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12.02.2006 Diaspora News

Ghanaians Abroad: Let’sMake Voluntary Financial Contributions Toward Nation Building For Better Tomorrow

By Boateng, Kofi A.

There is a great number of Ghanaians living abroad who are doing their best not only thinking about the welfare of those they have left behind in Ghana but also making sure that on a monthly basis monies are remitted to these families to sustain their livelihood. Many have built and others continue to build magnificent mansions across the country to provide roof over the heads of their families. In fact, the powers of the green and red currencies from the western nations have put some families in real good shape in Ghana. At the same time, there are many also who are still struggling just to provide themselves the needed basic necessities in life.

It is no fallacy that many go to bed everyday with empty stomach especially children, people sleeping on our streets, children not going to school, hospitals choked and without the necessary medicines, equipment and tools and no healing hands to heal our sick, both skilled and unskilled walking down our streets without any job and without vision in life. Our roads have become death traps, armed robbery and burglary everywhere right down the airports to your village, etc. In fact, the list is endless. The question is who has caused the mess to bring such an untold hardship to the humble and religious people of Ghana? Is it an act of God? Is it a punishment? And if so from who? Is it a problem caused by our first generation or is it ours the present generation? I believe whether or not we have or have not contributed to the many problems we face now in Ghana and other parts of our continent, we can be a part of the solutions to many of these problems in our own small ways.

At the same time that we are besieged with problems, many of us have been blessed with profound skills, knowledge and abilities (SKA) that are necessary ingredients to turn things around to improve the lives of our people. Those who do not even have any skills have other resources that we can tap into to break this vicious cycle of poverty that have bedeviled our country over the years. The time has come for Ghanaians abroad to come together to mobilize resources to improve the socio-economic conditions of our beloved Motherland. We need to turn the greener pastures in our favor by contributing both financial and professional resources to the country's disposal towards development. We have to be practical after doing all the talks and writing volumes of articles. Thanks to Ghanaweb.

Should we continue to stay abroad and complain about the poor systems in our home country and not do anything about it? Should we hear and read about the incessant road accidents in the country and not provide any know-how to curb that? Some may not like to live there for various reasons but should we sit aloof in our comfortable American, German, Italian, Canadian, France, Spanish, Finnish, Chinese, Britain, etc homes while the rest of our families languish and wallow in the mire of disease, poverty and wretched system? I know we have the power to salvage the situation. It is true we cannot solve all our problems at this present time but then we would be living an impressive legacy for the generations to come if we start NOW.

My point is, is there no way that we can encourage all Ghanaians living abroad to make a generous and a voluntary contribution of at least $200 per year toward an establishment of a fund that will provide seed money for graduates who want to establish their own businesses in the country? If majority of Ghanaians were to have decent jobs, don't we think that most of our problems could have been solved? After all it is all about job and nothing else over here in America or any developed country. And if we do not start creating the avenues for the job creation now then a time would come where every healthy Ghanaian would want to flee the country to seek refuge in a hostile country.

We read and saw on television how some Australians chased out and killed foreigners and mostly blacks for invading their country and taking their jobs. It happened in France too. And it is now happening in Russia according to a news item I watched on CNN. Unfortunately, those people did not ask their victims whether they have green cards or citizenship certificate. Many Ghanaians have died in neighboring Libya and worst of all Gabon or The Gambia all for economic reasons, JOB. Right now we don't know which country is going to go after the blacks in their midst. As human beings, do we wait till we are chased out before we act or think? Perhaps, you may be able to run from their wrath but what about your wife and children. Don't think my wife and children are citizens after all they are not going to ask for none of those. The only thing that can save you is if you can change the COLOR of your skin. But how many of us can afford that kind of surgery? You don't have to answer.

I believe Ghanaians are generous and will be more willing to donate to this worthy course if we are able to put structures in place to safeguard its management/disbursement. Without looking at any data, I can tell you that Ghanaians living abroad numbered over 2,000,000 if I am not mistaken. And imagine everyone paying at least $200 a year; we're going to have millions of dollars in a year to transform the economy. How can't we make it if we have all the logistics?

