Category Archives: Diageo

Visiting the Home of Tusker Beer and KBL

Last Friday, the management of Kenya Breweries (KBL) offered a media tour of their plant at Ruaraka, Nairobi. One of the oldest companies in Kenya, KBL is now part of East African Breweries (EABL) that is controlled by Diageo. The tour was a chance to walk see their production lines for different products like Tusker beers, Senator, and spirits like Kenya Cane. It was also a chance to meet and hear the top management of including Managing Director of Kenya Breweries, Jane Karuku, and heads of some divisions including bottled beer (Janice Kemoli), Spirits (Annjoy Muhoro) Sustainability (Jean Kiarie), and Innovations (Fred Otieno)

EABL has 2017 net sales of Kshs 70 billion (~$700 million) and Kshs 8.5 billion ($85 million) profit. Their financial year ended just before the election season in Kenya which saw nationwide general elections held on August 8 and a surprise repeat Presidential one on October 26. and the KBL Managing Director said that the prolonged elections period had resulted in a slow first half of their new year, including the Christmas season which is usually a peak. EABL gets 72% of its revenue from Kenya, 17% from Uganda, and 11% from Tanzania, and they also serve South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Beer is still the cornerstone of the company, accounting for 80% of their revenue. This is led by Tusker, then Guinness (second by volume). Premium and lite beers are growing around the world and KBL has Tusker malt and Tusker Lite. There is also Senator Lager that was introduced in Kenya to combat the illicit alcohol trade. Senator is distributed by kegs and sold by pitcher or glass, And as part of a Kshs 15 billion Senator investments, a  new Senator line was commissioned in Kisumu, and MD Karuku said that the old plant has a great location to serve Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, is next to Lake Victoria, and it is modular in design which will allow more product lines to be added on in future. She said beer would continue to be the main part of their future as beer keeps up with GDP (growing at about 5% a year) and grows as young people reach the legal drinking age.

They also have spirits which contribute about 20% of the revenue of the company, and they control half the spirits market in Kenya. They have three segments of spirits; Reserve (luxury) in which they have  Singleton whiskey, Ciroc, and Tanqueray gin. Then they have a Premium segment that includes Johnnie Walker (Kenya was the fastest growing Scotch market for Diageo in 2017) & liquours (Baileys which is marketed for ladies). Finally, they have a Mainstream segment, which is 80% of their spirits business in Kenya. Their main products here are Kenya Cane, a forty-year-old sugar cane blend, and also Chrome vodka. The company invested Kshs 900 million in a line that will double their spirits production capability, and they aim to grow spirits contribution from 20% to 30% of revenue. They also invested in tamper-proof plastic seals to combat a wave of counterfeiting of popular alcohol brand products in Kenya and 50% of the alcohol purchased is illicit.

In life, tastes and consumer preferences are constantly shifting, and the company has an innovation division that tries to anticipate what consumers will like in the future.  New products rolled out include a citrus fusion variant of Kenya Cane, non-alcoholic Álvaro (which is being revamped), a craft premium beer called Hop House 13, Tusker Cider, Tusker draft beer )that is predominantly at all-inclusive hotels at the Kenya coast), and Zinga a new beer brand being piloted that is priced between Senator and their other bottled beers. With the new citrus fusion introduction, sales of Kenya Cane grew 46% last year, and overall innovation contributed 18% to turnover in Kenya and 33% in Tanzania.

Last year EABL contributed Kshs 52 billion in taxes (it was the third largest taxpayer after Safaricom and the Teachers Service Commission) equivalent to  4% of government revenue.   Besides with the Senator beer, KBL also works with the government to explain that importance of a stable tax regime and business environment, and have pushed a caution that alcohol is not price-sensitive to the sin-taxes that seem to be a favourite add-on in the national budget every year. Already, while a Tusker bottler has a recommended retail price of Kshs 140, Kshs 84 shillings will go out as tax, Kshs 23 goes to the distribution chain and the company gets Kshs 33.

For the long-term, EABL which contributes 0.8% to Kenya’s GDP plans to source 100% of their inputs locally by 2020 (up from the current 80%). They work with 31,000 farmers through their East Africa Maltings and pay Barley farmers Kshs 1.7 billion and sorghum ones Kshs 660 million every year, with the new Senator line expected to see 15,000 more farmers contracted, and 5,000 new Senator outlets. The company has 102 distributors (57 main ones, 45 senator ones) and 22,000 main outlets and 19,000 senator ones and they handle distribution to get products to customers at the lowest price possible.  The outlets have benefitted through getting access to management systems and electronic tax receipt (ETR) systems, and the next step is to harness all the data they have collected to enable better decision-making. Other initiatives of KBL include ‘Utado’ (which encourages responsible enjoyment of their products by advising consumers to take taxis, drink water, eat food) and Heshima (through which the recruited illicit alcohol sellers and trained and turned them into entrepreneurs and sellers of a legal affordable product).

A Tusker Beer remains part of the urban inflation index for tracking changes in the cost of living in Nairobi over time.

Idea Exchange: CarnegieMellon, DABRA, PivotEast, ResearchGrants, TED, Apps

New, ongoing, and concluded opportunities

Africa App Quest is a search for Africa’s top travel app in which developers will compete for a top prize $10,000 by building home-grown travel apps, specially designed for the tourism sector in Africa. It is sponsored by Visa and South African Tourism, the application rules are here, and the deadline (D/L) is 16 August. 

Airbus: Vote for the Team Aero Bamboo Engineering (Team A.B.E.) from the University of Nairobi,  in the  Fly Your Ideas contest where their project which engineers bamboo for aircraft cabin materials in competing against four other ideas shortlisted from 618 entries from 82 countries. Votes are open till June 3.

Art Moves Africa: AMA supports mobility of artists and cultural professionals within the African continent by paying for their costs of travel, visas and travel insurance. Performers in visual arts, music, cinema, literature and cultural advocacy are eligible, and the next deadline is 1 September for travel planned after 27 October.

For Carnegie Mellon University students interested in pursuing M.S. in Information Technology degrees in Rwanda, the Rwandan Government has scholarships for qualified students from the East African Community that cover 50% of the tuition fee and, for citizens of Rwanda there is an additional study loan to cover the remaining 50% of the tuition, plus living expenses if needed.

Connected Kenya: The Innovation Awards at the Connected Kenya Summit provide a platform to showcase Kenyan companies that are contributing to improving productivity and efficiency in the country through ICT innovation. For 2013, the awards are sponsored by Google and the deadline for applications is May 19 – apply here

Diageo: The Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2013 a.k.a DABRA‘s finalists were announced this week and the short-listed pieces include stories like;
  • Africa’s healthcare technology revolution
  • Barry Bateman and Oscar Pistorius: Inside the Twitter explosion
  • Ivory Coast’s Women Reject Equality in Household Law Debate
  • Mozambique – Coal, gas: boom for all or just a few?
  • Revisiting Tinapa
  • Malawi: Beautiful Destination with limping tourism
  • The Chinese loan conundrum: Who is benefitting from Zambia’s phantom growth in construction?
GAIN: The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition invites public and private entrepreneurs to partner with to improve nutrition in Africa and selected innovations will receive business advice, technical assistance, and funding.

Google: Doodle 4 Google competition is open to students aged between 6 and 18 years to draw on themes of ‘My Kenya’ to celebrate Kenya’s 50 years of independence. The winner will get ~$9,400 worth of school fees, as well as a similar amount as a technology equipment grant for his/her school and will have their doodle displayed on the Google Kenya homepage. An Android tablet device will be the prize for the teacher involved and D/L is June 14

GSK: Trust In Science Africa invites high quality African (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) medical researchers to submit proposals for collaboration and funding. The maximum grant duration is 3 years and the maximum amount of funding is $100,000 with a D/L of 31 May.

Kofi Annan Fellowship for outstanding students from developing countries provides the opportunity for 3 student from developing countries to study management at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin and graduate with an MBA. The value of the fellowship is € 58,000, other details are here, and the D/L is 30 September. 

Nairobi Securities Exchange: The Investment Challenge 2013  is an online simulation of live trading targeting Kenyan youth who are in universities, technical institutions and other post secondary colleges in which where groups are given (virtual) capital to invest over 3 months to see who ends up with the highest value portfolio. Prizes may internships at NSE partner organizations.

Orange: The African Social Venture Prize promotes social innovations in support of development that use ICT. In addition to prize money ranging from €10,000 to €25,000, three winners will also receive support from professional entrepreneurs and ICT experts for a period of six months. D/L September 20.

Pivot East: The semifinalists in the 2013 Pivot East contest have been announced, and some of the selected apps include:
  • ChamaPesa (gives investment groups a way to pool savings and invest in diverse instruments)
  • Inforex (enables foreign exchange trading between Forex bureaus)
  • EZsacco (allows savings societies to receive mobile payments, generate reports, and send members statements by SMS)
  • Juakali (a service that links informal sector workers with potential clients)
  • Smart Blackboard (gives students  1-on-1 interactive tutorials with real teachers, without the need for access to the internet)
  • iDaktari (information management system for doctors with private practice)
  • Kyatabu (a micro-leasing textbook subscription application)
  • CancerBank (mobile app that makes for easier self diagnosis, early detection, triage and treatment of cancer)
  • GreenHouse Pro (a  guide for green house farmers to cultivate six different crops)
  • Ma3Route (crowd-sources up-to-date traffic & transport information)
TED: TED Prize is an annual $1 million prize that is awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change. D/L 1 June.

Safaricom: AppWiz challenge targets new mobile application developers in Kenya with the aim of equipping participants with entrepreneurial & technological skills, to launch apps into the market that cover agriculture, health, financial inclusion, education games, utilities, safety etc. D/L 28 June.

Wellcome Trust: International Engagement Awards support health research projects with grants of up to £30,000, and is open to media professionals, educators, science communicators, health professionals and researchers in bioscience, health, bioethics and history. D/L 19 August.


$1M Grant to Fund  Storytelling on African Issues will offer African journalists reporting grants to support investigative, multimedia and data-driven stories that aim to improve health and prosperity across the continent. The African Story Challenge is a project of the  African Media Initiative   (AMI), will award approximately 100 reporting grants for stories on development issues. Details here.

88mph is accepting applications for its next three month programme in Nairobi, Kenya, with investments of up to US$100,000 available – details here and D/L is July 15 

Africa Small Research Grant Competition: The Review of African Political Economyhas an African Political Economy Research Grants competition for African scholars/activists based in Africa and pursuing a political economy agenda. D/L is 31 July and details are here.
Austrian Embassyin Nairobi has an Artist in Residence Programme 2014 that makes available 50 residencies in Vienna for the year 201 to artists, curators, writers, composers, art educators. More details here
BlackBerry Scholars Program aims to encourage women in Kenya (and the world) to enter and develop careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)and will provide scholarships to outstanding applicants who are seeking degrees at accredited local colleges and universities in the areas of STEM across Kenya. Application deadline is June 26 and more details are here

Ericsson Global Hack for Goodis a chance for Kenyan mobile application developers to unite refugee families separated from each other by conflict, war and disaster. Details here
FIRE – Fund for Internet Research and Education (FIRE) Programme Awardsaim to encourage innovation and find creative, accessible and acceptable solutions to Africa’s ICT challenges. Grant awards of up to $3,000 are available in categories of innovation on access provision, E-development, freedom of expression and a Community Choice Award category for the best social media campaign. D/L is 31 May and details are here
Georgetown UniversityMaster of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) launches New Africa Scholarship as a full- tuition scholarship for a talented graduate student from sub-Saharan Africa. D/L is January 15, 2014 and details are  here .
German Media Development Awards: The People’s Choice Award for human rights photography recognizes African photojournalists who inspire and change perceptions of life in Africa through the power of photographic storytelling. D/L is May 31
L’OREAL-UNESCO Regional FellowshipsWomen scientists who are nationals or permanent residents of any country in Sub-Saharan Africa can apply for the fellowships to assist them attain PhD degrees in all fields of science. Ten fellowships to the value of Euro 15,000 will be awarded. D/L is 30 June and details here
Scientists Without Borders and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are offering $7,500 to the winning student in a dairy data management challenge. Details here.

TED:  Apply to be a TED Fellow 2014. D/L is June 21.

VC4Africa provides an opportunity for a select number of VC4Africa registered ventures to raise capital through the VC4Africa investor network – details  here and D/L is June 12 

Wordcamp Kenyais looking for speakers who are involved in digital marketing or bloggers in tourism to speak at the event in September 2013. Details here.

Idea Exchange: Opportunities Galore: Blogs, Dust, Eggs, Interns, PhD’s, Oil, Social Media, Weddings

Some open opportunities to apply for; 

(Edit) African Banker Awards: The 2013 African Banker Awards competition is now on. Winners will be selected in categories of  African bank, African banker, best bank (in North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa regions),  retail bank,  investment bank , most innovative bank, socially responsible bank,  financial inclusion award, investment fund/private equity fund,  deal of the year, mortgage bank/product,  and brokerage house of the year. Deadline is 11 March.

African Development Bank: 2013 Internship Programme Session 2 – Provides students with an opportunity to acquire professional and practical experience at the African Development Bank and the Bank with a pool of potential candidates for future recruitment purposes.

Also, the #AfDB’s Regional Integration Dept is seeking junior consultants. Apply now.

PhD Fellowships from the African Economic Research Consortium  for people who have gained admission in 2013-14 to selected universities such as Cornell, Oxford, Ohio State or the Universities of Bonn, Sussex, Newcastle and others.  Apply through these university websites before April 30.  
The African Leadership Academy seeks to  enroll the most outstanding young leaders from across Africa and around the world. Deadline is February 28..

The African Leadership Academy also has the inaugural ‘African Teacher of the Year Award’ to celebrate teaching excellence on the African continent. The final 3 shortlisted finalists will be honored at a gala dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa in October in front of media, the headmasters of 100 of the leading schools in Africa, and other dignitaries. The winner of the award will also win a cash prize of $10,000. Nominate an outstanding African secondary school teacher- by the 31st of March, 2013 to

Aga Khan Foundation: International Scholarships – scholarships and loans for postgraduate studies in 2013-14 to outstanding students from the developing world. The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only and half of the scholarship amount is considered as a loan, which must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%. Application deadline is 31 March.

(Edit) Anzisha Prize 2013: Has $75,000 in cash prizes for youth entrepreneurs. Details here and deadline for the @anzishaprize is April 1.
BAKE: Kenyan Blog Awards 2013 awards aim to reward and recognize exceptional bloggers creating content in technology, photography, creative writing, business, food, environmental / agricultural, style, politics, corporate, sports, lifestyle, travel, new blog and others.  Deadline is February 1.
Big Brother Africa: BBA 2013 kicks off in May. To qualify, participants have to be above the age of 21 and speak fluent English.
Blackberry: Developers may apply for Built for Blackberry reviews and the $10,000 Developer Commitment before February 18.

(Edit) CNN Multichoice African Journalist 2013 is open to African nationals, working on the continent for African owned, or headquartered, media organisations and with work that has appeared in printed publications or electronic media that is primarily targeted at and received by an African audience. Deadline is 17 April 2013.

(Edit) The 10th edition of Diageo’s DABRA awards is now open. The Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards will recognize journalists and editors who provide high quality coverage of the business environment in Africa in ten categories including ICT, finance, infrastructure, agribusiness / environment, tourism, best business story, business feature, newcomer, media of the year, and journalist of the year. Deadline is March 15.

(Edit) East Africa Philanthropy Awards: The 2013 EAPA awards from the East Africa Association of Grantmakers is now open for nominations in philanthropy categories for individuals, youth, faith-based, community, social entrepreneurs, and corporate philanthropy. Deadline is 30 March.
Egg Hatching Incubators are being lent to individuals and groups on credit, and with no interest charge. 
Faithful Frames: Win a free wedding photoshoot worth Kshs. 15,000 (~$175). Deadline is  Jan 28.

(Edit) Film Mentorship Program: Opportunity for talented young African filmmakers involved in directing, scriptwriting, production, camera, production design, sound design and editing, to enroll in a workshop where they will meet professional filmmakers from all over the world in September 2013. Details here and deadline is 1 May.

(Edit) The International Academy of Journalism 2013/2014 Fellowship program Journalism in the Digital World is now open.  Deadline is May 3, 2013.

Kings Pool Challenge League: EABL’s Pilsner brand is sponsoring a national pool tournament that runs from 21 January to May 4 2013.
(Edit) The 2013 edition of Mobile Web East Africa  is on later in February in Nairobi. Read more about the event.

Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value (CSV) seeks innovative programmes, businesses or social enterprises that innovate with impact in water, nutrition, or rural development. Deadline is March 31

(Edit) PivotEast: The third edition of this mobile startup showcase competition takes place on June 25-26 2013 in Kampala, Uganda, and it is open to  all companies in East Africa including South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Competition will be in five categories of mobile finance, mobile enterprise, mobile society, mobile utility, mobile entertainment – and this year companies can submit a product in more than one category. The deadline for entries  is 15 April.

(Edit) Poptech: The 2013 Social Innovation Fellows program. Details here and deadline is 2 April.

(Edit) The Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Award series is now open. Nominate people or organizations that can win up to $100,000 for solving entrenched social problems. Deadline is February 28

Squad Digital: The digital agency is seeking an experienced digital business director with  knowledge of social SEO, Mobile (e.g. M-banking) 
TAHMO: Design a sensor that measures a weather or hydrological variable (temperature, wind, dust or lightning) and is both inexpensive and robust.  Deadline is 1 March 2013.
Tony Elumelu Foundation: Is seeking companies to place interns with for periods of  8-10 weeks. They should have revenue of $250,000 – $5 million per year and agree to pay for stipends while the Foundation will  cover the cost of recruitment, travel, and accommodation  
Toyota: Dream Car art contest dubbed “Your Dream—The Car of the Future” aims to create an opportunity for children (in 3 categories) —through drawing pictures of their “dream cars” —to develop their interest in cars. Deadline is January 31. 
Tullow Oil: The Group Scholarship Scheme will offer up to 114 scholarships across its countries of operation (10 for Kenya) for the 2013/14 academic year and these can be in engineering & tech., oil & gas economics, business journalism, law, and others. Deadline is 13 February. 
World Bank Africa: Social media internship – apply by responding to the phrase: #iwant2work4africa because..

Idea Exchange: TED, Tullow, Diageo, Kenyan Design Opportunities

Designer Opportunities (From the local newspapers)
– Design a logo for the Kenya Salaries & Remuneration Commission. First prize is Kshs. 150,000 (~$1,830) and D/L is March 30.
– Architects & artists are invited to design a new Kenyan courthouse. First prize Kshs 500k ($6,097) and deadline is March 16.
– Help design new Kenya banknotes & coins, with themes of Kenya reborn/ Kenya prosperity. The deadline April 13.

Diageo Africa Business Reporting AwardsThe 2012 edition of the DABRA business journalism awards is now open. Categories this year include ICT, finance, infrastructure, agribusiness, tourism, newcomer, media journalist and other awards, with March 23 as the deadline for entries.

Hewani: Get your mobile apps published for free at – including all android, nokia, WAP, Web & USSD versions (via @johnwaibochi)

Hitachi Foundation: Did you start your business before the age of 30? Is it 1-5 years old, and are you interested in lifting people out of poverty? If so, you’re eligible to apply for $40,000 from the Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program by March 30. (via The Unreasonable Institute)

TED: Worldwide auditions for speakers take place in 14 cities including Nairobi and anyone can apply as long as they have not spoken at a TED conference before. Inventors, teachers, artists, performers, change agents, story tellers and others are all invited to apply – details are here, and the Nairobi deadline is March 17.

Tullow scholarship: In partnership with the British Council Tullow invites applications for post-graduate training in oil & gas – drilling & well management, reservoir evaluation & management, energy studies with specialization in oil & gas, environmental science, oil & gas law. Details are here and the deadline is April 6.

Edit: Advance Africa is a useful resource of funding with a constantly updated list of scholarships & fellowships for African students.

Carnegie Mellon Rwanda: The Carnegie Mellon University’s college of engineering will have a Rwanda campus and from August 2012, they will offer a Master of Science in Information Technology. There are 50% scholarships offered to East African citizens who apply by the April 21 deadline.

The East Africa Association of Grantmakers has organized the East African Philanthropy Awards. Categories include family, faith, corporate, youth, reporting, and individual awards and the deadline to submit nominations is April 13.

Kenya Blog Awards: The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) announces BAKE Blog Awards with 14 categories including technology photography, creative writing, business, food, agriculture, sports, fashion, corporate, new blog, Tweep (best individual and corporate on twitter) and even politics! Entries are open till March 29 for entries to be submitted.

The 2012 Kenya ICT Board Connected Kenya awards have just been announced; they are thirteen categories, and the deadline for entries is 26 March.

Kenyan Guide to Accra

Adapted as a guest post with input from Coldtusker
(Pic via
Getting There: Accra’s Kotoka airport is small & dated [but efficient] airport but the corridors can be a challenge o navigate if you have lots of luggage. An interesting feature of the NBO-ACC flights are the traders [mostly women] with HUGE bags/packages [from shopping trips in Dubai or China] who you can’t even see while they push their carts. It’s like a moving wall of goods! These ‘packages’ are held together by well-sewn polypropylene [plastic gunias] material. Emirates flies A340, with larger cargo bays while Kenya Airways (KQ) lies much smaller 737-300s. Other planes on the tarmac include Delta & British Airways both which have daily flights.

No visa is needed for Kenyans, but the flights are costly such as Kenya Airways (KQ) which is $1,000 – Ouch!

Getting Around: A taxi trip from Kotoka to town costs about $5-7 but some hotels will provide transport if you let them know in time. The traffic from Kotoka to town even at the worst of times is much better than Peak hours in Nairobi. Taxis are the most common (for visitors) way to get around; they are easy to catch in most places, and unlike Nairobi, these guys drive around ‘looking’ for customers. They are ‘painted’ with AMA (Accra Metropolitan Area) zones & numbers and are easy to spot. Plus they honk at you if they think you need a ride. Fares are not fixed but negotiable. So negotiate! The ‘quality’ of these taxis varies from ramshackle taxis to new ones. Some have windows that don’t open while others have AC. Always ask since Accra can get hot & humid. Think Mombasa. Boda bodas are available, as are matatus or buses. It is quite safe to walk around in many areas during the day, but at night, always use taxis.

Money: Cedis [GHc] & Pesewas. US$ = GHc1.5 but some still quote the ‘old’ Cedi which is 10,000x the ‘new’ Cedi. You can change money in many places with few restrictions. Always confirm what you will get NET after all fees. There are several forex bureaus all over the place especially Osu.

Hotels: Tend to be pricier than Nairobi. A nice 3-star hotel costs $120-170 for a single room! The pricier ones have WiFi, swimming pool, etc. and include a good breakfast. There are others at cheaper rates of ~$60 in ‘busier & noisier’ neighbourhoods which look/feel better than our River Road ones.

