Archives for May 2010

Can oil transform Ghana's fortunes?

Charlotte Attwood | 17:20 UK time, Monday, 31 May 2010

The Africa Have Your Say team is part of the BBC Africa Kicks team travelling through West Africa - the power house of African football.

As well as discussing how the country's team, the Black Stars, will perform at the World Cup in South Africa, Ghanaians are also talking about oil and how it will transform their lives and the nation's economy.

Off shore drilling is set to begin at the end of the year. Should Ghanaians have great expectations? If you are in Takoradi or elsewhere in Ghana, do you think you will benefit from the oil? Should areas in close vicinity to oil wells get a larger share of the profit? If you're elsewhere in the continent please send us your views and share your experiences with us.

To debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 1st June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.


Africa Have Your Say coming your way...

Charlotte Attwood | 16:51 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

Hi Alex Jakana here. If you haven't heard, we are headed your way if you are in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, or Nigeria. We are going to be on board a BBC bus driving through these countries and presenting a series of special Africa Have Your Say programmes from there. I'll be joined by my Africa Have Your Say colleagues Miriam Quansah, Alice Muthengi and Fast Track's Peter Okwoche.

I'm really excited about this trip because it's the first time I'm going to Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin. I'm looking forward to the sights, sounds and above all the interesting people and stories we're going to come across.

This road trip is generally looking ahead to the world cup as we travel through the heartland of African football but we'll be discussing many other topics as well.

For example, while in Ghana we'll drop by Takoradi and talk about Oil: Is it worth all the trouble drilling it? What should be done to make it of benefit to all?

In Accra we'll be discussing Africa's electricity woes ... And i'd really like to hear some radical thinking on this one.

Look out for us in Ibadan as well - i'm looking forward to coming to the university there and debating Nigeria's place in the world with you.

We'd like to meet you too if we can ... So, If you've got any events happening that you'd like for us to come to please let us know. I'm talking weddings, festivals, birthdays ... You name it. Just drop us a line at

Gotta run now ... Need to head home to finish my packing ... see you soon.

Are elections working in Africa?

Charlotte Attwood | 15:58 UK time, Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Elections in both Ethiopia and Burundi are being heavily criticised and reruns of both have been called for by opposition leaders. But are opposition parties putting enough effort into campaigning?

There is a trend of opposition parties crying foul and calling for reruns after elections. Is this becoming their role or are elections genuinely not working across the continent?

Are elections working in Africa? How do you feel when you go to the polling stations? Do you really feel like your vote makes a difference? Are opposition parties in your country doing their job effectively? Send us your views.

To debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 27 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.

Is a degree worth having in Africa?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 15:51 UK time, Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Students nearing the end of their final year at universities across Africa are contemplating their career options - but will their academic degrees land them their dream job?

Research from the World Bank and the Kenya Promotion Council suggests that Kenyan graduates are missing out on good jobs because university teaching does not place enough emphasis on practical skills .One report says insurance companies spend a lot of money bringing graduates up to scratch because they lack the relevant skills.

Has higher education enhanced your job opportunities? If you are an employer in Africa what's your experience of hiring recent graduates? If you didn't attend university, were you able to find a good job? Are there other benefits to having a degree besides financial ones? Are you a recent graduate? Tell me your experience.

To debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 26 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.

Is post-natal depression taken seriously in Africa?

Alex Jakana | 12:38 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

We all know having a baby can be a demanding and stressful experience.

Sleepless nights, nappy changes, and endless feeds can test the most loving parents.

But for some, having a baby can cause long periods of feeling very low, coupled with anxiety, guilt, or loss of appetite - all possible symptoms of post-natal depression.

It's not known exactly how many women experience this condition, but research in South Africa and India suggests it is more common in developing countries than we may think.

So Africa Have Your Say is asking: Is post-natal depression taken seriously where you live? Have you experienced it? If so, how did you deal with it?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 25 May at 1600GMT, please include your telephone number in your comment or send it to You can also send an SMS message to +447786202008.

Does winning an award matter?

AfricaHYS Team | 13:56 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The list of awards these days seems endless. From the prestigious Nobel prize, to awards for football, music, movies and fashion. Some organisations give awards to outstanding workers and, of course, at a younger age awards are often given out in school.

They're used as ways of encouraging competition, guarding against complacency and rewarding best practice, but do people need rewards in order to do their best?

Have you ever won an award? What difference did it make to you if any? Do certain awards have more value than others? If you've never won a prize how do you feel? Send us your view.  

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 20 May at 1600GMT, please send us a telephone number to You can also send an SMS message to +447786202008.

Should you plan for your old age?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 15:27 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

When we're young we don't give it much thought, but as we edge towards middle age the need to think about our future care becomes more urgent. Have you made your plans?

Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper has been focusing on the fact that people are living longer and that, for many, the state pension is not enough to sustain them. For most Africans the responsibility of providing for the elderly lies squarely with the family. But can planning early make this less of a burden and give the elderly more dignity and independence?

Do you think African governments need to make state pensions a priority? Are you saving for retirement? Are you struggling to look after a retired family member? Do you have a pension? Send us your views. Join the debate on Wednesday 19th May at 1600 GMT.

What do you expect from your first ladies?

Charlotte Attwood | 17:00 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

The BBC has been given exclusive access to several of the continent's first ladies and over the next few weeks you'll be able to hear what they have to say in our programmes. So, what do you think the role of the first lady should be?

First ladies in Africa have taken on a wide range of different roles in society, from setting up NGOs to simply using their powers of persuasion over their husbands. Would you rather have a quiet first lady who just stands at her husband's side or one that speaks out and is the voice of the people?

What role does your first lady play? Are there things you would like her to do? If we expect certain things from a first lady, should their role be made formal? Should it even be written into the constitution and given a budget? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 18 May at 1600 GMT, please send us a telephone number to You can also send an SMS message to +44 77 86 20 20 08.

The weekly round-up

Chikodili Emelumadu | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

This week, you grilled a UN bigwig, took part in crime busting and learned the best way to deal with anger. Below are some of our highlights:

Sir John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, answered some of your questions. As you know, the UN's mission to the DRC would like to conclude operations by the end of the year. Mohammed Bawa in Guinea sent us an SMS message voicing his rejection of that move:

The UN should stay and redouble their forces in Eastern Congo; they should be deployed to  take care of the sexual violence and killing.

 Here Sir John, implicitly gives the UN position on rape in the DRC:


 In 'Would you pass information to the police?' on Wednesday, we made you aware that the Ghana police force was calling on members of the public to volunteer information on criminal activity. David in Ghana recounts an experience he had, when he tried to do just that:


Unfortunately, try as we might, we could not get the Ghana Police Force spokesperson to address his concerns or ensure that people who help the police are kept safe. Luckily, Facebook friend Kathy Atenu in Uganda, came to the rescue:

 An anonymous call to the police is what I would do. The police can take it from there. I would cover all my tracks so they (police) would never contact me.
But the biggest point of debate this week came about when two of our contributors, Mrs Gabriel on the telephone from Nigeria and Lucy in our studio in Kenya, disagreed on how best to manage anger. Keep it in, or let it out?

We hope you enjoyed these shows as much as we did. Thanks to all of you who sent us ideas and comments on this blog or via SMS, Facebook and Twitter. Don't forget, you too can have your say as early as next week if you send us your suggestions to From us all on Africa Have Your Say, have a nice weekend.

Can you control your anger ?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 14:11 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

I suspect at some point in your life you've witnessed politicians or public figures in your country losing their cool and flaring up in anger.

For example the countless stories of MP's exchanging blows and throwing chairs at each other during heated debates. Does this influence your opinion of them, after all, don't we all lose our tempers from time to time? For example when we're stuck in traffic and everyone is shouting and blaring their horns.

It's not a pleasant experience and anger is an emotion that many people struggle with. Controversial South African politician Julius Malema has been told to undergo anger management by the ruling ANC for bringing the party into disrepute with his recent comments and behaviour.

In the past anger management classes have been used to rehabilitate Niger Delta militants, and Ugandan youths  affected by the conflict in North.  Would these classes be be useful in resolving domestic as well as international disputes?  Would more education about anger and how to express it healthily help you?

What makes you angry, and how do you express it?  Have you developed your own technique of coping with it?  Is it ever appropriate to display your anger or have you been victim of someone else's anger?

