Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is Ghana Ready For Mobile Number Portability [MNP]?

What comes to mind at the mention of "Mobile Number Portability"? Have you ever wondered why you couldn't choose your own number and use it on any network? How would you feel, if you could now do so? A time is coming, when you can do all that… Hurray..!!!

For your information; the country's telecommunication service provider Vodafone Ghana, is pushing for the implementation of Mobile Number Portability also known as MNP in Ghana. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.

Unlike what Zain Telecommunication did upon arriving in Ghana a couple of months ago; when they enabled customers of other networks to register their numbers on the Zain network with the Zain's 026 prefixing, MNP allows a customer to move from Vodafone, for instance, with his 020XXXXXX number to Zain, still maintaining the 020 prefix.

Currently, Ghana has six GSM Mobile Operators and the implementation of MNP would give customers/subscribers the choice and flexibility to be on any network they want. That means, I can have a number [0244-101010] on MTN moved to the Zain network and still maintain the prefix and the rest of the numbers.

From my personal observation, I don't think the necessary equipments and technical skills are in place for the implementation of this unique service. Four out of the six GSM Operators in the country namely [Zain, Kasapa Telecom, Glo Mobile and Vodafone-Ghana] have openly declared their support for its implementation but only MTN is very mute on this subject and rather asking the National Communication Authority for comments on the implementation of MNP.

Why wouldn't they be mute when they know they would end up losing all their customers to the other GSM Operators? Even though, they are the market leaders with a subscriber base of about 5million Ghanaians, I think the news of the MNP is going to bring them crushing to the ground.

Major Don-Chebe, Head of Corporate Communications from Vodafone Ghana said; every mature telecom market in the world is implementing MNP and he doesn't see the reason why Ghana, with as many as six GSM Operators and a penetration level of more than 55% [55 per cent] of its population shouldn't implement MNP. He also stressed that, when MNP is implemented, customers who are trapped on other networks would now be freed and can now enjoy quality of service from any of the GSM Networks of their choice in the country.

This technology is not expensive as somebody would be thinking. The advantages outrun the disadvantages in many ways.

What do you think of this new initiative? Do you think, it should be pushed and implemented? Do you think, Ghana is ready for its implementation? Do we have the necessary tools, experts to handle this new idea? How would this help you when it's implemented?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eyram Akofa Tawiah; Leti Games & iWarrior on App Store.

Programmers, Eyram Akorfa Tawiah from Ghana and Wesley Kirinya from Kenya are co-founders of Leti Games, a Ghanaian start-up building games for the iPhone and other gaming platforms is what Leti Games brings to the African gaming community. Their names would soon become a household one soon after their release of the iWarrior from Leti Games.

According to Eyram Tawiah [developer/programmer], the iWarrior is a casual game with great African art and sounds. With its simple intense game play, it puts you in the role of protecting your village from Africa's most feared wild animals. From the thundering Elephants, the camouflaging Lions, the swift Cheetahs, silly Hyenas and others, experience the wild on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Eyram is a product of the KNUST from Kumasi and Meltwater Foundation where he was a Teaching Fellow inspiring others and also working on his projects. I booked for an interview immediately I heard of iWarrior's release but couldn't get the chance as he was busy sorting other issues out. Luckily for me, I got hold of him online yesterday even though he seems busy; he was able to grant me this interview which answers all my questions about their [his] game release.

Below is the full text of my interview with Eyram Akofa Tawiah [EAT]:

Mac-Jordan [MJ]: What got you started in programming?
Eyram Akofa Tawiah
[EAT]: It is funny but my love for games actually got me serious with programming. I wanted to make my own game for the comics I used to draw back in the days.

MJ: How would you describe your programming style / what languages you are ok with?
I'm very conversant with all programming languages for now. I work with programming principles but not the language. I design and implement in any language that I find can do the job right for me but I'm very comfortable in .NET (VB, C#), PHP, java and Objective C.

MJ: What software do you use most for your works?
EAT: I use Microsoft Office applications and the IDE's. I prefer the Mozilla Firefox and Safari browsers because they are very safe to use.

MJ: What would be the first thing I would find when I enter your room?
EAT: (laughing at this question) upon entering my room, you will find my girlfriend's portrait picture on the wall, a desktop computer on a table in the hall, my laptop [either in my bag or on the table].

MJ: What would I find in your laptop bag?
EAT: My MacBook Pro, my phones and if possible a PSP [PlayStation Portable]

MJ: Who is your best Movie Actor/Actress in Ghana? Have you watched any Ghanaian movies lately?
To be honest with you, I don't watch Ghanaian movies. No reasons for that though. I think, I watched "Perfect Picture" and I liked it. Apart from that, I can't say anything on movies from Ghana.

