The 'Visions of Ghana' handbook vividly imagines, illustrates and projects a comprehensive and interactive approach serving as a road map for positive national physical development.
In understanding the physical and economic geography of Ghana, we appropriately locate and develop production and service zones in the mining, agriculture, transport, energy, construction, ICT and tourism industries while guiding and reviving human settlements, enabling capital investment opportunities and socio-economic planning principles; sensitizing and carrying the people along as development partners.
Infrastructure and human resource development secure ready access to the necessities of life in a stable environment.
..But there are complicated developmental challenges ahead.
An inspirational master piece of hope.
See it.. Read it.. Believe it!
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Visions of Ghana
By Kwame Addo
Partridge AfricaCopyright © 2015 Professor Kwame Addo
All rights reserved.
* COLONIAL YEARS
* 'I SEE A LAND'
* SHINING THROUGH THE DARK
* AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD
* THE ECONOMY
* 'GROUND ZERO'
* FLORA & FAUNA
* ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES
Daylight faded away, as the night came out to stay with stars that filled the skies and shined till morning's light; it was time to understand the destiny of a nation, the importance of looking back into its past, connect it to the present and finally project into the future. The origin of ancient ethnic Ghanaians is traced back to nomadic migration from Canaan and Nubia across the Sahara desert, to an earlier settlement in Mesopotamia founded by Ham, the second son of Noah after the Great Flood. Archaeological and linguistic evidence has revealed that the area of present day Ghana had been occupied for at least twelve millennia, with human habitation on the banks of the Oti River by stone-age people described as the 'Nyame-Akuma' (meaning God's axe') in about 10,000 BC, followed by the area around Lake Bosumtwi by about 8,000 BC and on the Accra plains in about 4,000 BC. The early Iron Age (100 BC) also indicates possible human dwellings at Tema, with Phoenician and Carthaginian sailors circumnavigating the African continent around 60 BC. Towards the end of the latter era, larger regional kingdoms were formed as a result of Trans-Saharan trade routes. Approximately 800 km North West of the modern state of Ghana, thrived the ancient kingdom of Ghana, with Kumbi Saleh as the capital, between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. It was a vast empire highly advanced and prosperous through trading in gold, salt and copper. Migrating groups from this ancient kingdom moved southward and founded several states including the first Akan empire of the Bono from which the Brong Ahafo region of Akanland is named. Later, Akan groups such as the Ashanti Federation and Fante States are thought to possibly have roots in the original Bono settlement at Bono Manso. By the end of the 16th century, ethnic groups such as the Guan, Ga-Dangme, Ewe and Mole- Dagbani, had settled at their present locations.
The first Europeans to arrive on the coast were the Portuguese in the late 15th century, followed by the British in the mid 16th century, paving the way for other European powers all of whom fought and took control of parts of what became known as the Gold Coast, it all began when vast quantities of commodities were imported, including cloths, blankets, copper, iron bars, guns, liquor and millions of metal bracelets from Morocco and Northern Europe, to be exchanged for gold dust and ornaments supplied from Elmina which were conveyed from the hinterland. It was during these circumstances that the notorious Transatlantic Slave Trade evolved, resulting in the forced movement of millions of men, women and children between the ages of 14 and 35 to The New World. Over time, the British gradually controlled the European gold and slave trading posts littered along the coastline, and then, extended their rule inland, fighting a series of wars against the Ashanti Empire, which was one of the most advanced states in sub-Sahara Africa in the 18-19th centuries, before colonial rule. Britain eventually established control over all of what is now modern Ghana, consisting of the Gold Coast colony, the northern protectorates and British Togoland, a German colony until 1922.
After 1776, a change in economic interests became apparent. America was now independent and could trade directly with the French and the Dutch in the New World. Furthermore, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century promoted new systems of free trade and free labour. With resistance from enslaved people, parliamentary reforms, together with the support and determination of abolition campaigns and religious groups, the dreadful Transatlantic Slave Trade was eventually abolished in 1874 and emancipation declared for slaves all over British colonies. European nations, in due course, withdrew from the Gold Coast, leaving only the British. Then, in 1919, Sir Gordon Guggisberg was appointed governor. His policy was based on developing the country for the benefit of Britain and eventually the local people. He therefore enthusiastically initiated a ten year developmental plan (1920–1930) and undertook projects for settlements, railways, harbours, bridges, schools and hospitals, laying the foundation for spatial development planning across British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean.
Guggisberg soon came to the realization that Africans had the capability of advancement through setting up good educational institutions and was fortunate to benefit from the advice of the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson, who took a keen interest in developing local infrastructure. The responsibility of social infrastructure development was mainly borne by Christian missions, who, by 1848 and 1876 had already established a Teacher Training College at Akropong-Akuapem and Mfantsipim School at Cape Coast respectively, since education occupied a low place in the colonial government's order of priorities.