Send your comments and Join Africa HYS on 13th May 1600 GMT

Would you pass information to police?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 12:55 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

If you were a witness to a crime, and could identify the perpetrators, would you report it to the police?

Ghanaian police are asking the public to do just this; to volunteer information to help fight crime in the country.


police.jpgBut police in many African countries are often accused of taking bribes and freeing petty criminals - would you feel safe enough to go to them with information?

In Nigeria, journalist Sola Odunfan observes:

 Members of a family feel deprived when anyone steals from them; but when that same person steals from the public purse his family members expect to be enriched.

Are there instances where you feel a criminal should go scot-free?

Would you report a friend or family member if they committed a crime? Have you ever been a victim or been accused of a crime? How should the police make sure that people do not abuse this power by framing their neighbours?

 If you would like to Join Africa Have Your Say to debate this topic LIVE on air at 16GMT, please include a number. It will not be published. You can also send an SMS message to + 44 77 86 20 20 08.

Your questions to the UN's humanitarian chief

Charlotte Attwood | 17:35 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Sir John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN, has just returned from his big trip to Africa. Now is your chance to put your questions to him.


Sir John Holmes travelled through Senegal, Niger and DR Congo focusing on the humanitarian needs of those countries. Do you live in one of those countries, if so, what did you think of his trip? Perhaps you live elsewhere, are there more pressing needs where you are?

What is your view of the UN's humanitarian work in Africa?

Send us your questions with your phone number and you may get the chance to put them to Sir John Holmes yourself, live on BBC Africa Have Your Say at 16GMT on Tuesday 11 May. You can also send an SMS message to + 44 77 86 20 20 08 or send your contact details to

President Yar'Adua's Funeral

Chikodili Emelumadu | 11:53 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

Nigeria is mourning the death of president Umaru Yar'Adua who died late Wednesday night following a long illness.


yar.jpgThe president will be buried Thursday and the government has announced seven days of national mourning.

The continent has been reacting to the news of his death on our Facebook page.

Chuks Nnaji, in Nigeria says:

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua will better be remembered for his credo to foster the "Rule Of Law" which was indeed his most salient mantra. His administration witnessed series of election tribunals' verdicts, many of which nullified the elections of State Governors from his ruling party PDP.

Kofi Ntifo Bekoe from neighbouring Ghana has a different view:

May his soul rest in peace. His heart problems overshadowed everything. As to his legacy, I am not quite sure how he will be remembered.

What are your memories of the late President Umar Yar'Adua? What is his legacy in Nigeria and Africa? How can Nigeria honour its fallen leader?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 06 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. You can also send an SMS text message to +44 77 86 20 20 08.

Can laughter change your life?

Charlotte Attwood | 16:10 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Two women are planning to set up laughter clubs in Zimbabwe believing they will help people cope with the strains of Zimbabwean life.


zimbabwelaughter.jpgThe trainers believe laughter produces genuine health benefits - emotional, physical and mental.

Laughter trainer, Ms Shah, says:

"If you laugh - you change; and when you change - the world changes" 

How does laughter change your mood?

How often do you laugh in a day? Has the ability to laugh got you though some difficult times or has it ever backfired on you? If people laughed more would it really make your country a better place? Would you like these kind of workshops in your country? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 5 May at 1600 GMT, please send us a telephone number to You can also send an SMS message to +44 77 86 20 20 08

International Days: What do they achieve?

Charlotte Attwood | 11:35 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

World Firefighters day, World Press Freedom day and International Day of Families are just a few of the days we are expected to mark this month. Few weeks pass without a day set aside to mark an international occasion. The United Nations is responsible for creating these days which focus people's attention on issues that are central to their interests.

Last week was Malaria Awareness day, a day created by former US President George W Bush in 2007, with the aim of combating malaria in Africa, where still a child dies every 30 seconds from the disease. Were you aware of this awareness day and do you think it made a contribution to the fight against malaria? Is there a better way to draw attention to this and other issues?

Edwin 'Nyos' Munyoro from Facebook says:

They're good for awareness but you cannot raise awareness about everything We should have around 5 awareness weeks every year for Science, Disease, Society, Profession and Culture. Each week should focus on something different on the issue related to it.

If you could create one international day what would it be ? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 4 May at 1600 GMT, please send us a telephone number to You can also send an SMS message to +44 77 86 20 20 08


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