Michael is a very good Swedish friend of mine who is a port administrator at a busy dry bulk port in Sweden. He is as well a friend of Africa and has visited more than four different African countries and still counting. Together we have exchanged lots of correspondence while sharing great knowledge and ideas between each other as he follows developments in Africa very keenly. In his recent email, whiles addressing some maritime issues (as usual) he shared some very interesting and candid opinions which I decided  to share with my readers,



africa leaders coruption
a letter from a friend of Africa

     Good forenoon Dennis,

         Nice to read something from you, I understand the business environment in Ghana is tough and the present Ghana Government policies are not helping much. I read your well written article about the Panama Canal and the effect it has to African ports, well, it is a fact that the Canal is of great importance to worldwide shipping.

    However, there is a new canal project being planned through Nicaragua, the Chinese are financiers. So the Panama Canal might have a strong competitor in the decades to come. As you might very well know, some people in the shipping industry now claim the so called mega ships, the post panama container ships, are a major economic disaster. Yes, due to scale economics.

 The transport price of a container is low, but the ships can only be used for certain trades and the number of ports able to accept them is limited. So these ships are not flexible. So as usual, all issues have as a coin, two sides.

   Am still in serious consideration of the project plans I had last year ( and still have) that I got  after visiting Gambia. In Ghana too I realize cement has during the past years gone up very much putting great strains on the “ordinary people”. 

   I had tried to discuss matters in different circles but it is hard to get people here to invest in Africa. I am going to be very personal with you, I like Africa, apart  from Gambia I think Ghana is the best country in Africa, but the overall image of Africa and Africans is very low in Europe.      

  Many people here say nothing good comes out of Africa. Corruption, corrupt Presidents, civil wars, political unrest such as military coups recently as in Burkina Faso, terrible terror attacks by fundamental Muslim movements in Nigeria, Kenya, and Mali, internet scammers, AIDS, drug smugglers, and now the Ebola outbreak does not make anything easier.

   I have a hard time trying to explain what Africa is really like, and that not all Africans are scammers. As you know, I have for the past 4-5 years been to Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Gambia. And following the debate in Ghana carefully, many Ghanaians seem doubtful if the large oil and gas income will trickle down to the ” man on the street”. Regretfully a large part of the oil income will find its way into the pockets of the political leaders. I hope all that makes sense to you, looking forward to your comments.

Best regards, Michael    

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  • These issues are very true but then Africa is no longer what it’s used to be, we are advancing and competing with the rest of world in all spheres. The oil money might not totally end up in the pockets of few privileged because there are policies in place to check for accountability and probity. Good write up.

    • shippingguide

      Great point James,
      well, there are policies inplace ,but having a policyon paper is different from implementation lets all hope however that this policies are actually implemented for the full benefit of all Ghanaians

  • Jude Ahorlu Chu

    Well life is damn hard here. As at now there are available berths in the port always in contrast to past times when there was choke in the POrts because we received more volumes. One may argue that we are protecting local industry but in reality, there are no conspicuous industries and we have lost transit volumes to Benin and we are going hungry. We are our own enemies we vote for them every time when we know they are going into office to steal. I will personally had put some dynamite in the oil rig.

  • thomas jefferson

    It is without doubt that, Micheals’ description about Africa is true. Its amazing the sort of impact our thesis and research projects could have on this current crises we face in our ports and other industries at large and yet we leave these valuable assets properly arranged in library shelves of our various institutions.

    We are good at making noise of the many schools we have attended, courses we have read and the many honours we receive and yet our so called engineers can not diagnose simple mechanical or electrical glitches.

  • Ampadu Vera

    this are all true, the most disgusting part is the white thinks all Africans are scammers and fraudsters. It is very sad when you happen to be the only Ghanaian in a chat room, full of 20000 whites. They treat you as an outcast, for me I don’t see any hope in our leaders and the youth too have lost total focus on the future ahead. Ghana needs to embrace entrepreneurship and technology , this is the first step. We need to stand for ourselves rather than wait for this power drunk politicians.
    I have started helping school children develop their entrepreneurial traits, my fellow Ghanaians let’s come together and help.

    • shippingguide

      You are right Vera the overall image of Africa most Europeans see is that we are scammers this sometimes makes it very difficult to establish strong and fruitful friendship with some of them as they always look at us suspiciously..

  • Shipping guideFrancis Obi Iroegbu (Scotland)

    Let it be known that the corruption going on now in Africa is a face that will eventually disappear. Some nations are painting the picture out of proportion. it is obvious to me that the development of ports like Apapa port, Tincan port, Onne port, Warri port, Caalabar port and even some jetties compare favorably with other international seaports. the tonnage of cargoes handled are equally comparable to other international seaports. it is also corruption for international countries to dump their donnages and toxic wastes in Africa.i wish everybody will abide by the United nations maritime regulations for better services to the industry.

