Magazine article New African

Kufuor: 'This Is a Good Time to Be a Ghanaian'; President John Agyekum Kufuor Has Delivered Another State of the Nation Address and Spelt out His Vision for the Future. "This Is a Good Time to Be a Ghanaian. These Are Exciting Times," He Told His People. Kwadwo Mensah Reports from Accra

Magazine article New African

Kufuor: 'This Is a Good Time to Be a Ghanaian'; President John Agyekum Kufuor Has Delivered Another State of the Nation Address and Spelt out His Vision for the Future. "This Is a Good Time to Be a Ghanaian. These Are Exciting Times," He Told His People. Kwadwo Mensah Reports from Accra

Article excerpt

Records show that in 18 years at the helm of Ghana, former President Jerry Rawlings did not deliver a single State of the Nation address even though the national constitution he worked with explicitly demanded that he did so. It appears his successor, President John Agyekum Kufuor, is in a hurry to put a long distance between him and his predecessor when it comes to State of the Nation addresses.

Sticking rigidly to the letter of the constitution, which says the president should give a State of the Nation address at the beginning and close of every parliamentary session, Kufuor gave one State of the Nation address on 4 January 2005 before the Third Parliament was dissolved, and another on 3 February when the first session of the Fourth Parliament opened.

The first, on 4 January, looked at the past four years--his first term in office which he calls "Positive Change Chapter 1"--and the second looked at the future--"Positive Change Chapter 2". It was the second that made waves in Accra.

Speaking in parliament, the president first welcomed "the fresh intake of 118 MPs" elected for the first time at the 7 December polls, and wished them well.

He then lunged into "the future". The next four years, he said, will see his government going for "accelerated growth" by concentrating on a three-pronged strategy: (1) Vigorous human resources development; (2) private sector development; and (3) a continuing emphasis on good governance.

Additionally, the government will promote the concept of "Ghana Incorporated" to inculcate a businesslike approach to all spheres of national life.

He said the macro-economic outlook was good, and "even though Ghana's economy is not as yet in the league of the Asian Tigers, stability and growing confidence are now its hallmarks. Currently there are positive economic indicators such as a declining inflation rate of 11.8%, lowered lending rate of 26% and a stabilising national currency.

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"Significantly, the GDP growth rate which was projected at 5.2% by the close of 2004, has exceeded all expectation and achieved a rate of 5.8%. For the first time since the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market in 1990, the country has registered the highest gross international reserve of four months import cover. …

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