‘This is where I should be’: 1,500 Black Americans make Ghana their new home

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>‘This is where I should be’: 1,500 Black Americans make Ghana their new home

At least 1,500 Black Americans have moved to Ghana since 2019, when the government declared its "Year of Return" initiative, calling on Africans in the diaspora to return to Africa. As the US continues to confront its history of racism and police brutality against Black people, many are heeding Ghana's call.  

The WorldSeptember 7, 2022 · 4:00 PM EDT

From left to right: Yeleyeni Songsore and her Ghanaian husband; Mawiyah Kambon and Kamal Kambon; Kwaku Asantu Maroon Asare. Photo illustration by Mark Riechers using original images by Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman and Midjourney ("To the best of our Knowledge" podcast). 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Near the town of Akuapem-Mampong in southern Ghana, Kwaku Asantu Maroon Asare lives in a one-bedroom house. In this thick, vast stretch of forest atop a hill, it's the only house around. 

Maroon, born in the United States, now calls Ghana home after moving from Florida to settle permanently a year ago. 

He made the decision to relocate to Ghana after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minnesota. Many other Black Americans have been killed in incidents of police brutality in recent years. 

“The last straw for me was George Floyd. So, what I [saw] as anomalies was just normal for the system. So, at that point I told myself that I will leave and I will go where the system is different,” he said.

Maroon is one of hundreds of Black Americans who heeded Ghana’s call to Africans in the diaspora to return home to Africa. The 2019 “Year of Return” initiative marked 400 years since the first documented ship carrying enslaved people from Africa landed in Virginia.

Kwaku Asantu Maroon Asare left Florida to permanently settle in Ghana in the wake of extreme racism in the United States.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Since the 42-year old moved to Ghana, he said he's noticed a huge difference in terms of race. 

“When you arrive in Ghana, and you get off that plane, and you don’t see [any] white people, indeed, you tell yourself, ‘This is where I should be, a place where the people look like me.’ Even if you don’t know the people, you still feel the connection,” he said.

Maroon's quest to settle in Africa began years ago when he traced his ancestral roots through the genetic test “23andMe,” revealing that his ancestors came from Nigeria and Ghana. It piqued his interest, he said. 

To reflect his African identity, he changed his name to Asantu Kwaku Maroon Asare. He said the name is more historically accurate than his name given at birth. 

Maroon has found work as an entrepreneur in Ghana, exporting Ghanaian products to people in the US. 

He hopes to “give birth to the next Kwame Nkrumahs and the next Marcus Garveys,” he said, referring to the Pan-African revolutionary thinkers and leaders. 

'Beyond the return'

At least 1,500 Black Americans have moved to Ghana since the Year of Return was declared. 

Celebrities including comedian Steve Harvey, actors Danny Glover and Boris Kodjoe, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and musicians T.I. and Ludacris, have all visited Ghana and encouraged the African diaspora to follow. 

The government said the campaign has injected about $1.9 billion into the economy.

As the US continues to confront its history of racism and police brutality against Black people, many are making the decision to move to Ghana. 

According to a recent United Nations human rights report, people of African descent continue to face racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies.

On the heels of its success with the “Year of Return,” the government has initiated a program called “Beyond the Return,” a 10-year project under the theme “A Decade of African Renaissance -2020-2030,” to encourage further engagement between Ghana and Africans in the diaspora. 

But connections between Black Americans and Ghana date back in history. Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Ghana to celebrate Ghana’s defeat of colonization. Activist Malcolm X and writer Maya Angelou worked in Ghana during the presidency of revolutionary leader Kwame Nkrumah. American sociologist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois died in Ghana as a Ghanaian national. Today, the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture in Accra honors his legacy. 

The government of Ghana is betting on Africans in diaspora who relocate to help steer development and bring new skills, talents and American-style entrepreneurialism.

Two years ago, the government said it would allocate about 500 acres of land for Black Americans moving to Ghana. It also agreed to facilitate citizenship for those who wish to become Ghanaians.  

But many, like Maroon, are moving even without these kinds of incentives.

'An abundance and glorious people'

Yeleyeni Songsore, a 28-year-old poet and writer, lives in Tutu, another small town in southern Ghana.

Songsore, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, is now a permanent Ghanaian resident. And she also changed her name. 

“Since I have come to Ghana, they’ve renamed me Yeleyeni, which is a name from the north and it means, ‘Speak once.’ So, the importance of being brief, of being proverbial and of being very important when you speak,” she explained. 

Yeleyeni Songsore and her Ghanaian husband are expecting their first child in Ghana and hopes that the African nation will give her child a greater sense of African identity.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Songsore has been living in Ghana for 1 1/2 years and works remotely for a company in Ghana as an administrative assistant. 

She not only found a home, but also love. She married a Ghanaian and is now pregnant with their first daughter. 

Songsore said the thought of having a child in Ghana gives her enormous joy. She imagines her child having a stronger sense of identity living in a country where natural hair and skin are considered beautiful and where her child can feel that she comes from “an abundance and glorious people,” she said. 

Songsore said she also experienced a lot of racism and trauma in the US – going back to her high school history class, where they omitted African history and told her that her history began from slavery. 

“When I started to really realize that I was being lied to, which was probably around when I was 18 or 19 years old — I’m 28 now — I realized that wow, this history is not true,” she said.

A series of deadly incidents of police brutality against Black Americans in the last decade got her thinking about where to relocate. 

“Some of us were like, ‘No, I’m not going to stay here and be oppressed and be subjected to this. I’m worth more than that, I deserve and I have a vision of something greater that I can do,’” she said. 

But Ghana also has its own challenges. 

The country continues to struggle with corruption and an ailing economy. The local cedi currency has dropped more than 38% this year, making it the worst-performing currency after Sri Lanka’s rupee, among 150 economies tracked by Bloomberg.

High inflation, COVID-19 challenges, and the war in Ukraine have also worsened Ghana’s already stretched finances, necessitating talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. 

Related: ‘The country is on its knees’: Ghana seeks IMF bailout amid economic woes, teachers’ strike

In Tema, a suburb of Accra, Ghanaian trader David Owusu said the government should make living conditions better so that Black Americans have an easier time setting up a new life in Ghana. 

“If someone wants to come and invest and realizes that the local currency keeps depreciating, the person will think twice,” he said.

Songsore recognizes that Africa has its struggles that are connected to its history, she said, but that working together for a greater vision is possible. 

“Being in America, you are only going to be able to be tolerated. And that’s not the vision, I don’t think, that a people should have of themselves — being in a place where you are tolerated only. The vision is for our people to be free, and independent and to have control and be self-sufficient over themselves,” she said.

Songsore is also optimistic that as more Black people leave the US to settle in African countries like Ghana, it could also help speed up the development of the continent.

Intent and vision

Mawiyah Kambon, 75, moved from North Carolina to settle permanently in Ghana about eight months ago.

She also acknowledges that there are issues like corruption and ethnic prejudice in Ghana, but that everywhere she turned, there were Black people doing everything. 

“And so, mine was not a ‘last straw.’ Mine was the intent to come,” she said.

Black Americans Mawiyah Kambon and Kamal Kambon have permanently relocated to Ghana.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Mawiyah Kambon visited Ghana a couple of times in the 1970s. But this time, she came with Kamal Kambon, her husband of over 40 years.  

Mawiyah Kambon said the relocation of many Black Americans like herself is sending a strong message to the United States that the world is changing. 

“This is no longer going to be a world for imperialists. It’s the Black man’s time. And we are rising all over the globe. And so, wherever we are, we are going to be great,” she said.

Songsore, the poet, also has a word of advice for anyone planning to settle in Ghana: “It is not just about wanting to escape America, but it should also be about how you want to build Africa.” 

An earlier version of this story was published by the podcast, “To The Best Of Our Knowledge.”

‘The country is on its knees’: Ghana seeks IMF bailout amid economic woes, teachers’ strike 

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>‘The country is on its knees’: Ghana seeks IMF bailout amid economic woes, teachers’ strike 

In a huge reversal for Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo, the government is seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund to tackle Ghana’s economic woes.

The WorldJuly 14, 2022 · 3:45 PM EDT

Protesters wield placards asking, "Mr. President, where is our money" at a recent protest against soaring food and fuel prices. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Last month, hundreds of Ghanaians took to the streets to protest for two consecutive days against rising food prices and the high cost of living. 

Trader Mary Asamoah joined the protests. She said that life has become unbearable over the last few years for her and her family.

“How is President Akufo-Addo able to sleep at night for all the difficult times we are going through? Prices of food have become abnormal with so many taxes on fuel. The country is now on its knees. This is not what he promised us in 2016. The government has taken us for a ride, but we’ll surely fight back in the next election.”

Ghana, one of West Africa's most prosperous nations, is now facing some serious economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has affected food and fuel prices. 

In a huge reversal for President Akufo-Addo, the government is now seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund to tackle Ghana’s economic woes. 

A plume of black smoke billows as protesters burned car tires amid a protest against soaring costs of living in Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Akufo-Addo had campaigned on a “Ghana Beyond Aid” promise to avoid an IMF bailout during his tenure, touting that Ghana’s economy could thrive without help from international donors.

But the president recently said the decision to go to the IMF has become crucial to restoring public finances. 

“We have decided to seek the collaboration of the [IMF] to repair in the short-run, our public finances, which have taken a severe hit in very recent times,” he said.

Ghana has struggled with high inflation and a weakening currency since January, as the price of food, fuel and basic needs continue to skyrocket. 

Inflation rose to nearly 30% in June — the highest in 19 years. 

Ghana also experienced several economic setbacks after lawmakers stalled on a $1 billion loan agreement with international banks and an unpopular electronic payments tax that was meant to generate revenues underperformed.

The government instituted a plethora of emergency measures, including a 50% cut to subsidized fuel for all ministers and heads of government institutions in April. 

Ministers’ salaries were temporarily cut by 30%. 

The Central Bank last month raised its main interest rate to 19%— the second major increase this year. 

But none of these measures yielded desired results.

Ghana's 31 million people are reeling under serious economic challenges. The country is now asking for a bailout from the IMF. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Many Ghanaians say the government’s decision to seek a bailout from the IMF comes as a surprise and a disappointment. 

Michael Koomson, a street hawker in Accra, said that returning to the IMF was inevitable and that the president’s repeated pledges of a “Ghana Beyond Aid” was a sham.

“Is the president going to pick up his spit again from the floor? He was the same person who said that we’ll never go to the IMF but here we are now — we are all going there. And this is the only way out,” he said.

This will be Ghana’s 18th time seeking funds from the IMF. 

Teachers on strike

The IMF bailout comes amid a national teachers’ strike sparked by Ghana’s economic crisis. 

Kwaku Asamoah has been teaching for the past five years in Madina, a sprawling suburb outside Accra, Ghana’s capital. 

But for almost two weeks, he has stayed away from the classroom and spends all his time at home. 

Kwaku Asamoah is among nearly 350,000 teachers in Ghana who are currently on strike to demand a cost of living allowance.

Teaching, earning $250 a month, is one of the lowest-paying jobs in Ghana. The rising cost of living has made life extremely difficult, and he said he can barely feed his wife and two children.

“The system is just hard. We are really struggling. The life of a teacher right now is unbearable. Yes, it is.”

The rising cost of living has pushed some 350,000 to go on strike, leaving formal education in a state of paralysis. 

Credit:

Courtesy of UNICEF

Teacher Prisca Nartey, in the Accra suburb of Nungua, expressed similar sentiments.

“We the teachers in Ghana have been taken for granted for far too long. We have reached our limits in these hard times. The hardship is just too much. If the government fails to respond positively to us, we’ll never step foot in the classroom,” she said. 

Teachers hope that Ghana’s attempts to restore the economy will impact teachers’ salaries. But it remains unclear whether the government will use part of the IMF loan to meet the teachers’ demands. 

For striking teachers like Kwaku Asamoah, no amount of negotiation will take them back to the classroom until their demands are met. 

“We are drumming home our frustrations to the government that it is enough. At least the cost of living allowance will help mitigate the hardship of teachers in this country,” he said. 

Kwaku Asamoah hopes to be paid soon so he can go back to do what he loves best— teaching.  

Short-term bailout, long-term growth

The IMF team arrived in Ghana last week to kickstart talks.

Ghana may seek between $1.5 to $3 billion from the IMF to shore up the country’s finances and win back access to the global capital markets. This would allow the country to balance its nearly $1 billion deficit. 

The IMF raised some concerns about Ghana's debt position. IMF representative Carlo Sdralevich said that investors’ concerns have triggered credit rating downgrades amid other adverse developments. But the IMF confirmed its commitment to supporting Ghana and said it would undertake a debt sustainability analysis before any agreement on a deal is made with the government. 

Dr. Theo Acheampong is an economist. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Dr. Theo Acheampong

Theo Acheampong, an economist, said that Ghana’s economic woes began long before the pandemic and that mismanagement is to blame. 

Ghana is actually ranked higher than Senegal or Ivory Coast in terms of debt sovereignty, he said, but those countries are managing better than Ghana. 

Acheampong is also concerned that the IMF bailout may come with conditions that could worsen Ghanaians' lives, like cuts to government spending to restore debt sustainability. 

