Page 16 of today, 29th August 29, 2018, featured a story titled “we’ll not abandon friends, partners” – President Akufo-Addo tells UK Minister.
This was when the UK Minister paid a courtesy call on the president at the Jubilee House for a bilateral talk on trade and other matters of mutual interest.
Paragraph two of the story said “to strengthen its partnership with its partners, Ghana was exploring all avenues to attract strategic investors who could help add value to its resources and thereby create employment and develop its infrastructure”, according to the President Akufo-Addo.
The story said “Ms. Harriette Baldwin, the UK Minister of State for Africa, is in Ghana to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a 20million pounds facility from the UK government to help implement projects that will create jobs and promote the government’s economic transformation agenda.
Paragraph seven states “President Akufo-Addo said it was to develop the country through the development of its resources that Ghana had embraced the programme of economic transformation that would lead to greater positive change, specifically job creation”.
Paragraph fifteen says “Ms. Baldwin said Ghana had benefitted from the UK’s private sector investment which had led to the creation of companies such as Blue Skies at Dobro in the Greater Accra region”
Now, analyzing the above account from the perspective of globalization and foreign policy in contemporary geopolitics, in my capacity as a student of International Relations and Diplomacy, I would break it down to what Ghana stands to gain, is-à-vis the UK, in this mutual agreement, why and how.
Firstly, the dynamics of UK’s influence in the EU has changed dramatically, with its economic prospects very much uncertain following the decision to embark on BREXIT, a decision which has turned out to be rather detrimental.
In the light of this, the UK government is desperately seeking other trade partners and markets outside the EU, and Africa, with its enormous untapped natural and human resources, has proven to be an attractive destination.
This therefore explains the recent 3-nation tour of Africa by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Her visits to South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, are very strategic since these are the three African countries with both markets and relatively thriving economies.
Effectively, these are destinations where the UK government knows it can reap maximum returns on their investments.
In this era of globalization where the world has become so integrated through technology, nations have become interdependent by way of economics, commerce and trade.
But the reality is that, nations always go to the negotiation-table with interest of their people as paramount objective and this is where the categorization of global structure comes to play. This global structure consists of the Periphery, semi-periphery and core.
This captures the under-developed States whose main source of survival is untapped natural minerals and primary products. These are predominantly African-Caribbean States that go to the negotiation-table with expectations of being assisted to with funds or technical expertise to either exploit natural resources or build infrastructure.
And what often happens at this level of trade is that assistance offered by the wealthy nations are tied to stringent conditions like privatization of state-owned enterprises and laying off workers.
Funding for infrastructure developments are always tied to procurement restrictions where receiving States are made to rely on products, equipment and even personnel, from the donner countries.
In the end, the loans and grants end up being repatriated into the donner countries, resulting in perpetual stagnation of the recipient counties.
These are nations medium with relatively stable and thriving economies but still grappling with debt, lack of infrastructure and low production base. South Africa, Brazil, and most of these South East Asian Nations fall under this category.
These nations, though also receive assistance, are able to put it to good use because structures are well-in place to ensure value for money and strict accountability.
This represents the industrialized world like America, China, Canada, Germany etc., where democratic governance is well-established and accountability is strictly adhered to.
Nations of this bloc have strong economic and military power which they exhibit as bargaining chip during negotiations with both semi and periphery blocs.
Europe and America, for centuries, for centuries, have the sole trading partner of Africa but with the emergence of china overtaking America as the potential top global economic super-power, there is a lot of nervousness in the western economies.
Presently, the influence of china on the African continent is so huge.
In Djibouti for example, the US military base used to be the only foreign presence in that country but china, recently, has also built a multi-billion-dollar Free Zone Area for manufacturing products for export.
Within the last few months, there have been visits to Africa, the president of France, Turkey, China and German Chancellor. These leaders have been accompanied on the trips, large delegation of business entrepreneurs seeking avenues to invest and take advantage of Africa's huge untapped market.
As presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo’s cardinal vision was to transform Ghana beyond Aid, through turning our primary products into finished ones on the wheels of industrialization and modernization of our economy. And this is precisely what he reiterated during the discussion with the UK Minister.
Corruption has also been a bane to our nation’s socioeconomic advancements, with billions of dollars of State funds earmarked for developmental projects actually being siphoned by public officials whose duties, ironically, are to protects the national coffers and to ensure value-for-money and maximum returns on government investments.
Finally, Ghana, a nation at the periphery of the ladder of globalization structure, is fortunate to have a President in the character of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo: a man whose personal integrity is beyond question, of impeccable vision and incontestable patriotism.
Our nation’s resources are therefore in very safe hands, and I pray that those of us privileged to have been selected, to be focused and strive to give off our best to assist him actualize his social contract with the good people of Ghana.
Source: Newton-Offei Justice Abeeku / School of International Relations and Diplomacy, GIMPA, Accra/ email: [email protected]
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