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Feature Article of Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

An Open Letter To Nana Oye Lithur

By Kofi Thompson

Congratulations on being appointed a minister in President Mahama's new administration.

It is heartwarming to know that a world-class individual like you is to be in charge of your very important ministry.

As you are aware, Ghanaian women more or less carry Mother Ghana on their collective shoulders - with their industry and fortitude.

I am reproducing an email (slightly edited) I sent to www.ghanaianfeministsforum.com some time in 2012

I am keen that the new government, of which you will be such an important member, takes up some of the ideas in that email.

The government itself could approach Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, and go into a joint-venture partnership - 70 percent to Ryanair and 30 percent to Ghana - to set up a new Ghana Airways in which Ryanair provides all the aircraft, management and pays for all the running costs.

Ghana's contribution would be to get the African Union (AU) to declare the skies over Africa one open-sky, so that the new national carrier can fly to and from all the important cities in Africa from Accra.

Using the low-cost carrier business model, it will be a formidable force in Africa's aviation industry - and will definitely be profitable.

With Ryanair managing it, there is little chance of meddlesome officialdom and corrupt politicians interfering in its running. Above all, a new national carrier will be an achievement to point to in 2016.

Minister, the aforementioned email to www.ghanaianfeministsforum.com now follows below. Please read on:

"Hi,

In the war of the sexes, I am firmly in the camp of the female of the species. I was brought up by my mother - who like many Ghanaian women made enormous sacrifices to do so.

May I humbly suggest that you use your new online forum to encourage Ghanaian women in the Diaspora to have big dreams - and set up businesses wherever in the world they live?

As my widow's-mite-contribution to your forum, I'd be happy to place my personal network at their disposal - and also share ideas with them to enable them leverage the fair-trade sector for various niche markets, they might be interested in going into.

For example, some of the best dark chocolate in the world is manufactured by the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) at the port city of Tema.

Surely, there are enough brainy Ghanaian businesswomen in the UK, the EU, the US and Canada, who can convince supermarkets in the above named nations to have their own-brand chocolates manufactured by the CPC - and imported from Ghana as fair-trade chocolate by the likes of Tesco and Walmart?

Yet another example of a business opportunity for them: Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary has an intense personal rivalry with Easyjet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Well, as it happens, Sir Stelios is setting up a low-cost carrier in Africa known as Fastjet.

Is there no Ghanaian businesswoman savvy enough to convince Antrak Air's Alhaji Asuma Banda to join her, in linking up with Ryanair to set up a rival pan-African carrier, to compete with Fastjet - to offer safe and affordable point-to-point flights between major cities in what some describe as the international aviation world's last frontier, Africa?

Aside from lucrative intra-Africa low-cost flights, imagine the money to be made by such a joint-venture from affordable flights between Africa and the continents of Europe and North America by such a low-cost carrier, ladies.

Ghana needs an internet-based insurance company.

Why do Ghanaian businesswomen overseas not convince internet-based insurance companies wherever they live in the Diaspora, to come to Ghana, in a joint-venture with a financial services sector entity here, like the dynamic UT Group for example?

Finally, through your agency, I would be happy to introduce any Ghanaian female entrepreneurs out there with big-ticket projects (such as: building a waste-to-energy power plant; building a new bridge across the Volta River as a private public partnership (PPP) turnkey project; building a railway line from Accra to Paga) to a Dutch private equity financing facilitator I know, who will facilitate private equity financing for their dream-projects (from US$20 millions upwards, ie).

Power to Ghanaian women worldwide!"

Yours in the service of Ghana,

Kofi.

Tel:027 745 3109.

Email:peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

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