MJ: As a programmer, I believe you have a sense for music. What is your choice of music?
I have a wide range of music I listen to but on my heavy rotations; I have Classics, Hymns, Country music, Hip-hop & Hip-life. I'm beginning to have a thing for this generation of Afro-pop music coming from the youth of Ghana.

MJ: What books have you been reading over the past week?
: As a matter of fact, I've been programming over the past week so I never got the time to read any books yet except lookups in some programming books and blogs online for info's and many more...

MJ: What particular challenges do you face as a programmer in Ghana?
Constant outage of electricity, slow internet speed and the most annoying of all, internal politics in organizations.

MJ: How do you see the future of Programming & Developing in Ghana?
[sighing] hmmm… I would say, very bright. Almost everyone is barely a programmer these days and I like the idea of helping friends out whenever they are faced with any challenges. Information Technology is fast becoming the order of the day so I see, developing/programming leading in all facets. I'm very active in the Ghana Developers Group and also share a lot of info to members.

MJ: Are you currently working on any projects?
Currently, I am working on 2 games due next month. The iWarrior and its j2me version [kijiji] are already out. There's another multiplayer game due next month.

MJ: Which other programmers inspire your work and why?
A lot of them do. I like programmers like John Carmack; CEO of ID Software, Erik Hersmann of Afrigadget and Whiteafrican… Locally, a lot of my colleagues inspire me. I learn from anyone and also share with anyone irrespective of sex, race, ethnicity, color or background.

MJ: What has been the best advice given to you by another programmer?
EAT: Don't be selfish at what you know; be willing to share. Sharing helps you to know more. The more you share, the more you know.

MJ: What advice would you share with programmers starting out?
My advice to up-coming programmers is for them to take programming seriously. They should do it for a good cause. They should be passionate about it, because after all they would see it as another language but not a curse.

MJ: How are iPhone users without App Store accounts supposed to get a copy of the iWarrior Game from Ghana?
: Currently, you can get the iWarrior through the app store on iTunes. As a consolation, please consider signing up as a beta-tester for our next games and you will get the games to play pre-release. You can also download the game from iTunes App Store

MJ: Tell me something nobody knows about you and want them to know..
Games are a great way to relax. It is a continuous mind teaser, and is also a very profitable avenue for business in the world. Africans should not look down on it because it forms one of the biggest economy boosters in the developed countries. In the US, the game industry is bigger than the music and the movie industry combined. Africans can make it big in this industry. It takes determination and perseverance and a little bit of networking to accomplish though.

MJ: Your final words…
I wish to see more game developers in Ghana and Africa soon. It's fun to make games and a good way to understand programming faster. If anyone is interested in it and wants someone to talk to or share thoughts with, I'm always there to help.

MJ: Thanks a lot for your time and I really appreciate it loads.
EAT: You are always welcome, Mac-Jordan. I'm very happy to see Ghana Blogging Group going places and I know, you are very active on that. Keep it up and do feel free to contact me if you want to move your blog to your own domain. I'm ready to help anytime.

According to Erik Hersmann of WhiteAfrican blog, "iWarrior is an excellent first game on the iPhone platform from two highly talented and creative African game developers. I expect that there will be lot of good games and other applications coming from this team over time - both on the iPhone and other platforms. It's a game to be proud of and one that I hope a lot of others will buy."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blog Action Day ’09; Round-up of blog posts by Ghanaian Bloggers

Blog Action Day codenamed by some tech-gurus and geeks as [#bad09] is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. They aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion on that particular day...

Yesterday, the 15th of October, 2009 happened to be the Blog Day Action where bloggers all over the world wrote various articles on Climate Change. Ghanaian bloggers were not left out of the fun on writing about this subject on this day...

Below is a round-up of the various posts by members of the Ghana Blogging Group on Blog Action Day [#bad09].

Gameli Adzaho who is the author of The Gamelian World Blog presented his post on "5 Voices on climate Change" where he sampled views from five global leaders. In his opening remark, he talked about the significant of Blog Action Day and how "The phenomenon of climate has engaged the world's attention over the past decade, provoking debates in science, politics, business and technology." Among the five global leaders he choose to discuss about were 1. Former US Vice-President Al Gore 2. Noble Laureate Wangari Maathai 3. US President Barrack Obama 4. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan 5. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

He ended his post by asking series of questions [What are your views on climate change? Is it for real? Is it a myth? In what ways do you think that the world can use its resources more sustainably? Can developing countries contribute to reversing climate change?], which he hopes to get to answers to soon.

