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Frimpong-Boateng writes open letter to anybody who wants to be president of Ghana in January 2025

Frimpong-Boateng writes open letter to anybody who wants to be president of Ghana in January 2025

Ghana has not done as well as it should have done since President Kwame Nkrumah was  unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military coup by the National Liberation Council  on February 24, 1966. Ghana has had three other interruptions of governments. The present 4th Republic, dominated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party  (NPP), has not brought the transformational change that will put the country on path of sustainable  development and prosperity for its people.

I dare say that the fight ahead of Ghana is greater than the fight for political independence and it  cannot be won with leaders who lack the zeal, commitment, conviction to confront their own  demons and other forces and headwinds that are against the development of the country.

It is always said that one cannot re-invent the wheel and I believe in that old adage. I present here  examples of what happened elsewhere on this planet not too long ago. I personally believe that the  country can make progress when we get leaders who exhibit the qualities in the examples that follow.

The first example of transformational leadership is from Singapore. When the government of Lee  Kuan Yew took office in 1959 it set out to have a clean administration. The Prime Minister said  that “we were sickened by the greed, corruption, and decadence of many Asian leaders” and  “We had the deep sense of mission to establish a clean and effective government”. This was a  solid commitment from the newly elected Prime Minister. With determination and a credible  program committed to scientific and technological development, Lee Kuan Yew and his team were  able to live up to their good intentions and Singapore, which in 1819 was a village with 120  fishermen without natural resources and hinterland, propelled itself from third world squalor to  first world affluence in just 35 years. This was commitment and a sense of mission personified.

The second example is from China. The economic development taking place in China is the result  of an initiative taken by four scientists. On the 3rd of March 1986, four of China’s top weapons  scientists: WANG Daheng, WANG Ganchang, YANG Jiachi, and CHEN Fangyun, jointly sent a  private letter to Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the country, with a warning that decades of relentless  focus on militarization had crippled the country’s civilian scientific establishment. They  recommended that China must join the world’s “new technological revolution,” or it would be  left behind. They called for an élite project devoted to technology ranging from biotech to space  research. Mr. Deng Xiaoping agreed, and scribbled on the letter, “Action must be taken on this  now.” This was China’s “Sputnik moment,” and the project was code-named the 863 Program, for  the year and month of its birth. In the years that followed, the government pumped billions of  dollars into labs and universities and enterprises, on projects ranging from cloning to underwater  robots. The program initially focused on seven key technological fields: Biotechnology, Space  technology, Information technology, Laser technology, Automation, Energy, and Advanced  Material Sciences.

Two more fields were brought under the umbrella of the program: Telecommunications (1992) and  Marine Technology (1996).

In 2006, Chinese leaders redoubled their commitment to new energy technology; they boosted  funding for research and set targets for installing wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric dams,  and other renewable sources of energy that were higher than goals in the United States. China  doubled its wind-power capacity that year, and then doubled it again the next year, and the year  after. The country had virtually no solar industry in 2003; five years later, it was manufacturing  more solar cells than any other country, winning customers from foreign companies that had  invented the technology in the first place.

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Korea transformed itself from a stagnant agrarian society into one of the most dynamic industrial  economies of the world within 40 years. In the early 1960s when Korea first launched its  industrialization efforts, it was a typical poor developing country with poor resources and  production base and small domestic market. Korea’s Gross National Product (GNP) in 1961 was  only $ 2.3 billion (in 1980 prices) or $87 per capita which came mainly from the primary sectors.  The manufacturing sector’s share of GNP remained at a mere 15%. International trade was also at  a very infant stage: in 1961, Korea’s export volume was only $55 million and imports $390 million.  As late as 1970, the three top exports were textilesplywood, and wigs. South Korea now has established world prominence in such technology areas as semi-conductors, Liquid Crystal  Display (LCD), telecommunication equipment, automobiles, shipbuilding, and many more.  Indeed, it has emerged as one of the key international players in the global economy and is  considered the 13th largest economy and one of the major trading countries of the world.

The last example is from the United States of America. When the 56 signatories of the Declaration  of American Independence met in the State House of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on the 4th of  July 1776 to append their signatures to the famous document on declaration of America’s  Independence this is what they said: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm  reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,  our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”.

The signers of American Declaration of Independence, twenty-three lawyers, fifteen merchants,  five plantation owners, four physicians, three scientists, two land speculators, one farmer, one  military man, one lawyer/musician and one Minister, showed tremendous courage and bravery  by willingly putting their names on that document. They knew full well that they were  committing treason against England and they knew the penalty was death. Their commitment to  the United States of America led to the creation of what is still the richest and most powerful  country in the world. Ghana has not yet seen the type of closed, united, committed, focused, and  dedicated leadership that is ready to sacrifice for future generations of Ghanaians. We have not  had leaders who see beyond the next elections and plan for future generations. If a few leaders of  this country, relying on the protection of divine providence, would mutually pledge their lives,  fortunes, and sacred honor for the development of Ghana, there would be a palpable change within  2 years. May be there is no sacred honor or fortune to pledge on.

The political corruption that is gradually gaining root in Ghana is very disturbing. When it comes  to choosing leaders to run the political parties and the nation it is no more a question of looking  for selfless and competent individuals who have what it takes to move the nation forward. It is  more of who is loyal to powerful individuals who want their interests to be served after the power  is won.

I expect anyone who wants to lead this country to tell the nation now how things are going to be  done differently so that young people would begin to have hope and stake in this country.

Our leaders have devalued themselves to the extent that they think only foreigners can help us out  of our misery. How can someone tell us that he is waiting for a loan from some other countries before roads, schools and other infrastructural projects can be executed?

