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Portrait of Ghana: A Portrait of Hope?

Hands open to reveal a rotating miniature earth cupped between, as a Voice Over teases: “What defines a nation? Its landmarks? Its people? Or its culture?” And with it comes corresponding vistas of familiar sites from the Pyramids of Gaza to the London Bridge, familiar faces of world fame, religion, tradition, and the everyday folks, as well as a treatment to the defining social activities of the world from sports to fashion walks to music and dance.

That is to say, the story of a nation is defined by an amalgamation of all these features and qualities, and more. Granted, our dear Voice Over, probably, suspects you know this already, so, like the good tour guide he seems to be, he teases along in conclusion: “Taking you from the plains of the Serengeti to the business streets of Shanghai. From the podium of renowned leaders to the workbench of undiscovered artisans, this is Portrait of a Nation.”

Ah, but lest the world spanning teaser should deceive anyone on the scope of the portrait, this was actually an introduction to a documentary on a certain country—the one country at the centre of the world.

This was a Portrait of a Ghana.

The documentary (Portrait of a Nation – Ghana) was produced by EPIC Global Media, an award-winning and inspired agency which “signed a Global Development Alliance (GDA) with the United States Agency for International Development Mission to Ghana.” According to the description attached to the documentary, “the film aims to build and present the brand of Ghana internationally. The production tells the story of a country coming into its own; a nation with ample business opportunities for investors; and an entrepreneurial and energized population ready to change the face of Africa.”

A Portrait of the Portrait

The Economist Cover Stories via LSE

The exposition began by pointing to a cover story by The Economist in the year 2000, which labelled Africa as a hopeless continent. A decade later, the magazine was compelled to change its tune to a hopeful continent; its 2011 cover story now read: Africa Rising. And of all the African countries driving the African revolution, one country was singled out as leading the charge—Ghana.

But, where did Ghana emerge from to reach that point?

Now that’s a matter of History, isn’t it? Precisely where the portrait leads us next. From the arrival the arrival of the first Europeans during the time of the great explorations and the discovery of so much gold on the lands of what would become known as the Gold Coast, to how, according to Professor Irene K. Odotei, “the Gold Coast became, more or less, like a slave coast.” The colonial shackles could not hold sway indefinitely, for then came Independence Day from which Ghana would paint its own story thenceforth.

Much of the success of the Ghana’s story would, however, depend on Governance and Regulation. Despite notable achievements since independence, the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, was recorded as saying: “I think we have achieved a lot but we have a long way to go. And leadership and governance will make a real difference.” The former President of the United States, Barack Obama, expressed a similar opinion on his visit to Ghana when he said: “We must first recognise a fundamental truth. . . Development depends on good governance.”

The Portrait extends into other areas like Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, Tourism, Training and Development, Exporting Culture, and also ICT with a definite air of optimism. See the full documentary below.

Portrait of a Nation – Ghana from EPIC Global Media on Vimeo.

The documentary was published (at least online) five years ago! Five years later, what would you say the portrait of Ghana is like today?

. . .

Personally, the documentary was a good opportunity for me to reflect on the hue I add to the portrait of Ghana as a Ghanaian, and, to a greater extent, the portrait of the Earth as a human. If things are going bad, am I part of the problem? What role am I playing? What role do I intend to play? Does it (and will it) contribute to the welfare of the environment and my fellow human being? Does it (and will it) it do any good?


WRITER: Richard Yaw Baafi

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