Even in African countries like Zimbabwe, under the leadership of President Mugabe, who has gone on record numerous times to voice a deep-seated disdain of Western countries, foreign aid is still a huge part of their reality.
Most African governments have foreign aid as a go-to bail-out from tight spots that any country is sure to go through at any point in time. Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama, has, however, spoken out against foreign aid and sympathy provided by the international community at the United Nations General Assembly.
Foreign aid is not the answer, fair trade is
President Mahama had been addressing the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session when he declared that Africa does not need development assistance from developed countries but rather, “a fair chance” to trade with the rest of the world.
“Africa does not need your sympathy or overseas development assistance, … Africa needs a fair chance to trade with the rest of the world and amongst ourselves. The progress towards the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is commendable and must be fast tracked.”
Continuing in that vein, the President said that raising intra-African trade alone from the paltry average of 15 percent will create better opportunities for Africa’s youth.
While making his point, the President referred to his recent decision to allow other African countries travelling to Ghana to obtain visas on arrival, to be based on his desire to inspire these open trade practices. He said that if such visa-on-arrival policies were replicated across the continent, it would stimulate trade and investment.
President Mahama also explained that Africa is a diverse country with 54 countries at different stages of progress and development;
“The mistake with Africa is that we are seen as a homogenous unit and treated as such, not taking cognizance that we are a whole continent with different aspirations, cultures, democracies and economic development.”
As such, the President enthused that democracy is not a one size fits all system and a recognition of that fact would enable Africa to work on its potential to be the next continent on the rise.
The President did not fail to praise his country as part of Africa’s success story as the “model of democracy” or the “beacon of democracy” in the region, pointing out that since the adoption of the 1992 Constitution the country has held successive elections with respected results that have established Ghana’s democratic credentials in the world.