In a recent interview after talks with his French counterpart, Ghana's president made a call for a transformation of the centuries old relationship between Africa and Europe.
This he said was important in the continent's quest for achievement of self reliance and sustainable exploitation of it's resources that have the potential to transform it's socio-economic fortunes.
"Africa and Europe are natural partners ... but [it's] a relationship that has to be different from what we've had up to now," Nana Akufo-Addo said on Thursday following talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Nana's remarks were made out to 400 representatives of the African diaspora in France who gathered at the Elysee palace in Paris.
"That relationship has enriched Europe but has not enriched Africa. So, we need to change that dynamic and we can only do it by ourselves, taking the correct measures for our future," said Akufo-Addo.
A former British colony, Ghana does not have the same historical ties with Paris as other former French colonies in West Africa. When Macron visited Ghana in November 2017, it was the first visit by a French president.
"So, Mr President, we're saying the time has come for us to take our destiny in our own hands," he said, directly addressing the leader of a nation whose involvement in its former colonies have come under scrutiny and been heavily criticised in recent years.
West African French colonies only recently agreed to discontinue the use of CFA, a colonial currency that is controlled by the French Treasury. Just before France conceded to African demands for independence in the 1960s, it carefully organised its former colonies (CFA countries) in a system of “compulsory solidarity” which consisted of obliging the 14 African states to put 65% of their foreign currency reserves into the French Treasury, plus another 20% for financial liabilities.
In remarks that were directed more to African leaders, Akufo stated that it was time Africa gets away from the idea that there was a Father Christmas that was going to come and take the responsibility for developing the continent for them.
The president has been on a charm offensive since taking office in 2017, Akufo-Addo has placed a major emphasis on encouraging African exiles to return home, particularly those in the United States, dubbing 2019 the "Year of Return".
And the diaspora could play a key role in Africa, as it did in China, whose transformation into the manufacturing hub of the world was driven largely by massive levels of investment by its overseas community, he said.
"That development of China has changed the status and the position of Chinese all over the world," he said.
He also went on to say that if Africa finds a way to educate it's youthful population and give it skills, the continent would be on "the path of very, very strong economic growth."
Header Image Credit: Reuters