Next blogger to post on #bad09 was; The African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) whose contributors are AWDF, Bisi and Roselyn. Their post was basically relating to 'Climate Change and Women". According to their blog AWDF the organization is an Africa wide grant-making foundation for African Women. The vision of the AWDF is for African women to live in a world in which there is social justice, equality and respect for women's human rights…

They started their post by not agreeing with Arun Agrawal in his paper on Social Dimensions of Climate Change which was prepared for the Social Development Department, The World Bank, Washington DC, March 5-6, 2008 in which he stated "Climate change will be pivotal in redefining development in the twenty-first century. How nations, societies, communities, and households respond to the impacts of climate changes and variability to which the world has already been committed will in many instances determine their prospects for growth, equity, and sustainability".

They described Climate Change as an environmental change, which is also driven by humans – it is fundamentally a human problem. The impacts of climate change are expected to seriously (and disproportionately) affect the livelihoods, health, and educational opportunities of people living in poverty. They also recommended a few ideas which I would be glad if you mind reading and sharing your thoughts with them on their blog; African Women's Development Fund.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu, co-founder of Ghana Blogging Group and also author of Rain In Africa blog had a lot to say on #bad09 but got shocked at how not current the topic is trending in Ghana. She mentioned how some organization/website is counting down to the UN Meeting and has no story from Ghana on their Climate Orb application. She even went to ask; "When was the last time [someone] you heard someone discuss climate change around here [Ghana]?

She also described a way to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by suggesting, "We travel with public transport rather than individually in our own cars." She stated again how Ghanaians travel in packed tro-tros, shared taxis or "Kuffuor busses"[Metro Mass Transit busses] and hence do not emit too much CO2.

Finally, my great Ghanaian Blogger buddy; Edward Tagoe who is the author of Tagoe Blogger and also a software developer-cum-poet had a nice post on this great day. He decided to share an interesting website YOURENEW.COM with his numerous readers. He described how this website "is the perfect place for you to recycle or sell used cell phones, mp3 players, digital cameras and graphing calculators. You can also recycle and sell laptops, video game console, external hard drive, video game or DVD. If you can't find your device in our catalogue or we can't pay for it, you can always ship it for free and we'll recycle it safely. So look up your device today, go green and get green! So look up your device today and go green!"…

Also take note, October 24th, 2009 is International Day of Climate Action organized by

I have been a busy with providing on-site supports for my clients in the Western Region therefore I couldn't do any post on Blog Action Day. I wish I had done some post but I shall be looking out for new blogs and update this post as soon I lay my eyes on one. What are your reactions to climate change in the world and the steps taken by Blog Action Day group? Share your thoughts, comment and more here….!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Types of Hugs In Ghana

Have you hugged a stranger/friend recently? How did you do it? How did you feel after you hugged that girl/lady from the club/church? Have you wondered how many type of hugs or hugging exist in Ghana?

Yesterday at dinner with @Georgia and @Kajsaha [who is also the author of Rain in Africa blog] at the Afia Beach Hotel located on the High Street of Accra just a few walks from the Ministries, the issue of hugging and the various types of hugs in Ghana randomly popped up. Below is my take on the various type of hugs found in the Ghanaian communities...

Hugging is described by as a form of physical intimacy that usually involves closing or holding the arms around another person or group of persons. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection. It is also a form of non-verbal communication. It brings people together in a feeling of mutual love, comfort and safety. Hugging is an act of giving and receiving support, moral and physical, and love.

In Ghana we have various types of hugs. Below you will find a few and their meanings as I came to understand them...

- Charismatic Hug:- This is the type of hug which is given without any negative thoughts. It is also given and all parts of the body are touched. The huger don't pull back whiles hugging but rather does it with a pure and a clean heart.

- The 'Hello' Hug: - This hug type is gender specific and differs between men and women. This is the kind of hug you would employ when greeting a friend, a friends friend. Used on a day-to-day basis this would lose its poignancy so this is generally reserved for times when it's been a long time since you last saw the other person.

- Side / Shoulder Hug:- This type of hug is mostly given by females either meeting a friend for the first time. Instead of 'freeing their minds' and giving a hug with their breast/chest, they rather do it with the shoulders… Look out for it next time you receiving a hug from a friend for the first time..

- The 'Comforter' Hug:- This is the hug used to comfort someone close to you and probably in times of a loss. In times of need nothing beats a good 'comforter'. When was the last you had such a hug? Can you remember?

- Pentecostal Hug:- This is the type of hug which doesn’t allow touching at all. In this case, it is only the shoulders that come into contact. It is not normally given by the "holy holy" people.. Lol.

I know you have friends, who'll like to read this. Share with them and let them know, you got it from Accra Conscious Forever. If you have any type of hugs been practiced in Ghana, feel free to share with us. You don't know, who might be benefiting. Your comments and more are always welcome...

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I wouldn’t describe myself as been very religious but I worship and believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I go to church when I’m less busy on Sundays. I worship at the Charismatic Evangelistic Ministry [CEM] but sometimes, I do worships also at the Action Faith Chapel International [Action]. So basically, I fall within a particular scoop of the Christian world. Maybe, [not-so-religious] group.

