The United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana has said the West African country’s vision of growing its economy beyond aid would only happen if the principle of good governance is enforced.
Mr Robert Jackson said he was absolutely convinced Ghana Beyond Aid cannot happen without the country practicing and enforcing the democratic principle of good governance.
He said good governance could be achieved partly through improving the ability of government to provide services to citizens at both national and local levels, strengthening institutions and citizens holding government accountable.
Mr Jackson said this while addressing students of Wa campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) as part of his two-day official visit to the Upper West Region.
He described ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ as a bold vision adding that in order to achieve it, the government must equally be bold about eliminating injustices such as human trafficking, pervasive corruption and exploitation of children among other ills that inhibit development.
Mr Jackson said injustices were not Ghana specific and called for the need for state parties to come together to demonstrate their shared responsibility in addressing the issues.
Corruption – whether through bribery, nepotism or in some other form – he said, compromised the quality and availability of much-needed services like health care, education, and infrastructure development.
Human trafficking, which he referred to as modern day slavery, was another injustice; Mr Jackson said could prevent Ghana from reaching its full potential.
He called for increase in efforts directed towards fighting the canker.
He named fishing, illegal mining and domestic work, as areas where children were being exploited in Ghana, and said those sections were not jobs for children who are expected to be in school.
“We must ensure that those who profit from exploiting ordinary people in this manner were caught and punished severely,” he said: “They are criminals, and what they are doing is evil. They are stealing people’s lives and Ghana’s future.”
“We have ongoing programmes with local communities, law enforcement and the judiciary to help identify and rescue victims and capture and punish perpetrators” Mr Jackson said.
He urged Ghanaians to recognize the warning signs of trafficking and enslavement and endeavour to speak up whenever they encounter such situations.
Mr Jackson said he believed in the possibility of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ but cautioned that government should not relent in the fight against social and economic injustices.
He said the US government fully supports that vision as previous assistance helped Ghana make concrete steps in areas of economic growth, health, education, peace and security as well as good governance.