Delivering his speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference held last Monday, September 13, 2021, in Bolgatanga, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted that democracy has been beneficial to Ghana and Africa at large, however, its price is eternal vigilance.
“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”
“The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of [sic] unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.
He further explained that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially to $605 in 1995, declined marginally to $547 in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to $1,550.
According to the President, Ghana’s GDP per capita was $398 in 1990, declined to $258 in 2000, and it is now $2,223.
Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.
“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54% and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
The Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education system, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.
With the goal of attaining Universal Health Coverage for all, the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and the number of its users increasing remarkably with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019.
The President further explained that the Bar Conferences plays a vital role in democratic governance the backbone of constitutional rule, freedom of the press, and independence of the judiciary and any other matter which were of interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a democratic governance structure.
President Akufo-Addo added that “The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people”.
By: George Addo