Champagnes popping, firecrackers going wild, merry making and excitement all around the country. Indeed, we have a cause to celebrate. Ghana is 60 years. 60 great years of industry, rich culture, heritage, and tradition. 60 long years of ups and downs, of successes and failures and more yet to come. However, as we celebrate this enviable milestone of freedom and justice, let’s remind ourselves of a few of our great achievements. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel agency, highlights a few key achievements worth celebrating at 60.
Politics – According to the Global Peace index report for 2016, Ghana ranked as the 6th most peaceful country in Africa and 44th on the global scene. With the global economic impact of violence estimated at US$13.6 trillion, remaining peaceful is truly imperative if Ghana is to develop more rapidly and achieve it’s vision of becoming an economically stable and independent state in the long term. We pride ourselves as a nation that frequently holds peaceful elections and successfully changes government without escalating violence and chaos. This is by far a very enviable achievement primarily because many other African neighbours struggle to emulate and maintain this feat. The advancement in this area also puts Ghana on a different pedestal as many African countries fall back on us for assistance by providing troops to support them when they really need reinforcements. Many of our leaders have also gone on to hold various Regional and international offices in recent times. Typical examples are Dr. Kofi Annan ( Former Secretary General of the UN), H.E John Agyekum Kufuor (Former Chairperson of the African Union) and H.E John Dramani Mahama (Former Chairperson of ECOWAS).
Education – Education is key to the development of every nation which makes it very important for countries to invest heavily in this sector. Many governments do not prioritize the education sector which often has a long term detrimental impact on the growth of their economies. Fortunately, Ghana is one of the countries that makes education a top priority with special care and attention given to basic and secondary education. The World Economic Forum in it’s 2014 report ranked Ghana 46th out of 148 countries in terms of quality education. Also in 2010, Ghana’s literacy rate was 71.5% with 90% of children enrolled in school. This remarkable achievement takes us ahead of countries like Pakistan and Nigeria who have literacy rates of 72% and 64% respectively. With many policies in place and other strategies laid out, the future of education in this country is just so bright. The next generation of Ghanaians are likely to have the best of education and for those in the senior high schools, it may just be free due to the new government’s campaign promise.
Health – In our quest for development, it is expedient for us to stay healthy as a nation. The country over the past few years has made giant strides in the health sector with the construction of many modern hospitals and clinics across the length and breadth of the country. These facilities are equipped with modern technology such as state of the art theatres, X-ray machines, MRI and CT scan equipments. Another major achievement has been the provision of incentives and bonuses for health workers. Past government have also ensured that the deficiency in number of well trained doctors and nurses have been well compensated for by the importation of trained international personnel. This goes a long way to reduce the mortality rate and also ensure a fitter nation where majority of it’s workforce are healthy to run their day-to-day activities and bring progress. With several other policies and strategies in place, we are heading towards a positive era with many more developments in this sector expected in the coming years. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation!
Economics – The Ghanaian economy often comes under serious scrutiny and criticism for being quite unstable. However, taking into account the past few years, the country has seen a massive improvement in its annual GDP (Economic growth). With a 2011 GDP of 14% and a 2015 GDP of 4.1%, there is clear evidence that economically we are headed in the right direction. Many measures are also being put into place to massively reduce both the public and external debts, we have every reason to smile as a nation. According to world bank reports, the unemployment rate has also reduced from 9.1% in 1991 to an overwhelming 2.4% as at 2014. With the right policies and strategies in place, Ghana is heading towards a very good economic haven. The provision of jobs, reduction in taxes as well as major improvements in the export and import sector will go a long way to develop this nation’s economy and edge us closer to a better state of economic stability.
Sports – Many ‘’small countries’’ have made themselves more popular and relevant on the world map by succeeding in sports. Nations like Brazil (football) and Kenya (Track & Field) have taken the world by storm with breathtaking success in their respective sporting disciplines. Ghana has also treaded this path for a long time. In football, the senior national team has been crowned champions of Africa 4 times and qualified for 3 successive FIFA world cups where they reached the round of 16 stage in 2006 and the quarter final stage in 2010. The junior teams have also done amazingly well with both the under-17 and under-20 teams winning their respective FIFA world cups. In boxing, many Ghanaian boxers have over the past two decades won several world titles with some even reaching legendary status. Talk of Professor Azumah Nelson and Ike ‘’Bazooka’’ Quartey and you will be mentioning two of the greatest boxers to have graced the ring in Africa and the world. Sports in general has made Ghana relevant and more visible on the world map with many countries and investors now considering this West African nation as a viable business option.
Tourism – According to the hospitality report compiled by Jumia Travel (Jovago) last year, the total contribution of travel & tourism to the GDP of Ghana in 2015 was $10.5billion, which represented a 7.8% contribution to the total GDP of the country. Directly, the industry contributed GHC 4.5 billion in 2015, representing 3.3 per cent of total GDP. By this, tourism was the fourth largest contributor to Ghana’s GDP coming after oil, gold, and cocoa. The Tourism industry generated 292,000 jobs directly in 2015, representing 2.6% of total employment with an expected growth figure of 2.4% in 2016, further increasing employment to 299,000. Ghana has also become a major destination for most tourists from Europe, America, and Asia because of massive improvements of tourist sites, hotels, flights, restaurants, and visa acquisition. Ghana has taken it’s place among the continents tourism powerhouses and keeps improving year after year. Although there are a few challenges that tend to cast shadows of doubts on this very lucrative industry, the proper handling of these problems and a consistent admonishment of the plans, policies and strategies will only make us better.
After 60 years of existence, we can only be proud of where we have come from, where we are now and where we go next as a nation. There is still a lot to be done as we aim to grow and develop into a much better nation. However, with hard work, patriotism, diligence, and proper leadership, we have no cause to fear. God bless our homeland Ghana!!!