Ghana consolidate gains at 63  

Ghanaians in Sierra Leone celebrated their 63 years of Independence in colorful grandeur on Friday at the High Commissioner’s Hill Station residence in Freetown. Ghana Youth Association in Sierra Leone sang in high spirit as they danced and waved the red, gold and green horizontal strips with a five pointed black star in the centre that comprise Ghana’s flag. This symbol of independence flew proudly in the windy evening blue sky remembering the blood of those who died in the country’s struggle for independence, the country’s wealth, and rich vegetation.  Clad in white and colorful traditional wrapper Ghana’s High Commission to Sierra Leone, Francis Abkah said the theme of this year’s celebration is “consolidating our gains”. He said the theme speaks to the imperative of time and “the need to reflect on our successes as a country and how to build on them to achieve the overall goal of a ‘Ghana beyond aid.’”  Quoting Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo, High Commissioner, Abkah said, there has been a marked shift in the socio-economic development of the country since the past few years. For the first time in over 40 years we have had a fiscal deficit below 5% of GDP for three years in a row. Inflation has been reduced to its lowest level since 1992. Our economic growth has also rebounded and placed Ghana among the fastest growing economies in the world for three years in a row in an annual average of 7% up from 3.4% in 2016. He also explained that virtually every facet of the economy has now been digitalized. “In examining our gains we are mindful of the fact that our expectation of a brighter tomorrow will only come to fruition if we can guarantee an educated and skilled work force … an area our sister country Sierra Leone fully identifies with.” He explained that Agriculture has also been another area of interest of the two countries, noting that in Ghana it is dubbed; “planting for food and job.”  The High Commissioner also noted that 2019 was designated as the year of no return which was a year-long spiritual and birthright journey that invited the Global African family both home and abroad to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first slave Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. He explained that on the local front, Ghana’s bilateral relations with Sierra Leone has been longstanding and “we seek to deepen it.” Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabeela Farida Tunis said Ghana is an enviable model of a country that has picked itself up from the barbarism of slavery and the menace of colonialism, and is now competing effectively to become an equal economic and political player in the global arena. She expressed her delight at the monumental progress that the country has achieved since its independence in 1957. “Since you earned your independence from the British, your country has greatly transformed its social services delivery to poorest households, especially in the education and health sectors, thereby drastically reducing infant and maternal mortality and significantly alleviating poverty among the Ghanaian population.” The minister said that since 1957, Ghana has trained arguably Africa’s finest medical doctors, engineers and educationists. “Your infrastructural development which is currently accelerating your economic growth is truly remarkable and has provided a plausible reference point for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” she averred. Most importantly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “peaceful democratic transition of governments has become the second nature of the Ghanaian political system even to the admiration of advanced democracies across the globe. Indeed it has become the beacon of hope for the transformation of the African continent.”

By Ophaniel Gooding

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