The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana, says the ability of Africans to speak with one voice and repose confidence in themselves is the trump card for the development of the continent. He said the marginalisation of Africa was a painful reality and could continue unless the people learnt to speak with one voice.
Speaking at the second Norwegian-African Business Summit in Oslo, Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the root cause of the problems confronting Africa was the people’s lack of confidence in themselves to deal resolutely with their development challenges.
He said by and large Africans had separated themselves from the initial thrust of inspiration, traditions and values inculcated in them by their forefathers to build their capacity to achieve the best for the continent.
‘’This lack of confidence springs from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be persuaded that there is nothing useful in our past, in our culture and tradition and way of life that is worth preserving and building upon.
“We have acted almost in the belief that there is nothing in our genes and that we are simply fated to failure. As a consequence, we have almost jettisoned our culture and traditions and surrendered to everything foreign. We have got ourselves trapped in a near-Orwellian enclave in which everything African is bad and everything foreign is good,” the Asantehene said.
That situation, he said, had contributed to illiteracy and poverty in many African countries.
“Neither Japan nor China nor any of the so-called Asian Tigers has achieved its status by abandoning its heritage. Yes, the free market has been the driving force, but l would draw your attention to the underlying, even if less publicised, fact that underpins the phenomenon is the absolute self-confidence of the people, derived from their culture, history and way of life.
“I suggest to you, therefore, that understanding our past and our culture, which identifies us as a people, is important for our self-confidence and that self-confidence is an indispensable prerequisite for our survival in the challenging new era.
“Although the global economy is not the best, Ghana has made some modest gains,” he said.
The Asantehene said three years ago, Ghana recorded the fastest rate of growth in the world, albeit on the back of its new-found oil.
“But even before oil came on-stream, our rate of growth had remained remarkably impressive,” he said.
In the face of all the external financial shocks, he observed that the local economy continued to show great resilience, recording a growth rate well above that of its peers and despite a massive 20 per cent drop in foreign remittance and a further sharp drop in foreign direct investment.
“The strong performance of our two key commodities of gold and cocoa is important, but no less important must be the improvement in the fiscal and monetary policy environment,” he said
“What lies behind this relatively satisfying picture? It is a combination of the quiet emergence of remarkable consensus within the country’s political establishment and civil society over the general shape and direction of the economy, as well as the continuous improvement in the process of policymaking.
“The years of sharp ideological cleavages, which created uncertainties about fundamental policy directions, appear to be dead and buried,” he said.