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03.01.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: We Must Be Self- ReLiant

By Graphic

The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Kazuko Asai, in a sort of Christmas and New Year message to her host, has emphasised the need for Ghanaians to pursue policies that will promote self-reliant development since donor support is not sustainable.

All well-meaning Ghanaians cannot discount the immense support that we receive from Japan. Even when the country came under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, against Japan's stand on the programme,it continued to support Ghana.

Our elders say that to be asked to serve yourself is not slavery. Indeed, it has been noted elsewhere that the greatest compliment that one can pay a friend is to be candid with the person. For a very long time, our economy has been dependent on donors. The national budget cannot be prepared without pledges from donors. And when the donors fail to release their support on time, things get very disorganised.

It was out of such frustrations that the government was compelled to adopt the HIPC programme in 2001. From all indications, the decision has paid off very well. As of now, our debt servicing obligations are said to have reduced considerably.

However, that can only bring us a temporary relief. The reduction in the debt burden cannot be a panacea to our vulnerable economy. We need to pursue policies and programmes that will reduce our dependency on donors and rely on ourselves.

We have made steady moves in our democratic march. These must be complemented by strides in our economic development. Economic growth is essential for democracy because without a strong economy,it would not be easy to guarantee certain basic rights, including education and healthcare.

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