Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has said Ghana still needs the support of international donors to support the economy and drive development at all levels.
Government’s decision to sign eight new Co-operation Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding with China in different sectors of their respective economies, has been widely criticized by some stakeholders who have primarily argued that government has no new ways of generating wealth internally for development.
The criticism in most cases, has been occasioned by the government’s own pledge that it is seeking to build a Ghana Beyond Aid. There are also concerns that the country is not getting the best from the aid largely due to rising corruption levels.
Speaking to the media at the graduation of first batch of students of the Kufuor Scholars programme, former President Kufuor insisted that Ghana’s current phase of development requires some form of financial support from international partners.
“It is a matter of phasing. We are in a phase of development. We just do not get up and say no aid. They have exploited us enough, so we take to empower ourselves, to build ourselves through education and through attracting investment, creating employment, so it gets to a point where now when they come, they meet their equals. So, we have to be careful to say that now where we are, we will not go and ask for aid. We will do it, but only as a stage to empower us.”
The former President added that Ghana needs to strategically position itself to get the best out of international agreements.
“We need to build our negotiating skills up, so we get a fair share around the negotiating table because whether from the East or West, none of them come because they love us. They come for what they can get, and we must also learn what we want from them and learn to negotiate and take it.”
Government has already defended its decision to engage other countries including China to exploit natural resources for national development.
Minister for Information designate, Oppong Nkrumah has indicated that the current global environment makes China one of the best partners to work with for economic gains.
Speaking at the Second Edition of the Citi Business Forum themed “After China What Next”?, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah stated that the transformational agenda being embarked upon by the government requires a strategic partnership that will allow Ghana harness its resources without incurring so much cost.
He argued that the government needs the resources to expand and spread the country’s infrastructural development.
“One of our biggest partners Nigeria doesn’t seem interested in that enterprise. So, what are your options? You now look at China where EPC is coming, infrastructure is coming…financing that is not necessarily coming at some of these terms that are coming from other parts of the world,” he said.
A lawyer and Senior Partner at AB & David Law affiliates, David Ofosu-Dortey, recently said that Ghana’s seeming fixation with China as the most preferred trade partner is largely due to the country’s lack of strategy.
According to him, Ghana has for a very long time engaged trade partners like China without a detailed strategy, hence the country often appears to be disadvantaged in the signing of deals with them.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View, he said added to Ghana’s challenge of lack of strategy in international trade, is the country’s lack of capacity to undertake its own infrastructural development.
“It is a general issue of our lack of strategy all the time…. I don’t think there is any fixation with anybody about the Chinese. It is about capacity to deliver and when you don’t have a strategy and the lack of strategy backed by capacity you face these things,” he said.