“Estimates are that 2-3 million Ghanaians are living abroad in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and many other countries. Amongst the Ghanaians in diaspora are lecturers, medical practioners, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, students and a wide range of other professionals. Diasporians invest as much as 1 billion dollar (IMF estimate) per year in Ghana”.

The reason why some of us are here is that there were no jobs available and every year people graduate from high schools, polytechnics and universities and there are still no jobs for them. And some wish they had still been in school throughout their live for someone to bear the brunt of their living costs. But as we all know, that would not happen either. So please, I know we have great intellectuals and resourceful people among who can put their heads together to see how best collectively we can rebuild the country beside our usual remittances. And we don't need a prophet to tell us that one day we all would be glad we did even when we are in our graves.

Even though we live apart, but there are enormous ways that we can get things done. We can organize ourselves through many channels only if we are committed and care about “redeeming” our mothers, fathers and brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunties. Our usual remittances to our immediate families are enough but provisional. What I am proposing will have an ever-lasting impact in our economy when we are gone and no more. We do not need to gather at one location and take “collection”.

Through the various Ghanaian associations and the Internet, we can bring people together to make their contributions and also build through the Internet a system that will monitor the flow of funds to build trust and ensure transparency. We can use the Bank of Ghana and enter into negotiations with western union and other financial service agencies to transfer all monies into that account. We can then ask decent and people with high integrity to manage the funds. If we are serious with this suggestion, we can even build a teaching hospital at every region with our contributions. Everything is possible and it is time we act to save the nation. Let's all come together to discuss how we can make it work. We don't need to become millionaires to be able to build the nation. We can and ought to build it ourselves in our own small ways. At least these would-be entrepreneurs would not have to pay over 58% in interest rates to access the funds.

This should not generate a political or religious or regional or tribal issue to debate but we can bring our suggestions as to how we can make it happen for the common good of the PEOPLE OF GHANA.

I am sending this email out so that you can discuss this in your groups and associations. We need to institute something like this to help the nation. The government alone does not generate enough funds to fund some of the projects that the nation needs and we cannot trust the IMF and the World Bank with the development of our economy. We need to sit up wherever you may be and no matter your financial circumstance. If these countries we live in are able to use the same human intelligence to build their nations what deprive us from using the same God given talent to change our situation? We can and we will in the face of all difficulties weather the storm to help Mother Ghana. I know there are those who may have or express pessimistic views about the whole case I am making but in the midst of any foreseeable challenges we don't need to give up if we are UNITED. We can and we ought to. Nothing is insurmountable and let's remind ourselves that the road to success is hard work and teamwork. There is nothing we cannot do if we bring our resources to the table.

All groups and individuals who are interested in putting our heads together for this common good should email me at [email protected] At this time the essential thing is how we organize ourselves to gain the trust of people who would be generous to contribute to whatever funds we intend to establish for whatever purpose. We can create a database to set up a forum for discussion in the initial stages and then we will move from there once we have credible leaders to lead. We ought to bury all differences if we intend to achieve anything of great value for our country.

I am not as eloquent as some of you are to put the case across and so I will urge all readers to consider the substance of the suggestion on the table and not its form. When I have helped to bring people together, I can then take the backbench to lend them my support. Many have already expressed and admitted to the fact that those living abroad need to take a center stage if we want to see an improved living standard at home. This is the time to show our love and generosity to our nation. Readers please carry the message into your homes, place of entertainments and talk shows and let's get something going before the year ends. I entreat all knowledgeable and resourceful Ghanaians to bring ideas to develop our nation through the internet instead of using it as a tool to write distasteful things about our opponents. Come and with your ideas we can draw strategies to overcome the “Hows?”

Let's have a positive mission and vision for our country, Ghana.

May God Richly Bless Us All.

Thanks, Kofi A. Boateng Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.