Africa’s time to shed its cloak of poverty and to hold its rightful place on the world stage is now at hand, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
“We believe it is time Africa comes of age and holds its rightful place on the world stage. This Africa will be neither a victim nor a pawn. This Africa will be honest to itself and to the world, and this Africa will shed its cloak of poverty, and become prosperous,” President Akufo-Addo said in an address to the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
He said: “We are not under any illusions about the hard work that it will take to achieve our stated goals, but we are not afraid of hard work.”
“We know that a critical ingredient in making sustainable economic progress is to ensure a stable democratic system of governance.”
In that regard, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was making progress after years of political turmoil and the accompanying economic chaos, culminating in consensus building and the ensuing political stability in the last 25 years.
“I am here, today, because of elections last December in which the people of Ghana voted out an incumbent government, and gave me and my party the mandate and honour to govern our nation for the next four years.
“We continue to be a beacon of democracy and stability on the Continent, our institutions of state are growing stronger, and we have made more progress with our economy than at any time since independence,” he said.
Though Ghana is not where she wanted to be, however “we are determined to realise our potential and make Ghana a prosperous nation,” the President said emphatically.
“There will always be adventurers amongst us Ghanaians who would want to seek challenges in different parts of the world, and we would wish them well, and expect that wherever they go, they would be welcomed and treated with dignity.
“But we are working to grow our economy and open up opportunities for all our citizens. No longer should Ghanaians feel they have to subject themselves to the intolerable and inhumane conditions of crossing the Sahara, and drowning in the Mediterranean, in the hope of making a living in Europe,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said his government was working to grow Ghana’s economy and, thereby, open up opportunities for the progress and prosperity of all Ghanaians.
“We do not want to be a scar on anybody’s conscience. We want to build an economy that is not dependent on charity and hand-outs. Long and bitter experience has taught us no matter how generous the charity, we would remain poor.”
“We do want to discard a mind-set of dependency and living on handouts; we want to build a Ghana beyond aid. It is an easier platform on which to build sustainable relationships.
“We want to build a Ghana which looks to the use of its own resources and their proper management as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country. We want to build an economy that looks past commodities to position our country in the global marketplace,” he said.
The President told the General Assembly that his government had started the Free Senior High School Programme, which aims to guarantee at least secondary education for all of Ghana’s children.
“The Programme will ensure that all our children will be educated to secondary level, and money, or the lack of it, will no longer mean a denial of education. This has already led to an increase of more than 90,000 children who have entered secondary school this academic year, who would otherwise have dropped out at this stage,” he added.
The implementation of the Free SHS Policy, President Akufo-Addo added, would mean that Sustainable Development Goal-4, which aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, would be within Ghana’s reach by the target date of 2030.