How not to portray Ghana

An article on the World Bank’s portrayal of Ghana – starts rather dramatically, but makes a valid point, protesting a stereotypical portrayal of the country by the World Bank. Excerpts below – 

The World Bank, at the just-ended 2010 annual meeting in Washington DC, stabbed Ghana in the back. This was demonstrated by horrible pictures that the Bank displayed about the country on its computers…The computers, which had a picture of the Finance Minister of Ghana, Dr Kwabena Duffuor as well as the country’s flag, also had pictures portraying the country as a land of abject poverty…

The reputable organization has forgotten that even in Washington DC, the capital city of US, there are people who are still begging on the streets. However, the bank failed to photograph some of these people, let alone display them as the image of the US on its computers to the tens of thousands of delegates who attended the 2010 annual meeting…

…In the past, Africa has been portrayed by the western media as a continent of violence, poverty, starvation and corruption. The pictures displayed by the Bretton Woods institutions about Ghana seem to suggest that it supports the theory that when a dog bites a dog, it is no news but when a man bites a dog then it is news. In other word, bad news sells more than good news.

A Kenyan journalist, Kelly Mbani, asked: “Why couldn’t the country office of the World Bank in Ghana show pictures of interesting and attractive places such as Trassacco Valley, East Legon, the Accra Shopping Mall, Boti Falls, and Kakum National Park?”…

Why not, indeed? Sure, this may not be the considered view of a majority of Ghanaians; but it is a valid rejoinder and a sentiment that Binyavanga Wainaina might be proud of


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