5 January 2007

African Countries 'Chained' Economically, Socially

THE FREE African Foundation (FAF), a non-profit, non-ideological, non-political and non-denominational organization dedicated to reversing Africa's economic decline says, "apart from political independence, some African countries are socially and economically chained".

This it says is because there is unemployment, resulting in high incidence of poverty while they allow the people to live in squalor.

In an interview with The Chronicle after making a donation to four deprived farming communities in the Eastern Region, its President and distinguished Economist at the American University, Professor George Ayittey, who is on a sabbatical leave in Ghana his home country noted, "we are therefore determined to unchain these countries to be totally free".

He thus urged African governments to endeavour to concentrate their efforts in developing the rural areas so as to stall the incessant rural-urban drift.

Though Ghana turns 50years and would be marking its independence with a big celebration next year, he could hardly count the achievements of the country on his fingertips since according to him "there is very little we can celebrate on".

He could not but ask rhetorically "what can Ghanaians boast of in terms of human and physical development? With all the lands and minerals at our disposal we have done little to hit the economic jackpot".

He therefore wondered why all our discussions on nation building were centred on blame and casting aspersions at each other.

"The useful hours used to criticise, blame and vituperate those in authority should be used in brain-solution and not brain accusation," he said.

If Ghanaians love their country, the Learned Fellow advised, "They must all unite to come out with constructive ideas to move the nation forward since there is no single person or political party that has solution to the country's woes".

Since governance is teamwork he said Ghanaians must lift this nation up through unity and love, stressing, "we have stood up for years and we must move forward".

He borrowed a quote from Mr. A. Schwarts who once said, "where these is no change and no growth, there is stagnation, but where there is action, then the potentials of the world is realised, the growth blossoms" to support his emphasis.

The philosophy of FAF expounds, "Ultimately it is Africans who must solve Africa's own problems. Westerners can help but the initiative must come from Africans themselves".

It believed that the solutions to Africa's problems lie in Africa itself not with the World Bank or Western government agencies.

These solutions it says entail returning to Africa's roots and building upon its own indigenous institutions of participatory democracy based upon consensus, open borders (free movement of goods and people), freedom of expression, free trade and free markets.

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