For God loved Africa so much that when distributing natural wealth to the continents, He gave Africa more than its fair share. Moreover, He bequeathed to Africa almost every mineral that could be found on the planet. But was that kindness or unfairness?
Africa does not know peace because of this natural wealth. If you have not yet observed this, just look at the Democratic Republic of Congo! That vast land is so rich in natural resources that it will never see peace as long as we live. Even during the Second World War, the driving force behind Hitler’s obsessive intent to conquer Belgium was to get access to the uranium deposits of Congo, which was a colony of Belgium. Thank God he could not get there! If you do not know, Hitler often said, after the war, he would kill Africans and process their tough black skin for soft leather for shoes!
Even now, look at what is happening in Congo, with Uganda, Rwanda, etc. all seriously interfering militarily in the mineral-rich North Kivu Province!
With a length of 4,700 km, River Congo is Africa’s second longest river, after the Nile. The Congo is even the world’s second largest river in terms of flow, after the Amazon. Even without irrigation from River Congo, that big land mass is so fertile that, given peace, Congo alone can produce food to feed the whole of black Africa.
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UN troops have been in Congo since its independence in 1960. A year after independence, Dag Hammarskjold, arguably the best Secretary General the UN has ever had, lost his life in a mysterious plane crash in a forest near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), while on his way to war-torn Congo. In 2013, conspiracy theorists emerged over his death, asking for the files to be reopened. They believe the U.S. National Security Agency is hiding information.
In the 90’s, UN soldiers from Pakistan and India sent to Congo to keep the peace often stood accused of exploiting the turmoil. They were cited for exchanging guns with militias for gold. That made the soldiers extremely rich. Any wonder as to why at the UN, Asian personnel compete fiercely to go on a mission to Congo - a country that will forever burn?
In the middle of June 2014, President John Mahama, contributing to the G-8 plenary session in London on the theme: “Trade, Tax and Transparency,” appealed to the group of eight industrialised countries (G-8) to support developing countries to build the capacities of their people, and to conduct their businesses transparently in the right environment.
President Mahama said gold mining companies in Ghana, for instance, refined their products in Switzerland and other countries, a situation which did not give our government the right picture on how much tax and revenue to expect because the companies could hide their proceeds from the government.
While President Mahama was in London in connection with the G-8 summit, perchance, I heard Kwesi Pratt Jnr contributing to a panel discussion on Adom FM.
Because of too much vulgarity and profanity in news broadcast, I never listen to that station. Unaware, my radio was on that ‘banished’ station. When I realised that, I scampered to change the dial. My fingers were on the knob when I heard Kwesi Pratt, jnr speaking.
Having long considered him as someone who talks too much making outlandish statements, I have never really paid attention when he speaks – the result of prejudice. Just as I was about to turn the knob, I heard him mention “G-8 summit”. That grabbed my attention, forcing me to continue listening. And lo and behold, what did I hear? Every word that was coming from that mouth of his was a gem!
In essence what he was saying was that Ghana was very rich and Mahama did not need to go to London because of “aid”. How true could he have been on that! Our main problem is leadership!
Mr Pratt rattled off a list of things that Ghana could do, given the many resources that God had disproportionately bestowed on Africa.
Each time that Mr Pratt mentioned one natural resource, he stated what we could make out of it. In seconds, he rifled through a series of natural resources and even mentioned beautiful furniture from bamboo!
That day, it was as if God Himself had descended on Ghana and was rebuking us on the radio over why we had failed Him so much. God was perhaps asking why we were so poor and hungry in the midst of plenty.
Yes, bamboo needs special mention here. This natural resource seems to be wasting away as it grows wildly in Ghana.
Bamboo has a very high tangential strength and because of that quality, it is able to support heavy weight. Underutilised, that strength is only seen during the construction of small houses where bamboo is used as props. However, the utility of bamboo is extensive: plywood, tiles, slats, flooring, fencing, decking, poles, natural matting, cork flooring and many more. In China, the fresh sprouts of bamboo even serve as food.
Central Region is one of the most deprived in the country. Yet bamboo grows everywhere in the region. When travelling by road in the Central Region, just look through the window. From Dunkwa-on-Offin through Assin Foso to Cape Coast, bamboo is staring at you. Sometimes, those on the opposite sides of the road have formed an eye-catching canopy providing soothingly fresh air on the road! Bamboo processing could be a billion dollar industry. Yet, we sit and cry over unemployment and poverty!