The development trajectory of Ghana has been nothing to write home about in spite of some of the remarkable milestones that has been achieved by the country since independence. The country is still regarded as a lower middle income country notwithstanding the fact that the country was the first in Sub Saharan Africa to free itself from the clutches of colonial rule. The current economic status of Ghana also comes at a surprise considering the fact that the country is considered to be one of the most naturally endowed nations in Africa and the world at large. This is not to say that being naturally endowed automatically comes with success but the fact that our wealth as a nation has contributed less to our development is very worrisome.
‘Ghana at 100’ Document
Over the years one thing that has distinguished the developed countries from the struggling ones has been the ability of these developed countries to foresee and anticipate the future. The story has normally been different in the developing world as most of our policies and projects tend to be only relevant and only achieve results within a shorter term. This lack of vision on the part of our leaders has rendered most of our policies useless and irrelevant with the passage of time. However, the narrative might change in Ghana with the introduction of the ‘Ghana at 100’ document by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). The Chairman of the Commission speaking at a panel discussion at the 71st New Year School and Conference organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Ghana indicated that the document shall be the official guide and outline to direct the development trajectory of the country over the next 38 years.
Notwithstanding the fact that the initiative is a laudable one of course, it raises several questions as to whether this visionary document would be brought to fruition or not. If this document is followed and applied accordingly, it may hold the key to changing the face of the Ghanaian economy and act as a Game Changer in the near future. On the other hand, if this document is just seen as a political agenda and viewed through the political spectacles of our policy and decision makers, it may not achieve the desired results. The foregoing suggests that the document should be seen as a blueprint to steer the country’s development into the future. Successive governments therefore have a huge role to play in the success of this document as it must be seen as a blueprint for the nation and not a blueprint for a particular political party.
This has been the case in many of the so called ‘dream countries’ as the change of governments in these countries has been a mere demonstration of democracy and tolerance rather than an opportunity for the different governments to show they are better than their predecessors. In a nutshell, successive governments in the developed countries more or less act as drivers who steer the country’s development by a plan that has already been predetermined. The case is entirely different in Ghana where each political party comes with its own idea and plan. The abandonment of projects has therefore been a recurring phenomenon inherent within our political systems and is one of our major setbacks as a country.
The idea of moving from this practice is not far-fetched especially with the introduction of the ‘Ghana at 100 document’. The duty should not be entirely left in the hands of our politicians as attitudinal change is very detrimental to the success of everything. Our political leaders should also view their appointment as an opportunity to serve the nation rather than as an opportunity to seek their own personal glory and be celebrated. Furthermore, the country’s quest to develop rapidly would require the amendment of the Constitution to detach the Legislature from the Executive. For instance, there should be a second look at the clause that allows the President to pick some of his ministers from Parliament as the arms of government are to be checks on one another. This would bring more transparency into the government of the country as well go a long way to also fight corruption.
In conclusion, notwithstanding the fact that the Ghana at 100 document is a laudable initiative, its success will entirely depend on the citizens of the country as a whole. If we are to play our various roles accordingly, the future we always dream of as a country will change from being a dream to a reality.
Story by: Samuel Odoom
Editor: Roland Annor Botchway