Yesterday, Ghana chalked up 61 years of nationhood with the theme ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ and was graced by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria as the Special Guest of Honour. As expected, the occasion was marked with a march-past of schoolchildren, the security services and other notable interest groups.
In the life of a state 60 years is still relatively young, and to expect the country to achieve what more developed nations took hundreds of years (and worldwide plunder) to attain is wishful thinking at best.
However, the population should expect to see much more than has been achieved over the years because of the benefits of modernity, technology transfer and good governance practices that have stood the test of time.
Therefore, Ghanaians expect many more benefits from being an independent state. We have no industries to show in order to propel the production of finished goods and products; our economy is still very much in a primary state, whereby we export raw agricultural produce like cocoa; and the price of our commodities are determined by others – the list of shortcomings is endless.
Since we have purposed that we are going to move beyond aid to develop the nation, we need to make some hard decisions and policies in order to put the country on a platform that will see economic take-off.
Now that political stability is assured, and the prospect of military take-overs has been consigned to history, we can pursue a path that will ensure the nation moves from strength to strength. After so many political truncations over the past 60 years, which invariably affected our economic fortunes, we are now aggressively pursuing a One District, One Factory industrialisation policy.
Though it appears like a long-term project, the zeal and commitment of the present administration in pursuing a paradigm of development is worthy of note, since we cannot perpetually be at the mercy of donors.
It is said a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step; one could say we are on the right path, provided we sustain the momentum and do not get distracted. Being politically independent and economically dependent is a contradiction that needs to be rectified.
If Ghana can put a product on the global marketplace that is recognised as typically a product of Ghana, then we just might be getting somewhere. Apart from that, we are just marking time!