“Already, debt to [gross domestic product] and other metrics is way out of gear. We are talking almost 78% of GDP as of the last quarter of this year. So, within that, I see probably also the government agreeing with the fund to limit hiring in certain aspects of the public service,” he said. 

When Ghana last sought IMF assistance in 2015, it received almost $1 billion, and there was a freeze on public-sector employment such as teachers, nurses and civil service positions.  

Beyond the IMF bailout, Acheampong said the country needs to do more to stabilize and grow the economy such as exporting more, importing less and producing more of the food that Ghanaians eat. 

This would allow Ghana to continue to "address issues of rising inequality within the system,” Acheampong said. 

Related: 'Everything is destroyed': Extreme flooding in Ghana tests climate resilience

‘Everything is destroyed’: Extreme flooding in Ghana tests climate resilience

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>'Everything is destroyed': Extreme flooding in Ghana tests climate resilience

Accra has been hit with heavy rain and flash flooding in May and June, leaving many experts worried about the city’s capacity for climate resilience if trends continue. 

The WorldJune 22, 2022 · 5:00 PM EDT

Residents of the Accra, Ghana, suburb of Alajo patch up a road after severe flooding destroyed it. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Enoch Amoah woke up at about 2:30 a.m. to find almost everything in his room floating. 

Fearing for his life, he waded through floodwaters to a safer spot. 

This was the second such incident in three days for Amoah, who lives in the sprawling suburb of Alajo, just outside of Ghana’s capital, Accra, where heavy rains have created chaos and desperation. 

“This one is very very bad. It is not easy. Everything we have in our rooms is destroyed."

Enoch Amoah experienced extreme flooding in Alajo, a suburb of Accra, Ghana

“This one is very very bad. It is not easy. Everything we have in our rooms is destroyed,” he said.

Accra has been hit with a series of flooding in May and June this year, leaving many experts worried about the city’s capacity for climate resilience if trends continue. 

Alajo is completely flooded, leaving roads shredded and dozens of buildings submerged. In recent days, pedestrians could be seen scrambling for safety under shop awnings or inside buildings and containers. 

Related: ‘Too little too late’: Ghana’s small farmers worry fertilizer aid won’t arrive in time to avert food crisis

An Alajo home is still flooded long after floodwaters have receded. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Standing barefoot with just a towel tied around his waist, Amoah said he doesn’t know where to go next since he has no relatives in Accra.

“It just came at once. We don’t know where to pass. We did not take anything. All our hard-earned belongings are gone,” he said.

Even though Africa has contributed relatively little to the planet's greenhouse gas emissions, the continent suffers some of the world's heaviest impacts of climate change — from famine to flooding.

Parts of West Africa have been hit with unusually huge amounts of rainfall this year, exposing vulnerabilities in many cities like Accra. 

The Ghana Meteorological Agency has put the entire nation on notice for more rains this month. 

Felicity Ahafianyo, head of meteorology at the Central Analysis and Forecast Office, said that conditions may worsen worse before they improve in southern, flood-prone areas like Alajo.

“We still have to pay attention to the forecasts from the Ghana Meteorological Agency. Per our model charts for the weekend, and the coming week and then up to 28 June, there are still higher chances of rain occurring over most places,” she said.

Flash flooding has shut down parts of Accra as contaminated waterways put people at the risk of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery. 

A major drain overflows during heavy rains and flooding. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Disappearing wetlands

The influx of property developers who have built commercial and residential properties over wetlands is one of the root causes of Accra’s worsening floods, according to new research by the Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana. 

Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release rainwater, slowing the speed and distribution of floodwaters over the floodplain.

Professor Christopher Gordon is a founding director of the Institute of Environmental and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

“Some of the areas under protection as wetlands of special importance, or the Ramsar Sites, we’ve had encroachment of up to 40% of them,” said the institute’s founding director, professor Christopher Gordon. 

“And we have remote sense imagery which shows the change from vegetated areas to bare and built-up areas. So it is a problem,” he said. 

Related: Accra’s only surviving greenbelt is under threat. Ghanaians are fighting to protect it.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo recently directed local authorities to demolish illegal homes built in or near streams and creeks that are impeding the flow of water — but that doesn’t address the problem of wetlands encroachment. 

Wetlands are critical to mitigating floodwaters, yet the United Nations says they are now disappearing three times faster than forests. 

“The worst-case scenario is that practically half of Accra will be unlivable — all will be damaged,” Gordon warned. 

He said that efforts should be made to restore most of the depleted wetlands, but added that it would be a long and expensive undertaking. 

View of a part of the Sakumono lagoon and wetlands in the Greater Accra region, June 8, 2014. 

Credit:

Natborks/Wikimedia Commons

Investing in climate resilience 

Rapid urbanization, inadequate infrastructure and the growth of informal settlements jeopardize those who already live in precarious conditions. 

Alajo resident Isaac Asomani and his family were forced out of their home by the floods and are now stranded.

Sitting in front of a local pharmacy with his wife and three young children, he said that all attempts to catch a ride to a family member have failed. 

“The water has come up to the windowsill,” he said. “The road is also flooded. No car, no bicycle, no motorbike, nothing. You can’t go anywhere,” he said. 

Asomani worries that he may never be able to rebuild their lives.

“I have no option until the government comes in. My years of investment are all gone. I have no option than to throw the things away,” he said.

Some residents patch up a road after being destroyed by floodwaters.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Flood-related catastrophes have increased by 134% since 2000, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Experts say that African countries need reliable financing options to be able to adapt to the adversities of a changing climate and recommend urgent investments in capacity development as well as new technologies like early warning systems. 

But there’s a gap of $20 billion to reach the $100 billion target for climate finance as pledged by Western countries in the Paris Agreement. 

African climate negotiators at the last climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, lamented the challenges of making headway on finance.

The $100 billion unfulfilled promise represents only .4% of the total global finance mobilized to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in less than two years. 

Related: Did the world 'build back better' since the start of the pandemic? Not so much.

The UN climate change conference in Egypt this year will give Africa an opportunity to leverage and secure a good deal for the region. But African negotiators are concerned that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has diverted attention from the West’s climate finance obligations. 

Meanwhile, Alajo residents continue to count their losses as more rains are forecasted through the end of June.

“Now, we would have to start life afresh and it won’t be easy at all because the economy is hard. God should just have mercy on us," resident Amoah said.

‘Too little too late’: Ghana’s small farmers worry fertilizer aid won’t arrive in time to avert food crisis

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>‘Too little too late’: Ghana’s small farmers worry fertilizer aid won’t arrive in time to avert food crisis

The African Development Bank Group has pledged $1.5 billion to tackle a massive fertilizer shortage across the continent, but smallholder farmers in Ghana worry that it may already be too late to avert a food crisis.

The WorldJune 7, 2022 · 4:15 PM EDT

Kassim Ahmed stands by his okra crop. He's been farming for 26 years. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

On a 1.5-acre vegetable farm in Accra, Ghana, 54-year-old Kassim Ahmed spends time weeding among his crops of okro, green chili and cauliflower. 

He’s been farming for 26 years. This year, Ahmed said production costs have skyrocketed. 

He used to be able to purchase four 55-pound bags of fertilizer for his crops at about $7 each. Now, they cost $41 each. 

“We cannot buy the fertilizers anymore. Because even when you get some, it is too [little] for the work. Times are really hard. It is so difficult."

Kassim Ahmed, smallholder farmer, Accra, Ghana

“We cannot buy the fertilizers anymore. Because even when you get some, it is too [little] for the work. Times are really hard. It is so difficult,” he said.

The war in Ukraine has disrupted the flow of food supplies around the world, leading to major fertilizer shortages and price hikes that are exacerbating a growing global food crisis. The African Development Bank has pledged $1.5 billion to tackle the problem, but smallholder farmers like Ahmed worry that it may already be too late to mitigate this year’s woes. 

Related: Accra’s only surviving greenbelt is under threat. Ghanaians are fighting to protect it.

Farmers in Ghana need 600,000 tons of inorganic fertilizer annually. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

In Ghana, fertilizer costs have more than quadrupled this year.  

Like many farmers, Ahmed now resorts to cow dung instead of fertilizer. He is worried he may not get much yield from his crops this year and is already contemplating quitting farming. 

Many Ghanaian farmers have now resorted to the use of cow dung as fertilizer to cope with the shortage. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

“Our brothers in Europe, America, they are telling us [that] when you go there, the rich people are farmers,” he said.

“But we don’t know about Africa. In Ghana, we the farmers grow the economy and yet we are the poorest.” 

Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, contributing to about one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product, employing more than than half the labor force.

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, sub-Saharan Africa already had the world’s lowest fertilizer usage rates.

Related: Ghana’s school kids go hungry after caterers quit amid soaring food prices

For every 2.5 acres, farmers only use about 10% of average fertilizer amounts used elsewhere in the world. 

Ghanaian farmers need more than 600,000 tons of fertilizer to grow their crops every year. They largely rely on imports because the country does not produce its own inorganic fertilizers. 

'Extremely dire'

The situation is extremely dire, according to Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture Afriyie Akoto, who spoke at a recent press conference. 

“We reckon that the demand for fertilizer in Ghana is about 600,000 metric tons and so far this year, we haven’t even done a 100,000 metric tons. So we are way way off. We are in a catastrophic situation, you have to be able to adapt and come out stronger." 

Afriyie Akoto, Minster of Food and Agriculture, Ghana

“We reckon that the demand for fertilizer in Ghana is about 600,000 metric tons and so far this year, we haven’t even done a 100,000 metric tons. So, we are way way off. We are in a catastrophic situation, you have to be able to adapt and come out stronger,” he said. 

The number of people affected by a food and nutrition crisis in West and Central Africa is expected to reach a new record high this month — quadrupling in just three years from 10.7 million in 2019 to 41 million in 2022.

The World Food Program warns that this could trigger massive displacement due to disrupted food systems, limited food production and barriers to regional trade as countries continue to reel from socio-economic fallout due to the pandemic. 

Related: As global oil prices surge, some African countries may see a silver lining

As an emergency stopgap, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) said it will acquire about 500,000 tons of fertilizer to give to farmers in West Africa by the end of August. 

Nigeria will supply 300,000 tons of Urea fertilizer and Morocco will supply 200,000 tons of phosphates and blended fertilizer.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said that this will help farmers produce wheat, maize, rice and soybeans.

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand; Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” he said. “Africa must feed itself with pride. There is no dignity in begging for food.”

Akinwumi Adesina, president, African Development Bank

African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. 

Credit:

Courtesy of African Development Bank Group

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand; Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” he said. “Africa must feed itself with pride. There is no dignity in begging for food.” 

The AfDB's $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility aims to fast-track food production by providing 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds to produce 38 million tons of food. This is a projected $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.

The AfDB is talking with fertilizer producers in Ghana and abroad about reducing costs to farmers. And Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture also said it is proactively working with local fertilizer producers to scale up the production of quality organic fertilizers.

Even Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, late last month commissioned a $2.5 billion fertilizer plant with the capacity to produce 3 million metric tons of Urea yearly. 

Ahmed Kassim's 1.5-acre vegetable farm in Accra, Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

'Too little too late'

But members of the Ghana Peasant Farmers Association have misgivings about how this fertilizer initiative is going to benefit farmers.

Member Bismark Owusu Nortey said he’s concerned that Ghana will not receive enough fertilizer in time to stem the crisis. 

“Now almost every farmer in the southern and northern zones, either they’ve started planting or they are preparing now to plant. If this initiative will lead to the supply of fertilizers after August, then it might be too little too late."

Bismark Owusu Nortey, Ghana Peasant Farmers Association

“Now, almost every farmer in the southern and northern zones, either they’ve started planting or they are preparing now to plant. If this initiative will lead to the supply of fertilizers after August, then it might be too little too late,” he said.

Bismark Owusu Nortey is with the Ghana Peasant Farmers Association. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

He also pointed out that fertilizer distribution initiatives in the past never reached farmers in need. He called for transparency and accountability this time around.

“How do we ensure that smallholder farmers are properly profiled and targeted to benefit from it? Because that has been a major problem – the farmers in need often don’t get the fertilizers when they eventually arrive. They go to commercial farmers and some ‘powerful’ people,” he said.

Nortey said they expect to meet with farmers to discuss how to take advantage of the initiative. 

Back at the vegetable farm, Ahmed said he looks forward to the arrival of fertilizer to increase food production for this year, but it comes with a healthy dose of pessimism.

“You will always hear fertilizer is coming but they don’t involve us. It’s like they already have the people they want to give it to. So, we are waiting. When it comes and we get some, then we can thank God.”

Ghana’s school kids go hungry after caterers quit amid soaring food prices

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Ghana’s school kids go hungry after caterers quit amid soaring food prices

Many students who rely on the national free lunch program risk going hungry after Ghana’s school caterers went on strike. 

The WorldMay 23, 2022 · 4:45 PM EDT

Okro and garden eggs with Ghanaian corn meal, or banku, was being prepared to be delivered to a school in Ghana prior to the catererrs' strike. Many Ghanaian schoolchildren rely on the free lunch they get at school. But now, children are going hungry.

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

On a hot afternoon, hundreds of students of the Nima Cluster of Schools in Accra, Ghana, dashed out of their classrooms for a midday break.

