The news of our local San Francisco Bay area native and US Congressional leader, the dynamic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to visit Ghana, came as a major surprise. Being the 400 anniversary of the first slavery shipment from Ghana to the Americas, however, brings some deep introspection of sadness on the relationships between America and Africa.
Recent history and analysis of African-American socio-economic conditions in America, through the triumph and apparent healing brought by the Obama election and administration, and now the Trump ascendancy to power and associated tensions, leave cause for concern.
The question young Africans and African-Americans ask are: can there ever be an equity relationship of our two peoples, to their mutual benefit?
How have the last 62 years of relationship between an Independent Ghana since 1957 been, and especially after the 1966 coup?
Have the people of Ghana really benefitted in an era where despite top class Western Education, our experts remain in the West while massive loans to Ghana from the World Bank and IMF, the EU, US and now China, do not seem to help the people of Ghana but a few elites.
How do we compare to nations like Singapore and Korea who have trodden similar paths of colonialism, if not the slavery.
Ghana like most African countries have enormous problems many of which have been solved by America ad are considered elementary. A few examples are:
The malaria problem from mosquitoes that take the lives of an estimated 100,000 per year but nobody seems to mention and some consider as the norm.
The US solved this problem in the early part of the 1900s and it involves a redesigned and constructed underground sewage system and sanitation that should be on the table as priority. America has excess capacity of construction and farm equipment as one travels down California’s Highway 5, 101 and 99.
What is the excuse then of Leadership!
After 62 years of independence, massive billion dollar loans from the West and lately the Chinese, the only 4-lane durable Asphalt concrete highway in Ghana may be a 25 mile stretch of Motorway from Tema to Accra, about 12 miles of 4 lane highway in Accra called George W. Bush Highway built with the US Millennium Challenge account, and few broken miles on the Accra-Kumasi highway.
While this trip is not about the details of nation building, our Speaker and the Congressional black Caucus members should be reminded that until certain things are done and done right in Africa, it will always be a sad reflection of the missing pride of humanity that our African leaders, despite the broad smiles and impressive reception and pageantry as hosts, deny us blacks across the world.
The survival of the Africans left behind in the last 400 years, after the onslaught of slavery, has been not much better than the old slave raiders and those of the poor masses.
Please don’t let the high rises in the main city fool you. A look at the percentage of uncompleted housing in Ghana as one travels, reveals the shortage of capital in Ghana and the poverty gap. With an estimated 2 million housing deficit and shortage of capital, and almost no availability of Mortgage Finance, how do nations survive after the trauma of slave-raising and colonial exploitation?
And how do they build capital by tilling the land to grow cocoa and leasing the land for others to exploit minerals and oil with no processing despite engineers trained in America and the West in the last half century.
There needs to be a new paradigm shift in relationship just as was done with Germany and Japan after the world wars, or with Singapore.
The US and most Wester nations have no excuse as this writer can count hundreds of well-educated and qualified Ghanaian-born citizens of the US and other countries, willing and ready to help manage from the Western side.
Global security correlates with economic security and desperation politics of any nation.
Those of us able to look at both sides strongly recommend a system of Economic aid as direct Student loans, Small Business loans, and Mortgage secured loans at reasonable interest rates with no Ghana government involvement.
While some talk about reparations, and justifiably so, for damages done to Africa, there may be some modern ways people of shared vision today can work together in mutual respect for global security while providing a platform for helping people.
While there is risk associated with any lending, this writer believes the youth and people of Africa should be able obtain help directly without the previous losses and lack of oversight on loans provided through African governments.
Kwaku A. Danso, PhD
President /Co-Founder- Ghana Leadership Union (GLU)
East Legon, Accra, Ghana – and Livermore, California, USA
Secretary: Jeorge Wilson Kingson – 233-24-4822-034