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Opinions Sun, 26 Feb 2006

Ghanaians Abroad: A Call to Support Our Country

This message is to all, but especially to those who feel and think Ghanaian residents abroad cannot come together to mobilize resources to assist in the national development of our beloved country. I do not want to sound too optimistic about this idea, but I cannot fathom the expression by some that this is unreal. Collectively, we have everything it takes ? both intellectual and financial to rebuild our country. The events in couple of days ago have shown me that majority of Ghanaians living outside have good intentions and are eager to do anything within their limited resources to help the country but their questions have always been how to go about doing it.

Let me take the opportunity here on behalf of the people of Ghana, to express my profound appreciation to all those who responded to the call and have indicated their willingness to contribute their widows mite in the good course of reaching out to break the jinx of poverty and disease in our environment. I also know that those who could not email or did not read the article share the same views.

The truth is, there is no way we can eliminate or reduce the suffering on the current generation or the ones to come if we do nothing but rest on our individual laurels. It is time we do something beside the usual average Ghanaian saying ? Nyame Bekyere?, which is interpreted ?God will provide?. It?s not that I do not believe in God. I believe in the Supreme Being as our Heavenly Father and the Creator of both living and nonliving. But the issue at stake is that He has already PROVIDED us with intelligence, land and mineral resources. It is our turn to use them and as we use them efficiently then He will continue to give us more in ten fold. In B.K class in our secondary schools, we learnt about the parable of the talents, which was narrated by Jesus Christ and I know most of you have not forgotten about the significance of that teaching. In that same teaching He talked about the ten virgins. God could have caused manna to fall from the time of the creation of Adam and Eve even until this day, but then He wanted man to exercise his own power, which is the intelligence, wisdom and knowledge, and I guess that explains why manna has ceased to fall from heaven. So we say knowledge is power, because those who have studied religion can tell you that God used the same intelligence to create this world. Please note here that it is and was not my intention over here to endorse any religion over another and if that is the case I don?t think this is the platform. Besides, I may not be the perfect being to preach to anybody but I wanted us to understand certain concepts about human existence or else we will continue in vain in finding simple solutions to our problems.

My primary concern is that Ghanaians will come together no matter their religious or political affiliations or which family, clan, tribe, and/or region they may come from. We should all count ourselves as Ghanaians because in that way we can see hope, strength, trust and accountability to achieve our ultimate goal of having a sustainable economy. If we become so individualistic in our fight against poverty in the country there is no way we can make any significant impact. There is strength in unity. We know that and we talk about it. But what prevent us from practicing it.

A week I read on the Ghanaweb that the German Embassy in Ghana is opening another office. I asked myself is it that these foreign embassies are so kind to Ghanaians or what. Remember they are not the first to expand their visa sections in the country. That is their investment in our country because they generate a lot of income for their home governments through the visa application fees. And find out from our foreign embassies how much they generate for Ghana through the same source. While they are trying to open visa sections in every village including my hometown, it is interesting to learn that of about 1000 visa applications made to all the foreign embassies in the country not even 100 are accepted. So we become the ultimate double losers: rejection and no refund. And why are they not going to our country in the same way we want to come here. The answer is that they are busy working and some don?t even want to take vacation. So what do you think would have happened if we were also working (if not busy) in our country? Will they downsize or expand their embassies? These are food for thought and I do not by any chance claim to know or have all the answers to the country?s problems. There are knowledgeable people whose intellect are more than enough to get us somewhere if only they will come out of their comfort zones to sacrifice for the deprived and the less fortunate in our society.

Let me say that our inability to unite is not a matter of trust or accountability of whoever will manage our contributions. Because with the number of professionals among us one will expect that they can institute proper system of controls to check any abuse of power or misapplication and/or misappropriation of funds. We have any right to refer offenders to be dealt with by the law in any developed country, if not in Ghana. So why should we fear? And if we do not trust ourselves or do not want to be accountable, how much more can we including the President of Ghana go around the world to convince or persuade foreigners to trust us with their huge investment in our country. Well not a lot of these investors are philanthropists; after all they also seek after the interest of their shareholders.

I will end by saying that with the help of others we are putting things together and at the appropriate time we will know where, when and by what means we can assist. It can be everything like human and financial resources. But in the meantime, let?s get everyone in the loop. For those who did not read the previous article, I will plead with you to check www.ghanaweb.com Sunday, February 12, 2006 edition for an article titled: Ghanaians Abroad: Let?s make voluntary contributions ????

Thank you.



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Boateng, Kofi A.