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15.01.2007 Feature Article

Ten differences between Ghana and Nigeria

By kevin
Ten differences between Ghana and Nigeria
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Of course this is based on the parts of Ghana I saw, it's possible that things are different in the north. In general I'd say that things work better in Ghana but I found the people slightly less friendly.

1. Taxis are all clearly marked (by orange wings) in Ghana. While this theoretically applies in Nigeria most taxis in (for example) Abuja are unmarked.

2. There seems to be some enforcement of car roadworthiness checks in Ghana, you don't see the kind of old wrecks on the road that you do in Nigeria. Maybe the vehicle inspectors are less easily bribed in Ghana?

3. Electricity. In Ghana you get a schedule telling you when there are going to be outages (due to insufficient supply), in Nigeria NEPA/PHCN like to keep it a surprise (probably even to themselves). The Ghanaians complain about how the suffer due to poor electricity supply anyway, I struggled not to laugh at them.

4. Ghana still has an agricultural sector, the economy hasn't been completely dominated by one product.

5. Newspapers in Ghana actually contain some news, rather than stories the journalists have been bribed to insert.

6. Ghanaians aren't as keen on greetings, in fact often asking “how is your family?” or “how was the night?” will result in blank faces or funny looks.

7. Ghana smells. The drains at the side of the road seem to commonly be used as sewers, in Nigeria they're normally just storm drains. This gives the country a special aroma.

8. The roads in Ghana are mostly in reasonable condition. I often travel on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, Nigeria's best road (because the generals used to use it to travel between the capital and their homes in Kaduna). A typical major road in Ghana is at least as good. Even dirt roads to villages in Ghana showed some signs of maintenance.

9. There's a greater variety of food in Ghana. Even in smaller towns you can often get some “continental” or even Chinese food. Ghanaians seem to be more adventurous when it comes to food.

10. You get singled out for begging in Ghana. In Nigeria the beggars go round everyone, in Ghana they immediately target the rich “obruni” tourists. In fact in Nigeria you don't feel as singled-out just for being white.

kevin
kevin, © 2007

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