THE GREAT TASKS AHEAD 1966 NEW YEAR MESSAGE
December 31, 1965
In a few hours’ time, a new year; 1966, will be in with us. It is right that on the last day of the old year, we should take stock of the year that will soon pass away and consider what we can and ought to do in the year that is about to be born.
As we cast our minds back over events in 1965, we should all be grateful that in spite of the stresses and strains of the past year, world peace has been maintained. The crisis in Southern Rhodesia, the cruel war in Vietnam, the unfortunate conflict between India and Pakistan, and the situation in the Dominican Republic all have threatened and still threaten world peace. As in past years, Ghana has played its part peacefully to resolve these conflicts. Over the years, we have pursued in concert with other non-aligned nations a policy which has had a number of successes. The idea that Africa should be a nuclear free zone has been reflected in a resolution of the United Nations and by the decision of the Organisation of African Unity. Our pressure for genuine disarmament is increasingly influencing world opinion. We shall continue to press for complete and general disarmament. In particular, we must be on our guard against limited wars being used by major powers to secure the political advantages which formerly, they sought by general war. For this reason, it is international friction of which the present German situation is only one example.
One of the more serious threats to world peace which arose during this year is the present Southern Rhodesian issue about whose danger Ghana had warned the world over and over again in past years. There is no need for further meetings either by the Organisation of African Unity or the Commonwealth on what should be done about Rhodesia. This has already been decided. What is required of us in the coming year is to carry out faithfully decisions already made including the use of force. We should be proud that Ghana was one of the first African States to carry out the Organisation of African Unity Southern Rhodesian decisions.
Looking back over the problems in Africa this year, one issue stands out crystal clear, namely, the need for a Continental Union Government. Everything that has happened in Africa in the year that is closing has demonstrated once again, and beyond any possible shadow of doubt, that unless we are able to form an effective Union Government for our Continent, we shall not only continue to be at the mercy of those forces which profit from our division, but the future of our Continent will be very dark indeed, and may lead into confusion, further errors and even anarchy.
We have good reason to be proud of the progress that has been made this year towards our goal of ha United Africa. There is no leader in Africa today: who can truthfully say that African Unity, and for that matter a Union Government for Africa, is not feasible? The time is not far distant when the pressure of African mass opinion will force those who now drag their feet to match their words by action. Those who champion African Unity should be encouraged and stimulated even by the vicious attacks which are daily made against them, both outside and inside Africa. So long as we continue to advocate effective and genuine independence for Africa and its political unification, so long shall we be subject to slanderous and mischievous misrepresentation by those who have a vested interest in keeping Africa weak, disunited and balkanised. These are, decisive moments in our history where direct intervention of the masses of the people of Africa shall sweep away the reactionary obstructionists and lay the foundation of a new Africa.
One of the mechanisms of neo-colonialism is to hire African traitors and stooges - agents provocateurs — to spread lies and untruths about the progressive States of Africa, and their dedicated leaders. Neo-colonialist errors and contradictions which rend Africa asunder will find their natural solution within the framework of a Continental Union Government for Africa. If we are to defeat the neo-colonialists in their endeavours, it is necessary to understand the essence of neo-colonialism. The essence of neo-colonialism is that it seeks to use the wealth of the older developed countries to impoverish the developing states. A neo-colonialism would establish a parasitic world in which some ten percent of the world’s population live in luxury on the labours of the other ninety per cent.
It is against this system that we fight and not against any particular countries or group of countries or governments, or their leaders as such. We know that neo-colonialism uses foreign investment as one of its weapons. However, this does not mean that we are against foreign investment as such. What we are against is its misuse and the attempt to use foreign investment to control, direct and manipulate the political and economic future of a developing country.
Two courses are open to those who control the vast financial resources of the developed countries. There is the neo-colonialist course. I have recently pointed out that by pursuing a neo-colonialist policy, the monopoly-capitalists of the developed countries are signing their own death warrant. ln the long run, neo-colonialism will prove as disastrous to those who practise it as it is now to those who are its victims. It is impossible to conceive that a system can long endure which results in a small fraction of the world’s population becoming wealthier and wealthier, while the great majority of mankind become poorer and poorer. It is therefore as much in the interest of the developed countries as of the A developing to bring an end to neo-colonialism. This is why l have repeatedly pleaded for an exploration of the alternative course, namely cooperation, upon a new basis, between the developed and the developing countries. As l have often it said, developing countries need investment from outside. Such investment could; be an important factor in narrowing the ever-growing gap between the haves and the ‘have-nots’, between the developed countries and the developing countries.
Unfortunately, the present direction of much foreign investment serves to widen, and not to narrow, this gaping gap. Ghana’s policy is socialist, but we welcome cooperation with all States whether they be capitalist or socialist. We welcome foreign investment, provided that such investment fits in with our own national plans for development, and helps to increase our economic growth and not to retard it.
We can understand that investment by foreign interests and governments in less developed countries may involve an element of risk for the investor. For instance, there may be a drastic decline in the world price of some export commodities upon which the developing country depends in order to find the foreign exchange to repay the investment in question.
There is enough potential capital and resources in the world today to enable both developed and developing countries to progress, until the present distinction between the developed and developing nations disappears. If there was a politically unimpeded flow of capital, we could all build for ourselves a, prosperous and contented world. Here, l have a suggestion, in this connection. The developing countries might contribute to and support an international organisation which would provide insurance to foreign investors against any possible risks in investing in any particular developing country which was a party to the scheme. After 811, it is only fair that we take into account, the point of view of the investor in a developing country. Such an organisation as I have in mind could be established under the aegis of the United Nations. If such an organisation were established, it would be possible for foreign investment to, be given to developing countries without any political or other strings whatsoever. The ostensible reason for attaching such strings is often given as the need to protect foreign investment. But such an idea as l am proposing requires further study, notwithstanding, l am convinced it is a feasible and practical method of resolving one of the obstacles to capital investment in developing countries.
Here, l would appeal to the Great Powers to show greater understanding of the problems facing the developing countries. Every country, however great, has to pass through a critical phase of development. By their very existence, the developed countries present to the developing countries an image of what the future might be for them. For this reason, developed countries should be careful not to allow political and super profit considerations to blind them to their obligations to the rest of the world. Irrespective of the political systems we follow, we are all treading the same road to full and better, development.
This is why Ghana regrets that the United States Government should recently have attempted to prevent a tree dialogue on these matters between us by the publicised declaration to impose food sanctions on Ghana. Since this incident has been given much publicity, let me state the facts. For over a year now, the Government had been negotiating with the United States Government without results for the supply to Ghana of some of the surplus food which they cannot dispose of in the United States. Ghana felt justified in making this request to the United States Government, since, as everyone knows, Ghana supplies large quantities of food to the United States in the form of cocoa for which during 1965 a fair price could not be obtained owing to the manipulations of the inter-national market. Our negotiations for the supply of surplus food from America were still proceeding when they were suddenly broken off by the United States Government, apparently on account of my recent book, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism.
It is clear that food so heavily laden with strings could prove indigestible in Ghana. Nevertheless, l would like to take this opportunity to assure our many friends and well-wishers in the United States that this unhappy and, l trust, isolated incident will in no way be allowed to impair the long-standing friendly and cordial relations between Ghana and the, people and Government of the United States. indeed, our great Volta Dam at Akosombo and the gigantic Aluminium Smelter being built at Tema provide evidence of the friendly and mutually useful cooperation which exists between Ghana and the United States.
January, 1966, will see the official opening of the Volta Dam Project. Ghana is already producing from the Dam electrical power at a cost which can compete favourably with any in the world. This Dam and its Lake, the largest man-made lake in the world, are proof that we have wisely used our resources and that true cooperation benefits both sides.
We are on the road to progress, and there is no time for complacency or easy optimism. We are grateful to those friendly countries and organisations who are helping us along this road. But let us realise that if we are to achieve our national goals and aspirations, it will be in the main through our own united and sustained efforts for progress, freedom and prosperity. We are a young and vigorous nation and there is nothing we cannot achieve if we remain united, vigilant and true to our cause.
Within the last few years, our industrialisation programme has been making great progress. Already, made-in-Ghana products like our beer, corned beef, chocolates, cocoa bags, glassware, aluminium household products, and building materials, such as cement, paint and aluminium sheets, etc. etc., are being put on the market as quickly as our resources permit. Very soon, our gold refinery at Tarkwa will be in production and we shall be in full control of our gold resources. I must, therefore, call on the Ministries, State Corporations and organisations to carry out their duties with increased devotion, efficiency and honesty, and with respect and concern for our State property. This call goes to all the other public services and State organs. Happily, we have a Civil Service which is one of the best in the world. It is vigorous, loyal and incorruptible.
So, at this time, all sections of our community, our churches, voluntary organisations, market women’s organisations, workers, farmers and peasants, must mobilise their energies and resources — physical, mental, moral and spiritual- for the great tasks that lie ahead of us all. I know, and I am confident, that in this spirit of dedication and resolve, in this spirit of confident in ourselves, we shall win even greater victories and successes in the coming year.
I wish you all, wherever you may be, health and happiness in this New Year.
Good night and God bless you all.