P. KUPRIYANOV, Candidate of Economic Sciences
In March 2007, the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences held a meeting of the Academic Council dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence, which was attended by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ghana to the Russian Federation Edward Alau Mantey, representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry, ambassadors of several African countries, as well as veterans of the Russian diplomatic service.
Opening the meeting, the Institute's Deputy Director, Professor V. Shubin, said that Ghana was the first country in Tropical Africa to achieve independence and accelerate the decolonization of the entire African continent. He congratulated the Ambassador and, through him, the entire Ghanaian people on their "Golden Jubilee" and wished him new success on the path of socio-economic development.
Candidate of Economic Sciences P. Kupriyanov (Institute of Africa) made a report "Ghana: 50 years on the path of independence". He noted that on March 6, 1957, a new State appeared on the political map of the world - Ghana. So the former English colony of the Gold Coast became known. The day of March 6 was not chosen by chance. On March 6, 1844, an agreement was signed with the leaders of the coastal tribes to recognize the power of the English king. The new state was named Ghana in honor of one of the ancient and developed states of West Africa.
Ghana's huge role in the national liberation movement in Africa is not limited to the fact that it was the first colony in sub-Saharan Africa to gain political independence. Even during the struggle for independence, Kwame Nkrumah repeatedly said that the independence of Ghana will not be ensured if the whole of Africa does not become free from the domination of colonialists. "We have finished the battle, but let's now start the struggle for the liberation of other African countries, because our independence does not make sense if we do not connect it with the complete liberation of the entire African continent," K. Nkrumah emphasized. Specific cases immediately followed, to name just a few.
Already in April and December 1958, the First Conference of Independent States of Africa and the First Conference of the Peoples of Africa were held in the capital of Accra, which adopted a number of important documents aimed at raising the national liberation movement on the continent. The results were obvious. 1960 went down in history as the "Year of Africa", when 17 African countries achieved independence, while others intensified their struggle against colonialism. K. Nkrumah highly appreciated the Soviet Union's assistance to African peoples in their struggle for liberation from colonialism. "...If it were not for the Soviet Union, "he said," the movement for liberation from the colonial yoke in Africa would have experienced the full force of a brutal and brutal suppression..."
In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed, which was an important step towards the complete liberation of Africa from colonialism. This is undoubtedly a great achievement of Ghana and personally K. Nkrumah. In 2002, the OAU, as you know, was transformed into the African Union, which includes 53 independent States. It is quite natural that in the year of the" Golden Jubilee " of Ghana, the President of this country, John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, was elected chairman of the African Union.
Over the past 50 years, Ghana has played an active role in the international arena. It is a founding member of the AU, NEPAD, ECOWAS, not-
a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the North-South Movement and many other organizations. Ghana's contribution to international affairs is recognized by the fact that its native Kofi Annan has been the UN Secretary-General for the past 10 years.
The path of a pioneer, as you know, is always difficult and thorny. Ghana was no exception. Over the past 50 years, it has followed a socialist orientation, pursued a pro-Western, non-Aligned policy, experienced economic upheaval and a series of coups. But the country was able to overcome the state of permanent instability and poverty and become one of the leaders in economic development in Africa.
In the early 1990s, the Ghanaian Government managed to make a smooth transition from a military regime to a civilian one and, using the help of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, skillfully embarked on the path of democratization of public life and market-based reforms in the economy. Significant progress has been made on this path. Over the past 20 years, Ghana's economic development rate has been very stable, reaching 3-6% per year. According to the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, Ghana ranked 9th among 175 countries in 2005 in terms of investment attractiveness and business development rates.
Some progress has been made in the areas of education, healthcare, and transformation in the Ghanaian countryside. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that Ghana does not have its own energy resources and it has to spend significant funds on oil and gas imports.
Ghana, of course, still has many outstanding issues, as it does in many developing countries. Here they know about them and make great efforts to solve them. In 2002, the Government launched a strategic "Plan for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction". One of the main goals is for Ghana to reach the level of a middle-income country. There is every reason to believe that this plan will be implemented and that Ghana will be among the first developing countries to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal of reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015.
In Ghana, the speaker emphasized, a two-party system has been formed - a new opposition party led by current President John Kufuor and the Democratic National Congress Party led by Jerry Rawlings, who was in power for 19 years, including the first 11 years as the head of the military regime. For the past 15 years, the main struggle has been between them.
In general, bipartisanship ensures the stability of the positions of the ruling regime and the relative stability of the internal political situation in the country. This is demonstrated by the fact that peace and order remain in Ghana, while many countries in West Africa are gripped by conflict, war and violence. This is neighboring Ivory Coast, Guinea, in the recent past Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Political relations between our countries have been characterized as friendly and constructive for 50 years, and there are no obstacles to the development of mutually beneficial bilateral trade and economic ties. It should be noted that the approaches of Russia and Ghana to solving major global problems coincide or are similar. Russia and Ghana have signed a number of agreements, many of which are still in force today.
