President Akufo-Addo promotes Ghana first agenda
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said in London that Ghana has learnt bitter lessons from the colonial past and will now open its eyes wide when dealing with other countries and investors.
“Nobody is coming, pretending to be bringing God’s Word in one hand and taking our lands with the other; this time we will look after our interests in much the same way as all other nations we deal with look after their own interests,” he stated.
Delivering the keynote address at the 5th Financial Times Africa Summit at the Claridge’s Hotel in London yesterday, October 8, 2018, he indicated that even though everyone was dealing with China, Ghana was doing so with its eyes wide open.
Speaking on the specific theme: “Ghana, Africa business”, he explained that Ghana was prepared to receive investors who were ready for the priority areas, especially in infrastructure, to accelerate development and the expansion of the economy.
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Other speakers at the two-day programme included a former Prime Minister of Britain, Mr Tony Blair; the President of Gabon, Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba; the Nigerian business mogul, Mr Aliko Dangote; the Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr Mo Ibrahim, and the President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Global Fixed Incomes, Currencies and Commodities Trading at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mr Bernard Mensah.
To those who felt anxious about the increasing leaning of Africa towards China, fearing that such relations would culminate in the re-colonisation of the continent, the President gave an assurance that such a thing would not occur.
“Our elders say the first fool is not a fool,” he stated, adding that Ghana had learnt its lesson and would not let this lead to re-colonisation.
He said Africa could not afford to turn its back on China, which is the second largest economy in the world, especially when China was contributing hugely to addressing the continent’s infrastructure gap, something countries in the West were not coming forth to help.
The President reiterated his administration’s commitment to create an enabling environment for the private sector to grow and expand to contribute to the industrialisation agenda and create decent jobs for the youth.
He said roads and railways built by the colonial masters were to facilitate the export of raw materials and open up places to a limited extent.
Today, he noted, it was obvious that unless the economy was fundamentally changed, the needed progress and prosperity would not be achieved, hence the call for investments in that direction.
He disclosed that Ghana had become a net exporter of electricity, supplying Burkina Faso with 100 megawatts of electricity following the prudent and strategic management of the energy sector, which hitherto was in crisis and on the verge of collapsing the economy.
He added that the erratic power situation his administration inherited had been dealt with, while electricity tariffs had been reduced by 17.5 per cent for domestic users and 30 per cent for to encourage the productive sectors and help individuals.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that a review of 24 power purchase agreements on the assumption of his administration led to the termination of 111 on such contracts and the rescheduling of eight others, which would save the nation $7 billion in excess capacity charges over the next 30 years.
He said the government had issued bonds totalling GHc4.7 billion to reduce the energy debt it inherited, saying the move was to improve of the banks and the balance sheet of state-owned enterprises in the sector.
The President said the modest successes chalked up through the government’s prudent economic management had received a major boost, as corporate giants in the world, including VW of German and Sino Truck of China, had decided to establish their assembling plants in Ghana to produce for the West African market.
He said another global giant in the tech industry, , had decided to base its African artificial intelligence centre in Ghana, making it the first in Africa, while global energy giants like Exxon and others from Australia had signed agreements to undertake oil exploration in Ghanaian waters.
He said Ghana welcomed direct investment, especially those with the associated transfer of technology to help facilitate the vision of a strong and viable economy that was focused on trade and investment co-operation, rather than the reception of aid.
The Editor of the Financial Post, Mr Lionel Barber, said public policy had a huge role to play in ensuring that Africa benefited immensely from its resources.
He observed that Africa was trying to free itself from the constraints of its old colonial ties and engage in business with other partners, including China, Turkey, Brazil and countries in the Middle East.
He said in recent times, especially this year, there had been notable developments on the political landscape on the continent, including elections in Zimbabwe.