Magazine article New African

Ghana: 'The State of Our Nation Is Good'; Ghana Is in Robust Form and the Country Is on Course to Achieving Its Ultimate Vision of Middle-Income Status, Says President John Kufuor in This Year's State of the Nation Address. Osei Boateng Reports

Magazine article New African

Ghana: 'The State of Our Nation Is Good'; Ghana Is in Robust Form and the Country Is on Course to Achieving Its Ultimate Vision of Middle-Income Status, Says President John Kufuor in This Year's State of the Nation Address. Osei Boateng Reports

Article excerpt

As prescribed by Ghana's national constitution, the president must address Parliament at least once a year to give an account of the "state of the nation". It is an obligation President John Kufuor relishes. This year he was in his element: "Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure and a source of great pride to be able to report to the House that the state of our nation is good and the general spirit is one of optimism," the president said, to cheers from the government benches. "Our economy is registering a 6% GDP growth rate," he continued. "If our development goal is to be [met], then we must achieve an 8% GDP growth on a sustained basis."

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Over all, the president had good news to report in every sector. The country is now rid of its crushing foreign debts following 100% cancellation of various bilateral and multilateral debts of around $7bn over the past two years. Over 250,000 jobs have also been created during the same period in the public sector, and more will follow this year.

The huge Valco aluminium plant at Tema is now back on stream after nearly two years of inaction when its parent company, Kaiser of USA, became bankrupt and invited the Ghanaian government to buy out Valco. The eventual goal is to achieve an integrated aluminium industry for the country.

Continuing the "good news" theme, the president said education would get a massive boost this year in line with the government's long-term human resource development programme. Teacher education is central to the programme, and all 38 of the country's teacher training institutions will be upgraded, while 15 will be equipped to pay special attention to maths and science.

Teachers themselves will get improved service conditions, including study leave to improve their academic qualifications and sharpen their teaching skills. The government's free compulsory universal basic education programme started in 2004 will be extended to the kindergarten level to cover all four-year olds and above. …

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