Attempted Prophecies: Human sacrifice


Statehood has been largely unintentional. The act of a group of people coming together to forge into the oneness of nationhood, has in retrospect, not been as intentional as our present form may seem to suggest. This has been the case, worldwide. And this is an assertion we will dissect further in subsequent articles. But let me quickly say that it is admittedly late in our national and global lives for nations now to ponder the very essence of their existence. It’s too late (or early?) for a nation to subject itself to a mid-life crisis.

But it is never too late for some introspection. It is never too late to ask questions such as, ‘Have I been doing this all wrong all along?’ It is not too late for a nation to be that person and ask itself this question. And of course, the answer derived—when so done honestly—will not necessarily be absolute. An absolute ‘yes’ or ‘no’ cannot in all honesty be expected. There is a problem, however, when the answer arrived at, is of a nature—as nuanced as it will undoubtedly be—more tipped towards the ‘yes, you’ve been doing it all wrong’ than it does the ‘no’.

One crucial thing that accounts for the ‘mostly yes, you’ve been doing it all wrong’ conclusion for a nation is the human sacrifice that ensues in that nation. Let me explain…

It is With a Heavy Heart…

After nations are forged, their everyday existence tell a story; their everyday choices form a narrative—one that, in this imperfect world, is quickly morphed into a stereotype. A stereotype which they are so easily perpetually tainted with. You are what you do, they say. So, ultimately, ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’ become the broad categories under which nations find themselves. And the marks, the perceptions attached to these broad categorisations, nations walk about bearing those marks. It is cruel, cruel I tell you, this world of this stringent dichotomy—the successful and the unsuccessful.

It’s like being born into a family—a good or a bad family. One unlucky enough to be born into the latter, finds themselves pigeonholed into some form of inherent obscurity—and in the case of nations, a global obscurity. For individuals born into a bad or poor family, their essence and potentials risk, altogether, an un-unearthing. It is same for those born into bad or poor nations. Their existence, their essence, their potentials almost always become contained in the strict confinement of their meek home nations. They find themselves, forced into spectatorship on the global stage, watching on as children of the ‘successful’ families drive the cause of time and consequently of history. An unsuccessful nation does not only lose in the mundane—i.e., access to the necessities of life; it loses too in the glorious—the attainment of the highest level of self-actualisation a person or nation can achieve, being driven by inspirational quotes like Matthew 5:14 to 16.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

We have discussed this a number of times before—elsewhere. So today we will take a second ponderous look—briefly—on this matter. The matter of the human resource capital.

Last two weeks Thursday, in the article ‘To Be Small in an Inevitable World (Nations Personified)’, we gossiped about a bunch of face-less people whose names we still don’t know. But this we know: there are nations that fit, perfectly, these lives we discussed. Before we proceed, let me quickly apologise for the Thursday publications we’ve been having going on (intermittently) of late, and the occasional absences that have ensued recently. Our slot remains unchanged; it is still each and every Wednesday. You know sometimes life gets in the way, and we fail to do the needful. So again, I apologise.

I do hope we all were able to make a mental placement of our nation(s) in the personification approach we adopted in the ‘To be Small in an Inevitable World’ article. You know what, I would very much love to hear from you, your take on it: which on of those persons is our country, Ghana?

A Work of Art

The act of living we all humankind have been engaged in, has since time immemorial, consisted of the two component resources: the natural resources and the human resources. Both endowed us by God (a higher power, nature, or however the so-called ‘fancy’ people of our time choose to call the orchestrator of the universe). At times, a particular group (i.e., nation) finds itself more endowed in natural resources than the other. At other times, quantitatively (not qualitatively!), a certain group may find itself more endowed than the other with regard to the human resource capital it has available within its confines of statehood.

In our history as humankinds, we have found nations—finding themselves somewhat disadvantaged in natural resources—traverse other borders and commit acts of atrocities and thefts over other nations, just so they may get their hands on these natural resources. The genre of this narrative right here is what they call a ‘gangster flick’

At other times, we have seen nations, being also disadvantaged in the natural resources, make brilliant (brilliant!) use of their human resource capital. We have witnessed these nations squeeze out successfully, proverbial lemonade out of dry lemons, and made enormous successes of themselves out of the sheer will, power, and ingenuity of their human resource capital and the governance systems that allow such ingenuity to flourish. Ladies and gentlemen, we have here, a genre called ‘epic poetry’.

