Social Media for Yale Conference in Ghana: From Success to Significance

Photo: Frederick Sowah
Photo: Frederick Sowah

I am proudly the social media reporter for the conference From Success to Significance: Thought Leaders in the African Renaissance, starting tomorrow afternoon. The conference is organized by alumni of the prestigious Yale university in the Yale Club of Ghana. You can find the program for the conference here.

My expectations for the conference are high as almost all the names of speakers and panelists are “big” men and women here in Ghana and beyond. I am especially looking forward to the education and the technology panels, as well as writer Taiye Selasie, writer of “Ghana Must Go” that I just read. I am tasked to tweeting through out using the hashtag #YaleConfGH and write a summary blog post. Watch this space!

Does it sound interesting? Conference tickets sell for 225 USD with a big discount for students. Buy tickets here.

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Utility Tariffs to Go Up: Ghana Connect Debate on Joy FM

In the news the last couple of days, we could read that the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) is having talks with government, initiated by the Volta River Authority (VRA) the biggest power producer in Ghana, on increasing tariffs for electricity and water. See  this Joy FM report for instance.

I have been invited to share my views on JoyFMs new program Ghana Connect – a program that allows regular Ghanaians – and myself – to voice our opinions together with stakeholders. Tonight VRA has been invited.

The producer/host sent me this blurb:

“Utility tariffs are set to go up. The only question now remains when and not if.  You must be prepared to pay as much as 166 per cent more for electricity and water than you are paying now. The expert consultations have already started but on Ghana Connect this Friday, we connect the Ghanaian consumer in Ghana and beyond to interrogate the proposed tariff increases. Are you ready to pay more and how much is enough?”

My argument in brief is:
  1. At some point we need to pay what utilities actually cost in order for the service to be sustainable.
  2. Utility subsidies favor middle and upper class people more than the poor as generators and poly tanks use more than dumso-dumso and buckets.
  3. Electricity production is complicated, but there is NO REASON why Ghana should not be able to provide potable water for its population.
  4. Increasing prices by more than 100% is not advisable as ripple effects are huge and people need to plan expenses. What is the plan for the next five years?
  5. On the other hand, private solutions (batteries/generators and pure/bottled water cost much much more) and from a Swedish perspective we have a lot to win from solving these issues together rather than apart.

As I sent out an email to BloggingGhana about this radio program, many of our members provided their two pesewas – so this issue is HOT!  Someone called the increase “draconian” another person said “I would prefer to pay, than to pretend to be paying bills as they also pretend to be giving me a service.”

Tune in at 6.30 PM if you want to hear me voice my views.

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Ghana’s Most Important Issue via The Maternal Health Channel

A wonderful initiative by Creative Storm is the Maternal Health Channel on GTV on Thursdays at 8PM and on TV3 on Fridays at 8.30 PM. The program sheds light on maternal health in Ghana, or rather the lack of it.

The series started with the story of Charity, a woman who did not survive giving birth.

Maternal Health Channel host Ivy in front of the government clinic in Kute Buem.
Maternal Health Channel host Ivy in front of the government clinic in Kute Buem.

MHC write on their very active Facebook page:

“Every maternal death is an intensely personal tragedy and it is essential to hear the stories of those who have suffered in order to illuminate an issue that is both immediate and far more complex than it seems on the surface.
We can change; Ghana can achieve Millennium Development Goal #5, the reduction of maternal mortality by 75% in the year 2015. The first step is EVERYONE having a discussion about an epidemic that is far too often overlooked. The first step is with YOU.”

As a mother and a daughter and a citizen of the world, it angers me terribly that women should have to give up their life when giving life. We know it takes 9 months, we know you need vitamins and clean water, we know giving birth is a risk and a hard job, we know how to create the best possible chances for both mother and baby to survive – still women are  dying for no good reason at all.

This week, they go to Kute Buem in the Volta region, see pic. 

Personally, I think The Maternal Health Channel is one of the most important media initiatives in Ghana I have ever seen. It is massive, well thought out and quite digital (facebook, vimeo, tumblr, on Twitter use hashtag #mhcghana). If you agree with my sentiments or, better yet, with their mission to save more mothers and babies in Ghana, please spread this information to your networks, discuss online, blog on it and watch the program!

I have written on this topic before Why Are Mothers Still Dying? and When I Donated Blood and Ganyobinaa also wrote about MHC.

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Ghana’s Creative Economy and Its Challenges

Last month, I was moderating a talk on the Creative Economy in Ghana for the Adventurers in the Diaspora series follow them on Facebook to never miss their events!). What is the creative economy anyway? I did some research before accepting the job and came across a very inspiring 400 page report made in 2010 by the United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) PDF here.

Some highlights of the report, in my opinion, were its case studies including Nigeria’s Nollywood and the Africa Remix exhibit.

The report also offered 10 key messages for policy makers:

  • Whilst in 2008 there was a 12% reduction in world trade, exports of creative goods and services continue to grow at an average annual rate of 14% over the past 6 years, with the potential to become one of the most dynamic sectors of the world economy.
  • Growth is particularly apparent in ‘south-south’ trade: trade in creative good and services there grew at an average rate of 20% per annum over the same period, and the creative economy took an increasing market share of south-south trade.
  • The right mix of public policies and strategic choices are essential if the potential of the creative economy for economic development is to be achieved.  It is important, especially in developing countries, to develop a functioning ‘creative nexus’ to attract investors, build creative entrepreurial practices, and offer better IT access and infrastructure.
  • Policy strategies must recognise its multi-displinary nature – its economic, social, cultural and environmental linkages.
  • It is important for governments to review IP rules to avoid constraints and adapt to new realities.
  • The creative economy cuts across arts, business and connectivity, driving innovation and new business models. There should be a drive for better broadband infrastructure especially in the South. (my highlight)
  • The creative economy is both fragmented and socially inclusive. Pragmatic policy-making requires a better understanding of who the stakeholders in the creative economy are, how they relate to one another and how the creative sector relates to other economic sectors.
  • Policies for the creative economy also have to respond to demands from local communities for education, cultural identity and social inclusion, and environmental concerns.  An increasing number of municipalities are using the concept of creative cities to formulate urban development strategies and reinvigorate growth.
  • The firmness of the market for creative goods and services is an indicator of the importance of demand for ‘creative products’  in the post recession era, and should attract greater market share.
  • Every society is rooted in a creative economy, but each country is different, and needs to think about its particular strengths for development.  There is no one-size-fits-all policy.

The panelists Korkor Amartefio, Cultural practitioner, Dzifa Gomashie, Deputy Minister Nominee for Tourism, Culture and Arts, Odile Tevie, Nubuke Foundation and Zagba Oyortey, new director of  the Ghana National Museum, framed some issues for Ghana:

1. Little data

We do not know the size of the creative economy in Ghana. Not how much the arts market is worth, how much beads and traditional crafts add to GDP or what the growth of the music industry is. Room for much research! With this type of data, we could canvass for more of number two on this list!

2. Little Government support

Apparently, government has not yet discovered the creative economy as a potential future gold mine. It seems, we are to busy with galamsay small scale gold miners, maybe…MUSIGA ha sbeen supported with a house, we have national centers of culture around the country, but apart from those structures (of which some seem to be falling apart), government is not surrounding itself with Ghanaian culture, promoting Ghanaian artists on their travels nor collecting Ghanaian art.

3. Lack of cooperation/information

From the discussion, a problem can be to find a space for an event. A suggestion was made to create a list of possible venues, their cost and availability for cultural practitioners to use. At a different event last week about marketing for cultural organizations, the lack of information was again highlighted. Organizations need training on how to sell themselves, but also structures for promotion and information sharing.

4. Education

The creative economy is much related to education, however the UNCTAD report itself does not really make the connection as noted by Pascal. In Ghana, creativity is not necessarily celebrated and on all levels of the economy we can see the effects of the lack of creativity. All from the 10th person selling the same food stuff in the same place to the bank that does not brand itself for any particular customer group or the CEO who never promotes creativity.

5. Money for enforcement of new laws

Since last year, Ghana has a new set on Intellectual Property laws (remember the “kenta” shoe?). That is great, but how do we make sure those laws are enforced?

The cure for it all is ENGAGEMENT. I was happy when the National Museum’s Mr Oyortey mentioned this in his very first contribution for the evening. The institutions need to engage with their audience and their counterparts, we the public need to attend events, buy art and let the creative economy make all our lives more sustainable and more fun!

Photos by Naa Oyoo Quartey/Ganyobinaa.

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Friends of the National Museum in Ghana

Photo: Kajsa Hallberg Adu

As part of the nation building of the infant national state of Ghana in the late 1950s, Kwame Nkrumah planned for a museum park in central Accra.

None of the museums were completed, but the National Museum moved into the museum auditorium and has since been open for visitors. I wrote an article about the museum in in 2008 for a museum news letter in Sweden.