Usually, they enjoy a free lunch of rice and stew from a national school food program.

But school cooks are currently on strike, as of last Monday, to protest unpaid wages and inadequate grants — leaving many kids with hunger pains. 

Related: As global oil prices surge, some African countries may see a silver lining

Going to school without a free lunch has been hard on students like 9-year-old Frederick Anaaba. 

“There is no food at home. And the people who bring us food have not been coming. If sir is teaching, I cannot concentrate because my stomach will be paining me.”

Frederick Anaaba, 9-year-old student in Accra, Ghana

“There is no food at home. And the people who bring us food have not been coming,” he said. “If sir is teaching, I cannot concentrate because my stomach will be paining me.”

Nearly 4 million children attending Ghana’s 10,000 public schools rely on a free school lunch. 

For many, it’s the only meal they get in a day. Without it, they may risk sickness or even death. Some also consider dropping out of school. 

The country’s national school food program was launched in 2005 to help alleviate poverty and enhance food security in Ghana. The program also encourages the use of locally sourced raw materials, supporting sustainability for area food producers.

But food prices in Ghana have more than tripled this year. Transportation costs have also soared. Last month, the country's inflation rate climbed to the highest level in more than 18 years at 23.6%.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has caused global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel, fertilizer and other commodities to shoot up. The United Nations has warned that this will exacerbate food, energy and economic crises in poor nations.

Food for a school meal is shown from before the school caterers' strike in Ghana began. Food prices in Ghana have more than tripled since the beginning of 2022. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Ghana’s school children are on the receiving end of this long chain of consequences. 

Samuel Amponsah, a social studies teacher at the Nima Cluster of Schools, said that the strike is hampering academic work.

Related: Ghana’s fishermen are drowning in plastic. The govt is trying to tackle pollution before it’s too late.

“The school feeding program enables the students to show up at school prepared to learn. But since the caterers stopped cooking, we are seeing more absenteeism,” he said. 

This has other implications, he added: “It can reverse all the progress we have made in education, especially at the primary school level. The government should try and fix this as soon as possible.” 

‘No increment, no cooking’

Ghanaian caterers, who each have independent contracts with the government, are asking the government to raise the daily feeding grant from about 12 cents per child to about 39 cents. 

They also want the over $30 million owed to about 11,000 members to be paid as soon as possible.

The caterers will not return to work until their demands are met, according to Helena Appiah, general secretary of the Ghana School Feeding Caterers Association. 

The cooks prepare lunches from home and bear the responsibility to transport it to the various schools under contract with them, she said. 

But the rising price of transportation and gas has become cost-prohibitive. 

Appiah said that some association members who took out loans to be able to provide food for the schoolchildren now face harassment by their creditors. 

Several meetings with the government on the matter so far have been unfruitful. 

“Nothing good came out of the meetings. They said they can’t help us. They are not in the capacity to help us, so our decision is no increment, no cooking.”

Helena Appiah, Ghana School Feeding Caterers Association,  general secretary

“Nothing good came out of the meetings. They said they can’t help us,” she said. “They are not in the capacity to help us, so our decision is no increment, no cooking.”  

Siiba Alfa, head of communications for Ghana’s school feeding secretariat, reassured caterers that their concerns were getting fast-tracked and urged them to return to work, but did not give a timeline. 

Alfa explained that they were working to follow up on the money needed to resolve the payment dispute.

Related: Ghana’s fantasy coffins: Fulfilling burial dreams one coffin at a time 

“They should be assured that everything is being done possible to ensure that payment is paid,” he said. 

Worsening hunger, malnutrition

Child rights advocate Vera Elikem Awuye said that the current situation is deeply concerning for children who are already living in impoverished situations. 

“Especially those in very poor communities depend on the school feeding program to survive and also get their nutritional benefits,” she said. “We need to be expanding the school feeding program and not stifling it.” 

Awuye said that the program relieves parents of the financial pressure that often leads children — especially girls — to drop out and take on hazardous work or early marriage. 

Child rights advocate Vera Elikem Awuye said that she fears that the situation with school caterers on strike will worsen hunger and malnutrition in Ghana.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

“I think that the government should reach a consensus with these caterers and provide them with the resources for them to provide quality food, nutritional food for these children,” she said. 

Related: With soaring debt, Ghana considers controversial mobile money tax 

Back near the playground at Nima Cluster of Schools, 13-year-old Issifu Rahman sat on a concrete slab with his head on his elbow. The fourth grade student said skipping lunch worried him a lot. 

“In the house, we mostly eat in the evening and so, if I don’t get the jollof rice here, it means I will be hungry until evening,” he said. 

“We really want the caterers to come back.” 

Ghana’s fishermen are drowning in plastic. The govt is trying to tackle pollution before it’s too late.

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Ghana’s fishermen are drowning in plastic. The govt is trying to tackle pollution before it’s too late.

Ghana is one of a handful of countries to launch a national plastic pollution plan backed by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Development Program. 

The WorldFebruary 28, 2022 · 3:45 PM EST

Plastic pollution has become a major concern in Ghana.

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

On a hot, humid Saturday at Winneba beach, Ghanaians flock to one of the largest fish markets in Ghana’s central region. Here, fisherman Kwame Nkum is repairing a fishing net that he says was damaged after getting entangled in plastic waste. 

The massive heaps of plastic trash strewn along the beach are “very disturbing,” he said, with empty bottles, grocery bags, discarded face masks and gloves everywhere. 

“For some years now, whenever we cast our nets, all we catch are plastics." 

Kwame Nkum, fisherman, central Ghana

“For some years now, whenever we cast our nets, all we catch are plastics,” Nkum said. “Sometimes, after a whole haul, you can only get a dozen fishes and the rest is just waste.” 

Ghana launched a national plastic action plan a few years ago to mitigate the problem — including a push for more recycling and funding to support it — but vulnerable communities continue to bear the brunt of the damage caused by plastic pollution. 

Related: Only 1 in 7 households in Ghana has a toilet. Communities are fighting to ensure sanitation for all.

Fishermen sort their early morning catch from the nets, at the fishing beach in James Town, Accra, Ghana, Thursday, July 9, 2015. 

Credit:

Sunday Alamba/AP

Nkum noticed that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already bleak situation, with “all the disposable masks and gloves people are throwing around,” adding to the piles of litter. 

“If things continue like this, I don’t know what we are going to do,” he said.

Open drains are engulfed by plastic waste in central Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

In Ghana, the fishing industry employs nearly 3 million people and generates over $1 billion in revenue each year. According to the United Nations Development Program, of the 1.7 million tons of plastic waste generated every year in the country, only 2% gets recycled.

Currently, more than 11 million metric tons of plastic are flowing into the ocean annually. By 2050, there could even be more plastic in the sea by weight than fish. Ocean plastic pollution harms marine life in two ways: through ingestion and entanglement.

Related: ‘We might be pushed out of business’: Ghana’s vegetable sellers see produce dwindle due to climate change

To try to get a handle on the problem, the country launched the Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership in 2019.

It’s one of a handful of plans around the world, backed by the United Nations Development Program and the World Economic Forum, to fund and facilitate initiatives to accelerate viable solutions to plastic waste and pollution.

The plan also encourages businesses to make products out of recycled plastic. Nelplast Ghana Limited is answering that call. 

At a factory in Ashaiman-Atadeka, a suburb of the capital Accra, uniformed workers transform shredded, recycled plastic into blocks used to build houses or walkways. The blocks, made from 80% broken plastic products and 20% sand, have a life span of 500 years.

Workers shape molded blocks at Nelplast in Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Nelson Boateng began his business, Nelplast, in 2013, with a focus on manufacturing plastic bags. 

But about eight years ago, when a deadly flood and fire was caused partially by plastics blocking major open drains, Boateng began to rethink his business. 

“At that point, I felt very bad about the tragedy and realized that I contributed to what happened. So, we sat down with the management to think of a product that doesn't go out to pollute, but rather saves the environment.”

Nelson Boateng, Nelplast, Ashaiman-Atadeka, Accra, Ghana

Nelson Boateng is the CEO of Nelplast in Ghana.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

“At that point, I felt very bad about the tragedy and realized that I contributed to what happened. So, we sat down with the management to think of a product that doesn't go out to pollute, but rather saves the environment.”

In 2019, Boateng got a $40,000 grant from the United Nations Development Program to buy more machines to mix and melt down recovered plastics. He said the support more than doubled his production capacity.

“At first, we were doing 200 bricks,” he said. “Now, with their support, we moved from 200 to 1,000 bricks per day. And that has [had] a great impact on our business.” 

Nelplast Ghana has employed more than 300 people.

Augustina Yeboah is among Boateng’s more than 60 factory workers who mix, melt and mold the bricks.

“The job is very good. It enables me to provide [for] the basic needs of my family. But more fulfilling for me is that I get to contribute my quota to the sustainability of the environment."

Augustina Yeboah, worker, Nelplast, Ghana

Augustina Yeboah molds plastic bricks at Nelplast in Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

“The job is very good. It enables me to provide [for] the basic needs of my family. But more fulfilling for me is that I get to contribute my quota to the sustainability of the environment,” she said.

It’s challenging, however, to keep up with the sheer amount of waste. 

Waste-pickers can bring Boateng about 20,000 tons of plastic a day, but they’re only able to recycle about 3,000 tons per day. 

“So now, our main issue is how to increase the capacity. I need more investment — like $2 million — to be able to recycle and get more plastics off the streets,” he said.

Related: How the West’s obsession with fast fashion compounds an environmental nightmare in Ghana

Nine other businesses have gotten similar support from the United Nations Development Program.

But that’s only part of the solution.

UNDP project coordinator Kingsley Bekoe said he’d like to see plastics companies take more responsibility for what happens to their products after customers discard them. 

“How do we get [companies] to be able to pay for some of the mitigation measures that we are putting in place for the pollution that is caused by plastics?”

Kingsley Bekoe, UNDP project coordinator

Kingsley Bekoe is a UNDP project coordinator. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

“How do we get [companies] to be able to pay for some of the mitigation measures that we are putting in place for the pollution that is caused by plastics?” Bekoe said. 

In Europe, for example, electronics companies have an obligation to finance collection, recycling and end-of-life disposal.

Oliver Boachie, a science, technology and innovation adviser to the Ministry of Environment, said the government is also set to launch a bottle deposit program this year, to incentivize people to return empty bottles. 

“This is the collection infrastructure and the collection architecture that we are going to implement. Then, once that has been done, then the recyclers can have access to them,” he said. 

Boachie said the Ghanaian government is also working to identify plastic manufacturers and sellers who may eventually have to pay some form of plastics tax. 

The government says it's not ready for a strict ban on plastic bags — a step that other African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have taken — primarily because many companies and families are still dependent on plastics. But authorities are exploring biodegradable alternatives. 

“The ultimate goal should really be about reduction and eventually a complete phase-out of single-use plastics. That is the way to go."

Charles Mwangi, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance

“To boost a more circular economy, as a continent, I think we need to become much more innovative in terms of the use of biodegradable materials,” said Charles Mwangi with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. 

“The ultimate goal should really be about reduction and eventually a complete phase-out of single-use plastics. That is the way to go.”

Meanwhile, vulnerable communities disproportionately bear the brunt of environmental degradation caused by plastic pollution, according to a 2021 UN report.

A fisherman casts his net in Ghana. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Hamish John Appleby/IWMI/Flickr

This month, leaders will meet for a UN environment summit in Nairobi, Kenya, to talk about the first-ever global agreement on plastic pollution.

Back at Winneba beach, fisherman Nkum hopes for the day when he can cast his nets and actually just catch fish again — not plastics.

"God didn't bless us with the ocean to worry about where the next fish is going to come from,” he said. “This must not continue. We all need to do our part in ending the littering.”

Ghana’s fantasy coffins: Fulfilling burial dreams one coffin at a time 

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Ghana’s fantasy coffins: Fulfilling burial dreams one coffin at a time 

In Ghana, coffin makers have elevated death into an art form, building fantasy coffins despite some raised eyebrows at this uncommon profession.

The WorldFebruary 18, 2022 · 1:45 PM EST

A pen-shaped coffin is designed for a deceased teacher or author. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

The smell of fresh fish and smoky firewood fills the air in Teshie, a fishing community within Ghana’s capital, Accra. Here, the streets buzz with the sounds of hammering and sanding as a group of eight sweaty men make coffins at a carpentry shop.

But they're not just any ordinary coffins — these designs take the shapes of cars, airplanes, fish and cockerel, among other fantasy images. 

Making coffins is a grim job, but one could argue that someone has to do it. And in Ghana, coffin makers have elevated death into an art form — building fantasy coffins despite the occassional raised eyebrows at this uncommon profession.

Related: What is aquamation, the burial practice Desmond Tutu chose instead of cremation? 

A palm fruit coffin is made for a deceased farmer. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Carpenter Lawrence Anang, 22, said he views his job as both an honor and part of his family legacy. Anang learned the trade from his father, who learned it from his family's 60-year fantasy coffin-making business.

“We, the coffin makers, have emotions, too, like any other person. … But our work is really important, so we have to do [it]. … The human being will definitely die, and when you die, you will be buried."

