As Greece struggles to remain in the Eurozone; what lessons can Ghana take?

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Sunday through into Monday morning, Euro zone officials sat down for seventeen (17 hours), to demand measures necessary for Greece’s request for over 96,billion bailout; mind you, this is after two bailouts already, totaling 266billion. On Monday, an agreement had been reached for a third bailout. Albeit with some heavy conditions!

Greece has to put down some heavy assets that may me sold if it doesn’t honor its part of the deal in the end. Massive reforms are demanded and some tough legislation has to be passed in 3 days, and then negotiations on the loans will begin. In the lead up to the agreement, the talk was heavy on deeper austerity measures. Greece has a tough road ahead to get this through its legislature, and there is talk that there will be reshuffles as the government struggles to find consensus; as already, the government has faced tough opposition within its own party and had to previously fall on the opposition for votes. Such are the demands being made by the Eurozone, that some feel it has inbuilt failure.

Others floated around the possibilities of Greece’s exit from the union, in fact, Greece itself played with this idea up to a point. Many in the Zone, including private persons I engaged with, seemed to be exasperated at Greece and actually would prefer it. Even though Germany says it was never an option, this was used as a threat. In the end, as a French minister put it ‘it is Europe that won.’ Throughout the negotiations, the one phrase bandied around was ‘the lack of trust’ the most important currency did not take a seat at the table! It had been murdered on its way to the negotiation table.

I’d like to look at some of the actions that brought Greece to this point and juxtapose it against the situation my country finds itself.

In the lead up to the downturn, Greece had engaged in what some call a ‘credit binge’, the country had borrowed money it didn’t have and spent it on plush jobs for political supporters from the two major political parties. Anyone who knows the basic principles of business knows that spending more than one makes is a sure path to disaster. Off course, borrowing money to reinvest in activities that generate income is a good thing, but borrowing money to pay salaries, etc. is not sustainable!

As we speak, the Ghana government is the largest borrower from banks in the country. Leading to the point of ‘lazy banks’ starving out the private sector, preferring to put their money in the security of treasury bills. The country’s deficit skyrockets by the day, presently at about 9%, as we continuously look for new ways to borrow. In the past couple of years, our credit rating has actually dropped, leading to higher interest rates on the international money market.

One may question what exactly the borrowed money is used for? The payment of salaries to the public sector takes a huge chunk. Some of that money surely goes to sustaining political activity, a heavy chunk goes in between the cracks, but most importantly, we are borrowing and spending way more than we make. When deficits are extremely high, and economic activity is not the focus of expenditure, trouble looms ahead and it may not be a pretty fall, as Greece is finding out!

In the lead up to its crisis, Greece became a very expensive place to do business. Not too long ago in the past, Ghana was spoken of as the gateway to Africa. This phrase has long died on the lips of politicians. Coupled with high inflation rates, the weak currency, power crises, high cost of money, poor infrastructure, doing business in the country has become quite the task. Not surprisingly, businesses are bypassing the gateway and jumping over walls to enter other countries. Internally, businesses have been cutting down on hands and there has been quite a bit of employees’ unrest, a minor symptom of a problem that is unfolding. Within all of this mess, unemployment rates exceed 60%. This may correlate somewhat directly with the rise in crime, ultimately making Ghana an even un-safer place to do business.

Tax nightmares were a major factor in Greece’s problems. The tax net in Ghana is very small. What this means is that a few companies are over burdened and over taxed, whiles the majority of businesses are totally out of the net. Sustainable measures to broaden the net are not obvious. What is obvious, is an over taxation of the few within the net. Companies that are already struggling to stay afloat. The majority of small-scale businesses and even some medium businesses are both unbanked and untaxed.

And oh, let me just say that corruption is not just the case of Ghana or other African countries! Interesting that a country deep in the Eurozone such as Greece, had such high corruption levels. We could certainly learn a thing or two from them.

As the Eurozone struggles to keep Greece afloat, Ghana has again gone to the IMF for help. First of all, unlike Greece that exists in a union that sees the common interest of keeping the one country afloat to help the collective, we are completely alone, at the mercy of an agency that has very little to loose quite frankly, if it all goes wrong.

We have already began to feel some of the measures that will have to be put in place to activate our bailout, but most importantly, how committed are we to get ourselves out of the conditions that got us here in the first place. The recent election in ‘Talensi’ and the alleged use of money (money that we don’t have), to motivate voting, reeks of our poor resolve and a lack of recognition of the depth of the hole we have dug ourselves into.

It is not really about one party or about a change of government really, if the resolve is not national. As Greece teeters on making history, whether it stays within or exits the Eurozone and what may follow, its many lessons are out there for us to potentially learn from. Unlike the urgency that characterizes attempts to lift itself out of this doldrums; in many ways, it is business as usual in Ghana. What will it take for African countries and its leaders to become more responsible to its people?

Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante

Is Pan-African filmmaking a way forward?

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So, I woke up to an argument on twitter as to whether @silverrainmovie is Nigerian or Ghanaian? A Ghanaian is concerned that Nigerians are describing it as ‘Nollywood’- we want to say that ‪#‎SilveRain‬ is ‪#‎PanAfrican‬ it is cast from 5 countries and shot in 2 with crew from 2 countries. At great expense, but to push forward the belief that we are better off working together. Film is a great initiator of this concept that seems to elude us… To be having this conversation in the first place and to have one of our nominees for AMMA come from SouthAfrica @chumaniPan, is therefore already a win for us. Ghanaians started it off Course and so for that, we take the credit! What are your thoughts? We would love to hear it…

Don’t lower the bar!

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This is why I supported and made time to be at the vigil yesterday, albeit for a very short while. We must understand that as a people, the future of our nation is in our hands. The responsibility we have, is not just to self, but to generations unborn. I respect my leaders and expect that they have the capacity to make my country better, which is why I voted and which is why I expect better from them. I would keep quite if I did not think them of any worth to bother about; but then if we think of our leaders of no worth and lower the bar and expectation, what does that say about us as a people.


I must commend the organizers. Leadership is about motivating people to take action that potentially benefits them, and that is what you did! And you did this in some strenuous circumstances, perhaps to your own discomfort and people seeking to sacrifice you on the alter of self low esteem and expectation!


I will not lower the bar for myself. I expect my leader to be my mentor, guard and to make this country better. A country of only 25million. A country of SMART people who make it happen despite the odds. We can do better. Generations before fought before us, don’t drop the mantle for your kids…

Starting all over… why I resist it

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There are many times when I have come to that crossroad in life, that very painful crossroad, where I had no option, but the option of jumping into the blissful abyss of self pitying and doubt because I have failed monumentally; or simply just start all over again.

I just had the most surreal week, when the book I am presently working on vanished from my computer. I am working on turning the script of silver Rain, the drama I wrote and Directed into a novel. The process is called novelization. In many ways, I went into this project very inspired. The film has been received very well and appreciated and the opportunity to flesh out the characters that were bubbling for bigger self-expressions in my head, was too tempting to resist. Very quickly, the chapters rolled by.

You can therefore imagine my state when through some weird follow up events. I lost the entire file I was working on. Followed was a desperate week aimed at trying to retrieve my files… the very thought of loosing the document sent cold sweat down my armpit. I felt the taste of bile pungent in my throat

Many times in my life, I have come to that point where I was in similar devastating circumstances. Whether it was the loosing of a loved one, divorce, a collapse of a friendship, the failure of a business, the betrayal of an employee or someone you trust, the breakdown of a love affair… the list goes on

It is a place of extreme confusion and resistance; Sometimes acute denial. How do you start all over when at your lowest point. What will people say? The fear of what lays back there, the sheer uncertainty of going back, the heavy sense of the weight and taking it all up again. The sense of uselessness. You might actually go numb at the thought. The fear, most of all, the fear…

I never found the file. No one wants to start all over, but sometimes…. You just have to.

