You are here: HomeNews2009 07 10Article 165047

Opinions of Friday, 10 July 2009

Columnist: Nyarko, Kingsley

Obama’s Visit, Lessons That Our Government Should Learn

Ghanaians across the globe are head over heels in ecstasy to have Barak Obama, the first African American President in the annals of American history in our country from Friday 10th to Saturday 11th July, 2009. I can see in my mind’s eye, people from all walks of life descending on the capital city, Accra to catch a glimpse of the most popular President in the world at this moment. For me what makes Barak so revered in the world is not only about his eloquence and charismatic appeals, but also the fact that he is focused and determined to succeed. That is what most leaders in this moment of economic despondency are lacking, and I recommend that our President cashes in on that. What makes his visit so unique and symbolic is the fact that his visit to our country is his maiden one in sub-Saharan Africa. For Barak and his administration to choose Ghana ahead of his native fatherland, Kenya show how the world has come to accept Ghana as a true democratic country on a continent saddled with military adventurism and tyrannical rule. We should see this historic visit on our soil as a victory chalked by the whole of Ghana. This is not the time to score cheap political points, but rather pat ourselves on the back for being indeed the gateway to Africa and also being an example to the rest of the continent. We should use this opportunity to deepen our democratic culture which is the surest way to lead us on the path of socio-economic recovery. As we have come to embrace democracy as our preferred system of governance, we have to steadfastly uphold it so as to enjoy its abundant fruits.

As the government is enthused and overwhelmed about this historic visit, I would like to suggest two important things that they have to learn from the Obama administration. First, they should learn from the dynamism of the Obama government. They should take a look at the spontaneity and alacrity with which they are trying to deliver their ailing economy from the nadir of economic destruction to the zenith of economic prosperity. You never hear neither President Obama nor his lieutenants complaining, whining, and blaming the Bush administration for bringing the American economy on its knees. Their major preoccupation is working assiduously across the aisle to ferret out creative and innovative ways of putting their ailing economy back on a sound footing. The Mills administration should realize that they were not elected by the good people of the land to tell us why they have not been able to execute what they were elected to do, but rather should tell us how they are going to move the economy forward. Unlike the Obama administration, which has come out with an economic program just days after its inauguration aimed at healing their ailing economy which is the hub around which the world’s economy is built, their counterparts in Ghana, after forming an economic management team several months ago have not been able to arrive at an economic blueprint. And yet some section of the public still think that we should give them more time to renege on their pledge of hitting the ground running. We are only interested in their getting the job done- working hard to transform the living standard of the people, working hard to curtail the menace of armed robbery in the country, creating a strong and robust economy, among others.

Second, we expect the Mills administration to positively sell and promote the country as is being done by the Obama administration. The American economy is severely jeopardized but both the President and his entire team try as much as possible to put a positive spin on the outlook of their economy. They believe that in order for their economy, which is the largest in the world to recover and be vibrant and robust as it once used to be, they have to stimulate it. And they know that they can only achieve this by wooing and attracting investors into their country. You asked yourself the import and rationale behind the numerous travels that have been embarked upon by Barak Obama since he attained the presidency. The answer is not far-fetched; he is not only seeking to repair the soiled reputation of America on the world stage, but also trying to discover ways of boosting their economy. The bottom line is that he feels a burden on his shoulders and in his soul to put The United States of America on the social, political, and economic map of the world again. But the Mills administration is doing just the opposite. All that they are doing is telling the whole world why it does not pay to do business in Ghana. Of course if you constantly refer to your economy as a broken and looted one, the message you are putting across is that you are not ready to do business with the international community. What you rather need is aid, and not investment. But economic aid has never helped Africa, has it?

In concluding, I would like to sound a caveat to our government. They should be careful not to be carried away by the charm and appeal of this influential and dynamic young president. They should let the interests of the citizenry be at the heart of all their deliberations. Although, President Obama is visiting Ghana as a result of our enviable democratic credentials on the African continent, we should not live under the illusion that the American government does not have other hidden interests and agenda to pursue in the country. We have to promote and safeguard our collective interests and not kowtow to the domineering influence of America in our body politic. Your Excellency, Ghana first. God bless Ghana!!

Source: Kingsley Nyarko, PhD, Educational Consultant, IAF- Munich (