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01.12.2004 Feature Article

On December 7 2004, we will embark on our cherish dream of Vision 2020

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At the dawn of December 8, 2004, Ghana will be the first country in the history of West African sub-continent to have democratically elected an executive and legislature on 3 consecutive terms without any major hiccups (God willing).

Ghana, the first country in the sub continent to gain independence, thus setting the pace that was followed by the rest of the countries on the continent, was bankrupt by 1964. Ghana's history mirror the history of the entire continent, a continent littered with failed developmental opportunities. In the 1980s, a period known in the literature as the “Lost Decade” saw Ghana, and the rest of the continent fighting for their very existence as nation states with huge debts hanging over their necks.

Almost all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa were virtually bankrupt. The Gross Domestic Product of Belgium, a country almost the size of Liberia was higher than all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa (black Africa) excluding South Africa. This was the period that Ghana and her siblings lost over 80% of their skilled labour. Ghana, always the leader, bears the brunt of the skill migration than any other country in Africa. Today Ghanaian doctors and Engineers can be found in major cities in Europe and North America, excelling in their chosen field of study.

While most of her neighbours could not withstand the economic hardships and hence the crises degenerating into mayhem and atrocities on large scale, Ghana escaped unhurt. From Congo Kinshasa, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Conakry, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast…….and the list goes on and on with countless people being butchered to death, Ghana prevailed.

Like Dr Nkrumah in the 1950s, in the 1980s another young charismatic leader emerged, again in Ghana, to re write the history of Ghana, and to some degree that of sub-Saharan Africa. Thus Ghana became the first major country on the continent to embrace the Breton Woods Structural Policies in its totality. After successfully implementing the Structural Policies to the letter, Ghana was touted around the world as an “African Success story” and “A Miracle”. This second chapter in her economic development was the turning point Ghana's history. Like Dr Nkrumah in the 1950s and 60s, who through pure genius was able to unified a country with various tribes and different customs into a peaceful nation, Flt Lt Rawlings managed to link into the Ghanaian economy those skilled Ghanaian labours that left the country at the height of Africa's crisis in the 1980s.

Those who have studied the impact of the contributions of skilled migrants to their countries economies would understand the impact that those contributions can have on economies. At a stroke, the inflows going into the Ghanaian economy from this powerful constituency intensified. And the much needed changes that followed again can be contributed to this constituency. Ghanaians began to question the human rights abuses and the lack of transparency under the Rawlings government. This lost constituency together with their counterparts in the country began to demand some answers to their questions and ask for clarity in various business practices. This period also brought to the fore the ingenious business practices that some of the skilled migrants have acquired in Diaspora into the country. In the field of Chieftaincy, the young royals who spent most of their young adulthood overseas and thus saw important role royalties play in social development also return much wiser and well informed their forefathers. These Royals began to assert themselves, some questioning the moral practices of politicians and businessmen. With their vast experience, acquired overseas, in business and humanitarian issues, our Nananom began to put into practice their pet projects to help uplift their people. What makes these Royals more unique than the political office holders are, they grasped the huge developmental problems that the country faces and have developed various policies to help address them. Thus in education, Nana Osei Tutu II, with his Otumfuo Educational Fund has helped a lot of countless children, not only in Ashanti, but right across our homeland. At the heart Otumfuo's education programme was what Dr Nkrumah envisaged for Ghana some 5 decades ago. At another front others like Nana Desibra Dr Oti Koranten, Chief statistician and former UN staffer, (Hope the name is correct) Oman Hen of Koforidua, Nana Amotia Ofori Panin etc are all doing something to help uplift the whole nation. What makes our homeland so special and unique is due to the policies of Dr Nkrumah, unlike Ivory Coast, Rwanda or Congo Kinshasa we can chose to live and work in any part of the country without being harassed. Thus in Kumasi, one can see towns like Fanti Newtown, Alabar, Lagos Town in Accra and various Zongos across the country where citizens live side by side and in peace. This unity has not been disturbed for well over 50 years and so it shall be.

In Diaspora, various Ghanaian Associations invite their kin's from other groups as well as attend each other's funerals. This unity was instilled in us by our late President Dr Nkrumah. In the finance, the remittances from those skilled migrants that ex-President Rawlings brought into the fold are helping to sustain the country in various ways. It is helping to repay the debt that these people owe Ghana. They were educated by mother Ghana. Our education, however limited it was one of the best in the sub region. A good testimony was seen when our teachers went to various countries in Africa to teach during the hardships. Their shear brilliance is still talked about. Our doctors, most trained at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital are doing well all over the world or too are our lawyers. We are a nation are about to start a new chapter. In terms of development at home we have failed woefully and this is where we must act. If countries like Malaysia and Vietnam can do it so can we. Yes we might not be a strategic country to the West, but we have the necessary capital resources to start the lift off. Ex-President Rawlings set 2020 as the year for us to come of age.

At the Homecoming Summit our President John Kufuor reemphasised the importance of this vision 2020 programme and the part each and everyone need to play. That was his dream. That too was the dream of ex-President Rawlings. That is the dream of our Nananom. That is our dream. We all share the same dream. That is the dream of our compatriots who have come to impact their skills on our people. That is the dream that pull them back to the homeland. That was the dream behind Dr Nkrumah's speech at the Old Polo Ground in Accra in 1957. That was dream behind Dr Busia's acceptance speech in Parliament in 1969. That dream is alive. On December 7 2004, we will have our destiny in our own hands. After the elections, a new dawn would be born. The dream of the new President will be the same dream that Dr Nkrumah, Dr Busia, Dr Limann and ex-President Rawlings and the Ghanaian people. That dream is my dream. As the Police Band play the national anthem “GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA” and our school children sing “HEN ARA HEN ASASI NI”, we as a nation will be telling the rest of the world that our country will for ever stand united. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Peter Nee Jeffrey
Peter Nee Jeffrey, © 2004

The author has 54 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PeterNeeJeffrey

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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