Over the years of bilateral relations, about 4 thousand Ghanaian specialists have been trained in universities of the USSR and Russia. In the 1960s, hundreds of Soviet specialists-geologists, engineers, doctors, and teachers - worked in Ghana to build a house-building plant in Accra, a refinery in Tarkwa, a hospital in Kumasi, and Legon University. As for the current economic, scientific and technical cooperation, due to objective and subjective reasons, it leaves much to be desired, according to the speaker. We regret to say that Russian business is practically not represented in Ghana.
In his speech, Ambassador Edward Mantey focused on the history of the European conquest of the coastal part of the Gulf of Guinea, which they called the Gold Coast because of the goods that were exported in large quantities from there. In 1482 the Portuguese built the first castle, and in 1598 the Dutch arrived, followed by many European merchants, including the English, Danes, and Swedes. By 1847, only the English remained, and the Gold Coast became a British colony.
The Ambassador spoke about the struggle of the people of the Gold Coast led by Kwame Nkrumah against the colonialists, which culminated in the conquest of political independence on March 6, 1957. Since then, Ghana has gone through a difficult period in its history, having experienced six military coups. But despite the change of military regimes, "Ghanaians have remained calm, steadfast, dignified and have avoided severe upheavals and civil conflicts," he stressed.
Currently, the country is implementing a social and economic development program, the main task of which is to achieve the level of Ghana as a middle-income country. Five priority areas have been identified: strengthening good governance institutions, improving the work of the private sector, modernizing agriculture, improving social security for citizens, and developing infrastructure.
Government policy pursued by President J. R. R. Tolkien Kufuorom, the Ambassador noted, won the sympathy and trust of the international community, which enabled Ghana to write off $ 7 billion in external debt and use the released funds for infrastructure development within the framework of the program of assistance to countries with the largest external debt.
Over the past five years, the country has experienced high economic growth (6% in 2006), reduced inflation (from 40% to 10%) and poverty (from 39.5% in 2000 to 33.4% in 2005). These data, the Ambassador noted, combined with a marked improvement in the business climate and democratic processes, as well as civil liberties and freedom of the press, indicate that Ghana will be able to reduce the poverty rate by half by 2015 (i.e., up to 17%). "Ghana's prospects for becoming a middle-income country over the next decade are really high," said Edward Mantey.
The Ambassador said that the principle of Ghana's foreign policy is peaceful coexistence with all countries. Ghana believes that without peace, any economic development efforts will be in vain. In Accra, it is believed that with the collapse of the bipolar world with its inherent cold war and its replacement by a world in which international issues are resolved from a position of strength, the Non-Aligned Movement remains the most acceptable, since it is aimed at resisting all types of discrimination in international affairs.
Dialogue and negotiation are the main methods used by Ghana to resolve various crises, such as the one that occurred in the Darfur province of Sudan. On the occasion of Ghana's Golden Jubilee, its President was unanimously elected President of the African Union in February 2007. He stated that the issue of preserving peace will be the focus of attention during his presidency. Ghana will host the African Union Leaders ' summit in Accra in July 2007, and President Kufuor intends to propose a road map for the formation of an African Government as an agenda item.
Speaking about bilateral relations, Edward Mantey noted that Ghana was the first Black African country to establish diplomatic relations with Russia, then the USSR. The Soviet Union extended a helping hand to Ghana by providing sti-
They have also been awarded scholarships to young Ghanaians to study at Soviet universities, mainly medical ones, and to take part in various construction projects, such as the construction of the Bui hydroelectric power station and the construction of an international airport in the capital of the Northern region of the country. All of them were stopped after Nkrumah's overthrow. "Cooperation between Ghana and the USSR gave a new impetus to the struggle for the complete liberation of the African continent from colonialism," the Ambassador stressed.
Edward Mantey expressed the wish that Russian President Vladimir Putin would find an opportunity "to join his brother President John Kufuor in Ghana in July 2007, thereby demonstrating his solidarity with African states during the African Union summit." Russia is a powerful and important power in international affairs, both politically, economically and socially. This visit would contribute to the development and strengthening of all-round Russian-African cooperation, as well as to the further socio-economic development of Ghana and the whole of Africa.
Ghana hopes that the Russian business community will lend a helping hand to solve the problem of energy resources, start developing iron ore deposits, and develop the railway network. This will be mutually beneficial for both countries.
In conclusion, Edward Mantey expressed his sincere gratitude "for the comprehensive assistance of the USSR/Russia, which has provided and continues to provide assistance to Ghana and Africa, especially in the field of education."
Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. Solodovnikov, B. Petruk (both Institute of Africa) and Amara Bangura (Ambassador of Guinea to the Russian Federation) shared their impressions of their meetings with Kwame Nkrumah.
Pavel Pavlov (Russian Ambassador to Ghana, 1997 - 2002) spoke about his meetings with Ghanaian Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor.
Closing the meeting of the Academic Council, V. Shubin proposed to hold a scientific conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Kwame Nkrumah's birth at the Institute of Africa in September 2009. The proposal was adopted unanimously.
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