Location: Accra, Accra, Ghana

Franklin Cudjoe is head of Ghanaian think-tank Imani: The Centre for Humane Education, whose vision is to educate and create a core of young scholars that will promote market oriented policies throughout Africa. He was formerly a programme officer and research assistant at the Institute of Economic Affairs in Ghana. A Land Economist by training, Franklin works closely with partner think-tanks across the world to promote public policy ideas in Ghana and abroad. He is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media about Africa development issues, including appearances on BBC, CBC, Swiss and Swedish National TV, Austrian National Radio and varied local Ghanaian media, and has been published or quoted in the Ghanaian Daily Graphic Accra Daily Mail, Ghana Web, My Joy online, London's Daily Telegraph,The Wall Street Journal, El Mercurio (Chile), La Republica (Costa Rica),the Ottawa Citizen, the San Francisco Chronicle, Netzeitung Voice Of Germany, and many others. Franklin speaks to policy makers, students groups in Ghana and abroad. Franklin is an Adjunct Fellow at the Independent Institute in the USA and the International Policy Network in London.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On Global Strategic Competition- A Ghanaian diasporean reacts

Dear Franklin,

Thanks for writing. I interrupted my 24 hours Email boycott only to openand read yours first. I had even lost your email address due to lack oftime to get my laptop fixed.

I am not ready for long debates but I got to give you this one. Again I have read your views expressed and hope you have gotten over the false image somebody was trying to give you that others who criticize you could be doing it as a sign of jealousy. Nothing can be further form the truth.

I still consider you a youngbrother for what you stand for; else I would not invite you to my home. Remember I am a Kwahu man (smile), and nobody stands for entrepreneurship than I do. I have had my own business even in America for 15 of the last 17 years. I set up my own finance business out of myown meager funds and have survived since then. Manufacturing of hightechnology as an industry I was part of was cut back and moved overseasto South East Asia (Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia).

In 1980 I wasalready an Engineering Manager in high tech. I can assure you that afteryou try to find capital to set up your own entrepreneurial activity thatwill possible be in competition with anything being done in the West,you will learn the true lessons of global strategic competition. Perhapsyou will come to realize the reasons why Kwame Nkrumah took the path hetook and wrote as he did.

I saw one Cameroonian Engineer lose his housefor the 2 years he was trying to seek venture capital right here. My brother, the world is not equal, and all hands are not equal. Thereare companies I know whose gross profit for one single quarter is largerthan the whole economy of Ghana, and yet want to expand into your marketbecause that is the nature of America business, to expand every year!They don't care if every one of you Ghanaians dies due to lack of jobs.Some will use the weaknesses of the third world nations and the greed ofour leaders to penetrate the market and allow rice farms that are meantto help rural farmers become obsolete and wasted! As you know, we nowimport every single item in Ghana. Why does American government assisttheir farmers?Why did American government help Chrysler?Why? Because they considered the business of Chrysler and farming vitalto national interest.

Please take this as an advice from a man whose mind is at your level ofactivity and search for solutions, but who has 30 years experience morethan you have. You do not understand the nature of global competition. If you did, you would realize the reasons why places like Niger sit atnumber 122 in the world with a score at 2.2 in the TransparencyInternational's CPI (Corruption Perception Index), and yet it takes anOxfam European young woman to be teaching the local people how to digand set up water wells.

Perhaps you might be asking why the West doesnot help those poor people by helping them to survive on their own, butrather go in and dig Uranium, a mineral whose use is in making Nuclearweapons! Why feed those people today and dig their minerals and leave,whiles their livelihoods and survival can be changed with perhaps only$200,000 for wells and irrigation systems? Do you think $200,000 meansmuch to MNCs show can make that much profit per day?Why isn't much being done? Or do you subscribe to the pull-up-your-own-bootstrap theories that wereused to justify leaving freed slaves in the America South in povertytill today in America?

Please think about it!!

Yes, you and I and GLU will fight to stop the corruption of our leaderstogether.Yes, you and I and GLU may even work together to push our leaders toperform and do their duties.

One day it is hoped you will understand fully.

Cheers,Kwaku A. Danso, President,

Ghana Leadership Union, Inc (NGO) www.GhanaLeadership.comGHANA Office: Accra: Tel. 0244-057566 0244-330486 Pres/CEO, Amtek ERF -Engineering, Realty & Finance,Inc.www.AmtekRealtyandFinance.comUSA: Fremont, CA.94539 Tel.510-494-8300 Cel.579-0066 GHANA: 233-21-057206 0244-330486


Blogger Wings of Freedom and Justice said...

Dear Kwaku,

Your emails as usual make interesting reading.

First if all, I must
correct an impression that I'm under the influence of some one (Precisely George Ayittey) to draw a wedge between you and me and in deed, the GLU.

I must say that just as I told my parents that if they argued over my
choice of a woman from any part of Ghana, then I was going ahead to marry my Czech girl friend who is of Icelandic and Asian parentage because I have come to consider my self as a global citizen and not a mere village guy form a tiny corner of the world.

I'm young and I have met so many people from many parts of the world and I'm received with open arms whereever I go. I do not harbour grievances against people because they are
ideologically 'pariah'. So young as I'm I can't be bought cheap. Please give me some respect!

Secondly, if you were reacting to my newsletter and the fact that I argued argainst 'unguided' Western aid and protectionism, I take it is my position.

I have been working on barreirs to trade within Africa and I seem never to end because there are just so many unneccessary barriers all ostensibly aimed at 'first-past-the-post' slogans. I mean each country wants to emerge first as the one who gets the most market in the West neglect simple costless trade rules that will create wealth within Africa.

In any case I'm against protectionism in any form and it is the duty of African trade ministers to continue urging the west to open up and stop
enganing in bilateral tyrade agreements with these same developed nations when they should be pursuing multi lateral trade agrements across the board. Do you know that it was the activisim of the developing countries that started the Uruguay round of trade talks? But what they did they do
later? They said they did not want to be negotiating on reciprocal basis that involved all developing countries and that was the begginingof their woes.

Even now, there arte many flexibilities in the WTO regime and some smart countries are exploiting to their advantage-Brazil is great example?

What do ourt trade ministers do? they have not engaged quality minds to researech and help them negotiate at trade talks and when they get dribbled by smart 20 year olds form Coca- Cola at these meetings, they turn round to blame western governments. -While in the Sixth Form in Pope Johns secondary, I read with dismay how a former Ghanaian Minister for trade was caught on camera sleeeping during a WTO proceedings-

I belive many are begging to learn now and Mali just succeeeded in a WTO ruliong against the US on coitton subsidies. These are the things we want. I called the Finance Minster of Ghana recently to ask if he will be at Hong Kong where we are planning a talk on trade barreirs within Africa
ahead of the WTO meeting in December and he directed me to the Trade Minister. Well, several calls to the Minsitry to speak to any offcial interested in this free capacity building service has not been responded to. They are busy chasing 'useless' presidental seats.

But they should also not listen to the nonsense Oxfam and Christian aid tell them to erect tarriffs within their countries in oredr to create local champions. You said thge world is not equal and it is rightly so.

I'm a chartered Catholic but I have never believed that God create the world for equal access. Even the trees that you see have had to supress the growth of others to survive, no to talk about three tier vegetation with the undergrowth trees suffereing from lack of sun light to prepare
their food.

God to know you have grown and have great expereince in a land of
opportunity where no one cares about another's business and where they will trade even with the devil to get what they want- No matter how this may sound as morally intrepid,that is what I call creative destruction and
it is positive.

Yes, I wil continue to work with you and the GLU. I met with some earger minds in the UK here last week and yesterday and they are very very very serious about getting the best they have seen on the West down to Ghana. We will need to work together.



12:19 AM  
Blogger Shay said...

Contrary to the letter writer's claim, the majority (53%) of black Americans are now middle-class and own their own homes. Name another country on the planet - especially in Africa - that can claim the same. There are none. The civil rights movement did wonders for opening markets to black folks (e.g., Jim Crow government laws re: segegration preventing people who wanted to equally sell and buy from blacks). And of course, by Ghanaian standards virtually no black American is poor. Food for thought for the letter writer (although I agree with him re: eliminating subsidies to Western farmers). We would be even better off if most of our leadership wasn't spouting off socialist rhetoric but followed the Booker T. Washington model of free enterprise, property ownership, education and character education.

The question that I ask is: where on the African continent have socialist policies led to the economic growth that we see in Asia and elsewhere? Why is the letter writer living in AMERICA (where the evil capitalist system enabled him to flourish his entrepreneurial activities), and not his native Ghana? Heck, even China is coming off the collectivist model because it knows the real deal. As a black American, I wish that more Africans would pursue these strong economic growth policies as well through rule of law, transparency, reducing corruption, slashing tariffs, and private property rights.

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