party’s mayoral candidate, highlighted that like the UK, Ghana has ambitious plans to tackle climate change. He  touched on plans in Ghana to increase solar generation capacity by 6% by 2016.

Something I think we can all agree couldn’t come a day too soon for our brothers and sisters languishing under ‘dumsor’. ‘Dumsor’ or load shedding occurs when there is not enough power to deliver electricity to everyone in an area, forcing some people to go without.

In fact, it is UK-based Blue Energy, an investor and developer of renewable energy projects, that is helping Ghana achieve its 6% increase in solar generation capacity by 2016. The company is constructing the 155-megawatt Nzema solar project in Ghana. Overall, however, Ghana has a target to generate 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

 

Salt

Kofi Addo of the Ghana High Commission and agro-processing expert Anthony Ayakwah stressed the importance of harnessing Ghana’s resource base and adding value to the raw materials. Salt production in Ghana is an opportunity that isn’t being taken full advantage of, he stressed. Despite Ghana having enough salt to more than meet domestic consumption, Ghana imports salt 1tonnes from Brazil. And if only technology in cashew production in Ghana were more cutting edge, areas such as Wenchi in Ghana’s middle belt would be in a position to meet the needs of the UK market.

But not everyone agree with this model of trade partnership. Prospective Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar observed that it seemed the rhetoric of adding value to Ghana’s resources and forging stronger UK-Ghana trade partnerships had not moved on since his early days as an economist more than 40 years ago. He questioned whether it wasn’t time for Ghana to focus its development around its own needs instead of trying to emulate the West.

Thought provoking stuff. But enough about what I think – see for yourself.

Here are some brief clips from the event:

Introduction

Ghanaian opera singer

Anthony Ayakwah on agro-processing

 

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (MisBeee Writes)

Article taken from here