Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo calls for an Africa Beyond Aid

Thursday, 23 November 2017

As part of international events marking Ghana’s 60th anniversary of independence, President Nana Akufo-Addo addressed an audience at a public event hosted by the Royal African Society (RAS). At the V&A in London, his Excellency was introduced by Dr Tristram Hunt, director of the museum, and Zeinab Badawi, chair of the RAS.

President Nana Akufo-Addo began his speech by talking about international perceptions of Africa. He said that a bomb in Brussels does not lead to cancellation of trips to Amsterdam, but an explosion in Mombasa would have travel advisories warning citizens against journeys to Kampala.

After years of receiving foreign aid, he argued the narrative of Africa in the international mainstream media has not changed, and the continent has remained poor. President Akufo-Addo said that it is obvious the aid bus will not take Africa to where it needs to be. "We do not want to be pawns or victims. It is time to build economies that are not dependent on aid or handouts".

He went on to talk about the discrepancy between resources and wealth, citing the example of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he said "has every mineral required to run the wheels of modern industry" but remains one of the poorest nations of the world. He revealed that Ghana together with Cote d’Ivoire produce 65% of the world's cocoa, but make just $6 billion from the $100 billion chocolate industry. He said it is time Africa became responsible for processing her own resources. He criticised unfavourable trade deals and the loss of $50 billion from the continent each year from illicit outflows.

President Akufo-Addo stressed the importance of strengthening the African Union as a tool through which political and economic integration can be achieved. He said that the time for integration is now and that all African countries must work towards the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Area. 

Watch the event here: