The bamboo industry in China currently comprises up to 10 million people who make a living out of production of the grass. But while the Asian nation has significant resources of bamboo — three million hectares of plantation and three million hectares of natural forests — the continent of Africa is recorded to have an estimated three and a half million hectares of plantations, excluding conservation areas.
Yaw Owiredu Mintah from Ghana has been working as an all-round processor of bamboo and rattan since the 1980s. And while he says that he can do most things with bamboo like weaving, framing and finishing, he admits, “I need to improve my skills and designs because all of us are, most of the time, doing the same things.”
Paul Ayormah and his fellow farmers make their way home after hours spent manually weeding a friend’s one-acre maize farm in Ghana’s Eastern Region.
“Tomorrow it will be the turn of my maize farm,” he tells IPS.
Beatrice Boateng, a member of parliament with the New Patriotic Party, Ghana’s official opposition to the ruling New Democratic Congress, has earned her place among the country’s lawmakers.
At first glance Nortey Quaynor looks like any ordinary 29-year-old Ghanaian. If you spend a little time with him, though, you soon realise that something is different.
Ghana has taken a major step towards reducing its under-five mortality rate by becoming the first African country to introduce two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.
The incessant buzzing of mosquitoes was the first sign that there was something wrong. While Bernard Akumiah could clearly hear the small insects, there were none within his vicinity.
On the grubby edge of Old Fadama, Accra’s infamous illegal slum settlement, 67-year-old Mariana Sayitou sits under a parasol and tends to her livelihood – selling several dozen kola nuts and a few piles of bagged beans to passers-by.
As streams dry out, groundwater levels dwindle, and forests and other vegetation yield to droughts or sever storms, women who live their lives in the rural areas of Ghana have to spend more time and energy finding water and food for their families.
Emmanuel Joseph and George Amoah, two disabled Ghanaians, occupy different ends of the spectrum. The former lies on a piece of cardboard in Accra Central, his half-naked body twisted and mostly paralysed, the sun beating down on him while he waits to collect three dollars, the average proceeds of a day's begging.