Soon after coming into office for his first tenure as President of Ghana in 2017, Nana Akufo Addo announced his desire to see Africa and his country Ghana end the perennial quest for aid abroad to develop.
He said that “It is time to pursue a path to prosperity and self-respect for our nation. A Ghana Beyond Aid is a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of her economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, and that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment.”
President Akufo-Addo again in March 2018 at a public event then announced that the realisation of his vision of Ghana Beyond Aid “requires a deliberate, qualitative change in all aspects of our lives; especially, in the structure of our economy, the nature of our infrastructure, the education of our young people and acquisition of skills, and, above all, in our attitudes and holding firm to the values that define us.”
He said “even if there were no aid fatigue, and with the best will in the world and the most charitable governments in place in the so-called donor countries, there will never be enough aid to develop Ghana to the level we want. Aid was never meant to be what would bring us to the status of a developed nation.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered his address at the 61st Independence Day Celebration, at the Black Star Square, on Tuesday, 6th March, 2018.
The “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda was inspirational for many who hoped finally African countries could rethink their self-reliance agenda.
But the President has been criticized and in some ways scorned for preaching “Ghana Beyond Aid” while still ironically pursuing an aid agenda.
His government for sometime now has been criticized by many for going on a borrowing spree across the world, resulting in an increase in the country’s debt portfolio.
Another loan facility
On Wednesday the government announced that Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and the European Investment Bank have signed an agreement for the provision of €170 million facility for the establishment of a new national bank, the Development Bank Ghana (DBG).
This event took place when President Akufo-Addo, held a meeting with the President of the European Investment Bank, Dr. Werner Hoyer, as part of his official visit to Belgium.
The €170 million facility, according Dr. Hoyer, is the largest facility provided by the European Investment Bank for the establishment of a development bank in Africa or for any other project, for that matter, on the continent.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Akufo-Addo noted that “the Development Bank Ghana is going to play a very important part in the rapid economic transformation of Ghana, following the onset of COVID-19.”
According to him, “We want to restructure the economy, and move it from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials, to one that places much greater emphasis on value addition activities. We see this Bank (DBG) as one that will play a pivotal role in this”.
But many of his citizens see this move as a sharp contrast to his popular mantra of “Ghana Beyond Aid.”
Ghanaians react on social media
On social media “Ghana Beyond Aid” has been trending as citizens express concern about the rate at which Ghana’s government continues to borrow for projects.
Example “Ghana beyond Aid” pic.twitter.com/MWQIFgJVnn
— Dr. Ayigbe Borla Bird (@Mr_Ceyram) May 20, 2021
Ghana Beyond Aid just secured loan.. Are we below aid now? pic.twitter.com/hHFlIPo6Vr
— S? Asa?? ?? (@S3__Asa) May 20, 2021
“Ghana Beyond Aid” is trending at number 1 now because tweeps are wondering if government is really commited to its pledge to take Ghana beyond aid after securing a €170m loan to establish a development bank
— Why The Trend Ghana (@WhyTrendGhana) May 20, 2021
Ghana population = 30+ million
Land size = 238,535 KM square
Belgium population = 11+ million
Land size 30, 689 km square
We just went for a loan of €170 milli from Belgium.
Black Africans, are we cursed??
Ghana beyond aid
— #TsooHaMi (@mrquavergh) May 20, 2021
Dear sir @NAkufoAddo ?..
What was this slogan for?
“Ghana Beyond Aid”
That mantra was for what exactly? To blind lame people like my grand aunt in Anomabo who believed u was a SAINT prior to ur swearing in 2017 n believed u’re RICH to use ur own money to develop Ghana??? pic.twitter.com/aspDuHXphs
— ?Nana Qwamena Ansah III™ (@AnsahQwamena) May 20, 2021
The guy who introduced the Ghana Beyond Aid is borrowing more than our ancestors combined pic.twitter.com/dwZUKxIQnQ
— cheri (@che_rry_coco) May 20, 2021
Petition to end borrowing in Ghana
In April this year, Ghanaians signed an online petition that seeks to stop their government from taking loans from European Fund managers.
The petition which was started by a renowned economist and businessman, Dr. Kofi Amoah said “Ghana is presently overburdened with loans.”
According to the petition, “the total revenues plus grants to government can only service loan principal and interest payments, leaving nothing for investment to improve the welfare of citizens.”
“Additionally the costing of projects to which the loans are applied are exaggerated, creating room for corruption. The YOUTH needs jobs, importation and borrowing should be reduced!”
Those behind the petition said “Ghana had previously been declared HIPC, Heavily Indebted Poor Country, and over USD 4billion of Debt was forgiven to give the country a clean slate.
The petition ended stating that “With high unemployment, the tax base has shrunk, rendering Govt incapable of generating enough tax revenue to service its domestic civil service salaries and loan and interest payments to local and foreign lenders.”
The petition has received over 2,000 signatures as Ghanaians speak out on social media.