Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ghana – Our obsession with cars

Ghanaians love cars! In biblical times, as we are told, a man’s wealth was measured by how many herds of cattle he had. In ancient Ghana a man’s wealth was probably measured in wives and children, beads, gold jewelry, and kente clothes.

In modern Ghana, dare I say, a man’s wealth is measured by the car(s) he drives. The more expensive, the better – of the SUV or German engineered variety!

Whoever said a car is a bad investment never talked to Ghanaians. Most people see an instant and recognizable gain in social net-worth after buying a new expensive car in Ghana.

If you don’t believe me how else would you explain the following?

  • Ghanaian MPs (members of parliament) make about $2,000 per month or $24,000 a year but each of them drives a $50,000 SUV. Yes all 200 and something of them.
  • The rush to secure government vehicles when there is a change in the political party governing the country. Forgetting the billions of worth of contracts signed in the final days of the previous administration that amount to a massive looting of the treasury that we eventually sell our collective souls overseas to repay.
  • Ghana is one of the top destinations in the world for stolen vehicles, mainly luxury vehicles from the US, Canada and Europe.
  • Chances are you can get millions of dollars in business by delivering a brand new Mercedes Benz S Class worth about $100,000 to a politician.
  • Chances are you can give a local chief a car worth about $50,000 plus $20,000 cash for about $100,000 worth of land.