As a frequent traveller across the continent, I passed through Accra last week. With great delight, I read the news that Ghana was now classified a middle income country, faring well on the development path.
The more, I was shocked and disgusted to learn about the high level of corruption and poor attitude of many airport personnel, starting with the immigration officers, but extending to baggage handling personnel, taxi drivers, and so forth.
Being on a connecting flight within a few hours on my way up from, and just three hours on my way down, to southern Africa, I was surprised to hear that I should pay for a transit visa. I mean, I am just connecting flights, and did not plan to leave the airport.
No discussion with the immigration staff who (and not only one person, a whole “customer service chain”) insisted I could only pass through with a transit visa in my passport.
Paying the US$20, I had to insist on my receipt, and on my return trip had a really hard time soliciting it – clearly annoying the man in uniform who had already seen the money go into his pocket.
I was shocked that most other airport staff I told this story to, just said, “Well, they need to bolster their salaries.”
Speaking to a senior immigration official, Mr. Divine Dovlo, he indicated that he was “really sorry that I cannot do anything.” Keeping the receipt – for follow-up or just to let it disappear? This is not speaking well for a medium income country. If the salaries are so bad that a whole airport customer service chain is criminally deceiving visitors and passers through, this is a poor state of affairs, and a sad image of the country – medium income or not.
Not a pleasant experience and really making Ghana appear unprofessional and corrupt.
Bad entry to the country – bad image of the country.
Disgruntled from Namibia, Dr. Juliane Zeidler