Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why I Decided To Move To Ghana At 24

Whitney Awuraakuah Appeanimaa Osei
When you are 24, still in school and decide to relocate to Africa after nearly 18 years in the U.S., the obvious conclusion would be that you are delusional. Well at least that is what people told me when I explained to them that I would be moving to Ghana in February. Being the stubborn person that I am, I completely disregarded all comments because I had already made up my mind and had decided on what I wanted to do. I am normally very indecisive, but on this particular issue I could not be deterred because I was walking in faith and a greater purpose.
I knew I wanted to move back to Ghana in 2011 when I visited for the first time since leaving at age 6. Now, some say it may just be because I was there on vacation, but to me it was more than that. Ghana really felt like home because it in fact was. It was awesome to be in a country where I understood the people and culture, and everyone more or less looked like me #NoRacism. It was great being around childhood friends, family members and revisiting my roots. For the first time in years, I could really absorb what was going on around me.
Living in the United States, things are so fast paced you barely have time to analyze what is going on. I got my first job when I was 16 years old working at Popeyes after school and on the weekends, left home when I was 17 years old, and I have been going to school and working to sustain my upkeep ever since. It has not been an easy journey by all means, but in the states this is actually the norm for many people. There were times when I’ve had to take time off from school because I would be so exhausted from work or trying to “chase” money that the focus and concentration for school was just not there; it was rather on making a living today! From working in a warehouse, providing live-in care to the elderly, being a nanny for 3 young children to working at Bank of America and Sage North America: I worked my fingers down to the bone only to live paycheck to paycheck. Di3 3y3 me ahi no kraa no s3 wo y3 expendable. You can be fired or let go at anytime and then what? The bill collectors do not accept excuses. It seemed as though I was working just to be able to afford working. I was paying a good bit of money for an apartment, that I spent less than 10 hours in every day. Everyone is so consumed with their own problems that people hardly relate anymore. I’d been living in the same complex for over a year and still didn’t know who my neighbors were because they were equally as busy as I was. We call it come and go, come and go.
When people tell me that they’ve bought something I often laugh. I tell them unless you’ve paid cash in full for the item, you have not “bought” anything: you are leasing. Take a house for example: miss a few mortgage payments and you will see how soon the bank will take away the house that you “bought.” Miss a few car payments and you will see how quick that car you “bought” will be repossessed. That’s America for you. We run on a credit system: you purchase things with money that you don’t have (which can easily get you into trouble). One bad mistake and you won’t even be able to purchase a toothpick on credit. I know, I just shattered all of your fantasies of living in the States. You thought it was all ice cream and red velvet cake. Sorry to disappoint you, but don’t be deceived by Instagram hashtags (including my own). These were all things I considered but, it was not what really compelled me to move to Ghana.
In 2013 I began to develop a strong passion for humanitarian work. I started volunteering frequently in my community, and It was then that I realized I was doing it all wrong. I looked around me, noticed all the “luxury” I had and realized that my own people back in Ghana didn’t have nearly half of what I had. I, Whitney Osei, was doing nothing to help with this. Everyone was so eager to get a Visa to go abroad for better educational and career opportunities, that they sucked all of the skill and knowledge right out of the country without knowing it (human capital flight). A person could pay $35,000 for Visa connection, yet could not establish something that would provide opportunities for themselves and others in their community? I didn’t understand that logic. I thought to myself: if everyone is leaving Ghana for better opportunities abroad, who is going to stay to develop the country? Who is going to create jobs and train our future leaders? Who is going to push for government reforms and policies? Who is going to be an advocate for the youth? ME that’s who: Whitney Awuraakuah Appeanimaa Osei. I had found my purpose and there was no escaping it.
Masses of Ghanaians have been taught to believe that there are no opportunities in Ghana, and that you can only become successful abroad. Negative. I know plenty of people who were born and raised in Ghana and are quite successful–and no they do not deal in cocaine. It’s all about perception and proper utilization of the resources you have available to you. Success is tangible in Ghana; you have to think global and act local.
When I look at Ghana all I can see is the opportunity for growth. Even through the Dumsor crisis, I still see opportunities to make money and establish something impactful. Here is a country full of rich resources and has one of the fastest growing economies in  Africa: Ghana is an entrepreneur’s paradise. There are still a lot of different industries that have not yet been tapped into that entrepreneurs can explore. There is a growing need for a lot of various businesses that have not yet been established. I was brought to the realization that no one is going to “fix” Ghana. Only Ghanaians can fix Ghana. If we want Ghana to be a “December to remember” every year when expats come for holidays then we need to invest back into our home (oh, the irony). If I am able to establish a non-profit in Ghana, and I have provided jobs for at least 5 people I have contributed greatly to the economy and my community. This is the mindset that we need! We need doctors, lawyers, engineers to come back home and work with industry leaders in Ghana to develop systems and strategies for growth. If we are all in Abrokyire eating Burger King and McDonalds how is that going to happen?
Ghana is currently facing a lot of challenges, and yes it does take some adjusting to. Believe me getting used to life in Ghana is very difficult. I have hit many speed bumps already, reworking my plan along the way; however, the issues that we are facing are not issues that cannot be resolved. We need to go back home and help our country. Those of us that have been fortunate enough to have access to “quality” education and expertise abroad should be inclined to go back and rebuild Ghana.
As for school, do not be deceived: there are plenty of amazing universities in Ghana that allow you to transfer credits and receive the same “quality” education. A degree in Ghana is just as good as a degree anywhere else. After all it is how the individual applies the knowledge they obtain in school that truly matters. An attorney friend of mine once gave me this bit of advice, “the kind of jobs you want don’t care where you went to school, and the ones that do care you won’t want to work there anyway. They care about what you can bring to the organization and how.”
My reason for moving back to Ghana was only because of one thing: I wanted to be a part of my country’s success story. I wanted to take what I have learned in the United States and use it to develop my home, so that my younger sister’s generation and generations to follow can have opportunities that they never dreamed possible. I want to look beyond my own selfish needs to focus on the greater benefit of my Ghana. Sure I may not get 24 hours electricity, paved roads or state of the art health centers, but I’ve gained something much more: purpose, peace, focus and neighbors that check up on me everyday to make sure I’m not laying dead in my apartment. If we work together Ghana can have all of these things and much more in only a few years.  There’s a sense of inner fulfillment when I am in Ghana that is priceless, so even in Dumsor I sleep effortlessly.
If Patrick Awuah Jr. can do it, why can’t we all?

My next post will go into detail as to what I am doing in Ghana business wise, school, living etc.
Stay tuned and be sure to leave all questions and comments below.
Credit -Whitney A. Osei

US$50bn investor funds beckons Ghana as Naseba eyes opportunities

Dollar Note FreshInvestment facilitation company, Naseba, is upbeat about enormous potentials in Africa, especially West Africa, where it wants to direct a portion of a large pool of funds it manages on behalf of high net worth clients.

The Chairman of the France-headquartered investment facilitation firm, Mr Scott Ragsdale, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an exclusive interview during a two-day fact-finding visit to Ghana that for the next two years, Africa would be his personal focus, as it tried to help its clients access good returns on their investments.

“We already have four clients who want us to organise meetings for them. So I came to Ghana to see some clients and see the opportunities for myself. I need to personally see, because if we introduce one bad opportunity to our investors, they will never work with us again,” Mr Ragsdale said.

Areas in focus

His visit to Ghana was around a real estate investment opportunity. But the company is also interested in aviation, health care, infrastructure, telecommunications, hospitality and many more. He will be going on to Sierra Leone and Nigeria on a similar mission.

Creating a platform for great business opportunities to meet ready capital in excess of US$50 billion, Naseba believes the future is Africa, an environment which currently offers 20 per cent plus returns to investor, higher than any other investment destination in the world.

The company has investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, India as well as in China, with individuals and corporates which together bring on board excess of US$50 billion investment-hungry financing, be they debt or equity.

A lot of investors are divesting from the Middle East, particularly due to impending interest rate United States hikes there. This leaves a lot of floating funds to the attraction of good investments opportunities in emerging markets and frontier economies such as Ghana.

“There are a lot of great opportunities here, but needs to be properly structured with a business plan that spells out specifics. Ideally, they need strong balance sheets. But in lieu of that, they need to have some strong vision that can be substantiated,” he said.

