16th July 2024

The writer

Without any doubt, nature has not distributed her resources equally as some countries are naturally endowed with resources whilst others are not. Fortunately, Ghana is blessed with lots of resources such as gold, diamond, crude oil, vast arable land, among others. Generally, all these resources are needed to propel development and prosperity.

Despite the abundance of natural resources, there have been several questions as to why the resources have not been utilized to turn the country into a ‘Paradise’. On the contrary, the country is in a worse off situation. It beggars the question whether it can be concluded that the resources in Ghana have lost significance. What is the reason for our inability to develop? Who is to be blamed for our deficiencies?

That is why, as a citizen, I wonder why a country like Ghana should always go begging for money from International organisations like the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Apart from these international financial institutions, Ghana also attracts loans and grants from the European Union, some individual European Union countries and from Commonwealth countries.

We can stop begging?

I believe that the challenges of this country are not born out of the lack of resources. They are mainly due to the lack of proper management of the country’s resources for the benefit of its people.

If only Ghanaian leaders will endeavour to manage the state’s resources very well, Ghana can survive without the largesse of the Western world.

That will require a firm and robust approach to dealing with corruption, which is a major canker plaguing the country. Ghanaian leaders must put the interests of the people ahead of their personal interests, and not sacrifice the national interest for their parochial and selfish gains.

For instance, ‘Agenda 2063’, a continental vision initiated by the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in 2015 for accelerated economic and industrial development of Africa, is a very laudable initiative.

It is even more heart-warming to know that about 30 African countries have incorporated this vision into the national development plans.

These are the kinds of visions and initiatives that Ghanaian leaders must commit themselves to implementing in order to become economically independent and stop the culture of begging. Indeed, our begging syndrome has relegated us to the background.

In spite of the country’s huge natural resource endowment, it is mind-boggling that Ghana still remains an unashamed beggar of alms within the global economic community.

With cup in hand, Ghanaian leaders go globetrotting, begging for anything and everything, including paltry sums of money, in the name of aid and consumable and non-consumable goods that may, at best, be described as junk.

What is even worse is that we open our doors to the Western world and others to enter our land under the disguise of foreign investment only to plunder the resources of Africa for their benefits, the very benefits we go back to beg from them.

Although conditions normally attached to the kinds of support offered to the country may be totally absurd, they are gleefully accepted by our leaders because, as the adage goes, “A beggar has no choice”.

A failed democracy?

One of the problems that have triggered our impoverished nature, leading to us always running to others for support, is our adopted system of government. It might not sound well to some people, but the adoption of the Western system of governance is one of the banes of our underdevelopment. This is clear in how democracy has failed many African countries.

Apart from leading to civil conflicts, the ‘winner-takes-all’ notion of democracy has also created division, discrimination and selfishness. This is in sharp contrast with the traditional system of government the African is known for. The traditional system of governance fosters unity and communal spirit among the people.

It may interest one to know that, Western democracy can easily be manipulated unlike the traditional system of governance which is time-tested and has well laid-out administrative structures and systems.

Truth is socialism and communism could have been the alternative to democrac,y but they have also failed and cannot be relied upon by Africa and, for that matter, Ghana.

Way forward

The fact of the matter is that every country does some begging (going for loans) at some point in its history. No country on earth has survived without loans. Even rich countries in the developed world contract loans to fill their treasuries or budgetary requirements. The USA is one of the most indebted nations in the world.

The problem, and my concern for Ghana, is the frequency with which we, as a country, attract or contract these loans. A country like Finland has gone for almost six years without loans. And what has Finland got? Almost nothing, except tax revenues and their own internal market structure.

Ghana should be self-sufficient enough in its internal market to withstand any external pressure and be able to stay for about five to ten years without loans from abroad.

This can be achieved if we assert our independence by discarding the Western and Eastern systems of governance for the more robust traditional governance system that will ultimately enhance the accelerated economic development of Africa.

Ghana is worth more than a beggar and copycat. We have enough resources and intellectual capacity to survive, without the prodding of the foreigner. Let’s collaborate in efforts to eschew the habit of begging and make profitable use of our diverse resources. This will safeguard the goodwill of the country in the eyes of the international community and enhance our socio-economic development. This will also prevent the prospects for future generations from increasingly becoming grim.

 

The writer is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). rubyabbeymikado@gmail.com

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