Ghana at 60: No excuses for poverty – Nana Akufo-Addo

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Monday the country had run out of excuses for failing to end poverty and corruption, 60 years after it became the first in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence from colonial rule.

Akufo-Addo said Ghana must not sacrifice its environment as it pursues development, in an anniversary speech delivered in the capital where Kwame Nkrumah became the country’s founding president.

Akufo-Addo beat his predecessor John Mahama in December and his advisors say he must implement his election promises quickly to retain the support of voters.

He has vowed to stabilize national finances, help create private sector jobs, cut taxes and promote development with a dam in every village and a factory in every district. Last month, he appointed a special prosecutor for corruption cases.

“We assumed rapid economic development would follow the political freedom that we had won. Sadly, the economic development that was meant to accompany our freedom has still not materialized,” Akufo-Addo said.
“The challenge before us is to build our economy and generate a prosperous and dignified life for the mass of our people. Hard work, enterprise, creativity, discipline and a consistent and effective fight against corruption in public life will bring the transformation that we seek,” he said.

Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957 was a milestone in the struggle against colonial rule under nations including France, Britain, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands, opening the floodgates to independence by most of the continent.

Nkrumah’s support for liberation across the continent and African unity inspired other leaders, some of whom thought his socialist vision of development could be a template for the rest of the continent.

Nkrumah was removed in a 1966 coup that was followed by several others.
The country turned the tide in 1992 – with regular elections. Ghana is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies – currently among the few countries around the world that have recorded significant reduction in poverty.

Source: Reuters, Agencies