Story time! Are you ready? Let’s go.

A typical day begins with a grueling hour and forty-five minute traffic ordeal on the pothole-ridden roads from Tema to Accra High Street. I get to work to find out the electricity has been cut off. Follow that with an hour lunch that sometimes turns into a three hour-plus affair for some. By this time, I’ve conjured a huge appetite and some patience to deal with poor customer service from waiters (why do people in the service industry make it seem like they are doing you a favour? It’s your job!). Then 5 pm hits—I may have achieved close to nothing because people just don’t care about finishing their daily tasks or “they’ll do it tomorrow.” Cue another grueling traffic session. Couple all these bits and pieces and you have the recipe for an extremely frustrating day in the life of a Ghanaian professional.

Every Ghanaian citizen’s dream is to have a Ghana with good roads, running water, good schools, a solid health care system, and inerratic electricity. Unfortunately, this is just that—a dream. I have been living at home since the end of 2013 and as much as I wish the situation was different, I can say that all the problems I met in November have worsened.

The Star of Ghana is yet to shine and be the idyllic nation that Kwame Nkrumah wished it to be. Yes, we have had a handful of coups. Yes, our economic growth is still nascent. Yes, our political atmosphere is still not mature. All this notwithstanding, our leaders have failed us. They have not taken the pains to follow through with all the plans that they come into office with; the NDC party starts working on a project and when the NPP comes into power, they just ignore that project. That is why our country’s hope for a bright future is still nothing but a dream.

Our development process is not being handled properly. It’s as if these leaders don’t know what they are doing. But I’ll be a fool to believe this. They know Ghanaians want everything now, now, now and so they try to cut corners to make citizens happy. That strategy has failed and will continue if we’re to make any progress.

Although patience is a tough pill to swallow, we need to swallow it in Ghana if we want to realize our dreams as a country. That is why the government has to let citizens know the truth. They should be making statements like:

“It’s going to take us five years to get our energy crisis in order. The development is going to be phased out over this time frame to ensure that the right partners are identified and all their visions are properly aligned with ours. We pray that all this would be behind us soon.”

That is all Ghanaians would want to hear. The truth! Governments often hide the truth in an effort to save face. But, are their faces what’s at stake or the development of the country?

Another thing is the government, or at least this government, doesn’t seem to have a vision that they are working towards. Ghana is rife with problems they need to tackle. We have an electricity crisis. We have a water crisis. Our road networks are poor. Our airports are outdated. There’s a shortage of houses. Our healthcare sector lacks in a myriad of ways. Public education is horrible. We have a sanitation issue. Corruption. Our roads lack streetlights…I can go on and on and on. Wouldn’t it be prudent for the government to have a list of priorities with earmarked targets to fix the most crucial of the problems over a finite period? Priorities.

If I were in a position of power, I would acknowledge that Ghana cannot be run alone. Thus, the selection of my core team will be of utmost importance. I will strive to be surrounded by selfless individuals who will not sleep until things are working right. I will ensure that they get paid for performing and penalize non-performance. Hold leaders accountable. Selflessness and proven commitment to the enhancement of the Ghanaian fabric will be the core traits for the people who will be on my team. Also, making sure that this core is maintained will be key in curtailing, or dare I say eliminating, this canker of vested interests.

The other thing would be to really prioritize our development. My priority list would be as follows:

  • Build up our electricity supply chain
  • Improve our water supply
  • Fix and improve our road networks
  • Expand our sea ports and airports

This will create jobs for the construction folk and also increase productivity of our industries. How? Production costs will be cut, and our products would be competitive on the international market, at least from a pricing perspective. That increased production would be a job creation tool as well. We will be on our way to strengthening our economy.

Now, it must be acknowledged that this cannot be achieved in four or even eight years. A road map with targets will need to be developed—targets that will be tied to the salaries of individuals in the concerned sectors. If you do not perform, you will not get paid. That’s final. Our country is so far behind that sacrifices need to be made, and until those sacrifices are made, we will accomplish nothing.

Once the basic infrastructure bit is handled, we will be on the road to creating a better Ghana for all. All other developments will follow suit.

  • Improved healthcare
  • Improved sanitation
  • Improved education system
  • Increased supply of housing
  • Increased trade with other countries
  • …etc.

I also think that young people can help change things by being more intentional in letting the politicians know our dissatisfaction. We need to make noise. We need to win our country back. But we need to do it in a well thought through manner. We need to truly understand the issues and come up with achievable solutions. If we relax, we will lose this country to corruption and inept leaders. We need to rise up to the task and bring back the luster that has since dwindled from the Black Star of Ghana.

Written by Peter Opoku

Photo Credit: Shindz