Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ghana rethinking loan for housing after challenges from think tank professionals

Dear Colleagues

Franklin Cudjoe, the Executive Director of IMANI in Ghana is very pleased about this outcome ... and so he should be. I have said for a long time that Africa would be well served if the political people would listen to Africa's professional people, many of whom are well qualified to advise and deserve to be listened to. It is about thirty years ago since I realized to my considerable embarrassment that my local colleagues in Africa were doing excellent analytical work ... better than mine ... and getting neither much money nor recognition for their work. Nothing of importance changes fast, but slowly the African professional class is emerging, and I hope this is the beginning of a major paradigm shift. It has taken a long time!
Bravo! Ghanaian Government Listens to Think Tanks After All

Not often do ruling governments in Africa get praised for listening to voices of reason on important national issues. Contrition on the part of most African and particularly Ghanaian politicians is a rare commodity indeed. So, for the ruling Ghanaian government to have mustered courage to withdraw from Parliament, a draft loan agreement on the largest state-sponsored housing project in the history of Ghana (worth US $10 billion), even for all its gaping flaws deserves attention and applause.

We do hope however, that when the amended draft is reintroduced in Parliament, it will reflect our initial concerns first expressed in the articles below and summarised as follows;
  • Should the state be directly involved in providing houses to Ghanaians?
  • Shouldn’t the state facilitate loan acquisition for private sector building contractors?
  • Why should we sink US$ 10 billion into a housing project when we have general infrastructure deficits requiring US$2 billion annually to fix?
We at are IMANI are very pleased that through our pre-emptive analyses and public outcry on several media platforms, later to be supported by like-minded think tanks such as DI, we provided ‘fodder’ for our Parliamentarians to critically examine the draft loan agreement on the housing project.

We will continue to urge the ruling government and governments-in-waiting to pay attention to reasonable voices of critique on all national issues (petroleum revenue management included) as they strive to provide leadership for all.

Franklin Cudjoe,
Executive Director, IMANI.
Courtesy of IMANI Center for Policy & Education, a think tank ranked 5th for intellectual influence in Africa by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2009, and, an independent, pan-African, analysis platform.

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