Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged Africa leaders to fast track the process of creating an African Common Market that seeks to present immense opportunities in wealth creation and prosperity to the continent’s population.


Addressing an event organised by the Royal Africa Society, Facebook and the Ghana 60 years on Committee, on the theme “Africa Beyond Aid”, on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said Africa’s integration was imminent as the success of the Continental Free Trade was hinged on it, adding that with hard work, enterprise, innovation and creativity, it was evident that the time for African integration should be now.


The President also urged his colleague African leaders to do all they could to strengthen the unity of Africa―African Union (AU) ―and work hard to take the continent to where it deserves to be “… a prosperous and dynamic member of the world community, we need to, and we shall move Africa Beyond Aid.”


Advocating for a new paradigm of leadership on the continent, President Akufo-Addo challenged African leaders to govern their people according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability.


He urged them to free their people from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and hand-outs, and focus on mobilizing Africa’s own immeasurable resources to resolve the continent’s problems.


“This new generation of African leaders should help bring dignity and prosperity to our continent and its long suffering peoples,” the President stated.


“We no longer want to offer the justification for those who want to be rude and abusive about Africa and her peoples. It is time to build our economies that are not dependent on charity and handouts… We have learnt from long and bitter experience that, no matter how generous the charity, we would remain and, indeed, we have remained poor,” he said.


The President continued, “We are not disclaiming aid, but we do want to discard a mind-set of dependency and living on handouts; it is unhealthy both for the giver and for the receiver.”


Cocoa Industry


Touching on the cocoa industry, President Akufo-Addo said it was unfair that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, that produced 65% of the world’s output of cocoa, made less than $6 billion from an industry worth US $100 billion.


“If we simply ground and sold the cocoa in paste form, instead of selling the cocoa beans, we double our earnings. In much the same way as we would double our earnings from gold, if we sold it refined than in its raw state. We are determined to process these products,” he said, adding that it was time that African countries were responsible for processing their own resources and managed these resources well to generate wealth for the population, expected to hit 2 billion in the next 20 years.


Benefits of Investment and Good Governance


During the past 20 years, President Akufo-Addo noted, the countries that had made rapid economic strides had been the ones that had encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneurship development and the ones that had promoted, and developed a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, and where institutions of state saw themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest and not the temporary conveniences of the governments of the day.


“We have a responsibility to make our countries attractive to our young generation. They should feel they have a worthwhile future, if they stay and build their nations. We should be, and are, shamed by the desperation that drives a young person to attempt to cross the Sahara on foot, and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats, in the hope of finding a better future in Europe,” he maintained. 


Illicit Flow of Funds from Africa


Touching on the report of the Panel, chaired by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the Illicit Flow of Funds (IFFs) from Africa, President Akufo-Addo noted that Africa was losing more than US $50 billion, annually, through illicit financial outflows.


The report, according to the President, revealed that between 2000 and 2008, some $252 billion, representing 56.2% of the IFFs from the continent, was from the extractive industries, including mining.


He mentioned the recent reported events between the Government of Tanzania and the mining companies operating there, as giving cause for concern.


“No one is going to sort out these matters for Africa, except Africans themselves. We need to have our own bright and sharp lawyers to keep us abreast of the sharp and bright lawyers that our trade partners have. We need to have our own bright and sharp technologists to keep us abreast of our competitors,” he said, adding that with the vast majority of the population being young, it was in the interest of the world that Africa worked.


“Even if the developed world had the means today, and were, indeed, minded to do so, it could not provide the aid that would keep Africa a sustainable part of the world. We do not want to remain the beggars of the world, we do not want to be dependent on charity,” he said, adding “We can and we should be able to build a Ghana which looks to the use of her own resources and their proper management as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country.”


Although Africa is described as a rich continent and is, currently, with the world’s second fastest economic growth rates, as well as the world's fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment, possessing nearly 30 per cent of the earth's remaining mineral resources, the masses of African peoples remain poor.



Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)