Every now and again, it is an excellent month. You know, when everything is like one of those goodie bags that we give children at birthday parties. As you reach your hand into the bag, it clasps another pleasing surprise. It seems that month has come along for Ghana. It is not just expectations for the impending World Cup (and the Black Stars wins which brought us there); the whole country seems to be singing a Christmas Carol of love and hope. And, it is spread across every industry and index imaginable.
For the first time, Microsoft has appointed a female as an African Country Manager. And, it has happened right here in Ghana. Otema Yirenkyi was appointed after 14 years in the ICT industry, which outlives Microsoft’s involvement in Ghana (with only 10 years of operation on the ground). Within the past decade, Microsoft has trained 15,000 teachers, created over 1800 jobs and supported start-ups and students throughout the country. With Yirenkyi at the helm, one can only imagine how much more impact the company can have.
In keeping with the feminine, the new Miss Nigeria Ghana was recently crowned. Amadi Jennifer Enuolare is from Rivers State, Nigeria. She is currently studying at Knutsford University College in East Legon, Accra. And although this may sound like just another beauty pageant, the competition says something about the state of Nigerian-Ghanaian relations, and the interconnectedness of the region. Although this is only the second competition of its kind, it is sure to enhance regional friendships and understanding.
Winning is a theme that extends past beauty pageants and soccer matches. Vodafone Wholesale Ghana is also bringing home medals. The company was acknowledged at the recent Global Carrier Awards in Amsterdam, bringing home the title for Best African Product or Service. That is no small feat considering the amount of telecommunication developments on the continent. But, the 120 km fibre-optic interconnectivity project linking Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso, which garnered the accolades demonstrates a regional commitment that few other African countries can boast.
Back at home, Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has undertaken a monumental step towards improving health care in the country, and on the continent. Under his direction, Ghana plans to take the lead on Anti-Retroviral (ARV) drug production. It is expected that local production of these drugs will facilitate distribution in the region. This is a crucial step towards the “Getting to Zero” campaign which is set to reduce the HIV and AIDS prevalence rates radically.
And when it comes to government actions, health care is hardly the only arena where Ghana is shining. Ghana is moving up the ranks of the Corruption Perception Index. And in these rankings, that is a good thing. Ghana now ranks 63rd, up from 64 last year, and 69 in the year before. By the looks of it, Ghana will continue to rise, which is certainly an achievement, considering that the index measures governmental corruption such as kickbacks and embezzlement.
So as we creep into 2014, with our expectations resting firmly on the Black Stars success in Brazil, we can continue to count on a goodie bag of triumphs at home.