Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has extolled Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his contribution to the country’s economic development.
He mentioned specifically the Asantehene’s input in Ghana’s exit from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, at a time the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were hesitant to allow said exit.
The former resident made this remark when he received the Otumfuo commemorative gold coin at his residence in Accra on Monday, January 7, 2022.
Explaining how Otumfuo facilitated Ghana’s exit from the HIPC initiative, Mr. Kufuor mentioned that his administration did well to attain completion point of the programme; but just before the country could exit the programme, the IMF board – which was meeting in Washington, USA – decided that government had not observed the conditionality of not increasing wages and salaries, so they were going to take the country out of the programme… which could have come with some grave consequences.
Coincidently, he said, the Asantehene was in Washington on the invitation of the then President of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn.
“So I sent a message through the Juabenhene [Nana Otuo Siriboe II] – now Chairman of the Council of State – who was travelling to the USA to join the Asantehene on the trip, to get the Otumfuo informed of the development.
“Nana Juabenhene stepped out of my office and phoned Otumfuo – who immediately called me and we had a conversation. I pleaded with him to get Mr. Wolfensohn to talk to the IMF on the assurance that we would correct the anomaly, and Otumfuo did it; saving the country from being taken out of the programme,” President Kufuor stated.
President Kufuor, who endorsed the commemorative gold coin project, said it is appropriate and a great moment for the Asantehene to be honoured.
The former president remarked that when the Dagbon disturbances broke out in 2002, he as president at the time set up the Wuaku Commission to go into the criminal aspect of the unfortunate incident.
“But I realised that the problem had deep-seated traditional roots, and therefore I decided that apart from the criminal aspect the traditional aspect should also be tackled using our traditional leaders,” he said.
Consequently, President Kufuor said he made an appeal to three traditional rulers of high repute – Asantehene, Nayiri and Yagbonwura – to help; which they readily accepted to do, leading to a culmination of the peace process during the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo..
Former President Kufuor praised the E ON 3 Group and its partners for coming out with the gold coin project.
“I believe it is correct and timely, and I’m happy it was done by a good collection of private institutions. The good thing is that the Bank of Ghana has put its seal on it. This gold coin, 99.99 percent, is something I haven’t heard the like of anywhere. So, this is pure gold and it shows the effort and perseverance Otumfuo and his fellow ancient monarchs, fathers of the nation made in restoring peace to Dagbon, which is a very important part of the country.”
Briefing the former president, General Manager of the E ON 3 Group, Mr. Jesse Agyepong, said it is significant that the Dagbon peace process started during his [President Kufuor’s] time, travelling through his predecessors and ending with President Akufo-Addo.
He further told Mr. Kufuor that the gold coin is a life-long project which is intended to be part of Ghana’s culture and heritage.
He announced that after the road map for presenting the gold coin to selected leaders, “we will go to the public in April, 2022”.
The delegation from the E ON 3 Group and its partners that were at the residence of President Kufuor was led by the Executive Chairman of E ON 3 Group, Mr. Richard Adjei Mensah Ofori Atta. The other members were Mr. Paul Asimenu, Legal Advisor of Gold Coast Refinery; Mrs. Yvonne Antonio, Head of Retail Banking for Access Bank; Festus Ofosu-Yeboah, Business Head-Adjiringanor Branch for Access Bank; and Mr. Seth Sorgah, Head of Sales and Distribution-Coronation Insurance.