COVID Underdogs: Ghana

The best COVID-19 leadership in the world
13 min readJun 3, 2020


The Ghanaian Dancing Pallbearers had very little work at home.

Ghana has led the world in pandemic leadership. While western leaders were telling people to drink bleach, this West African nation offered sober, intelligent leadership to its people and — if we’d been listening — to us. It’s not too late to listen now.

I know white women are supposed to save the world, but we’re sleeping on the Black Star of Africa. This is their story. It’s a story of leadership, in a world that desperately needs it.

Wait, Africa?

Yes, Africa. As The Lancet wrote last week, ‘according to WHO, Africa is the least affected region globally, with 1.5% of the world’s reported COVID-19 cases and 0.1% of the world’s deaths.’

This is not just luck. Yes, the continent has some advantages (youth, being under a de-facto travel ban), but those advantages only buy you time. COVID-19 is so novel and so infectious that it will spread everywhere eventually, left unchecked. The main advantage Africa had was African people that their used their time wisely.

In February, 2020, while many other countries were still dismissing the emerging outbreak, the African Union acted swiftly, endorsing a joint continental strategy in conjunction with WHO. (The Lancet, May 30)

Within the African Union, Ghana stands out. People can claim a lack of testing or data to explain away other nations, but not Ghana. At the start of its outbreak, Ghana tested at a higher rate than even South Korea. They deployed innovative solutions like drones to reach the last mile. More than anything, their leader spoke words that made sense and saved lives.

That’s all we really have against COVID-19. We just have our brains and our ability to cooperate. We have no cure. That’s why leadership matters.

Let’s have a look. Ghanaians operate in English, so you can watch all the speeches yourself, which I highly recommend. It’s amazing to watch a leader that just does their job.

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Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at