Chris Brown, the American R&B singer is set to perform in Ohene Djan Stadium, in Ghana, on the 5th of March to celebrate Independence Day and the launching of the new technology city called Hope City.
With news about the concert all over the media, the event has turned into the center of attention in Ghana, and even worldwide. The concert that Chris Brown is going to stage will probably demand a big amount of resources: workforce, investments and, most importantly and concerning, power.
The Bad: Ghana and a Long Tradition of Power Shortage
Ghana has been going through an energy crisis since the 1980s. The generation of electricity, mainly from hydroelectric sources, is not enough to cover the needs of the city and the people living in it.
The Electricity Company of Ghana, Ltd. (ECG) is a company wholly owned by the Government of Ghana. The Volta River Authority (VRA) is the major generator of electricity, and it is also owned by the state. After years of recurring issues, the ECG and VRA blame each other back and forth without really getting to a solution to the problem.
The government is planning on building a new dam, the Bui Dam, to try to ensure the proper amount of energy supply. However, the capacity of the dam will be affected during the dry season, which would bring the supply problem back to square one. Because of the years of neglect towards the electricity problem, the investments and projects needed to successfully resolve the power shortage is beyond the construction of just another dam.
As a possible way out of the energy obstacle, many suggest the privatisation and liberalisation of the company as the only way out. Hopefully, with foreign investment, Ghana will get the adequate infrastructure necessary to achieve security of supply.
The Good: The Company behind Hope City
Hope City will be powered by rlg, a Ghanaian-owned company for the production of communications equipment. The company offers a wide range of products and, more importantly, it engages itself in training their employees in collaboration with the National Youth Employment Programmes. For this effect, rlg has created schools where they have trained thousands of young people in various areas related to information and communication technologies, following the company’s mission to collaborate with their stakeholders to empower the youth for the future.
A company like rlg, which pursues private economic goals yet works together with the government to improve the social and economic condition of the citizens, is probably a good example of cooperation between private and public interests. By giving something back to the community, in this case training in specific skills, job opportunities and space for growth, rlg gets a good reputation, generates a market of consumer within the country, and forms the workforce to fit their specific needs.
With such an unreliable power system, it is difficult to picture Chris Brown’s international level concert, cutting edge lighting and sound systems included, successfully taking place in Ghana’s Ohene Djan Stadium. Inconsequential though this concert may be in the grand scheme of things, maybe it will help to bring about some key changes and improvements to a power system which is in much need of it. Ghana must certainly focus all its strength on supporting and promoting the type of mentality, goals and principles that rlg holds. Maybe this is the way out of the long-existing power crisis.