Abstract This paper looks at the recent history of Ghana and explains the series of events that led up to Ghana’s independence in 1957. The paper specifically discusses the effects of colonization in terms of economic and social development and the cultural tensions and tribal divisions in the newly independent Ghana. The paper then looks at the current population and government and concludes that while Ghana is still very much a developing country, Ghana is significantly better off than its West African peers. From the Paper “The country of Ghana was the first dependent African country to achieve independence.
Various factors contributed to the effective push for independence. These factors included constitutional reform as a means by which to slowly erode British influence, the stirring of the masses by African political elites, and the general post-WWII concern over colonization and its destructive forces. Growing nationalist sentiment unleashed itself in the riots of 1948, though the consequences of such violence sent a message to the British and promoted a more controlled and systematic push towards independence. Under the leadership of Mr.
Kwame Nkrumah, a bright and devoted politician, Ghana found its way towards independence through relatively bloodless means. ” Sub-Saharan Africa began its journey of decolonization in 1956 when the Sudan won independence after the Egyptian revolution in 1952 (Findley/Rothney 387). One of the first African countries to gain independence was Ghana, in 1957. Ghana is located in West Africa near the equator and on the Greenwich meridian. The colonial power that ruled Ghana until their day of independence was Britain. The Portuguese were the first to arrive and they named the place where they settled the Gold Coast.
This became the name of the country till independence when it was changed to Ghana. The British were not the first Europeans to arrive in Ghana but they were the last to leave. The capital of Ghana was moved from Cape Coast to Accra by the British in 1876. The beginning struggle for independence began in the mid 40s when a British Civil Service and Legislative Council was established. This group called many of the Ghana people to fight Britain’s wars in Europe and North Africa. This they did with valor and great courage, only to be denied compensation and benefits upon their return to the Gold Coast.
This single act began the beginning of the end for the British in Ghana (Brody Since the 1950s and 1960s, especially after independence, Ghana has joined numerous world-wide and regional organizations, e. g. the United Nations Organizations (UNO), International Labour Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), Organization of African Unity (OAU) (now transformed into African Union – AU), the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) respectively.
This has been done in a bid to demonstrate her interest in being integrated into the world or African communities and to allow for integration into Ghana of foreign nationals. Before Ghana attained her independence the peoples who now form Ghana were used to the running of states, empires and kingdoms. These peoples co-existed and were bonded by kinship and principles. The arbitrary borders drawn by colonialists only succeeded in forming artificial a multiethnic nation Ghana. Ghana lacks the internal political cohesion that is absolutely necessary for her survival as a nation.
It lacks the moral core that would otherwise be provided by ethnicity, thus the ingredient required for constructing one nation with local roots. There are competing ethnic nationalisms that are hardly prepared to relinquish their hold onto their freedoms and self-determination. Apart from this reluctance to let go their grip on their valued raison d’etre as independent peoples, certain ethnic groups believe that they are superior to others, thus making consensus-building even more difficult.
Ethnic loyalty also makes it difficult to build “strong and viable resources of political association and mass-based political parties, [since selfish politicians can easily manipulate] ethnic loyalty as the cheapest and most reliable strategy to acquire and consolidate power” (Yoh, 2004: 2). As already demonstrated above, violent conflicts have erupted and will continue to erupt in areas where traditional states, traditional land tenure, chieftaincies are collapsing or there is a fragmentation of communities.
Examples of such situations are shown by many young nation-states, e. g. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Rwanda, which have been shaken and partly divided or destroyed by power struggles caused by ethnic and religious conflicts. Education and Development in Nation-Building Lack of education is one of the most serious factors hindering development in nation-building. This fact was realized in the early days of nation-building in Germany. Also, when Ghana became independent in 1957, the first President realized the need for the promotion of education in Ghana.
In the case of Germany, for instance, it can be said that: “From 1763, against resistance from the nobility and citizenry, an ‘enlightened absolutism’ was established in Prussia and Austria, according to which the ruler was to be ‘the first servant of state’. The economy developed and legal reforms were undertaken, including the abolition of torture and the improvement in the status Jews; the emancipation of peasants began. Education was promoted” (Wikipedia, History of Germany, 2008: 12). In Ghana education has been considered very essential for nation-building.
Even during the colonial administration educational policies, were formulated, e. g. through Advisory Committees on Education, to accelerate the development of the indigenous people. During the first government Nkrumah and the CPP embarked vigorously upon the promotion of education. For example: “For the first time in the history of the country, the Central Government was to assume full responsibility for educational policy and practice. Educational development itself had passed the where it was a political project of the greatest magnitude.
It had been both fundamental and crucial to the political economy, and was to find full expression in the Seven-Year Development Plan of 1964, the CPP’s programme for ‘work and happiness’” (Haizel, In: Arhin, 1991: 60-61). Since the CPP regime a couple of educational reforms have taken place, notably the 1987 Education Reform by the PNDC Government and the 2007/2008 Education Reform by the NPP Government. However, in many cases governments have paid lip-service to education, initiated inappropriate reforms and made arbitrary changes not backed by sound reflection and preparation.
Thus, education is still developing effectively to boost nation-building. Education Education, together with language, forms the all-important keys to participation in society. Education is relevant to work/employment, rural development, modernization, national identity, cultural identity, ethnic identity, national identity, citizenship, exercise of civic rights and responsibilities, and political awareness which all lead to effective nation-building. Gender issues Gender issues are essential in nation-building and ought to be tackled vigorously.
In both Germany and Ghana women are ceasing to mere play the second fiddle in society and are assuming highly responsible positions. For example, for years now, Dr. Angela Merkel has been the German Chancellor, the first female Chancellor indeed. Also, another prominent German female political figure worth mentioning is Prof. Dr. Maria Bohmer, Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration and Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery to boot. In Ghana we now have the first woman Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood, the first woman Speaker of Parliament, Mrs.
Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo and the first woman Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mrs. Elizabeth Mills-Robertson (since the establishment of the Ghana Police Service in 1874 by the British Colonial Administration). These new developments with regard to gender issues go a long way to enhance the image not only of women but also of their own society and nation. References Andah, B. W. and Anquandah, J. (1988): The Guinea belt: the peoples between Mount Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, In: Elfasi, M. , Hrbek, I. (eds. ) General History of Africa III: 488-529. California: UNESCO, Heineman Anderson, Benedict (2005): Die Erfindung der Nation.
Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main/New York, ISBN 3-593-37729-2 Arhin, Kwame ed. (1991): The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah. Papers of Symposium organized by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon Accra: Sedco Pubishing Ltd. Bade, Klaus J. (2008): Immigration and Integration in Germany. The Three Main Waves of Migration and their Effects, In: Deutschland, E6 No. 5/2008 October/November: 50-52. Frankfurt/Main: Societats-Verlag and Federal Foreign Office, Berlin Deutschland, E6 No. 5/2008 October/November (2008): Integration and Diversity. Living Together. Frankfurt/Main: Societats-Verlag and Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
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Nation-Building – ein sinnvolles Instrument der Konfliktbearbeitung? Dietz Verlag, Bonn Schayan, Janet (2008): Living Together in Germany. Opportunities for Immigrants. In: Deutschland, E6 No. 5/2008 October/November: 50-52. Frankfurt/Main: Societats-Verlag and Federal Foreign Office, Berlin Yoh, John G. Nyuot (2004): Notes on Ethnicity, Democratization and Nation building: Experience in Africa and relevance to West Asia: The Case of Cameroon and Ghana. Pretoria: Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa. Amman, Jordan Presidential Diary (2007): History of Ghana. Golden Jubilee Edition: 35-41
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