  • yeagam reddy

    Corruption is every where, we in africa are singled out. our legacy left by our colonial masters. on the mega ships is history going to repeat itself, late 1980’s moore mccormick / US lines bankruptcy result of low freight rates and rapidly falling oil prices.

  • It’s important to identify the issues that plague us but even more important to find solutions and implement them. Africa’s problems are as diverse as the people themselves. As an African I have a vested interest in playing a part in this change we all crave for. Change starts with ourselves. If we all make a conscious effort to be honest, impartial, hardworking, principled and prudent in our dealings daily, we will be that trigger that starts a chain reaction. We cannot expect non Africans to view us any different than they do now when we protray ourselves as they see us in our little corners. The ideology that the government is a few people at the top is wrong…the government is all of us. The revolution starts with us.

  • Okunga Emmanuel Wandera

    The Western view of Africa is largely driven by ignorance and a self serving Western media.The great African stories are not on TV but in the daily lives of the common people who toil and innovate to eke out a decent and honest living day in day out amidst the challenges imposed on them by amorous,rogue,unaccountable and piranha-like ‘leaders’. Ebola has reached the USA but not 90% of African countries so why is it an African problem alone? The greatest scammers in history were and still are white.Terror attacks occur in USA and Europe.We still remember Bush and Blair and their weapons of mass destruction. Today we see how western policies have destroyed the Middle East, Libya,Egypt…We remember the IMF policies of the 1990s and their impact on Africa. My brothers and sisters the primal responsibility for Africa’s progress lies in Africans ourselves the rest can only be partners.

  • Elizabeth Jude-Nwibie

    Dear friends,

    Amidst all the issues faced by the ordinary man living in an oil producing country, there is a pressing need to garner the will power to diversify the economy.

    I believe that if any European individual or organisation is willing to invest in Africa, the #stopwastingfood campaign would be a good point at this time.

    According to the FAO, Wasting food in rich countries contributes directly to global hunger. Whether rich or poor, all countries buy food from the same global market of internationally traded commodities. If rich countries buy hundreds of millions of tonnes of food they end up wasting,they are removing food from the market which could have remained there for other countries to buy. By raising demand for these commodities,rich countries also contribute to price, which makes them less affordable for poorer nations.

    Developed countries efforts are crucial in developing processing techniques to reduce wastage, enhancing retailing planning and improving consumer behavior. The adoption of guidelines and recommendations aimed at preventing avoidable wastage and encouraging businesses to adopt more resource-efficient production patterns. Besides, new regulations that,for instance,remove quality requirements regarding appearance and over-zealous safety standards, would certainly be helpful in avoiding unnecessary discards and lower the envi- ronmental impact of the post-harvest processing chain.

    Let’s join forces to #stopwastingfood. The ADA – ECOWAS project mandate is “to install in the next four years 1 Million food-processing units to give the financial autonomy to 5 Million Women in West Africa”.

    Send pictures with #stopwastingfood label to our twitter handle #stopwastingfood1 or http://www.Facebook.com/Godhateswaste.

  • Elizabeth Jude-Nwibie

    This is an ADA – ECOWAS project.

    ADA  www.idainternational.org and   ECOWAS http://www.ecowas.int have decided to implement   a series of projects and programs aimed to improve economic and social conditions of African women and vulnerable groups. The main project is to provide food-processing machines to women in West Africa. We already have some financial sources and we are starting with the first pilot in Senegal supporting by worldwide training institutions, the local government, universities, experts and women associations. The first product to transform is peanut, so every woman can start with a small unit of oilseeds pressure for cold extraction of edible oil and protein meal for animal feed, which has a fast return on investment (+/- 1 year). For the seeds processing we have the complete project and the resources we need, but we have to apply the same concept to others products as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, etc. We have also to develop the production of the raw material to transform and an agriculture plan is a step of the project.


    The key point of the project is the entrepreneurship development in order to improve the economic and social situation of women and vulnerable groups, to give Dignity no Charity.

    It is not the donation of a machine the solution to Africa’s problems, but the transfer of:
    – a business model
    – the Know-how
    – a new mentality
    – the experience and the history of other populations
    – the techniques of European Cooperative
    – the USA franchising techniques
    – a comprehensive package that guaranteed the results

    For this task we are looking for voluntaries to promote worldwide this project; the voluntaries could become employees in the second phase of the project.

    You can support the project to:

    –          Promote the project in any way, on line and off line, to create awareness and sensitize people

    –          Look for the cheapest and best technologies for food processing machines

    –          Create a specific Think Tank in your Country for this social project

    –          Rise funds

    –          Organize events

    –          Involve any organization you know

    –          Find partners and sponsors

    –          Sensitize experts, opinion leaders, VIP

    –          Involve Universities and Research centers

    –          Involve any media and communication

    –          Involve agricultural companies

    –          Involve your friend and people that could help you

    Be part of our organization to be a protagonist of this project

    This is a huge social project with a strong political and institutional support but we need your contribution to reach the goal.


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