Former United Nations Governance Advisor, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, says one of the reasons why Ghana is poor is due to the inability of her leaders to negotiate favourable deals for the country, particularly in our extractive sector.
According to him, most of the country’s resources have been signed away to foreign companies in exchange for pittance, hence the inability of government to generate the much needed resources to develop the country.
He said this failure, is what has largely contributed to the country’s dependence on foreign aid when it is richly endowed with minerals that could transform the economy.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “You see recently I read that we have discovered a very strategic mineral in this country called lithium, and as soon as I read that I was telling myself ‘what was the nature of the contract that we have signed between ourselves and the American company that’s going to mine this?’
“Because one of the sources of our dependency not only in Ghana but across Africa is how we have sold out our raw materials which should have served the bases for our development. But we signed contracts and gave them away and take a pittance in return.
“So if you look at the mineral industry across the continent, you will find that almost invariably all the mineral wealth of Africa is been given almost out for free. So no country then can develop when the resources that will enable you to develop if you don’t have the presence of mind to know how to negotiate to your own advantage.
“So simply put, I’m suggesting that one of the reasons we’re poor, and we’re poor not that we don’t have the resources – because I remember not long ago one presidential candidate said that we have resources, why are we poor?” he said.