When it comes to Ambulances, people do not really care if the ‘right’ thing is done

In this increasingly polarized country, it seems human lives still trump almost all considerations. Speakupp asked whether the ambulances parked at the Parliament house of Ghana should be distributed now the responses was almost unanimously in the affirmative. Depressing images of distressed people in emergency situations have been all too common in the Ghanaian media landscape. We’ve seen pregnant women in labour being conveyed to hospital on tricycles. There have been gory road crashes with injured people waiting to be administered first aid. There was even a heartbreaking story of an elderly man whose children in the dead of night drove their sick father to 7 different hospitals in the hopes of getting treatment. He unfortunately died after their car ran out of fuel with no station open to refill. People are tired of these stories and many believe that improving the decrepit Ambulance Service is one of the ways that some of these problems can be ameliorated. Imagine the delight when several brand- new ambulances were seen parked at the forecourt of the State House. However, alluding to a song by Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino, ‘This is Ghana’. On these shores, everything becomes the subject of political debate. The governing party had in the past said that ambulances had been procured by their predecessors which were no more fit to be passenger vehicles let alone life-saving. These new ambulances were going to revatilise a broken system but the ‘right’ thing had to be done. They were going to properly tooled, commissioned and sent off to the places they were most needed at the same. All very salient and reasonable. When that timeframe moves from days to weeks to months, then the patience of the public begins to wear thin. Political opponents who allegedly couldn’t tell that they were importing ‘trotros’ now had the ammunition they needed. There were the spots on television where minority MPs were pictured next to the ambulances decrying the government’s insensitivity. To paraphrase, “People are dying and you have all theses ambulances parked here. Why are you so heartless?”. In this instance, the public doesn’t seem to be on the government’s side. They want the ambulances released now. Over 86% of Speakupp users polled wanted the ambulances to distributed immediately. They couldn’t care for whether the right processes had been completed or not or that the President could be seen to favour some areas rather than others. There was absolutely no distinction between the views of men and women. In the same measure, both groups felt that lives were more important than administrative procedures.


Ghanaians ready to host the Diaspora for Year of Return in 2019

The concept of readiness is something that can sometimes be quite alien to the Ghanaian. We are never ready for the rains and the flooding that comes afterward. Award shows and concerts tend to start three to four hours after their stated commencement times because organizers are not quite ready with the set. With all of this in mind, you would have thought that a concept as monumental, symbolic and historic as the Year of Return would strike absolute terror into the hearts of we who dwell in the country. How are we going to house all these visitors when we cannot even house ourselves? What kind of transportation will they use? Will my waakye line become far too long to discourage from buying? All very pertinent questions. Against this backdrop, we found it especially surprising that a little more than 75% of users who voted on the Speakupp platform said that Ghana was either ‘ready’ or ‘probably ready’ for the Year of Return. This is both an overwhelming endorsement of this initiative by President Akufo Addo but also a seal of approval of his ability to actually see it through. The Year of Return is being celebrated as the commemoration of 400 years since the first slaves from Africa reached the United States of America. The President announced this reflective period while hosting a group of celebrities from the US led by actor of Ghanaian descent, Boris Kodjoe in December 2018. He brought along some heavyweight friends for his trip to the motherland including marketing guru Bozoma Saint John formerly of Apple Music and Uber as well as Anthony Anderson of the American sitcom ‘Black-ish’. During the year we have had Speaker of the United States’ House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi lead a congressional delegation to Ghana Steve Harvey also went on an emotional trip through the castles and dungeons his ancestors toiled through before making the journey to the New World. Hundreds more Americans of African descent are expected to flood Ghana over the Christmas period and it appears Ghanaians are all for it! This was one topic that both male and female users were fairly unanimously in favor of. 42% of males and 35% of females responded that Ghana was definitely ready for the Year of Return. That figure rose to 76% (male) and 77% (female) when those who thought we were probably ready was included. Furthermore, we find strong support for the entire duration of the poll. There are a number of events slated for the end of the year to round it off and it appears that as these events are drawing nearer, Ghanaians still fully support YOR. This shows that there is significant endorsement of this commemoration and while the majority believe that the country is ready for its moment in the spotlight, there is still some work to do to ensure that this year ends successfully and is maintained for many years to come.


