The Second Lady of the Republic Samira Bawumia is confident that Ghana is blazing the trail in Africa when it comes to leaders who are ensuring that public interest is the underlying principle in government decision making.
According to her, Africa can no longer wait, after decades of being in the dark due to poor leadership, despite its rich and abundant natural resources.
She said the time is now for the continent to experience a major transformation in all spheres, and Ghana is showing the way that with effective and dynamic leadership the public interest overrides personal interest.
Mrs. Bawumia has therefore called on those in leadership positions to be patriotic since that is the only means to rally all behind to achieve the agenda for massive transformation such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
“To the young generation of Africans, it is your time to shine. Africa needs a new crop of leaders who will ensure that public interest is the underlying principle in government decision making. Agenda 2063 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will not happen by themselves. We need dynamic and effective leadership to make it happen,” Mrs. Bawumia declared at a public lecture hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in the US under the auspices of the US-Ghana Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking on the theme: “Driving economic change in Africa in the 21st Century: Ghana at the forefront,” Mrs. Bawumia noted: “Ghana is working hard to change its story. Ghana is showing the way; but it requires a sustained effort and a generation of patriotic leaders to carry on the good work. Everyone has a part to play. Indeed, leadership matters. We can all aspire to lead; but sometimes circumstances create leaders.”
Touting the numerous achievements of the 14-month-old government of the new administration in Ghana under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, she said the country boasts of a Free SHS programme aimed at building an inclusive society and developing human capacity, the Digital Property Address System which will transform the economy and improve the platform of doing business as well as the paperless system at the ports among others.
Mrs. Bawumia stressed that the new government is on course to fulfil its promises due to visionary leadership, despite inheriting an empty purse from the previous administration.
“For the new leaders, the way to transforming the Ghanaian society would be through better leadership. Theirs is a vision of greater access and better education for all children, greater access to health, water and sanitation, inclusive growth, sound management of the economy and a better environment for the private sector to thrive and to create jobs,” she noted.
Mrs. Bawumia added: “For them to chart a new course for Ghana means a paradigm shift away from raw material export economy. They know that despite all the wealth of natural resources – from gold, cocoa, oil and gas – Ghana faces the risk of being trapped in its Lower Middle Income Country (LMIC) status if we do not push our productive capacities as a nation, if we do not make growth inclusive, if we do not give all our children access to quality education to develop their natural talents and if we do not give women fair and equal opportunities in all spheres of our socio-economic and political society.
“The policies and programmes of the government so far have shown what good leadership can do for its people. Without leadership, the economic transformation we yearn for cannot happen.”
However, Mrs. Bawumia averred it will not only take political leadership to move the country and for that matter the continent forward, but everyone has a role to play.
“Everybody here has a precept of leadership. You don’t necessarily have to hold a position of political influence to exercise leadership; seeking to promote the public good, social equity, empowering the weak and the disadvantaged, protecting the vulnerable, and ensuring social justice requires some form of leadership. As the saying goes, “let your light shine wherever you are”,” she emphasised.