Monday, February 29, 2016

COMING UP!>>Episode #64 (Season 3; Ep.20): Afro-Democracy(3): #UgandaDecided; & Impact on Africa’s Peace & Security

Episode #64
(Season 3; Ep.20):  
Afro-Democracy(3): #UgandaDecided; & Impact on Africa’s Peace & Security

As we head down the end of Season 3 of the show, we want to use another edition to continue the conversation on “AfroDemocracy”.

In the first edition of the year, on 13 January, we concluded the show on the note that Ghanaians must take advantage of the already-enlarged civil society space to help deepen its democracy.

The second show in the series on AfroDemocracy, on 10 February, accentuated the role of citizens in the conversation on governance and democracy, by concluding that any conversation on governance in Africa needs to acknowledge the role of citizens as “movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability.”

In the last show of the month and on this theme for Season 3, we want to review the Ugandan election and explore what its impact on continental peace and security – if any – is. The shutting down of social media networks on Election Day was unexpected: even if there were fears of another win by Museveni, he seemed to have ticked all the boxes: two Presidential debates, with him appearing in the second. The process up to Election Day offered a semblance of a process typical in any democracy. Then it suddenly changed with the arrest of key opponent Dr.Besigywe hours before the election for what appeared to be a minor offence.

What elements do we need to begin to put in place to avoid outcomes like Uganda’s or is it culture-specific? Maybe region-specific? Where must the conversation on AfroDemocracy, where African citizens rights and voices are respected, go in 2016?

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 3 March, 2015.

Call us on the following numbers

Guiding questions
  • Was Museveni’s success a result of youth apathy to vote; or lack of strategy by opposition?
  • What lessons does his win offer for future elections on the continent?
  • Does his win reflect an unholy alliance within East Africa’s politicians?
  • Does East Africa have Shared Norms & Values on Governance?
  • What is impact of Museveni’s win on Africa’s conversation on peace & security?

Guest in the studio:
Ø  Mark Amaliya , Director of Research & Programmes, Mutatio Institute

more details will be available soon on ; Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on, using #africainfocus .
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Friday, February 26, 2016

ARTICLE: Episode #63 Season 3, Ep.19: “It is the greatest travesty Ghanaians have allowed their film industry to die” – JOT Agyeman

Episode #63
Season 3, Ep.19:
It is the greatest travesty Ghanaians have allowed their film industry to die” – JOT Agyeman

ACCRA, Ghana – Communications Consultant at Global Media Alliance Broadcasting Company, JOT Agyeman, believes “it is a travesty that we are where we are today, because Nkrumah was the very person who set up in those times the Gold Coast Film Unit, and built a very remarkable film studio, which is, today, TV3.” He adds that, “all of the area around where TV3 is today belonged to the Ghana film industry, including the adjacent buildings, which houses the Information Services Department...” 
Speaking to E.K.Bensah Jr on the “Africa in Focus Show”, which reprised the topic of Pan-African Media & Film, the seasoned actor and script-writer explained how it “was Nkrumah's dream: to set up an African Film Industry with a base here in Ghana, so he put the facilities in place. However, on the overthrow of Nkrumah, subsequent governments”, he continues, “did not find it necessary to continue...and that led to the sale of the Ghana Film Industry recently to the Media General that now owns the building, which for me is the greatest travesty that as a nation we have allowed to happen. The fact that we have allowed our film industry to die.”

Agyeman explained, “If you take the setting up of NAFTI, School of Performing Arts, the Institute of African Studies, these were all there to enhance the African Film Industry, but...governments have not been proactive, especially Ghanaian governments after the overthrow of the development of film.” He laments how anyone who has done film has done it on their own, by finding some money somewhere.

Asked whether he was encouraged by what the AU is doing to establish a continental institution on Audiovisuals & Film, and an African Film Fund, he said it was already part of Nkrumah's dream to set it up, so he wonders why it has taken so long.

