Posts Tagged ‘Ghana’


The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations was won by Nigeria (the Super Eagles), beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final. This is the 3rd time that Nigeria have won this competition, which started in 1957 and is held every other year. Burkina Faso’s previous best was coming 4th in 1998. In reaching the final, Nigeria beat Mali in one of the semi-finals, Burkina Faso beat Ghana in a penalty shoot-out in the other semi-final. In the 3rd place play-off, Mali beat Ghana 3-1. This may be the first time that all 4 teams reaching the semi-finals have all come from West Africa, and in fact all 4 are very close to each other geographically.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I do not recall any awareness of African football. The only other part of the World outside of Europe which got any attention was South America, and of course back in those days the great players like Pele did not play in Europe, they played their club football in South America.

But things have changed. Europeans are now used to seeing African footballers, many of the best footballers playing in Europe in the last 20 years come from Africa. Didier Drogba, who was instrumental in my team Chelsea’s successes over the last several years, is from Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).


Such has been the growth of African football and the interest in it in Europe that this year’s tournament had every match live on the sports channel Eurosport, and many of the matches were also shown in the Disunited Kingdom on the Freeview channel ITV4. With most English Premiership teams having several African players in their squads, the standard of football in the Africa Cup of Nations is very high, probably only surpassed by the standards in the Euro football championships and in the World Cup.

Looking at the list of countries who have reached the final four of the Africa Cup of Nations since its inception in 1957, one can see that football spans the entire African continent. Past winners include Egypt, Morocco, Cameroon, Zambia and South Africa, every corner of the continent. it just shows that football truly is the global game.


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I was reading a story recently about how The European Union was going to take more stringent action on the shipping of so-called “e-waste” (computers and other electronic goods) to Ghana. Ghana has become the place for computers from Europe to get dumped. When you take your computer to the recycling centre you think you are doing the right thing environmentally. You cannot just dump a computer in a landfill in Europe or the USA (or most other developed countries). So, you take it to the recycling centre.

Rather than recycle the computer, back in the mid 1990s it was decided to ship these old computers to African countries, where poorer people could get to use a computer that would cost one tenth or less of the price of a new one. It seemed to be a win-win situation, it was cheaper to ship the computers than recycle them in the developed countries, and it was felt that developed countries were doing their bit to bridge the “digital divide” by giving the computers to developing countries.

But, sadly, over the years the business became corrupted, and by early in the 2000s the computers were not being used by the people in the developing countries at all, they were being dumped in landfill sites there. Today in Europe, millions of computes that are taken for “recycling” are instead ending up in toxic landfill sites like the one in Agbogbloshie in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

There are many articles on this problem to be found on the web, but one of the best is this one from Time Magazine.


At these sites, thousands of people scavange for precious metals from the computers, burning away the plastic insulation to retrieve the metals. This leads to palls of acrid and toxic smoke rising into the sky near these dumps. Photographs and news clips that I have seen of Agbogbloshie suggest it is a living hell. Measurements suggest that levels of toxic chemicals are at least 100 times the allowable limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

So next time you take your computer or TV or other electronic device to your local recycling centre, try to find out before you do whether your local authority ships it out to Ghana or some other toxic landfill site rather than doing the proper thing and recycling it properly in an environmentally friendly way.

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