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Opinions of Thursday, 18 July 2019

Columnist: K. Badu, UK

On Akufo-Addo’s best president award: Why he deserves a Nobel Prize

Some of us, in fact, were not least surprised at all, when the news spiralled through recently that President Akufo-Addo has overwhelmingly been adjudged the Africa’s best president by a Canadian-based research organisation, ''Leaders of Tomorrow'' and US-based think tank ‘World Vision Forum’ (see: Akufo-Addo named Africa’s best president; yen.com.gh/ghanaweb.com, 14/07/2019).

While the Leaders of Tomorrow’s research placed President Akufo-Addo first amongst the best and outstanding list of 2018 presidents in Africa, the US-based think tank, World Vision Forum’s research put President Akufo-Addo 1st on the list in Africa and 3rd in the world of best presidents with vision , ideas, and practitioners of the rule of law.

The aforesaid research studies have nonetheless given credence to the pronouncements by the likes of Ghana’s seasoned journalist, Malik Kweku Baako, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who had earlier commended the Akufo-Addo’s government on its excellent economic performance in the two and half years in office.

In 2017, the Bloomberg News, for example, predicted Ghana to become “Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018 “and Ghana was proclaimed “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

And, in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde pointed out that “Ghana’s economic success is not just as the result of an oil-driven boom, but is also due to prudent economic management, an entrepreneurial population, the role of traditional leaders, and good governance.”

The latest on the list of observers on Ghana’s auspicious economy is the Nigerian scholar, who recently gave a presentation at the NDC’s most recent forum, in which he emphasised Ghana’s thriving economic growth under the NPP government.

In spite of the reputable organisations and other prominent people’s positive remarks on Ghana’s economy, the naysayers are not inspired. But are we really surprised? No, after all, hasn’t it written: ‘no prophet is accepted in his homeland’?

If you may remember, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, embarked on a mission to Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 in accordance with the Human Rights Council resolution 35/19.

The rationale behind the visit was to evaluate and to convey to the Human Rights Council on the extent to which Akufo-Addo’s government policies and programmes geared towards mitigating extreme poverty are in conformity with its human rights obligations, and, to proffer constructive recommendations to the Government and other stakeholders accordingly.

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, observes: “Ghana remains a champion of democracy in Africa, with power having regularly changed hands democratically since 1992.

“Ghana has no internal armed conflicts and has avoided the grave security threats faced by its regional neighbours. In development terms, its record of achieving certain Millennium Development Goals by 2015 is impressive.

“Ghana met the targets for halving extreme poverty and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, and it achieved the goals relating to universal primary education and gender parity in primary school.

“In the period ahead, Ghana is set to become Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018. Bloomberg News has proclaimed Ghana as the “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

“And in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde has pointed out that Ghana’s success is not just as the result of an oil-driven boom, but is also due to prudent economic management, an entrepreneurial population, the role of traditional leaders, and good governance.

“In addition, Ghana’s achievements in providing free schooling and free meals to students, and its creation of a health insurance scheme for the whole country are considerable accomplishments” (Philip Alston, 2018).

Apparently, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, was adding to the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde’s observation that the Ghanaian economy is in a better place than it was in the previous years under the John Dramani Mahama’s administration.

Ms Lagarde opined that the Akufo-Addo’s government had made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which had declined to a single digit and now within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five per cent between 2015 and 2018, and, over six per cent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).

Based on the preceding outstanding accomplishments, some of us cannot, therefore, stand accused of harbouring exaggerated emotions and persistently maintaining that President Akufo-Addo indeed possesses the attributes of a visionary leader.

Interestingly, visionary leaders are noted for their positivism, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individual consideration (Nemanich and Keller, 2007).

Some experts, nonetheless, maintain that idealised influence depicts visionary leaders as most respectful, reliable and meritorious, while idealised influence explains leaders unparalleled ability in setting vision and implementing it to impact on their subordinates (Bass et al., 2003).

On the other hand, inspirational motivation explains how visionary leaders consistently raise team spirit and encourage their subordinates to be creative (Bass et al., 2003).

In addition, leadership and management scholars observe that visionary leaders act as role models, motivate, provide meaning, optimism, enthusiasm, strategic thinking and stimulate the intelligence of their subordinates(Bass, 1985).

If you would recall, during the 2016 electioneering campaign, the then-presidential candidate of NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, insisted: “I am promising you that within 18 months of a new government of the NPP, under my leadership, the face of our country, Ghana, is going to change”.

And true to his word, within a short space of time, the Akufo-Addo’s government managed to improve upon the previously asphyxiated economy. Ghana's economic growth, which had slowed from 4.0% in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015 moved to 8.5% by 2018 following consolidation of macroeconomic stability and implementation of measures to resolve the crippling power crisis-‘dumsor’ (ADB).

Suffice it to stress that despite the extent of the economic mess left by the previous NDC government, the Akufo-Addo’s government took pragmatic steps and stabilised the economy within a short space of time.

Within that short period, the Akufo-Addo’s government efficiently raised the economic growth. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 per cent in 2017 compared to 3.7 per cent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).

Interestingly, however, in the same year (2017), the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 per cent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 per cent and the Services 4.3 per cent.

Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 per cent in 2016 to 56.2 per cent in 2017. The sector's growth rate also decreased from 5.7 per cent in 2016 to 4.3 per cent in 2017.

However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication-13.2 per cent and Health and Social Work 14.4 per cent.

The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 per cent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 per cent in 2016 to 16.7 per cent in 2017.

The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 per cent in 2017.

The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 per cent in 2016 to 8.4 per cent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 per cent in 2016 to 18.3 per cent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 per cent of GDP.

The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 per cent in 2016 to 4.9 per cent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 per cent, compared with 4.9 per cent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 per cent compared to 9.7 per cent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).

This is indeed a leadership by example. In fact, Nana Akufo-Addo is ‘the Moses’ of our time.

We can, therefore, draw an adverse inference that President Akufo-Addo is ‘Moses’ of our time.

Biblically, Moses was a visionary leader. We read in Exodus that he was a shepherd – he had a modest, a humble and patient upbringing.

Moses employed his humility, patience and tolerance when he had the opportunity to speak to God. He kept watching as thousands of sheep grazed the fields. Moses noticed that one sheep was missing and went off to look for it, finding it at a distance apart.

When the sheep had finished drinking, Moses lifted it onto his shoulders and carried it back to the flock. When Jehovah God saw this, he became aware that Moses was a man of reason, empathy and selfless devotion, a man truly worthy to lead His people; a man who would put his empathetic qualities at the disposal of the needs of his subordinates. After all, no one was keeping an eye on Moses; Moses could easily have thought to himself, “why be concerned with one sheep when there are thousands”?

Yes, we, (Ghanaians) took a conscious decision on 7th December 2016 by electing the septuagenarian Akufo-Addo to rescue us from the economic bondage, wilfully imposed on us by the middle-aged John Dramani Mahama.


k.badu2011@gmail.com