As the Gold Coast developed, education of the citizenry progressed apace and more people had access to higher education and some of them consciously began to agitate for more adequate representation, better living conditions and ultimately self-rule. The 5th Pan African Congress held in Manchester, United Kingdom, in October 1945, inspired one of these enlightened men called Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to return home. He was invited by the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) which was formed on 4th August 1947 by George Alfred Grant, a merchant and political activist popularly known as Paa Grant, together with Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, a prominent lawyer, to help free the Gold Coast from colonial rule. The development of national consciousness accelerated quickly in the post-World War II era and, in 1948, demobilized Gold Coast soldiers organized a peaceful march to the Christianborg Castle to present a petition to the governor about their plight, but in the process, some of them lost their lives.
Riots immediately ensued leading to the taking into custody of some nationalist leaders of the UGCC, namely, Ako Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta and Kwame Nkrumah. The detained nationalists have since then come to be known as 'The Big Six'. In view of the unfolding events, a Constitutional Committee was set up to develop a new Constitution for the country, marking a giant step forward towards independence. On 12th June 1949, Kwame Nkrumah parted ways with the leadership of the UGCC and formed the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).
I SEE A LAND ...
Finally, on the 6th of March 1957, the nation was born and named after the ancient Ghana Empire of West Africa, the first sub-Saharan British colony to gain independence. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the nation's first Prime Minister and subsequently, the first President of the Republic. Immediately, bold initiatives to advance the development of the country economically, socially and politically were launched through a robust seven-year development plan. Transformational projects included a new and modern harbour at Tema; the extension of Huni valley to Kade railway line to Accra and Tema; support for the cocoa industry; creation of a national airline and the building of a hydro-electric plant at Akosombo, to mention a few. But before a decade after independence, he was toppled from power in 1966 by a military coup. Consequently, the nation's development agenda was set back by numerous military takeovers coupled with uncertain socio-economic environments. However, the ambitious achievements of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah still remain unsurpassed to this day. A deeper understanding of his ideas and actions can only benefit efforts to create a more self-determined society.
SHINING THROUGH THE DARK
After the impacting overthrow of the Nkrumah regime, the new government, led by Lt. General J.A. Ankrah of the National Liberation Council (NLC) promised to restore a democratic government as quickly as possible. Brigadier A. Afrifa a few years later replaced Lt. General Ankrah, who had been forced to step down while a new constitution was introduced. In 1969, Dr. K. A. Busia became Prime Minister with E. Akufo-Addo as the ceremonial president of the Second Republic, but despite widespread support at their inception and strong foreign connections, Busia's government, the 'Progress Party' (PP) fell victim to a military takeover by Colonel I. K. Acheampong in 1972. The economic austerity measures of the previous administration were reversed and foreign debt was repudiated or unilaterally rescheduled. Colonel Acheampong's National Redemption Council (NRC) provided price support for basic food imports, while seeking to encourage Ghanaians to become, once again, self-reliant in agriculture and the production of raw materials. These measures, were instantly popular, but ineffective in resolving the country's mounting problems. The colonel was then forced to resign and succeeded by Lt. General F. Akuffo.
The uprising and military interventions of 1979 and 1981 brought Flight Lieutenant J. J. Rawlings and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to the helm of affairs. Within that period, Dr. Hilla Limann of the Peoples National Party (PNP) was elected President to the Third Republic, but he was abruptly interrupted shortly after, through a coup d'état. Notwithstanding, an Economic Recovery Program (ERP) introduced by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1983 with assistance from the World Bank and the Internationa! Monetary Fund (IMF), along with the 'District Assembly' concept in 1987, were key elements in the military regime's strategy to address persistent problems in nation building.
The Fourth Republic eventually saw J. J. Rawlings, the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) elected as President in 1992 under a new national constitution. At the dawn of the new millennia, J. A. Kufuor who led the New Patriotic Party (NPP) became President, marking the first peaceful democratic transition to power since independence. His presidency saw several social reforms and private sector empowerment.
Professor. J. E. A. Mills, on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was elected President in 2009 coming to the Ghanaian populace with a unique stance of peace and reconciliation. However, his stewardship came to an end following his unexpected demise leaving John Dramani Mahama to take over the reins of government in 2012. The political landscape of Ghana is relatively stable compared to neighbouring African countries. Over decades, there have been peaceful transfers of power, making her the beacon of democracy on the continent.
AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD
Now, let us locate the country in a global context. The Greenwich Meridian, passes through Tema, Ghana and intersects with the Equator approximately 500km south, off the West African coast. That is why it is often said that Ghana is closer to the centre of the earth than any other country, for its geographic coordinates are 8 00 N, 2 00 W. The total land area is 239,460 sq. km, and is flanked by Burkina Faso on its north, Togo on the east, Cote d'Ivoire on the west and by the Atlantic Ocean on the south. Ghana is strategically positioned with an expanding economy, making it the portal to West Africa at GMT! (Greenwich Meridian Time)
She is a member of the United Nations (UN) Commonwealth of Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) the African Union (AU) and physically sits in the middle of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) playing a key role in African affairs.
