Ghanaian public officials are fond of quoting Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist to literally beg for more aid, anytime donor agencies give money or items to help facilitate their operations. This was the case when the European Union (EU) donated vehicles, IT equipment and other items worth about GHc 2.3 million to help manage the country’s borders more effectively, under the EU-funded Ghana Integrated Migration Management Approach project.
Even before the donors parted ways with the Ghana Immigration Service at the programme, the Comptroller General of Immigration Kwame Asuah Takyi was back to pleading, asking the EU for more help, with reference to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
“The GIS is very grateful for the continuous support we receive from the European Union and its member countries. But like Oliver Twist, we shall be grateful for more, particularly in the development of our border infrastructure and systems,” Mr. Asuah Takyi said.
But this did not sit well with the EU Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna, who had previously hailed President Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana not dependent on aid. Mr. Hanna instead urged Ghanaian leaders to move away from the grovelling tone of Dickens’s Oliver Twist to the promise of Dickens’ Greater Expectations novel.
“I am thinking that in a country, where the President is talking about moving beyond aid, we should maybe move away from the Oliver twist references and reference Great Expectations, another book by Dickens,” the EU ambassador pointed out to the Comptroller General.
Mr. Hanna spoke of an oncoming summit in Abidjan for European Leaders and African leader to debate the question of youth and job creation. “… we hear that the new government is putting a lot of emphasis in creating jobs and that will address the root causes of migration. So let’s perhaps have great expectations of what we can do together,” he said.