Look at it this way. Two siblings who are always being compared to each other no matter the odds. One vibrant, industrious with the economic capacity due to its unrivaled population and popularity.
The other is rather reserved in nature but makes up for the vibrancy in its relative stability and conducive space for manifestation of its quality human capital.
This may be close enough to the description a social media user gave to Nigeria and Ghana. Though, I am not in the best position to assign a country to the above instances, it is clear that Ghana is the reserved one.
“Nigeria is like the dazzling, exciting girl Jack dated. Ghana is the calm, dependable one he married,” this was the sarcastic reaction of a user to the news of the siting of Twitter’s Africa operational hub in Ghana.
Nigeria is like the dazzling, exciting girl Jack dated. Ghana is the calm, dependable one he married.— Gesare Chife (@gechife) April 12, 2021
The social media giant on April 12, disclosed that the company will use the headquarters in the West African country to announce its presence on the continent.
The development, coupled with President Akufo-Addo’s endorsement, triggered a tirade of reactions from the tech space with many highlighting its potential impact on the continents strife towards digitization.
The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news. Gov’t and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country. 1/3 #TwitterInGhana #TwitterGhana https://t.co/HdCqFgXK0x— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) April 12, 2021
Geographically, however, the conversation was mainly hinged around Ghana and Nigeria.
Some enthusiasts wondered why Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey would gloss over Nigeria in selecting such a critical operational pivot for Africa.
I wasn’t kidding when I said this was a critical banter. I mean, for two countries that have engaged in perennial wars over whose Jollof Rice tastes best, the subject matter will be classified as pretty high on the agenda.
Twitter’s Africa HQ in Ghana…it’s fine, Nigerian jollof rice is still sweeter 🤭— DEBBIE (@DebsExtra) April 12, 2021
Ghana we no get size ooo. We take jollof bribe Jack.— DANSO (@______d_anso) April 13, 2021
Now we know yaanom jollof is beans. 💔😂
imma tell my kids Jack Dorsey tried Ghana jollof, was obsessed, and decided to make accra HQ for Twitter Africa for this reason alone— abena (@abenaanim21) April 12, 2021
on a serious note this is pretty impressive https://t.co/9mwJwejn5z
Ghana and Nigeria’s love-hate relationship stems from the numerous values and historical antecedents which we have in common.
From the days of Ghana-Must-Go, to life-long soccer rivalry among Black Stars and Super Eagles.
Even our music has more similarities than you might imagine with artistes frequenting each other’s jurisdiction than any other two countries on the continent, arguably.
Even the legend Fela Kuti, widely considered as the pioneer of the now-thriving Afrobeats genre has his craft firmly rooted in Ghana with heavy highlife influence.
According to a music lecturer at the University of Ghana, John Collins, the word ‘Afrobeat’ itself was coined when Fela was in Ghana back in 1968.
The truth is that if the @MBuhari regime does not turn a new leaf (almost an impossibility), even Nigerian businesses and brands will be leaving Nigeria for Ghana. Both Dunlop and Michelin left Nigeria for Ghana. Even our Grammy winners @WizkidAyo and @BurnaBoy prefer Ghana— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) April 12, 2021
Prominent in the fray was Nigerian politician, Adamu Garba who expressed bitterness over the move.
Mr Garba was the same individual who had threatened to sue the Jack Dorsey for supposedly fueling the #EndSARS protests last year and withdrew subsequently.
They told you to stay and build your country, you insult, denigrated Nigeria and compare us with very small countries like Ghana.— Adamu Garba II (@adamugarba) April 12, 2021
You see, every power is afraid of the sleeping giant Nigeria to wake up.
Nigeria is the only country with prospects to be African version of China.
His perspective could be patriotically justifiable. However, his own Nigerian nationals beg to differ on the nearly every other sentiment he shared.
According to many, though Nigeria possesses the numbers push as an agenda, Ghana on the other hands brings to the table a secure and tranquil environment for fluid economic activity.
Ghana has 31million people.— #OurFavOnlineDoc 🩺🇳🇬🇬🇧💎 (@DrOlufunmilayo) April 12, 2021
8million social media users.
Nigeria has 200million people.
33million social media users.
*Guess where Twitter chose as headquarters of African Operations?Ghana!
We ban crypto.
Kill small business.
Oppress young people.
This is why nobody rates us.
On one hand, I believe Nigeria could have been a good fit for the Twitter Africa HQ. But put yourself in any investor’s shoes.
Business owners are prone to moving their dealings to areas where they will not just thrive financially. They also consider the propensity of their business to be sustained with much political stability devoid of insurgence.
With these in mind, it is not farfetched that Ghana would be the preferred destination.
B4 venturing into any investmest u do a SWOT analysis. If threat outweighs opportunity, u abandon such investment. Insecurity, political instability and inconsistent govt policies are some of d greatest external threat. You guys av made d Nigerian business environment hostile.— Marcus N. (@Marcky267) April 13, 2021
The most important factor is the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), of which Ghana hosts the secretariat.
The connection to AfCFTA is clearly defined in the post announcing the April 12 move. The article indicated that the new hub was to “truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent.“
What better way to break through the continent than to associate with such a special purpose vehicle by tying Twitter’s penetration drive while exploring its endless possibility as espoused by the AfCFTA proponents.
These notwithstanding, I think there is a broader conversations that need to be had. For countless years, Africa has been tipped to have the potential of upscaling to meet demands and improve the lives of this populace.
Technological innovations on the continent have proved to be a pathway towards alleviating the hardships plaguing us and having powerhouses such as Google, Facebook and Twitter around only boosts the agenda.
So we currently have Amazon (South Africa), Facebook (Nigeria), Google (Nigeria, Ghana), Microsoft (Nigeria, Kenya) and Twitter (Ghana). Interesting times ahead.— Edem Kumodzi 🇬🇭🇹🇬 (@edemkumodzi) April 12, 2021
All I am driving at is, whether it’s Ghana or Nigeria, the benefits of this new operational hub will be continental.
Examples abound when it comes to African youth rolling out groundbreaking innovations influencing the very fabric of life as we know it.
Interestingly, some of the vacancies expected to be filled at Twitter’s Accra hub will require some proficiency in the Igbo and Yoruba languages. How does this translate into this leaving Nigeria out of the loop when a competitive advantage is clearly up for grabs.
For the Curator position, “While this role is primarily focused on English and English Pidgin content, working proficiency in one or more of the following languages is an advantage: Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.”
I’m yet to hear any complaint from a Ghanaian on this exception.
This, I believe, is not the time for stratification among countries on a continent struggling to rub shoulders with the giants of the globe.
Technologically, we have bigger fish to fry. Once we get there as Africa, the individual countries won’t matter.
Ghana isn’t eating Nigeria’s lunch. It’s a dining hall for Africa.
With that being said, Bon Appétit!
The author, Kenneth Awotwe Darko is a journalist, social media analyst and a tech enthusiast.
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