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Greetings from remote places

Greetings Aid Watchers, just back on line, been busy touring remote places in northern Ghana. I’ll be writing up experiences in a future post, but I only have a few minutes right now. One very quick thought I have been having:

Q: what’s the difference between remote northern Ghana and downtown Manhattan?

A: my iPhone gets a signal in remote northern Ghana

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  1. Owen Barder wrote:

    I was recently in Southern Ethiopia, a good 9 hours drive from Addis, enjoying fast 3G mobile internet.

    For Ethiopian mobile phone subscribers, basic mobile internet (GPRS, which is good enough for getting mail) is now free.

    Enjoy Ghana.


    Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:13 am | Permalink
  2. Nina Chachu wrote:

    Really, really made laugh… Perfect for a Friday post, and to add a chuckle before the weekend!

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink
  3. Sam wrote:

    This has been driving me crazy – how is it that when I was in the Sahara, the nomad folks can chat away on their cell phones, but when I was home in the U.S. I couldn’t get a signal. And also, how is it that a cell phone plan in the U.S. it costs more than most people in the world make in a year?

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink
  4. Diane Bennett wrote:

    So much for being a feudal lord!

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  5. Ben Wise wrote:

    I was living in Northern Ghana (did you go to Sandema?) when a bunch of those phone towers came on lone. Made a huge impact and was amazing to see how quickly cell phones became prevalent. Looking forward to more posts on your trip to the area.

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  6. William Easterly wrote:

    Now I’m in Bolgatanga and have wifi. Long live the global tech revolution!

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  7. TTE wrote:

    This actually made me laugh out loud. And of course it’s an incredible phenomenon.

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Maclean Shea wrote:

    Haha, I’m posting this from Kpandai, in the Northern Region. We’ve only got one two-storey building, but my mobile Vodafone modem has a perfect connection, probably due to the 5 telecomm towers that I can see from my compound.

    Bill, several of my colleagues are in Bolga right now, I told them to keep an eye out for you, I you don’t mind. Cheers!

    Posted July 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  9. francis wrote:

    Bill, do you think that drought is an issue there in Northern Ghana?

    Posted July 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  10. Update News wrote:

    That is true GPRS in Ghana is now free.

    Posted July 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink
  11. Ehui wrote:

    Professor Easterly, my regards to the people of Northern Ghana. I can’t wait to read about your travels.

    Posted July 25, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink
  12. Jason B wrote:

    I did fieldwork in the villages around Tumu, 3 hours west of Bolga. If you head there, I’d be curious to hear your observations on the disparities in capacity between NGOs and local government.

    The (non)-joke when I was there last year was that Plan Ghana has more power than the local government. Granted, Plan Ghana makes efforts to *do* things, and it is unclear what the district assembly accomplishes. Nonetheless it makes for an interesting situation and I’m interested in what you think of the state of affairs.

    Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Easterly, JohnNess. JohnNess said: iPhone signal better in remote northern Ghana than in downtown Manhattan. […]

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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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