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Our leaders seem to know it all and can develop this country without Ghanaians. After all they do  not need Ghanaians to travel around looking for loans, grants, and handouts. They do not need  Ghanaians to build the infrastructural projects. As it is, those who give out the loans also provide  the highly qualified and skillful workers from their country to get the work done.

Our leaders’ understanding of development seem to be only the provision of infrastructure. No  country ever developed by borrowing to build infrastructure. ‘Something’ else must be built on the  infrastructure. That something is the true development.

As far as I am concerned the many roads, interchanges, schools, hospitals, wells, electricity, and  other infrastructural projects, erroneously called development projects, do not alone determine the  success of a Government. Rather the success of true leadership is measured by what extent the  people can be mobilized to lead independent lives: to feed, shelter, clothe, heal, and defend  themselves, and also produce tools, implements, spare parts and machines they require for daily  living, so that if for one reason or the other ships and airplanes are unable to access the country the  citizens can stand on their own and survive.

We need attitudinal change. We should realize that the overall development of the nation, including  the economic, social, cultural, and technological development is the responsibility of the Ghanaian.  Mr. Future President, the men, and women to solve the myriads of problems facing us are here at  home and in the diaspora. They have to be found and encouraged to perform. The task of political  leadership is to unearth the actors needed to transform the nation. If we say we have the men, let  us use the men and not the boys.

We should exorcise the ‘beggar mentality’ from our lives and accept that our poverty is self inflicted and it is absolutely unnecessary.

We pride ourselves as having been endowed with abundant natural resources. That is true but it is  also important to know that natural resources have no natural owners. The real owners are those  that have the technology, skills, and the financial power to exploit those resources. They are the  ones that take 90% of the mineral and other resources and leave a mere 10% for the host country.

It really beats my understanding that our leaders do not seem to realize that the real difference  between the developed countries of America, Europe, Asia and the Far East and the  underdeveloped countries of Africa lies in their technological capability. This capability has been  defined as the extent to which countries access, utilize, and create science and technology for the  solution of socio – economic problems. Technology has the track record of solving developmental  problems. Our modern world is driven by technology. Energy, agriculture, medicine and health,  clean air and water, transportation, sanitation, management, utilization, and conservation of natural  resources — all are based ultimately in science and technology. So, it is obvious that to be a part of  that world, there must be science and technology elements in the development process.

Despite efforts to alleviate poverty, Ghana still exhibits chronic inability to alleviate poverty.  Poverty alleviation means, for many people, being able to afford nutritious food, access to clean  water and sanitation, energy, safe shelter, education, and a healthy environment. Since science and  technology have a historical record in providing solutions to poverty problems, any efforts to  alleviate poverty will not succeed without innovations in food production, water, energy, and  health provision and in general economic growth. We must understand that Science, Engineering  and Technology will give us the capacity to manufacture machines, develop processes and  materials and exploit our abundant natural resources for national development. If we do not  develop the capacity to manufacture machines that will work for us, we should as well forget about  any dream of developing the Nation. No country ever developed without the capacity to  manufacture machines. If we characterize Ghana as an agricultural nation, we do so by default  because we cannot do anything else. We will continue to run the Adam and Eve, Cain, and Abel  economy: planting yams and rearing animals. We have not advanced to Noah’s economy. He built a sophisticated ship that saved humanity and other forms of life. About 2200 years ago, the Chinese  built the over 6300km Great Wall of China, without any assistance from the World Bank but we in  the 21st Century have closed our minds to technology and need assistance to construct everything,  including toilets. We need to constantly remind ourselves that the POVERTY GAP is a  TECHNOLOGY GAP.

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Again, our development should be driven by our ability to understand, interpret, select, adapt, use,  transmit, diffuse, produce, and commercialize scientific and technological knowledge in ways  appropriate to our culture, aspirations, and level of development.

Ghana needs a new brand of leadership. It is unacceptable that about 80% of inputs into agriculture,  education and health are from foreign sources. It is a shame that a major thrust of our economic  policy is to try as much as we can to attract foreign investors. Good as foreign investments are we  just cannot sit down and think that without confronting our problems ourselves we can still be  prosperous.

To my mind Ghana is unable to attract significant Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Any country  that does not take the development of her human capital seriously finds is difficult to attract  Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). The high-income developed countries with well-developed human capital are not only the major source of direct investment, but they are also the major  recipients. China and the United States of America are the major recipients of FDIs in the world.

There is ample evidence that multinationals are more active primarily between similar, high income countries and that outward direct investment in particular is associated with skilled-labor  abundance. Even when a multinational decides to invest in a developing country with low human  capital base the type of investment is the vertical one in which the production process is  geographically fragmented by stages, the capital-intensive intermediates being produced in the

home country of the multinational and the labor-intensive stage produced in the host country. This is in contrast to the horizontal investments in which the multinational carries on basically the  same activity in the host country as at home, for example, German investors producing the same  cars in the United States of America as they do in Germany. This type of investment is almost non existent in Ghana.

Finally Mr. Future President, I believe that the greatest asset of a nation is the trust and confidence  of its people. This should, however, not be taken for granted. Leadership must also fight for this  great asset by working hard with even-handedness for the people in all honesty. This asset has  been and still is being squandered through misgovernment and corruption to the extent that leaders  are not trusted and citizens do not see that they have a stake in their country and its future.

Most Ghanaians do not see any virtue in working for the future of their country. Our leaders have  not been able to invoke in the citizens the spirit of nation building. Mr. Future President how are  you going to rectify this situation?

God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

By Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng

 

source : 3news

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