Asamoah Gyan and Stephen Appiah
Discovering Ghana

What Really Sells Ghana Abroad?

One thing Ghanaian travelers are so good at is selling their country wherever they find themselves. Most celebrities and other public figures in their small ways also try as much as possible to leave a positive image of Ghana whenever they find themselves abroad.

Aside the Ghanaian being somewhat distinctive by simple appearance and bearing, there are quite a number of other things and brands that sells Ghana although the country hardly embarks on a coordinated international campaign to sell itself to potential overseas visitors. Here are some of them:

1. – Luis Suarez

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, right, stops the ball with his hands to give away a penalty kick during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Uruguay and Ghana at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, July 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Uruguayan professional footballer, who plays for Spanish club Barcelona and the Uruguay national team denied Ghana a place in the World Cup semi-finals by controversially blocking a goal-bound extra time header with his hands during the quarter final match against Ghana at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Though he denied our qualification to the next stage of the competition, his infamous handball has since then made Ghana popular worldwide especially where soccer is loved. Most times, I get ‘Suarez’ as a response when I ask other nationals if they have ever heard of Ghana. Could Suarez’s handball be a blessing to Ghana in disguise? Haha!

2. – Football and Ghanaian footballers

Asamoah Gyan and Stephen Appiah
Whenever an international football club signs its first Ghanaian player, people in that country begin to acquaint themselves with Ghana. Usually, those moments are the first most people in that country hear of the small West African country Ghana. Despite playing against Egypt several times, Junior Agogo made Ghana more popular in Egypt with his move to Zamalek in 2008. When an Indonesian is asked about Ghana, the name Micheal Essien is mentioned. Our masterly performances in several football competitions have also earned Ghana a name on the international scene. It is for this reason the World Cup goes beyond the game itself for many nations across the world. Many people still remember Asamoah Gyan and his Azonto dance moves anytime he found the back of the net. Ghana has become a household name today internationally, thanks to football and the sterling footballers we have produced.

3. – Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Sonnie Badu

Sonnie Badu and Stonebwoy

Today, most music of Ghanaian origin do very well internationally than in Ghana. Wiyaala, Wanlov the Kubolor, Daddy Lumba are all Ghanaian musicians who do music internationally but today Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Sonnie Badu are the few Ghanaian musician names on the lips of most people outside the shores of Ghana. Lovers of the Christian genre of music are always quick to mention Sonnie Badu whilst the others too choose either Sarkodie or Stonebwoy. It’s no surprise they have had many internationally collaborations and received international awards too. Sarkodie raps mostly in the local dialect, Twi, and still he is always on the playlist of many prominent DJs across the world. While visiting Zambia, I heard Sarkodie’s songs more than any other international artist. I think it is fair to say the Ghanaian hip hop recording artist, Sarkodie has high admiration among Zambians than many of their own popular music stars. Visit Zambia and other African countries and it will amaze you Sarkodie’s songs are played frequently on their airwaves. Good for Ghana, isn’t it? Should we be worried if music from other countries also do well in Ghana?

4. – Kwame Nkrumah

Ghana’s liberator and first President, Late Osyagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was a world acclaimed Ghanaian. He is no more but his contribution to the push for Africa’s emancipation keeps selling Ghana worldwide, especially Eastern and Southern Africa. Kwame Nkrumah’s life is today studied in schools in several parts of the globe. Ex-Presidents John Agyekum Kuffour and John Dramani Mahama have also gained popularity in East Africa for various reasons.

5. – Nollywood

Mercy Johnson & Van Vicker in the movie HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Contentious, right? When Ghanaian actors and actresses left Ghallywood to promote Nollywood, not only did they kill the Ghana movie industry and enriching their pockets but did us some good too. They sold Ghana to the world through the manifold roles they picked up in Nigerian films. Movie lovers know that Ghanaians feature in most of the Nigerian movies they watch and as such are not able to differentiate between the Nigerian and Ghanaian actors and actresses. Many of these movies have received both widespread condemnation and admiration as they usually depict witchcraft and the urbanisation of these two countries. I have had many people ask me if those witchcraft seen in the movies are exactly things on the ground. The kind of houses and cars used in these movies have as a matter of fact painted a positive image of Ghana and Nigeria making them a must-visit countries for most people. A South African travel blogger was so much excited when her trip to Ghana was confirmed. Kids in school in most Africa countries choose Nigeria and Ghana as their dream countries.

6. – Beauty Pageants

Ruth Quashie (Miss Universe Ghana 2017)

Some countries, mostly in Asia and the Americas have so much interest in beauty pageantry and so it’s no surprise their governments spend so much in supporting their representatives. Though Ghanaians are not so much into beauty pageants and with zero support from the government, Ghana’s participation in these contests have over the years contributed to the marketing of the West African country. Countries that are not interested in soccer usually get to know of Ghana through these contests. The beautiful cultural display by contestants leave a positive image about Ghana to lovers of the contest.

7. – Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, Pastor Mensah Otabil and Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng

Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams and Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng at the Kumasi Airport

One of Ghana’s greatest export to the world are preachers, mostly prophets. Though many have left a bad image about themselves and Ghana as a whole, Archbishop Duncan Williams, Pastor Mensah Otabil and Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng are some of those currently held in high esteem presently. Most Christians worldwide know of Ghana because these men of God. Archbishop Duncan Williams is popular with his unique prayer delivery while Pastor Otabil Mensah is also noted out there for his great teachings. Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng is popularly referred to as the father of Prophetic Ministry in Southern Africa, with Prophet Bushiri as his ‘grandson’.

8. – Alomo Bitters

Alomo Bitters

To many, this may be seen as an endorsement for a particular product which am afraid is not. I even have no idea where the factory this drink is prepared is situated. Alomo Bitters is a Ghana-made product found in many countries. It competes with other international alcoholic beverages and unlike the others, Alomo Bitters is permitted for sale worldwide. From its distilling to beautiful packaging coupled with the MADE IN GHANA inscription, the Bitters speaks well of Ghana abroad. It’s found in almost all grocery shops and shops that deal in alcoholic beverages. Interestingly, it’s widely sold by Ethiopians.

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