General News of 2014-03-26

Akufo-Addo talks ‘free education’ in Nigeria

Two-time Leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed on the need for the African continent to add value to its human capital.

He said education provides the key to the attainment of this.

“That is why, for my part, I made and will continue to make education the foundation for my vision to build a knowledge-based, industrialised economy in Ghana,” Nana Addo stated on Tuesday, March 25 when he addressed corporate leaders at the 3rd Annual Innovention Series in Lagos, Nigeria.

He observed that for Africa to compete effectively in the global economy, its workforce must be “confident” and “educated”.

“Access to free, universal, quality, basic education is the key to participation in the new global economy,” he emphasized, pointing out that there is a disconnect between the continent’s human and natural resources.

“Until we bridge this gap, we cannot compete successfully in the global market and we cannot create dignified and confident societies.”

Nana Addo was concerned about the constant failure of the continent to meet its projections, blaming the situation on lack of good leadership.

“I suggest that, unless and until we come to terms fully with our political arrangements, we shall make no progress,” he told the gathering inside the Civic Center in Ozumba Mbadiwe in Lagos.

“At the threshold of the end of colonialism, West Africa held great promise,” he noted.

But, he said, military interventions has held development back.

“Our problem, I suggest, has been leadership. The implementation of these plans has been left to technocrats and bureaucrats. However well-meaning they may be, our region cannot make the bold transforming changes it needs to make without visionary political leadership.“

He cited the projections made 10 years ago about Africa's 25 per cent export of crude oil to the United States.

"Today we know that with the onset of fracking or hydraulic fracturing, the US and Canada and the UK are able to tap unconventional oil and gas deposits, thus reducing substantially their dependence on petroleum imports," Nana Addo said.

"In other words, our oil might no longer be the black gold it used to be. It is the responsibility of innovative leadership to think ahead and be ready for the changes that lie ahead."

Nana Addo was accompanied on the trip by business executives and his aides including Mustapha Hamid and Eugene Arhin as well as Elizabeth Ohene and Member of Parliament Adwoa Safo.