Ministers of State,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The Governing Board of the Danquah Institute,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The year was 1927. The young bright scholar, Joseph Kwame Kyeretwi Boakye Danquah, had returned to the shores of then Gold Coast. By 1937, he had established the Times of West Africa and served as secretary-general of the Gold Coast Youth Conference. Deeply dissatisfied by the oppression and lack of accountability on the part of the British colonial administration, J. B Danquah in 1947 cofounded the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).
This dizzying pace of activity was underpinned by J.B Danquah’s belief that to successfully liberate the energies of Ghanaians in the attainment of a prosperous property owing democracy, the individual Ghanaian had to be FREE.
Speaking in the legislative assembly in 1952 he stated, “There is no school nor University for liberty or freedom; neither liberty nor freedom is a degree or a diploma to be acquired after years of tears and toil and sweat in a school or in a University. Freedom is a birthright, and liberty is its expression. We desire to be liberated because we know we are entitled to be free…”
J.B Danquah was not naïve in his push for Ghanaians to be free, but he had conceptualized the future in a way many of his contemporary’s had failed to do. His innate belief in the inevitability of human progress had made him patient during the struggle and philosophical almost to a fault. He was however aware, that the freedom he sought for Ghanaians was inextricably linked with economic progress if that vision of a vibrant, prosperous property owing democracy was to be achieved.
Over Half a century after his death, we see the pillars of this vision in the enactment of a right to information bill, the fiscal responsibility act, a fiscal commission, a paperless port, an efficient banking sector fit for purpose, a drive to industrialise under IDIF and a generation of Ghanaians who will not have to be for their education.
Let us by all means hold this government to a higher standard and demand more but let us not do it as spectators. Let us do it as active citizens who as heavily invested in Ghana PLC. As investors we will demand more accountability and government will be more responsive. As Ghanaians, we have elected our leaders not by the number of boots they have matched but by the presence of mind to put country first even at great personal cost.
The government of his Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has increasingly demonstrated its willingness to subject itself to greater public scrutiny in how it manages the fairs of this country. Let us seize the moment as Ghanaians. Let us stand up and be counted. Let us be the architects and the generation that indeed moved Ghana beyond aid. We owe it to our children and posterity.
On behalf of the governing board I welcome you all to the maiden edition of the Danquah Institute Economic Forum.
Long live the Memory of J.B Danquah!
Long live Ghana!