The Beauty of Dreaming From A 3rd World Country

I have a controversial thought; they call African countries ‘3rd world countries.’ After whining about how offensive that tag feels and sounds, it’s impossible to not see any truth in it. We are behind in many things like technology, infrastructural development, GDP growth, movie making, military sophistication etc.

You can choose to dwell on the negative vibes the tag gives you. I don’t. I see such a great advantage in being in a third world country. Let me explain;

If you had the chance today, to bet a GHC 1,000 on who would win a match that was played three months back, wont you be excited about the easy cash you were about to make? I mean, you’ve watched the re runs on DSTV, read the reviews on Sports Daily, and now when you’re watching the same match again, someone offers you the chance to bet on the winner!

If you know tomorrow’s lottery numbers for sure, wouldn’t that be an advantage? My point is if we are pages (or at worst chapters) behind Europe, Asia and America, aren’t we more advantaged because of the chance to study trends and learn from their successes and failures?

They were driving blind, but being in the 3rd world, we have the hand book and can look in their rear-view mirrors before we start our cars. We can all be fortune tellers if we indulge our minds in a little reading. We have so much room to prepare ahead of time.

Take the dot-com bubble that overwhelmed Americans between 1995 and 2000 for example. It referred to the steady commercial growth of the Internet with the coming of the World Wide Web.

The period was marked by the founding (and, in many cases, spectacular failure) of a group of new Internet-based companies commonly referred to as dot-coms. Companies were seeing their stock prices shoot up if they simply added an “e-” prefix to their name and/or a “.com” to the end.

This is no history class, but people, Ghana hasn’t even gotten to the ‘ bubble era’ yet. We’re quickly approaching it though. More Ghanaians are on the internet more often. More internet companies are getting formed. Telesales was recently introduced to Ghana. Copy-writing is still budding. Even blogging is only just catching on. The future is soo bright in these areas (and several others), and from what’s happened elsewhere, we don’t have much problem seeing the potholes that would have otherwise been inconspicuous.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but recently there’s been a boom in the number of Gh businesses popping up on the internet. In a matter of months, Unit Transfer operators and taxi drivers will have websites (the same way mobile phones are now more widely owned than toilet rolls). The website builders have foreseen it, so now when you’re in Accra, Circle , lapaz and dozens of other places, you see cheap posters advertising website builders who can represent your internet interest for as little as 150GHC (many being rip-offs too).

The ground is so fertile for entrepreneurship. The forecasts that we’ll otherwise have paid millions of dollar$ for are on Google for crying out loud.

True. It’s easier said than done, and the dynamics are different (to some extent) from this side of the horizon. But if there isn’t any work left for you to do, then wherein lays the joys from the fruits of your success? I’m talking about the pursuit of happiness here not the gift of laziness.

I’m strongly opposed to such subtly binding thoughts that make us believe that the only ways to achieve anything meaningful in Ghana is to work in a bank or for an oil company or win the Visa lottery. The danger such socialization poses is fatal; anyone who thinks along those lines and is deprived of those limited means to success becomes economically impotent and suicidal.

To him, you’ve taken away his only known means of making meaning of his life. He’s blind to the dozens of other opportunities that calls him by name, and for all you, he or I could know, an original paradigm-shifting business idea is eagerly awaiting birth.

I don’t think that the most successful people are the most educated, connected or born-rich folks. I honestly think that the most exceptional success stories are merely the result of a collision between destiny and strategic positioning. What we describe as lucky is actually the great things that come with being strategically positioned.

How much more strategically positioned can you be than if you could forecast (to a great extent)what the future holds, decide on something that’s consistent with your greatest passion, involve God and prepare aggressively for it? Even the optimization of grace and favor requires some kind of preparation/ effort on your part.

Say, you wanted to start an automated car wash company (none in Gh. Yet) and you went online to do your research then got the detailed 411 on it, learned the nuances and did the groundwork to determine how viable it’ll be and why no one has brought it in yet. Who do you think will enter Ghana’s history as the one who introduced automated car washes (or whatever it is you want to do) to Ghana? You! And you bloody well will be in the same league as Tetteh Quarshie, only that you didnt have to travel all the way to Fernado Po. It’s possible that in the next dozen years, you could have a roundabout named after you. Abi you know us dada.

So please, I hope we’re both looking at the same side of this coin. It’s such a wonderful blessing to dream from a third world country. I heard George Weah say something profound in an interview

“When I was just a young, hopeful footballer, I wanted to be the next Maradona or the African Maradona. But now, I’ve grown to become the first George Weah, and when I hear children saying “I want to be the next George Weah” I find it very amusing.”

Oprah called Genevieve Nnaji the Julia Roberts of Africa, and it’s reaaallly cool to be viewed in the light of great Western and European heroes, but I relish being the first Ben Anyan, I hope you do too in becoming the first [your name]. The world waits. And dreaming from a third world country really improves the odds of that. So tell me, when you look at this glass, would you call it half empty or half full?

PS: Share this on your facebook wall/status and send the link to as many of your friends as you can. If you’ve benefitted/enjoyed, won’t they also?




  1. Adebowale Al said:

    Good point, but I other words we watching them from behind. Won’t it be better behind ahead or at least were they are?

    October 25, 2013
    • BenJ said:

      Eventually we will get there. That’s if we make good use of what we see from behind. Until then we’ve got to make more lemonade from this lemon, i think.

      October 25, 2013
  2. Eli said:

    God richly bless you Hon.Anyan for this piece. I’m truly inspired by it. Looks like you’re already enroute ‘Benjamin Anyan I’ street.

    September 30, 2013
    • BenJ said:

      Wow wow wow Eli, you just grinned me up proper! Thanks a lot, your inspiration inspires me.

      September 30, 2013

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