Volume 2, Issue 2 April 1, 2009 The African Renaissance Movement Presents: The ARM Pinnacle Keep Your Minds Always Ticking ...IT Entrepreneur Urges Ashesi Students • News • Interviews or about twenty Award’ from the Texas State Excellence Awards for IT in years now, the Alumni Association and 2005 (nominated in 2000). • Features introduction of Texas State University- San His visit was in response to • Politics information Marcos, USA. a man who, in an invitation from the Entre- technology (IT) firms in preneur’s Club to speak • Africa Ghana has helped catalyst about his life and business in the growth and market Ghana. • Views share of many business • Ashesi activates. An evident and During his talk, the modest- current example is the sounding entrepreneur ex- automation of the Ghana plained that after studying Stock Exchange which manufacturing and working happened in June 2008 a bit for a car dealership in the USA, where he acquired and has made the finan- his marketing skills, and cial market of Ghana working a bit in the UK in a more efficient than ever. computer-related field, he On the eve of 21st March partnership with Joe Jack- came to Ghana with just 2009, Ashesi’s grounds were son, gave birth to one of the about a thousand dollars in graced by the presence of largest software companies his pouch to look for Hermann Chinery-Hesse, the in Ghana and possibly West ‘greener pastures’. Yes, very only African recipient of the Africa, Soft Tribe, the firm ironic! But he explicated that ‘Distinguished Alumnus that won The Millennium against the wishes of his Inside this issue:Ogya’s Corner 2 EditorialFaculty Focus: 3Nathan Amanquah Another semester is here, and able to transform seemingly Ashesi is what you make it. as sad as it is that we will be mundane activities into loadsThe Art of Voluntarism 5 I’d like to say a big thank you saying goodbye to the Class of of fun every day of this week to all members of the Pinna- 2009, we are grateful for how is truly something to behold,Great Expectations... 6 cle team who contributed in far each of us has come. and it is for this reason I look immeasurable ways to make forward to ASC week each It’s ASC week. This week, we this issue a possibility. HappyThe Global Economic 8 year. Do enjoy the week’sRecession: An ARM celebrate Ashesi in a different ASC week to you all, and staymember’s Perspective activities and remember to way each day. How we are blessed. play an active role since life at
The ARM Pinnacle Ogya’s Corner Law enforcement and secu- call the ‘little foxes’ – issues that centralized system, we will make rity in our society is of prime seem minor and yet carry more life a lot easier. Once again, the importance. We need a serious weight than we realize. Fixing the fundamental issue of over- overhaul of our law enforce- little foxes tackles surface prob- centralization of functions and ment apparatus – a transfor- lems that cut across sectors and power must be addressed.This is the concluding part of Dr. mation of our police ‘force’ segments of our lives, and theyEsi Ansah’s article from the last into a police ‘service.’ A serve as evidence of deeper, funda- When conducting research inissue. You can read more from Dr mental re-orientation is mental problems that need to beAnsah at: Ghana recently, it was very strik-http://ogyakrom.blogspot.com/ needed, proper recruiting fixed. Sometimes the way to put ing, that we barely have signs and training of our officers, out the fire is to first find out where around that tell us what to do. Go a heavy dose of socializa- the smoke is coming from. As we to public agencies, and you’re tion and education about their roles find the smoke, make our way tossed from one office to the in our society, their civic duties etc through it, then we can find the other without understanding the is crucial, and I can’t possibly say it source of the fire. The little things process and what’s going on. enough. Of course, as we need to do that will improve life while we There are no signs to tell you with the teachers, we need to take tackle the deeper issues have to do what documents you must have, better care of our service men and with things such as signage, liter- what the procedure is, how much women and focus on getting them acy, our addressing system, record it will cost you, etc etc., and these to understand the philosophical keeping/management, and gener- are the loose nuts and bolts that foundations and reasons for their ally, how we do things. I’d label cause the system to fall apart existence. They’re supposed to this a rationalization campaign. because people take advantage of make our nation a prime/choice Max Weber, a German sociologist them and exploit the system. If place for us to live in. If I’m in any came up with this term to refer to the prices for services are fixed difficulty, feel threatened etc, my how a system is standardized, de- and made publicly visible, then I first option must be to find a ser- personalized etc. I won’t go into do not have to pay the ‘kalabule’ viceperson, and they must be that whole ‘doctrine’, but I would price an officer has just quoted ‘findable.’ They must have the re- like to propose taking parts of it because I am well-informed. This sources to show up and help me, and applying it to our institutions, ties in to literacy. How many rather then tell me to take it easy our ways of doing things etc. people are functionally literate? with the armed robbers while they Answer lies in education – adult go find a car to come to my house My rationalization campaign will education for those outside the and deliver me from robbers. be combined with technology, so formal, educational system. So that we can ‘modernize’ and refine you see, this rationalization cam- We need strict enforcement of the the way we do things. Specifically paign is a hodge-podge mix of law, which means we must educate – we will re-organize our address- many seemingly minor things citizens about their rights and re- ing system. This ties in to the more that if fixed, will help the system sponsibilities so that our law en- fundamental issue of land reform to work better. However, one forcement folks don’t take us for a where we will have to do some must remember that these are ride. We must know the law, so that serious zoning and re-zoning and only symptomatic of deeper when I am stopped for driving with- get to a level where we can actually problems that need to be fixed. out my license, I must know that I track people in our system – where have 48hours by law, to produce it. people can’t just disappear into thin Okay, so these are my five top If I know this, and it’s applied air. This will give us confidence in issues that are linked as in a chain fairly, then I won’t have to pay the our credit/lending systems, reduce – they will thrive on each other. bribe when I’m threatened with a fraudsters’ hiding capabilities, help beating and ‘counter-back.’ I really us to track criminals better, etc. Protectionism in manufacturing respect the work some of these peo- Rationalization includes centraliza- and processing (regardless of ple do – out in the hot sun, through tion – record keeping in our public what the world says), agricultural the night etc, and there’s much to agencies. Why do I have to go to and educational reform, civic be done to instill pride in what they Accra from Koforidua for my vehi- education going hand-in-hand do and equip them to be able to cle registration information be- with law . carry out their duties. cause it is only available in Accra? If record management is properly Finally, I’d like to focus on what I done, in a decentralized or even Page 2
Volume 2, Issue 2 enforcement, and finally, rationalization. There are If I were running for president, would you vote for many other issues – human rights, sanitation, healthcare, me? etc, but if I were president, these are the top five issues I would start with, and I tell you, by the time I’m done, About the Author: Dr. Esi Ansah is an Assistant Professor in Ashesi Ghana will be a better paradise than it already is. To me, University currently teaching Human Resource Management and Nego- tiations. it is paradise because of its incredible potential, and I’m madly in love with Oman Ghana. Yes … I did say PARADISE! PS. as usual, this was supposed to be a very, very short piece, but you know me ... once I get wound up ... ...Faculty Focus: Nathan Amanquah In this issue, we spotlight the and grading to a convenient time, A: I have a family of 3; I’m mar- much-loved Computer Science rather than be glued to a desk all day. ried to a very intelligent, hardwork- ing chartered accountant who makes faculty member, athan Aman- the money, (and I spend some of it.) quah. He spoke to Sophia Ary- and I have a son also. eetey in his office recently. Enjoy SA: What were some of the chal- lenges you faced growing up? A: Growing up in an economically SA: Describe Nathan Amanquah in challenged family meant I did not get a few words: many of the things I desired, but I A: Nathan Amanquah. made the most of it and learnt many Usually of few words, listens a lot, lessons for life. I did not grow up but can be very expressive when watching TV (so I did not know who really interested in a subject. SA: What do you value most in this the Station Master was), but spent life? my afternoons after school looking SA: Are you doing your dream job? A: My relationship with God, after goats and sheep, while reading A: Close enough. I derive satis- which can lead to life itself. my textbooks (so I gained a deep faction in helping others in two knowledge of most subjects I stud- ways: I like work that makes other ied) peoples lives more comfortable, Growing up, I did not particularly by solving/ SA: You seem like a very busy per- troubleshooting problems encoun- get most of the things son; do you ever have any time to tered (especially of machines). I socialize? also derive satisfaction in helping I desired, but I made A: Yes, a good bit. Ive got many, others come to an accurate knowl- many friends, and I also spend time edge and understanding of various the most of it and with my wife. facts, and i volunteer my time to do this each month, besides formally learnt many lessons SA: How did you get interested in lecturing. I like to lecture because computers? its flexible, it is still a 40 to 45-hour for life A: I liked machines from when I week, but I can move preparation was small - I wanted to be a pilot, SA: Tell us about your family? then I got interested in electricity. When I was in class 7, I heard a lot Page 3
about computers and wanted to become a computer sys- SA: What do you think is the greatest challenge facingtems analyst. I learnt to use a computer from a software- ICT in Ghana?based tutor on a Wang computer, along with my dad on A: While there is not a single answer, a combinationweekends. At the end of the tutorial, it said, besides us- of lack of foresight and cost of IT hamper IT develop-ing applications like Wordstar (a word processing pro- ment in Ghana. The high cost of everything: band-gram), Supercalc (like excel), you can also instruct the width, equipment, software, hosting charges, technicalPC to do your bidding by programming. So I went off to knowhow (i.e. high charges by less competent ITthe Balme Library at UG to borrow books on the BASIC "experts") etc will slow the uptake and use of ICT. If itLanguage. My goal was to address challenges by pro- is cheap enough, IT will be ubiquitous, and the lessgramming. I eventually wrote my first major application educated will learn and make use of it. A lack of fore-in 1989 to do continuous assessment at a primary school sight in seeing the capabilities and opportunities to befor my mother who was a teacher. It was in GW- derived from greater use of technology coupled with aBASIC, and was stored on a cassette (the normal Type I lack of education/understanding in this area have notaudio cassette). During my National service in 1992, I helped much.wrote a program to manage SSS admissions to PRE-SEC. That was my first systems administration task, as Igot my colleagues to enter applicant data on different un SA: Considering the tensions that rose during the elec--networked computers, and I worked to coordinate and tion period here in Ghana, do you think that this coun-combine the data from these PCs using a program I try is capable of sustaining peace and hence develop-wrote. From there I went off to pursue a career in Elec- ment?tronic and Electrical Engineering. Computing remained A: It’s anyones guess.and remains a hobby, and I have taken various jobs incomputing after school. SA: Politics is often said to be solely driven by princi- ple, values or one’s call to serve however events fol- lowing the election such as the reluctance on the partSA: Do you think Africa is contributing to or deriving of political party leaders to throw in the towel hasenough from the World Wide Web? raised doubts concerning the drive for power or the A: Some countries are, South Africa being a good presidential seat. In your view, would you say thatexample. Others like Ghana are laggards in this field. wealth (money) plays a more significant role and notGhana does not have a lot of information and data that so much the call to serve, principles or values.could be accessed online. It would be difficult for one to A: Principles and politics? Some persons are wellsearch for a pair of shoes online or for someone to file a intentioned, others are not. History teaches us manytax return online. Companies that have an online pres- lessons in this regard. I hold a view that humans, noence (with a few exceptions) tend to have old, outdated, matter their best intentions will not be able tostatic pages. This does not encourage return visits. Most “completely” and “satisfactorily” address the problemsfirms and some government agencies have no online of today, or indeed the future. Consequently, I do notpresence at all. There is a lack of payment systems for put my trust in any politician.most African nations, a lack of a trustworthy and effec-tive mailing system, and a poor addressing system. SA: Any final words for the students of Ashesi?These have all conspired to slow the adoption of elec- A: Make the best of your time at school. It offerstronic commerce. Many Africans will continue to visit you the opportunity to explore many fields of endeav-established western websites for information, and our—even if it does not count towards your GPA, and"window" shop, until the fundamental barriers to partici- faculty is here to help as long as you wish to learn.pation in information exchange are addressed. You have all the time, just now (although students may think otherwise). Make good use of today while you can.Keep Your Mind Always Ticking - Continued output.’ This was his tipping point, and togetherparents, who believed the returns he could make in with his partner and the help of friends in his fa-Ghana would be negligible as compared to their in- ther’s garage SoftTribe begun, and so did his jour-vestments in his education, he saw Ghana as a land ney to success.of opportunities and made a run for it. Touching on how he has been able to survive, ‘…though he was not sure what he really wanted to do, you know, it isn’t magic. The opportunities areto him Ghana was (and still is) a developing country there, you would have to tune yourself to grab them.and therefore had many undeveloped areas as com- …for example when I sit in an airplane and I feel itpared to the Western world where ‘almost’ every- move I think to myself, could that have been thething had already been developed. tires? Or maybe the wings? My mind is always tick-While in Ghana, suddenly, and as if inspired by the ing.’ He also attributed his success to his ability tosame drive that led Archimedes to cry out I have network. ‘…you should always be up and about!found it! Eureka!, it dawned on him. ‘… I was a Don’t close from school to go home lying down inmanufacturing engineer and knew a bit of computer your little corner with the excuse of fatigue. Go outprogramming, so I combined the two and turned my and make friends….know that people give opportu-computer into my factory. A factory that just needed nities to people they like and can trust.’me as input and produced software for companies as
The ARM Pinnacle The Art of Voluntarism As a growing young lady, a lot pate in voluntary service. It How has voluntary work of my contemporaries ask or was a requirement that par- impacted my life? Volun- wonder… ticipants engage in voluntary tary service, if I may say Why do you engage in work- community service to enable has made me who I am ing without pay? Hmm, I one receive a bronze, silver today. In participating in would say I engage in volun- or gold medal. voluntary service or work, tary work when I am interested Where did I do my first out- it has exposed me to dif- in the activity, when I have door voluntary service? I did ferent people from differ- time to support the activity to that at Achimota Hospital ent backgrounds, different obtain the optimum level, or during my long vacation. situations, attitudes and when someone seeks my aid in Initially, I did not believe I beliefs that have enabled whatever activity it may be. would be able to do it; but me understand some of So, what is voluntary service after a few weeks of being the experiences I go or work? Well, from my ex- there, I believed “ I could be through. Voluntary work perience voluntary work is a doctor without doing sci- has taught me to know the willingly engaging in an activ- ence”. This was because I kind of person I am. It has ity without expecting to be learnt how to keep records, exposed me to some of paid and it is a way to check the temperature, blood my strengths and weak- help someone or a group level, height and weight of a nesses. It has brought me of people achieve a posi- patient. into contact with lots of tive and legal goal. What motivates me to do people, great and small,What motivates me How did I get interested voluntary work? A smile!!! known and unknown,to do voluntary in voluntary work? I be- A smile of one who appreci- powerful and not so pow-work? A smile!!! lieve I began to volunteer ates the service I have of- erful, the elite and non- at home. My mother al- fered. My ability to help elite. Voluntary service ways told me to help out someone loosen a challenge has taught me the power at home. She also encour- and to let people believe that of a positive attitude to- aged me to help at any there is someone available to wards work and people. It family gathering irrespective carry a burden off their has taught me to respect of some of the harsh comments chest. At a particular time, people irrespective of I received sometimes. As time when I was volunteering at their status in the society. went on, it became part and the educational advising cen- It has also helped me parcel of me. I was ready to ter of the USIS library, my solve my own challenges engage in as many activities supervisor as well as educa- and given me rewards that that I wanted to join so far as I tional advisor told me that I will forever be mine. was interested or did not mind was service oriented. One Voluntary service is not participating in it. There were may wonder, of what impor- all about the network you some my parents agreed to and tance was this statement? create so do not partici- there were others I had to con- Well to me this has been the pate in voluntary service vince them as to why they answer to who I am today. because of what you want should agree. Joining the Head At least, it gives me one an- to achieve and your per- of State Award Scheme after swer when I am asked “tell sonal desires because Junior High School made it me about yourself” in an in- your intentions could be mandatory for me to partici- terview. revealed when it fails Page 5 Continued on Page 7
