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EDITORIAL: Let’ Hail Kufuor   
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Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has indeed joined the Ivy League of extraordinary and exemplary former presidents who have behaved responsibly and offered national, regional and continental leadership after they successfully completed their terms in office.

Over the last century or so, Africa’s developmental problems have been about leadership and the lack of it. The failure of African leaders who have either been elected by their people or came to power through the barrel of the gun have been the major cause of Africa’s problems primarily because they failed to offer real leadership.

However, we are seeing a now in the new crop of democratic former Presidents who graciously bowed out of office after their terms were up and have been real statesmen in their countries and in international circles.

As a country and as a continent, we must welcome this development, our past leaders, unfortunately did not have the foresight to engage such. There’s a new trend emerging and as a country we need to be deliberate and smart in choosing future leaders who will come into office running.

Ghana and indeed the world has no time for visionless leaders, leaders who come into office promising to hit the ground running but end up hitting the ground so hard that they tear cruciate ligaments.

Kufuor has set the standard of leadership in Ghana and unfortunately there has been a severe retrogression in the leadership offered this country since he left office.

In his 8 years of office, President Kufuor brought back the dignity of the Presidency and endowed Ghana an internationally recognised good-governance regime which enlarged the freedoms of the individual citizen, institutions and the press through the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law.

Good governance earned Ghana US$547 million from the US government through the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

The School Feeding Programme and Capitation grant were implemented under his tenure as President. Through these interventions, NPP doubled enrolment at all levels schools; public universities from 44,000 in 2000 to 107,640 in 2008; Polytechnic enrolment from 18,470 in 2000 to 45,934 by 2009. By 2008 the NPP improved percentage of GDP to funding for education by 92% from 3.8% of a GDP of $3.9 billion to 7.2% of a 2008 GDP of $16 billion.

The National Youth Employment Programme created over 108,000 jobs for the youth with a total of over 1.7 million jobs created for Ghanaians.

An economy with a Gross Domestic Product of $3.9 billion in 2008 was more than quadrupled under his watch to $17 billion ($24 billion using the rebased figures). Inflation was reduced from 40.5% at the end of 2000 to a little over 18% when he left office.

Massive infrastructural development occurred under his watch. His administration increased the total road network from 36,000 km in 2000 to over 64,000 km in 2008. Electricity was extended to over 2,500 rural communities under the Self Help Electrification Project alone.

Access to water was improved with notable expansion works across the country. Sanitation was also improved vastly. His achievements are limitless.

It comes as no surprise that his legacy has won him a number of awards after his tenure of office, recently with the World Food Programme presenting him with the World Food Prize.

Since leaving office, he joined by invitation, the global elite Club of Madrid of former world leaders; assumed presidency of the Italian development organization, Alliance for Africa working in health and education sectors on the continent; he has also succeeded Martti Ahtisaari the 2008 Nobel Prize winner for peace and former President of Finland as Chair of the Governing Council of Interpeace, a UN supported but Geneva based alliance organization for peace operating in 17 countries around the world.

He has also been serving as World Food Programme Ambassador of the UN against Hunger and engaged in field work in rural Kenya and Ethiopia advocating modern farming practices and food security policies. Again, on the invitation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, he was one of 10 distinguished global leaders tasked to review the operations of the bank

The John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation is indeed welcome and will serve as an opportunity to groom future leaders of this country. The Oxford and Cambridge Universities were purposely built to train leaders. Kufuor’s foundation is truly a step in the right direction to train, guide and guard our future leaders.

Thabo Mbeki has set up a foundation in the South Africa; Olusegun Obasanjo also has set up a Presidential Library as part of the distinguished tradition where a former president of Nigeria bequeaths to posterity, historical documentation of his life’s achievements to the country.

Kufuor Ayekoo!!
Source: The Statesman/Ghana

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