A big difference in the Ghanaian everyday life since I last was here 2,5 years ago is that now a lot more people are in possession of a mobile phone. The development is much like what I remember from Sweden in the mid 1990ies, in a very short period of time a cell phone went to being extremely costly and a unique accessory to an ordinary must-have. The Ghanaian phone company Areeba let’s you buy credits from as little as 3000 cedis (25 cents, or 3 SEK) and that amount is valid for 3 minutes in Ghana and 2 minutes outside Ghana. Affordable. International rates that are a lot better than in any other country I have visited.
However the phones themselves are as costly as in Sweden. Still people in urban Ghana carry cellphones very similar to those in urban Sweden or many times even nicer ones than in Sweden.
Since still half of the population lives on less than $2 a day, the use of very nice phones leads to stealing and articles like these can be read daily in the Ghanaian news.
The phone revolution in Africa also translates into possibilities, specifically in banking. Most people in Africa does not have a bank account, therefore remittances sent from relatives abroad must go through expensive services that often cost more than 10% of the amount being sent. If money can be sent straight to a phone that means less transaction costs and (hopefully) more money for development. More on this here. Already, there are some banking that can be done, for instance can you get a "sikatext", or money text message on your current balance in your account (if you have one). Banking over cell phone is already big in South Africa and japan and can maybe become so in Ghana too.
Oh, and in case you wonder… “flash me” means “call me so that I get your number”.
In the picture Josephine is using her new phone while doing laundry.
Eternal Student - and now also lecturer - from Sweden living in Ghana with my Ghanaian partner, studying migration and what it does to the higher education system in Ghana. This blog is political, positive and sometimes personal.