Volume 2, Issue 2Great Expectations...The elections buzz has all but tor should be looked at criti- Good economic policies! Ifsubsided, and the new govern- cally. Even though the service there is one thing that Mills’ment has settled comfortably sector is fast gaining root in government should try to dealinto their new responsibilities. Ghana, the government must with then it is the worseningBefore they get too comfort- generate enough interest and as economic situation in theable however, Ashesi students well encourage the manufactur- country. I believe the globalair their views, impressions ing sector in this development crunch is affecting every na- agenda. Avenues should be cre- tion but Ghana can easily sailand expectations of the man in ated for fast growth in the Food through. Our economy is lessthe Jubilee House and his gov- processing industry. Private sophisticated and thus pro-ernment. participation in the emerging vides us with some form ofInterviews by Philip Coffie vegetable processing industry immunity. We are indeed in aDzisenu, Class of 2011 should be encouraged to avoid good position to create market waste in the system with focuses for our produce internally andEducation should be his greatest on exploiting local and the west in our sub-region.priority. President Mills should African market. It is high time -Julia Adwoa-Amoah Appiahmake education accessible to all we took advantage of our Afri- 2010 MISespecially to those in the rural can market.areas. The government should I encourage President Mills tobuild more public universities e lim in ate a ll f o rm s o f Truth. Exact solutions to theand encourage private participa- “quotational leadership”. The most important problems.tion in tertiary education in hardworking man/woman in the Thats all I demand from theGhana. background should be recog- new government.I want to us to build a strong eco- nized. -Melvin Akaba 2011BAnomic infrastructure with empha- -Christina Elorm Doe 2009 BAsis on capital investment.-Sandra Osei-Poku 2011 MIS The traffic situation and indis- The new government should try cipline on our roads in Accra as much as possible to live by must be improved. As a for-Good socio-economic policies their social democratic princi- eigner, I was surprised at thethat will help the country achieve ples and distribute wealth fairly rate at which I see the policeits developmental goals should be among the masses. Favorable take bribes from drivers forthe greatest priority of President conditions for private participa- traffic offenses. The policeMills’ government. The govern- tion in the economy started by ought be given enough re-ment should not focus on satisfy- the previous government should fresher courses to boost theiring the desires of the masses but be sustained. Partnership be- professionalism. The worsen-should focus on the future. That’s tween foreign contractors and ing economic indicators mustwhere good developmental poli- their local counterparts should be curtailed. On the averagecies count most. be demonstrated through the though, the new government- Hanan Yoro Boforo 2010 CS award of government contracts. is doing pretty well. We need to build faith in the -Omayma Halabi Ahma 2011 local contractor as well. Efforts BAI believe President Mills has his should be made at creating localagenda in place but entrepreneur- solutions to local problems.ship development in the manufac- -Francis Nuertey Tetteh 2012turing section of the service sec- BA Page 6
Motherland A poem by Esi AnsahVoluntarism—Continued Fullness in the West African woman, African heritageand you might be disappointed as well. Horn of the East Proclaim your greatnessIn addition to my ideals of volunteering, this is Northern link, slick wealth Bridge of adventuresomething I read that could help you all who Southern glorywant to start volunteering after you have read Figure of elegancethis. Motherland of beauty, Wholeness and perfection“Why Volunteer? Cradle of innovationPart of being a great volunteer is loving whatyoure doing. Find something that you are pas- As outstanding as the full moonsionate about or something that inspires you, and Form of grace Green in abundance, cradle of lifethen find a need in your community. There are Brown in excess, friend and foedozens of reasons why you should volunteer - From the Sahara to the Kalahariyou just need to find the one that feels right. Blue here, blue there, source of life Scarce, yet plentiful 20 Great Reasons to Volunteer Curtain of power, heartbeat of Zimbabwe Help others Birth of civilization, crescent of life Make a difference Nile of sustenance, Nile of life Gold, abundance of wealth Find purpose Scattered treasure; found, yet lost Enjoy a meaningful conversation Ore of variety, ore of new experience Connect with your community Unity in diversity Feel involved Healing copper, gift of Lusaka Contribute to a cause that you care about Zambian pride Use your skills in a productive way Develop new skills Shores of pain, shores of joy Sandy, breezy, coconut trees Meet new people Dancing in the African sun Explore new areas of interest Shores of virgin encounter, Meet good people Hospitality deceived Impress yourself Forts of force, Expand your horizons The Book and the Cross Get out of the house Paradox of interests Make new friends Strengthen your resume Highlands and lowlands Feel better about yourself Basins of life, basins of nature Impress your mom Forest-home, animals of skill Swinging, hopping, climbing, crawling, Nurturing, living in harmonyThis article is dedicated to my mum and to the Serengeti plains, safari spectacleAshesi Community Higher and higher, Children maturePhoebe Selassie Acolatse, Class of 2011 Sources of joy High as the Kilimanjaro Beauty without limits Potential without cuffs Beautiful motherland!
