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06.07.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: G8 "Okafo Didi", "Yentua", "Jubilee 2000", Et Al

Accra Mail

All eyes are on Gleneagles this week. Leaders of the G8 would congregate there to determine the fate of the world for the next 12 months. High on their agenda would be the much-expected 100% debt cancellation for a number of highly indebted developing countries.

Ghana is one of those countries, and our president, J.A. Kufuor would be there in Gleneagles to get the good tidings for his country. We wish him and the Ghanaian entourage with him all the best of luck.

This week, a political party in Ghana issued a statement in which it said it had been vindicated because it had been an advocate of debt cancellation.

Other institutions and NGOs have laid claim to the same "achievement". Who does not like to be associated with good news? So we will not begrudge them their claims.

The debt problem has been with us for a long time. Ghana's Prime Minister in the 2nd Republic (1969-1972) Prof. K.A. Busia is credited with retorting "Okafo didi" (an indebted person has a right to eat) when the question of Ghana's debts were raised with him.

The man who overthrew him in 1972, the late General I.K. Acheampong went a step further with "Yentua" (We will not pay!) when he was confronted with the debts of the country.

The current President of Ghana was pragmatic and realistic when he accepted the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative on his assumption of office in 2000. Ghana's qualification for the debt cancellation is partially attributed to this forward-looking decision by the Ghanaian president.

So the question now is not whether the G8 leaders would confirm the cancellation or not. That is more or less a fait accompli.

The issue is not about who is vindicated or not. The debate is not about who was an advocate of debt cancellation. The big question is WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WOULD BE FREED?

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