Specifically, that the regional king, once a council worker in the UK, now on his throne in Kumasi, has just bought a GBP3million (USD $4.723m) holiday home on 22 acres in England.
By this stage I should just laugh. I have been in Africa long enough to see that the old adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is alive and well. I have witnessed unfathomable poverty and watched while African leaders fill Swiss bank accounts with billions and buy fleets of private jets.
The funny thing is that this time, like all the others, I am not numb enough. I still think it is pathetic and disgusting. I haven’t learned.
In October, VSO (a UK voluntary agency that works in Ghana) touted a story about the Asantehene and how he was dedicated to reducing poverty.
About how he was determined to tackle the endemic problem in his region and across the country as a whole.
As the BBC reporter described the stables and lavish swimming pool as well as the full cinema room in his new abode, I couldn’t help but wonder how many lifetimes of earnings of hundreds of thousands of poor Ghanaians would equal such a purchase.
So here are a couple calculations:
The nominal GDP per capita in Ghana is $698 (or GBP443)
This means that it would take the average Ghanaian about 6,770 years to amass such an amount.
Or to look at it a bit differently, the Asantehene could forfeit his splurge on the holiday home, and cover 6,770 of his citizens annual wages...
The Asantehene has talked a lot about targeting education, with a focus on making it more accessible and of a higher quality.
I wonder if he considered this (source):
$10 will pay for a healthcare insurance policy for a child and his or her caregiver for 1 year
$25 will pay for school fees for 1 child for 1 year
$200 will purchase 150 textbooks for 30 children for 1 academic year
$500 will pay for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 1 child for 10 months
As his majesty walks the cold marble corridors of his new mansion, someone should let him know:
189,000 Ghanaian children could have attended school for a year with that amount; children who otherwise have no means to go.
23,615 textbooks could have been donated to needy Ghana schools
9,445 Ghanaian children could have had a better quality of life, with antiretroviral therapy for a year.
As he sips tea with global royalty, I hope he hesitates before begging for donations to aid his impoverished country, lest he burn his tongue and bite his lip at the perversion of it all.