Viewpoint: President Nana Akufo-Addo
We believe it is time Africa fully progresses and holds its rightful place on the world stage. This Africa will be honest to herself and the world, and will shed her cloak of poverty and become prosperous. We are not under any illusions about the hard work it will take to achieve our stated goals, but we are not afraid of hard work. A critical ingredient in making sustainable economic progress is ensuring a stable democratic system of governance under the rule of law. I believe we are making progress. After the post-independence decades of political turmoil and the accompanying economic chaos, a consensus has emerged. We have had political stability for 25 years under a multi-party democracy, where regular elections are an accepted feature of governance. We continue to be a beacon of democracy and stability on the continent; our institutions are growing stronger, and we have made economic advancement since the inauguration of the Fourth Republic. We are far from our goals but are determined to realise our potential, and make Ghana a prosperous nation.
We are working to grow our economy and open up opportunities for our citizens. No longer should Ghanaians feel they have to subject themselves to crossing the Sahara or drowning in the Mediterranean, in the hopes of making a living in Europe. We have started the Free Senior High School Programme, which aims to guarantee secondary education for all children. The initiative will ensure all our young people are educated to at least secondary level, and that money, or a lack thereof, will no longer mean denial of education. This has already led to an increase of over 90,000 children entering secondary school in 2017/18 – students who would otherwise have dropped out at this stage. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – which aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable, quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for everyone – will be within reach by the target date.
We are also taking strong measures to protect our land, bodies of water and environment from the degradation of illegal mining, a phenomenon we call galamsey. We take seriously the fulfilment of UN SDG 15, which demands we protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and end biodiversity loss.
We want to build an economy that is not dependent on charity and handouts. A long and bitter experience has taught us that, no matter how generous the charity, we remain poor. We want to build a Ghana which looks to the use of its own resources and their proper management as the way to engineer social and economic growth. We want to build an economy that looks past commodities to position itself in the global marketplace. We are not disclaiming aid, but we want to discard a mindset of dependency. We want to build a Ghana beyond aid. It is an easier platform on which to build sustainable relationships with the rest of the world.
I wish to reaffirm my country’s commitment to maintaining friendly and cordial relations with all the countries and peoples of the world. The full engagement of Ghana, through ECOWAS, in the process of West African integration, and through the African Union, in the process of African integration, remain goals of my government. Regional and continental integration are in Ghana’s interest, as they represent one of the surest ways towards establishing the conditions for prosperity in our region and on the continent, as well as helping to ensure peace and security, and combat the scourge of terrorism, extremism and intolerance.
Establishing a strong national economy, and thereby generating improved living standards for our people, is the most important task that I have to accomplish as president. I am aware that my success or failure will be judged largely by the capacity of the economy under my watch to provide opportunities, to inspire people to grow their businesses, and to encourage new businesses to invest, grow and expand. In effect, jobs, jobs, jobs: that has to be my credo.
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