Over the years, Ghana has built strong bilateral ties with its partners and these include; The United Kingdom, The European Union, The United States of America, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Canada, France, China, Belgium, India, Germany, Malaysia, Japan, and Turkey, garnering multinational collaboration and support from around the globe, together with Denmark, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Singapore, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Australia.
The beginnings of the new millennium saw Ghana's trading landscape embracing emerging economic blocks such as the 'BRICS' – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa within an unfolding global economic downturn. By developing strategic socio-cuitural alliances with South American countries such as Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago, this could eventually help strengthen 'South-South' cooperation.
With the dynamics of the precipitating global economic climate, Ghana's annual growth rate adjusts accordingly, as oil and gas production, the mining industry and commercial agriculture soon begin to secure some revenue to help fund propelling infrastructure projects in key sectors and eventually bringing more foreign direct investment into the country. The services sector accounts for half of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs approximately one third of the country's work force. Ghana is also well endowed with diverse and rich natural resources, with gold and cocoa production and individual remittances being major sources of her foreign exchange. As the country lays down structural policies and plans to diversify its economy, it remains dependent to a large extent on international commodity prices.
Several Commercial and Rural banks, together with informal small-scale Financial Institutions, stimulate banking sector contributions and play important roles in the national economy. Ghana has recorded a steady growth rate since the mid-eighties and remains one of the more economically sound countries in Africa. However, this 'improved' macroeconomic landscape and enduring political stability is yet to clearly reflect on the living conditions of the average Ghanaian, nor has it significantly transformed the physical outlook of towns and cities or the structure of the economy. This scenario could impact negatively on society as a whole if the nation's burdened borrowing and expenditure situation, coupled with tax management challenges and high domestic interest rates, for example, continue without redress. Sensitization through proactive participation helps relieve public anxiety while providing a better appreciation of domestic and international economic downturns.
INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM
Ghana, nevertheless, has a competitive business environment, and is well positioned to attract investment from within and around the globe, through innovative Joint Ventures, Private Finance Initiatives and Public Private Development Partnerships for accelerated growth. But to maintain the least level of investor confidence and cooperation, she will have to first look seriously within for a common vision and re-strategize before looking beyond.
In making a national vision become a reality, it is vital to examine and appreciate the natural features of the territory. The landscape of Ghana is predominantly lowland and undulating, except for a range of hills on the eastern border. The 540 km coastline is backed by a coastal plain that is crisscrossed by several rivers, streams, and lagoons. In the west, the plain is broken by heavily forested hills with many streams and rivers. To the north lies an expansive savannah that is drained by the Volta River, which flows south to the sea through a narrow gap in the hills. Lake Volta, in the east, is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world with three tributaries running from it. The Nakambe River, also known as the White Volta River, flows from Burkina Faso while the Mouhoun River, also called the Black Volta River, originates from the same country, forming a small portion of the boundary between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Lake Bosumtwi, in the Ashanti Region, was created by an impact of a meteorite, causing a big crater (10.5 km in diameter) millions of years ago.
The total area of water bodies is approximately 8,520 sq. km. The levels of these bodies rise in the rainy season and wane in the harmattan season. The highest point of the land (Mount Afadjato) in the eastern range, is about 884 metres above sea level.
The spatial distribution of the vegetation and agricultural land use in West Africa is mainly determined by rainfall. Ghana has a tropical climate, for it is only a few degrees north of the equator. She has a rainy season from April until September, the Harmattan season from November to March and an almost all year round summer season characterized by breeze and sunshine. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry. The southwest has the highest humidity and rainfall levels, while the north is frequently hot and dry. Annual average temperatures range from 26°C in places near the coast to 30°C in the extreme north. In the late 19th century, hardwood forest covered most of the southern half of Ghana, but as a result of the global industrial appetite for raw materials, coupled with uncontrolled land use frameworks, much of this forest has been destroyed and now covers approximately 24% of the country. Ghana still has over 1.5 million hectares of forest reserves mainly in the southwest of the country, but the forests are diminishing at a rate of approximately 2% every year! Fishing is carried out off the southern coast and in Lake Volta. Millet and guinea corn are grown in the northern regions, while yams and cassava are grown across middle and southern Ghana. Maize, rice and vegetables are produced everywhere, especially in the wet forest regions and fertile soils over the Volta Basin.
Excerpted from Visions of Ghana by Kwame Addo. Copyright © 2015 Professor Kwame Addo. Excerpted by permission of Partridge Africa.
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Table of Contents
PART ONE: REVEALING THE VISION, 7-8,
Chapter 1: IN PERSPECTIVE, 9-31,
Chapter 2: DECODING, 32-39,
Chapter 3: DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP, 41-65,
PART TWO: IMPLEMENTATION, 67-68,
Chapter 4: ACTIVATING, 69-86,
Chapter 5: THE FUTURE IS NOW, 87-122,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, 123,
INDICES: Tables, Diagrams and Pictures, References, 124-125,