Ghana – Connecting to the Center of the World – Fall 1999
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ith the Prime Meridian and the Equator intersecting on its southern coast, Ghana is—
geographically speaking—the centermost country in the world.
Ghana’s warm, tropical climate is matched by its reputation as one of the friendliest
countries in West Africa, and its pace of life is described laid back, easy-going and civilized.
Despite five centuries of European colonization, when its mineral wealth was plundered and its
people enslaved, Ghana’s longstanding culture of kings, its social and artistic traditions, and even
some of its gold, diamonds and cocoa survived. The Gold Coast, as the region was known during
the colonial period, adopted the name Ghana in 1957, when it became the first black nation in
sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence.
Today Ghana is a West African country of approximately 20 million people, with a struggling
economy and a tentative movement toward democracy, both bolstered by the appointment of
Kofi Annan, a native son, as Secretary General of the United Nations. In its rainforests, savannas,
and coastal waters, most Ghanaians still make their living from agriculture, fishing and mining.
But unemployment is high, and the economy is burdened by an inflation rate of up to 20 percent.
With half of Ghana’s population under the age of 20 and literacy and urban migration increasing,
young people are looking for new opportunities and outlets for their talents and ambitions.
CLCs Offer New Opportunities
My life has completely changed from an unknown to a known world.
Letter to Jonnie Akakpo from Comfort Awuah
Ms. Awuah, a volunteer at a Community Learning Center (CLC) in Kumasi, echoes the
sentiments of many of the staff and patrons of the three CLCs that Jonnie Akakpo has established
in Ghana through the LearnLink project.
Until recently, access to computers and the Internet in Ghana was sparse, with public access
limited to Accra, the capita