I know Christians to be very loving, open-hearted, kind, caring and all other positive attributes but one thing that always baffles my mind is this attitude of some of them.

We all know, not everyone can afford driving a car to church. Most people do commute to church in public transports [tro-tros and taxies]. Some well-to-do Christians also drive to church constantly...

My issue is; “Why can’t some Christians offer to drop their fellow Christians whom they attended the same church service with at some point? You’ll see some Christians come to church alone, got space in their cars and would drive away immediately without offering a free ride to others. It baffles me a lot.

Are these people really Christians? One would ask; “Do you buy the fuel for their cars?” Well, I don’t but in the spirit of Christianity, I think it’s very nice and pleasant when this offer is done.

Well, I found this notice [DON'T DRIVE HOME ALONE!!! PICK UP SOMEONE!!!] on a car which I’ll presume came not loaded and apparently the security men at the car park had to stick the notice to the wiper. I saw a couple of the notice on so many other cars which means, the church is trying to encourage others lending helping hands to their fellow Christians.

If you think, this move by the church is wrong or you don’t agree, feel free and share your thoughts here. Would you encourage such a practice in your local church? What does your church do that you think should be implemented in other churches?

MTV Music Award Winners [2009] & Others.

Did any of you really see Akon and Wyclef doing the push ups at the MTV Africa Music Awards in Nairobi, Kenya? The photo below speaks a lot for it self.

There is a saying that; "You can take a man out of the ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out of him." So, Wyclef dares Akon to do 20 push ups on stage during the MAMA Awards. They agree and part of the agreement is to strip to their boxers, I guess?

Wyclef as you can clearly see strips down and so does Akon. But, of course Akon had to take it a step further into foolishness... He takes his mic and puts into his boxers. The rest is self explanatory. Pure foolishness, right..!!!

Aside their foolishness, Ghanaian Hip Life great and MOBO Award winning artist, Samini also won the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards For Best Performer.

Nigeria's D'Banj emerged as artiste of the year for the second year running. The show which took place today at the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi, Kenya saw Wyclef Jean [host of the awards] and Akon performing on stage. Lucky Dube was honoured while Wyclef and Akon did a tribute to the late Legend of pop music; Michael Jackson.

The full list of winners below:

Best New Act - M.I. (Nigeria)

Best Hip Hop - M.I. (Nigeria)

Best Female - Amani (Kenya)

Best Group - P-Square (Nigeria)

Artist of The Year - D’Banj (Nigeria)

Best Alternative - Zebra & Giraffe (South Africa)

Best Male - Nameless (Kenya)

Best Performer - Samini (Ghana)

Best R&B - 2Face (Nigeria)

Best Video - HHP – Mpitse (South Africa)

Best Listener’s Choice - Nameless – Sunshine (Kenya)

Photocredit: Michelly Rall/Getty Images Europe

The Africa Media Leadership Conference.

A three days conference was held from October 4th October 7th, 2009 at the Holiday Inn Hotel located at the Airport City in Accra for media owners to examine how they can harness and monetize the continent's growing youthful audiences heavily reliant on digital media channels as their sources of news, information and entertainment.

The conference; Annual Media Conference (AMLC) was on the theme; "Learning from the Future: Africa's Media Map in 2009. It was jointly sponsored by Rhodes University's Sol Plaatjie Institute for Media leadership (SPI) and Konrad Adenaur Foundation (KAS).

It was strictly by invitation and it had participants from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago. I was a bit amazed, there was no participant from Nigeria at this year's...

Previous conferences have been held in diverse African countries, including Uganda, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa - Deputy Information Minister who represented the government of Ghana said African governments must soon learn that the media was a partner in governance and not an opponent and should allow the provision of appropriate legislation that would create avenue for freedom of expression and proper training for journalists to improve their professional standards on the continent.

He also made the attendees of the conference know that, media owners and publishers, had a critical role in assisting society to face challenges such as political intolerance, election mal-practices, cyber fraud, women and child abuse, and charged them to dramatically redefine media business and journalism.

Among the many participants at the conference was Global Voices Director - Georgia Popplewell who shared much information on twitter with proceedings from the conference which used the hash tag [#amlc09] on twitter.

Mr. Francis Mdlongwa, Director of Rhodes University's Sol Plaatjie Institute for Media leadership (SPI) said the conference seek to examine challenges facing long established newspaper, radio and television stations for survival in the face of the proliferation of digital media platforms. Listeners, viewers and readers are increasingly agitating for their own specific news content at their own time and place, and using preferred media platforms.

The conferences also provide a strong networking platform for participants by Africa's top-most decision-makers in the media industry and at times these conferences have resulted in new business being forged by some of the participants.

