The Future Of Africa? Seven Times Ghana Has Beaten Nigeria
To The Prize
Did you know Ghana has beaten Nigeria twice as much in
professional football matches? Nigeria has played Ghana 56
times. Of those 56 encounters, Nigeria has won 12, while
Ghana has won twice as much with 24 plus 1 (25) wins.
Both countries have had a stalemate 19 times. Do you still
consider this a rivalry?
On Monday, Twitter announced that it was opening its
African headquarters in Ghana. Answering the question “why
Ghana?” Twitter said Ghana is a champion for democracy,
“a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open
Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate”.
Nigerians took to Twitter to explain why Twitter chose
Ghana over Nigeria. In the process, they blamed the
Nigerian government for not implementing policies that
favour investments. One Nigerian even went on to suggest
that Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, could not get a SIM card in
Nigeria due to the government policy on registration.
However, the problems are deeper than what this single
case presents. TheCable has observed for some months
how Ghana always seems to beat Nigeria to the prize as the
jewel of western Africa. So, we present seven times Ghana
has beaten Nigeria.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
Nigeria is the biggest economy on the continent; according
to the World Bank, Nigeria’s GDP is more than seven times
the GDP of Ghana. In the same vein, you would expect
foreign direct investment (FDI) to flow into Nigeria at that
same pace, but that is not the case.
In 2018, Ghana got more FDI than Nigeria, suggesting that
investors were very comfortable with voting money into the
country than they were about the continent’s Giant. Ghana
got $3.3 billion in 2018, when Nigeria could only get $2.2
In 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics recorded that
Nigeria got $414.79 million in FDI in nine months. But
Ghana got $785.62 million in six months. Despite the size of
the Nigerian economy, investors seem to favour Ghana.
AUTO COMPANIES MOVE TO GHANA
A wise man once said Nigeria is not a big market because it
has over 200 million people; a market is not just the number
of people, but the number of people who can afford a
product. With nearly half of Nigeria living in extreme poverty,
there are certain goods they cannot afford.
More than that, the other half of the country living above
poverty, is also divided into many classes. Very few of them
can afford a brand new car. On the long run, the market for
new vehicles is really small in Nigeria. The case in Ghana
may not be much different, but the companies seem to
Volkswagen, Suzuki, Toyota, Nissan are auto companies
that have chosen to set up a plant in Ghana. Those are jobs
Nigeria could use but have now lost to the friendly
GOOGLE OPENS FIRST AFRICAN AI LAB IN GHANA
In 2019, Google, the tech giant, opened its first artificial
intelligence lab in Ghana. The announcement was made in
2018, driving the popular question: Why Ghana?
Victor Asemota, a Nigerian tech pioneer, answered the
question simply: “Ghana is the future of Africa”. Google did
not state why it chose Accra, but said it would “bring
together top machine learning researchers and engineers in
this new center dedicated to AI research and its
Read that as more money, more skills, and more talent for
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS
Did you know that Nigeria is the hardest country in sub-
Saharan Africa to register a property? Of all 48 countries
monitored by the World Bank, Nigeria ranked 48 in the 2020
Ease of Doing Business Index for Africa.
While Nigeria ranks 131 on the global Doing Business
ranking, Ghana sits miles away at 118. This means it is
easier to pay taxes, get electricity, register a property, and
just do business in Accra than it is in Lagos.
Nigeria claims to have made so much progress in this field,
and the World Bank agrees, but Ghana has remained ahead
COVID-19 VACCINE GOES TO GHANA
A lot goes on in international politics and diplomacy, and
the outcome of that means a lot for how the rest of the
world perceives individual countries. On February 24, 2021,
Ghana became the first country in Africa to receive COVAX
It was a historic moment in the history of the biggest health
crisis in the history of the modern world. Accra was chosen
for that expression of hope for a reason — easy planning.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, described the
arrival of the vaccines as “the historic moment for which we
have been planning and working so hard”. Nigeria did not
get the same vaccines until more than a week later.
These little things count against Nigeria.
OBAMA SNUBS NIGERIA FOR GHANA
The vaccine first-mover advantage had been in the works
years before now, but little attention was paid to it. When
Barack Obama became the first black president of the
United States, analysts placed a big bet that he would visit
Nigeria, the country with the largest number of black people
anywhere in the world.
That did not happen; instead, Obama chose Ghana for his
first African visit as president in 2009.
Obama was in office for another seven years, but never step
foot in Nigeria. While this may not seem like a big deal, “oh
he didn’t have to visit Nigeria,” this was a loud message
HISTORICAL WIN: OBASANJO VS KOFI ANAN
Did you know that former president Olusegun Obasanjo, one
of the finest diplomats out of Africa, wanted to be UN
Secretary-General in 1991?
Obasanjo had a failed bid and attempted to lead the UN as
the first black African to do so. But was unsuccessful. All
Obasanjo wanted so badly was achieved by Kofi Annan,
when he became the first black man to lead the UN as
secretary-general in 1997.
Annan was UN secretary-general up until 2006, effectively
ruining Obasanjo’s chances of ever clinching that seat. This
was another historical win for Gold Coast, the only country
in sub-Saharan Africa to have produced a secretary-general
at that level.
From football matches to UN politics and everything in
between, Ghana has found a way to outdo Nigeria, and a lot
more recently. Is it time for the giant of Africa to take a step
back and make new policy choices to renew its place as a
choice investment destination on the continent? Or just
simply start by winning football matches against the black
stars? Your guess is as good as ours.