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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Columnist: Amo-Kyereme, Isaac

Marketing Ghana Abroad- The role of our embassy Websites

I was very at the time President J.A Kufour visited the US recently. Can you imagine that Ghana’s President was in the USA on a state visit, a very rare event for an African President and not a single picture or statement or news about his visit is on the website of the Ghana embassy? Are there no press or information personnel in the embassy. Are they not attending the dinners and functions all over? It is very frustrating and it makes you wonder as to whether our diplomatic staff do not know what they are about. Honestly I very much think most of the information and communications people in these embassies and high commissions should not be there at all. Just meet them to interact with them and you will understand me. They are just not cut out for the job-to be the mouth pieces for our nation. Representing our nation in these sensitive positions should not be a reward for a long service in the civil or public service. How productive the person would be should be the reason for such appointments.

Just visit most of our embassy websites all over the world and you will see outdated information going as far back as the PNDC era. The US embassy has a flash presentation which says Ghana will be 50 years in 2007. Do not be surprised to find Ghana at fifty events splashed all over almost all our embassy websites around the world. No updates ever get done and the old and outdated news is all you get. If you doubt me just check to see if you will not find headlines such as “Ghana to host Can 2008” on these websites.

For a very long time if you tried to access one such High commission’s website through google, there was a warning that said “visiting this website could harm your computer” Yet we have people on our pay role with the responsibility of just providing current and accurate information.

I will not go into the customer service Ghanaians and sometimes foreigners experience at our embassies now. And earlier article in July about the Ghana High Commission in London received some unproductive rejoinders and I do not want to turn this genuine article of concern into another political and tribal battlefield.

Please whoever is in charge of these men and women in our embassies must please sit up and demand that tax payers’ money does not go to waste. There are many Ghanaians scattered all over the world with a working knowledge about websites and information gathering and dissemination including myself who will be happy for the love of our nation Ghana to make these websites productive. Be up and running.