Ghana votes for a share of the oil

New Statesman
Accra, Ghana

The people of Ghana have been told before that oil will be their saviour. But as President John Kufuor steps down after two terms of office, his successor could be the first leader to see benefits from an offshore discovery of oil reserves estimated at 1.8 billion barrels. Ghana would become an “African tiger”, Kufuor said last year. “With oil as a shot in the arm, we’re going to fly.”

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An offshore free-for-all

The Africa Report
Accra, Freetown and Monrovia

Brightly painted wooden fishing canoes are as much a feature of West Africa’s coastline as its crashing waves, sandy beaches and palm trees. Millions of people depend on fishing for their livelihoods and for food. National economies and foreign-exchange earnings are given a boost by vibrant fisheries industries. Yet at least one fifth of the catch is lost to illegal fishing, a problem that has been assessed by the Marine Resources Assessment Group as costing up to $9bn worldwide and $1bn in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Continue reading An offshore free-for-all

Bankruptcy and burials

The Economist
Accra, Ghana

Sweating under the weight of the coffin, red rags tied round their foreheads, the pall-bearers dip and weave through the crowd of mourners as the winged coffin soars above them, its brightly painted feathers forming a halo around the shining eyes and sharp beak. On a recent Saturday, Ghana’s funeral day, 67-year-old Nana Kobina Okai was buried in a multi-coloured, hand-carved, eagle-shaped coffin signifying his high social standing as the chief’s brother. Continue reading Bankruptcy and burials