Naseba sees Ghana as a low corruption destination, compared to other African countries. Coupled with its frontier economy categorisation, the country is also very stable, though its development is not as rapid as other emerging economies.

“Ghana’s development is steady and consistent and we have investors interested in what is going on in Ghana,” Mr Ragsdale stated.

In the aviation sector, Naseba is interested in directing client investments into airport infrastructure and services to modernise the country’s rudimentary aviation services.

“If I can find a reliable Africa airline, it will be a good opportunity. Ghana’s airport for instance, has a huge potential; there is huge opportunity in that airport. We are interested in the infrastructure and the services in the airport because it’s a bit rudimentary,” he said.

The firm is also looking for local banks to partner them.

The challenge

Naseba is aware that many start-ups and individuals may be looking for counterpart investors to make their dreams come true. But that, Mr Ragsdale said, made it challenging to distinguish the genuine serious business people from fraudsters and ‘dreamers’.

“The challenge is finding the right opportunities. Everyone is looking for money, but the challenge is funding the perfect ones. So we are looking for projects with really big potential to invest in,” the Naseba CEO stated.

Africa opportunities offer returns larger than anywhere else in the world and it was one of the reasons Naseba is fast spreading its tentacles to West Africa to partner with local businesses to explore viable opportunities together.

“I’m here because I want to see the opportunities myself. There is a lot of divesting from the Middle East now and that money will be channelled to new areas. The more conservative investors are going to America but they are not going to have the same returns,” he said.

“Africa is the only place to get the 20 plus returns. Africa is the future. I tell my clients in Africa; “you’re in the land of milk and honey. Africa is the future.”

The investment facilitator is also upbeat that fighting corruption in West Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, which had a massive emerging middle class, would have positive impact on the rest of Africa.

“The biggest risk to mitigate in Africa is the corruption and finding opportunities which when invested in could be sustainable for over five years.”

The investment facilitator considers corruption to include fraudulent activities of individuals who botch with investors’ money, popularly known as ‘419’.

“It is possible to find an investor and people will disappear with the investment in three weeks. This is more difficult than weaving through regulation.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Accra International Conference Centre detoriorating

Accra International Conference Centre (outside view)

The proverbial Ghanaian lack of maintenance  culture is catching up with the Accra International Conference Centre.

It is an events venue in AccraGhana.  The Conference Centre is the most popular due to its size and capacity as compared to the National Theatre
venue for exhibitions, conferences, international events within the centre of Accra, near parliament of Ghana.

Now the facilities at the Centre are fast deteriorating due to neglect and mismanagement. The carpet had become old, seats with no cover, spoilt seat, worn out seat furnishers, peeling  interior walls, bed bugs infested foam  and broken door.

Pictures below:




Accra International Conference Centre infested with Bed bugs

The Accra International Conference Center is perhaps the most popular venue in Accra where large events are held is currently infested with Bed bugs.

 It is the foremost conference center in the country. It is the most important meeting venue in Ghana, and often plays host to important international gatherings.

It is located in the Christiansborg area in Accra and is close to a number of important locations, such as the Parliament of Ghana, the Accra Sports Stadium, the Independence Arch and the Black Star Square.

That international business can only be attracted with the right infrastructure in place, has long been acknowledged by the Government of Ghana. Hence the importance of the Accra International Conference Centre. The Accra International Conference Centre was built in 1991 to host the Tenth Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Lately due poor management and maintenance culture the facility is in shamble. The foams in the chairs are infested with bed bugs.

During the Technoserve seminar at the centre a journalist had a bug bite on his arms. The earlier authorities take a look at this situation the better

Pictures Below:

Bugs in the foam
bug Bite

I won't entertain hiplife in my church - Agyin Asare

I won't entertain hiplife in my church - Agyin Asare
Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, Charles Agyin Asare says although his church has become home to several social events aside Christian programs, he will not entertain any event that has to do with hiplife, the Ghanaian youthful music genre.
“Hiplife? No, I won’t. I don’t hate hiplife artistes but I don’t like the way some of them will dress to the place … and the way some of them will behave at the place,” he noted in an interview with Bola Ray on Starr Chart on Starr 103.5 FM Wednesday.
When asked if he will give room for highlife artistes to perform, the respected man of God said yes but added that certain conditions have to be met.
“I will only accommodate them if only we will be assured of decorum. Even though it is a public place, it is also a church and I wouldn’t want people to come there smoking.”
He told Bola Ray that highlife musician like Pat Thomas, C. K. Man, and Ampadu are his favourite artistes because “they used to sing so many meaningful songs.”
Bishop Agyin Asare now presides over a congregation of 14,000 having started with some 70 adults at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle years ago.
- See more at:

Obama, Michelle sing 'Happy Birthday' to Usher

Obama Michele Ursher
Ursher, Barack and Michelle Obama                                                                                                                                                 

Usher spent his birthday last week being serenaded by Barack and Michelle Obama.

Usher, who was at the White House to participate in In Performance at the White House, an “all-star music tribute celebrating the cultural resonance of art and literature in unique American musical form” that will air on PBS in 2016, turned 37 on Oct. 14, and received a cupcake and birthday singalong led by the President of the United States.

“So this really happened the other night,” Usher wrote on Facebook. “The President and First Lady sang me Happy Birthday at The White House & I got to perform for them. I couldn’t be more grateful for this moment and all of the birthday wishes from everyone. THANK YOU!!!!! #Blessed #OlderWiser.”

Usher did not comment on dessert he was given in addition to the song, but Barack Obama vouched for its quality: “That’s a good cupcake, too,” the president said.

Watch the video below:

Paul Afoko suspended as NPP Chairman

Paul Afoko Npp Chair Contest
Suspended NPP Chairman, Paul Afoko                                                                                                                                            

The New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) National Executive Committee (NEC) has unanimously voted to suspend its National Chairman Paul Afoko indefinitely.

The NEC upheld the overwhelming decision by the Disciplinary Committee which decided that Mr Afoko be suspended.

Citi News’ Franklin Badu who has been reporting from the party’s headquarters in Accra said, the decision was taken in a meeting called on Friday October 23, by First National Vice Chairman, Freddie Blay.

The Disciplinary Committee took the decision first, after the National Council of Elders in September, wrote to it, demanding amongst others, that the National Chairman Paul Afoko, be made to step aside until after 2016 elections.

Friday’s NEC meeting was marred by violence in the morning when members of the party’s private security, ‘Invisible Forces,’ burnt a motorbike and destroyed the windscreen of a taxi cab at the party office.

According to them, a youth group they suspect were members of ‘Bolga Bull Dog’ who are allegedly loyalists of Mr. Afoko had attempted to disrupt the meeting.

The council in the letter enumerated amongst others, the many challenges the party has been facing in recent months and the failure of the Chairman to restore order.

Who was at the NEC meeting?

Bishop Asante Antwi – Chairman of the party’s disciplinary committee

Haruna Eseku – Former chairman of the NPP

Bugri Naabu – The Northern Regional Chairman of the party.

Hackman Owusu Agyemang –A leading member of the party

Treasurer – Abankwah Yeboah

Freddie Blay who convened the meeting,

The party’s Chairman in the Ashanti Region, Antwi Boasiak

KT Hammond

Ursula Owusu

John boadu

Sammy Awuku – National Youth Organizer

What does the NPP constitution say?

According to the constitution, the National Chairman shall be the convener and the chairman of all the meetings including the National Executive Committee.

The committee cannot meet until at least, one-third of the members stated above are present.

It however adds that the absence of the National Chairperson, the first National Vice Chairperson shall act in his or her place.

Mr. Paul Afoko was recently criticized for making public comments on the party’s finances, a practice against laid down rules.

Mr. Paul Afoko and his colleague, Kwabena Agyepong, the General Secretary, have been under pressure to leave the party following the death of the party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama.

The two leaders were accused of having a hand in the death of the late NPP stalwart, an allegation they have flatly denied.

Paul Afoko’s brother, Gregory Afoko, is one of the suspects on trial for the murder of Adams Mahama, who he suffered severe burns after acid was poured on him.

The NPP is yet to fully recover from the internal strife that has hit the party in recent months.

