He stated that “the demands of global stability and equity require the urgent, rapid development of the African continent. There are many constraints to this possibility – domestic and external – which we need to deal with, including the vast amounts of illicit flow of capital out of the continent.”
He also prescribed some solutions to ending Africa’s overdependence on foreign aid.
Making a case at the G20 Africa Partnership Summit, which was opened yesterday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, under the theme, ‘Investing in a common future,’ President Akufo-Addo said, “Of the three themes for Germany’s presidency of the G-20, i.e., Building Resilience, Improving Sustainability and Assuming Responsibility, I believe one, above all, resonates most strongly with Africa’s current status.”
According to him, “If we, Africans, are to transform our stagnant, jobless economies, built on the export of raw materials and unrefined goods, to value-added economies that provide jobs, to build strong middle-class societies and lift the mass of our people out of dire poverty, then we must take our destinies into our own hands and assume responsibility for this.
“Assuming responsibility means that we must, firstly, facilitate the building of a new, sustainable African civilization, where there is accountable governance, where there is respect for the rule of law, individual liberties and human rights, where the principles of democratic accountability are guaranteed, and where we mobilise the immeasurable, vast resources of Africa to resolve Africa’s problems of poverty and development, and free ourselves from a mindset of aid, dependency, charity and handouts.”
Apart from that, he emphasized, “We must initiate and implement policies that will encourage and empower the private sector to grow our respective economies within frameworks of macroeconomic stability.”
His justification was, “When the private sector flourishes and when our enterprises become competitive, not just on the continent, but also in the global marketplace, then can we create the thousands and thousands of jobs our teeming masses of unemployed youth crave for.”
He averred, “We can no longer remain producers and exporters of raw materials. We must add value to our commodities and create wealth for our peoples. Our dependence on raw materials has, in fact, increased in the past century; it is this dependence that feeds our dependence on foreign aid.”
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, told his colleague African leaders who had gathered at the summit that “We cannot be doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. We have the resources and means, material and human, with our women and youth in the forefront, to transform the structures of our economies and be part of the international division of labour at the high end of the value chain.”
The Ghanaian leader insisted, “This process of economic and industrial transformation has to go along with ensuring that the most basic elements of social justice are met – making quality basic education and healthcare accessible to all, to promote a culture of incentives and opportunities.”
He was confident that the premise on which the conference was held would make room for a new era of cooperation between the respective various economies, and inspire investing in a common future.
Nana Akufo-Addo said, “The reforms being that Ghana is currently undertaking the management of our economy and in our governance structure, and these should entitle Ghana to be a suitable candidate for inclusion in the investment compacts that are to be the substantive outcomes of this conference.
“This will enable us to maximise our possibilities of economic growth to deal with the huge problem of unemployment, the major social issue of our times in Africa,” insisting that “Young people, busy with their lives and earning a living, would hardly be tools for wrecking havoc on society.”
Considering the fact that “the youth are willing to risk everything to earn a decent living,” President Akufo-Addo indicated, “We have seen and continue to see in recent times the high numbers of young people taking harrowing risks around the Mediterranean, trying to reach a better life.”
For him, “What this means is that, if we provide them the right environment in Africa, which enables them to enhance their skills, receive appropriate vocational training and have access to digital technology, they will make our continent great.
“If these youth are allowed to realise their full potential, Africa could see huge economic gains in the shortest possible time.”
He therefore charged his colleague presidents, “Let this serve as the impetus for re-shaping our countries and charting a new path of growth and development in freedom, which will lift the long suffering African masses out of poverty into the realms of prosperity and dignity. We can make life meaningful and worth living for our own people, like others have done.”