When he recently spoke to journalists on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony organised by the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation in Accra, the former president said: “We are in a phase of development, we don’t get up and say: ‘No aid’. They’ve exploited us enough, so, we take to empower ourselves, to build ourselves through education, through attracting investments, creating employment so that it gets to a point where when they come, they will meet their equals.
“So, we have to be careful when we say: ‘Now we’re well, we won’t go for aid.’ We may do it but only as a stage to empower us to build our negotiating skills up so we get a fair share around the negotiating table with anybody, whether, from east or west, none of them come because they love us, they come for what they can get and we must also learn what we want from them and learn to negotiate and take it.”
Those comments were interpreted by some publications as an attack on the Akufo-Addo government’s Ghana Beyond Aid vision through which the government has said it intends to achieve economic growth by effectively trading with bigger economies in the world.
In June this year, Nana Akufo-Addo inaugurated a 13-member committee to develop a Charter for the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision of his administration.
The Committee was given a September 2018 deadline to present to parliament, a roadmap for the achievement of the vision that would seek to harness and prudently manage the country’s vast natural resources to finance Ghana’s development agenda without recourse to foreign assistance.
Responding to the “misconstrued” and “ill-intended” publications, Mr Kufuor clarified in a statement issued by his office that he “has the full confidence that Ghana, under the able leadership of the current president, will ultimately get there” by delivering on his Ghana Beyond Aid vision.
The full statement form Mr Kufuor’s office is captured below:
Re: President Kufuor’s Alleged Comments on ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’
The Office of former President John Kufuor has come across several publications in the Ghanaian media alluding to the former president allegedly having cast aspersions on the current Ghanaian government’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda – the driving vision of its development agenda.
This office wants to make it clear that but for the ill-intention that appears to characterise these publications, they would not misconstrue his statement on ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ as a visionary agenda made with a conviction that, with the right policies and programmes, Ghana would see itself beyond aid in the foreseeable future.
His statement was in reaction to a media person’s doubts about the feasibility of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid.’
President Kufuor reacted that it was feasible and that the president can only be interpreted as having made a visionary call to pursue such pragmatic policies as would enable Ghana overcome aid-dependency as quickly as possible.
Such policies would include loans, aid, or foreign investments to undertake the requisite investments including industrialization and export development to accelerate our wealth creation at all levels. What is needed to be done, he said, is to negotiate well in win-win frameworks with a grasp of the geopolitics around us.
Indeed, we must be fair to ourselves as Ghanaians that ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ is the grand and achievable vision which we should seek to realise for the country. It doesn’t preclude us from using aid (loans included) to get there. Given the spread of the socio-economic and foreign policies which the government is currently pursuing, the call can be said to be already work in progress.
The former president wants all well-meaning and discerning people to cast their minds back to what the Marshal Plan of the United States did for West Germany after World War II. Germans utilised this aid from the US government under President Harry Truman to build their nation from the ashes of the war to create an economy which is the third largest in the world today. Of course, the German economy has, since the success of the Marshal Plan, graduated beyond aid a long time ago.
Such is what former President John Kufuor understands President Akufo-Addo wants the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision to achieve for our nation. And he has the full confidence that Ghana, under the able leadership of the current president, will ultimately get there.
Dr. Kwabena Osei-Adubofour
Senior Aide and Spokesman for President John Kufuor
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