Yet, available data shows that many of our neighbours in West Africa and further afield, posted much better economic performances than we did during and after the pandemic.
The World Bank through its Ghana Country Director has also stated unequivocally that Ghana’s economy was in distress before the pandemic occurred.
The purpose of recounting these failures, driven my mismanagement and corruption, in Ghana is to demonstrate how Africa depletes scarce resources generated from both the continent and development partners.
The lectioneering period will offer a scope for deeper discussions about Ghana’s future and what needs to be done to get us out of the current economic quagmire and to avoid a recurrence.
We in the opposition in Ghana are very clear on our vision for the country and how to build the Ghana that we all want.
The first order of business for a new NDC administration is to restore macro-economic stability and ensure fiscal prudence while generating employment for many of our young people whoare unsure of what the future holds.
Though the current economic distress is largely self-inflicted, it is very clear that unless we act to insulate ourselves from these factors, whatever gains that are made going forward will unravel because of structural weaknesses.
The National Democratic Congress therefore commits itself to immediate structural reforms based on a national dialogue and forging a broad national consensus that will lead to the diversification of our economy and its production base; and the attraction of investment into industry, farming, agribusiness, the digital sector, and tourism.
We are determined to process our natural resources like cocoa, gold, bauxite, oil, copper while we build more robust capacity to respond to global energy shocks.
I invite you to look favourably at Ghana again because there is hope ahead.
Therefore, we must stand in support ofone another.As we look into the near future with optimism, there are instant solutions that must be found to the crippling economic crisis, which has left a dark pall hanging over Ghana now.
At a continental level, I want to reiterate my international advocacy for a reinstitution and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to afford our countries some limited fiscal respite!
With the continent boasting the world’s largest free trade area along with an over 1-billion-person market, Africa is prime, as reported by the World Bank, to carve out a new developmental pathway.
Under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, 55 countries with a combined GDP of over US$3.4 trillion will work together to present major opportunities for shared growth and prosperity for Africa and the rest of the world.
I expect AfCFTA not to de-emphasize the prospects of SMEs as we promote new markets and encourage foreign investments.
I also urge AfCFTA to secure intellectual property rights of Africans as we partner already mature businesses.
AFCTA will also need the support of the African Union for greater integration to allow for greater labour mobility across Africa to support countries in need of critical human resource.
And AFCTA must not allow businesses with political connections to be prioritized over real captains or champions of industry.
Africa, including my country Ghana, has strategic priorities and is ready and willing to play its role in the global community.
To conclude, it is also of critical importance that regional bodies like the ECOWAS, SADC, EAC, CEMAC, the Arab Maghreb Union and African Union must be empowered to have a firmer grip on their member nations to address regional/ continental/ global challenges.
Other international bodies like the European Union and the TANA High-Level Forum for Security inAfrica, which I chair, must provide the needed support, including oversight and scrutiny of activities likely to lead to serious consequences.
I stress on this point of oversight because we observe that the laxity in supervision and oversight has given free reins to some leaders on the continent to wreak constitutional tyranny on their people with some changing their country’s constitution so they could run for extended terms.
No single country in Africa can on its own attain the highest level of development when it is surrounded by neighbouring countries engaging in full scale-conflict.