In an event hosted by the Royal African Society (RAS) in London to mark Ghana’s 60th anniversary of independence, President Nana Akufo-Addo began what was to be his ideology for Africa. Coming on the podium, he began by speaking on foreign perception of the African continent which according to him is biased.
"If there is a bomb blast in Brussels, it does not lead to cancellation of trips to Amsterdam; but if there is an explosion in Mombasa, it would immediately warrant travel advisories warning citizens against journeys to Kampala", he said.
He went on to say that it was not a coincidence that despite the amount of foreign aid that has been received by African countries since 1960, the continent has remained poor and not achieved meaningful development. This he said was as a result of the motive, structure and application of these foreign aids.
"We do not want to be pawns or victims. It is time to build economies that are not dependent on aid or handouts", he added.
By this time, many African leaders and their representatives listening to him were shifting uneasily on their seats. 'What is this man driving at'; they must have thought to themselves.
Like a man on a mission to prove a point, he further abused the mentalities of those present and schooled them on the differences between 'resources' and 'wealth'. He said having resources doesn't necessarily mean wealth. Using Democratic Republic of Congo as an example, he said despite the country having every single mineral resources needed to 'run the wheels of modern industry', the country remains one of the poorest nations of the world!
He also pointed to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire which produces 65% of the world's cocoa but gains only as little as $6 billion from the $100 billion chocolate industry. With this he staked his claim that the time has come for Africa to process and manage her own resources.
Just when they thought it was all over, he did not mince words in slamming the pernicious trade deals perpetuated by Europe, America and China; which he says is unfavourable and warrants illicit cash flows in tune of $50 billion yearly.
He closed by saying that the African Union (AU) must be empowered to lead the continent in actualizing the Free Trade area and Regional Integration. There is no doubt that some African leaders who didn't subscribe to his ideologies were relieved to see him take his seat; but unknown to them, that was just the beginning for Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Barely a month later, in December of that same year, he would explode again and this time, it was in the present of a dumbfounded French president, Emmanuel Macron who was obviously caught off guard by the words he never believed could ever come out from the mouth of an African leader.
After boasting and analyzing in pride of how France planned to strengthen its ties with Africa and increase its foreign aid donations and loans to the continent within the next decade, Emmanuel Macron was obviously shocked to his marrow when he heard what the Ghanaian president said in response, Akudo-Addo said:
“I hope that the comments I am about to make will not offend the questioner too much and some people around here.
“We can no longer continue to make policy for ourselves, in our country, in our region, in our continent on the basis of whatever support that the western world or France, or the European Union can give us. It will not work. It has not worked and it will not work.
“We have to get away from this mindset of dependency. This mindset about ‘what can France do for us?’ France will do whatever it wants to do for its own sake, and when those coincide with ours, ‘tant mieux’ [so much better] as the French people say…Our concern should be what do we need to do in this 21st century to move Africa away from being cap in hand and begging for aid, for charity, for handouts. The African continent when you look at its resources, should be giving monies to other places…We need to have a mindset that says we can do it…and once we have that mindset we’ll see there’s a liberating factor for ourselves.”
His words caught the French President off guard and cameras pictured him in his state of utter shock and disbelief.
Pan-African activists around the world praised him for his courage, with some dubbing him the rebirth of Kwame Nkrumah.
Do you think that African leaders around the continent support the Ideologies of Ghana's President, Nana Akufo-Addo? In my opinion, their body language and inability to openly endorse the move speaks volume and clearly shows the side they are on.
Header Photo: Manasseh Azure