I just arrived in Lagos with Kwabena O. Boateng for Social Media Week Lagos. Before I continue, I would advise everyone to take a road trip from Accra to Lagos before 2015. I have a feeling you won’t have the same experience in 2015 so just do it now.
Traveling by bus from Accra through Togo and Benin, it’s been one hell of a journey. Ghana and Togo were pretty cool and easy to cross. I saw the famous Aflao Border Gate from our primary school textbooks. It looks really old, dirty and needs rehabilitation. I also saw someone pay a bribe to a Togolese Customs official. With the way he had packed his stuff, he just had to pay. It would have been so much trouble unloading the carefully packed textiles. I must add I like Togo. It seems too laid back but I’m sure when I return later in the year, I will get a real feel of the country and the people.
Benin was okay. I actually liked the feel of the country till I realised there was refuse all over. It is something that can’t miss a visitor’s eyes and I was quite shocked there were “petit” refuse dumps all over. I am probably exaggerating but it looked like everyone owns a dump… but still, I like the feel of Benin; from Ouidah to Cotonou, I found the architecture pretty interesting and a country which is developing.
Entering Nigeria was all I have heard over the past years. The famous Seme Border had its usual craze and it didn’t even stop till about four hours after entering Nigeria. From one checkpoint to another, you could tell from my face, I had regretted not flying to Lagos. I even lost count of the number of stops; Customs, Immigration, Police, NDLEA. Thank God the Anti-Bomb Squad didn’t come search the bus. That would have been 1 hour wasted.
Thank God for Habeebat. She has taken care of us. She had our hotel booked and got us from the bus terminal. Is that Nigerian hospitality? That’s awesome hospitality.
We begin our SMW participation in the morning. I am looking forward to meeting awesome people attending and connecting with some colleagues later in the week. if you are reading and attending SMW, let’s connect and share experiences & ideas.
From Las Gidi through Cotonou & Lomé with love,
Apple Inc. has added 33 additional countries to its Mac & iTunes App Store. New to the list are 5 African countries; Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and Tanzania raises the number of African countries to 16.This means users in these countries can create an App Store Account with their Apple IDs, link it to their VISA, MasterCard or AMEX credit/debit cards and purchase apps. It also means developers can sell their apps in these countries (new territories) by adding them to their sales territory lists in the iTunes Connect web application.
A lot of people have been yearning to see the flag of Ghana on the App Store and with Apple aggressively expanding its international reach, Mac OS X Lion only available in the App Store and iCloud set to go live in fall, there is the need to add more territories. What users will find disappointing is purchases cannot be made with App Store vouchers. Users will also not be able to purchase music, movies, tv shows or iBooks in the iTunes Store (which is not surprising because there a lot of copyright hurdles to clear first). I have provided a few screenshots from the Mac & iTunes App Stores. I dare say the iPhone & iPad will launch in Ghana soon.
It’s a wrap and as expected Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan has been elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the next 4 years. I closely followed the Nigerian Polls way before it begun. Nigeria was on everybody’s radar when Umar Yar’Adua, the former president was elected in 2007 after his demise last year.
My interest in the Nigerian Elections was in the use of the internet, technology and social media and I looked it from its use by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Political Parties/Candidates, the People (Voters) and the media. In all, I was trying to draw lessons as Ghana prepares to go to the polls in December 2012.
Despite the initial hitches, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did quite a good job. I was impressed by how Nigeria deployed the biometric voter registration system. This is something we have been talking about in Ghana for some time now and I really hope we can get a biometric voters’ register for the 2012 elections. I will eliminate/reduce electoral fraud and vote rigging. The process according to the Electoral Commission will cost $80 million. I don’t think that is too much to spend as we want our polls to be credible and avoid situations like the Ivorian one. INEC’s website displays boldly links to their Facebook and Twitter pages, Blackberry PIN, email address, SMS and telephone numbers for results and updates. I am quite certain the Electoral Commission of Ghana's website will be update towards 2012 with social media integration. They better hire the right people to manage their Social Media office.
