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Opinions of Friday, 25 September 2015

Columnist: Atta-Boakye, Ken

Ghana eligible to receive HIPC assistance

Re-joinder, Ken Atta-Boakye:

The IMF and the World Bank are philanthropic institutions that give HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) assistance to eligible countries. A country must be very poor and under grave economic conditions to qualify. Usually, the conditions in the country must be such that the country is unable to bail itself out financially, under any circumstances.

Ghana reached such a rock-bottom economic condition under the Kufour administration to qualify for HIPC assistance in 2001. The then President of the United State, George Bush granted Ghana $547m MCA relief package for the next five years starting from Aug 1st, 2006. Whichever way the money was used and accounted for, the incoming NDC regime should have followed with the structures that were laid down to make the assistance beneficial to the nation. The funds were not disbursed properly and now Ghana needs another bail out. How long should we continue to count and live on HIPC assistance?

Research also shows that Foreign Aid by International communities to Ghana is not an uncommon phenomenon. During Prime Minister Busia’s regime in 1969, Ghana received funding from Foreign Aid in support of the then Center for Civic Education. Again, Ghana was so much indebted to foreign countries that Dr Busia declared “Okafo Didi” and re-negotiated for debt payments. When Col Kutu Acheampong also deposed Prime Minister Busia in a military take-over in 1971, he refused to pay Ghana debts and initiated the “Yentua Policy”.

Though we have received several foreign loans and aids in the past we have not benefited from them because of rampant misappropriation and mismanagement from our corrupt practices. We need to revisit the effectiveness of Foreign Aid and the best way to make it efficient and beneficial to the nation.

Scripture tells us, “Train a child the way he should go and he will not depart from it”. There are several instances to justify this Biblical maxim. People who were Scripture Union members in their school days have become effective leaders as Pastors, Church Elders, and Community activists.

Christians who migrate to other parts of the world stick to their religious beliefs and establish their own churches and do not depart from their religious training. It is hard to deviate from formative age habits. Such could be an eye-opener for solving the leadership crisis that has let Ghana down. It wouldn’t matter how long it takes.

If Foreign Aid would be focused and specifically channeled into character education for the young kids in the schools nationwide after school hours through an NGO, that could be an ice-breaker for leadership crisis. These new brand of leaders would be morally committed to doing the right thing with trembling hearts. They will work to protect their integrity and Ghana would be the beneficiary. Where is the integrity of a Judge who takes bribe to free criminals? By their act, they have justified the long-perceived corruption within the judiciary. Their legal stance to defend themselves through the technicality of the law has only amplified the shame on them. Justice in Ghana is severely wounded.

For Foreign Aid to be more effective and pragmatic, I advocate for such assistance to be invested in our young kids in the schools through a separate and independent NGO through after school hour activities and workshops. Our young kids are our most reliable and valuable assets. Visit CPCE (Campaign to Promote Civic Education in Ghana) website to learn more about this initiative and lend support:

Ken Atta-Boakye: