(A Passionate Appeal to the Gov?t. of Ghana and Zambia)
By Honourable Saka
Ghana And Zambia In Perspective
From the political, economic and cultural perspectives, Ghana and Zambia have a lot in common. Having established a strong foundation of peace, stability and relatively good governance (there is still more room for improvement), there are strong indications that the future prospects of our two countries are far brighter and more promising than ever.
Aside these, in the area of sports, our beloved countries currently stand tall as role models to the admiration of the entire African continent despite a few challenges. For this reason, there is currently no doubt that a Ghana-Zambia football encounter at any level will always be a delight to watch.
As I write this piece, I can?t wait for the next day when Ghana and Zambia will meet on the football pitch for a serious ?revenge? where our dedicated young men from Ghana, will finally prove to the entire world the difference between the ?boys??and the ?men? out there. In fact, I simply can?t wait for that day!
Like our Zambian counterparts, the people of Ghana, are naturally peaceful. All previous and recent elections which were held in Ghana (2008, 2012) and Zambia (2011) attest to our peaceful nature and our political maturity at a time when many African countries continue to battle with electoral violence and political instability. In the case of Ghana and Zambia however, the whole world have seen a successful and peaceful transfer of power from an incumbent party to the opposition. With this and many more of such attributes, we have a cause to cherish our nations and to realize that there are more opportunities we can share by further enhancing our existing relations and to possibly lead the way as the two shining examples of good governance and democracy in Africa.
This explains the reason why our political leaders MUST take immediate BOLD STEPS to ensure that our people are able to explore our beautiful countries without unnecessary border restrictions so that we can enjoy the existing cordial relationship between our two nations in a free and more welcoming manner.
Economic Prospects: Zambia vrs Ghana
Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000. Since then, there has been a tremendous improvement in our economic indexes. Ghana and Zambia have recently been named among the top fasters growing economies in the world. Meanwhile in both Zambia and Ghana, the number of children in basic and secondary school has climbed along with literacy rates, whereas infant mortality has fallen drastically.?If Ghana and Zambia strengthen the rule of law, good governance and avoid domestic instability characterized by elections, then we will continue to get gradually more prosperous and our people will continue to have better lives.
Economically, Zambia is endowed with many resources. Zambia can boast of a very wonderful and well-talented human resource. Also,??natural resources such as?copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, hydropower?are in abundance. It is expected that a lot more strategic resources are soon to be discovered in Zambia in the near future. The fact is, even without copper, Zambia is still very rich! For instance,?coal?is the largest source of fuel for the generation of electricity world-wide. This is another mineral which Zambia has in abundance.
Ghana, which was referred to as the Gold Coast (before independence), can also boast of many such resources as:?gold, cocoa, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum (oil & gas), silver, salt, limestone, cotton, palm oil,?and many more which are still in abundance.?With good governance and proper management of resources, the construction industry can transform our beloved countries into industrialized states by the next 15 years, creating more job opportunities for the youth and thus bring unemployment to the barest minimum. It is highly possible that the construction industry, agriculture, science and technology are key sectors that can completely end poverty in our respective countries.
A second look at above list of natural resources shows that both Ghana and Zambia possess a lot in common in the mining sector and hydropower. I therefore suggest that our governments must create a common platform for the people of Ghana and Zambia to share their experiences/knowledge and exchange ideas in these common areas so that we can better manage our resources for the benefit of our people whiles learning from each other. With a joint well-committed effort, we can set up a common educational/research institution that will be tasked with the responsibility to train our own people to manage these common resources for the benefit of our people.
It must however be understood that?in the 21st?century, economic growth in Africa is no longer dependent on the oil, copper, cocoa, timber and other natural resources. Science and Technology is one key area that has the potential to bring about our economic transformation.
According to the?Zambian Economist, though Zambia is exporting some $3bn of copper, the tax revenues from these exports are a mere $100m. The global copper boom has benefited the Chinese who own the copper company far more than it has benefited ordinary Zambians. This is the reason why we must focus on training our own people and setting up the necessary institutions for ourselves so that we can be the managers and the beneficiaries of our resources.
It was very encouraging how the former Zambian President lauded the unique contributions being mad by Ghana’s and Africa’s premier electronic assembling company, RLG Communications, in solfving the huge unemployment issue facing the continent. Dr Rupiah Banda was truly impressed during his interaction with the Chief Executive of RLG Communications, Mr. Roland Agambire, when he paid a working visit to RLG’s ultra-modern Assembly plant in Accra last year.
