KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY AMBASSAOR PHILBERT ABAKA JOHNSON FOR THE SIXTY FOURTH INDEPENDENCE DAY OF GHANA – 6TH MARCH, 2021
Dr. Kojo Taylor – President, the Diaspora Union of Ghanaians in Austria (DUGA),
Ms. Bertha Acquah – Ghana Union of Vienna,
Leaders of Ghanaian Groupings and Religious Association,
Fellow Countrymen and women,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
At the outset, let me thank the organisers of this virtual event to commemorate 64th Independence Anniversary of Ghana. Your innovation and sense of patriotism in a very difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic which has unleashed extreme hardship on humanity, is deeply appreciated.
The year 2020 was undoubtedly one of the most difficult years in recent history. In just a few months, the pandemic, in addition to taking nearly one million lives, has left far-reaching consequences in almost every area of our lives. It would take us many years to fully recover. COVID-19 has caused tectonic changes in the order we know, but has also provided us with a realistic insight into national capacities in addressing public health crises of planetary dimensions. The pandemic has threatened human closeness, socialization, economy and development, thereby, placing a heavy mental and emotional toll on us all.
If there is anything to learn from this pandemic, the value of unity, close relationships and friendship cannot be lost on us. The theme of our virtual commemorative event, “Unity and development” is very timely and appropriate, not only because of the pandemic but on account of the indispensability of unity to development in all human endeavours.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides a long-term national development vision for the country through the Directive Principles of State Policy which require the pursuit of policies that would ultimately lead to the “establishment of a just and free society”, where every Ghanaian would have the opportunity to live long, productive, and meaningful life”.
Within this context, the aspirations of most Ghanaians and indeed that of the President of the Republic, “is to transform the Ghanaian economy and society towards a “stable, united, inclusive and prosperous country with opportunities for all”. For this to happen, we need to:
• increased access to quality education and health services at all levels;
• ensure that science and technology drive education and national development;
• ensure that the application of technology in agriculture and manufacturing is high;
• ensure that our export earnings no longer depend almost entirely on primary products and extractives;
• streamline our import regime to meet only critical needs of the society; and
• formalize the informal sector to lead the expansion of opportunities for decent work.
This is why our visionary government has put in place policies and programmes such as Ghana Beyond Aid, free SHS, the One District One Factory initiative which seek to decentralize industrial development by supporting the private sector to establish at least one major industrial enterprise in each of the 260 administrative districts. Government is also implementing a number of programmes to enhance agricultural production and productivity including Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development and Rearing for Food and Jobs programmes. Efforts are being deployed by the government to enhance local production of machinery, equipment and component parts to support Ghana’s industrialization drive.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Nation building is a collective responsibility, and at the heart of this state aspiration, is the human resource of our country, both home and abroad. Whether we achieve much or little in this enterprise, will depend on our collective commitment and targeted efforts towards the attainment of the set of aspirations.
Ghanaians in Austria have a role in this business since we are found in the length and breadth of this country. We are, therefore, the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of our country in Austria. Our conduct informs perception and will determine whether we are seen as a trustworthy people that Austrian entities could transact business with. Unity of our country for development, therefore, demands that we work together, no matter our distinct association or ideology, to serve Ghana more, the very manner in which our forebears attained independence for Ghana.
In closing, as we commemorate the 64th Anniversary of our independence, let us steadfastly build together, “a nation strong in unity, with our gifts of mind and strength of arm, whether night or day, in the midst of storm, in every need, whatever the call may be, to serve Ghana, now and evermore”.
Long Live Ghana
Long Live Ghana Unity
Long Live our efforts towards development
I thank you for your kind attention.