Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oyinbo in Accra

One other palpable difference between Ghana and Nigeria is the body language of whites. White people in Accra look relaxed, they saunter about, they take public transport without a moment's thought. They resemble holiday makers anywhere in the world: at ease with the world, strolling and wandering here and there. In Nigeria (especially Lagos), the atmosphere is thick with worry: white people are quick to dash into cars from car park to car park, their movements are circumspect, there is an air of anxiety. Of course, Ghana earns massively more from tourism than Nigeria and has a much better developed tourism infrastructure, with far better quality resorts along the coastal route. One underlying difference is that armed robbery is a rarity in Ghana - although people are poorer and the economy much weaker (when one arrives in Accra, one becomes a Cedi millionaire instantly), Ghanaians are for some reason more at ease with themselves as a people. Cocoa is nothing like the curse of oil.


culturalmiscellany 7:10 pm  

Very interesting. I think it may depend on where you are in Accra as there are some areas where you become VERY cautious as a white person, speaking from experience of getting into so very dodgy situations. Whilst there are some nice areas of Ghana and Accra there are also some very bad areas, worse than I saw in Nigeria but maybe Lagos will change that for me when I visit?!

Anonymous,  11:08 pm  

You think oil is a curse? Nay, my pasty friend, Ghana would probably do better with Nigeria's oil than Nigerians have with theirs.

Anonymous,  11:17 am  

Ghana is a lot more open to international expats/development workers. Naturally then, whites will feel a lot more welcome in that environment bcuz they are seen as "Ghana-helpers."

Anonymous,  1:05 pm  

I think the comparison is between one city capital and another, case in question Lagos and Accra. I am sure that white missionaries in Osogbo would hapily go around on buses but they wouldn't dream of doing same in Lagos or Abuja. Needless to say there are areas in any city that are notoriously dangerous, but generally, Accra, a city capital is safe and easy to roam through compared to Lagos.

Atala Wala Wala 2:11 pm  


You say:

"...although people are poorer and the economy much weaker (when one arrives in Accra, one becomes a Cedi millionaire instantly)"

This isn't right. Certainly, the rate of depreciation of the currency is an indication of the strength/weakness of an economy, but the rate itself isn't that important. Else, should we say a country like Japan has a weaker economy than Russia's?

To judge the strength of an economy, I'd look at things like how fast the economy was growing, how diversified it was it's GDP and how good its infrastructure was. I think Ghana rates higher than Nigeria in all these areas.

Anonymous,  5:30 pm  

you'de be wrong. Ghana's per capita income is higher, but its rate of growth is slower than nigeria's (5.9% to nigeria's 6.9%) and is not more diversified. considering the bulk of it's budget comes from aid, while in nigeria it comes from oil, i'd say nigeria's economy is stronger.

Anonymous,  4:47 pm  

When I visted Accra, I was shocked to see homes with low fences.....nothing like the tall, iron gates surrounded with barbed wire like in Nigeria. And tourists really are tourists in're so right. It was a pleasure to turn up at the airport, and send my mom off too her hotel complete with a booked chauffeur from the hotel and not having to worry while I went off gallivanting with my friends. Nor did my mom have to worry about my safety.

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