Gender Bias in CST?

When Ghana’s Finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta, announced in mid-2019 that the Communication Service Tax - a usage tax levied on telecommunications companies or ‘telcos’ that primarily taxes mobile users for calls and data - was being increased from 6% to 9%, most people probably shrugged their shoulders at the news. Until recently, consumers did not really notice the CST as it was mostly absorbed by the telcos. This time around, the telcos were not going to bear the full cost of this tax increase and decided that they were going to charge consumers upfront. The government accused the telcos of trying to make them unpopular one year to an election. The telcos believed that they were already overtaxed as it is. Consumers were up in arms as they were not getting full value for their money – literally. We gave Speakupp users the chance to free their mind on the issue and they did not disappoint. Almost 60% of poll respondents said that the CST increase – and by extension, the upfront charge from credit – had affected them very much and thus had an effect on their mobile experience compared to only 12.50% who said it had not affected them at all. Female respondents were hit pretty hard in particular. While only just over half of males polled said that they were very affected by the increase, more than three-quarters of females (78%) replied in the same manner Even more interestingly, all respondents who responded this way were under the age of 35. Thus, the most affected group of all this? Females under the age of 35. This could also be the entrepreneur who utilizes the internet to sell products from clothes to shea butter. There may also be in this group the various business owners who contribute to Ghana having the highest percentage of female business owners in Africa. Diving a bit deeper, we also noticed that a higher percentage of iPhone/iPad users (73%) were affected by the increase as compared to 55% of Android users. This could be as a result of users of these types of devices being slightly more affluent so in effect, they are heavier consumers of mobile data. Another nugget we can pick out is that 90% of these very affected users were female. This is really not going well for our ladies! It was only about 57% for the guys. In summary, our findings show a lack of public private engagement in how this tax was to be implemented. Younger and more likely affluent females bore the brunt of CST. What seemed to be non-discriminatory, universal policy tool had a gender bias. Government needs to improve engagement and to undertake pre-implementation impact assessments in order to balance out the interests of different groups to achieve its goals. In response to public outcry, the upfront charging of credit has been discontinued. This was after our poll had ended.


5 Ways To Crush Your Goals In 2019

Hitherto, jokes were made on how January seemed to be three months compressed into one. Surprisingly, January 2019 has proven us all wrong. According to millennials on social media, January 2019 is the fastest moving January in history. Whichever way you view it, twelve months come by sooner than expected. Making use of each month is where the magic of living your best life lies. Being gifted with a new year is an opportunity to do a detailed introspection, dream big, set some goals and execute them. Here at SpeakUpp, we created a poll at the beginning of the year to ask individuals if they had outlined some goals for the new year. Majority of the respondents gave a resounding YES. Setting goals for each year is great progress. However, it doesn’t stop there. If you want to realise the goals you have outlined or set new goals altogether, below are five ways to achieve that. Set Goals You Care About When you care about a goal, you go all out to make it happen. Have an internal drive for the goals you set and make sure they are feasible enough to follow through. Now, take a relook at the goals you have set for yourself. Assess if you really care about them. If you do, proceed to step two. If you don’t be honest with yourself and set new goals which you have the passion for. Break Each Goal Down By all means, have a big goal. It is not only audacious but necessary for growth. Break down each goal into small actionable chunks you can easily work on. Trying to achieve a big goal at once can leave you feeling disappointed and discouraged. Break it down. Work Towards Your Goals Daily After reducing a huge goal into multiple small chunks, work on each chunk daily. Hence, each day is very important. Set a specific time during the day to work on it. Eliminate obstacles which may prevent you from working on the goal. Do not encourage excuses. If you work on your goal every day for the next few months, you will have accumulated a lot by the end of the year. Remember, days compound into years. Measure Your Results Every month or quarter, take some time to measure your progress. How are you faring? Are you working towards the goal hard enough? Are you seeing any changes? Are there any tweaks you need to make? When you measure your work and progress, you will find out if you’re on the right path or not. You will also discover trends and hacks to make your journey even easier. Be Patient Rome was not built in a day. No great thing happens at once even seemingly overnight successes. Success with anything takes time, effort and dedication. Dedicate yourself to your goals, be patient and follow it through. You will be grateful you did. Within every human lies the ability to transform into a better person. By following these steps, you will begin to see a change in your life, gain more confidence and dare to be more. 2019 will only be a good year if you set your mind to tasks and make them a reality.


Who’s winning Ghana’s mobile data price war?

SOCIAL MEDIA GENERATION You could have started reading this after posting selfies using some dog filters on Snapchat. You also probably just found out on Instagram that that girl you didn’t really like in school just got married. There’s also a chance that you’ve just come out of an NDC — NPP fight in the comments section of a news story on Facebook with an absolute stranger. All these things would not be possible if you did not have one thing. Mobile data. GHANA"S MOBILE DATA SPACE What are Ghana’s telecommunications companies doing to make mobile data more accessible and affordable to the people? With the launch of Vodafone’s 4G LTE service, MTN moving from 4G to 4G+, AirtelTigo introducing data that never expires and the Ministry of Communications already talking about moving to the 5G spectrum, things seem to moving in the right direction. Or are they? Research conducted by cable.co.uk recently ranked Ghana at number 25 for cheapest data charges in the world at about $1.26 for 1GB of data. India was right at the top with 1GB of data costing $0.26 on average. Now before you pack up your bags to New Delhi in search of a cheaper way to watch YouTube, the research conducted showed that some data plans in Ghana could go as low as $0.34. That is great news so the next question to ask is, which of our beloved telcos is actually giving the lowest rates on the market? MOBILE DATA USER VIEWS We threw that question to the Speakupp universe and they spoke up! We asked for the company with the lowest data rates among the telcos (MTN, Vodafone, Glo and AirtelTigo) as well as the two other companies that provide 4G internet in Ghana (Surfline and Busy). One thing we learned? People are not feeling the 4G guys much. Just under 5% of respondents felt that they had the lowest rates. However, it was much better news for MTN. The poll showed that more than a third of respondents (36%) felt that MTN had the lowest data rates. This was followed by AirtelTigo with 31% of respondents saying they had the lowest. Both Vodafone and Glo each had just under 15% of people saying they had the lowest rates. DEMOGRAPHICS Diving a bit deeper into the data, we see a slight shift in the results when we consider gender of the respondents. 41% of males answered that MTN had the lowest data charges. From our analysis, Airtel/Tigo is giving MTN the market leader, a good run for the money of women. 31% of women thought Airtel/Tigo was cheapest as against 28% of women who favored MTN. Vodafone performed a bit better among females but the others have quite a bit of a way to go before convincing subscribers that they are value for money. More than 70% of the Speakupp users that responded to this question were between the ages of 20 and 30 years and among this age group, there was not a clear winner. MTN had the lowest rates according to 40% of 20–30 years old but AirtelTigo was not very far behind with 36%. That is quite a statement that more than 3 in 4 respondents in this group chose between MTN and AirtelTigo. MARKET SHARE According to Ghana’s National Communication Authority, as at the end of December 2018, MTN had a market share of almost 60% of 2G/3G mobile data subscriptions with AirtelTigo following with about 23%. Vodafone came third with 16% with the rest for Glo. MTN was even more dominant in the 4G mobile data space with almost 93% of all subscriptions with Surfline in second place with about 5%. It would be interesting to know if people are just voting for who they subscribe to or are making genuine comparisons between providers. The mobile subscription penetration is almost 90% in Ghana which suggests that a number of subscribers may have multiple phone numbers (likely across networks) and so it is definitely plausible that they are comparing networks to get the best deal. FUTURE TRENDS The competition for the minds, souls and money of the Ghanaian market will get more aggressive with the launch of Vodafone’s and MTN’s 4G + as well as Airtel’s never-ending data. With only 15% of favourable price responses, Vodafone has the highest mountain to climb and it will be interesting to see their market acquisition strategy. Overall, telcos will need to focus on transparent, simple and cheaper data bundles. This can only be good news for the Ghanaian customer regardless of age or gender.