Google Ghana Election Landing Page

Are you a follower of the Ghanaian elections? If you are, I have good news for you! On Nov 5th, the Google Election Landing page for Ghana went live.

It is a great resource that collates news, links, videos and much more about the Ghanaian election. Google has generously served as a mediator for election activities online and GhanaDecides/BloggingGhana has taken part in a workshop and a networking meeting to hear what other organizations are doing and make sure we link to eachother, do not duplicate and generally support the wonderful efforts like GhVotes, Jangbeeshie App and GhanaDecides. I just wish Google would have also linked more heavily to those and other external websites, not just to Google+ sites as I think that makes the landing page slightly less useful than it could be. I believe Google is working on this.

At the bottom left corner is a link for “Election Toolkit” that are highy useful to all political actors.

With one month to go, it is time to make up your mind on how to vote!

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Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of PPP on Frontline

Tonight, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is on Frontline. I am happily typing this from home, not at all worked up about the upcoming show as it was taped already on Tuesday morning.

I think it was a good discussion, but time just went too fast. So many more questions to ask a man who wants to lead this country. Well, a few answers were given, others were avoided however I appreciated his initiative on transparency issues, now we just have to see if the other parties will take up the challenge Dr. Nduom threw to them:

will they be declaring their assets and campaign funding before Election Day?

It is a good question to ask.

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Interview with Dr. Abu Sakara of the CPP

On Friday, I did my second Frontline 2012 interview. This time, I had Dr. Abu Sakara of the CPP in the studio and the initial nerves from the maiden broadcast were gone.

Some other things were also different this time, for instance, we had to change studios as Ghana is going through a power sharing exercise due to damages on the West Africa Gas Pipeline, but I guess that is another blogpost…

Many of you want to view the interviews online. The TV3 team is working on putting the show on YouTube or similar, in the meantime, let me share some comments from viewers on Twitter:

Next week, Dr. Papa Kwesi Ndoum of the PPP is my guest, if you have questions for him, you can tweet or post them as comments here.

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Frontline on Swedish Radio

In connection with the first broadcast of my program, Frontline 2012, the Swedish national radio called for an interview. When they first called on the day of my TV debut, I had no time to spare, so decided to talk to the reporter from the hair salon chair where I was getting ready for my big night.

Although I was stressed and had to switch ears several times to not interfere with my hair cut, the program Verkligheten i P3 went live on Tuesday and came out really nice in my own humble opinion.

Apparently the program was running a series on “unknown celebrities” and they thought I was a perfect fit as someone interviewing presidential candidates in a country far away!

If you know Swedish or believe you are a language genius, you can listen to the program here.

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Frontline 2012 with Hassan Ayariga, PNC

On Friday, the first program in the Frontline 2012 series was broadcast.

The program is a one hour political interview aiming to clarify the issues for the Ghanaian voter in the 2012 elections. Mr Hassan Ayariga of the PNC was my first guest and, save for a technical problem during the first minutes of our transmission, it went well.

I am hoping to be a ble to share a clip with you sometime soon, but for now you have to make do with these pics from the set.

Next show, Fri 28 Sept 2012 at 8.30 PM on TV3.

What questions do you have for this election’s presidential candidates?

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Let’s Talk About Money: Ghana Inflation and Exchange Rates

In Ghana, election year comes with many activities. Except for the political events, speeches and rallys, the economy sees many hikes and lows. What is happening is that projects in the pipeline suddenly need to be executed as a 4 year period comes to an end. On one hand, this is great news, new roads are finally completed, there is work for everyone and business is flourishing. The downside of this increase in expenditure is heightened inflation and a weakened cedi exchange rate.

In April, Ghana’s inflation was at a year high at 9,1 percent (up from 8,8 percent the month before), reports AF Reuters. This morning on BBC, a report describing Argentina’s financial situation seemed to echo what is happening in Ghana. Hotel rooms, school fees, real estate is all quoted in US dollars as the value of the local currecy shifts so often (downwards) that it is no point setting prices in it.  The exchange rate influences the inflation rate. Bank of Ghana in their Inflation Outlook Report (April 2012) states:

The cedi weakened against the US dollar as a result of high demand for foreign exchange. In the first quarter of

2012, the cedi depreciated by 8.3 per cent against the US dollar, compared to 2 per cent depreciation in the
same period of 2011.
The weakening of the local currency started in the last quarter of 2011 and was driven by several factors
including the growing demand for foreign exchange to support increased economic activity due to the expansion
of the economy. A second, more structural factor is the changing nature of the trade pattern which is gradually

shifting towards Asia, especially China, for which transactions are mostly conducted on cash basis. The

persistent depreciation of the cedi can have far reaching consequences on the inflation profile. A third factor
relates to external sector conditions, such as the euro zone crisis which have also instigated investor portfolio
outflows from the bond market in the latter part of 2011. There are also the speculative activities by foreign
exchange traders trying to profit from the depreciation of the currency while other market participants seek to
hedge against further depreciation thereby exacerbating the situation.

In January, the exchange rate was 1.65 GHC to 1 USD. In April, I bought flight tickets for my family’s yearly trip to Sweden to the exchange rate of 1,78 GHC to 1 USD. Yesterday, the exchange rate announced on the evening news was 1,93! As imports are dominating the Ghanaian market, that is we do not produce many goods locally, this affects not just foreign travel, but almost every purchase in your daily life.

The effect on Ghanaians’ lives is immediately felt, as each week your salary can buy you less. Some goods such as cement is because of increased demand rising even quicker in price. A bag of cement that was 16 GHC in February is now 20-23 GHC! Just like in Argentina, there has been recent debate on if official numbers really capture the inflation “on the ground”. Dr Bawumia from the opposition has raised issues, the Ghana Statistical Survey has responded.  Regardless, this is a problem that Ghanaians carry into the upcoming election 2012. 

Read more in AF Reuter’s report, on Bank of Ghana’s website and Ghana Statistical Service. Photo from Flickr.

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iRegistered – Bringing Ghana’s Biometric Voters’ Registration Online

Currently voters’ registration is ongoing in Ghana. So is the effort to document the process online.

It is exciting to follow the process on the web, especially the pictures provide a direct – dare I say- understanding into what seems to be a complicated and vast biometric voters’ registration.


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GhanaDecides, iRegistered and Ghana Biometric Voter’s Registration

Participants at the Ghana Decides and iRegistered Campaign Launch

Over the last couple of years, I have been telling you about the growth of network of bloggers I belong to. The network started with eight bloggers and have over the years grown to include about 150 blogs, a website and many connections and friendships. This year, we are aiming higher!

We had our first meeting in July 2008, sent a blogger to Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, had our first international guests in August 2009, blogged on Obama’s visit and in 2011 we registered as an association. Earlier this year, the project group that had been working towards finding funding towards a project to create awareness and promote voting in Ghana had some good news, we had received funding from STAR-Ghana. The project is called GhanaDecides and aims at bringing the Ghanaian election 2012 online using social media.

This past Saturday, the same day as the biometric voter’s registration started, the GhanaDecides project had their launch. We also outdoored the iRegistered-campaign to spread information about voter’s registration.

I feel so happy and proud!

Follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the GhanaDecides-website. Read also fellow blogger Sena Rick’s post

And do register to vote!

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