The survival of any nation depends on leadership and the will and aspirations of the people, and how these are met.
In the 1960s, as bad as the opposition historians may have tried to portray the beginning phase of our Independence as a nation, being a University graduate was a big deal. There were prestigious jobs. Car loans and bungalows were the norm. Secondary school graduation also offered lucrative administrative jobs, good pay and sometimes housing allowance also. Technical, vocational, and teacher training education also offered decent jobs in the factories, construction trades, or educational institutions. Businessmen from some of our Kwahu areas were wealthy in their own businesses.
Ghana was not perfect. Occasionally we school kids would read in the Daily Graphic about some Manager or Government official sentenced to prison for what in our kid's minds were strange words like “mismanagement, misappropriation of funds, fraud”. Traditionally we had no specified indigenous criminal codes. The majority Akan ethnic group had a culture of fama-Nyame or “Give it to God”, which implied or taught us to leave ultimate justice to some invisible deity.
I remember as a school kid in the rich town of Abetifi on the Kwahu plateau, seeing no libraries. The Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times were therefore valuable source of information reading about the rest of life in Ghana and sometime overseas: subjects and knowledge that we later would learn about and encounter called Law, Accounting, Economics. Later in Secondary School we would also learn about Physical and Biological Sciences and careers
The difference of life in Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah compared to life under latter-day leaders is the concern and planning for jobs and decent livelihood of our people- from clean water and sewage, electricity, roads to all areas of the nation, libraries and public parks, education and talent development, and the long term planning for our nation to be able to produce and manage.
Not to name any, it appears latter day leaders don't seem to care as much. They seem to care about winning power but not survival. None of them seem to ask how to balance our Expenses to our revenues. They rather listened to the white man at the World Bank and IMF whose people wanted our oil and gold and minerals.
To these leaders, piling up debts meant nothing so far as they can siphon some of the moneys into their private Bank accounts through family members and friends. Ghana today has an annual debt payment which, if amortized for Principal and Interest payments for say 15-30 years, would be more than the combined national gold, cocoa and oil output combined!
This chat below speaks for itself as the state of Ghana today some sixty years after Independence. We have discovered and exploiting oil, and yet we are a nation in debt almost as much as the total annual economic output. Politicians are paying themselves like Kings, but they budget for no student loans and no money set aside for venture Capital. There are no jobs, and yet Government national debt is piling up for the youth behind:
Please this is Ixxxx
Hello. How are you?
What are you doing now?
Please am not doing anything
What do you mean?
No marriage proposal?
So what are the Plans?
My plan is start a business but no capital
What kind of Business is that?
Am not working.
Have applied many jobs but no response
Buying and selling for the mean time to gather money for my campany
Also Doc please do u have any man for me
So many men and so many women oo!
Be active on the forum! You'll see them!
I thought u have specific one for me
Am finding it difficult to go into relationship
Plenty of boys.
What happened to the Lawyer?
He is exploiter.
I thought he was Angel
You graduated in Philosophy & Linguistics.
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, How would you rate
1. Your communication skills - _____
2. Your ability to explain things to other people __
3. Your ability to conduct research ____
4. Have you ever written a Proposal?
Ixxxx- another question:
5. How creative are you with making food products?
6. How do you rate your entrepreneurial skills? ______
The above is a chat with a lady graduate.of a Premier University in Ghana. I have many such chats with young male graduates also trying to survive, some in Medical Laboratory Science and Technology but with no Jobs and no Capital or Line of Credit or Small Business Loans to start their own incubator business. It is a shame that must be remedied if Ghana is to survive and compete.
Ghanaians are not stupid. We have very creative geniuses in Ghana and around the world. Our women are actually sustainable survivors if given small capital assistance we used to call dwetire. In the last 2 years a small 1,000 ($200) personal loan to some have helped them survive and pay the loans back.
As a people our socio-economic survival lies in how we learn from others and produce most of what we consume. Period! That is the secret of any nation's survival! Why is this so difficult for our PhD Economists and Ministers of Finance to get this? In America it has long been proven that it is not the degrees and college education per se that leads to wealth, but entrepreneurial thinking and practices, with small Government assistance.
Ghana can do the same!
LOANS NOT GIFTS:
The Bible reaches that a borrower is servant to the lender. However we know that the giving of capital is also endorsed in the same Holy Book.
However let our people not forget these loans if provided by Government, are not gifts! Our culture is wrong in thinking that nephews are entitled to free loans from uncles! No. The Government must have a database of names, addresses, contact and references, and payment records that can be shared with Independent Credit-granting Institutions. There should be no partisanship. Those who don't pay back loans become credit risks and hence may lose opportunity in the future for further help and financial assistance.
LOOKING FOR SURVIVAL
What can new leadership do for our youth in Ghana to encourage entrepreneurship and stimulate our own indigenous self propelled growth? They know it!
Our Governments orders on average a minimum estimate of 2,000 vehicles at an average cost of $80,000. This is $160 million that Government can use to assist ordinary citizens, and cut back all the luxury spending on Government officials. Nobody should be owed a luxury vehicle in public service. No!
In conclusion we strongly advise the President to have the courage to end all these colonial legacy. It must end and end now! Pay all elected legislators and civil service officials their salaries and eliminate all these benefits that include travel and sitting allowances.
May new leadership emerge one day that knows the solutions to our challenges and sincerely care!
God save Ghana!
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso,
Intn'l President of GLU- Ghana Leadership Union.
The writer is GLU President and an entrepreneur and Management Consultant. He has 3 Engineering degrees and PhD in Business and Technology /Organization & Management/ Leadership. He is the author of “Leadership Concepts and The Role of Government in Africa: The Case of Ghana” (2003), and “Life is War” (2007). He may be reached at [email protected]