At points in our human history, we have seen some nations blessed with abundance, but these nations, being spoilt by God, being spoilt by nature, having in abundance, both in their lands and their hands—in natural resources and human resources—these nations have turned out the spoilt child, the over pampered child, and have watched on as thefts have been committed upon themselves; they have sat on their vast potential, and consequently have squandered (or are still squandering) away these potentials. The genre of this national narrative is what we aptly call ‘tragedy’. And I have a full story on this point—a tragedy, already written and shared elsewhere, but not here yet. So here we go…an excerpt from the piece entitled ‘A Lack of Self-Respect (4)’. And by excerpt, I mean the whole thing. I hate to be a broken record; but in times like these it is perhaps best we just copy and paste.


Before I proceed, I need to reiterate these facts as true:

  1. Ghana is a developing country
  2. ‘…ing’ denotes an ongoing process
  3. Thus, Ghana is on a journey not at finality

Even though going on, I may seem to have forgotten these facts, kindly know that I have them all at the back of my mind…or in this case ‘at the back of my words.’

The problem is not with the journey, but with certain attitudes we have been demonstrating—one that casts a shadow over the journey. It creates the impression that development is not something we would be methodically arriving at, but something that we, at our very best, might just stumble upon—again, not as a result of method, but of time. That with the prolongment of time, every nation—even the poorest now—may just find itself finally arriving at development. That no matter how slow they are running, they are eventually going to arrive at the finish line—last maybe, yet still arrive. This is not a narrative that any nation should wish upon itself.

Like in every journey there are hurdles. Ghana and Africa’s hurdles are not found in an inherent incapacity but in our inability to effectively mine our resources—not just the natural, but significantly, our human resources.

Get off your high horse! Or in this case, your high camel

‘Ghana is blessed with natural resources.’ This is something we catch ourselves saying a lot. ‘We have cocoa, gold, diamond, bauxite, oil…’ You know how this inexhaustible list goes. We name-drop our natural resources a whole lot! So much so that the Ghanaian child, even if denied every semblance of pride—pride in self, nation, and continent—is never denied this pride: the pride of listing all the natural resources his/her country is blessed with.

‘Ghana is the best—natural resource-wise’ has been hammered on us for so long that the realisation that developed nations have their own fair share of such and such resources may just be a tad too hard to swallow. Because after all, if they weren’t resource-barren why in heaven’s name did they traverse the bloody seas to our coasts… Touché, Africa. Touché. This pedestal we place ourselves on when it comes to natural resource endowment, you see, has historic justification. But it’s about time we do some rethinking.

In a ranking of the world’s top ten natural resource-rich countries (accounting for the total reserves and market value of the resources), Ghana is nowhere to be found. I hate to be the one bursting bubbles, so I am not going to mention this: neither are the entire fifty-four states comprising the African continent—barring one. Interestingly one finds, occurring a lot, a large number of developed countries. We could choose to dismiss such lists as ‘developed-world-centric’, but there is something particularly telling about them.


Mention natural gas, and you hear the name: Russia. The country, together with Iran, contributes up to 40percent of the world’s natural gas. Russia is so indomitable in the oil and gas global economy that, we all people of this post-Covid era, we all people of this Russian/Ukrainian War era, are being asked by politicians and some experts, to point to this country as cause for our economic woes. The country has the largest natural gas reserves in the world; it’s the second top producer of the resource globally; and remains the largest exporter of gas in the world. It is the world’s third largest producer of oil, and the largest exporter of oil to the global market. The country has since the 1900s, mined and enjoyed the vast benefits and wealth this resource affords.

Russia remains part of the top ten producers of timber in the world. When it comes to coal, you again find Russia, having a spot in the top ten producers list. In gold you find the country, beating out Australia to place second as the largest producer and exporter of the commodity. In fact, in the mining industry, Russia features prominently with a vast array of commodities ranging from copper, aluminium, magnesium, etc. The country, greatest in land mass globally, is placed on some lists as the world’s top natural resource rich nation, in other lists you find it featuring in the top five.


