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The President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Susan Hockfield, has expressed the hope that Ghanaian students at the university would return to help contribute their quota towards the development of the country.

She told former President John Agyekum Kufuor at a dinner she hosted for him at the Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship at Cambridge, US, that Ghanaians studying at MIT, one of the world's leading centres of learning in the United States, were able to share honours with some of the best students around the world.

A statement received in Accra by Ms Anna Omura, Operations Manager at the Centre, said Dr Hockfield also praised former President Kufuor for his eight years leadership of Ghana and for being the inaugural lecturer for The Legatum Centre's series, which is for global leaders of distinction to share experiences with faculty and students.

The Vice Chancellor of MIT, Prof. Phillip Clay, expressed delight that Ghana was balancing the negative media image of Africa with hope and confidence.

Speaking on “Entrepreneurship, Government and Development in Africa”, former President Kufuor identified geographic factors as partly responsible for Africa lagging behind in the global economy.

"Except its Mediterranean northern lands, Africa remained outside the routes of the ancient trading, cultural and imperial hegemonic interactions that engendered and evolved the various Asian and European civilizations. The forbidden Sahara desert immediately south of North Africa effectively cut most of the continent off till about the 10th century A.D." he explained.

The long onslaught of the debilitating slave trade and later colonialism were old factors that would have repercussions in post-colonial Africa. These processes which lasted for over 600 years at the end "assailed and trampled upon the African EGO".

But beneath that, the former President said, "the miracle is that Africa of today is quickly awakening, and very determined to mainstream itself in the phenomenal globalization process. It is able to do this through the advent of a new breed of leaders democratically elected over the past two decades."

Earlier in New York, former President Kufuor inaugurated the lecture series “Global Health Grand Rounds” at the Weill Cornel Medical College of Cornel University.

He explained the concept and operations of the health insurance scheme in Ghana under the lecture-title, “Health of a Nation-State: A Social Vision for Ghana and the World.”

According to him, the NHIS in Ghana and everywhere else in the world depended on a healthy people.

"It is not only an ideal but also, a necessity for all nations and must be tackled pragmatically and imaginatively.”

Former President Kufuor said if this was not done, “its underpinnings of the strength of the national economy, the necessary premium contributions of the general populace which must be affordable, the prior identification of beneficiaries who must be legitimate; the transparency and integrity of the service providers in terms of fair claims and remunerations…will present challenges that, sooner than later, will frustrate and undermine the realization of the ideal”.

Also in New York, former President Kufuor launched activities to begin the campaign for the 700 years of the founding of Exeter College, Oxford University, where he was educated.


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