On Thursday 29 March 2012, a new era starts for the museum as this month’s Adventurers in the Diaspora (AiD) event takes place at the national museum in Accra and inaugurates a support organization, Friends of the National Museum.

The aim of the non-profit is:

“to support the work of the Museum and provide a platform for the museum to engage with the artistic community, benefactors and the general public in a positive, economically viable and purposeful way.”

Friends of the National Museum write on their website that all are invited at 7.30 PM for the launch of the organization and a discussion on why heritage matters.

See you there!

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Global Voices on Homosexuality in Ghana

Last week, I posted on homosexuality in Ghana and the burgeoning online debate on the topic. This week the debate on homosexuality in Ghana has been summarized by Global Voices, which is good news for extending the discussion to other parts of the world.

Thanks, Global Voices!

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Three-end-of-week Events in Accra

Here are three upcoming interesting events that I thought you should know about:

1.       Thu 24 Feb Adventures in the Diaspora

2.       Fri 25 Feb Talk Parti organized by Accra[DOT]ALT

3.       Sat 26 Feb Ghana Planetarium Event

See details below!

Psst. I hope you have also heard about the Asabaako Music Festival, taking place on the Independence weekend on the beautiful Busua beach!

1. Thu 24 Feb 2011, Adventures in the Diaspora 7.30 pm at the Golden Tulip

Kindly join us for the 5th Adventurers in the Diaspora Series, with Seth Dei.

‘creativity and patronage’.

As with most parts of the world, our creative fields are under siege due to the lack of proper support on all levels. In Ghana, we are beginning to see the onset of a creative environment driven a new kind of patron  class, who see creativity as part of a civic and cultural responsibility. Mr. Seth Dei, a true adventurer epitomises this blend of entrepreneurship and the arts. he is partner at Blue Skies Industry, a pre-eminent agro-business based in several countries around the world, and is a dedicated art collector and financier of indigenous high -tech initiatives. his important work in the agriculture sector since 1992 has embodied corporate social responsibility, stimulating and sustaining numerous initiatives that have had ripple effects within and outside the agricultural industry.

As Ghana’s largest collector of contemporary art, his Dei Centre has become a home to art exhibitions and creative activities, as well as an incubator for numerous projects involving young professionals such as Cubicle Blu. Mr. Dei’s work has stimulated artists, students, young professionals to see themselves as ’cultural entrepeneurs’

with responsibilities to grow and publicise their ideas and thoughts. It is this democratic exchange of support and ideas that have propelled creative impulses into Ghana’s development agenda and generated innovative and context-sensitive ways of doing things. His insights on the role of creativity in his endeavours is inspirational and a model that needs to be shared.

We hope you will share the evening with us. See attached invite.

Food and Drinks will be provided by Golden Tulip and our main sponsor ATLANTIC GROUP.

For more information on and live streaming of AiD 5 and past events see our blog

For questions, contact

2.       Fri 25 Feb Talk Parti organized by ACCRA[dot]Alt, 6.30pm, Passions bar, Osu (not far from Country Kitchen)

See this page for more info:

3.       Sat 26 Feb Planetarium Event

When: SATURDAY 26th FEBRUARY 2011, 3pm – please note the earlier start time

Where: The Ghana Planetarium

Theme: Comets!


3pm – Children’s activities

5pm – Activities for all – Night Sky presentation, astronomy videos/presentation on comets, Planetarium show and telescope viewing / “Globe at Night” constellation  observation (weather permitting). For full details of the  “Globe at Night” citizen science project which anyone can take part in, see

Charge: Adult – GHc 5 / Student – GHc 3 / Child – GHc 2

Please come along and join us, and tell all your friends, family and colleagues!

Directions to the Planetarium:

The GHANA PLANETARIUM is on OSU AVENUE EXTENSION.  That is the road behind Police HQ, and also behind Christ the King.

From Christ the King church/school, take the first turn on your right after passing Christ the King on your right.  The turn is signposted for Quality Distance Learning (QDL). Take another right where you see another sign for QDL.  The road bends round to the left and the Planetarium is on your left, in the same compound as Quality Distance Learning and Office Automation Systems.

Or, from Danquah circle, head towards Kwame Nkrumah Circle on the Ring Road until you get to Police HQ.  Take the slip road that is next to Police HQ, and take the right turn that is halfway up the slip road (ie you don’t go all the way up the slip road to the mini roundabout).