Mayhem rocks NPP headquarters again; car, motorbike destroyed

NPP5 Headquarters AccraThe Headquarters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has again become a scene of violence over disagreement within the party’s rank and file.

Citi News’ Franklin Badu Junior reported Friday morning, that about 20 heavily-built men , who are members of the party’s private security, the Invincible Forces, stormed the office and burnt a motorbike and also demolished the windscreen of a taxicab.
According to him, pedestrians and motorists are unable to use the road although police officers have arrived to maintain law and order.

“There is total violence and chaos. Currently, one side of the road leading to the main entrance of the office has been blocked with a motorbike that has been set on fire. There is also a taxi that looks new and the front and rear mirror have been destroyed. I saw about seven heavily built men destroying the taxi. There about twenty of such macho men in front of the head office warning everybody not to pass there. The police just arrived with two cars to calm the situation because nobody uses the road in front of the office at the moment” Franklin reported.

Franklin added “It is still unclear if the NEC meeting expected to be held today will take place. The information I have is that those attending the meeting are yet to arrive but there are about two administrators already in there.”

According to him, it appears the macho men are not exactly there to prevent the meeting but to protect the area from being invaded by persons claiming to be loyalists of the party’s Chairman, Paul Afoko or any other party leader.

The chaos comes ahead of a National Executive Committee Meeting (NEC) expected to take place today.

Ahead of the meeting however, the disgruntled Chairman of the party, Paul Afoko, had issued a statement to all media houses asking the public to ignore it, saying the party’s First National Vice Chairman, Freddie Blay, is not constitutionally mandated to call a NEC meeting when he is available.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the party’s Disciplinary Committee, Bishop Emmanuel Asante Antwi, has arrived at the head office for the meeting.

Members of the Invincible Forces, say they have information suggesting that some loyalists of Paul Afoko, also known as the ‘Bolga Bull Dogs’, are on their way to the office to disrupt the meeting.

A member of the Invincible Forces told Citi News “we are ready for them so we are waiting for them”.

The meeting according to a party source, will go ahead despite the violent clashes. Among those who have arrived at the office for the meeting, are Hackman Owusu Agyemang, and the party’s Treasurer, Abankwa Yeboah.

The meeting among other things, is expected to consider a proposal for the suspension of the party Chairman, Paul Afoko.

The NPP is yet to fully recover fully from the internal strife that hit the party in recent months.

Microsoft's Bing now supports emoji

Microsoft's search engine Bing announced support for emoji, enabling users to type in the special characters into mobile or desktop search and receive results based on their meaning.

Bing says the feature, which will be available in English markets, is a way for users to "search the same way you communicate every day."

The search engine will offer up definitions for some of the more puzzling emoji. It can even combine different emoji, or words and emoji to provide search results.

Vanity Fair spoke with Craig Beilinson, Microsoft’s director of marketing communications, who explained why the company wanted Bing to offer support for the ubiquitous emoticons.

“Just like I would text my friends if they wanted to go out for sushi, now I can search Bing using the emoji on my phone instead of typing ‘sushi’ and still find a great place to eat,” he said.

Whether it’s actually any faster than just typing the words “sushi restaurants nearby” depends on how well you know your emoji keyboard, usually available on mobile. 

To try it out on your desktop computer, make sure you're using the right browser. Chrome, for example, doesn't recognize emoji, but Apple's Safari does. We've used Safari to perform the search seen in the image above.

Bing's biggest competitor, Google, currently does not offer emoji search.

Tonaton Sponsors Ghana eCommerce Expo

Organizers of the Ghana eCommerce Expo, OML Africa, have announced the signing of a sponsorship agreement with, Ghana’s largest online marketplace, a classifieds website where anyone can buy and sell almost anything. This important exhibition and conference designed for Ghana's online retail industry is scheduled for 10-11 November 2015, under the theme, "Unleashing Ghana's Online Potential".

