Who is the President of Ghana 1
Move away from development aid - Ghana's plan against dusty computers and expired drugs
"Our project is called‹ Ghana Beyond Aid ›- a Ghana that leaves the mentality of dependency, help and alms behind." This was announced by Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during a state visit to Bern in February 2020. Ghana wants to do without development aid in the future.
A third of Ghana's state budget comes from outside aid and loans - if you leave out debt interest and wages of state employees. It is often the donors who determine where their aid goes. But Ghana wants more self-determination. This is to be achieved with more tax revenue, greater agricultural production and increased industrialization.
“A good idea,” says Samuel Adams, Professor of Public Administration in Accra. "Development has to come from within, as history has shown." Outside help makes you comfortable. He points out that there is still a lot to be improved in democratic Ghana: “The rule of law must work. And corruption has not yet been tackled directly. "
The pandemic kit has expired
Disposable thermometers, disinfectants, masks and gloves rot in the box. They form a “Pandemic Preparedness Kit” that could get 25 people through a pandemic for five days - if it hadn't expired in September 2014, as the label shows.
Dozens of cardboard boxes with expired medicines are also stored in a room in the Bonsaaso village school. There are also several boxes of the contraceptive Implanon lying around. A box with 64 packs would have a market value of around CHF 20,000 in Switzerland.
The Millennium Villages Project wanted to demonstrate how villages were lifted out of poverty. The helpers were active in Bonsaaso for ten years, six years ago they left the village to their own devices. "After the helpers left, we discovered the material in a locked room," says Mark Amponsah, member of the district assembly.
Jeffrey Sachs and the Millennium Villages - a success?
The Millennium Villages Project was a project by the US development economist Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University in New York. From 2005 to 2015 it was supposed to demonstrate how with a few, targeted interventions, villages can be lifted out of poverty. A final study, in which Sachs ’team was involved, showed success; for example in the area of health. According to the study, however, the poverty rate in the villages has not improved measurably compared to other areas. The cost of the project was around $ 120 per person per year - a total of $ 600 million. Today Sachs advises states and organizations, including Ghana, in the field of telemedicine. Sachs likes the idea of “Ghana Beyond Aid”, a Ghana without development aid: “Ghana's President is taking a bold step - and we are helping.” This is not a contradiction, but rather a start-up aid.
The computers are dusty
The ten or so Linux computers are full of dust and cobwebs. The village school's computer room was powered by solar energy. The voltage from the battery is adapted to the computer. The computers have not been running since the solar system broke two years ago.
It's not the only computer project in the area that had no future. Twelve defective laptops from the Millennium Villages Project are stored in another school. Another PC shows the picture of the former president who had promised every schoolchild a computer at the time.
The computers show what can happen to donations if nobody is looking. Few people in Ghana's province know how to update Linux, where spare batteries are available. There is a lack of knowledge and resources to continue successfully running projects like the “Millennium Villages Project”.
Telemedicine doesn't work
The Millennium Village Project has expanded health care in the villages around Bonsaaso. Telemedicine, supported by the Swiss Novartis Foundation, should revolutionize healthcare.
A large wooden desk in the St. Martin’s Hospital in Agroyesum is evidence of this. "The equipment for telemedicine was moved elsewhere," says hospital director Ralph Odom. The state is continuing the project. Not only was the telemedicine equipment withdrawn - good staff also migrated after the end of the Millennium Village project.
The test call to the state telemedicine number shows: Nobody picks up. The health centers around St. Martin’s Hospital have meanwhile organized themselves - via Whatsapp. "This is now our telemedicine," explains chief nurse Mary Taabazuing.
In Ghana's periphery, the state cannot provide all the necessary services. Half of the hospital is financed by the Catholic Church, the streets are loamy dirt tracks, and there is only some electricity. On the other hand, the Ghanaian children can go to school for free.
"We would like to meet all the needs of our people," explains Ghana's Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. But that is not possible at the moment. The state wants to generate more income for this, for example by broadening the tax base.
A chocolate factory precedes
In the port city of Tema, it smells of chocolate from afar. Cocoa is processed here - Ghana's most important agricultural product. The lion's share of Ghana's cocoa beans still leave the country unprocessed.
The Niche Cocoa factory was founded in 2007 by the Ghanaian Edmund Poku and is the first cocoa processing company in local hands. Initially, the factory produced cocoa mass, butter and powder. “Niche Cocoa” has also been making chocolate for three years. It tastes good.
Local added value is one of the central elements of the idea of “Ghana Beyond Aid”, as President Akufo-Addo explained to the Federal Council during his visit last year. Since then, there has been speculation on social media that Ghana no longer wants to supply Switzerland with cocoa. But it's not that far yet.
It will be years before a “Ghana Beyond Aid”, a Ghana without external development aid. It's an ambitious plan by the president. But if you don't set yourself goals, you will never achieve them.
You can find out more on the topic in the International program on Saturday at 9 a.m. on Radio SRF 2 Kultur and at 11.30 a.m. on Radio SRF 4 News and on Sunday at 6.30 p.m. on Radio SRF 1 and SRF 4 News - or as a podcast at srf.ch /audio.
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