President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is confident that Africans shall work to take Africa to where it deserves to be, adding “we need to, and we shall move Africa Beyond Aid.”
At an event organised by the Royal Africa Society, Facebook and the Ghana 60 years on Committee, on the theme “Africa Beyond Aid”, on Tuesday, 21st November, 2017, President Akufo-Addo noted that Africa no longer wants to be the default place to go to find the footage to illustrate famine stories.
“We no longer want to offer the justification for those who want to be rude and abusive about Africa and her peoples. It is time to build our economies that are not dependent on charity and handouts… We have learnt from long and bitter experience that, no matter how generous the charity, we would, and, indeed, we have remained poor,” he said.
Describing Africa as a rich continent, and, currently, with the world’s second fastest economic growth rates, the world’s fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment, and in possession of nearly 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources, the President bemoaned the fact that the masses of the African peoples remain poor.
With Ghana endowed with natural resources, the President stressed that “we can, and we should be able to build a Ghana which looks to the use of her own resources and their proper management as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country.”
Making reference to the cocoa industry, he noted that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, who produce 65% of the world’s output of cocoa make less than $6 billion from a cocoa industry that is a $100 billion industry.
“If we simply ground and sold the cocoa in paste form, instead of selling the cocoa beans, we double our earnings. In much the same way as we would double our earnings from gold, if we sold it refined, than in its raw state. We are determined to process these products,” he said.
The President stated that it is time that African countries were responsible for processing their own resources, adding that it is time that “we, in Africa, manage our resources well, to generate wealth for our populations.”
During the past 20 years, President Akufo-Addo stated that the countries that have made rapid economic strides have been the ones that have encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneur development, and the ones that have promoted and developed a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, and where institutions of state see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of the governments of the day.
“We have a responsibility to make our countries attractive to our young generation. They should feel they have a worthwhile future, if they stay and build their nations. We should be, and are shamed by the desperation that drives a young person to attempt to cross the Sahara on foot, and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats, in the hope of finding a better future in Europe,” he added.
The President continued, “We are not disclaiming aid, but we do want to discard a mind-set of dependency and living on handouts; it is unhealthy both for the giver and for the receiver.”
Illicit Flow of Funds from Africa
Touching on the report of the panel, chaired by the highly respected former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the illicit flow of funds (IFFs) from Africa, President Akufo-Addo noted that Africa is losing, annually, more than $50 billion through illicit financial outflows.
The report, according to the President, revealed that between 2000 and 2008, some $252 billion, representing 56.2% of the illicit flow of funds from the continent, was from the extractive industries, including mining.
He added that recent reported events between the government of Tanzania and the mining companies, that operate there, ought to give all of Africans cause for pause.
“No one is going to sort out these matters for Africa, except Africans themselves. We need to have our own bright and sharp lawyers to keep us abreast with the sharp and bright lawyers that our trade partners have. We need to have our own bright and sharp technologists to keep us abreast with our competitors,” he said.
With the vast majority of the population being young, the President said it is in the interest of the whole world that Africa works.
“Even if the developed world had the means today, and were, indeed, minded to do so, it could not provide the aid that would keep Africa a sustainable part of the world. We do not want to remain the beggars of the world, we do not want to be dependent on charity,” he said.
New Paradigm of leadership
To this end, President Akufo-Addo urged African leaders to do everything whatsoever they can to strengthen the African Union (AU).
“With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years’ time, an African Common Market presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our continent with hard work, enterprise, innovation and creativity. It is evident that the time for African integration should be now. Hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area,” he added.
It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo advocated for a new paradigm of leadership on the continent.
The new African leaders, he said, must be committed to governing their peoples according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability; and must be determined to free their peoples from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and hand-outs, and must be bent on mobilising Africa’s own immeasurable resources to resolve Africa’s problems
“This new generation of African leaders should help bring dignity and prosperity to our continent and its longsuffering peoples,” the President said.