On his part, former Programmes Manager at Homebase TV, Elijah Iposu, believes that the proposed institution “is going to be yet-another talk shop that may achieve administrative and legal – probably – integration, but the creative integration will never be achieved, because the real people are not involved in the planning.” He wonders “how are we going to work out with fifty-four countries, what are the steps? Who are the people?” 
Questioned by the Bensah whether the private sector on the continent can work together outside the framework of the AU, Iposu believes even in Nollywood, the structures are there, but are not well-aligned. He talked of how Nollywood has actually begun to make epic movies, including one on the Nigerian civil war in 1976. He believes “we should look at the intra-regional integration” of films, and then when we are done “look at the similar challenges and possible solutions to them. After which we go a step further by saying Kenya, what are you doing, how can we learn in West Africa from you.”

Pressed to leave their take-home messages on a concrete vision for the creative economy, JOT first said “we need to put behind selfish desires as people in the creative industry. Everyone wants to do something on their own. The fact is that you cannot do everything on your own. Number two, we don't have a film industry...; we have pockets of people doing their own thing. We need to go back to the place where there was a film industry..and people from Nollywood came into Ghana to study. That's why NAFTI...and School of Performing Arts [were] established.”

He continues “what we need to do as a people is to set up a proper Creative Arts Commission...where we take on board the AU's desire to set up an Institute; we take on board other countries what they are doing, and find our place as a people. It could be”, he adds, “that Ghana can produce *only* script-writers, but if you produce the best script-writers within the continent, everybody knows where to go to! You cannot do everything; that is the point I am making.” 

He concludes “it took one person...Lupita Nyongu to come out of Kenya...that is not to say we didn't have people...: we have Idris Elba...and so many others. It just took one person and one movie. She won an Oscar for just one movie – her first movie “Twelve Years a Slave” – and immediately, Africa is on the map again. That’s all it takes: one good script; one good producer; one good actor, and then we'll be on the way to the top.”

For Iposu, he believes Ghana needs to identify “actual film-makers” as there are too many people parading as such. Secondly, “we need pioneers in the industry to come together...from Ghana; Cote d'Ivoire; Burkina Faso; Senegal; Nigeria ...and look for a way to mass up money and set up a Film Fund” that can be run, and even be floated on the stock exchange, “so you have people's interests.”
The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h05 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus

Monday, February 22, 2016

COMING UP!>>Episode #63 (Season 3; Ep.19): Towards an African Personality (2): Does Ghanaian & Pan-African Film (& Media) Have Shared Values?

Episode #63 
(Season 3; Ep.19):  
Towards an African Personality (2):
Does Ghanaian & Pan-African Film (& Media) Have Shared Values?

24th February is an important day in Ghana’s history – and especially this year as it is exactly fifty years since the coup that saw the exit of Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana’s political scene.

Twelve months ago when we initiated the first of our series on “Towards an African Personality”, we spoke to one of the upcoming Ghanaian film directors Pascal Aka. In the interview, he urged those within the movie industry to consider the international context, and start writing stories that transcend the local context.

ETV Ghana's JOT Agyeman, a former actor himself, and seasoned script-writer, expressed disappointment at the nomenclature of "Ghallywood"; and "Nollywood", which he considers unnecessary. Kumawood, in his view, is not film, but "concert party on video".

Finally, Homebase TV Ghana's Elijah Iposu, a producer and director, encouraged Ghanaians and Nigerians to get back to what our fathers in Nkrumah did – by bringing together both Ghanaian and Nigerian film-makers to learn from each other to take Pan-African film to even greater heights.

Even more importantly, we need, in his view, to get to the stage where we can tell a witchcraft story, like Harry Potter, and go beyond ridicule of some of the Kumawood renditions of the same theme!

In Ep.63 (Season 3, ep.19) of the Show, we want to use the show to continue the conversation through the angle of “Shared Norms and Values”, which the AU declared in 2012. Africa’s continental organisation has one definition that describes it thus:

“…the concept of African men and women working together to develop the region and to address the political, economic and social challenges that the continent faces…

The AU is always quick to remind us about the Shared Norms and Values Africans possess, for which reason architectures like that of the Africa Peace and Security Architecture and African Governance Architecture exist.

