Omanba Forum

"Is life in Accra expensive? "

Is a popular belief that life in Accra is expensive. But I disagree

I strongly believe one lifestyle plays a major role when it comes to cost of living anywhere. Is possible to live cheap even in an area where there’s a lot of competition and scarcity of everything.

What do you think? Do you think life in Accra is expensive if yes , what contributes to this problem and what can one do to mitigate it

I think you misunderstand “expensive” living. Yes, Accra is expensive! Here’s what to look at instead of lifestyle:

  1. Time. Time is money right? OK, now imagine you have to go get a new passport at Accra from Tema, for example, you plan to leave home at 8AM and get back by 10AM. In a country that’s well-organized, 2hrs is certainly enough to go to the passport office and back, because, trams/buses/trains work on time. In Accra you leave home at 8AM, by 1PM you’re still in traffic to the passport office! It’s crazy! And when you get to the office, more disorganized crap, nothing works! On top of that you have to pay bribes to move your passport application faster, they’ll do you “go and coma go and come”. This is why Accra is expensive. In a cheaper country, you save time by doing everything online, no bribes, no traffic. Everything fits in 2hours so you get to do other things (like work, business, investments etc) to make money. So in the end you get to keep more money in your pocket in another city. In Accra, bribes and traffic will take your money and time.

  2. Health. The health system in Accra is fucked up. You can be easily misdiagnosed and end up paying more to get cure later. That’s more money, compared to a better city where they have the know-how and tools to correctly diagnose you on time and save you time and money.

  3. Taxes. Recently they approved Mobile money to double tax some people’s already-taxed salaries.

  4. Roads. Shitty roads means you have to pay more for frequent car maintenance. In a better city the roads are good you can use your car for a looong time without maintenance.

I can keep on listing why Accra is expensive but you get the idea. So it’s not about lifestyle. My lifestyle is modest, I don’t eat fancy food or wear designer clothes, but in Accra I have to have access to healthcare, maintain my car, get a passport etc. Think about it this way and you’ll know Accra is overly expensive.

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I’m empathetic to most of things you mentioned, but to the average Ghanaian when one says Accra is expensive, most of the things you listed don’t make the list

I perfectly understand what you mean here, since I’ve personally lived in the western system and experience how life can be efficient but which also come at a great cost to those living in such system

Thanks for sharing your perspective! @siaw

So what will make the list then? In my humble opinion the ones with little to no education view the cost of fuel, toothpaste, bread as expensive life. Sorry for the lack of adjective to describe such people, to them, they monitor the price of fuel year by year and complain their lives are getting expensive, it’s the wrong angle to look at “expense” from. Tell me, which consumes more fuel? A new car or a car that is 30 years old? Tell me, which consumes more power, a new refrigerator or an old one? Why do the new ones consume less? It’s because they are efficient.

If a country like Ghana can learn to be efficient in managing countries resources, human labour, people’s time, politicians, education, etc… trust me Accra/Ghana will be cheap.

Describing “expense” based on the price of fuel and commodities is wrong, there are countries (many countries in fact) where fuel and bread is much more expensive than in Ghana, but they live better lives because they are efficient.

Thanks for bring this up @ruffrider, for me I feel we’re tackling all of our problems in Ghana/Africa wrongly, with the wrong mindset.

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I’ve always say the most dangerous thing ever happened is to try to solve Africans problem with the mindset of Europeans, it will never work

There’s nothing like “the mindset of Europeans”. It’s a matter of lack of education and enforcing laws. The UAE or the Gulf region is not European, yet see the development going on over there. Japan and Singapore are not European, so what do you mean exactly? Let’s not go far, just look at Rwanda, where’s the “European mindset” there?

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All those countries you mentioned have their own way of doing things and simply because it works elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work everywhere
but Ghanaians ( Africans) want to be “Europeans”, and that’s the reason why they’re still stuck at where they’re today. @siaw

I don’t agree with you on this. OK. So what will be the “Ghanaian” way of solving expensive life in Accra for example?

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