Photocredit: By @Georgiap

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Is Your Favorite Type Of Beer…

What is your favorite type of beer? Are you a fan of any alcoholic beverage? When was the last time you had a chilled beer? Would you take cold or hot beer? Do you care to share your experience in drinking Star?

These were questions that started running though my minds when I saw a chilled Star Beer been served to a customer at the All New Champs Sports Bar which was opened in the Oil City of Takoradi last week. A lot of party-goers including myself were at the venue to witness its grand opening despite its not fully in operation. This shows how my folks in Takoradi take pleasure in chilling and hanging out.

Have you taken any type of beer apart from Star & Club Beer from Ghana? African beer refers to all beers made in Africa. Beer, especially lager, is produced commercially in most African countries, and varieties of beer are also made by indigenous tribes. I have tasted "Tusker", a type of beer produced in Kenya which is also known as 'Keroro' beer.

There are a few beers on the Ghanaian market but the most common are Star Beer, Guinness, Guilder and Club Beer. Most nite clubs do serve a couple of foreign beers as well. Among them are; Heineken, Stella Artois, Becks and the rest.

My favorite of all these beers is the STAR Beer brewed/produced in Ghana. A friend [Shim] describes my taking of Star Beer to be a way of "freeing" my mind. Well, I do and don't agree to a point. If you have any story or comment to share on Star Beer; why not? Bring it on. Others would be very glad reading about it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Is the 3.5g Technology, a Vanity to the Ghanaian Mobile Phone User?

Have you tried the newest mobile technology been introduced by the GSM companies in Ghana yet? Does it make commercial sense to introduce 3.5g technology when mobile phone subscribers in Ghana cannot simply connect, won't connect and don't enjoy what they are paying for?

Making a simple voice call in Ghana is a hassle, so what could have informed some of the telecommunication companies to provide video calls? It is laughable and amounts to biting off more than they can chew. And as if by an electric switch, almost all the telephony companies - including even those who have been accused of providing sub-standard services - have switched gear in their marketing strategies to coerce people into using fantasy services when they can't even make voice calls.

There are currently about six mobile operators in the country, and on receiving its license to operate mobile services in Ghana, Globacom Plc, operators of Glo, announced it was going to operate a 3.5 network and so did Zain Telecommunication Ghana, which has already started providing the service to its subscribers.

To be seen as the market leader, MTN Ghana is now aggressively marketing its 3.5g service for subscribers to enjoy the thrill of "face-to-face" conversation on their phone with their families and friends. Something, I don't see been necessary at all.

Ghanaian consumers are discerning and deserve to have the best in mobile technology, and telecommunication operators in the country are counting on third generation (3.5g) mobile services to stimulate fresh demand in a mobile market that is approaching saturation point.

And all these services are being offered at a time there has been a wave of complaints from mobile phone subscribers resulting from continued call drops, cross calls, speech mutation, and wrong voice prompts, among others. But the potential benefits of 3.5g mobile technology appear to have swept many telecommunication companies operating in Ghana into fantasy mode. Yes, you heard me; fantasy mode…!!!

In fact, 3.5g is a fancy technology that lets users transfer larger amounts of data more quickly, speeding up links to the Internet and allowing them to watch and send videos. The technology also allows users to play games and participate in video-conferencing. There is no doubt that there is clearly a need for Internet connectivity in areas where there is no Internet infrastructure and 3.5g offers the potential of bringing Internet access to people who can't afford PCs.

Since some of the mobile telephony operators introduced 3.5g services, most consumers have developed a penchant for accessing the Internet on their phones and operators are cashing in on that. Most common is the recent increase in sign-ups on Facebook by Ghanaians. However, mobile service operators have proved over time that they can't be relied on to provide uninterrupted voice calls to their subscribers without a hassle; thwarting the basic reason why people bought their phones.

Even when a couple of years ago some of the operators were sanctioned by the National Communication Authority, the telecommunication regulator, to halt new access line activations until their networks were appropriately dimensioned to take on additional capacity, they failed to do so.

And if they cannot provide simple services such as voice calls, why do they think consumers can trust them enough to provide continuous and reliable video calls? This is on the back of the fact that video calling requires the transfer of huge data and bandwidth, and since the network infrastructure of operators is already under stress, there is without doubt that ensuring constant connectivity will be a challenge for operators.

Besides, hi-tech handsets capable of sending and receiving video messages are also currently far from cheap, and most of the handsets people use to make their calls are not 3.5g enabled, which is required to make a video. So, definitely, afford-ability is going to be the biggest problem. Only a certain strata of society will be able to afford 3.5g phones to start with.

The verdict is that people may fancy and love to have new phone services, but considering the economic situation in the country with per capital income assumed to be around of US$600, I bet Ghanaians will be unwilling to pay the going price for a 3.5g handset and its services. They would treat their body well than spend on a handset to be able to access 3.5g.