If Africa can have Shared Norms and Values on peace and security; and governance, then, surely, we must have same-such values for Film and Media?

In September 2015, delegates from thirteen African countries met in Nairobi from a two-day workshop to review a report on the State of the Africa audiovisual and cinema/film sector that would serve as a basis for the establishment of the Africa Audio Visual Cinema Commission (AACC) and the African Film Fund. It was organized by the AU and the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI).

Apart from the fact that it happened on the blind side of much of Africa’s media, what we do know from reports is this:  the report talked about the increasing recognition in African countries of the critical role of the creative economy in human progress, and the range of social and economic benefits that derive from it. It also noted that, Nigeria; South Africa; Kenya; and Egypt lead African countries in annual film revenue.

We also know this: The African Media Initiative (AMI) and FEPACI in 2015 signed an MoU to work together to strengthen and enhance the sector’s ability to contribute to development and to promote the creation of quality African audiovisual and film content. The two organizations will also consider mechanisms for promoting widespread distribution of African film on the continent and beyond.

To which we ask: why has it taken Ghana, and Africa, so long to get serious on a concerted approach on Film, and Media? Is it not time to capitalize on February as Black History Month, where alongside the celebration of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Ghana’s own initiator of the “African Personality” looms large, to project a semblance of Pan-African identity for Film and Media?

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 24 February, 2015

Call us on the following numbers

Guiding questions
  • How critical is government in creating a conducive environment for Africa’s creative economy of Film?
  • With exception of Central Africa, each region has a hegemon/leader accruing annual film revenue…
  • Is it not time for regional cooperation on film (and media)?
  • Why has it taken countries so long to develop the creative economy, and have they even started?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Elijah Iposu , former Programmes Manager, Homebase TV
Ø  J.O.T Agyeman , Communications Consultant & General Manager, Productions, Global Media Alliance Broadcasting Company 

more details will be available soon on ; Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on, using #africainfocus .
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Episode #62 (Season 3 Ep.18): “In Ghana, Tourism Development has been hindered by negative attitudes towards developing tourism in the country” – Tourism Expert

Episode #62
(Season 3 Ep.18):
In Ghana, Tourism Development has been hindered by negative attitudes towards developing tourism in the country” – Tourism Expert


ACCRA, Ghana – Founder of Tourism Safety & Security Initiative (TOSS) believes there are so many things Ghanaians can do in the country as far as tourism is concerned. He is proposing that “if we can trace the line down to Central region…down to Cape Coast, and once in a year, organize a festival tracing this line down to Nkonso…in a one-week celebration, we could celebrate it in festival, and climax it in PANAFEST…it would create a lot of tourists into the country.”

Speaking to “Africa in Focus” show host, E.K.Bensah Jr, in the first programme on “Afri-Tourism” for the year, he explained that “tourism is a unique industry and if Ghana is able to develop this concept, it would [help serve as] an economic hub for the country.” They want to “re-direct the psyche of tourism” in Ghanaians, he adds. He is calling on the support of the private sector to support the organisation and re-orient Ghanaians to the importance of tourism.

Although tourism is a commonsensical revenue-earner for Ghana, it emerged from the conversation that Ghanaians have yet to build either the enabling environment or the infrastructure for a thriving tourism industry.

A retired insurance man of the State Insurance Corporation, Kwame Twum-Ampofo founded TOSS in a bid to link the insurance sector with tourism. The whole idea was to find a way of using insurance to enable the tourism sector be more efficient. He says after the collapse of the Bonsu Bridge, a delegation of TOSS went to visit the site two weeks later. They asked management of Bonsu whether the place had been insured to which they answered “the organisation is in process of being insured.”

Asked why it took so long to re-launch TOSS after being dormant for a couple of years, he explained though they had challenges from the beginning, “interests in the objectives and activities of the organisation was rekindled as a result of increasing accidents in tourism industry on the domestic front, especially the 1 July, 2015 accident at Bonsu arboretum in the Eastern region involving the canopy walkway, which resulted in injuries of tourists.”

Pressed to explain why one must pay greater attention to safety and security in the industry, he explained how the tourist industry had become a soft target for terrorists all over the world, and why, therefore, an importance to safety and security was critical. In TOSS’s view, a response to this is what they call “Tourism Police”. Twum-Ampofo explained that, the Ghana Police Service would, like Thailand and Egypt, have a tourism unit. He explained that visibility, just like general police visibility, would be an important element. He continued “we want police to be visible in all tourist centres.”

As far as the conference on AU day—25 May— is concerned, Twum-Ampofo said there will be a trade fair and a seminar. It will be on awareness, safety and security. It is geared to sensitize the public on tourism. There are six thematic areas – Tourism Safety and Security Awareness; Tourism Police; Safety in Public Transport; Health and Safety Awareness; Insurance Banking; and Cultural Heritage. The main focus will be on Tourism Police.

The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h00 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus

Monday, February 15, 2016

COMING UP!!>>Episode #62 (Season 3, Ep.18): Afri-Tourism (3): Towards Tourism Police?

Episode #62 (Season 3, Ep.18):
Afri-Tourism (3): Towards Tourism Police?

Back on 9 September, 2014, our first focus on Afri-Tourism was powerful and deliberate: we had a definition for our listeners on what defines Afri-Tourism. We defined it as “the witting attempt by Africans to purchase African products while visiting African countries.

This definition was not plucked out of the blue, but based on a deliberate process of having had four tourism-related shows from which we drew inspiration for a definition. Again, to remind listeners:

  • Ghana’s Forestry Sector & Eco-Tourism on 29 July, 2014
  • Africa’s Aviation sector on 19 August, 2014
  • Ghana’s Hotel Industry on 26 August, 2014
  • Afri-Tourism on 9 September, 2014
  • The Hotel Industry in Ghana & Africa (2); and a Chat with Miss Tourism 2013 on 30 September, 2014

The term “Afri-Tourism” has become entrenched in AIF’s history on account of the first-ever High-Level Forum on Regional Development in West Africa, which was sponsored by WACSI. At the forum, Kofi Akpabli made a presentation entitled “Towards Afri-Tourism: Making Ghana a viable Tourist Destination” in which he spoke of a kind of sub-regional tourism. Akpabli further spoke of regional tourism blocs, wondering whether West Africa is competing or actually complementing – as done in East Africa.

In 2015, we had a second show on AfriTourism, in which we brought Kofi Akpabli; Professor Boakye; and Aisha Boakye-Yiadom -- three familiar faces to AIF— who know their tourism inside out, and helped us navigate another conversation on it from a sub-regional; national; and continental perspective.

But 2015 was different for another reason as it would be the year when the UN World Tourism Organisation would hold a conference on Branding Africa. It would be there the host would meet the founder of #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou – 17-yr-old Rachel Emefa Markham, who says she will follow the footsteps of her grandfather-journalist’s career.

In this third show on AfriTourism, and the first for 2016, we are happy to be interviewing the Founder of the Tourism Organisation on Safety and Security (TOSS), which was re-launched in November 2015.

Even if we were to momentarily forget the collapse of the Bonsu bridge in 2015 that was passed off as “an act of God”, one cannot forget the increasing insecurity that terrorist attacks in the Sahel have caused, and its consequent and adverse backward and forward linkages on the tourism sector.

Now, more than ever, a conversation on the critical role of safety and its bedfellow – security – is needed. Could “tourism police” be an answer?

Call us on the following numbers

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 17 February, 2015.

Guiding questions
·       Was the re-launch of TOSS necessitated by initial apathy of then-Tourism Board to focus areas of TOSS?

·       “Tourism Police” appears to be a major focus of TOSS. Why a focus on police?

·       How does one reconcile safety and security with tourism?