Lawrence Anang, carpenter who specializes in fantasy coffins, Kane Kwei Carpentry Shop, Teshie, Ghana 

“We, the coffin makers, have emotions, too, like any other person. We do cry sometimes when someone passes away. But our work is really important, so we have to do [it]," Anang said.

Many Ghanian business owners pray daily for more clients, but Lawrence said coffin makers never pray for another’s death.

“The human being will definitely die, and when you die, you will be buried,” he said.

The carpentry shop boasts an amazing array of painted wood sculptures, appearing more like an art studio than a place where coffins are made.

Related: Turkey's 'whirling dervishes' strive to keep the practice sacred amid tourist demand

A Bible coffin for a deceased pastor in Ghana.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Despite their extravagant appearance, they are indeed functional coffins designed to manifest the fantasy of the dying person’s burial vision (or their loved ones who want to honor them).

The designs usually align with the status or profession of the deceased. 

At the shop, Anang was working on a lion design commissioned by the relatives of a chief. They chose the lion because the cat is considered the ruler of the forest, a fitting match for a chief. 

In Ghana, the fantasy coffin industry is not just about paying respect to the dead, but also a status symbol — a statement on the life or occupation of the departed.

An airplane coffin is constructed to honor a deceased pilot, a truck coffin is designed for a driver and a microphone-shaped coffin honors a dead musician or a broadcaster.

“We have something like a cocoa pod for a farmer, and then a Bible for a priest; then a pen or a book for a teacher,” Anang said.

So much goes into preparing a fantasy coffin that it can take up to two weeks to finish. 

First, measurements have to be just right, to leave some space around the corpse — Anang ironically described this as “breathing room.”

It’s then carefully constructed and sandpapered for a smooth feel, avoiding any sharp splinters. 

Next, the coffin makers paint or spray and finish the product — a coffin, ready for its occupant.

Related: China's last remaining lantern craftspeople uphold a waning tradition

Lawrence Anang works on the lion-shaped coffin for a deceased chief. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Felicia Okai has come to Anang’s Kane Kwei Carpentry Shop to place an order for a fantasy coffin for her dead relative.

“I really admire their works, and so I came here to get either the cocoa-pod-designed coffin or the palm-fruit designed coffin for a relative who was a farmer. It will make the funeral the talk of town."

Felicia Okai, customer, Kane Kwei Carpentry Shop, Teshie, Ghana

“I really admire their works, and so I came here to get either the cocoa-pod-designed coffin or the palm-fruit designed coffin for a relative who was a farmer. It will make the funeral the talk of town,” she said.

Felicia Okai makes an order at the Kane Kwei fantasy coffin carpentry shop. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

The decorative coffins not only appear at funerals in Ghana, but for over five decades, they have become one of Ghana’s most unique cultural export.

“Our fantasy coffins also go mostly to the USA, but we have a museum in Europe, too. Then I have [an older] brother in Wisconsin also working on this,” Anang said.

The coffin makers use soft wood and mahogany that can cost up to $1,000. Anang’s shop produces up to 20 coffins each month.

A truck-shaped coffin is made for a trucker who has died. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Funerals are not just rites of passage in Ghana; they are also considered part of the culture, and even a celebration of the life of the dead.

Often, funeral grounds are akin to a typical birthday party in Accra, with people dancing, wining and dining.

The latest trend is for “dancing” pallbearers dressed in flamboyant outfits to appear at funerals, who fancifully wobble to music as they carry coffins on their shoulders.

Death is part of life, Anang said. He would like to be buried in a fantasy coffin shaped in the form of a hammer when his time comes.

“If you want to have fun in the land of the dead, then you need to get your coffins here."

Lawrence Anang, carpenter who specializes in fantasy coffins, Kane Kwei Carpentry Shop, Teshie, Ghana 

“If you want to have fun in the land of the dead, then you need to get your coffins here,” Annang said.

For sexual assault victims in Ghana, justice is expensive — and elusive

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>For sexual assault victims in Ghana, justice is expensive — and elusive

Many people who experience sexual assault from Ghana’s poorest communities cannot afford the $85 medical exam report required to file a police report.  

The WorldFebruary 15, 2022 · 10:45 AM EST

The UN says that pandemic restrictions have led to increased incidents of sexual exploitation of children and youth. 

Brian Inganga/AP

In a clay room with a thatched roof, Georgina, 16, sits with her chin buried in her palm, thinking about what happened to her nearly two years ago. 

During Ghana’s COVID-19 lockdown, Georgina said she was sexually assaulted. Georgina, who lives in Kisi, a small fishing village in the central region of Ghana, asked to use her first name only to protect her identity.

Georgina said she reported the case to the police but could not afford the medical exam fee required to file a police report. 

She realized while at the hospital that getting justice was a distant mirage.

“I remember the doctor telling my mother [that] the medical report will cost 550 cedis [about $85]. But we didn’t have the money and so we didn’t pursue the case again."

Georgina, 16, sexual assault survivor, Kisi, Ghana

“At the hospital, I was in so much pain,” she recalled. “I remember the doctor telling my mother [that] the medical report will cost 550 cedis [about $85]. But we didn’t have the money and so we didn’t pursue the case again.” 

The majority of residents in Kisi live on less than $2 a day. The men fish while the women either smoke or sell the fish in the market. 

Related: Protesters in India call for justice for Dalit women who are victims of sexual violence

At least 40 cases of sexual assault are reported daily in Ghana. The actual number of occurrences is likely much higher.  

Credit:

Courtesy of UNICEF

The painful memory is still fresh in her mind. 

“In 2020, when the lockdown was imposed, schools were shut, so I was home. Times were really tough and even food to eat was hard to come by,” she said. 

One day, she said she met a man and told him she was very hungry. He offered to buy her food. 

“After that, he invited me into his room, pounced on me and had sex with me,” she said. 

Georgina's experience is one of many in the central region of southern Ghana where poverty, neglect and pandemic lockdowns have led to precarious situations for young people that have sometimes led to sexual violence.

Ghanaian authorities say at least 40 cases of sexual assault are reported every day. 

The medical forensic exam, often called a rape kit, helps assess a victim’s health needs. This documentation is also necessary to launch criminal investigations by providing evidence of injuries and other indicators of force or coercion. Kits can also help establish the identity of the offender through DNA samples. 

Related: Hundreds protest Turkey’s withdrawal from treaty to prevent violence against women

Human rights advocates in Ghana are pushing for legislation that entitles sexual assault survivors to free medical care and exams to file police reports.

Credit:

Courtesy of UNICEF

Ghana’s Medical Association told The World that doctors can charge up to about $125 to fill out police medical forms and about $300 for giving a medical opinion for legal purposes.

Few can afford the prohibitive fees. Yet, without a medical exam, justice remains elusive.  

According to Ghana Police Service’s domestic violence and victim support unit, rape and sexual assault cases often occur in deprived areas where parents cannot bear the costs to initiate a legal process on behalf of their children. 

Georgina’s mother, Grace Awortwe, said the current arrangement is discriminatory and a travesty of justice.  

“It breaks my heart that the man who did that to my daughter is walking around scot-free, because I couldn’t pay for a medical form to prove he defiled my child."

Grace Awortwe, mother of Georgina, 16, who says she was sexually assaulted during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.

“It breaks my heart that the man who did that to my daughter is walking around scot-free because I couldn’t pay for a medical form to prove he defiled my child,” she said. “Why is it that only the rich get justice in this country?”

Related: This teen's TikTok video takes on Malaysia's toxic culture of misogyny

The trauma of reporting rape or assault, coupled with having to pay huge amounts of money to complete medical processes to initiate prosecution means that victims and their families give up easily, said Vera Elikem Awuye, with the nongovernmental human rights organization International Needs Ghana. 

“If these, our people, in the communities can hardly afford certain basic things, where are they going to get 500 cedis [about $85] to pay for medical exams to get justice and get help for their children?”

Vera elikem Awuye, International Needs Ghana

Vera Elikem Awuye works with International Needs Ghana, a nongovernmental organization. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Vera Elikem Awuye

“If these, our people, in the communities can hardly afford certain basic things, where are they going to get 500 cedis [about $85] to pay for medical exams to get justice and get help for their children?” 

Sometimes, her organization pays for medical reports in an effort to encourage victims to pursue justice, hoping to break the vicious cycle of sexual violence against girls and women.  

“The perpetrators are left in the community, and they defile more girls and abuse more girls. And it has become a trend, and nobody does anything about it,” she said. 

According to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, at least 120 million girls under the age of 20 — about 1 in 10 – have been forced to engage in sex or perform other sexual acts (and the actual figure is likely much higher). 

COVID-19 restrictions shuttered schools — a primary resource for vulnerable children and youth to access a free lunch. This has left girls like Georgina even more vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. 

A 2021 UN report warned that the longer that children and youth are out of school, the greater their risk of sexual assault in their communities. Experts worry that as the pandemic continues, sexual abuse cases are likely to increase. 

A girl sits in a classroom in Ghana. During the pandemic lockdowns, many youth missed out on free lunches provided at school, making them more vulnerable to exploitation.

Credit:

Ben Grey/Flickr/CCBY-SA2.0

Francis-Xavier Sosu, a human rights lawyer and member of Ghana’s Parliament, agrees that cost-prohibitive medical exams end up silencing victims. 

“Clearly, that is a practice that denies victims of sex assault of their right to be heard in court — to their right to be fairly treated by the state — and to also protect them under the law."

Francis-Xavier Sosu, human rights lawyer and member of parliament in Ghana 

Francis-Xavier Soso is a human rights lawyer and member of parliament in Ghana. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Francis-Xavier Soso

“Clearly, that is a practice that denies victims of sex assault of their right to be heard in court — to their right to be fairly treated by the state — and to also protect them under the law,” he said. 

Yet, sexual violence is also underreported due to other factors. 

Police often lack the capacity for thorough investigations, which can take years to reach a court. 

And community leaders often agree to quick, out-of-court settlements to avoid draining the meager savings of poor families. Transportation fees alone are just too much for many of these families. 

Sosu said he’s putting together draft legislation that entitles victims to free medical exams and health care. 

“We need [a] law that will be very clear that every child or female or person violated under the law will be entitled to free medicare,” he said. 

The law would help reinforce several other major international conventions and protocols that Ghana has ratified related to sexual crimes, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, along with related juvenile justice and human trafficking acts.

Back in the village of Kisi, Georgina said that she prays that the country will back legislation that will abolish all fees involved in pursuing sexual abuse cases. 

She believes that bringing these cases to court will help deter further incidents of sexual violence against girls and women. 

“If there is a law like that in place, all these bad guys will not harm us again. Because they will then know that the poor can also go to court and the law will deal with them,” she said.

With soaring debt, Ghana considers controversial mobile money tax 

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>With soaring debt, Ghana considers controversial mobile money tax 

Amid a looming debt crisis in Ghana, the government has proposed a direct 1.75%  tax on mobile money transactions and electronic bank transfers, sparking widespread debate. 

The WorldJanuary 26, 2022 · 2:00 PM EST

Mobile banking transfers do not require a connection to a formal banking system. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

At a small, yellow telecommunications shop in suburban Accra, Ghana, Salormey Ayertey attends to her customers. They come to deposit or withdraw cash from their mobile money accounts, which are run by an array of network providers.

Ayertey has been a mobile money vendor for 11 years, and it’s her only source of livelihood. Ghana’s proposed government “e-tax” could threaten telecommunications businesses like hers. And many worry that the cost-prohibitive measure would impact the millions who depend on mobile money transfers on a daily basis. 

“We are not happy about [the e-tax] at all. This is how we are also able to put food on the table. The business will collapse and it will affect us."

Salormey Ayerty runs a telecommunications shop in suburban Accra, Ghana

Salormey Ayertey attends to a customer at her telecommunications shop in suburban Accra, Ghana. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

“We are not happy about it at all. This is how we are also able to put food on the table. The business will collapse and it will affect us, she said.

Related: Tuvalu cashes in on its coveted internet domain name amid rise in online streaming

Ghana has one of the fastest-growing mobile money markets in Africa, with about 19 million active mobile money accounts driving the digital financial services industry, according to its central bank. 

But Ghana’s debt has nearly doubled in 10 years. At the end of November 2021, it hit about 78% of its gross domestic product, up from about 40% a decade ago, according to Ghana’s Ministry of Finance

As part of its austerity measures, the Ghanaian government proposed a 1.75% tax on mobile money transactions and electronic bank transfers of 100 cedis (about $16) and above. 

Ayertey said that if the tax gets implemented, some of her customers are threatening to go back to the cash system.

"It will not help us because they [customers] are complaining that if they bring that [mobile tax], they will not do mobile money again,” she said. 

Related: ‘We need a rescue plan’: Hunger in Lebanon surges amid economic crises

Mobile money stands are go-to points for Ghana's unbanked. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

‘Getting tougher every day’

When news about the 1.75% proposed tax began to circulate, the Mobile Money Agents Association in Ghana immediately reported widespread withdrawals from the mobile money platforms.  

Mavis Mensah, a Ghanaian who uses a mobile money platform, hopes the government reconsiders the proposed tax. 