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Enjoy FREE African movies and cartoons directly on your phone 24/7. Download App now

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News Flash! Movies are FREE! Download the Mobilefliks App on the Play store and Viòla, enjoy FREE movies! Cartoons and Great short movies. Mobilefliks are short movies made for your phone to enjoy on the go! 24/7. You will love it! you may follow this link https://play.google.com/store/search?q=mobilefliks&hl=en

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Do men make better friends than women?

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This is a subject I have flirted with for decades. Growing up, I was considered a tomboy who enjoyed the company of my male friends more than my female friends. Somehow, this has translated into me having more genuine male friends as an adult than females. The thought therefore tickles my mind often as to whether I am simply more of a ‘man’s woman than a woman’s woman’ as they say, or is there something rather interesting going on around me.

The goose came home to roost when one of my male friends made an offer to me. ‘Juliet, I’d like to have a party for you and 15 of your female friends.’ My mind raced and I gave a big laugh to cover up my unease. Sure, I had many acquaintances and casual ‘friends’, but when it comes to ‘FRIENDS’ I realized I couldn’t count more than 10 female friends at the most! At my age, that is pretty scary.

In contrast, I have tons of male friends I call great friends. Another thing, I have a far greater time with my male friends. A few things stick out to me; men make it a point to meet and hang out pretty regularly. They meet to simply have fun and walk away with no obligations or commitments. They don’t feel that they have to be emotionally available to each other. This simple element can make the friendship more attractive. They check up on each other regularly. They tease each other, and most importantly, they help and mentor each other. Not too long ago, I was back at school at Harvard Kennedy and I noticed quite a bit of the same phenomenon.

Casting my mind around, I tried to fish into the lives of the older women I know, starting with my mother, as perchance, this was something peculiar to me. A conversation ensued with many of these women that centered on the negative barriers that female friendships invariably encounter. Women it seems, form friendships way faster than men, but drop off just as quickly.

This is contradictory to the general thinking in the space. A couple of years ago, I was at ‘Omega’ Up-State New York. Interestingly, the theme of the conference centered on the great female bond, as opposed to the desert of male friendships.

Why was I experiencing this contradiction? I am involved with many female empowerments and mentoring opportunities and the point has come up very strongly that ‘women’ are our own enemies. When it comes down to mentoring for instance, women are entering the game very late. Men have always helped men move up the corporate ladder, looking for mentees or someone to take over from them. Women on the other hand, protect their turf very fiercely.

Friendships need to be nurtured. Family obligations become the first limitation to good friendships unfortunately, instead of it remaining an opportunity for connection. MEN USE FAMILY OBLIGATIONS, FRUSTRATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT AND WOMEN USE IT AS A PATH TO ISOLATION. Married women cut off from their unmarried female friends, and then, she is too busy with the husband and kids to invest in nurturing friendships with her married friends. It very quickly from there disintegrates into a game of ‘keeping up appearances!’

There is off course, many would argue, the question of safety in keeping male friendships as a woman; many men do find the concept of a platonic relationship with a woman challenging. Invariable he may attempt to compromise the friendship. His life partner may also not be particularly open to the idea. This applies to women equally. Insecurities can create havoc for true friendships across the divide.

There are many aspects to this discussion that I could delve into, but I’d love to hear your delving. I am afraid I will grow old without many female friends! I am still looking for 10 female friends I want to have this party with…

Africa seems to be developing, but its only on the surface!

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‘Never underestimate the power of stupid people in Large crowds!’#SouthAfrica on my mind. Some of my greatest friends in the world are South Africans! and they are great people! We shot @Silverrainmovie partly in SA and it was an awesome experience. We worked with great human beings like @Chumani Pan, who plays ‘mark’ an awesome talent; we did this with the strong belief that Africans need each other and that we need to begin to explore what unites us #panafricanism!

I will support the call to boycott all South African products simply because we have to show our brothers and sisters that we need each other and also help give strength to the momentum of the majority! The silent majority South Africans who are dying inside because of this senseless act and who will suffer for it for decades!

As a continent, we move 1 step forward and 10 steps back! This situation represents many African situations, make no mistake. We seem to be developing on the surface, but we all have deep issues below our surface that we need to pay attention to! Implosions forces us to look at them sometimes…