The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has stated that Ghana is on the right track to development which will displace the country’s recent failures.
Speaking to the business community, civic and religious leaders about his vision for development at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, United States of America (USA) recently, he said: “Ghana is on the right track; we are on the cusp of a new bold beginning which will repudiate the recent culture of failure.”
Attributing the woes of Africa, including its high level of poverty, to the failure of leadership, he said although Africa, the cradle of human civilisation, was also the richest continent, it controlled only two per cent of the global economy due to leadership failure.
“There is not another continent blessed with such abundance in diversity and yet the poorest in the world. We are 15 per cent of the world’s population, only to control two per cent of the global economy. This paradox invites us to ask the question ‘Why’? The simple answer to the woes of our continent is leadership failure,” he stated.
The immediate post-independent African leaders only succeeded in exchanging colonial exploitation for native tyranny. Their actions and inaction could lead one to say that African leadership is insensitive and heartless,” he stated.
All that was changing, Osagyefo Ofori Panin asserted, while courting the business community to invest in Ghana.
“There is, however, a new dawn in Africa and I am happy to announce that my country Ghana is leading the way. There is a new crop of leadership in Africa who are doing everything possible to elevate our people from the doldrums of poverty, squalor, senseless wars and deprivation.
“I know that a good number of you are afraid to bring your money to our continent because of the widespread perception of unstable political systems.
“Ghana our beloved country is no longer considered a speculative risk nation; it has earned an investment grade status. Your foreign direct investment (FDI) is safe and our government guarantees the repatriation of profits as you secure and protect shareholders’ value.
“Today, at least in Ghana, all the inhibitions to foreign investments have been removed. We have a stable democracy, an independent judiciary that protects the rights and properties of all, citizens and foreigners,” he told the business community.
Osagyefo Ofori Panin also stated that: “There are enormous investment opportunities in our country’s infrastructure sector,” adding that the government was also embarking on an aggressive public–private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of the country’s roads and railway infrastructure.
Ray of hope
The Okyenhene stated that the new Africa that was rising was determined to defeat intractable challenges facing the continent such as poverty and its subtitles of inferior education, inadequate health care, huge housing deficits, non-workable telecommunication and lack of infrastructure.
“Leaders cannot be effective in the long run if we remain simply power holders and rulers but fail to see the moral and ethical implications of our work. In other words, we cannot be defenders of the status quo and we cannot remain here,” he noted.
Osagyefo Ofori Panin, nonetheless, said Ghana’s central governance system had outlived its relevance and called for a decentralised form of governance, stating that: “It is widely known that systems which are local and small are relatively immune to failure and give people dignity of voice and self-determination.”
For his part, a former Secretary of the State of New Jersey and Leader of the First Baptist Church, Dr Deforest Soaries, extolled the Okyenhene.
He said for the past 19 years, he had observed as the Okyenhene had braced the odds and led his people to abandon the retrogressive aspects of African culture and had led his people on the path of progress and prosperity.
Dr Soaries indicated that there was huge investment potential in Ghana, adding that the collaborative efforts of the Okyenhene and the First Baptist Church of New Jersey had led to the establishment of the Okyeman Empowerment Complex, which aimed at using the Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom as a model for progress and development of traditional institutions in Ghana.
He unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at igniting local development in Okyeman, including the establishment of a modern community centre at Kyebi, a microfinance company to boost indigenous economy in the kingdom, a sports complex, an information technology (IT) centre and a library complex.