Ninety-Nine-Year-Old Graduate and More

Recently a World War II veteran and former teacher reached headline news in Ghana (and the world through CNN) as he graduated from business school at the ripe age of ninety-nine!

I wrote an article about this very special ninety-nine year old graduate and the discussion that his achievement gave rise to for University World News(UWN). Here is an excerpt:

In February 99-year-old World War II veteran and former teacher, Akasease Kofi Boakye Yiadom, graduated from the Presbyterian University College Business School in Abetifi, Ghana.

The elderly graduate was featured on CNN’s Inside Africa programme, and he took the opportunity to call on fellow graduates to be loyal and not join the brain drain.

“If it is a scant pay you have to accept it, because it is the government’s money that has been used to educate you,” he said. “If you have finished school and passed your degree, you have to stay in Ghana and serve Ghana.”

I thought it was interesting he entered into the “brain-drain” debate and did something with his 15 minutes of fame. Read the rest of the article about Akasease Yiadom and the “brain-drain” discussion by yours truly.

In the same issue of UWN, Linda Nordling wrote an interesting feature directed to African universities on diversifying funding. She compared the recent consequences of the Icelandic volcano ash on African export industry to the current situation in African academe where African universities are very dependent on student fees and government funding. What if an “ash cloud” or more likely an economical crisis would reduce fees and government funding?

There needs to be a lateral, more diversified strategy for funding of the African universities. Looking overseas for funding instruments, reducing the administrative burden through capacity building and turning to local industry to offer consultancies are the main points offered as a solution, by Nordling. Read the whole insightful article Lateral Thinking for Research Funding.

No Planes? Words on a Aviation Free World

Air Plane, Paper plane, Alain de Botton, “recent writer-in-residence at Heathrow airport” (sic!) and also the writer of a wonderful little book On Love that had an impression on me, now dreams up a world without planes, of course relating to the volcanic disruptions of air traffic.

Everything would, of course, go very slowly. It would take two days to reach Rome, a month before one finally sailed exultantly into Sydney harbour. And yet there would be benefits tied up in this languor.

Those who had known the age of planes would recall the confusion they had felt upon arriving in Mumbai or Rio, Auckland or Montego Bay, only hours after leaving home, their slight sickness and bewilderment lending credence to the old Arabic saying that the soul invariably travels at the speed of a camel.

I urge you to read the whole BBC column by de Botton. It somehow has a soothingly effect on my nerves when I think about how the volcanic ash cloud may steal my summer in Sweden away from me…

Thanks to GeorgiaP for the tip!

Drawing borrowed from Kathy.

Volcanic Ash Cloud Consequences in Ghana

Iceland volcano Ghana airplane

On BBC we could hear how the Kenyan flower industry was suffering from the recent Icelandic volcano outbreak leaving an ashcloud over Europe which hinders aviation. So what are the consequences in Ghana?

When searching for information it first it seemed like 22 Americans stranded was the main effect, but as I have myself heard of three people being caught up in this mess (one in London going to Ghana, one in Ghana going to Sweden and one from Ghana going to Oslo but getting caught at his overlay destination…) I figured this could not be all. Also, just like Kenya, Ghana is an exporter of fresh items like pineapple, papaya, mango, chillies and heavily intertwined with Europe for other business too.

After continuing my search, I found a good article from The Ghanaian Times in which Aviance, a Ghanaian company air-freighting fruits and other goods from Ghana to the UK and Europe estimated loosing USD 10 million daily. The same article stated that KLM, Afriquiah and Ghana International Airlines had all canceled their flights, but (this was on Thursday) AlItalia and Lufthansa were still operating.

According to the same article,

Clearing and exporting agents of the Ghanaian exporters handling the exports, declined to talk to the Times, saying they had not been authorized to do so.

I really do not understand why they could not comment on the effects, however, this might explain why so little has been heard about the consequences of the volcanic ash cloud in Ghana.

For the environment, it might be a good thing though, see above visualization from Information is Beautiful comparing the emissions from the volcano and the planes…