President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that Ghana no longer has an excuse to remain an underdeveloped country after 60 years of independence from colonial rule.
In a nine-page independence anniversary speech delivered in Accra on Monday, he pointed out that after successfully fighting off colonial rule in order to take charge of its own destiny, “we have run out of excuses” for failing to provide a “dignified life for the mass of our people”.
“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 materialised,” Akufo-Addo said.
Ghana’s 5th President, speaking at the 60th anniversary parade, stressed that “it is time to get our country to where it should be.”
“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.
According to ‘The Ghana Poverty and Inequality Report –2016’ authored by UNICEF, rural poverty is now almost 4 times as high as urban poverty compared to twice as high in the 1990s. It notes that the wealthiest 10% consume around one third of all national consumption, whereas the poorest 10% consume just 1.72% concluding that income inequalities are widening.
Informed by such conditions, the 73-year old president touched on the significance of the theme of the Diamond Jubilee celebration, ‘mobilizing for Ghana’s future’.
“Let us mobilize for the happy and prosperous Ghana of tomorrow, in which all of us, including our youth, our women and the vulnerable in our society, will have equal opportunities to realise their potential, and build lives of dignity”.
Akufo-Addo beat his predecessor John Mahama in December and his advisers say he must implement his election promises quickly to retain the support of voters who have ejected the government of the day three times since 2000.
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.
The ceremony marking Ghana’s 60th Independence Day at the Independence Square in Accra was attended by a host of foreign dignitaries, including Presidents Robert Mugabe and Faure Gnassingbe of Zimbabwe and Togo respectively. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, among other, international VIPs also showed up to celebrate the first sub-Saharan country to attain independence from European colonial rule.