On March 6, 2018, the President espoused his vision of Ghana Beyond Aid (GHBA) and stated that it required a change in all aspects of our lives. GHBA seeks to wean the country off aid
This article associates with proponents of the vision but believes that because it entails change and a range of interlocking activities, GHBA needs to be planned as a long-term overarching programme. The principal goals may not necessarily be attained now but a solid foundation could have been laid.
To appreciate GHBA, it is important to understand what Aid is and when it is desirable.
Simply put, Aid is a support given by governments or agencies to leverage development in a recipient country.
While it is common knowledge that developing countries are generally aid dependent; there are developed countries that depend on aid/loan. Countries such as Japan, Italy, Singapore, United States and Belgium have had very high
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Aid can, therefore, be a desirable remedy for development if strategically accessed, especially when the aid being contracted cannot be generated from internal financial arrangements.
GHBA and problems to be tackled
From the President’s pronouncements, he seems to be in no doubt about his vision; but the citizenry must share in it and more needs to be done to make GHBA actionable.
Ghana still imports food items such as rice, oil, sugar, poultry, tomatoes and even fish; little is derived in terms of value
For GHBA to be actionable and goal oriented, the following will need to be addressed:
• Planning for GHBA
A crafted concept,
• Re-orientation of attitude towards domestication
Consumption of local products will be a major boost for GHBA if the country is to reduce the importation of foods that can be locally produced, then vigorous and purposeful policies linking production and consumption must be put in place. For instance,
• Investment in research, science and technology
GHBA will thrive on research, science and technology.
• Enclosure approach
By enclosure, this article is suggesting that certain liberties be curtailed when liberal domestication policies fail. A ban on certain commodities could be enforced to ensure that specific commodities are not imported into the country to enable local entrepreneurs to perfect their skills.
• Working within the ECOWAS / AU
The GHBA vision is not one to be advanced by one country alone. At best, Ghana could canvas and champion this within the ECOWAS Region and possibly AU to derive effectiveness from group action.
In conclusion, it is good to decipher between good and bad aid; depending on good aid for the growth of the economy is not an anathema. But to be beyond aid is more desirable; but this does not happen wishfully, it must be planned.
Ghana will for a long time need “good aid” for development and the initial focus of GHBA will be to establish a framework for the progressive reduction of aid over a specified time period.
In the words of the President, GHBA “requires a deliberate, qualitative change in all aspects of our lives”; it can be done, but needs to be advanced within an actionable framework.