Communications: Local calls are reasonable now that Airtel [lower per minute calls about US$ 0.06 per minute] is in Ghana, slightly more compared to Kenya. MTN is king, and while there are other options including Tigo, Airtel adverts are everywhere. You can use Airtel Kenya to receive calls at no charge, while SMS to Kenya cost ~Kshs 5-10, which is very convenient. Local SIM cards used to be easy to get (from street vendors) but are now a hassle, as you have to be registered. Some hotels have WiFi, and there are many cybercafés.

Food & Bars: – The local food varies with the region but expect Yams, Cassava, Peanut sauce to be part of any ‘local’ meal & much more enjoyable compared to eating Italian, Indian, Continental [available anywhere in the world]. There are also lots of Lebanese restaurants as there are a significant number of Lebanese live in Accra.
– Instead of bottled water, water is commonly sold by many vendors & firms in plastic pouches (costing Kshs 5/=). You ask for it as ‘pure water,’ which is useful for washing hands, or face in the heat.
– Beers: depends on where you go but costs between $1-5, and is widely available – though there is a significant Muslim population there so watch out for Ramadan month. Guinness Breweries (Diageo) is #1 followed by Accra Breweries (SABMiller). Multiple brands of beer.
– In bars, politics & business are common topics. Smoking is allowed indoors so you may prefer to sit outside. There are lots of small or regional political parties similar to Kenya, but since Ghana came out of a civil war less than 2 decades ago, they want ‘peaceful’ elections [but never say never]. Two-term limits apply but old presidents never fade away! Jerry Rawlings remains popular.
– Football: is HUGE, and as in Kenya, Arsenal & Manchester United fans are everywhere, but Arsenal seems to be the overwhelming favorite. Of course, everyone looks up to the Ghanaian footballers in Europe.

Business & Infrastructure: – There are problems with reliable electricity supply but projects are underway [by the Chinese] including thermal production. Just like Kenya, the hydropower plants face challenges with low water [Akasombo Dam]. Major hotels have diesel generators to alleviate this [good – as the weather is like Mombasa].
– Tema Oil Refinery has same (or worse) problems as Kenya’s KPRL. Ghana Oil is listed on GSE, but majority owned by the Government. Total has a strong position in Ghana.
– Nigerian banks seem to dominate the skyline but the largest bank is Ghana Commercial Bank [GCB] (similar to Kenya Commercial Bank). The bank is listed, with the Government as a major shareholder, and GCB is now going through a massive transformation.
– They have had flyover roads for many years, and there is a wonderful cement/concrete road from Accra to Tema that was built during Nkrumah’s days. It’s a cheap toll road (about Kshs. 20/=) for a distance equivalent to Nairobi-Thika. The drainage systems are much better than Nairobi or Mombasa. Tema is their Thika – an industrial town, but it has a port too.
– Newspapers: There are very many [English] papers but they are poorly written & seem rather sensationalist. Not as good as the Kenyan papers in terms of analysis, etc.
– Business Opportunities? For everyone & everything… if they can compete with China, India, France, UK, etc!

Sight-seeing & Shopping: Oxford St, in Osu, is very popular and has a vibrant nightlife. Seems relatively safe vs Nairobi’s CBD. There are other shopping areas but not much to buy that you can’t get in Kenya. Shopping in Accra tends to be very pricey since almost everything is imported but buy real [unsweetened] Cocoa as it is grown in Ghana. Daily spend is about $50 per day without a hotel.

For sightseeing, there is the Nkrumah Circle/Gardens & such. The Presidential Palace is shaped like an Ashanti Stool of the Asantahene [built/donated by the Chinese?] It is visible from the Road & is an imposing structure which includes many government offices.

Shocker: Ghana imports milk! There is no ‘fresh’ milk but plenty of Italian & French UHT milk. Milo is also very popular, and is sold in small kiosks as well. Other imports include eggs.

Summary: In some ways, Ghana is the Kenya of West Africa but the ‘socialism’ attitude is still strong so businesses need to beware.