By Frank Amponsah
President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has indicated that Ghana is moving towards an economy of processed agricultural and engineering goods and services with mass job creation which will lead to an improvement in the incomes of ordinary Ghanaians.
The President averred that with widespread unemployment prevalence amongst the youth representing the greatest threat to Ghana’s democracy and stability, there is the need for a performing, rapidly expanding economy that generates jobs.
President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered a speech on “Democracy and Development” at the Cambridge Union Society of the University of Cambridge, as part of his 3-day visit to the United Kingdom.
He said in just 10 months since his government took office, the country’s macro-economy has been stabilising with fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2016 reduced to 6.3%.
He said: “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.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “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 President noted 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.
Nana Akufo-Addo also averred 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, adding that says the democracy Ghanaians intend to build and entrench they can 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.
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.
He told the gathering that Ghanaians have agreed on a multi-party constitutional democracy, and a guarantee of individual freedoms under the rule of law.
According to him, these past 24 years of the 4th Republic turning out to be the longest period of stability and economic growth in sixty years of Ghana’s nationhood.
“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’.”