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Ghana, Diaspora must link up for economic dev - Veep

March 8, 2017, 4:24 p.m.

VICE-PRESIDENT, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has challenged African countries to strive for economic independence.

That, he said, can be achieved when the country weans itself from dependence on aid. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the African Diaspora Homecoming Conference yesterday, Dr. Bawumia said there should be a more conscious effort between Africans and the diaspora community for development.

He said Africa should look at countries such as Japan and China which have evolved with economic development by combining resources and energies.

He asked those in the diaspora to be the link to key development in Ghana through trade and investment. 

According to him, that would turn Ghana into a self-sustaining economy and there is the need to come together with diasporans to achieve that. 

“In Africa, we also have to understand that the way we are looked at both in the diaspora and on the continent is very linked and the underlying link is the economic development of Africa, and we have to make sure we combine our resources, our energies to make sure that Africa becomes developed economically and self-dependent…You look at how perceptions in Japan and China have evolved and I think they have also evolved with economic development and you cannot deny that…”

“We have to move beyond aid dependency and that is why when we are looking at how to manage our economies, the issue of building self sustaining independent economies is key for all of us and I think we cannot do it individually. We need to come together.”

He also reminded Africans and people of African descent that the world's perception of their worth is inextricably tied to their economic well-being.

The former deputy governor of the Central Bank lauded the "stable democracy of Ghana" and challenged Africans both home and abroad to link up and harness their potential in order to fully liberate the African continent. 

"We could have done better as far as economic performance is concerned, but what is remarkable is our heritage and culture which is one thing we really have to be grateful for. 

“Normally in economics, you tend to ignore the issues of heritage and culture when you do policy, but we ignore that at our peril. No one can compete with you for those in the world since it is a unique commodity to us which we have to hold dearly,” he said.

He said if Ghana is able to tap the human resources, investment and trade resources, science and technology of its links in the diaspora, it can make a lot of strides to make up for the separation during colonialism and slavery. 

Dr Bawumia shared his experience of being teased after he wrote a paper 'Economics of Racism' of seeing everything in economic spectacles, adding that it was time Africa tie the link that broke its people from it years ago. 

He believes the way Africa is looked at, both in the diaspora and on the continent, it was time to take advantage of the combined energies and resources to make sure that Africa develops economically and be self-dependent.   

On her part, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, announced plans for an Investment and Culture Forum to strengthen the links between Ghana and the diaspora.