Ghana's 'café boys' and their internet lifestyleBy FRANCIS KOKUTSE in Accra | Thursday, November 17 2011 at 14:56
Remittances from abroad have over the year surpassed the money Ghana gets from donor partners, according to the World Bank and the Bank of Ghana.
But some of these remittances come from outright fraud.
A growing number of Ghanaian young men have been duping unsuspecting people around the globe through the internet to send them money through Western Union.
A favourite trick is to pose as attractive girls and to post such photographs through the internet to the people they were communicating with.
The young men who have chosen to earn their living this way have come to be known in Accra as ‘Café Boys’. Some of them are doing well indeed, as can be seen from their expensive cars.
The activities of these ‘Café Boys’ have increased the number of internet cafes around the country. If one counted the cafes that have sprung up across Accra and other urban centres, including in slum areas, it might give the impression that Ghana was making it big with Information Technology, which is far from the reality.
The young men who sit behind the computers in the cafes from morning to evening were just looking for gullible men and women to befriend.
Across Accra’s poor neighbourhoods of Musuku, Nima, Sukura and Madina Zongo, smart young entrepreneurs have discovered that putting up internet cafés was a profitable business.
Fallen in love
One of them, Mr Inusah Musah, told the Africa Review: “I do not have any background in IT, but I realised that in the neighbourhood where l live, there was no internet café and l decided to set up one with just seven computers.”
“After only eight months, l now have 15 computers and l am planning to move into a bigger place,” he added.
Mr Musah does not pry into what his clients are doing, but he said he could notice from the way they went about their activities that they were engaged in some form of illegal act.
There have been unverifiable tales about the young men using some form of black magic on those they befriend on the internet, making them part with thousands of dollars to strangers.
One boy who refused to be named admitted to the Africa Review that he had received money from a man in Sweden. “He is a homosexual and l told him in email messages and on the phone that l have fallen in love with him. He asked for my picture and l just scanned a picture l cut from an American magazine and sent it to him, and from then on, he has become my ‘boyfriend’ even though l am not gay.”
The boy is a junior secondary school dropout. He revealed that the Swedish man had been planning to visit him in Ghana, but he made up stories to avoid meeting the gay man.
Most others befriend women and use similar tricks on them, to service some new-found lavish lifestyles.
Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?speak out
Read Story: Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Former Senegal First Lady on emotional visit to jailed son
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Kenya kicks out Nigerians and all hell breaks loose
- Tanzania innovator lands $300,000
- Kikwete's big spat with Rwanda
- Tanzania voted Africa’s best safari country
- Nigerian deportee demands pay for Kenyan officials' release
- Nile saga: Ethiopia and Egypt now favour dialogue
Beyond the ballot