I found this article in The Guardian's "How the World sees America" series, and I can agree with many of its arguments! As others have said in different discussions here, the United States has ignored and disrespected Africa... and the benefit, as I am certain, will finally be to China.
I thought the US was the land of gold. Now I see it as rude and disrespectful
American foreign policy limits interactions with countries like Ghana. This leads to arrogant interactions and generalisations
by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
"Is it all right to say that?" He said this looking at me questioning.
"Yeah, yeah it's all right", I responded – even though I hadn't quite heard what he had said.
"Ah. I was asking because Ghanaians can get very defensive." Now he had my full attention.
"Yes", I agreed. "We get defensive because people like you come here and just spend all your time criticizing us. If Ghana was such a bad place would you have come here?"
He responded: "This is exactly what I'm talking about. You're getting defensive now". The conversation fizzled to a stop, and the American man walked away.
While talking to Americans and other expatriates, I've found myself playing the role of the defensive Ghanaian – a role I hate being cast in – a few too many times for my liking. A few weeks ago an American woman I had recently met invited me to a girls night out. The venue was a private bar in one of Accra's recently constructed ultra-modern block of flats.
Before I entered the premises, the security guard had to call and make sure I was expected. I didn't blame him. I don't think anyone with the type of car I drive lives in a flat like that. The girls I ended up hanging out with that night were American and British. Somehow the conversation turned to a discussion about the attitudes of Ghanaian employees. As the only person in the group who was seen as "authentically Ghanaian", the others seemed to be looking to me as some sort of expert.
One American woman said, "there is no local talent. Companies are dying to hire local talent and they can't find anyone". I was shocked. I thought of all the "smart, local talent" in my networks and couldn't help but say, "Well you know people tend to hire people within their networks. Maybe you are just not plugged into the right networks". One or two other women nodded knowingly, and then another American woman said, "Well I think that we don't respect local talent. My company pays Ghanaians very little but the American expats get great salaries, with accommodation and other perks".