Image result for tonaton logoAccording to a spokesman of the organisers, "We are very excited with having Tonaton supporting our initiative and look forward to a successful landmark event which is poised to shape the way modern business is being conducted today, emphasizing on consumer convenience, speed, safety and taking advantage of emerging cash-lite payment platforms. We believe Tonaton's support will help actualize the goals of the Ghana eCommerce Expo of boosting awareness of the burgeoning online trade industry in a secure environment".
According to Sandra Abrokwa, Country Manager of Tonaton, "Recently, the company took a bold step towards enhancing online security by becoming Ghana’s first and only online platform to require ID verification of all sellers on the platform."
Sandra will deliver a presentation on ID Security at the conference and also chair the insightful panel discussion on "eCommerce in Ghana-the Challenges, Innovations and Solutions". Other panelists are Claire Staal (Country Manager,; Funlola Abe (Country Manager, Kaymu & Jumia); and Agastee Khante ( Country Manager, Ringier Ghana).

Since its inception in 2013, has become the leading online choice for great deals on electronics, cars, properties and general items such as clothing, pets and furniture. has approximately one million visitors every month across Ghana, guaranteeing sellers hundreds of thousands of potential buyers.
The Ghana eCommerce Expo will take place at the Accra International Conference Redefines Campus Activations on 3 of Ghana’s Largest Campuses

Image result for tonaton logo, Ghana’s Largest Marketplace, feted KNUST over the weekend as the last stop of a series of campus tours began in September, 2015. The Tonaton Fresh ‘a’ Fair saw fun and entrepreneurship at play in a 2-day event centered around showcasing the app as a way for students and young entrepreneurs to buy and sell with a simple click of a button.

The tour began in UCC with the legendary ‘Aponkye Cup,’ which saw students compete in various games and sports while representing their halls or secondary schools. It then moved on to an all-night movie night and ended with an electrifying concert with Pappy Kojo, Joey B, Deborah Vanessa, Episode, Mr. Eazi, DJ Vyrusky, MC Kojo Manuel and a host of other artistes. During the concert, the artistes used the app to offer various items of theirs for sale. Several students who visited via the app walked away with great deals on Yeezy boots, Beats by Dre, mobile phones, ladies’ shoes, perfume and other general items such as clothes.

After an impressive start in Cape Coast, the tour touched down in Accra, at the University of Ghana, Legon. started the fair in Legon with a big bang, by hosting an autograph signing session with Sarkodie and seguing later on in the day to the first ever live performance of Sarkodie’s ‘Mary’ album. Guest acts, Efya and Akwaboah, were there and performed to thunderous applause from an enthralled audience. Sarkodie’s Mary album was available for sale at half-price on during the event and over 50 students made purchases using the app.

The next day was another banger as the new Lords, Pappy Kojo and Joey B, Lil Shaker, Mr. Eazi and Episode got the school jamming. The event was hosted by Deborah Vanessa,’s brand ambassador for its CSR initiative dubbed #GreenHeart, a socially conscious campaign to drive autism awareness in Ghana. #Green Heart attracted a lot of attention as Deborah Vanessa interacted and took selfies with with fans who came around to donate to the good cause.
KNUST climaxed the Tonaton Fresh ‘a’ Fair tour starting with a fashion show showcasing a lineup of up and coming models, designers and fashion enthusiasts on Day 1. With each strut, the models showed trendy outfits by student designers, many of which are available for sale on via the app.

With the innovation and excitement from the fashion show still lingering, Day 2 got the KNUST campus hyped with performances from Shot Boi, Cabum, Jupitar, the General, Mr. Eazi, Lil Shaker, Kojo Cue and Criss Waddle. When R2Bees, the title performers for the event, took the stage, the crowd went wild with roars and screams that could be heard as far as the Great Hall.  In vintage R2Bees fashion, the group started off with ‘Kiss Your Hand,’ a karaoke session that had the girls singing the chorus and the guys rapping to Paedae’s punches. The rap duo then featured hits that heightened the excitement of the crowd and just when the crowd thought they had got enough, ‘Odo’, ‘Makoma’ and ‘Concert Party’ sealed the deal.

Social media is still buzzing with pictures and videos of the event last weekend and has emerged not only as the go-to brand for finding great online deals on everything, but also as a caring brand supporting autism awareness in Ghana and providing a platform for entrepreneurs to trade.

The big question now is what is next for Ghana’s largest marketplace? Will we be seeing more in the future? We certainly hope so as other campuses are already canvassing on social media for their turn.

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