The candidates and political parties used social media to woo young voters. In 2010, CNN published an article on its website titled Goodluck Jonathan: The Facebook Preseident in 2010. Back then Mr. Jonathan had 246,000 friends. Goodluck Jonathan went on to announce his candidature for the presidency on Facebook. Today, he has 532,000 friends and counting. Social Media was widely used in the campaign trail and I expect that to catch up with Ghanaian aspirants for both the Presidency and Parliament. Ghanaian politicians haven’t showed much interest in Social Media. John Evans Atta Mills has 15,500 fans and counting on his unofficial Facebook page. Opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has 4,920 friends on a page I believe is his personal profile. I expect these pages to swell up with friends and fans towards #election2012. Can someone confirm Nana Addo Dankwa’s twitter page? Can we get more Ghanaian politicians using Social Media, please?
My primary source of news for the past three years has been Twitter and my RSS feed. I turned to Twitter for updates on the elections via the hashtag #nigeriadecides and users on my private NigerianVotes list (@eggheader, @africanelection, @NigeriaNewsdesk and @bubusn). In 2008, I remember using Twitter to push out updates to Ghanaians in the diaspora and people who were interested in happenings in Ghana. I will single out @ghanaelections as the best source of 2008 elections update on Twitter. The account now tweets post-election issues. I recommend you follow @ghanaelections now! With the number of Ghanaians on Twitter growing, the world should expect an explosion of tweets from Ghanaians in December 2012.
I don’t remember any media house in Ghana using Twitter during the 2008 elections. I am not sure about Facebook either but as we gear towards the 2012 elections, taking examples from the USA’s 2008 elections, Nigeria’s 2011 elections and recent Social Media-led revolutions, I bet our media houses will be doing a lot of reporting via twitter and facebook. I tip @Joy997FM and @peacefmonline to lead the way. Between the two, they have some 5,000 followers on twitter. I expect them to beef up their social media desks in the next 12 months in anticipation of the 2012 polls.
Let us continue to pick lessons from the Nigerian polls and debate how the Ghana online community can contribute and make ours free, fair, transparent and better.
God bless our homeland Ghana!!!
I am sure a lot of you have heard that Glo Mobile Ghana will finally launch in October 2010 and I bet Ghanaians are as excited as the management of Globacom. When you talk to people, there is the sense that Glo will be the ‘saviour’ in Ghana’s telecom industry.
I traveled on the Accra-Kumasi highway last weekend and I counted a number of Glo masts. Glo is already one of the most visible brands in Ghana, having sponsored the Black Stars, the Ghanaian Premier League, one of the Black Stars supporters unions etc. There are a lot of Glo billboards in Accra and like my Zambian friend said; i thought they were already operating.
Globacom secured the 6th mobile license in 2008 at $50.1 million and have had setbacks in launching. First, it was the EPA not giving them permits for their masts and later the Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology placing a ban on the erection of telecom masts. At a point, Globacom got frustrated and threatened to pull out. A threat I called ‘empty and merely meant to put pressure on the government’.
I think all these setbacks have been a blessing too. It has given Globacom ample time to get the Glo-1 cable in (which is set to go live in October too) and get things right for their ‘super lunch’.
One thing I have been thinking about however is how the National Communication Authority's (NCA) directive for all SIM cards to be registered from July 1st 2010 before activation will affect Glo's launch. Even if Glo makes the best provision for registration, I still think the numbers will be below what they estimated in 2008 and 2009.
So I have been thinking…. Since Glo got their license in 2008 and the delay in launching hasn’t been solely from their end, it would make more sense for the NCA to fashion out something for them. Maybe the NCA can let Glo activate SIM cards for a month without registering them. This I call giving Glo equal playing grounds. I have no idea if the NCA and Glo have fashioned out something like that but I think it is the best thing to do for a company which paid $50.1 million for a license in 2008 and haven’t been able to launch merely due to bureaucracy and directives or what they call ‘invisible hands’.
I think a lot of people will agree with me on this one. Well, until the October launch (if it does happen), I wait patiently for Glo Mobile Ghana and the Glo-1 cable to go live.
Glo - Rule Your World!