Africa is full of contradictions. There may be vast natural resources on the continent, but there is still a lot of poverty despite that inherent wealth. And, in some places, like South Africa, the contradictions can be as black and white as, well, black and white. Today, in Ghana, there are always two sides to any story. If happens across the board, from aid to football – and everything in the middle.
Just take a look at the football. The Black Stars have come out on top of Group E in the 2015 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers. And, that is after a 1-1 draw against Guinea in Casablanca. If you have been out of the loop, a leading Black Stars team is as important to the health and development of Ghana as water and electricity are. That does not mean that everything is rosy on the team and with all the players. There is still plenty of work to be done, of course, before the Afcon tournament next year, but it is a great start.
But, at the same time, it looks like the Black Stars 2014 World Cup appearance payments may just grace the big screen. Just what would an American produced film about the player’s struggles with governmental promises look like? Especially when screenwriter Darryl Wharton-Rigby is looking to cast someone like The Rock as the lead in a role that sees him racing along the freeway with bags of cash for the players. Without all the cultural subtext, could this stand in the way of the Black Stars developing as a team in the next few years?
On the financial front, it is no secret that Ghana’s economy depends on the presence of some international aid. Sure, the middle class continues to grow as does the number of joint ventures between Ghanaian and international companies. Both of these contribute to the strong development of the country. Traditionally, the European Union (EU) has long been a donor of much-needed aid, but for some reason, they have been holding back this year. It is even said that President John Dramini Mahama has resorted to begging EU envoys for the promised funds. Last year, the EU invested or donated 16 million Euros into the Ghanaian economy. Clearly, a lack of payment this year will have a big effect on the economy.
Yet, the Americans have just given Ghana a significant amount of money to help with the humanitarian crisis in West Africa. Although there are no reported cases of Ebola in Ghana, it is the country that appears best-placed to handle the movements of aid and supplies. And the Ghanaian government is certainly taking their role in this crisis seriously. So, the1 million dollars in American aid will not be remiss… If only the EU could come to the table, as discussed.
There are so many contradictions to contend with in Ghana today. It is as though Ghana is just beginning to heat up, even as the year is beginning to wind down.