God-given or self-given: which one should be our claim?
The only justification for the pillage of African resources by foreigners could be that, as far as these resources are natural and God-given, everyone has a right to claim a share irrespective of where such resources are located.
They are common goods for humanity after all. It may sound senseless for anyone to endorse such justification.
Yet, it gives a clue about the danger of relying on natural resources for the economic backbone of a nation. The reality is that, others will like to have them cheap or for free.
Other countries also have a claim over resources that they own. Interestingly, the attraction of such resources has not resulted in the penetration of foreigners into their fold seeking to exploit or take these resources free.
If nothing at all, you have to pay heavy price before you get access to such resources. These are resources produced from ideas generated from people’s head not a pick from nature.
You can never have these resources cheap or find any justification to claim them for free.
Anytime we think of our cocoa, gold, oil or whatever, we need to have it in mind that such natural resources we rely on for trade with other nations belong to God in some sense.
It will ,therefore, take more effort to justify our exclusive claim over them if any ridiculous challenge was mounted against such claim as already stated earlier, let alone asking for a big price for them in trade.
You can imagine the number of cars that have ever been imported into this country and counting. How much does one unit cost?
Can it be compared to an ounce of gold, a sack of cocoa or a barrel of oil? What about the communication gadgets we cannot do without in this modern age and the price one need to pay to acquire a unit not to talk about heavy duty machines, household equipment and aircraft we imported from other countries. Indeed, they were not generated from nature.
They are products that come from the human brain. Countries that produce them have a solid claim over them, hence the high price that goes with their exchange.
In this 21 Century, countries with the most natural resources are not likely to be those that grow the fastest.
The successful ones will be those that have discovered how to encourage and develop the most and best ideas which are purely the product of the brain not the ground. Perhaps, we need to invest more funds in education or research and development or perhaps we need to find ways to better protect people’s ideas since few will invest money, time and effort to discover better ideas if the idea can easily be stolen.
Looking up or down?
The government needs to be commended for the free access to secondary school policy otherwise known as the Free SHS and the allocation of 23 per cent of the national budget to the education sector. Indeed, the Global Education Summit 2021 taking place in London has come at an appropriate time for Ghana to play its role as part of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to take education seriously and invest more.
Billions of dollars is stuck in the brains of our citizens and the time to release the cash for development is now.
It is about time to look up (to the head with the brains that generate the ideas) not down all the time (the land that produces our natural resources) in our quest for economic development.
The writer is with the Institute of Current Affairs and Diplomacy (ICAD)