A Millennium Challenge; Ghana Emerges to 'Help Herself'
Byline: Deborah Simmons, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
You don't have to be a student of the Bible to know the history of Africa or the Middle East. Unless you were misbehaving or trying to decide how to spend your weekly tithe, you'd have to agree with Ghana's president, John Kufour, who said over tea on Wednesday: "The Middle East is such a complicated and intractable situation, we would all do well not to say too much .. [It's] one of the long-lasting problems our world has faced."
That problem won't disappear in our immediate future, because the warmongers and the purveyors of intolerance won't permit it. That is why it's important that we cast our eyes toward the potential in countries like the West African nation of Ghana.
When President Bush announced the development of the Millennium Challenge Corp. in 2002, he said that good government, the rule of law and freedom are essential to maintaining peace and uplifting poor and developing nations. And he was right. Open governments are the keys that unlock the doors to trade, global security and economic development.
In his speech four-and-a-half years ago, Mr. Bush also pointed out our moral obligation to uplift human capital, to be our brother's keeper, so to speak. "Successful development also requires citizens who are literate, who are healthy, and prepared and able to work," the president said. "Development assistance can help poor nations meet these education and health care needs."
While Mr. Bush did not cite Ghana by name, that nation remains the best example of not only the potential of the Millennium program, but the difficulties facing a democratic state on a continent and as a neighbor in a region the Middle East that tosses and turns at the hands of hate, terror, civil war and dictatorships. In fact, Mr. Kufour and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is spending considerable time and valuable resources on the Middle East, just this week signed the Millennium agreement, which will grant $547 million to aid the fledgling Ghana.
Mr. Kufour who, like Mr. Bush, is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term remains as steadfast in helping Ghana "help herself" as he was when he first succeeded Jerry Rawlings as president. Indeed, Mr. Kufour both appreciates the challenges of meeting the dictates of Ghana's compact with the Millennium program and is committed to ensuring that his homeland remains the gateway to democratic Africa.
As the first sub-Saharan nation to win independence from the British, the Republic of Ghana is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in that part of the world which has been practically torn asunder by civil war, terrorism and dictatorship, and illiteracy and disease. 2007 will indeed be a historical testament and time to showcase Ghana. Like the biblical stories of the birthplace of humankind, the modern-day history of West Africa is chocked with the realities of rulers and the enslaved, colonial disputes and tribal disputes, jealousies and vengefulness. …