A group of young adults I had a word with are skeptical that mass demand for the new services will materialize in the short-term, arguing that few consumers will be willing to pay the hefty premiums levied by 3.5g operators. Even the cheap and sometimes free voice-mail services are rarely used by many mobile phone users in Ghana; how much more a sophisticated and expensive service like 3.5g video-calling. My guess is as good as yours..!!

When it comes to technology, Ghanaians are conservatives and would prefer to use their mobile phones for talking and short messaging services than to chat and browse on their phones. Many people might even think that since their old phones can browse and access the Internet, there will be no need to get an expensive 3.5g handset - blinding their eyes to the fact that the Universal Mobile Telecommunication Services (UMTS) technology which powers 3.5g mobile communications will offer a much richer and faster service.

The only foreseeable way for operators to cash in on the 3.5g service will be to sell to subscribers in the corporate institutions in the country, and that raises questions as to whether the revenue to be accrued from them will be enough to offset the huge investments required for the technology roll-out. So it would be in the best interests of mobile operators to invest the monies that would otherwise have been invested in 3.5g into expanding their network capacity, especially where there is no telephone penetration.

Have you heard the new Tigo commercial on the radio recently? There's a part that goes; "How many "hellos" do you have to say in one phone call…?? After all, making a voice call gets on the nerves of mobile phone consumers - and they wouldn't want to worsen their plight with a video-call.

Ghana's Internet Industry Falls From Grace

Ghana's internet sector faces stiffer challenge to redeem its image as the strongest telecom savvy country on the continent after losing hold of its number-one position.

Ghana is struggling in the cyber world as more people in the country find themselves out of the internet space. There are currently about 880,000 people, according to the International Telecommunication Union, out of the estimated 23 million Ghanaians who have access to the internet and the figure is increasing at a snail pace at a time other African countries have leapfrogged into the cyberspace.

Ghana is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have pioneered the penetration of internet services to homes, when in 1995 the Network Computer Systems (NCS) was licensed as the first Internet Service Provider in the sub-region. But now the country is ranked as the third in terms of countries with the highest internet penetration in West-Africa.

A recent research on the communication sector financed by the USAID under its TIPCEE programme indicated that in 2000, Ghana's internet penetration of 0.2 per cent of the population was twice that of Nigeria and Senegal but is now trailing the two countries, some of which began accessing the internet about a decade ago. The continued spread of cheap computers and other related technologies into many homes in the country have given people unlimited access to internet-enabled devices. However, not all home computers are connected to the internet.

What went wrong?

Though Ghana started the mass utilization of internet services by the adoption and implementation of telecom reforms to help promote ICT development, lack of consistent and sustained effort in ICT strategy implementation has resulted in minimal results. When Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor founded Network Computer Systems [NCS] to provide cutting-edge solutions in West-Africa in 1988, the buzz that was created with the entry of the company was an indication of an economy that wanted to capitalize on the boom in the IT sector to uplift the living standards of Ghanaians.

Afterwards Africa Online and Internet Ghana followed suit to provide Ghanaians with unlimited access to the internet. Since then internet usage has surged, but the concern is that the rate of penetration continues to be low because of the high cost of accessing it. Scarcity of international internet bandwidth and lack of internet Exchange Points (IXP) have driven up prices. Ghana has one of the lowest internet charges in the sub-region, with an average monthly subscription of about US$50, about eight percent of the country's per capita income. Yet cost of accessing the internet is still considered expensive, especially when hosting the Ghana Internet Exchange Point (GIX).

It has been argued that the high tariffs charge for connecting to the internet reflects the high costs incurred by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) relating to bandwidth and other ancillary services. Broadband penetration is still low in the country. The low availability, poor condition and lack of competition in the public switched telephone network market constrain the deployment of fixed broadband access.

Also the National Telecommunication Authority (NCA) appears to have slacked in its regulatory functions. There are currently more than 150 licensed ISPs in the country, but only a little over 30 of them are in operation and the Authority seems to be doing nothing about the dormant operators and exercise its regulatory oversight on the performance of ISPs. In fact, the NCA has not relented on its drive to license more ISPs because of the less stringent licensing regime for ISPs within the framework of the Telecommunication Regulations in 2003.

The provision of internet services have been liberalized so much that the NCA cannot limit the number of service providers and enforce compliance. The Authority has consistently begged key performance issues, such as requirement for ISPs to deploy service within 90 days of receiving authorization and monitoring them to demonstrate continued provision of service to the public.