The US has coal in abundance—over 30percent of the world’s coal. It is the world’s third largest producer of the commodity. The country has timber also going for it—the US is the world’s largest producer of timber. The nation is neither short on natural gas, oil, gold, nor copper. America remains the largest producer of natural gas in the world—producing more gas per year than Russia. In the ranking of countries with the largest natural gas reserves, USA places fifth. It is estimated that the country has reserves to last it another six decades (at least), and this is the largest consumer of natural gas in the world we are talking about here. The country is also the top producing oil country in the world; and the third largest exporter. As if that’s not enough, the country has also struck gold with gold—being the 4th largest producer of gold in the world.


You find in the coal list, dominating, yet another developed country, Australia, where coal is mined nationwide. Australia is at the very top too when it comes to gold. The country supplies over 17percent of the world’s gold. Australia has mined and traded globally in this commodity since the 1800s, and is presently the third largest producer of the resource worldwide. It also supplies almost 50percent of the world’s uranium, and is the third exporter of the resource. In other metals such as copper, iron, aluminium, opal, rare earth metals, etc; in timber, et al, you find featuring prominently, Australia.

In rankings of the world’s resource rich nations, the developed world features prominently. In top ten resource rich nations lists, one is likely to find four or five developed countries representing—as opposed to Africa’s one. One—just one. Dr. Congo. Not Ghana.

Eye of a Needle

It is like when we Christians, in our moment of need, poverty, console ourselves with Matthew 19:24 “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven;” or when Muslims, with the Quran, console themselves with “…the gates of heaven shall not open to them, nor shall they enter paradise until the camel passes through the eye of the needle…” only to find that said rich man/woman is in fact a better believer hence adjudged by Heaven as more deserving of a ‘passing through’ than we are. Rude, rude awakening that is.

This all seem contrary to popular beliefs, or the beliefs inferred from our experiences—the historical slave trade, colonialism, the ongoing neo-colonialism of the African continent—that the developed worlds are barren grounds, incessantly prancing about, poaching from here and there, especially from here—the African continent; poaching our natural resources, leaving us poor, while they enrich their coffers—solely with our resources; none, theirs.

This is true, the African continent has been—historically and presently—constantly pillaged by the developed world. However, this truth is only so in part: Africa is not the only resource-rich land—it is not the most resource-rich land. We are blessed, abundantly blessed, but not exclusively so. What we have going for us, really is a vast land of untapped potential. ‘Untapped’ because we relegate our human resource capital to the backseat in this developing journey of ours.

Praises and Lacerations

Perhaps, the real narrative ensuing is this: the developed world is a greedy bunch, or maybe an astute bunch. They are a people taking advantage of another people (Africans). They are a people who have mastered the art of ‘utilisation’—of effectively utilising their very own human resources to effectively and efficiently transform their natural resources into globally competitive commodities. They are a people who have mastered the craft of pulling the rug from under yet another people’s feet—Africans. Centuries prior, they had done so by stealing from us in broad daylight, now they do so at dusk. They are a people who have, by so doing successfully secured for themselves places of affluence and influence on the international plane. We on the African continent, we Ghanaians, on the other hand, are still busily singing about the richness of our lands, not of the potentials of our people.

The American child sitting in that classroom learning is socialised to believe him/herself to be the key tools (resources) and drivers of their nation and the world’s advancement. The Ghanaian/African child is taught to sing praises to their rich lands, not their own rich hands. The former will change the world; the latter will just be an enabling ground for the former.

There is a Ghanaian and African problem needing remedy. One that does not necessarily change with the changing of votes and of governments—one that needs tackling from the very root.

Be careful all you kids walking around thinking your parents are wealthy; you kids wasting away, not fighting for a future of your own, awaiting your parent’s demise so you might inherit enormous wealth, you will soon find that mama and dada are not as rich as you thought them to be. We children of this supposedly unbeatably rich land called Ghana, we will soon find that our country’s (and continent’s) natural resource capital means nothing should her human resource capital remain inadequately mined. We hope and pray this realisation does not come too late.

[I hate to sound like a broken record. But sometimes the best one can do when reiteration is imperative, is to…just copy and paste—for the most part, that is.]


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