15
Fri, Dec
3 New Articles

DEMOCRACY MUST LEAD TO PROSPERITY - Nana Akufo-Addo

Politics

“The democracy that we seek to build does not end in casting votes, and electing a President and a Member of Parliament once every four years. We seek to build a prosperous nation with equal opportunities, where all citizens feel they have a stake.”

“The democracy that we seek to build does not end in casting votes, and electing a President and a Member of Parliament once every four years. We seek to build a prosperous nation with equal opportunities, where all citizens feel they have a stake.”

 

These were the words of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- when he delivered a speech on ‘Democracy and Development’ at the Cambridge Union Society of the University of Cambridge on Monday, as part of his 3-day visit to the United Kingdom.

According to the President, the democracy Ghanaians intend to build and entrench will only succeed if it results in the building of a prosperous nation, and in people who are at peace with themselves and with the world.

He indicated that never again should a Ghanaian citizen feel he has to join the desperados that cross the Sahara and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, because their own country holds no promise or hope.

“I know there will always be those among us who would want to try and seek their fortunes in foreign lands. We would wish them well, and pray that they are treated with dignity wherever they go; but it should never be because there are no opportunities in Ghana,” he added.

Ghana’s infant democracy, the President said, has put the country on the path to sustainable development, which would improve the way the natural and human resources of the country are managed.

“We are on the path to creating wealth and improving the lives of our people. We are determined to do that by transforming the structure of our economy. The neo-colonial economy, based on the production and export of raw materials, cannot form the basis of a new era of prosperity for our people,” he said.

The President continued, “We have to move, and we are moving towards an economy of processed agricultural and engineering goods and services. That is the way to job creation on a mass base, and an improvement in the incomes of ordinary Ghanaians.”

With widespread unemployment prevalent amongst the youth, which, in his view, represents the greatest threat to Ghana’s democracy and stability, President Akufo-Addo noted that only a performing, rapidly expanding economy that generates jobs can provide an urgent solution.

To this end, in the short space of 10 months since his government took office, President Akufo-Addo noted that the country’s macro-economy has been stabilising.

“The fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2016, has been reduced to 6.3%. Inflation, within the same period, has declined from 15.4% to 11.6%. Our economy has grown from 3.3% last year, the lowest in 22 years, to 7.9%. Interest rates are declining, and we are now witnessing a more stable cedi, our national currency. We are creating a business-friendly environment that should encourage significant investments in the development of our economy,” he said.

The President indicated also that the determination of Ghanaians to build their democracy is further anchored in their deep-seated belief in the concept of the separation of powers as an active principle for the promotion of freedom and accountable governance, free of corruption.

He continued, “We are nowhere near where we ought to be, but the arguments have been settled, and, believe me, this has been a critical bridge for us to cross. And for our Ghanaian circumstances, we dare not undermine confidence in our young democracy,” he said.

The President acknowledged that having a democracy would not translate immediately into the resolution of Ghana’s problems, “but I believe we, in Ghana, are in the position to be able to quote the English colossus, Winston Churchill, that ‘It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other ones that have been tried from time to time.’”

In a related development, the President is confident that the African peoples shall work to take Africa to where it deserves to be, as a prosperous and dynamic member of the world community, stressing that “we need to, and we shall move Africa Beyond Aid.”

He said this, yesterday, at an event organised by the Royal Africa Society, Facebook and the Ghana 60 years on Committee, on the theme “Africa Beyond Aid.’

President Akufo-Addo noted that Africa no longer wants to be the default place to go to find the footage to illustrate famine stories.

“We no longer want to offer the justification for those who want to be rude and abusive about Africa and her peoples. It is time to build our economies that are not dependent on charity and handouts… We have learnt from long and bitter experience that, no matter how generous the charity, we would, and, indeed, we have remained poor,” he said.

Describing Africa as a rich continent, and, currently, with the world’s second fastest economic growth rates, the world's fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment, and in possession of nearly 30 percent of the earth's remaining mineral resources, the President bemoaned the fact that the masses of the African peoples remain poor.

With Ghana endowed with natural resources, the President stressed that “we can, and we should be able to build a Ghana which looks to the use of her own resources and their proper management as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country.”

Making reference to the cocoa industry, he noted that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, who produce 65% of the world’s output of cocoa make less than $6 billion from a cocoa industry that is a $100 billion industry.

“If we simply ground and sold the cocoa in paste form, instead of selling the cocoa beans, we double our earnings. In much the same way as we would double our earnings from gold, if we sold it refined, than in its raw state. We are determined to process these products,” he said.

The President stated that nations it is time that African countries were responsible for processing their own resources, adding that it is time that “we, in Africa, manage our resources well, to generate wealth for our populations.”

During the past 20 years, President Akufo-Addo stated that the countries that have made rapid economic strides have been the ones that have encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneur development, and the ones that have promoted and developed a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, and where institutions of state see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of the governments of the day.

“We have a responsibility to make our countries attractive to our young generation. They should feel they have a worthwhile future, if they stay and build their nations. We should be, and are shamed by the desperation that drives a young person to attempt to cross the Sahara on foot, and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats, in the hope of finding a better future in Europe,” he added.

The President continued, “We are not disclaiming aid, but we do want to discard a mind-set of dependency and living on handouts; it is unhealthy both for the giver and for the receiver.”