Ghana: It's Harmattan again, Re-denomination of Ghanian Currency Looms Large, Why the Ghanian Worker Wants to Leave, and 82 Steps to Renew a Visa

Ghana is currently experiencing a harmattan, and this state of play evidently does not escape the comment of Leanne, of An American in Africa, who explains how the harmattan, which she defines as:

a dry dusty wind that blows along the northwest coast of Africa. Its time-frame, she describes as “usually show[ing] up in December and blow[ing]s itself out by March.

Harmattan is, indeed, “messy”, covering cars with “fine grit” and “bare tile floors are dusted with a layer of North African sand.” Except that this time, Ghana meteorologists claim they came from Eastern Europe.

Rob Taylor, Canadian blogger in Ghana writing in his blog A Canadian Couple Relishes Acronyms, in his characteristically humorous style, lists the ordeal of getting his passport renewed in Ghana, a process which took nothing less than 82 steps to obtain! By the time he obtained his visa, he writes, he felt:

fully welcomed to Ghana (just in time to leave again)!

Meanwhile, Elodie, now-former OXFAM Ghana Belgian intern, of Akwaaba in Ghana, Gate (Get) to Africa!, writes a contemplative and philosophical entry in French about what she thinks she learnt about being in Ghana and Africa during her one-year stint:

l’Afrique crée la chance de m’ouvrir l’étendue des connaissances (personnelles, sociales, professionnelles) ; l’Europe est là pour me rappeler mon identité et les gens dont je semble rester le plus attachée au bout du compte

[Africa offered me the chance to open up the scope of my acquaintances [personal, social, and professional); Europe is there to remind me of my identity and the people to whom I seem to be the most attached in the long run

She maintains that:

le Ghana – et l’Afrique, par extension – a encore beaucoup à m’offrir. Peut-être même que j’ai moi-même à offrir – j’espère

[Ghana—and Africa by extension—has a lot to offer. Probably much more than I have to offer].

Finally, as Ghana celebrates its Golden Jubilee, it also prepares for the re-denomination of the Ghanaian cedi, Ghanaian blogger Emmanuel.K.Bensah, of Trials and Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen…of Ghana, praises the Bank of Ghana for the pamphlet it issued mid-month for readers of the Daily Graphic with details about the new currency to be issued alongside Ghana’s existing currency, the cedi, in July this year.

Emmanuel writes:

In fact, ever since the announcement late last year of the redenomination of the Ghana cedi, such that 10,000 Ghanaian cedis will become, as from July this year, 1 NEW Ghanaian cedi, there have been a number of (silly) jingles on the radio, and a banner (quasi-permanent) on the front page of the Daily Graphic newspaper, and other newspapers so that the public becomes used to the “conversion”.

US-based Ghanaian blogger reflects on the Ghanaian worker, and the certain “pull-in” and “push-out” factors that inhibit the desire of Ghanaians to stay in Ghana and work in the country. He writes:

Ghana's successes are beginning to attract back some of her professionals. At least there are a number of people I know who are talking about returning to Ghana. But in Ghana there is one big “push-out” factor that I see. Not only are salaries too low in terms of cost of living, workers are not paid on time, or regularly, or sometimes even at all, and this includes government workers, especially outside the capitol. There are many highly skilled and dedicated people in Ghana. But if they cannot earn a living, even when they have a job, leaving Ghana becomes more tempting.

Maybe, just maybe, the combination of Ghana’s celebration of its Golden Jubilee and the re-denomination of the Ghana cedi might just do the trick of retaining Ghanaians? Only time will tell.


  • Don’t feel special, the chronic lateness with pay and a serious brain-drain to the EU-west (Britain is the new mecca for Poles) afflict Poland too. The typical response to these issues is usually a slightly tilted head, shrugged shoulders and the in-fashion motto “That’s Polish-reality.” Is this Ghana reality too?

  • In Tanzania (i dont know if it is still the case), the process for getting a passport, renewing a visa and all that was unnecessarily complex to force the applicant to pay the officials. This applies to getting driver’s license, birth certificates, etc.

  • hi ndesanjo! you mean that corruption is the solution to red-tape? about driver’s license, yes, that’s a problem because people really don’t get the license based on their ability to drive at all, but rather on a bribe, which isn’t the best for driving…

  • ndesanjo–ditto here!! Though it is changing, and with the introduction of ID cards for Ghanaians right on time for Ghana’s 50th anniversary in March, it will most likely minimise the potential for bribery and corruption…

  • It is always easy to find something unpalatable in Africa. Experiences in Europe and America do not tell me anything different from what happens in the bureaucracy. I don’t know what Ghanaians can do about the Harmattan weather but I find it reprehensible for anyone to be so cynical about it because it happens in Africa. You may love her or leave her as they say in New York.
    Meanwhile, please note we are not ghanians but Ghanaians.

  • It is indeed a good move that there is going to be redenomination in Ghana. Its really like hell moving about with so much Ghanaian cedis on you. The redenomination would really help make carrying cash around easier and it would also help with accounting purposes as most of the zeros would be off. However why is that the Ghanaian Jubilee celebrations is concentrated only in Accra. People in the regions need to have a feel of the celebrations. It serves no purpose concentrating almost all the big activities in Accra alone. Am done.

  • John lawrence

    What does it cost to renew your passport if you are a Ghana citizen? can you vist the USA with a passport or would you need avisa to leave Ghana and vist the USA.

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