Today, thanks to another ambituou project by the Ghanaian company. Ghana is now set to become Africa’s pioneer in ICT by 2016.
With the launch of Africa?s Hope City project (to commemorate Ghana?s 56thindependence), a world class ICT project aimed at bringing all ICT players under one roof and to engender paperless business practices in the country, Ghana is gradually taking up her rightful place as a global player while creating economic opportunities for over 300 million youth across the whole of Africa between the ages of 15-24 at the same time.
The writer seriously commends the CEO of RLG Communications, Mr. Roland Agambire, for setting up another assembly plant in Oson state to serve the whole of Nigeria to implement the paperless systems in Nigerian schools. RLG Communications is one example of how just a little commitment from the Government of Ghana, can help transform the lives of millions of people in Africa.
?The project, a six high rise towers designed with the architecture of Ghana’s mud houses in mind will house over 25,000 people and create over 50,000 jobs when completed in 2016.One of the buildings will be the tallest building in Africa.
We the people of Ghana dully welcome our Zambian brothers and sisters who desire to build a career in the field of mobile computing to make Ghana their preferred destination for their career aspirations since RLG Institute of Technology offers such great opportunity. With such initiatives in place, it won?t be long; we will be able to train our own people in areas of science and technology to set up the industries that will convert our abundant raw materials to the desired products here in Africa.?Yes, it is very possible for our dear nations to lead the way for the African people to be the managers of our own destinies.
We Must Strengthen Existing Diplomatic Relations
Since the overthrow of Nkrumah?s government in 1966, diplomatic relations between Ghana and Zambia came to a halt; though Zambia as a country continued to honour Kwame Nkrumah on many occasions. In 1971, Zambia named one of her tertiary institutions, the Kwame Nkrumah Teachers? College in honour of the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah for his contribution to Africa.
At some point, Ghana High Commission was operating in Zambia in 1976 only to fold up again in 1982 due to numerous coup de ta and political instabilities. It was until 2008 that Ghana?s diplomatic relations were normalized to translate the cordial political relations existing between Ghana and Zambia into mutually beneficial gains, expanding the sphere of engagement between the our countries. Therefore the Zambian Government facilitated the process by fulfilling its promise to establish a High Commission in Accra immediately. Since then, our two countries have enjoyed wonderful diplomatic relations while the bond between our people becomes stronger year after year.According to the mission statement of the Ghana Embassy in Zambia, our bilateral cooperation is currently aimed at:
-Collaboration in mining
-Intensification of exchanges in education
-Experience sharing in social and health matters.I am therefore appealing to Ghana and Zambia?s foreign ministers to strengthen our bilateral ties by easing the existing border restrictions to properly facilitate the above mission so that our people can fully and effectively explore the existing opportunities in our two countries and a to properly appreciate our cultural diversities.
I urge the Government of Ghana and Zambia to consider?signing a Visa Abolishing Treaty?as they have done with many other African countries, to make travelling to Ghana-Zambia a complete?visa-free?for both of our citizens to be able to do business with ease and to share the little expertise together for the benefit of our countries.
This would eliminate all the unnecessary delays in our desire to interact with our brothers and sisters in Zambia whom we love so much. Besides, it will further enhance the cultural and economic ties between our beloved countries as envisioned by our revolutionary leaders: Kwame Nkrumah and Kenneth Kaunda. After all, Ghana and Zambia are both standing on equal economic and political grounds so there should be no need to restrict the pace of our economic progress.
Besides, with our current promising economic prospects, Zambia and Ghana stand a lot to benefit in the long run if trade, economic and political relations were further enhanced to the highest level for the benefit of the ordinary citizenry.
May this passionate appeal touch the hearts of the Presidents and the Foreign Ministers of our dear nations, to respond to our humble desire.
Happy 56th?Birthday to Ghana my motherland,
Long live Zambia, my second home!
The writer is a Ghanaian national who is so passionate about the need to strengthen relations between Ghana and Zambia. He is the coordinator for the Project Pan-Africa (PPA), an organization that was set up to foster unity among Africans to live together in harmony. The PPA seeks to create the biggest media platform that will give exposure to all the hidden talents in the youths across Africa. Visit us at:?www.projectpanafrica.org. E-mail him at:email@example.com?