Akufo-Addo addresses UN General Assembly on global economic challenges

President Akufo-Addo has addressed the Assembly’s 77th annual debate centered largely on the issue of global economic challenges. He said COVID-19 has pushed Africa into the worst recession for half a century.

The president said: “The World Bank observed, last Thursday, that the global economy was enduring its steepest slowdown since 1970. Two years ago, our world came to a thundering halt, as we cowered from a health pandemic from an unknown, malicious virus, coupled with a devastating global economic pandemic. High budget deficits were no longer a concern of only developing nations.”

Speaking in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the President said, “Every bullet, every bomb, every shell that hits a target in Ukraine, hits our pockets and our economies in Africa.”

President Akufo-Addo highlighted that the international financial architecture was skewed significantly against developing and emerging economies like Ghana.

He noted that “the tag of Africa as an investment risk is little more than, in substance, a self-fulfilling prophecy created by the prejudice of the international money market, which denies us access to cheaper borrowing, pushing us deeper into debts”, thus underscoring the necessity for reform of the system.

The President stated: “We do not have the luxury of being able to pick and choose which big problem to solve. None of them can wait; the economic turbulence requires urgent and immediate solution; the turmoil and insecurity in many parts of the world require urgent attention; and so does the need to tackle the problems posed by climate change.”

African countries’s inflation rates are surging high and Ghana is experiencing the highest inflation for 21 years.

The president also talked about the security situation in the ECOWAS region and expressed disappointment over the fact that all of Ghana’s neighbors had suffered terrorist attacks, and some have lost territorial space to the invading forces.

The President asked the global community to help West Africa deal with the growing threat of terrorism. He stated that the menace deserves the attention of the world.

According to him, West Africa is compelled to spend its limited resources on the menace.

The President explained that these monies could have otherwise been used to educate Africa’s young population.

“All of us in the region are being forced to spend huge amounts of money on security. This is money we should be spending on educating and giving skills to our young people,” he said.

“This is a global problem deserving the attention of the world community for a global solution.”

Remembering Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, who would have been 113 years old today, he recalled driving force of De Nkrumah’s political career, which was to contribute to the birth of a united Africa, or a ‘United States of Africa’.

President Akufo-Addo told the world leaders that “Africa is ready for business. Africa needs you and you need Africa. You need Africa because Africa is busily building the world’s largest single market of 1.3 billion people.” He went on to add that Africa is the new frontier for manufacturing, for technology, for food production.

He concluded by calling on the investor community to support the roll-out of Africa’s lucrative agro-industry, and for the community to see agrobusiness in Africa, more of an opportunity, rather than the perceived, exaggerated risk which according to him has been false but the dominant narrative.