Author Archives: Ulrich B Riemann

About Ulrich B Riemann

Current: Plant Breeder: hybrid, non-toxic Jatropha. Agronomy: innovative sustainable farming for Africa. Renewable Energy: 2nd generation biofuels, solar MD @ Bionic Palm Ltd, Ghana CEO @ Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc. Co owner @ Bionic Enterprises Group. Past: Seasoned executive level management consultant and interim manager with more than 20 years experience serving clients around the globe.

A very important development for the future African energy equation. Not only for improved energy supply but also for mitigation of climate change.


In the time it takes to scale up the production of advanced biofuels — which use plant waste, not corn, for fuel — numerous web startups could launch, scale and exit. But for those biofuel companies that are still out there, toiling away at the difficult goal of producing next-gen biofuels that are competitive with gasoline at commercial scale, 2013 is proving to be a year of pivotal steps.

On Monday, KiOR (s KIOR), which was largely funded by Khosla Ventures before it went public, announced in its fourth quarter and annual year 2012 earnings that it has now shipped its first cellulosic diesel product from its factory in Columbus, Mississippi. The factory, which could make some 3 to 5 million gallons this year, converts wood chips into a diesel fuel that the company says can be used in current fossil fuel infrastructure.

Last week startup ZeaChem said that it…

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Can President Mahama say the word “corruption” in public?

Yesterday I watched the Ghana presidential candidates debate on TV. They say it was the first time a sitting president participated.

All candidates spoke about corruption in the system as a major issue which has to be addressed urgently… well, with one exception – President Mahama acknowleged the issue but obviously avoided the word: CORRUPTION. Looks like his advisors told him never to use that nasty word whatsoever.

Fascinating also that everyone agreed that the corrupt officers in the revenue services should be prosecuted by the GHANA POLICE to receive their due punishment by a GHANA COURT. So all of a sudden corruption in Ghana is limited to customs and tax authorities? Interesting thought. What did I see this policeman do this morning at the roadside?

Simple conclusion of the foreign investor in this country: As all these people know very well how the everyday system of corruption works they must be in complete denial of reality. The President not even using the bad word and the others obviously using it without admitting the truth.

So dear (future) foreign investor, don’t expect change anytime soon, whoever wins the election. Fighting corruption is a lip service only for all of them. They cannot and will not break the traditional buddy and family system they are completely tied up in themselves.

See for yourself if the next president is going to break up the most corrupt institutions in the country. First the police, second the tax authorities and customs and third the judicial system. They wouldn’t know how to do it!

So as a foreigner doing business in Ghana you will still pay off every authority along the way and face legislation which intentionally has all these pockets built into it that give government officials the possibility to hold out their hand once more. Don’t expect change anytime soon.

Hilarious how the corruption perception index is rating Ghana….

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The things you read about doing business in Ghana…

There are all those informative documents, reports, studies about business in Ghana in general or certain industries specifically. Some come from Ghana sources, but most have been published by international institutions like the Worldbank, the UN, Governments and many others. usually they have one thing in common: they paint a picture of Ghana as the best or at least one of the best countries in Africa for foreign investors.

I can only say one sentence about them: mostly untrue statements copied and pasted again and again. Why? Ghana is every bodies African darling in the developed world. Diplomats, employees of government development agencies, NGOs and development banks, all alike: if I have to go to Africa, please let it be Accra!

You look at all the paper shuffled, you find: some EU countries are more corrupt than Ghana, Ghana is imminent to support itself not requiring international development funds anymore, Ghana has a constant growth rate around 10% and other nonsense.

This blog has been created to come out with the truth about all those statements. It will deliver answers, why foreign investors are leaving the country empty handed every month after they have lost a fortune. And why totally corrupt institutions make any business impossible if corporate governance follows simple OECD definitions on corruption. Quite a serious issue for a foreigner in fact who might see himself in a courtroom at home after returning from this white washed African country.

Why is no major international corporation from the Western world active directly in Ghana, but only through independent local representatives? You find the reasons above. Africa business falls to BRICS countries more and more because the economic systems are so much alike, not because Western corporations are too lazy to go to Africa. They have all been there an left!