“Things are getting tougher and tougher every day. So we are pleading with the government if they can do something about it, it will be very nice, because it is too much."

Mavis Mensah, mobile money client, Accra, Ghana

“Things are getting tougher and tougher every day. So, we are pleading with the government if they can do something about it, it will be very nice because it is too much,” she said. 

Mobile money appeals to thousands of Ghanaians — especially those without a bank account — because it allows for the transfer of funds between cellphones without having to rely on the formal banking system. 

The technology was pioneered in 2007 by Kenya’s Safaricom with its M-Pesa platform. 

Mobile money platforms electronically record all transactions, improving security and transparency for all payments.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

About 2 billion unbanked adults — mostly in developing countries — often face barriers to tasks as simple as receiving wages or sending money to family members. 

Giving unbanked Ghanaians access to mobile money — especially women and people living in remote rural areas with unstable incomes — boosts economic growth.

Customer Andreas Akakpo also raised concerns about government spending.

"When you collect the tax and you don't make good use of it, I don't see why the tax should be collected. Go to the [countryside]. People are suffering," he said. 

Related: ‘It’s a casino operation’: As Turkish lira falls, some Turks turn to cryptocurrency

A parliament, divided

The tax, referred to as the “e-levy,” has sharply divided Ghana’s hung legislature, even leading some lawmakers to engage in physical brawls in Parliament last month during the contentious vote. 

Members of the opposition National Democratic Congress have been fiercely opposed to the tax since it was first proposed in November 2021. 

The NDC contends it would disproportionately affect lower-income people and those outside the formal banking system who rely on mobile money transfers. 

“We remain resolute and determined to fight e-levy, the full course of it. We are in it for the long haul. It is no longer a matter to be discussed anywhere. We are not for it and we’ll not be for it."

Haruna Iddrisu, minority leader in Ghana's parliament

“We remain resolute and determined to fight e-levy, the full course of it. We are in it for the long haul. It is no longer a matter to be discussed anywhere. We are not for it and we’ll not be for it,” said Haruna Iddrisu, minority leader in Parliament, in an address to the press last month. 

Ghana has over 19 million active mobile money subscribers. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin sees it as a ploy by the minority to stall progress. 

“As a majority, we can’t be cajoled into pettiness because we see this as a strategy by the minority — as it were — to create a standoff,” he said. 

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta argued that the tax would raise about $1.15 billion in 2022, ensuring that the country moves toward “a more sustainable debt level,” he said.

It would also ensure that Ghana has "revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cybersecurity, digital and road infrastructure," he said a few days ago in Accra to the press.

He said the tax is a way for all Ghanaians to "help support their country and grow this economy."

Related: ‘We live paycheck to paycheck’: Workers at a paper factory in Beirut worry about making ends meet in a dire economy

The mobile money boom

Many African economies continue to reel from the impact of COVID-19. 

But since the start of the pandemic, global mobile money transactions have boomed, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, which represents 43% of all new accounts, according to the Global System for Mobile Communications Association. 

Registered mobile money accounts in Africa grew 12% to 562 million in 2020, while monthly active accounts were 161 million — an 18% increase, according to the 2021 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money.

Global daily mobile transactions exceeded $2 billion for the first time in 2021 and may surpass $3 billion a day by the end of 2022, according to the report. 

But excessive taxation on mobile phone-based transactions could potentially reverse the gains for financial inclusion, according to a Foresight Africa 2019 report

Ghana has over 40 million mobile phone subscribers, according to government data.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

African countries must take a careful look at cost-benefit analyses before implementing a mobile money tax, the report said. Without fair tax policies, it warned, the incentive to use cash instead of mobile money may reverse advances in an increasingly cashless, digitized economy.

Ken Ashigbe, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, said a lower tax rate of 0.25% or 0.5% might have been better. 

“What has happened in other countries is that when these things have been allowed to happen, you find out that people have gone back to cash."

Ken Ashigbe, CEO, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Accra, Ghana

“What has happened in other countries is that when these things have been allowed to happen, you find out that people have gone back to cash,” he said.  

Ken Ashigbe is CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Back at the telecommunications shop in suburban Accra, Salormey Ayertey agreed. She believes a downward adjustment of the tax will help prevent her business from collapsing.

“If they reduce it, it will actually help us. It means people will still come here to do mobile money and my business will be saved,” she said. 

A vote on the tax resumes in parliament this week. If passed, the tax would go into effect next month.

Ghana revs up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign as omicron cases surge

class=”MuiTypography-root-135 MuiTypography-h1-140″>Ghana revs up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign as omicron cases surge

COVID-19 vaccines have been available in Ghana since March 2021, but vaccine hesitancy in some areas has slowed down vaccination rates so far in the West African nation.

The WorldJanuary 19, 2022 · 1:45 PM EST

Dozens take turns to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Adabraka vaccination center in Accra, Ghana. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

As Gloria Yeboah waited to get her COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Adabraka hospital in Accra, Ghana’s capital, she brooded over how the COVID-19 pandemic has turned her life upside down. 

The 18-year-old is in her final year of high school. She said she misses the parties and is getting tired of wearing masks.

“If you go out, you have to socially distance. You constantly have to keep on wearing masks. And some masks are just very uncomfortable. … And we had to pause school for a bit.”

Related: Pregnant women and children with HIV in Ghana struggle to access lifesaving medicine during pandemic

Gloria Yeboah, 18, receives her COVID-19 jab. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

COVID-19 vaccines have been available in Ghana since March 2021 and have since been distributed in phases by Ghana’s Health Service. But vaccine hesitancy in some areas — largely attributed to misinformation, myths and conspiracy theories circulating online — has slowed down the vaccination rates so far. 

Ghana has secured some 17 million doses since December 2021 of various vaccines, including AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.

Related: The quest for a universal coronavirus vaccine

Not far from where Yeboah sat, health officers busily assembled vaccination materials as more than a dozen people waited their turn to get the jab.

Yeboah said she was finally convinced to take the vaccine after having to pay about $50 every time she went anywhere that required a COVID-19 test.

“At least with this vaccine, I know I’m protected. Even though I still have to mask up, I know I’m protected,” Yeboah said. 

Ghana shut its land and sea borders to passenger traffic since restrictions were first instituted at the beginning of the pandemic.

Currently, airlines that bring unvaccinated people into the country through the Kotoka international airport are fined $3,500 for each passenger, and also for those who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival.

The government also says people who remain unvaccinated will not be allowed access to beaches, restaurants, stadiums, cinemas and nightclubs.

Related: Health care workers in the Philippines reject new COVID-19 rules as 'inhumane'

Omicron sparks new concerns

Desmond Amoah receives the COVID-19 vaccine over concerns about the latest omicron variant. 

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Shortly after Yeboah took her turn, Desmond Amoah also rolled up his sleeve to receive his shot. 

The 40-year-old civil servant said his fear of infection with the latest omicron variant led him to get the shot.

"I see it as defense for myself against the virus so I have just taken the step to get myself vaccinated, with the hope that this is what I need to stand against the virus,” he said.

More than 154,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Ghana since the pandemic began and more than 1,300 deaths.

The World Health Organization says Ghana has one of the best COVID-19 testing programs in Africa. But, like most nations on the continent, vaccination uptake has been slow despite an increase in supplies over the last few months.

At the Adabraka vaccination center, officials are recording low turnout due to vaccine hesitancy. They say misinformation and myths about vaccines are still circulating among the public.

Stephen Obeng, an Adabraka hospital administrator, said he is extremely worried about the situation.

When they started doing vaccinations, they were serving about 500 people per day, he said. That was the peak. Now, they may serve about 50 people a day, he said.

So far, less than 3 million of Ghana’s more than 30 million people are fully vaccinated.

Stephen Obeng is an administrator at the Adabraka hospital in Accra, Ghana.

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Ghana's Health Service says vaccine hesitancy poses a risk to meeting the set target of vaccinations for at least 20 million people.

In the Volta region of eastern Ghana, nearly 13,000 vaccines expired during the last vaccination campaign largely due to concerns about the vaccine. 

“If we had left it there, without monitoring, we probably would have had more expiry,” said Dr. Kwame Amponsah Achiano who oversees Ghana’s Expanded Program on Immunization. 

“We did redistribution quickly when we were about two, three days to expiry. The fact of the matter is that there is real hesitancy, and so we think that high-level people should be able to support the region to overcome that."

Dr. Kwame Amponsah Achiano, program manager, Expanded Program on Immunization

“We did redistribution quickly when we were about two, three days to expiry. The fact of the matter is that there is real hesitancy, and so we think that high-level people should be able to support the region to overcome that,” Achiano said.

Dr. Kwame Amponsah Achiano is a program manager for Ghana's Expanded Program on Immunization.

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Mass communication strategies 

Ghana has initiated a rigorous vaccination campaign in a bid to contain the fourth wave of COVID-19 as omicron cases surge.

Authorities have issued a vaccine mandate for targeted groups, including government employees, health workers, security officials and students at the end of January.

Related: Vaccine mandates aren’t new. But do they work?

“We have a whole subcommittee on communication that is working on all kinds of strategies to get the information appropriately to the people,” Achiano said. 

Radio jingles in different Ghanaian languages have been successful in reaching the masses. 

“Some media stations have even started playing most of the jingles already. We are using satisfied clients and voices of people in high places and so on."

Dr. Kwame Amponsah Achiano, program manager, Expanded Program on Immunization

“Some media stations have even started playing most of the jingles already. We are using satisfied clients and voices of people in high places and so on,” he said.

Related: Filipinos hesitant about getting COVID jab after dengue fever vaccine debacle

The Ghana Health Service is also encouraging people to rely on reputable and authoritative sources of information, such as health care providers, public health officials and the World Health Organization website, to help make informed choices and stay current. 

According to the WHO, 3.5 million people have died from COVID-19 in 2021, which is a higher death toll compared to deaths from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, combined, in 2020. 

Most African countries fell short of the WHO target to achieve full vaccination rates of 40% by the end of December 2021. Only about 6.6% of Africa's population of 1.3 billion is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far. 

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says many African nations are still grappling with hesitancy and the logistics to accelerate their COVID-19 vaccination program. 

The WHO has set a further target of 70% coverage for all countries by June 2022, but experts worry that African countries could miss this target due to weakening health infrastructure, inadequate funding to train and deploy medical officers, and vaccine storage problems.

Back at the Adabraka hospital’s vaccination center, Yeboah urged people to disregard misinformation and conspiracy theories and focus on getting vaccinated.

“Please, there is no chip in the vaccine,” she said, referring to a false rumor circulating on the internet. “It is not the mark of the beast. I don’t know what you have heard but please take your vaccine. You’ll be fine, trust!” 

Only 1 in 7 households in Ghana has a toilet. Communities are fighting to ensure sanitation for all.

class=”MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>Only 1 in 7 households in Ghana has a toilet. Communities are fighting to ensure sanitation for all.

Thousands of Ghanaians resort to open defecation due to a lack of access to clean toilets. Some young people in Ghana are leading the movement to change the narrative around this dangerous practice.

The WorldNovember 18, 2021 · 12:30 PM EST

A bustling street scene in Ghana, where only 1 in 7 households has a toilet. 

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

Close to 50,000 residents live crammed within the Nima neighborhood in greater Accra, Ghana, a community of homes made of wood, concrete and rusted iron roofing sheets. 

Indeed, living in Nima is a squeeze. 

Here, Rose Alhassan is frying fish with her 8-year-old granddaughter, who fans the pan atop the coal pot resting on red-hot charcoal.

Related: ‘We might be pushed out of business’: Ghana’s vegetable sellers see produce dwindle due to climate change

Alhassan’s house has nine single rooms that accommodate 32 people. Yet, this household — like many across this community — has no toilet.

“The lack of toilets in this house really worries me a lot because the closest public toilet is about 10 minutes’ walk from here. … And I have rheumatism, which gets really unbearable when I walk for that long.”

Rose Alhassan, resident without a toilet at home, Accra, Ghana

Rose Alhassan and her granddaughter are frying fish in the densely packed neighborhood of Nima in greater Accra, Ghana. 

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

“The lack of toilets in this house really worries me a lot because the closest public toilet is about [a] 10 minutes' walk from here,” Alhassan said. “And I have rheumatism, which gets really unbearable when I walk for that long.” 

She ends up having to use a plastic bag to defecate, which she then discards into an open drain. 

Related: How the West’s obsession with fast fashion compounds an environmental nightmare in Ghana

About 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation worldwide, according to the United Nations. Of those, 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities and 673 million still practice open defecation, the UN said.

At least 2 billion people use drinking water contaminated with feces globally, according to the World Health Organization. 

In Ghana, 1 in 5 people defecates openly, while only 1 in 7 households in the West African country have toilet facilities.

The bags not only choke gutters, but open drains also pollute the air with putrid odors. 

Alhassan said this practice is widespread.

“All the houses around here don’t have toilets and so usually, when you wake up early in the morning, you will see people throwing toilets [bags] in the drain,” she said. 

Related: Pregnant women and children with HIV in Ghana struggle to access lifesaving medicine during pandemic

"Flying toilets" clog trenches and gutters in the Nima neighborhood of Acrra, Ghana. 

