Sitting on salt wealth and living in poverty

Posted by By at 6 November, at 09 : 51 AM Print

Sitting on salt wealth and living in poverty

Sitting on salt wealth and living in poverty


In the article, ‘Sitting on gold and looking for money in condom-taxes,’, we lamented, among others, that “it is exactly our lack of capacity to think big; our inability to be audacious that is the bane of our lack of progress. It pains me greatly that I live in a country, so richly blessed and yet have leaders sitting down to consider options and all they could come up with are ways and how to raise money from taxing condoms. Our ambitions should be made of sterner stuff, to quote Shakespeare.”

On Saturday, November 2, 2013, I went with a friend to visit the Sorgho Lagoon in the Greater Accra region. There I saw the biggest open salt mine I saw in my life.

My friend is one of the chiefs from the area and he took me along on a look-see tour. He had always complained to me on how his people suffer neglect and poverty, despite the vast on which they sit – literally and figuratively.

Successive governments have paid only lip service to developing the area.

Just like in the gold mines, the local community benefits little from the vast wealth extracted from their land.

A few years ago, on a visit to Obuasi, I came back shedding tears.

The neglect of the town that, for over one-hundred years, produced gold for the country left me bereft of words and I was both sad and very angry.

How can we continue to do this to ourselves?

I have been to Antwerp in Belgium and also to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Both cities possess no gold mine, but they built their shiny wealth polishing and handling African gems. By any standards, Amsterdam and Antwerp are very beautiful, modern cities with every modern infrastructure of any major metropolitan.

In contrast, we have Obuasi, where countless tons of gold have been mined, a dilapidated, woe-begone town with the decrepit building collapsing and the rundown roads unkempt. Obuasi cannot boast of any modern amenity if we discount the telephone and television masts that so totally disfigure the town. Many of the houses in Obuasi are collapsing – due to underground mining activities as I was told.

We have lamented severally in this column that our leaders need to wake up. We no longer can afford the pedestrian pace they set for us. It is time they move from their first gear into higher gear – the presidency of a nation is far too important to be left at gear one.

As we write this, the Indians have readied themselves to blast a rocket to Planet Mars. And here we are, we have not even mastered the rudimentary of producing any technology.

Why on earth is it impossible for our leaders in Africa to think BIG, dream BIG and challenge us to accomplish the visions they set for us?

And we say that it is time we need to check the corruption and the culture of greediness and selfish that is enveloping at a frightening pace. These cankers are bound to destroy us if we pretend they do not exist, or if we refuse to fight them with vigor.

Maybe a few of us get stupendously rich from taking tokens from the Multi-nationals that carted away all of Obuasi gold; but is that enough?

For how long are we going to allow our individual greediness to destroy our society?

If we ever hope to get anywhere, we cannot allow our personal greediness to make us collude with so-called investors to keep on sucking us dry and continue to impoverish our people.

Some years back, our illiterate ancestors took bottle of Gin and mirrors, and in exchange, they sold their war captives as slaves. Today many of us take four-wheel jeeps and a few thousand dollars and, in exchange, we allow foreigners to come and cart away billions of dollars worth of our mineral resources.

Or is it not our compatriots that took money from the Chinese and allow them to operate their illegal Galamsey business that had so thoroughly blighted vast track of our land/environment?

Is it not time we start to learn some useful lessons from history?

I know enough history to know that salt is a very, very important, even strategic product. Empires were built on it.

Yet, there we have abundant salt mine at Ada while our people there live extremely wretched lives.

How come?

Why is it that we don’t we feel passionate about lifting ourselves up and join the rest of humanity in living modern, decent lives?

And we have political leaders who should dazzle us with their visions; we have academics who should be proffering advice on how we can best develop our resources so that we can improve conditions for our people, so that they stop living like Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth.

Rather for our leaders to keep disturbing us with the ear-shattering sirens to go to occasions where they spout utter rubbish, they should sit in their offices and plan how, within the shortest possible time, we can stop talking and start doing.

We have enough natural resources to propel ourselves out of poverty within the shortest possible time. What we lack are bold initiatives and visions from those that lead us!


Ada salt mine - pic1

Ada salt mine – pic1


Ada salt mine - pic2

Ada salt mine – pic2

Ada salt mine - pic3

Ada salt mine – pic3


Ada salt mine - pic4

Ada salt mine – pic4


Ada salt mine - pic5

Ada salt mine – pic5

Ada salt mine - pic6

Ada salt mine – pic6

Ada salt mine - pic7

Ada salt mine – pic7

Ada salt mine - pic8

Ada salt mine – pic8

Ada salt mine - pic9

Ada salt mine – pic9


Ada salt mine - pic10

Ada salt mine – pic10

Ada salt mine - pic11

Ada salt mine – pic11


Ada salt mine - pic12

Ada salt mine – pic12

A village in Ada - pic1

A village in Ada – pic1


A village in Ada - pic2

A village in Ada – pic2

A village in Ada - pic3

A village in Ada – pic3


A village in Ada - pic4

A village in Ada – pic4

A village in Ada - pic5

A village in Ada – pic5


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe, a passionate Pan-Africanist, was one of the PCs Pioneers and ran a Computer Consultancy firm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for several years, where he also set up the first African Bulletin Board System (BBS), the precursor to the Internet. He also established the first Black Newspaper, The African, in the country.

Femi has been very active in the Pan African Movement since the early 1990s.

A columnist for ModernGhana and a Correspondent for the London-based New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

He is currently engaged in vegetable farming.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  3. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.

Where to buy them online:

On Lulu Books:

18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

Africa: Destroyed by the gods:

Africa: It shall be well:


Africa: it shall be well

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:

Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books:


18 African Fables & Short Stories:

 on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:

 My Lulu Books page:

Get free promotional materials here:

  1. Africa: it shall be well:

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ can be downloaded here:

  1. Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa)

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ can be downloaded here:

Read a review here


Contact Femi:

Femi’s Blog:
Femi on Amazon
Femi Akomolafe’s Lulu Books page:
Facebook: Alaye;
YouTube Channel:
Profile on New African magazine:

Kindly help me share the books’ links with your friends and, grin, please purchase your copies.


Femi Akomolafe


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