President John Evans Atta Mills’ Better Ghana agenda received a major boost in the past few weeks when two Asian economic giants – China and Japan extended very generous assistance to Ghana.
For close to two weeks, President Mills was in Asia for state visits to the two countries to conduct real business.
The success of the trips would be the fruits that would inure to the benefit of Ghanaians, especially the ordinary people, for decades to come.
China and Japan are powerful allies, which many countries may wish to court and the statistics speak volumes of their importance in world economics.
After the United States of America, with a Gross Domestic Product of $13.86 trillion, China comes with $7.04 trillion and then Japan with $4.3 trillion. Next on the list of top economies are India, Germany and the United Kingdom.
However, Ghana’s GDP hovers around a paltry $60 billion. When will Ghanaians get there and catch up with the developed world?
President Mills was in the United States of America and the United Kingdom last year brokering investment and development deals with foreign partners to help build the Better Ghana Agenda his Administration promised Ghanaians.
The tenets of the Better Ghana programme are to invest in people, create jobs and opportunities for all and running an open, honest, transparent and accountable Government.
And so far, the trip to China has procured the largest proposed development assistance – a multi-billion dollar package.
Enquiries by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) give the breakdown as follows: three billion dollars from the Chinese Government through the China Development Bank for the oil and gas and allied industries with an additional preferential buyers’ credit of $260 million for the expansion of the Kpong Water Works project and another loan of $150 million for Ghana’s e-governance project.
The Exim Bank of China is giving $10.4 billion concessionary loan for the development of the Kumasi-Paga railway system.
The Reverend Dan Markin, Chairman of the Ghana Railways Board, said the Chinese private sector had promised additional $10.2 million.
The Bosai Minerals Group Company Limited is also assisting with 1.2 billion dollars to revamp Ghana’s bauxite and aluminium industries.
Additionally, Huawei Technologies Company Limited of China gave an Information Communication Technology package to Ghana to help improve her telecommunication network and services.
The package involves a donation of one million dollars worth of telecommunication equipment for the University of Ghana, Legon, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast; three million dollars video conferencing equipment and a Strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between the Company and the Ministry of Communications to support Ghana’s e-governance project.
“With China as the second largest economy in the world, and currently the number one investor in Ghana, a partnership between the two countries will place Ghana in the forefront as an African country that is thriving and competitive on a global scale,” Mrs Helen Maamle Kofi, Ghana’s Ambassador to China said.
While in Japan, President Mills boosted relations between Accra and Tokyo in talks with Japanese Premier Naoto Kan, who congratulated Ghana for establishing herself as the school for democracy on the African continent.
The Japanese Government then restored the concessional grant facility, which was suspended as a result of Ghana adopting the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in 2001.
Japan would also give additional scholarship to train 100 more Ghanaian students in their professions and the advancement of the two Asian countries is phenomenal and one needs to find out their secret.
It is part of the culture of the Chinese and the Japanese to make their institutions work. “Africa does not need strong men, but strong institutions,” US President Barrack Obama has once said.
Is Ghana ready for a new partnership that would engender growth and promote increased prosperity for their peoples?
Japan has highly skilled manpower and technology and Ghana trusts her as a true and reliable friend for partnership and transfer of technology in efforts to develop the vast natural resources and build a better life for her people.
Ghana has opened its arms to the Chinese, Japanese and all friendly nations to see the country as a preferred investment destination, reinforced by political stability, market access, security to life and property, a reliable judicial system and a friendly tax regime, with a guaranteed good return on investment.
Ghana would also serve as an entry point into the vast West African market with a population of about 250 million people.
Time is not on the side of Africa, and for that matter Ghana, for accelerated development. The Continent has had enough of the negatives of civil wars, coups d’etat, political divisions and wrangling.
As Ghana becomes the point for a new chapter in Sino-African relations, it is necessary for time consciousness to etch on the national psyche.
Discipline, sacrifice, integrity and hard work and targeting specific projects to their logical and fruitful conclusion must be the catchwords. We shall succeed.
Also, Ghana could only continue to attract investment if business people built good reputation by ensuring transparency, because their conduct would determine how the policy of foreign assistance would be like.
President Mills’ visit has opened the doors for huge development inflows from our Asian friends who have made it through hard work.
The President himself has a reputation of an honest, dedicated, incorruptible and hard working leader.
With his election promise to be a father of all still ringing in the minds of Ghanaians, his Better Ghana Agenda needs to succeed for all Ghanaians to smile.