Tomorrow is Republic Day — the second anniversary of the glorious birth of Tour new nation as a Republic. On this occasion, however, our celebrations will be a somewhat limited scale and they will not include the usual formal ceremonies like the Military Parades, which I know you all enjoy. I hope that the provision of permanent stands at the Black Star Square will be completed in the next few months, and that it will again become the scene of our national functions and parades.
I have come to the Studio on the eve of this occasion to salute you, and to share with you some thoughts about our nation. Tonight, there will be general merrymaking in the cities, towns and villages throughout Ghana. It is only right that we should rejoice because we know that Republic Day signifies for us the day of real independence — the day when our nation became really free and sovereign.
The past year has not been easy for any of us. We have had our share of the general slump in world prices, and this affected our main source of income — cocoa. As a result, all of us have had to tighten our belts in an effort to prevent any disruption of our economic life. I am glad to say that we have succeeded in this regard and today, our economy is strong and as buoyant as ever.
Many attempts have been made by our detractors to misrepresent our intentions and motives, to put obstacles in our way, and to hamper the realization of our national objectives and progress. On every occasion, however, our people have risen like one man and foiled these attempts. I do not propose to make any specific mention of any particular occasions, but you are all aware of the events which led to the detention of the people, a majority of whom have recently been released. All of us now have the opportunity to help in re-building our nation.
We have a double role to play. Our first duty is to build Ghana as a first-class nation. This demands the greatest effort on our part to ensure the implementation of our policies at home. At the same time, Ghana has an over-riding duty to keep flying the banner of the national struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa. These are the two paramount national obligations which we must discharge.
In fulfilment of our promise to continue the struggle until the whole of Africa is liberated. Ghana has consistently been in the fore-front of the struggle. This has earned us the enmity and hatred of those countries which have a vested interest in colonialism. Notwithstanding this, we remain undeterred and we are ever determined to pursue this struggle, until victory is won. Africa is our birth-right and no sacrifice can be considered too great for us to bear in order to make her free, respected and restored to her rightful place in the world.
As I speak, Ruanda and Urundi are on the eve of independence. This is a great thing for Africa, and our own celebrations here are doubly reinforced when we consider that our efforts in the interest of our brothers elsewhere in Africa constantly bear fruit. When some months ago, we met freedom fighters from Ruanda-Urundi at the Kwame Nkrumah Institute of Ideological Studies, we knew their independence was near. We take this opportunity, therefore, to offer our hearty congratulations to our brothers in Ruanda-Urundi. In the name of African unity, we wish them success in their new life.
Five years ago when we called the first Conference of Independent African States, only eight African nations were free. By tomorrow, that number will rise to thirty one. This is a tremendous achievement for Africa. But the struggle still continues. Africa will indeed be free and united. I referred earlier to our two paramount national obligations, but I must say that there is a third duty which is of equal importance. It is the part that we can play in the struggle for world peace. We, as a nation, together with other African countries, have a highly vested interest in peace. We need peace to enable us to develop and repair the damage done to us through centuries of imperialist rule and colonialist exploitation. We cannot therefore afford the risk of another world war.
The Accra Assembly which has just ended is an eloquent testimony to the desire of mankind for peace, and I feel sure that its results will be welcomed by all those who are truly interested in peace and in welfare of mankind. There has recently been a certain amount of loose and irresponsible talk about the state of our reserves. It is true that owing to our programme of industrialisation and mechanization of agriculture we have had to use part of our reserve to finance the purchase of industrial plant and equipment. Even so, our reserves now stand at over seventy million pounds sterling, which by any consideration and having regard to all our circumstances are quite substantial. Friends and countrymen, we look forward to the future with courage and confidence — confidence in ourselves and confidence in our party and Government.
No one who looks back to the condition of our country as it was five or six years ago, can fail to realise the tremendous achievement that has taken place in every sphere of our national life. Tema Harbour, constructed at a cost of twenty-seven million pounds, which was recently opened, is still being expanded. The new township which has already cost over ten million pounds is also being developed as a first-class modern city. More houses have been built and basic services such as roads and water have been provided in all parts of the country.
All these developments have been provided for, entirely from our own resources. The national progress and prosperity of Ghana is the concern of every citizen. We must, each one of us, play our part to make a success of our national programme. Let us be determined here and now that we shall, by our own exertions, keep Ghana on the road to prosperity and strength. The days are gone-gone forever —when we were prevented from playing any role in the affairs of the Government and when we thought, therefore, that we had no responsibility for the welfare of the country. We now have a responsibility and we owe it to posterity to discharge it faithfully and well.