Stopping the Aid Dependency Syndrome – A rejoinder
I read with disappointment the editorial story about Ghana depending on up to 40 percent of foreign aid to meet its national budgetary needs; and the most disconcerting issue about the entire story was the fact that our Finance Minister Mr. Osafo-Maafo failed to offer the nation any meaningful measure that his government is currently taking to reverse that trend, as he stated lamely that it has been an on-going situation since 1965.
The first question that came to my mind was: how could a nation that claims to be independent of political, economic, cultural, and social domination of foreign powers, rely on foreign assistance of such magnitude to be able to function? And the answer lies at the feet of our leaders.
None of them has shown the courage or even the willingness to steer the country clear of the clutches of western donors that use us as pawns to propagate their foreign and political agenda in Africa. It's therefore no surprise that we were one of the first countries in Africa to jump on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe when even the Southern African nations including the powerful South Africa refrained from openly criticizing their next door neighbor.
It's also no accident that we “gladly” ratified the US agreement not to send any of their foreign servicemen to the International Court of Justice to face justice there for their atrocities.
But to move beyond the politics, why can't Ghana, a nation of less than 20 million people, with maximum sunshine, plentiful water: sea and rivers, educated citizenry: up to 65%, good political system: democracy, vast natural and mineral resources: gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite, oil, good rain, and vast arable land, and impeccable international standing be able to feed its people or run a foreign trade surplus with its trading partners?
There had been numerous debates about Ghana being a developing nation is hampered by its foreign exports, but that is a misnomer, because there are other developing countries around the globe with fewer endowments than we have that are doing extremely well in both their domestic and foreign productivity, and as a result are enjoying a high standard of living.
Take a country like Malaysia for example. It's also a developing country just like Ghana, with even less resources to boast about; and until as recently as the early 1970s were worst off in both economic and political terms, but are comparatively better off than us today and are out buying our own companies.
Thus, it's about time for us to stop thinking too much of foreign aid, and start thinking about ways to improve upon our national productivity to become self-sufficient again so as to assist other poorer countries around us. It's by doing so that we'll earn international respect and our name will be proclaimed on the world stage as it used to be in the 1960s. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.
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