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

Ghanaian law requires landlords to provide toilets for their tenants, with associated penalties for defaulters. But over the years, authorities have been lax about effective enforcement of this law. 

In Nima, public toilet conditions have deteriorated. The building has huge cracks with perforated, rusted roofing. Inside, 12 open cubicles choke with heat and the stench of a heady mix of urine, cigarette smoke and piles of feces. 

Health authorities say scenes like these are often hotbeds of infections and diseases like cholera, diarrhea or typhoid.

Outside, desperate patrons in a long queue hold pieces of tissue paper and used newspapers, waiting to take their turn. They pay $0.16 for tissue paper or $0.08 for a used newspaper to access this public toilet.

 

Mariatu Mohammed said coming here at night is a risky affair.

“There is no toilet in my house and so, I meander through so many corners before I get here. And for a girl or woman like me, it is dangerous especially at night,” she said. 

Gender activist Lilipearl Baaba Otoo is concerned about the disproportionate impact of the problem on women and girls in Ghana.

“My work has taken me to so many communities where women have to step out at night to use the bushes because there are no toilets and they are pounced on by either kidnappers, rapists and other unscrupulous people."

Lilipearl Baaba Otoo, gender activist, Ghana

“My work has taken me to so many communities where women have to step out at night to use the bushes because there are no toilets and they are pounced on by either kidnappers, rapists and other unscrupulous people, she said. 

Lilipearl Baaba Otoo is a gender activist who has seen the dangers of using public toilets. 

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Otoo said a lack of toilets can also force girls and women to neglect their menstrual health needs. 

Diseases linked to dirty water and a lack of safe toilets cause more deaths among women than diabetes, HIV/AIDS or breast cancer, according to the international development organization WaterAid.

In Ghana, nearly 20,000 people including more than 5,000 children under the age of 5, die each year from diarrhea, with nearly 90% of cases directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

The World Bank estimates that poor sanitation and hygiene results in $290 million in economic losses for the West African nation each year.

But the situation is not all doom and gloom.

Community-led initiatives throughout Ghana aim to reverse these worrying trends. 

In the sprawling community of Fadama, near the capital Accra, a constructor clad in a black apron used his shovel to dig into a mixture of sand, cement and gravel. He repurposes the cement bag into a helmet.

After many years without a toilet, 16 tenants living in a single house plan to construct one. 

Resident Ernest Fullah led the private fundraising effort.

“We face a lot of problems concerning our sanitation situation in this household. So, as a household, we decided to come together, contribute little by little to start this toilet project …"

Ernest Fullah, resident who raised private funds for a toilet at home, Accra, Ghana

“We face a lot of problems concerning our sanitation situation in this household. So, as a household, we decided to come together, contribute little by little to start this toilet project that you are seeing right now, Fullah said. 

Ernest Fullah's household raised private funds to construct their own toilet.

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

He says seeing the construction near completion gives him joy.

“Personally, I am very, very happy that at long last, we are going to have a toilet in our house and when you speak to the people in the house too, I can see everybody is happy,” he said. 

In 2013, the World Bank financed the $150-million project aimed at providing water and sanitation to deprived communities in Ghana’s capital. Beneficiary households and institutions pay 30% of the cost. The project has constructed about 30,000 household toilet facilities. The next phase of the program is expected to extend to other parts of the country when funding is made available. 

But the need is still great.  

To complement these efforts, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, together with its partners, has begun a hackathon for young people to showcase their innovative solutions toward ending open defecation in their communities. 

Nana Kwaku Amoako Oduro-Mensah, 14, is one participant proffering digital solutions: a mobile app concept called T-toilet, to help people locate toilet facilities in their communities. 

“Because people who pass by in towns and other places, do not have any knowledge about the location of toilet facilities and therefore engage in open defecation. With this app, they can easily find a toilet to go and ease themselves comfortably,” he said. 

Barbara Parker, 13, has a different idea — to promote continuous public health education. 

“Building toilet facilities is not really the thing. Many people have the toilet facilities all right but they don’t really have the ways to use it,” she said. 

Nana Kwaku Amoako Oduro Mensah, 14, participates in a hackathon to find solutions for open defecation. 

Credit:

Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World 

UNICEF's deputy country representative, Fiachra McAsey, said the hackathon reinforces the urgency to mobilize young people to play a more critical role in the movement for safer, cleaner sanitation. 

"…We are going to take some of these ideas and we are going to invest in them."

Fiachra McAsey, deputy country representative, UNICEF

“I think it is an accelerator and a way to see change happen very fast. We are going to take some of these ideas and we are going to invest in them,” McAsey said.

Access to sanitation is a human right and part of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The aim is to end the practice of open defecation by 2030 and ensure that everyone has access to toilets for improved living conditions — and dignity. 

This African American in Ghana says making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a ‘small gesture.’ She urges police reform.

This African American in Ghana says making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a ‘small gesture.’ She urges police reform.

By
The World staff

Producer
Carol Hills

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This year’s Juneteenth celebration in Ghana. Mona Boyd, who is African American and lives in Ghana, says the Juneteenth celebration in Accra has grown over the years. 

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Courtesy of Mona Boyd

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The news that slavery had ended reached Texas on June 19, 1865 — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Annual celebrations and events mark the end of slavery, but this year there’s renewed focus on the holiday amid recent protests pushing for racial equality and systemic change in the US and around the world.

Even corporate America is getting on board — companies like Twitter and Spotify are offering employees paid holidays on Friday. And there’s currently an effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Mona Boyd, an African American, celebrates Juneteenth in Ghana, where she’s lived for the past 30 years. She moved there from the US in the 1990s.

Boyd talked with The World from Accra, after returning from a  Juneteenth celebration, to explain how the day is celebrated in Ghana and the changes she’d like to see in the US.

“When I came to Ghana, I found a community of African Americans already celebrating this holiday. So, I joined them to celebrate it,” Boyd said. “And since that time, many people have joined us, many Ghanaians, in celebrating the holiday. So, I would say there’s a good knowledge of it. It’s not a holiday that people celebrate when you go upcountry. But down here in Accra, which has people from everywhere, it’s celebrated.”

Related: A professor with Ghanaian roots unearths a slave castle’s history — and her own

Marco Werman: I know from your own story, Mona, that you left the US because you did not think it was a good place to raise your son. How does that affect how you think about Juneteenth?

Mona Boyd: Juneteenth is a holiday that I’m much more connected to than July 4. July 4 was always just a holiday, a free day. But Juneteenth has a lot of significance because it actually means something to me. It was the day that my ancestors learned that they were no longer slaves, that they were now free.

This year, of course, Juneteenth comes in the midst of some major introspection and anger about the deaths of black people at the hands of police in this country. What is it like to observe from Ghana, the protests and the focus on police violence against African Americans right now?

Well, I have kind of mixed feelings because we have been there before. I’m not sure that much will change when it’s all over. You know, I grew up in the rural south under Jim Crow. So, you know, I know racism. I lived in an all-black world because of racism until I went to college. So, I have really mixed feelings about what it will all come to. I think that we need to have some new strategies.

Like what? What would you add?

If you look at American society, the country, everything is based on economics and the kind of capitalistic system that we have. Someone has got to be, from my perspective, someone has got to be at the bottom or else it may not work as well. And I think that what we need to do as black people is try to develop an economic strategy that will lift us from that bottom, which will then give us more power and more control over our lives and over how we are treated in the society.

You know, I’m not a big fan of integration, to be honest with you. I grew up in an all-black town and 50% of the people were self-employed. My father’s father bought his farm. He had been out of slavery maybe 20, 25 years. And then he and his son kept adding onto the land until it got up to around 500 acres. So, we were quite independent. We weren’t marginalized, and we didn’t really have to worry about people respecting us.

I understand your emphasis on creating wealth, but isn’t integration key, though, to eliminating otherness? Like to get people comfortable with the fact that we are all humans?

You know, we all know that. So, why do we have to tell you that? I didn’t feel this way until I left America. Because I had a chance to live in a place where race was not an issue. So, for almost 30 years, I haven’t really in my personal life had to deal with race. So, I was able to step back. Some things are about race. Some things are not about race. And I think if black people don’t do everything through the lens of race, then I think it would be much easier for us to deal with some of these social inequities in our society.

You know, every white person in America, from my perspective, is part of the problem. They know racism is systemic in every arena of America and they benefit from it. I’m not sure people are really willing to give it up. So, this is why I think black people need to start thinking about it differently. I mean, we shouldn’t have to tell people our lives matter. Because for many people, our lives don’t matter to them. And I think that we should decide our lives matter. And this is what we’re going to do to protect our lives on a daily basis. But I think one of the strategies that we have not gone near is looking at what we can do economically because we have a lot of money. We have a lot of money. And we really need to look at how that money is employed in America.

You raised something a moment ago that I want to ask you about — the idea that capitalism needs somebody on the bottom. How do you change that in a world that is driven by profit?

I’m not sure that you change it. I think that you concentrate on how you lessen its impact on you. I don’t see America changing its economic system at all. But, you know, other countries have dealt with this issue. Scandinavian countries tax their people at a 45% rate. So, everybody can have health care, education and enough food, a place to stay. It’s just the American value system, which is solely built on capitalism and nothing else matters.

And it’s not just black people that are marginalized by this capitalism. There are so many poor white people that are marginalized as well. So, getting into the heart and mind, especially the heart of people, of white people, they’re going to have to get into their own hearts because black people are never going to be able to turn that around. It’s been going on since black people have been in America. So, it’s up to white people to get into their own heart and do the right thing.

You said earlier, Mona, how much more Juneteenth means to you than July 4. There is a movement undertaken by a Republican lawmaker from Texas to make it a federal holiday. What do you think about that? I mean, it’s symbolic, is it important to have that?

Well, you know, we have been celebrating Juneteenth probably since slavery on our own without it being a holiday. They can make it a holiday. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me because I’m interested in a much bigger picture than a holiday in terms of change in America. I mean, pass the law that prevents chokeholds. Get rid of the law where cops will have immunity no matter what they do and how they do it. Those are the things that matter to me.

I can continue to celebrate Juneteenth, as I have been, you know, since I started. We cannot think that these little gestures actually are going to give us the results that we need to have happen. They won’t. We’ll just have another holiday.

 

This interview has been condensed and edited.

1.5 billion could lose livelihoods; International students caught in limbo; Ghana’s dancing pallbearers go ‘viral’

1.5 billion could lose livelihoods; International students caught in limbo; Ghana's dancing pallbearers go 'viral'

By
The World staff

A general view of an empty high street in Hemel Hempstead as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Britain March 24, 2020.

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In fight against coronavirus, Ghana uses drones to speed up testing

In fight against coronavirus, Ghana uses drones to speed up testing

Ghana is the first African country to ease its lockdown in response to the coronavirus. The country is using drones to deliver samples collected in more than 1,000 health facilities across the country.

Writer
María Elena Romero

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Lydia Emmanouilidou

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COVID-19 tests samples are being delivered from rural areas of Ghana to testing centers in urban areas using drone technology.

 

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Courtesy of Zipline

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This week, Ghana became the first African country to ease its nearly three-week lockdown against the coronavirus.

While large gatherings are still banned, and schools remain closed, some nonessential businesses were allowed to open in Accra and Kumasi, the two main metropolitan areas in the country. Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said his decision came about after increasing the country’s capacity to fight the pandemic, including aggressive contact tracing and expansion of testing. 

Ghana is using a unique approach to reduce the amount of time it takes to get COVID-19 test samples from remote rural areas to labs: drones. Instead of waiting for days for a batch of samples to be transported by truck, tests from rural areas can be delivered for analysis in less than an hour.

Related: COVID-19: The latest from The World 

The Ministry of Health expanded its partnership with Zipline, an American company that uses drones to deliver medical supplies. Zipline has set up a system to deliver samples collected in more than 1,000 health facilities across the country.

Zipline’s drones are automated, but they’re also being monitored and, when needed, controlled, by humans. On April 17, on Zipline’s first flight, 51 samples were flown from the Omenako drone distribution center to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, 45 miles away, in what could be the first time that drones have been used to deliver COVID-19 test samples. 

The COVID-19 test samples are packed in special red boxes using guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and then placed inside the belly of the drone. The drone is then put on a launcher, and it’s off to its destination for delivery.

Zipline’s drones are automated but they’re also being monitored and, when needed, controlled, by humans.

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Courtesy of Zipline

The delivery is contactless. Once at the testing facility, the drone opens up its belly and drops the box filled with samples using a parachute to ease the landing. A health care worker sprays the box down with disinfectant and takes it inside to be processed. 

For nearly a year, Zipline has been delivering vaccines and medications to hospitals around Ghana. It also operates in Rwanda, where it uses its drones to deliver blood samples.

Wilmot James, a visiting professor at Columbia University who has advised the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on biosecurity, has been following Zipline’s operations for years and says the company has a clean track safety record. But he stressed that biosafety is critical in this kind of work and the fact that there is an inherent risk to these types of operations. 

“In this particular instance, we’re dealing with samples that are pathogenic,” James said. “An Ebola sample is another one; you have to make sure that you have proper protocols around that.”

Zipline says they’ve done that in consultation with experts and WHO. 

Ghana conducted more than 68,000 tests during lockdown, and some18,000 testing samples remain outstanding. The country has only  67 ventilators available in its public hospitals for a population of almost 30 million.

BROCKHAMPTON – QUEER lyrics

[Verse 1: Matt Champion]
Skinny boy, skinny boy, where your muscles at?
Used to walk to work, eight hours, take the bus back
Ain’t no time to stop, ain’t no time for vacation
Y’all all want my spot ’cause you know that I am A1
All these pretty girls, they come runnin’ to our faces
I could do without, I could move without, I could do myself
I get in a rut, I feel depressed, I bang on my chest
I say fuck ’em all ’til I’m dead

[Verse 2: Merlyn Wood]
First off, fuck Dolce & Gabbana
Racist mothersuckers tryna be my pana
Put that on me auntie and me mama
Grab the Ghost then I go right back to Ghana
I came back again, with the platinum
To the continent, I came back again
I came back again, with the platinum
To the continent, I came back again

[Pre-Chorus: Matt Champion & Kevin Abstract]
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (Watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (W-w-watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (Watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (W-w-watch your lip, baby)

[Chorus: Kevin Abstract & Ryan Beatty]
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side

[Verse 3: Dom McLennon]
Got a lot of things to say that I could never finish
Told my mama, “I’ll be back, just gotta kill another mission”
Gimme thirty seconds and I’ll make off with a billion
Every verse a heist for all your underlying feelings
Got canaries on the window, smell like roses on the ceiling
Oh what a–, oh what a–, oh, how appealing
Candy paint revealing all that bullshit you concealing
Fuck what you been hearing, I’m everything they fearing
I’m black and smart and sexy, universally appealing
Genius what I’m dealing, something they ain’t stealing
They prohibited the potents, might give you cirrhosis
Spaceship doing donuts, it’s written I’m the POTUS
I’m focused

[Pre-Chorus: Matt Champion & Kevin Abstract]
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (Watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (W-w-watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (Watch your lip, baby)
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth
Don’t go runnin’ your mouth (W-w-watch your lip, baby)

[Chorus: Kevin Abstract & Ryan Beatty]
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side

[Verse 4: Ameer Vann]
Barre Baby, spilled syrup on my big wheel
You could call me lil nigga with the big crib
My lifestyle still the same, just a face lift
Silly niggas got me running outta patience
My whole life slowly turned into a daydream
I hit the bank with a smile on my face, man
Pretty women always pullin’ at my waistband
Used to get arrested, all I get is checks now

[Chorus: Kevin Abstract & Ryan Beatty]
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side
And Waco is far away, I don’t even mind
As long as you stay right here, right next to my side

Vic Mensa – We Could Be Free

[Intro]
We could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One thing I believe I could learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 1]
One day I dream of telling my momma
"You ain’t gotta work no more"
Same for my father, born in Ghana, down on that dirt road floor
As far as he came I can’t complain, but pain is so subjective
Spend so much time countin’ issues, I forget to count
My blessings
Watch my cousins back at home, getting water out a well
While I watch my brother stacking stone, whippin’ water by the scale
Tryna’ get a mill’ on the other side
They ain’t got a meal, we don’t recognize we in heaven
So we think we live in hell
It’s been getting kinda hard to tell
But

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up at the sky
Asking why I’m alive when the realest niggas died
And my pride won’t let me give up, lord as hard as I try
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One day, I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 2]
I don’t want to wait for the afterlife
I don’t want a vigil by candle light
I don’t want to be the new sacrifice
I don’t want to turn into a poltergeist
Be a ghost at night full of broken dreams
Momma cryin’ at an open casket
Cold as ice in a suit, 3 piece
All dressed up for Sunday masses
Pastor said put faith in God
But faith alone can’t make things right
Who the fuck is you to patronize
Somebody’s son whose daddy died?
Why they flood Baton Rouge?
Why the city singing Alton’s blues?
Why, why, why, why?
I feel like Jadakiss every time I watch the news
What the fuck I got to lose?
So I’m down to bleed if it means things improve
You fools, saying "all lives matter"
But it’s black lives you refuse include
Blocked from the polls
Locked in the hood, trying to stop you from voting and stop you from growing
And cops keep blowing and blowing
Keep black people locked into cotton
They don’t want you to own, but

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up in the sky
Asking why I survived all the days that I could have died
Who am I in my place
To contemplate suicide?
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free, truly
If we’d only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
But I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, you and me
And we could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed, if it means
We’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Outro: Ty Dolla $ign and Vic Mensa]
Love (love)
Love (love)
To love my enemy as my brother
(yeah yeah yeah)
Make my enemy my brother
Woah, oh, oh, oh
Enemy my brother

Vic Mensa – We Could Be Free (On The Late Show) (Live)

[Intro]
We could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One thing I believe I could learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 1]
One day I dream of telling my momma
"You ain’t gotta work no more"
Same for my father, born in Ghana, down on that dirt road floor
As far as he came I can’t complain, but pain is so subjective
Spend so much time countin’ issues, I forget to count
My blessings
Watch my cousins back at home, getting water out a well
While I watch my brother stacking stone, whippin’ water by the scale
Tryna’ get a mill’ on the other side
They ain’t got a meal, we don’t recognize we in heaven
So we think we live in hell
It’s been getting kinda hard to tell
But

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up at the sky
Asking why I’m alive when the realest niggas died
And my pride won’t let me give up, lord as hard as I try
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One day, I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 2]
I don’t want to wait for the afterlife
I don’t want a vigil by candle light
I don’t want to be the new sacrifice
I don’t want to turn into a poltergeist
Be a ghost at night full of broken dreams
Momma cryin’ at an open casket
Cold as ice in a suit, 3 piece
All dressed up for Sunday masses
Pastor said put faith in God
But faith alone can’t make things right
Who the fuck is you to patronize
Somebody’s son whose daddy died?
Why they flood Baton Rouge?
Why the city singing Alton’s blues?
Why, why, why, why?
I feel like Jadakiss every time I watch the news
What the fuck I got to lose?
So I’m down to bleed if it means things improve
You fools, saying "all lives matter"
But it’s black lives you refuse include
Blocked from the polls
Locked in the hood, trying to stop you from voting and stop you from growing
And cops keep blowing and blowing
Keep black people locked into cotton
They don’t want you to own, but

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up in the sky
Asking why I survived all the days that I could have died
Who am I in my place
To contemplate suicide?
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free, truly
If we’d only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
But I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, you and me
And we could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed, if it means
We’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Outro: Ty Dolla $ign and Vic Mensa]
Love (love)
Love (love)
To love my enemy as my brother
(yeah yeah yeah)
Make my enemy my brother
Woah, oh, oh, oh
Enemy my brother

Vic Mensa – We Could Be Free (On BBC Radio 1’s Piano Sessions) (Live)

[Intro]
We could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One thing I believe I could learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 1]
One day I dream of telling my momma
"You ain’t gotta work no more"
Same for my father, born in Ghana, down on that dirt road floor
As far as he came I can’t complain, but pain is so subjective
Spend so much time countin’ issues, I forget to count
My blessings
Watch my cousins back at home, getting water out a well
While I watch my brother stacking stone, whippin’ water by the scale
Tryna’ get a mill’ on the other side
They ain’t got a meal, we don’t recognize we in heaven
So we think we live in hell
It’s been getting kinda hard to tell
But

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up at the sky
Asking why I’m alive when the realest niggas died
And my pride won’t let me give up, lord as hard as I try
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One day, I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 2]
I don’t want to wait for the afterlife
I don’t want a vigil by candle light
I don’t want to be the new sacrifice
I don’t want to turn into a poltergeist
Be a ghost at night full of broken dreams
Momma cryin’ at an open casket
Cold as ice in a suit, 3 piece
All dressed up for Sunday masses
Pastor said put faith in God
But faith alone can’t make things right
Who the fuck is you to patronize
Somebody’s son whose daddy died?
Why they flood Baton Rouge?
Why the city singing Alton’s blues?
Why, why, why, why?
I feel like Jadakiss every time I watch the news
What the fuck I got to lose?
So I’m down to bleed if it means things improve
You fools, saying "all lives matter"
But it’s black lives you refuse include
Blocked from the polls
Locked in the hood, trying to stop you from voting and stop you from growing
And cops keep blowing and blowing
Keep black people locked into cotton
They don’t want you to own, but

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up in the sky
Asking why I survived all the days that I could have died
Who am I in my place
To contemplate suicide?
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free, truly
If we’d only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
But I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, you and me
And we could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed, if it means
We’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Outro: Ty Dolla $ign and Vic Mensa]
Love (love)
Love (love)
To love my enemy as my brother
(yeah yeah yeah)
Make my enemy my brother
Woah, oh, oh, oh
Enemy my brother

Swamp – Brockhampton lyrics

Lyrics Brockhampton – Swamp

I could be here all day. You’re gonna tell me what I need to know. You’re gonna tell me. Are you gonna tell me? Come on, spit it out
Me Ilamo Roberto y este es el camino al éxito.(swamp)

F*cking commas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
F*cking dollas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?.

My daddy taught me how to sell dope, turn grams into elbows
Light it up when the L rolled, black man used to kick doors
Window bullets in the guns though, niggas still never argue
Raid the house like the task force, me and my niggas like drug dogs
Find the dope and we take off, f**k my girl with my chain on
b*tch, you tatted my name on it, yellow stone I was raised on it
Activis in my baby bottle, baby stroller was an Impala
Niggas like to talk down on me, when I see ’em I don’t hear about it.

F*cking commas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
F*cking dollas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?.

Never would’ve have met my friends if not for satellites
Yeah I’ll cuff her even if she do not suck me right
Always planned to be a rapper when I failed at life
Luckily professor failed me at the proper time
Chh-chh, chh, I say please all the time, b*tch
Chh-chh, chh, I like white collar crime, b*tch
Chh-chh, chh, money digital broke and
Chh-chh, chh, Ghana prince in your messages.

My daddy hate me for leavin’ then lets go crazy together
When I tell ya all the things that I’m thinking so that we could get better
But you wanna put my heart on the stretcher
I don’t got insurance for this pressure
Wanna find the benefits, I can’t measure
Try not to run out on my temper
I can see the ash and the ember
That was made from emotional texture
I don’t know why I took this endeavor
Non-identified with our presence
Non-identified we’ll surrender
All of my old friends fair-weather
Gotta treat my heart like a treasure, ’cause all I know is no one else will.

F*cking commas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
F*cking dollas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?.

You do not know me
Don’t speak of my homies
You are a phony
Versuri-lyrics.info
Quit pinning s**t on me
You gon’ bring out the old me
You don’t wanna know what I wanna do when y’all talk down on my name
I don’t wanna see you in the street ’cause I might catch a case
People smile when they face to face (woo, woo, woo!)
Then turn their back and switch up words you say (ah, ah, ah!)
Running to the papers everyday (woo, woo, woo!)
I’m running to the paper anyway (ah, ah, ah!)(swamp)

F*cking commas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
F*cking dollas up from the outside, from the outside, from the outside
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?
They been talkin’ down on me, (huh) what ya say?.
Downnn.(swamp)
Brockhamton lyrics
Video Brockhampton

Vic Mensa – We Could Be Free (At Vevo) (Live)

[Intro]
We could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One thing I believe I could learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 1]
One day I dream of telling my momma
"You ain’t gotta work no more"
Same for my father, born in Ghana, down on that dirt road floor
As far as he came I can’t complain, but pain is so subjective
Spend so much time countin’ issues, I forget to count
My blessings
Watch my cousins back at home, getting water out a well
While I watch my brother stacking stone, whippin’ water by the scale
Tryna’ get a mill’ on the other side
They ain’t got a meal, we don’t recognize we in heaven
So we think we live in hell
It’s been getting kinda hard to tell
But

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up at the sky
Asking why I’m alive when the realest niggas died
And my pride won’t let me give up, lord as hard as I try
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free
If we only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
One day, I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, truly
And love could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed
If it means, we’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Verse 2]
I don’t want to wait for the afterlife
I don’t want a vigil by candle light
I don’t want to be the new sacrifice
I don’t want to turn into a poltergeist
Be a ghost at night full of broken dreams
Momma cryin’ at an open casket
Cold as ice in a suit, 3 piece
All dressed up for Sunday masses
Pastor said put faith in God
But faith alone can’t make things right
Who the fuck is you to patronize
Somebody’s son whose daddy died?
Why they flood Baton Rouge?
Why the city singing Alton’s blues?
Why, why, why, why?
I feel like Jadakiss every time I watch the news
What the fuck I got to lose?
So I’m down to bleed if it means things improve
You fools, saying "all lives matter"
But it’s black lives you refuse include
Blocked from the polls
Locked in the hood, trying to stop you from voting and stop you from growing
And cops keep blowing and blowing
Keep black people locked into cotton
They don’t want you to own, but

[Bridge]
Sometimes I wake up and I look up in the sky
Asking why I survived all the days that I could have died
Who am I in my place
To contemplate suicide?
In those times I try to remember

[Hook]
That we could be free, truly
If we’d only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other
But I believe I’d learn
To see my enemy as my brother
Then we could be free, you and me
And we could wash away our sorrows
I’m not afraid to bleed, if it means
We’ll make them better today not tomorrow

