Feature Article of Thursday, 11 October 2012

Columnist: Tamakloe, Kojo

African Economic emancipation , what models can it pursue ?

Kojo Tamakloe

In 1948 a man named Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared what was termed “ positive action” to obtain political and hopefully economic independence for the people of Ghana and Africa . As a member of the then UGCC , whose leadership had invited him to come back to the then Gold Coast as its Secretary general , this was not well received. This was not surprising as they had been in many ways brain washed about the superiority of the white masters . The impending collision course did not deter the great man
Nkrumah who was later to be labeled a communist had been a seminarian of the Roman Catholic Church and could have been a priest . He must have left with a sense of mis giving as the catholic Church is noted for its humanitarian works . Going to Achimota College to train as a teacher he must have been impressed by the organization. But what must have hit him most must be the words in the Achimotan Hymn Book . “ Grey City of the outlaws hill. Filled with the hope which makes sublime. Still in thy youth , thou dares’ to look . Far on to centuries of time “ . What a vision.? It must have aroused his vision that he had developed growing up in the village of Nkroful sitting at the beach and looking out at sea . “ What lies beyond the marriage of the sky and the sea?’
These must have been the factors that drove him in his search for knowledge seeking answers and if possible solutions to the many questions and conditions he found himself in That way he must have prepared himself to face the challenges of the unknown .That is what must have helped him develop the philosophy of Nkrumaism. He opened his eyes, his ears, his mind, his soul . It made him to stand apart .
On march 6th, 1957, he declared , “the Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless linked with the total liberation of Africa” As he had said before “ seek yea first the political kingdom” .That was to be the first step in the liberation of the African person . He was aware of the small size of Ghana and knew his fight would be better fought through a united front . A United Africa, so he sought to liberate other African countries quickly and then unite them . He had a plan as he saw what happened in Europe after the second world war. He would follow if possible a similar path with an African bent . That plan was the Marshall Plan
The “Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to prevent the spread of Soviet communism The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1947. The goals of the United States were to rebuild a war-devastated region, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous again
The initiative was named after Secretary of State George Marshall. The plan had bipartisan support in Washington, where the Republicans controlled Congress and the Democrats controlled the White House.
The reconstruction plan, developed at a meeting of the participating European states, was established on June 5, 1947. During the four years that the plan was operational, US $13 billion in economic and technical assistance was given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation.
The ERP addressed each of the obstacles to postwar recovery. The plan looked to the future, and did not focus on the destruction caused by the war. Much more important were efforts to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reduce artificial trade barriers, and instill a sense of hope and self-reliance.]
By 1952 as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was at least 35% higher than in 1938 Over the next two decades, Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity, but economists are not sure what proportion was due directly to the ERP, what proportion indirectly, and how much would have happened without it. The Marshall Plan was one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level—that is, it stimulated the total political reconstruction “
So what did it involve ? 1 Massive State intervention of the States , 2. It pooled together European States irrespective of foe and ally 3 It was futuristic 4 In it was a massive education and skill development plan . So came about in the UK, Universities termed, the” Red Bricks” 5 Self reliance . It was not left to “ private enterprise” for rebuilding . So socialism gave birth to capitalism , not the other way around
It is thus imperative we put into control in the election a government that understands the concepts of developmental needs and can work to move forward as opposed to those who believe in division and want to revert to tribal home lands . It is important we elect people who will see us as part of Africa and who see other Africans as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, or threats or “dough bags’. We need to elect people with positive attitudes instead of negativity We cannot make progress by putting people in control who rejoice over the death of their opponents . We cannot have progress by putting in control people who cannot work with people of different religions, languages, sexes , sexual orientation . We cannot make progress by having people in control . full of prejudice. We cannot have progress with people in control who preach genocide . We cannot have in control people who when they see corruption , close their eyes and ears in case they upset the apple cart . We rather need big minds, and people with courage . We need people who like Nkrumah have vision, can solve problems and single handedly chart a new course by mobilizing all instead of division. Gen Acheampong , 2 years after his coup was exporting maize to other African countries while under Busia we were net importers. Mobilization was the word. “ One country, one people, one great destiny” , his motto . All felt secure and proud of their country and so were ready to die a little . That is the kind of mental attitude of the leader we need , not the ones pitting one tribe against the others . “ yen Akanfo…..’ A team wins when they all feel they have a common goal , and so a common vision
I think we can see then the genesis of Nkrumah’s development planning and what he sought to achieve with the 400+ industries he put into play. One can then see why the “ better Ghana agenda” has been doing what it can to inject funds like the discredited STX project , a massive Real Estate investment that would have not only solved the Housing shortage but create employment and develop skills . The SADA project in agriculture aimed at food production and food security but at the same time alleviating the rural urban drift . Also it would make agriculture , the back bone of our economy attractive to the youth . It is futuristic. Perhaps readers will remember Aunty Joyce rice in the 60s to 70s . That long grained rice was from the Mahama farms from the North . It saved foreign reserves . At the moment we import 67% of the rice we eat in Ghana. So lucrative is the trade Nana joined as a foreign affairs Minister .
It is in the same vein the infra structure development and then the setting up of the Universities .lead to an infusion of capital that should result in the multiplier effect The challenge is for the private sector to see the opportunities and leverage the government effort and investment to take the country to the next level.
Hello , can the so called property owning party and its membership stop whining, moaning, complaining , insulting, discrediting and get on board . That way there will be enough for all
We need to integrate Africa and remove all these artificial boundaries . We need to take advantage of our common market and reap the fruits of the economies of scale . We need to go large scale instead of the small units we subsist on. There are people who will always doubt. They doubted the fact of Independence, it took place, they doubted our educational institutions could survive, they have, they doubt the ability of other sexes to run our affairs, one day through the progressive movement it will come, they doubt the ability of other tribes to run our affairs, they have and will run it successfully . They doubt their own abilities which is why they doubt African Unity

Forward ever, backward never. Freedom means responsibility for oneself . Malaysia has done it, Singapore has done it, S Korea has done it , Brazil has done it . Yes we CAN , a United strong and prosperous Africa will be a solution to the Unemployment even in the West

The writer Kojo Tamakloe is Pan Africanist who believes Nkrumaist philosophy of a United Africa is the solution to her problems