Africa should move beyond aid handouts that have failed to bring growth and prosperity and move to an era of mutual respect with Western countries, Ghana’s president said on Tuesday.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, elected less than a year ago, said aid to his nation from donor countries was unsustainable and harmful to both sides.
“We do not want to remain the beggars of the world, we do not want to be dependent on charity,” he said in a speech in London, setting out a vision for Africa’s future.
“We can and we should be able to build a Ghana with use of her own resources and their proper management as a way to engineer social and economic growth in our country,” he said.
Resource-rich Ghana is an exporter of gold and oil and the world’s second largest cocoa producer. Akufo-Addo has vowed to clean up corruption in the West African nation’s cocoa sector and restore output to 1 million tonnes by 2020.
Akufo-Addo, who took office in January, called for closer trade ties with neighboring Ivory Coast and across Africa, home to 1.2 billion people and a burgeoning middle class.
Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence from colonial rule 60 years ago, a milestone that paved the way for independence for nations across the continent.
“We are painfully aware we are nowhere near where we should be,” he said in the speech to the Royal African Society. “After 60 years it is obvious that the aid bus will not take Africa where it has to be.”
British-Ghanaian musician “Fuse ODG” agreed that Africa must create its own narrative and hoped his music would offer the world a new perspective of a continent free from dependency.
“We have to stop the aid, it messes up our economy, it messes up our markets,” added Herman Chinery-Hesse, a Ghanaian software entrepreneur often dubbed the Bill Gates of Ghana.
Mindsets of dependency and donations must be discarded for equality in global relationships, Akufo-Addo said.
“We do not want to be pitied,” he said. “We do not want to be pawns or victims.”
Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Ros Russell.