Posted on April 17, 2010


Yes, she’s in Africa. But not in Ghana this time. She visited here in 2007 when Ghana marked its 50ieth year of independence. Charity and I had the pleasure of meeting Her Excellency. We were hoping that she would have time to visit Kumasi where she was slated to stay at FOUR VILLAGES INN. Alas, time constraints didn’t allow her to come to Kumasi, so we went to Accra. First with all Canadians we were invited to a reception at the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence; and then the next night, Charity and I had the honour to be among the very few Canadians outside the diplomatic community to be invited to a state dinner hosted by H.E. John Kofi Agyekum Kufour, then President of the Republic of Ghana:

Charity and Chris meet Her Excellency Michaelle Jean

Back to the present: H.E. Michaelle Jean Governor General of Canada, our appointed ceremonial Head of State, is now in Africa. Her 10 day state tour will take her to Senegal, Congo, Rwanda and Cape Verde. Her tour has been co-coordinated to coincide with the 50 anniversary independence celebrations of so many ex French West African colonies. In August 1960 no less than eleven members of the “Community” administered by France along with two territories hoisted their own flags. General Charles de Gaulle, then Prime Minister of France considered them “a burden”. And that they remain despite 50 years of throwing money at them. At least she’s not going to one of the biggest basket cases then and now……Cote d’Ivoire….despite its comparative success in that community of failure.

Here’s a quote from Martin Meredith’s great overview of recent African history “The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence”:

And Canada once maintained a full embassy there as well as poured countless millions of dollars into that country for years…But hey, remember there was an ice skating rink in Abidjan and it’s believed that for every dollar of aid that goes into a country, thirteen dollars in resources leaves…

And hey, why not read about the Bacilica of Our Lady of Peace-in Cote d’Ivoire no less-at Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast-the world’s largest Christian Church!-built between 1985 and 1989-horrible years in West Africa

To conclude, here are a couple of quotes from Her Excellency’s blog concerning this trip:

“Africa is now being urged to lead a new revolution that is social, economic, and democratic in nature,” Jean wrote in a blog posting before leaving.

Madinghana’s response: I wonder if 50 years of urging might have had more impact and achieved more outcomes for the people than 50 years of aid….Have you got an opinion?


“The continent, she said, deserves better health care, education, and women’s rights; a fairer economy that stops abusing workers, excluding African access to foreign markets, and ruining the environment; and more transparent governance and elections.”

Madinghana’s response: You got it, G.G. What an admission of failure of donor countries.