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Submitted by DELALI NDO on
'In a speech to the United Nations in 1957, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah said that, because institutions and capacity in his country were so weak, the government had to control the economy. His soon-to-be Ivorian counterpart Felix Houphouet-Boigny disagreed. Precisely because institutions and capacity in Cote d’Ivoire were so weak, he would rely on the market to drive the economy'. the socio-economic woes of Africa will continue if the right diagnosis is not done. Kwame Nkruma of Ghana and Houphouet-B'oigny of Cote d'Ivoire referred to above adopted different approaches to economic development. i can say both failed. our study conducted into 'lack of sustainability in the socio-economic development in Ghana since independence' revealed a number of issues. Whiles Nkrumah relied on the use of state power to grow the economy, he created a populace that is highly dependent on the state with little belief in themselves. But it takes the collective will and ingenuity of the people to grow an economy. The dependent mind-set of the people is sustained by an educational system that fails to design an INTENT for what type of educated Ghanaian the school system must churn out. Without changing the fundamentals of education bequeathed from the colonial master, Britain, Ghana has produced 'parrots' who try to outdo one another in copying the socio-cultural, economic and political ways of life of foreigners, without belief in themselves. Thus instead of graduates helping solve problems, they literally ran away from problems because the can hardly ascribe solutions. They shun almost everything local but promote almost everything foreign. In other words, the three 'Rs' still being taught in our schools in the raw state, can hardly produce the sophisticated technical minds we need to stir up sustainable development. What Ghana has also failed to do is its inability to dispassionately diagnose her difficulties today without partisan politics. Just before Kwame Nkrumah's overthrow, economic difficulties had began to show ugly heads. By year 2000, about 400 state-owned companies built from independence, had been sold by governments that claimed allegiance to Nkrumah. What are the implications? Even though we cannot go into the analysis here, it proved the failure of Nkumah's economic approach as against that of his counterpart, Houphoet-B'oigny. Even though i do not have deep insight to do a deep interrogation of the socio-political, economic and cultural dynamics of Cote d'Ivoire, the civil war in the sister country after the death of Houphoet B'oigny can be traced to fundamental weaknesses: the economic path adopted could not inure to political stability. In Cote d'Ivoire the influence of the French in its developmental equation sustains a dependent mind-set of the population. Thus it is clear that, which ever way we look at Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, both failed. And both failed due to weak foundations. And no amount of technological advancement will be safe if the equation is not changed to adopt strategies that will provide opportunities to the mass of the people to put their ingenuity to work within their own socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. This is the real danger to sustainable development in Africa and to all countries that have experienced colonial domination before. Once the fundamentals of psyching the populace for national development is wrong, no amount of prescriptions will succeed, but constantly generate political upheavals that destroy the little gains made. The Arab spring can easily erupt anywhere. The situation is getting more critical under globalisation as African leaders are looking up more to play the darling of developed nations without watching the ground on which they place their steps in that quest. As the world praises my country Ghana about democratic and economic gains, as against the realities on the ground, I pity the leaders who look oblivious of the looming dangers posed by discontentment and lack of faith in leadership, but especially political leadership. This is the danger to economic sustainability. My study of the Ghanaian situation between 2002 and 2006 identified NEGATIVE ATTITUDES, 60.9% of the time, as the cause of failure of most projects and programmes funded by government and development partners. The danger is that the people hardly see themselves as part of these failures, but the political leadership. We define negative attitudes as, 'an impervious seal on the mind that defies all forms of training and education'. ‘Attitudes are not quick judgments that you make casually and can easily change. You have acquired attitudes throughout your life and they are deeply ingrained in your personality’. Bob Goyer Unfortunately, African governments and development partners speak about attitudes as a mere problem. I have come to tell all that, this is the bane of our developmental woes. We need to tackle it hard. Our negative attitudes have evolved from an environment bonded by 'half-education'. Ghana has produced numerous agricultural experts of international repute, Ghana has received agricultural grants and loans from several development partners running into tens of billions of dollars over the decades, Ghana has the environment congenial for agricultural production, ex-Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kuffour have been awarded international prizes for reducing hunger. But Ghana CANNOT feed itself. It is a tragedy. The human resource of any nation is most critical to its success. Humans are not like animals whose actions can be determined. the human being is rational and supposed to think and act freely within the ambit of laws. Thus the challenge in preempting how a person thinks and acts at a particular time in a given situation becomes an issue. It is in these scenarious that attitude formation and judgment come to the fore. I shed tears as I see billions of dollars invested in our economy go down the drain since independence whiles we still grapple with poverty and underdevelopment using the same failed approaches over the years. The study also revealed that, project reports from various development partners - the World Bank, IMF, IFAD, AfDB etc often stated that, 'this project cannot guarantee sustainability'. On President Barack Obama's first official visit to Africa and specifically to Ghana in 2009,he stated categorically that, 'Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men'. This statement confirms that the institutional weaknesses encountered in 1957, persist till today. And I dare say that, this is the result of attitudes evolving from 'half-education'. Thus we attempt at solving socio-cultural challenges with borrowed legal regimes and in so doing destroy and alienate social bonds that must inure to economic development through sound local governance. From our study, we decided not to leave this yawning developmental gap to chance. We have designed a training and implementation tool called, 'BACK TO ROOTS PROJECT' to help our institutions/people to appreciate the challenges, believe in themselves and take up the mantle of development on all fronts with self-satisfaction and motivation. The pilot phase has made tremendous waves. It worthy to incorporate this into project designs and development. BACK TO ROOTS is a 'probing, animation, motivational and attitudes transformational tool for nationalism, efficient service delivery, increased productivity, wealth creation and sustainable development'. contact :