Business in Ghana

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Archive for July, 2014

Precious Democracy. Critical News, 27th July 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 27, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My Saturday turned leisurely after we made interesting protest to Government, especially regarding the ballooning cost of living and with Organised Labor’s huge march on Thursday, we drilled the point home.

So I took time out and watched a couple of great movies and ruined my vegetating mind with “The Constant Gardener” and “12 Years a Slave”.

If you have not had the pleasure of either, I won’t ruin the story for you. But I got to thinking how important freedom and how critical a fight for justice against corruption.

So here is the Wikepedia opening definition of wisdom. See if you can fault it as a guide to a better human.

“Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance. This implies a possession of knowledge or the seeking thereof in order to apply it to the given circumstance. This involves an understanding of people, things, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgment, and action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of action. It often requires control of one’s emotional reactions (the “passions“) so that the universal principle of reason prevails to determine one’s action. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled with an optimum judgment as to what actions should be taken in order to deliver the correct outcome.”

We are asking for sincere and responsible governance. Governance where we do not just sit with the written words of a constitution, but do what is right because it is judgmentally correct to do. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Tomorrow Never Comes. Critical News, 20th July 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 20, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Readers bear with me a few lines while I share a personal tragedy.

Twenty-five years ago next month, I lost my father.  I was living and working in the UK, a long sojourn abused, while I tried to make life out of a Margaret Thatcher deteriorating economy.  Interest rates were soaring way above realistic levels, the British economy was tottering and there was very little solution as Thatcher clung on to bad economic advice, her principle, “no turning back” despite the obvious signs of collapse.

Suggestions came from Labour but the political adversity was such that bashing Unions and weakening the Union front was more important to the Tories.

I wasn’t in the UK-political fray at the time, struggling to keep my household finances together albeit unsuccessfully.  I learnt many lessons in that time, came close to filing for bankruptcy.

I had been talking to my father frequently that year, there was glimmer of easing, talk of Thatcher stepping down and I made a commitment to be home in July, all things equal.

June came, and I was offered a decent three-month contract, which would give a significant boost to my fortunes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Decidedly Red. Critical News, 12th July 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 13, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Hope soared on Saturday in West Legon.  I am in the neighborhood to meet a good friend and I can see four young girls at the side of the road, nearly opposite the gate where I will turn.  They are looking through notebooks and clearly comparing notes and having a conversation of sorts.  No phones, no iPads.

I turn and park in front of the large closed brown gate and toot my horn once.

I answer a call and getting into the conversation I see the group of four in the rear view mirror hesitatingly making their way to the car.

I roll down the side window and Cecelia, Serwaa, Abigail and very cute Amina (she will break some hearts in a decade) politely ask if I will support them with their school outing.

It will cost thirty cedis each.  I think hundred and twenty cedis I am not prepared to fork out, so I probe the event further.  It sounded genuine enough, but, says Serwaa, (she is a head taller than the rest and team leader) “we have already collected some, we have to contribute fifteen and the school will add the remainder”.

Ok, so this is now sixty cedis.  Well, I can bite that on a Saturday morning, and I reach for my wallet.  I count sixty cedis, before cute Amina, with laughing eyes, dimples and the most vivacious smile I have seen in decades, says, “you don’t have to pay for all.  We already have some, so you can help with anything more”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stealing Our Kra. Critical News, 5th July 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 6, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I am on a morning run to Korle Bu hospital, my sixth run so far to give a basket of fruit to Arnold, a bosom buddy recuperating from minor surgery.  I have come to understand why everything is so underserved in this hospital, stories of horror float in the car park making the trip to the surgical ward one tentative step tripping after the next.

But that is not the story.  Wednesday, I decided to make a detour to avoid the early mortuary road traffic and bypassed through the suburbs of Chorkor.  It has been a while since I went that way and I was intrigued by the change.

I slowed down at “Naa Dede Best Tillapia” to buy credit and Kwei Fio (I only got to know his name later) was hollering, slaps to his backside, his teenage mother bent on marking his butt for life with a leather belt.  It was a bit too much and I stepped out of the car to reprieve (now) my boy and urge Ashikai to hold up a bit.

Well, Kwei Fio was on a “no one cedi, no school” protest and “authority mum” was damned if she would accept this challenge to her parenthood.  She had offered Kwei Fio fifty pesewas but he said the reduced “wage” would dent his toffee-acquiring image at school.

I pleaded, I succeeded and we came to a compromise.  Things were tough, sales were very slow and Ashikai needed her son to give her more time to resolve this.

So I offered to give Kwei Fio’s one cedi a day allowance a bump and help with the regular payments as long as he went to school everyday.  We agreed that I would send the money by mobile money and Kwei would go the MTN office just across the road with his mother’s phone every week and collect his allowance, which Ashikai would dish out by the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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