When the news first hit these shores about plans by the United Kingdom to charge a bond of £3000 to Ghanaians planning to visit the UK, the majority of us immediately focused on the backwardness and silliness of this plan, as well as how anachronistic it sounded seeing as Europe, including the UK, was fast losing the appeal it once had. It looks like in the midst of the righteous outrage, not enough attention was paid to the fact that only a few countries were selected for this dubious honour, and Ghana featured gloriously among this select number.
One has to remember that Ghana also features among the ultra-select number of countries in the world blocked by some major global eCommerce sites. PayPal refuses to accept Ghanaian subscribers. Ghana has recently been designated number 2 on the Africa cybercrime index. Ghana, along with India, China, Pakistan, and Nigeria, have long formed the elite club of countries where special restrictions apply for candidates taking the SAT, TOEFL, and the GRE. Many of the world’s leading universities apply special measures when evaluating qualifications from Ghanaian universities and secondary schools now. There are special anti-fraud guidelines in place for Ghanaian US DV-lottery applicants. And so on and so forth.
What is even more fascinating is that the other countries that normally join Ghana on these blacklists and clubs tend to be vastly more populous. Why is a small country like ours turbocharging up global deceit, graft, and sleaze lists? And why then are we always patting ourselves on the back for our so-called ‘international image’? I must concede one bright spot though. Last year, after the panic-stricken bank of Ghana introduced drastic measures, Ghana was removed from yet another blacklist: money laundering and terrorism.