This road is Osu Avenue Extension.  Pass Cinderella’s Night Club, then you will find the Planetarium in the same compound as Quality Distance Learning and Office Automation Systems.  There is a large sign on the wall.

Just look for the giraffes!

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Asabaako – Ghana’s New Beach Festival

I hope you have heard about Asabaako, Ghana’s new music festival taking place on Busua beach on the 5-6 of March 2011 ( yep, also called the independence weekend, and yep, I really said BEACH).

It all seems so lovely! Party on one of the most beautiful beaches of Ghana, friends coming together, creativity and arts, rooftop DJs, concerts with Ghana’s freshest acts and in between quick dips in the sea. Did I say I was going?

On the stylish and informative Asabaako website you can find more info, including accommodation and transport. They also have an Asabaako Facebook page and an Asabaako behind the scenes blog!

And what does Asabaako mean? Well, you just have to go to their website to find out!

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Film Premiere 15 Feb: Witches of Gambaga

Tomorrow the 15th of February at 10 am Yaba Badoe‘s documentary film premiers at the British Council in downtown Accra. The film, the Witches of Gambaga, shows us the destiny of women arriving at the notorious camp for witches that has been established in the north of Ghana, sent by relatives who believe they are witches. The film sheds light on an important human rights issue that I discussed earlier on my blog – Do you believe in witchcraft? You can also see the trailer for the film in this post.

If you cannot make the Tuesday morning, Yaba is also taking her film to Ashesi university college on Thursday the 17th in the afternoon (and to University of Ghana on the 18th, University of Cape Coast on the 22nd and FESPACO towards the end of the month!). Email me at khadu at for more info.

Today is 14th February, Valentine’s day. However, other news that makes my valentine’s spirit sink is the man who butchered his wife in broad daylight and the pastor who decided to fondle a woman who came to him for “prayers and deliverance”. It seems that hidden underneath messages about eternal love, sent with fluffy bears, heart-shaped cards and red roses lies a reality that many times is violent against women.

I long for the time when Valentine’s Day comes and goes without women being abused and hurt by those near them. Until then, join me in learning more about the situation for the thousands of women declared witches by their communities right here in Ghana.

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GhanaBlogging Progress

The group I co-founded with fellow Swedish-Ghanaian Blogger Maya’s Earth, GhanaBlogging, is in the habit of meeting monthly. Today at 3pm at Café dez Amis (former Afrikiko) it is time again.

Right now we have some interesting and positive developments and thinking about formalizing ourselves into something more than a group of friends, into some kind of organization. This is for two main reasons.

First, we are getting more and more invitations for collaborations from companies and other organizations (Google Ghana, Nokia, British High Commission etc.). This is wonderful, but it is becoming unclear who to contact and how to spread information properly. I am also proud to say we are a very critical group who feel strongly about being independent, so this is another issue when market forces knock on your door.

Second, we are growing like crazy! Before Christmas, more than 70 bloggers wanted to join us! At the last meeting we were more than 15 bloggers present! ( If you also want to join us, fill this GhanaBlogging form and we will get back to you!) This means we need to streamline the application process further – and just welcoming double the amount of members we have is a great task that requires organization.

Despite these changes the group is still very much a group of friends, meeting, discussing and laughing.

See you later!

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Accra – A Boring City?

When I first moved to Accra, I found the city boring, dusty and event-less.

Three years on and counting, I am not sure if it is the city that has changed or my network that has grown. Maybe both?

Yesterday, I knew of five interesting events happening simultaneously:

the Ghanablogging November Meet-Up I arranged at cozy Cafe Dez Amis (former Afrikiko), a discussion evening with entertainment for diasporan Ghanaians and others at Golden Tulip Hotel. There was also a fund-raiser coctail at Bella Roma Restaurant in Osu, a first meeting for the new expat network InterNations at Rhapsody’s and the High Vibes music festival also opened… (click on link to see program for the following week!)

I smiled to myself as I hurriedly left the first event for the second, smiling because I felt like this was the first time I was actually missing out on something in Accra…

I only resent that events often are announced short in advance (some less than 48 hours !)  and that there is no information central for finding out about “all” events (if there is, please let me know!). I believe that makes Accra rather boring for a newcomer.

What do you say, is Accra boring?

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Next Ghana Blogging Meet-Up

This post is to announce the November meet-up for – a group of bloggers in Ghana.

When? Thu 11th at 7pm

Where? Cafe des Amis (former Afrikiko), Accra

Who? Are you a blogger in Ghana or do you blog about Ghana? Welcome!

Contact me on kajsahallberg at if you have queries.

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