Mobile Phone "Craze" in Ghana
Theodore Kwaku Viwotor
Accra, Ghana - Dec 2007
What came into the country as a means to augment the fixed line telephone system has now become a tool that has revolutionised communications across the country.
Mobile phones have become so common in the capital ‘Accra’ that even people considered to be economically challenged carry them. From truck pushers to water sachet sellers and porters, everybody is using mobile phones. As a result of the increase in there usage, many jobs are being created for a large number of people who otherwise would have been unemployed.
There are hundreds of shops in Accra selling mobile phones and accessories such as batteries, housing covers and headsets. These shops have employed many young men and women, (trained or untrained) to sell for them. Another area of job creation is the setting up of repair workshops and phone card shops. There are four cellular phone service providers and the sale of their phone cards is another good business avenue.
Accra is dotted with numerous mobile phone repair shops, ranging from big shops to kiosks and mini tables along the streets. It still remains a mystery how, many of these repairers learnt their trade. According to Oscar, an apprentice, some learnt it from their masters while others just mastered the job through what he termed, ‘trial and error’. “Naturally, some people are born with an aptitude or talent; they don’t need to work as hard to become competent. Others just applied their knowledge of computers or electronics to this field and it has worked out for them”.
However, he is doing things differently. “I am learning from my master Nana Yaw. We have a two year contract, followed by three months of service, thereafter I will be free to start my own business”.
The influx of mobile phones has added further impetus to communications in the country and improved the lives of many, however, it has also given rise to the phenomenon of the ‘mobile phone snatcher’. Thankfully the nefarious activities of people engaged in this crime are being thwarted by the combined forces of the police and communications service providers.
A system is being devised to render stolen phones useless, it will block such phones from making or receiving calls within the Country. Most Ghanaians are eagerly awaiting the day when that system becomes operational, either way they can’t afford to lose the opportunity provided by technology that has eased the way people communicate across the Country.