Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, well, I have been blogging some time ago. But now I wonder why. To a great extent I believe blogging is for people who have a need to write and be read. But there are better (more direct) ways to do just that, like e-mail. But why would anyone be interested in my writings per se? I believe that blogging is nowhere near true journalism. Unless your visions are truely more important for more people than the roughly estimated 2000 people that you DO know. And that, my dear blog, is not the case for most people who blog. So I rest my blog...

I have created a site where I combine my journalistic efforts about Ghana football. Unfortunately it is in Dutch. Find the link here:

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New blog

I am very happy to announce the near-qualification of Ghana's Black Stars for Germany 2006. Their win over Uganda was secured by Matthew Amoah (picture), Vitesse Arnhem's striker that I interviewed just days before his maiden appearace for the Black Stars in the African Cup of Nations. Ghana only needs to avoid defeat against Cape Verde in order to appear, alongside the Netherlands at the World Championship Football.

Recently I have started a new blog in cooperation with my friend Peter. The new blog is focussing on "the European Debate" and aims to contribute to opinion-shaping. What it all is about is still a dynamic process. Please have a look at the Blog on Europe and leave your comments.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Ten ways to help Africa?

Michael Holman and Andrew Rugisara have listed ten ways to help Africa. These are all low cost suggestions because:
Africa needs more financial aid like an alcoholic needs a stiff whisky.

The ten ideas in brief are:
1. Encourage ideas. (African publishers should be allowed to publish books with ideas for 1/5 of the full Western price)
2. Charge for professionals’ visas.
3. Require the use of more cocoa before chocolate can be called chocolate.
4. Promote Africa’s music and train managers and musicians
5. Encourage better marketing and packaging of Africa’s products.
6. Make foreign non-governmental organisations compete.
7. Enlist the private sector in build-operate-transfer infrastructure projects.
8. Make aid conditional on improving the business climate.
9. Abolish taxes on computer imports. Privatisation, deregulation, a strong private sector and democracy
10. Introduce a fair tax on coffee and encourage a fair return to growers

But no matter how nice these simple suggestions are, of course the true obstacle for Africa lies within the absence of a true capital generating system, as it has been explained brilliantly by Hernando de Soto.
...the major stumbling block that keeps the rest of the world from benefiting from capitalism is its inability to produce capital ... most of the poor already possess the assets they need to make a success of capitalism ... But they hold these resources in defective forms: houses built on land whose ownership rights are not adequately recorded, unincorporated businesses with undefined liability, industries located where financiers and investors cannot see them. Because the rights to these possessions are not adequately documented, these assets cannot readily be turned into capital, cannot be traded outside of narrow local circles where people know and trust each other, cannot be used as collateral for a loan, and cannot be used as a share against an investment.
[While] the single most important source of funds for new businesses in the United States is a mortgage on the entrepreneur's house.

This important matter is even noted by the same Holman as above, on AllAfrica.com:
Land ownership is critical. Yet in Ethiopia there is an outright ban on foreign ownership of land. In Kenya women hold less than 5 percent of registered land titles, though they make up 70 percent of the agricultural labour force. In Lagos, Nigeria, it takes 21 procedures and 274 days to register property. In Taiwan it takes three procedures and seven days.

This is the dark, under-reported side to Africa we do not read enough about, in which African leaders are responsible for their own misfortune and which is in the capacity of African leaders to change...And they do not need more aid to do it.

So why should a starting business be made as easy as possible? Why should it matter? Because cumbersome business registration procedures push entrepreneurs into the informal economy where they don't pay tax, where workers lack health or pension benefits, where products are not subject to quality standards, where they cannot obtain bank credit, and corruption, a greater scourge than Aids, is rampant.

To my Dutch friends and readers I would like to mention that Hernando de Soto's book is also available in Dutch, as is the full text of the first chapter.

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Friday, July 01, 2005

Interesting blog

Today a good friend introduced me to an interesting blog by a Dutch writer whose name is Leon de Winter. He writes about the kind of people that should get a bit more attention to help understanding today's society, such as Timothy Garton Ash and Job Cohen.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Showing some things on the net

This is my first posting that included pictures. Finally, I am finding my way through html. I believe that this posting demonstrates relevancy to my friends who can see where I will be next week. Secondly I can draw attention to the relevancy of some of my earlier journalstic work.

I have tried to explain a number of people where we are going for our vacation break next week. The details of the house can be found online. But this blog can also give you an idea of the view that we will have:

Or look at more pictures here.

Another think that I would like to mention is my earlier interview with Ghanaian football player Matthew Amoah

I was pleasantly surprised to read that Matthew was included in the Ghanaian team that is preparing for their crucial World Cup qualifier against the DR Congo on 27 March. The BBC reportsthat Ghana is missing two key players for that match.

While Kuffuor, the Bayern Munich defender, is reported to be nursing an
injury, Lyon midfielder Essien is suspended. The 58-year-old former coach of Rwanda, recalled Matthew Amoah. Amoah, who plays for Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, has been absent from the Black Stars for over three years.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Still alive, catching up soon ...

Wow, this seems like forever. It was really long ago since I took time to post on the blog. The biggest reason was as simple as it could be: no unlimited internet access @home. Today, finally this changed and if you ever consider a telco-telco ADSL migration: "don't try this at home". It was absolutely impossible to figure out what happened where and when.

I will catch up soon. In the mean time, I will consider a shift of focus. Maybe e-democracy doesn't quiete cover the whole spectrum that I'm interested in. Plenty of interesting things in live ahead at the moment.

A funny thing happened last month. I was contacted by a few students, currently doing their bachelor's degree at the University of Rotterdam. They are writing a thesis about the Feyenoord Football Academy in Fetteh. They contacted my because they found my article on the net that I wrote about it, long time ago. Never guessed it was going to be that helpfull to anybody. They interviewed me for an hour, as part of their research.

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Long time.... Back on the Blog

It has been a long time since I updated my blog. The main reason was my new job. I have been quite busy and my ict infrastructure @ home still needs improvement. Please be sure that I will continue this blog. I will be back more frequently, as soon as I am online, outside working hours.

Being back on the blog, I would like to refer to the ideas of professor Stephen Coleman (e-democracy) that he presented on a visit to the Netherlands (presented on a site in Dutch).

E-democracy has seen four phases since 1997:
  1. minor relevance due to limited access to internet
  2. internet hype: new economy, everybody will be part of decision making process
  3. institutions start using the net, but do not change their message
  4. transformation of the message en communication tools

Four suggestions for further improvement:
  1. Politicians open up through the net (virtual visiting hours)
  2. Political respect networks outside the official institutions
  3. Online discussions
  4. Take on new cultural dimensions of the people (tv, weblogs)

He concluded:

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