Play Diplomacy With Confidence, Mr. Mahama!

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

Mahama Should Also Discuss Muslim Treatment of Christians in the Gulf States

It is perfectly hunkydory for the President to traipse the Arab world looking for investors for Ghana’s economic development. What is equally important to bear in mind, though, is the fact that investments are first and foremost about maximizing the profit margin over and above the level of any regular banking establishment. In other words, investors do not go about just throwing their monetary wealth away like Santa Claus. And so whatever investment agreements he enters into on behalf of the country ought to be forward-looking and constructive for Ghana’s economic development.

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

Our experience with the STX Scandal tells us that Parliament needs to establish a databank of Who’s Who among Ghanaian economists and business experts to advise whichever major political party happens to control the reins of governance, on the kinds of savvy contractual deals worth striking up for both the short- and long-term development of the country. Needless to say, the Arabs have a long tradition of transacting business on the global stage and thus ought not to be underestimated in our dealings with them. Still, on the question of the development of our energy industry, perhaps it bears underscoring the fact that the bulk of the Middle-Eastern economy was rigged up and executed by the West, with the ubiquitous United States heading up the list.

And so, its faux-socialist pretensions and all, someone needs to stress to the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress the imperative need to shop around, by way of doing due diligence, before transacting any far-reaching deals in the energy sector with foreign investors. It is also all well and good for Gulf leaders like Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to pat the backs of Ghanaian leaders over peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in our country. And for those of our readers who may not know this, present-day Akans have a long history of fiercely fighting off Islamic conquest, domination and forcible conversion. And even as Dr. J. B. Danquah used to remind postcolonial Ghanaians, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that religious intolerance, such as currently prevails in Nigeria, does not spill into our country.

Even more importantly, what I want to point out here is the need for President Mahama to have also enquired about the state of Muslim-Christian relations in Qatar, and the imperative need for the Arab-Muslim majority populace of that kingdom to treat their Christian friends and neighbors with the same level of respect, decency and dignity prevalent in Ghana. Our leaders ought to hold themselves over and above such cheap and condescending diplomatic patronage. I also don’t know that the construction of an “Education City” is necessarily an ideal project for Ghana, unlike the Kingdom of Qatar. What I do know is that much more needs to be done, on the part of both the government and the private sector, to evenly spread out the nodal centers of education, in particular higher education, throughout the country.

I am, however, in full agreement with the Qatari emperor on the question of agricultural development, in particular regarding storage and agro-manufacturing facilities, general sports development, especially soccer, athletics, basketball, baseball and tourism and the hospitality industry. The West African Power Pool idea is also laudable in theory, but first more has to be done in the area of democratic political culture and education, especially science and technology, the performing arts, research and scholarship. We must also set decent standards for cross-national integration.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York

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