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Opinions of Thursday, 21 August 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Alan is the Best bet for the NPP in 2016

Hon. Alan Kyerematen, the Candidate who comes into the 2016 elections as a lawyer, business developer, human resource developer, diplomat, economist, and trade expert, will be the 5th John of the 4th Republic. He will turn 61 years by December 2016, an age which acts as a bridge between the young and the aged. For the benefit of those who might not know Alan well, this write-up reveals his managerial experience, remarkable achievements, and vision for both the NPP and Ghana.

Alan has been a leading young stalwart and key strategist of the NPP since its inception in 1992. He has served on the highest decision-making bodies of the party such as, NPP National Executive Committee (NEC), NPP Economic Management Team, and NPP Finance Committee. Alan's loyalty to the party is unquestionable, for he remains the only politician in Ghana to have willingly stepped down to enable Nana Addo contest the 2008 general elections.

Though he was neither the Campaign Manager nor running-mate in the last elections, Alan helped to increase the Ashanti Region votes by 5% during the 2008 run-off. In 2012, Alan campaigned in Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Greater Accra Regions. He attended the IEA debate with Nana Addo, and co-authored the 2012 NPP manifesto. He supported the party's SC petition by maximizing all the 5 accreditation cards given him. He contributed financially and materially to the 2012 campaign.

At age 22, Alan became the Manager of UAC Ghana Ltd, a subsidiary of Unilever International. He was AU's Trade Envoy; UNDP's Chief Executive, Enterprise Africa; Founder of EMPRETEC; UN's Economic Commission for Africa expert; Chairman of Young Executive Forum (YEF); Ambassador to the US; Minister of Trade, Industry, and PSI; Founder of John Young & Associates; Immediate past trade advisor for the AU. Just last year, Alan was chosen by the AU for the position of the Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO). With this rich experience, Alan is well-positioned to manage the economy of Ghana. Because of his humility, posture, and charisma, most NDC members are rooting for him to take over from Mahama.

Alan has solid record of achievements in both private and public life. As an Ambassador to the US, he established the US-Ghana Economic Council to deepen economic relations and bilateral trade; negotiated the purchase of VALCO by the Ghana government at a cost of $20m; implemented the first Investment Forum in the US to showcase the economic potential of each of the 10 regions of Ghana; established the first web-based Ghana Skills Bank to facilitate access to Ghanaian professionals and experts worldwide; initiated the Ghana Cultural Centre in the US; developed an “Operation Save Your Schools Programme” for Ghana residents in the US to assist their alma mater (primary/middle school) back home; negotiated Cosmos Energy's arrival in Ghana to discover oil; and negotiated the release of $547m from the US government through the Millennium Challenge Accounts (MCA) to alleviate poverty in Ghana. The 14km George Walker Bush road is a living testimony.

Alan is an achiever, for as a Minister of Trade, Industry, & PSI, he built $8.5 million state-of-the-art factory to produce high grade industrial starch from cassava for export. The Ayensu Starch factory has been bought by the Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) this year to produce beer for consumption. Alan constructed an enclave within the Tema Free Zone, for the manufacturing of garments for export. He revived the Oil Palm industry in Ghana; expanded the Salt mining operations; implemented the District Industrialization Programme, where at least, one medium-sized factory in each administrative district would be built; initiated the highly successful “National Friday Wear” programme, implemented the Distance Education programme to enable Ghanaian workers acquire higher degrees. Alan facilitated the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which offers Ghana, a quota free export of certain category of goods to the US market; and negotiated a $45 million loan facility with the World Bank to promote SME development in Ghana.

Alan has categorized his vision into two, one for the NPP and the second for Ghana. He believes that, for a party to win political power and maintain it, it needs to be strategically strong. Alan intends to restructure the NPP by empowering all those who would work for the party. He would mobilize the over 5m supporters to make a monthly financial contribution of at least, GHC1.00. This money would be deposited in a Progress or Savings Bank which would be established in the Constituencies. Part of the deposits would be invested in viable economic ventures, part as loans etc. The interests and profits accrued to such investments would be used to pay those party executives. This innovation will be fashioned around the mode of financial institutions with regard to their money creation. Alan Kyerematen's vision for the country will be to harness and develop the potential of her youth force by putting education and entrepreneurial skills at the center of his youth policy. Alan intends to add value to our agricultural products in order to put the country on the path of economic independence. His campaign message is coined; "Jobs for the people, Cash for the people".

Alan's personality traits - humility, charisma, gentility, honesty, etc could attract floating votes. His credibility, and competence make him a better candidate than Mahama. Alan can maximise votes from both Central and Ashanti Regions because of his mixed ancestry. Alan has more international connections and better understanding of the economy than Mahama. He is fit, strong, and healthy. He will campaign 24/7 to beat John Mahama.

It is my hope that the NPP delegates would consider Alan Kyerematen this time around, for he has what it takes to move our beloved party from 8 years in opposition into government in 2016.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri. Email: katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk Mobile: 0547851100 : 0264931361 : 0202471070