The ARM Pinnacle mortgage failure and foreclosures in We are most certainly falling into a The Global Economic the United States, with major ad- recession, though it does not appear Recession verse consequences for banks and as obvious. One of the major effects An ARM Member’s perspective financial markets around the globe. that can face the Ghanaian economy Consequently, those saving with the is the movement of some immi- bank were at a loss. This erupted in grants in the U.S to their respectiveFor the past 10 months or so, unless 2007 exposing the pitfalls in the countries. The families of theseyou have been living outside earth financial market and the global fi- people who were dependent onor perhaps under a rock and have nancial market. these people would now have tonot been affected by any economic The media is taken over by the cur- devise means of satisfying theirforces, you would realize the world rent economic phenomena of sev- own needs. Some socialists blameis in a scary economic crisis. eral thousand high profile job the entire phenomenon on unre-Perhaps you have noticed that for losses, forced mergers and bank- strained consumer spending andthe past months, the word depres- ruptcies around the world. Not to capitalism. However, most capital-sion, recession or meltdown have mention the smaller companies ists I have spoken to or heard thembecome very popular among peo- which do not make the news. Con- share their view acknowledges thatple. It therefore becomes important sequently individuals and some capitalism is under threat and gov-for us to understand the difference businesses that were previously not ernments such as the U.S havebetween recession and depression. bothered about the share value of come up with stimulus packages toSome people rather believe that companies, exchange rates and even solve this. In effect, these actionsthere are principles that distinguish the inflation rate are now paying would help to make capitalismthe two economic indicators: i.e. much closer attention to all these stronger and adaptable.depression from recession. By The details to know how close they are Discreetly, the American recessionEconomist, a standard recession to folding up or losing their credit. is having an indirect effect on theusually follows a period of tight An interview conducted by the country. This will affect our donormonetary policy but a depression is BBC with Jeff Ray (C.E.O of Solid- support base. Governments of de-the result of a bursting asset, credit Works) said the global economic veloped nations are now coming upbubble and contraction in credit. crisis has made individuals, small to with strategic plans to cut publicTherefore looking at its principles large firms begin surfing over the spending in areas such as foreignand the causes of the current credit internet to know how the economic aid, security etc. Therefore donorscrunch, it is evident that we are in a downturn is affecting them or how like America, Japan, China, Unitedstate of depression. Therefore we close they are in getting out of mar- Kingdom and others would not bewould be using depression to refer ket. Also, rather surprising he willing and able to give Ghana theto the current economic times. enlightens businesses of a great needed support.The American economy has been pool of opportunities in this global Just as businesses and governmentsfaced with a number of depressions economic. in the developed nations are comingand recessions, for example is the America has the largest economy in up with the smartest plans to protectGreat Depression in the 1930s the world and therefore it has some their firms and stay afloat throughwhich was America’s deepest eco- sort of investment in every country this tough economic time, our gov-nomic meltdown. This current eco- around the world. Consequently, ernment should also tactfully devisenomic crisis is affecting mostly two these sectors of the country would some strategies to safeguard ourof America’s sectors i.e. the finan- suffer or benefit from the shifts in economy of any future losses.cial market and the construction its economy, when there is a slight Countries like Iceland, Canada,industry. However, sectors like edu- change in the determinants of their Japan and China have had theircation, health, transport and agricul- economy. This can support the share of the global economic down-ture are not directly affected by the comment by one financial newspa- turn. Sources say two thirds of Ice-current economic depression. The per that “Just about every country land citizens move from bottom tounderlying cause of the current eco- in the world is somewhat dependent crash.nomic crisis is banks lending credit on U.S consumers and our ravenousto unworthy borrowers. The mort- consumption, therefore when we Isaac Bruce, Class of 2012gage crisis is an ongoing financial are suffering, so is the rest of thecrisis triggered by a dramatic rise in world”. The ARM Pinnacle Team● Writers: Isaac Bruce, Joseph Kwame Mamphey, Phoebe Selassie Acolatse● Interviews: Sophia Aryeteey, Philip Coffie Dzisenu● Columnists: Kwabena Owusu-Adjei, Dr. Esi Ansah● Acknowledgements and Special Thanks: Dr. Esi Ansah, Dr. Nathan Amanquah, Hermann Chinery-Hesse, Nii Adjetey Sowah● Editor: Nii Ayertei Tettey