Natural resources must not define national development - Alban Bagbin
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament has called for a paradigm shift in the national psyche and the country's dependability on natural resources.
Alban Bagbin said these two shifts would be the solution to ending the country’s developmental challenges.
Mr. Bagbin, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency, said rather than focusing on natural resources to turn the country’s fortunes around, quality education holds the key to moving Ghana to the next pedestal.
He was speaking in the Upper West Region capital, Wa, at a recent event to launch activities marking his Silver Jubilee in Parliament and his 60th birthday celebrations.
“The fact that a country is resource-rich does not necessarily make the country rich,” Mr. Bagbin said.
The event, which was organised by the Youth Advocates for Social Democracy (YASOD), a civil society organisation committed to entrenching democratic values, forms part of a yearlong programme to celebrate the long-serving MP’s dedicated service to the nation.
Present at the gathering were traditional rulers, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, religious leaders, former and present Members of Parliament, representatives of political parties and the media.
The programme also saw large attendance from people from all over the three regions of the north.
He emphasised that “it is ideas, creativity, innovation and originality that develop a country, not commodities.”
He cited examples of countries in Africa which are endowed with huge natural resources but have failed to turn around their economies, admonishing for a redirection in the national thinking.
Mr Bagbin’s comments follow uproar among a large section of the Ghanaian populace on the decision by the current government to mortgage some mineral resources of the country for financial support from China.
“Cocoa and gold are semi-luxury goods and cannot be relied on to rake in the necessary foreign exchange to balance our current accounts.
“A country cannot rely on the proceeds of oil and petroleum to develop, if it were so our neighbour, Nigeria, would have been well developed by now,” he reiterated.
According to him, the answer to the seesaw type of development the country is experiencing is quality education.
He further took a swipe at the concept of free education saying “the solution is not just the implementation of a free universal education for all, but a carefully thought-through home grown system of quality education based on science and technology and anchored on a culture of integrity.”