In 2008, the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA) intimated that they have lost confidence in the national telecom regulator- to the extent that some of its members have now decided to resort to court actions to resolve disputes because the NCA has instituted a regulatory regime that does not support fair and transparent management of the country's frequency spectrum. Other problems faced by service providers in the internet sector include lack of regulatory guidelines for and imposition of restrictions on the commercial deployment of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by ISPs, lack of policy guidelines to promote the growth and success of the ICT industry, and improper pricing of access to bandwidth, fibre-optic, submarine and other infrastructure.

Improving Internet access

The internet has become a powerful tool that is being exploited for both social and economic development. For instance, the internet has facilitated the establishment of an electronic marketplace for commerce, marketing, advertising, distribution, entertainment, invention, social interaction, gender empowerment, and it's also used for online distance education and there is the need to promote widespread use of the technology.

But efforts to make the internet available to majority of Ghanaians will be useless if local investors do not recognize that it is expensive to build parallel networks as it is wasteful and increases cost to consumers. For regulatory authorities, there is the need to realize that the current accounting rate system is dying, which calls for an alternative before it dies. It cannot continue to form the basis for refusing to allow ISPs and consumers to benefit from VoIP.

Maybe government officials have to focus on the revenues to be derived from taxation when more persons are connected to the network, as opposed to the current focus on lost revenues from settlement rates. Ghanaian internet consumers crave cheap and easy access to the internet, and efforts must be made to make it available to them.

Courtesy: Evans Boah-Mensah

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review - Beyond The Sex In Heart Of Men

Below is a review by a friend/blogger/celebrity journalist [Ameyaw Debrah of] did about the controversial Ghanaian movie; "HEART OF MEN" and I want to share on here for my readers and followers. Your comments and feedbacks are highly welcomed….

I wanted to do a review of the pointlessly controversial Ghanaian movie, 'Heart of Men' the moment I saw the press preview at the Silverbird Cinema a couple of weeks ago but I decided to wait until after the premiere. Now that some members of the public have seen the so-called soft porn I might as well go ahead and speak my mind.

Obviously the marketing strategy of the producers was to confuse the public with all the unnecessary sex scenes which cleverly became the focus of discussions the moment the trailer was released on the internet. Yes, sex sells so why not cash in on it? Certainly it whipped up a lot of interest and people were discussing it on internet forums and on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Of course in a perverted kind of way, it is always interesting to see 'celebrities' bare a bit more flesh, and satisfy the curiosity in our minds about what makes them tick sexually. Have you ever wondered how Paris Hilton became an international celebrity by doing nothing and looking stupid? Or why Ray J scored his biggest hit yet after his not so private romp with Kim Kardashian? Well, the same cannot be said for R. Kelly but that's another story. Yes, sex sells! So it wouldn't exactly be a bad idea to see a little deep into the thighs of Jackie Appiah; or the curves of Yvonne Nelson; or one breast of Martha Ankomah; or even the hairy backside of Majid Michel. But of course it depends on how it comes out.

Since 'Heart of Men' is not some secret sex tape that found its way onto the internet but rather a movie production, one would expect that these sex scenes would have at least been well scripted into the story but as the Executive Producer, Alhaji Abdul Sallam Mumuni said to me in an interview, the sex scenes were not part of the script (yea they found their way in there miraculously). After watching the movie I concluded that the sex scenes were put in there just for the hell of it.

Again in an interaction I had with the Executive Producer, I found out that the attempt to hit viewers with such explicit sex scenes stemmed from the groundbreaking movie, "Perfect Picture". According to Alhaji Mumuni, his research department conducted a survey and realized that Ghanaians want to see more sex scenes, hence the success of 'Perfect Picture'. If indeed he pays people to do research for him and this was all they could bring to the table; then he should fire them. [Yes… He should fire them immediately]

The success of 'Perfect Picture' was not because of the last-minute steamy sex scene between Chris Attoh and Jackie Appiah or Nana Kwame showing his butt crack in the streets but rather an interesting storyline and good production; something that cannot be said for 'Heart of Men'. The sex scene in 'Perfect Picture' was very relevant to the story because the couple was married for months and could not get it on in bed, so finally when it happened it was nice to see the fireworks. Having a threesome with a girl you raped several years ago and her roommate before your wedding as revenge was complete debauchery.

Looking beyond the sex scenes, 'Heart of Men' is almost empty. There were some bold attempts in cinematography with the way the story was being told but they couldn't carry it through properly. The first 20 minutes or so was too flashy; the dialogues were too fast and completely surreal. I felt like someone had hit the fast forward button and I didn't know where the story was going, and this was not as a result of good execution of suspense - don't get me wrong!

The continuity was quite poor and it was not surprising to notice some confusion in the minds of people at the preview, who thought the events in the movie all happened in 24 hours. Well, the movie was somewhat shot in a similar sequence like the US drama series, 24, so I don't blame them for getting confused.

The detective scenes were not believable at all; the police were stiff and unreal both in their approach and comportment as policemen. The character Yvonne Nelson played, faked her death and some people were tried publicly in court for her death but when she suddenly reappeared to get married, no one raised concerns about it. Isn't it illegal to fake your death? Yea and they have the guts to talk about doing research!

I could go on and on but let me leave you with this last scenario to sum up what I think about 'Heart of Men'. If you were in Navrongo and you were telling your friend about something going on in Accra; would you say something like…? "He is in Accra, Ghana"?

Let me know, what you think if you've already watched this movie? If you haven't; go grab a copy, watch and share your view. Your comments and feedbacks are highly welcomed….


I am not one to normally make groups even though I have joined a few groups on Facebook, but what has happened in the case of Ghana’s Eric Frimpong is completely ridiculous and a total failure on the part of the justice system and the police officers, lawyers, and judges in Santa Barbara, USA.

Eric Frimpong is a young soccer player from Ghana, a star at University of California in Santa Barbara, who just won a championship for his school. According to his friends he has never been violent and has always been a fantastic person. He even has a girlfriend.

Yet on February 17th, 2007 he reportedly raped a girl, known only as Jane Doe. Jane Doe was blackout drunk, does not remember much of the night as she was drinking heavily, and described her attacker as having white eyes and big lips. Despite not remembering nearly anything about the night, she maintains that Eric raped her on a beach.

No DNA evidence supports her story. No semen or DNA of Eric’s was found on Jane Doe [The name "Jane Doe" is been used as a placeholder name for the female party in this case because her true identity is unknown or must be withheld for legal reason]. The only semen found on her was that of her sexual partner’s, a white male. The only evidence that they had contact at all was that some of her DNA was found on his crotch which, as Eric describes, come from when she grabbed his crotch and attempted to kiss him.

This is clearly about race and sex. Eric Frimpong is a black male; Jane Doe is a white female. There was no evidence that corroborated Jane Doe’s story and yet Frimpong was sentenced to six years in jail. Read the article, make your decision, but please spread the word about this. It is simply unacceptable.

Here is the link to the story.

Also, for youtubers, a link to a video talking about the story.

Many of you have asked how to contact Eric so here are the two main ways we can contact him.
-Send him a handwritten or typed letter (probably more meaningful than an email) to this address

Eric Frimpong #F95488. California Correctional Institution. Level 2, Dorm 8, Lower 38. PO Box 608; Tehachapi, CA 93581. USA

-Or send an email to Eric:

These messages get printed in about 1-2 weeks and delivered to him. Either of these ways to contact Eric is helpful. Help him keep his spirits up by showing your support! For the price of a few postage stamps you can give him something that is priceless, HOPE.

Please send donations! Eric Frimpong needs your help! July 2009 projected financial needs $25,000. Funds to date ($5,125 as of July 10, 2009). Email ERIC and they will tell you how to donate via Paypal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

AfricaCodeCamp : San Francisco - Oct 4, 2009

The beauty of the barcamp format is that while it was originally born from a very hardcore geek background, it can be adapted to "camp" just about anything (BaconCamp anyone?). This has helped to popularize the “unconference” a great deal in recent years, which is fantastic for everyone. But through all of this, a group of us who met at the BarCamp Africa Silicon Valley last year have stayed in contact and met up at various other events. We talked about how having an event that returned to these geeky roots, which would be great, especially if it focused on Africa-related geeky stuff.

PariSoma, a cool co-working space in San Francisco's SOMA district, showed an interest in seeing it happen as they're hoping to establish co-working spaces in a couple of countries in Africa at some point in the near future. With their nudge and our desires to "go geek", so was born the AfricaCodeCamp, an event focused on being for African coders or those coding projects for Africa.

Why make the focus so "narrow"? Simple. Coding for the United States is different than coding for Europe and in turn is different than coding for Africa. For instance, multilingual interfaces aren't such a problem in the US and developing for low bandwidth isn't really a concern in the US or Europe, and these are just a few of many differences. African projects require rethinking one's approach and in that process comes different and unique innovations.

So on the 4th of October we'll get as many of these innovators as possible together in one place in San Francisco, to problem solve and work together to make all of our hacking even better. This particular date was chosen as it's the day after The Africa Network Conference (TANCon) in Palo Alto, who we are partnering with to provide an entire weekend of getting African tech innovators together in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hope to see you there or at another AfricaCodeCamp elsewhere in the world!


Date: October 4th, 2009. Time: 12:00-18:00. Location: PariSoMa.

1436 Howard Street, San Francisco, California


Please register here. The pay-as-you-can registration fees will be used to cover drinks, snacks, and various swag.


We're looking for one or more sponsors to help us cover the basics to make this first AfricaCodeCamp an enjoyable experience.

Please contact us if you'd like to sponsor its:

Courtesy: BarcampAfrica