·       How important is a liberalization of Africa’s airlines important for the tourism industry?

·       What is the objective of the upcoming conference in May?
 Guest in the studio:
Ø  Kwame Twum Ampofo, Founder/Director of Special Duties, Tourism Safety & Security Initiative(TOSS)

more details will be available soon on ; Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on, using #africainfocus .
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Citizens are primarily responsible to act as movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability” – Governance Expert

Episode #61:
Citizens are primarily responsible to act as movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability” – Governance Expert

ACCRA, Ghana – Director of Research at the Accra-based Mutatio Institute Marc Amaliya believes that African countries “have gone past that era where we can outsource responsibility or cry victim. We govern ourselves now, and we misrule ourselves also.” 

Speaking to E.K.Bensah on the “Africa in Focus Show”, which reprised the issue of governance in the context of Africa’s democracy, Amaliya said that, one of the difficulties in the conversation on governance in Africa “is the collective cross-comparative way of assessing situations.”

He believes that doesn’t help, because “African countries are at different stages of their economic, political, and even social integration.” He continues: “we still have immensely ethnically-divided societies that constitute States in Africa and we have countries with enormous economic resource-potential, and they are completely aloof when it comes to getting the political systems right.”

Conversely, “we have countries that seem to be at a certain equilibrium”, like Ghana, but “is completely helpless when it comes to doing things all by ourselves. We still need to be policed.” What this tells us, he avers, is that apart from talking about good governance and what it stands for, “countries are at different stages in their lives and they need assistance.”

Pressed by Bensah to explain why countries like Uganda; Rwanda; and Togo are economies on the rise, and delivering results, why can one not say that there is governance, even with “the paucity of institutions that exist?” To this, Amaliya explained “I do not know of anyone who out rightly dismisses the existence of governance, but the reason why there is a need to qualify because there is such a thing as bad governance.” Even failed States, he quipped, have some type of governance.

He added “whether it is Faure...or Kagame...or Museveni, in their individual stead, these people can claim to a certain sense of legitimacy, a certain source of authority from the people to govern that they remain popular and that they represent the wills of their people.” However, “there are constituencies that would object to that” – to the extent that “they would be pointing to serious shortcomings in their rule.

 Amaliya emphasized that, in the long run, any conversation on governance in Africa, especially, needs to acknowledge the role of citizens: “we as citizens are primarily responsible to act as movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability, and that seems to be the real gateway to where many countries are heading. There is an appetite and an irresolute interest in citizens to demand this”.

The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h00 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

COMING UP!>>Episode #61: Afro-Democracy(3): What’s Governance got to do with Democracy?

Episode #61:
Afro-Democracy(3): What’s Governance got to do with Democracy?

The third in our series, and the second this year, examining aspects of “Afro-Democracy”, we want to use this edition of the show to unpack the conversation on governance within the context of what seems to be democracy with a peculiar type of African-ness, which manifests itself in variations of a hybrid of ballot-box democracy and extended term limits.

Although it is a given that governance should be central to democracy, Africa’s different forms of popular representation all over the continent already suggest there should be an increased conversation on governance itself as well.

One definition of governance is “the processes of interaction and decision-making among…actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions”. If Presidents and Heads of State are the actors in this definition, then the story is not over as the “collective problem” still needs to be resolved.

If democracy alone is unable to resolve this problem that the “actors” (elected Heads of State) are involved in, surely we must further-unpack what governance means for Africa?

To help Emmanuel.K.Bensah demystify governance on the Show will be Marc Amaliya, who has spent much of his time examining governance and effective policy-making.

Call us on the following numbers:
+233(0)289.000.931 // +233(0)302.777.472-3

Guiding questions
·        Is there a type of democracy peculiar and specific to Africa?
·        How central is governance in the security discussion?
·        Has terrorism overshadowed our attempts at deepening democracy?

Guest in the studio:
Ø Marc Amaliya, Director of Research & Programmes, Mutatio Institute; Researcher in African Peace & Security

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