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Opinions of Sunday, 1 February 2004

Columnist: Asibey, Akwasi

Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Economic Growth and Prosperity

The President’s State of the Nation Address:


The question that kept nagging me when reading President Kufour’s State of the Nation Address was: To what extent did the President and his team understand the language of economics, finance and business and how have these concepts been translated into concrete policies to spur economic growth and prosperity in our country?

I firmly believe that if Ghana is to achieve a middle-income status within the next decade, it is imperative that policy makers master the language of economics, finance and business. Our politicians ought to appreciate the need to get the economic fundamentals right. Without putting our economic house in order, the country will be hard-pressed to deal with the equally important challenge of combating poverty.

It is when we have laid a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth for wealth creation that we can adequately respond to the educational, health, housing, employment and other needs of the people.

We cannot expect to be taken seriously if we remain at the margins of the world economy.

Unlike India, China and other countries in the developing world that have understood the language of economics, finance and business and, have come out with policies and strategies to strengthen their position in the global economy, in most of sub Saharan Africa (SSA), we are yet to take advantage of these concepts. Most countries in SSA found themselves at the fringes of the world economy. Our understanding of wealth creation is still very rudimentary.

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world laughs at Africa’s economic impotence?

We are not oblivious to the historical conditions as well as the exogenous and endogenous factors that have contributed to our present economic backwardness. However, if India and China, which faced similar constraints, have been able to build respectable and powerful economies, we see no reason why Ghana cannot do the same.

It will require honest leadership, sensible policies and, of course, hard work on the part of every Ghanaian.

There is no short cut to progress. If any body told you there was, you ought to be suspicious of such an individual. It is through commitment and hard work that we can improve our lot as a people.

We should, therefore, be weary of politicians who give the impression that we can overcome our current difficulties without any sacrifice. We certainly need to put in place the appropriate policies, structures and programmes to overcome our economic backwardness.

It is through this prism that I read the President’s State of the Nation Address, which was delivered on Thursday, 22nd January 2004.

The conceptual foundation of the speech was solid. The Kufour administration has mastered the language of economics, finance and business. And these are being translated into specific policies and programmes to grow the economy and to create wealth.

The President outlined in his address the need to maintain macro economic stability, characterised by low interest rates, low inflation and so on. The Kufour administration is committed to achieving these goals by adopting sensible fiscal and monetary measures.

We are exceedingly happy to observe that, for the first time in the history of our young nation, the tables have turned in favour of prudent economic management.

As a nation, we will collectively swim or drown depending on how we choose to manage our economic affairs. Understanding this reality is a huge step forward. And this is the reason why we think the President’s address is a watershed.

We commend him for his courage and for having the foresight to put in place the enabling conditions for economic growth and for wealth creation.

Let us turn Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s famous message on seeking the “political kingdom first” on its head: Seek ye the economic kingdom first and all else shall be made possible.

Politicians who ignore this fundamental truth do so at their own peril!

It is our fervent hope that the Kufour administration will do whatever it takes to sustain the modest economic gains achieved to date. Indeed the NPP Government must keep the faith because there is so much unfinished business!


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.