By Maxwell Ofori
The Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has met the European Union (EU) and explained the whole concept of a Ghana Beyond Aid – an Akufo-Addo-led campaign.
The Senior Minister explained at first hand the vision of Ghana Beyond Aid to the EU, which is one of Ghana’s most important partners in the area of development cooperation.
At the meeting which afforded Mr. Osafo-Maafo the chance, he emphasised that considering the range of available resources and opportunities Ghana has, it should be developing at a faster pace than the modest gains which we have been recording.
“It is entirely possible for Ghana to meet all its expenditure without necessarily waiting for external support,” he said.
According to the Senior Minister, Ghana must resolve to address the paradox of being resource rich, yet poor.
He said: “Ghana must change this narrative through effective, efficient and strategic use of its resources, coupled with renewed mindset on the part of every Ghanaian to help in building a prosperous Ghana. In particular, we must marshal our collective forces to clamp down on corruption, because it is the single most important driver of our under-development.”
The Senior Minister, who also chairs the Ghana Beyond Aid Committee, stressed: “Our vision to grow out of the mindset of dependence will not happen overnight. It is a journey which will require the support of all stakeholders, including Ghana’s development partners.”
In this regard, aid and development cooperation will continue to play an important role in Ghana’s march towards self-reliance. He emphasised that aid will be channelled to the government’s priority areas which can have a multiplier effect for growth and economic transformation.
The Senior Minister engaged the EU in Brussels last week, when he led a Ghanaian delegation to the funeral of Mr. Jacques Chirac, which was held in Paris, France. Mr Chirac was the President of France from 1995 to 2007. He died at the age of 86.
The Senior Minister’s delegation later joined other global leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, former President Bill Clinton of the USA, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria among others.
The solemn event, which took place at the Church of Saint-Sulpice, provided an opportunity for world leaders and the people of France to pay their last respects to the man who was loved by many and described as a ‘Friend of Africa’.
The EU, through Ghana’s Mission in Belgium, invited the Senior Minister to Brussels for discussions on EU-Ghana development cooperation, particularly on Ghana Beyond Aid. In Brussels, Mr. Osafo-Maafo held high level meetings with Mr. Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for Africa at the European Action Service, Ms. Sandra Kramer, Director for EU-African Union relations in charge of West and East Africa, and Ms. Sabine Weyand, Director General of Trade at the EU.
Officials of the EU applauded Ghana’s bold initiative and pledged that the EU would shape its development cooperation within the context of Ghana Beyond Aid, so they can continue to remain a useful ally to Ghana’s development.
In particular, the EU would continue to facilitate investment, engage in fairer trade terms, and provide technical support to Ghana.
The Senior Minister was accompanied by Ambassador Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to Belgium, and Dr. Eric Yeboah, Secretary to the Ghana Beyond Aid Committee.