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22 March 2012 | Diaspora (UK & Ireland)


Kwame Ofosu-Ware

GHANAIANS in the United Kingdom have observed the 55th anniversary of Ghana's Independence with a “gargantuan” reception at the Hotel Jumeirah in London. “Gargantuan” and unprecedented in the sense that over 1600 Ghanaians from all walks of life attended the historic reception. The function was historic and enjoyable due to its non-partisan character. It was not an NDC, NPP, CPP, nor PNC and PPP affair.

Addressing a cross section of the Ghanaian community here, invited guests made up of members of the Diplomatic corps and very distinguished members of the London community, Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo, Ghana's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, invited investors to Ghana saying, there is no better opportunity to refocus their energies on investing in Ghana than now.

The discovery of oil in Ghana, Professor Danso-Boafo said, has boosted the government's commitment to the development agenda of enhancing the infrastructural development of the country in the coming years which also means expansion of the economy.

Ghana has re-positioned and prepared herself as an attractive and competitive partner that provides a very stable, peaceful and secured business environment with one of the highest returns on investment, the High Commissioner emphasised.

Ghana's economy is emerging as one with the highest growth rates of 4.0 percent in 2009, 7.7 percent in 2010 and 14 percent by the end of 2011, Prof. Danso-Boafo told his guests.

Ghana has a sustained single-digit inflation averaging 8.4 percent in 2011 with a budget deficit of 2 percent of GDP in 2011 as compared to 14.5 in 2008.

Figures released recently by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) shows very significant increase in foreign direct investment amounting to over $10 billion in the last three years, he said adding, for 2009, foreign investment amounted to $620 million while 2010 and 2011 saw the amount jumping to $1.798 billion and $7.68 billion respectively.

The High Commissioner enlightened his guests on business in Ghana saying, the country has an attractive investment packages and simplified her investment procedures and documentation to make the economy more business friendly.

“We have a very attractive incentive packages and opportunities in various sectors of the economy and therefore I am inviting you the business community to take advantage of this opportunity”, he said.

To the Ghanaian community, the High Commissioner said, the day must mean more to them as Ghanaians than the mere celebration of years and urged them to translate the celebrations into maturity and re-dedication to the ideals of peace, hard work, increased productivity, discipline, strengthening the bond of unity and upholding the country's rich cultural values that make Ghanaians who they are as a people and has made the country the Black Star of Africa.

Turning philosophical, Professor Danso-Boafo intimated that Ghana means “God's Anointed Nation in Africa” and said, it was not an accident that the first African President of the United Nations General Assembly was a Ghanaian, it was not an accident that the first Black UN Secretary General was a Ghanaian, it was not an accident that the personalities chosen to deal with the Somalia and Syria crises are Ghanaians and it was also not an accident that the person selected as African of the previous century was a Ghanaian.

“Let us assure ourselves that there is nothing wrong with our country Ghana that cannot be cured with what is right with our country Ghana”, he said.

On the historical landmark of the day, March 6, 1957, Prof. Danso-Boafo said, to the gathering that the day on which Ghana became the first African country South of the Sahara to gain independence from colonial rule, represents more than a landmark.

Beyond the jubilations that echoed beyond the country's borders of news of Ghana's independence, he said, was to provide the decade that followed inspiration to political groups, freedom fighters and leaders within the Diaspora at the time that their own aspirations and struggles for independence and emancipation would not be in vain, as declared by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, founder and first President of Ghana, that our independence would be meaningless unless it was linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.

It is for this reason that the continued central feature of Ghana's foreign policy since independence has been one of total commitment to the strengthening of African Unity, economic prosperity of the African continent and support for the rights of all peoples to freely determine their own destinies.

This is why Ghanaians have always seen their independence as not been for Ghanaians alone but also for members of the Diaspora and all well-meaning people in the world.

That is why Ghana, he said, extended a hand of friendship, after independence to various pan-Africanists such as George Padmore, W.E.B. Du Bois, the Director of the Encyclopedia Africana to make Ghana their home.

In today's Ghana, His Excellency, Professor Danso-Boafo said, there is no doubt that in a little more than five decades of independence, the country has given true meaning to her independence, enriched her democratic practices and expanded opportunities for economic growth for all Ghanaians.

Conceding that there is still more work to be done as an independent nation, he noted that the country is not yet where her people want it to be but has definitely made significant progress.

Ghana since 1992 has successfully held, as acknowledged worldwide, five successive free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, improved on institutions of governance and accountability.

Ending his speech, Prof. Danso-Boafo confidently emphasized that Ghana transitioned to democracy in 1992 and consolidated democracy in 2001. In 2009, the President, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, in his “Better Ghana Agenda”, assured all Ghanaians of the commitment of his government to continue to uphold the tenets of good governance, with which the country has been associated with and involved all in the management of the country's resources in a manner that expands our freedom and socio-economic opportunities for Ghana's prosperity.

To all his invited guests, he said let us continue to support our collective efforts to further improve our relations to the mutual benefit of our peoples.

The Ghana Union too organized a dinner dance as part of the celebrations while the Christian Council of Ghana, U.K., rounded off the celebrations with a “gargantuan” church service.

At the independence reception were representatives of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, High Commissioners, Ambassadors, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth office, the Business Community and representatives of Ghanaian traditional rulers.

SOURCE: Kwame Ofosu-Ware

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