President Akufo-Addo has made one of the most profound commitments to the development of the African continent with a declaration, “We need to, and we shall move Africa beyond aid.”
This was at an event organised by the Royal Africa Society, Facebook and the Ghana 60 Years on Committee, on the theme, “Africa Beyond Aid,” in London a couple of days ago.
According to him, Africa no longer wants to be the default place to go to for 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 noted.
President Akufo-Addo described 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.
He bemoaned the fact that the masses of the African peoples remain poor.
The president stressed, “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, which produce 65% of the world’s output of cocoa, make less than $6 billion from a cocoa industry that is worth $100 billion.
President Akufo-Addo stated that it was time for African countries to be responsible for processing their own resources.
“We, in Africa, must 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 had been the ones that had encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneurial development, and the ones that had promoted and developed a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, among other things.
“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 Desert on foot, and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats, in the hope of finding a better future in Europe,” he added.
Touching on the report of the panel, chaired by the highly respected former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the illicit flow of funds (IFFs) from Africa, President Akufo-Addo noted that Africa is losing, annually, more than $50 billion through illicit financial outflows.
The report, according to the president, revealed that between 2000 and 2008, some $252 billion – representing 56.2% of the illicit flow of funds from the continent – was from the extractive industries, including mining.
He added that recent reported events between the government of Tanzania and the mining companies that operate there ought to give all of Africans cause for pause.
President Akufo-Addo charged African leaders to do everything whatsoever they can to strengthen the African Union (AU).
“With Africa’s population set to reach some two billion people in 20 years’ time, an African Common Market presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our continent with hard work, enterprise, innovation and creativity. It is evident that the time for African integration should be now, hence the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area,” he added.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent