This comes in the wake of recent horrifying beating and torture of the Zimbabwean Opposition Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of his supporters after their arrest at a banned meeting. President Kufuor rejected claims that seek to suggest that the AU has remained unconcerned about Zimbabwean situation, saying, it has all along been making every necessary effort to exercise some influence to help to restore normalcy there. "We want accountable Government. We want multi-party democracy."
The main theme of President Kufuor's address was: "Fifty Years of Ghana's Independence: Prospects and Challenges for Accelerated National Development." He gave a positive assessment of Ghana's economic performance, saying the "indicators point to good prospects for the country's development". The nation, he declared, has entered into a new phase of sustained development and was among the few, listed by the multi-laterals, to likely meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
"To us in today's Ghana, we know where we are coming from, where we are now and where we are going. What we demand is committed co-operation and support from all our friends." President Kufuor, who is on a three-day state visit to the United Kingdom (UK), said the Government was determined to maintain strict financial discipline to prevent a relapse to the debt situation that forced it to adopt the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). "The Government would not be sentimental in borrowing. We would go in for money that would be of benefit to the development of the economy."
He pointed out that one of the major challenges the country and the rest of Africa was facing was the frustrations in competing on the international market, citing agricultural subsidies by the wealthy nations and the high tariffs imposed on products from the Continent. "We do not feel the World Trade Organisation (WTO) represents Africa's best interest." President Kufuor had earlier at a breakfast meeting with Leaders of Africa Missions in the UK at the Buckingham Palace, noted that the Doha Development Agenda, which provides for the establishment of rules based on equitable trading system, as representing the hope for improving the lives of the peoples in the Continent and to free them from abject poverty.
The debt burden, inequitable trading relations with the developed countries as well as the rampant conflicts on the Continent have conspired to keep Africa poor and weak. He, however, told the Diplomats that through determination, Africa would be able to resolve many of the seemingly intractable problems, standing in its way to growth and prosperity and which have kept the Continent poor and marginalised. President Kufuor said there was hope for Africa as its new leaders were dedicated to re-directing the Continent's destiny for peace and wealth creation.GNA