this is a country
Mark Not the Methodist always teases me about the West African countries about which I know nothing. His favorite is Mauritania, mostly because he likes to mispronounce it. (FYI, it rhymes with "Pennsylvania.") I'm sorry. I don't "do" West Africa. It's almost like another continent compared to the places I study.
Anyway, here's something I do know about: today marked 50 years of independence for Ghana. Ghana was the first African colony to gain its independence from European rule, and despite a couple of rather unpleasant military coups, the country has done okay, especially in comparsion to some of its neighbors. Unfortunately, large numbers of Ghanains still live in poverty, and its economy suffers.
If you'd like to learn more about Ghana's history, I highly recommend a documentary called Black Star Green Room. It gives great detail on the independence period, and also touches on how difficult economic development is for poorer countries because of the way the WTO operates. (Basically, the essence of it powerful countries make decisions behind closed doors. Most of the policies make it impossible for poorer countries to compete in international markets. So no matter how hard a country's people work, they can't greatly improve their lives. How is this fair?)
The most important result of Ghana's independence was that it set off a chain reaction of independence throughout Africa. Within ten years, most African colonies were independent states. Congratulations, Ghana, on fifty years of independence!