We’re Looking at Paris; the UK Is Looking at Us and This Is Why It Matters

The world is, justifiably, concerned with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. It’s safe to wonder what’s happening in the world when events like this occur. High-profile Ghanaians have reached out in sympathy and support.

But, while Ghana (and almost every other country) reaches out to France, the English are looking at Ghana.

Concerned about Ghana’s ability to generate power and regulate it, the Minister of State at the Department of International Development in the UK is planning his visit to Ghana. Grant Shapps will visit a number of energy-centered organisations in the hopes of aiding the development of the solar energy sector. While a visit doesn’t constitute investment on its own, Ghanaians weary from the effects of life with dumsor should welcome any positive change and interest in the power sector of the country.

And, with Ghana’s recent showing at the World Travel Market Fair in London, it’s possible that investments will flow into the travel sector through British tourism. The Ghana Day Celebration drew attention though rich cultural displays. Any push for UK tourists to visit and invest in our country are backed by Ghanaian government initiatives claims Victor Smith, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK.

The UK is also the first country to conclude a repatriation treaty with Ghana. In 2007, the Ghanaian Parliament passed an act allowing its citizens to serve their time at home when convicted abroad. This is a great deal easier to pass into law than to effect. It involves the mutual repatriation of prisoners between countries and, therefore, agreements with nearly every government to ensure transfers. Ghanaian citizens serving time in the UK will soon be home, and as a result, many will receive family visitors for the first time.

There may be skeptics regarding the repatriation of Ghanaian citizens, however. We can chalk that up to a documentary by the mysterious Anas Aremeyaw Anas. This investigative journalist revealed corruption in the justice department when his documentary. Over 30 judges and 170 judicial officers were implicated as the film captured the transfer of bribes to these officials. And you can guess which country is taking the time to focus on these events. That’s right, the BBC is diving into the story, even getting the mysterious journalist to remove his trademark beaded face veil.

No matter how you dice it, bribery cannot be justified in a country where food prices are rising dramatically. The costs of basic food items are choking Ghanaians. Increases are shown in every quarter, and it’s been reported that the cost of tomatoes has risen an incredible 21% in the last month. Fortunately, it looks like exports to neighbouring countries are on the rise. ECOWAS reports a large increase in trade between Ghana and Nigeria. That could, however, have to do with the exorbitant cost associated with trade with countries that are further away.

And why is all of this important to the average Ghanaian? Every aspect of diplomacy, economy, and tourism will soon be under extreme scrutiny. The behaviour of every single political person and party, the amount of international attention they garner, and all the shortcomings of government will soon be the focus of the 2016 elections. It’s started already with the call for new voter registration… and all the troubles that go with that.

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