[Outro: Ty Dolla $ign and Vic Mensa]
Love (love)
Love (love)
To love my enemy as my brother
(yeah yeah yeah)
Make my enemy my brother
Woah, oh, oh, oh
Enemy my brother

Wizkid – African Bad Gyal (feat. Chris Brown) (Sounds From The Other Side Album)

Yeah, StarBoy
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Let me hear you say, yeah, yeah
Sarz on the beat
Yaga
Them no born me yesterday
Every gyal, want designer
Them no born me yesterday
I know say your love will cost me something
Girl you dey do me something something
Ee dey do me like you gonna
I see the fire, bring the rice
Burnin’ like a cigarette
Baby girl are you from Ghana?
Or you coming from Somalia?
Ah you coming from Uganda?
Or you’re coming from Nigeria?
African bad gyal
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are
Feeling the dancing, gan
Sarz on the beat, gan
Feeling the dancing, gan
Starboy kill the beat, yeah, ayy
Them no born me yesterday
Be a freaky girl and whine up
I put my hand up on the waist
Baby girl, you are the one, oh
Ooh, baby, you you got something
Gimme, gimme all of your love, I want it
Baby girl, stop with all the fronting
The way you dance, I know you want this
Baby girl, you from Angola
Sister from South Africa
Pretty girl, I wanna hold ya
Shout out to my ladies in Nigeria
African bad girl
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are
Feeling the dancing, gan
Sarz on the beat, gan, yeah, yeah
Feeling the dancing, gan, yeah, yeah
Star Boy kill the beat, yeah, ayy
Say, if you like Galala, make you dance
Say if you like Konto, make you dance
Say if you like this or if you like that
Say you like bouncin’, make you bounce
Say, if you like galala, make you dance
Say if you like Konto, make you dance
Say if you like this or if you like that
Say you like bouncin’, make you bounce
I love the things you do to me, I feel alright
I love the feeling, that I feel, I’m feelin’ nice
I love the things you do to me, I feel alright
You give me life, you give me life, you give me life
See, baby gyal, please, baby gyal jo fun mi
Omoge jo fun mi
Wit’ your sexy body, yeah, wit’ your sexy body
Baby gyal, please, baby gyal jo fun mi
Omoge jo fun mi
Wit’ your sexy body, yeah, wit’ your sexy body
African bad gyal
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are
Feeling the dancing gan, yeah, yeah
Sarz on the beat gan, yeah, yeah
Feeling the dancing gan, yeah
Star Boy kill the beat, yeah, ay
Yeah

African bad gyal – Wizkid feat. Chris Brown lyrics

Lyrics Wizkid – African bad gyal

Them no born me yesterday
Evrey gyal, want designer
Them no born me yesterday
I know say your love will cost me something
Girl you dey do me something something
Ee dey do me like igbana
I see the fire, bring the rice
Burnin’ like a cigarette
Baby girl are you from Ghana?
Or you coming from Somalia?
Ah you coming from Uganda?
Or you’re coming from Nigeria?(african bad gyal)

African bad gyal
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are.

Feeling the dancing, gan
Sarz on the beat, gan
Feeling the dancing, gan
Starboy kill the beat, yeah, ayyy.

Them no born me yesterday
Be a freaky girl and whine up
I put my hand up on the waist
Baby girl, you are the one, oh
Oooh, baby, you you got something
Gimme, gimme all of your love, I want it
Baby girl, stop with all the fronting
The way you dance, I know you want this
Baby girl, you from Angola
Sister from South Africa
Pretty girl, I wanna hold ya
Shout out to my ladies in Nigeria.

African bad girl
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are.

Feeling the dancing, gan
Sarz on the beat, gan
Feeling the dancing, gan
Star Boy kill the beat, yeah, ayy.

Say, if you like Galala, make you dance
Say if you like Konto, make you dance
Say if you like this or if you like that
Say you like bouncin’, make you bounce
Say, if you like galala, make you dance
Say if you like Konto, make you dance
Say if you like this or if you like that
Say you like bouncin’, make you bounce.

I love the things you do to me, I feel alright
I love the feeling, that I feel, I’m feelin’ nice
I love the things you do to me, I feel alright
You give me life, you give me life, you give me life
See, baby gyal, please, baby gyal jo fun mi
Omoge jo fun mi versuri-lyrics.info
Wit’ your sexy body, yeah, wit’ your sexy body
Baby gyal, please, baby gyal jo fun mi
Omoge jo fun mi
Wit’ your sexy body, yeah, wit’ your sexy body.

African bad girl
Baby, don’t change your style
Girl, I love you the way you are
The way you are.

Feeling the dancing gan, yeah, yeah
Sarz on the beat gan, yeah, yeah
Feeling the dancing gan, yeah
Star Boy kill the beat, yeah, ayyy.
Wizkid lyrics
Video gyal

Eno – Fuchs (Xalaz Album)

[Part 1: Eno]
Du willst ein Foto, aber ich finde dein face gay
Du willst Haze, aber kriegst Stanni mit Hazespray
Du willst Benz fahren, ach mach mal langsam
Eno ist der King im Revier wie ein Aslan
Das ist erst der Anfang, druff auf black Afghan
Unsere Völker sind die, die Steine werfen auf Panzer
Sei froh, dass du ein Stück Brot frisst, wozu
Soll ich Angst haben, wenn es den Tod gibt?
Absinken, Wellritzstraße in der Einfahrt
Grüße, alle meine Jungs aus der Heimat
Sippis, die auf krass machen wollen
Sind auf einmal leise, wenn sie meine Hand küssen sollen
Große Fressen, aber leider nichts dahinter
Schieben, krassere Filme als Inder
Biri min, ich bin da, zeig mir die Pisser
Erst, fliegen Jabs und danach fliegen schwinger

[Hook: Eno]
Freitagsgebet, erste Reihe masha allah
Doch ein paar Stunden später siehst du, wie er Hash ballert
Fuchs Bruder, ich hab’ Augen überall
Der Teufel in mir flüstert: „Es ist Zeit für ein’n Überfall!“

[Bridge: Eno]
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi

[Part 2: Eno]
Sitze, mit der Shisha, auf dem Balkon
Und träume von einem Koenigsegg in Carbon
Ich bin ganz unten, doch komme bald Hoch
Und hinterlasse Kunstwerke, so wie Van Gogh
Ich peitsch’ dich, mit der Gucci-Gürtelschnalle
Ein, Fuchsbrudi tappt nicht zweimal in die selbe Falle
Muck auf, markier ruhig den Held, was Rücken?
Ich vertrau nur mir selbst
Komme mit Kurdis oder Reshos aus Ghana
Bei Beef, verschwindest du wie Menschen in Tijuana
Bist drauf auf Ijuana
Ich hau’ dir deine Zähne raus
Platz eins Brudi, so sehen meine Pläne aus
Drogen ticken ist die Thematik der Deutschrapper
Bei dir läuft, aber Brate bei mir läuft besser
Ich geh’ auf die Straße, um Patte zu verdien’n
Du gehst auf die Straße, um Pokemon zu spielen

[Hook: Eno]
Freitagsgebet, erste Reihe masha allah
Doch ein paar Stunden später siehst du, wie er Hash ballert
Fuchs Bruder, ich hab’ Augen überall
Der Teufel in mir flüstert: „Es ist Zeit für ein’n Überfall!“

[Bridge: Eno]
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi
Fuchsbrudi, Fuchsbrudi, 183 bin ein Fuchsbrudi

Tech N9ne – No Runnin To Ya Mama (The Storm Deluxe Edition Album)

Yeah, you must be throw’d
You gon’ make them thangs come up out that load
You ain’t built like that but you talk so cold
Yeah, we know

Hurts now, purps found cause a nigga squirt rounds
Acting like ya wore a purse on turf grounds
Like how his homies didn’t tell him to pull his skirt down
Now look at’cha
Loud mouth we found a round to match ya
Bound to smack ya, not a ground to catch ya
Cause you frowned at the hounds and you found disaster
He talking hella shady
How I get it on the daily
They jelly bout my gravy but they crazy cause they think I won’t be banging like the 80s
Your homie was a movie
So we [?] him with the tooly
Got his family sick and woozy giving him the finger [?] and Joe Cooley
They hot around the collar
Cause I got a lot of shotters
So don’t nobody bother, if they try to then we stoppin’ they medulla oblongata
So be careful when you saucing
You could end up in the coffin
You better take precaution when you see real niggas crossing, shut the fuck up when we talking
If you get my killers heated
You’ll be curled up like a fetus
All them words, you’re gonna eat it
Every fist and all the feet is never ceasing when you pleaded
So I think you better comma
Or get lit up with the llama
KC all the way to Ghana, when you grown and start the drama, ain’t no running to yo mama, nigga

x2
No running to yo mama
When you caught up in the drama
No running to yo mama when you caught up in the drama cause you did nobody honor

We the boss players
In this, industry and not SEGA
Nigga we are stop haters
We take ’em to the end and then it’s viva las vegas
If you tripping, y’all nuts
Cause we sick and all bust
So get the motherfucking pineapple, the rum and the coconut and mix it all up
We coming from the ghetto
And we keep the heavy metal
So you suckers better settle cause we turn a wolf and devil to a woman in stilettos
Cause they didn’t really want it
They was only in the moment
Hella talking, never on it
Had they’re chance and now they blown it cause the king was their opponent
He bit the hand that fed him
Run you over if you let him
All the homies wanna get him, heard the words when he said them now I know that he regret them
Cause we be getting money
And he be looking bummy
So keep the coward from me, when you see me don’t be chummy
Muh’fucking dumby
I know you can’t stand me
But you know that we go hammy
Have you sleeping like a xanny, hit them with a super whammy when I cut them from the family
We in every nook and cranny
Hit you when you’re in your jammies, when you’re in your manny panties
See me and my brother Sammy, ain’t no yelling for your granny and no running to your mammy nigga

x2
No running to yo mama
When you caught up in the drama
No running to yo mama when you caught up in the drama cause you did nobody honor

Bonez MC & RAF Camora – Ohne mein Team (English Translation) Lyrics

[Bridge: Bonez MC]
In a group of six in the Mercedes, because all guys have to come along
A little bit of champagne for the girls and a fuck as a result
No law, no rules – let’s make bucks
Because it’s a good life like that – but never without my team

[Verse 1: RAF Camora]
I close the door of the apartment, when the party is complete
Monika, Sarah, Belinda from Instagram on my guest list
Menthol in the cigarette, soda in the drink
A chick wants that I sing “So lala” for her
She want’s me intimate
I don’t cooperate without my team
The sun shines through the curtain
Skin color: Ovolmaltine
Cocaine in the booth two by two
Death has distributed the death papers
Today, all my arabs are latinos
„Chica, ¿qué pasa?“; the boys are amigos
She passes the joint, let’s the homies hit it
Smoking – never without my team

[Hook]
Never without – without my team, never without – without my team
Hamburg, Berlin, West Vienna – never without – without my team
Never without – without my team, never without – without my team
Hamburg, Berlin, West Vienna – never without – without my team

[Post-Chorus: RAF Camora & Bonez MC]
Pop, pop – not at twelve o’clock, but at one o’clock is okay
One yalan, two yalan – at one o’clock is okay
A glass of Yamazaki – not at twelve, but at one o’clock is okay
A party everyday

[Part 2: Maxwell]
Don’t enter the stage, not without my team
Nobody takes our philosophy from us
Everything numb – lidocaine
Don’t ask, how much money I make out of a kilo
One chick to the left, one chick to the right
See you at the Echo – guest list of Maxwell
Bring me the rum, a case of the best one
Don’t need a hotel, baby, fuck backstage
What happens today will be suppressed tomorrow
Let the sun burn me at the beach
They bring the cops, I bring the gang
When it comes to violence, we are too consequent
All people from Ghana are Brazilians today
Prince Boateng from the Copacabana
Next level coma, the drugs are clean
All of them want to serve me topless, but never without my team!

[Hook]
Never without – without my team, never without – without my team
Hamburg, Berlin, West Vienna – never without – without my team
Never without – without my team, never without – without my team
Hamburg, Berlin, West Vienna – never without – without my team

[Post-Chorus: RAF Camora & Bonez MC]
Pop, pop – not at twelve o’clock, but at one o’clock is okay
One yalan, two yalan – at one o’clock is okay
A glass of Yamazaki – not at twelve, but at one o’clock is okay
A party everyday

[Bridge: Bonez MC]
In a group of six in the Mercedes, because all guys have to come along
A little bit of champagne for the girls and a fuck as a result
No law, no rules – let’s make bucks
Because it’s a good life like that – but never without my team

[Post-Chorus: RAF Camora & Bonez MC]
Pop, pop – not at twelve o’clock, but at one o’clock is okay
One yalan, two yalan – at one o’clock is okay
A glass of Yamazaki – not at twelve, but at one o’clock is okay
A party everyday

[Outro]
Hey, hey, hey, hey; hey, hey, he-e-ey
Hey, hey, hey, hey; hey, hey, he-e-ey
Hey, hey, hey, hey; hey, hey, he-e-ey
Hey, hey, hey, hey; hey, hey, he-e-ey