President Nana Akufo-Addo has said although Ghana’s media are “often irritating and irksome”, he would rather “put up with a reckless press than a monotonous, praise-singing one.”
Speaking at the London School of Economics’ Africa Summit on the theme: “Africa At Work: Educated, Employed And Empowered”, the Ghanaian leader said: “The media in Ghana has come into its own, and what used to be called the culture of silence has been replaced with a cacophony that now worries some.
“I have said it before, and I believe it bears repeating, I would much rather put up with a reckless press than a monotonous, praise-singing one”.
In his view, “A democracy has no place for a media that does not keep public authorities on their toes. I acknowledge that we are all still trying to keep pace with the changing technology, and work out how we deal with social media, and, dare I say it, the phenomenon of fake news. (I shall not say more on that, and leave it to those more knowledgeable on that subject).
“But I am a firm believer in a strong and vibrant media, and I have no doubt that it is a force for good, no matter how irritating and how irksome they can be and often are. They provide the avenue for the other point of view”, he added.
According to the President, Ghana’s success story and changed narrative come with building her own economies that are not dependent on charity and handouts.
He explained that the provision of education for the young people should not become an ideological tussle. We should never have to make a choice between basic education or higher education.
“We should never have to rely on the World Bank or any other institution to decide for us where the emphasis should be in our education needs. Education is the key to our development, and we must run our economies to be able to fund the education of our children. We should not get into arguments with donor agencies about our priorities. We must set our own priorities, and we must accept that we should provide the funds to translate our plans into reality. That is why, despite the bleak economic situation my government inherited, we decided to implement immediately the pledge we had made about providing Free Senior High School education. The most dramatic aspect of its implementation has been that 90,000 more students entered senior high school in September last year, the first term of the policy, than in 2016,” the President said.
He said that his government is reviving the strength of the country’s National Health Insurance Scheme, which, under the previous administration, was being strangled by debt. Of the GH¢1.2 billion debt we inherited, the equivalent of $300 million, we have paid, in the last 15 months, GH¢1 billion, the equivalent of $250 million, and payments to service providers are now current. The Scheme is regaining its effectiveness, so that for a minimum amount, subscribers can have access to a wide range of medical services.
The President said Africa must have good reasons to be proud of “who we are, and the beautiful continent that is ours. The geographic space covered by Africa makes it the second largest of the seven continents. It has some of the most breath-taking scenes on our planet. It has plants and animals that are wonders of the world, and critical for the survival of the planet”.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org