Tony Blair at the IEA
Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has backed the recent advocacy by President Akufo-Addo for Ghana to wean itself off foreign aid to become a partner in the development agenda.
Answering questions from journalists at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which invited him to give a lecture on democracy, Mr. Blair said the success of Ghana depends largely on its people although aid was important.
“Whether a country like Ghana succeeds will be up to Ghanaians, in the end we can help, developed world can help, but ultimately your success lies in your hands. You will make your country succeed and nothing else can substitute for that and that is the principle of partnership rather than general recipient,” he told journalists.
He explained that Ghana, which has great potential to grow, must take the difficult decisions to improve the lives of the citizenry.
“Right now is the moment for understanding our potential and developing for there is a genuine opportunity for Ghana to make it with the right decisions,” he added.
He said in order for Ghana to become trade partner, the country must learn the lessons of governments around the world to strengthen its democracy, fight corruption, improve skills and infrastructure for businesses to come in.
“Yes we need to knock down those trade barriers in the West but we also need to knock down the trade barriers like tariffs…We know what we should do, the challenge is doing it, we have to learn the best lessons around the world and apply those lessons,” he noted.
Touching on Brexit, Mr. Blair said there was a general anxiety about change and globalization because they come with economic and technological change.
“Ultimately the world moves closely together across the boundaries of ethnicity and culture. The challenges of globalization should not shut the world down, instead it should open it up to help people improve with the process of change and this is why things like education, skills and infrastructure are really important.’
“No wonder your new president has made education such a big priority because the more educated you are, the more capable you will be to handle this world of change and the challenge with the governments is how to help people through the process of change, how to access the benefits of globalization and minimize its risk,” he stated.
“We can make globalization work for people and it will be a mistake to shut it down; if we shut it down, we will make a lot of people worse off.
The former UK Prime Minister earlier met President Akufo-Addo and expressed optimism that Ghana’s new president would fix the country’s economy.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri