President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Ghanaians not to allow those who seek to divide them along the lines of ethnicity or religion to ever succeed in their enterprise.
President Akufo-Addo said the country cannot afford to be divided alongside ethnicity or religious beliefs as the consequences would be dire for “our nation building and cohesion.”
Sixty-six years after independence, the President said Ghanaians have worked hard to live up to that responsibility of nation-building and cohesion, even though had not fully realised the potential that the country’s forebears hoped for.
Addressing Ghanaians at this year’s Independence Day Anniversary Celebrations at Adaklu in the Volta on the Theme: “Our Unity, Our Strength, Our Purpose,” on Monday, President Akufo-Addo said the greatest achievement of the nation since independence has been that “we have welded different ethnic groups into a nation.”
“Our forebears were united and strengthened in releasing one common aspiration—the attainment of an independent state, Ghana” he stated.
It did not matter where they came from, the tribe they belonged to or their religious persuasion, he stated, adding: “but they recognised that colonialism did not inure to their collective benefit and was determined to end it, which they did.”
Although the Gold Coast was a precursor to independent Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said it was a collection of separate and desperate groups—the Ashanti and Northern Territories and British Togoland—that came together to fight for the independent nation, Ghana.
On the current economic difficulties, the President said he was aware of the hardships confronting Ghanaians and assured that the government was working hard to resolve them.
Despite acknowledging the economic challenges facing the people, President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians should also appreciate the gains and count their blessings so far, “as collectively, we have prudently managed the difficult situation.”
As seen in other countries, he said here in Ghana, “we have not had any fuel queues, we have not suffered shortages of food and essential items, or the catastrophe of dumper.”
Undoubtedly, he said global developments have harmed the country’s economic performance.
Highs in global inflation and food prices, rising interest rates due to tightening of monetary policy of central banks across many advanced countries to tame inflation, energy crisis with high crude oil prices…disruptions in the supply chain have been witnessed across the globe.
These phenomena, President Akufo-Addo maintained, had manifested in the country’s currency depreciation, the decline in gross international reserves, high inflation, the elevation of debt burdens, significant fiscal stress, constrained domestic and external financing, and reduced growth.
“It is these that have brought hardship upon our people,” he stated.
Before COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, specifically in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Ghana was among the fastest-growing economy not only in Africa but the world—recording an annual GDP growth rate of 7 per cent.
The country was described as the best place to do business in West Africa in 2021 and as the most attractive destination for investment in West Africa.
But due to the impact of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, the Budget drawn for the 2022 fiscal year, was thrown out of gear, disrupting the balance of payments and debt sustainability and further exposing the structural weaknesses in the Ghanaian economy.
Ghana has gone to the IMF to repair in the short term, its public finances and restore the balance of payments.
Nevertheless, in the next 22 months of his mandate, President Akufo-Addo has assured that the government would focus on restoring the economy which before COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war witnessed rapid growth.
“It is a solemn pledge I am making to you, my fellow Ghanaians he stated, adding: “which I am determined to fulfil.”
He urged Ghanaians to partner with the government to work to improve and deepen accountability, efficiency, and transparency in the delivery of public service.
“We should, with the process of digitisation, continue to take harsh but necessary measures to rid of the galamsey menace, pay our taxes and demand that our leader put them to good use.”
The President supported the exploitation of the tourism potentials of the Volta Region, which has many mountains, including the highest mountain in Ghana, a serene environment, delicious cuisines and loving people.
President Akufo-Addo said that part of the country, has, arguably, produced Ghana’s two greatest composers—Ephraim Amu and Philip Gbeho —who produced one of the greatest Ghanaian anthems and the country’s national anthem respectively.
Guinea Bissau President and ECOWAS Chair, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló, who came to grace the occasion said the independence of Ghana was the beginning of the emancipation of the African continent from colonial rule.
Dr Nkrumah’s vision of the liberation of Ghana and the entire African continent, according to ECOWAS Chair, inspired other African countries to pursue the same and liberated their countries from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism.
More than 20,000 people from all over the country descended on Adaklu to celebrate the very best of this year’s Independence Day anniversary.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD