Viewpoint: President Nana Akufo-Addo

Ghana is currently serving the second of its two-year term on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. In the 66 years since the country joined the UN – the first post-colonial African country to do so – this is the third time that we have had the privilege of serving on the council.

Ghana is holding firm to the belief that democracy is the best route forwards, in order to achieve our aim of becoming a prosperous country. It is true that the economic dividends that many of our citizens justifiably expected from the democratic process have not come as fast as had been anticipated. We are determined to hold fast to the course, however, because we believe that ultimately we will succeed.

As a country, Ghana will continue to foster economic equity and promote inclusive economic growth in the years ahead. We will achieve this by investing further in education, health care, infrastructure and social safety nets to ensure that citizens – especially the most vulnerable – have an equal opportunity to prosper.

We are convinced that the continuing security challenges in West Africa would be more satisfactorily resolved if the international community was to better align its efforts with those of our regional and continental organisations. Conflicts perpetuate inequalities and their prevention should be a global priority. In addition, Ghana fully subscribes to encouraging global security, and relentlessly pursuing climate action remains a cardinal basis for sustained economic development.

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine have only added to the pressure and anxiety of our young people. It is surely in the interest of the whole world that West Africa should be peaceful and prosperous. We want our young people to be part of a peaceful and prosperous West Africa, rather than part of the thousands that arrive at an unwelcoming Europe after perilous journeys across the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea.

We do not seek to shirk any responsibility for the challenges we face that are of our own making, and it bears repeating that we do not crave anyone’s sympathy. We cannot, however, pretend that the present-day economic and social conditions of Africa have nothing to do with the historical injustices that have fashioned the structures of the world.

It is also time to tackle the long-standing challenge of illicit financial outflows from the African continent. I refer to the report of the panel chaired by the highly respected Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, on the illegal flow of funds from Africa, which found that Africa is losing more than $88bn through illicit outflows per year.

Before the pandemic, Ghana, like many other countries, was making progress with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and we had good reason to believe we would achieve our 2030 targets. As of late 2023 the picture we have of our performance is not very bright. Most of the 21 targets designated for achievement by 2020 have not been accomplished and we are not on track to accomplish many other targets by 2030. According to the 2023 SDG report, just 12% of the SDGs targets are on track to be met. Progress on 50% of the targets is weak. The most disappointing part is that our country has stalled or retrogressed on more than 30% of its targets. As such, Ghana must accelerate action to meet our development goals. It is within our capacity to turn things around.

Moving forwards, in order to achieve our sustainable targets, a good start would be to make the needed changes to Ghana’s organisational structures. From there, as a country, we can rebuild trust in our institutions and reignite global solidarity.

This viewpoint was adapted from an address given at the 78th UN General Assembly held in September 2023.