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Corruption eats a country alive

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DO NOT Urinate On The Wall, says the sign, followed by: By Order of The Military. Well, that would put me off completely. The military is a serious presence, at least in this part of Accra, dotted with camps and training schools and headquarters, and punctuated by the occasional billboard declaring the military to be “Civilian-friendly”.

As we roll past endless billboards advertising American and Ghanaian preachers, my driver complains of the poverty (glitzy preachers and poverty are a bit like love and marriage/horse and carriage, it seems to me) and tells me it’s because the politicians are in it to enrich themselves.

In many ways, on the surface, the country would appear to be doing quite well: 95% of children are enrolled in school (the government funds primary school and junior high, and heavily subsidises senior high school); most high schools have apparently got computer labs (new technology is a focus for Ghana); it’s got a higher life expectancy than us (66 for men and 67 for women) and falling infant mortality – in part, this is because of what Bill Gates has described as the best universal health care system in Africa.

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