One may say, Nkrumah stretched it a bit when he said, “Ghana, our beloved country, is free forever”. Sure, at that time, Ghana could be described as free, but forever? Really? Look at us.
We shamelessly beg these people we drove out of our countries, for money. I imagine how smug they must feel, when the same people who drove them out and openly declared that they could do it without them, now come crawling on both knees, begging for assistance.
It is no surprise that they struggle to find any respect for us, when our elite and the leaders of our lands submit to their dictates, in exchange for loans and aid. Is the black man really capable of handling his own affairs?
Many of our own people are quick to blame our leadership. They say the solution is a change of leadership from one person to another. But Africa still struggles with chronic poverty and under-development since the advent of political independence more than fifty years ago.
The fact that we keep returning to the Bretton woods institutions for assistance corroborates the assertion that leaders are to blame. Instead of seeing through the implementation of holistic policies to solve problems once and for all, African leaders tend to do what is politically expedient, tinker on issues and tackle serious problems with make shift solutions. The end result is that the problems continue to recur and new cosmetic arrangements made to please the electorate. The continuous cycle keeps the African nation suckling on the breast of donors.
The problem is not that African nations do not know what the causes of their problems are. We know what the problems are, what the causes are and how exactly they can be solved. The problem is the will to religiously carry out policies that would lead to true development. Why would a politician go through the pain of doing what he knows is best for the country when he can do just enough to please the electorate to stay in power for one more term?
Every form of economic recovery program Ghana has embarked on with the help of the IMF and World Bank had produced some results in the form of getting the economy back on its feet but has always led to another downturn in the long run. This proves that leaders do not look beyond their terms of office and hence are not committed to seeing out long term policies. From the structural adjustment programs to the HIPC of the early 2000s and the recent IMF bailout package, a clear pattern of recession and recovery can be noticed. Unfortunately this would continue to happen unless a holistic all inclusive long term development plan is adopted and carried out by successive leaders regardless of their party affiliation.
There are lots of complains from different quarters about the status quo in Africa. A huge chunk of this blame is laid on the doorstep of leaders. These leaders are probably guilty but the focus should be on changing the system that allow for such insipid leadership to thrive. The way forward is to have a binding national development plan that would not be aborted under any circumstances whatsoever. This plan would guide all leaders and the nation as a whole to prosperity. When this is done, then African States can have some hope of self-reliance and true independence.
Written by: Jeremiah Acquah and Alvin Ofori