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Hurray !!!!! President Addo dresses down French President Macron


President Akuffo Addo put up the best performance of his young presidency last week when he directly and unapologetically told the French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, that Africa no longer needs to rely on foreign assistance to get by, indeed, to sustain its remarkable economic growth and development. Africa is a young continent, and the time was ripe, Mr. Addo added,  to allow it to grow on its own terms.

I was flabbergasted by Mr. Addo’s  brutally frank talk. He did not mince his words, despite the levels of uncomfortability created for the visiting French leader. Some may say Mr. Addo went too far, chastising a foreign head of state at a public forum.

Could the tongue-lashing have been done behind close doors for the sake of diplomacy, you may ask? Well, it could have, but Mr. Addo had a plan, and that was to let the rest of the world hear him dress down the French President and other western leaders.

But at its face value, the speech was worth a billion Ghana cedis. Indeed, it was a carthasis of sort, a venting of the pent up frustrations of Africans built up over the years since we wrested power from the colonial masters.

When was the last time you heard an African politician going ballistic and lashing out at western powers with such certainty and force? Well, Mr. Robert Mugabe was another pain in the backside of western leaders. And, he paid a huge price for his constant lambasting of everything he deemed exploitative of naive Africans.

Mr. Addo is taking a page from Mr. Mugabe’s book, and his tough talk last week was abundant indication that the time has finally come for African political leaders to be upfront and honest with their white counterparts.

There was a time when African leaders kowtowed to European leaders mainly because of the huge foreign aid that is annually directed towards the continent. Mr. Addo himself admitted as much; most African countries depend on handouts from Europeans to finance their annual budgets, a fact we cannot run away from.

Our overwhelming dependence on foreign aid has both positive and negative implications. Positive because foreign aid supplements our government’s ability to fulfill its committment to the people.

But when you flip the coin, foreign aid has negative canotations because it compels the receiving nation to do things it won’t normally do, like throwing its support behind the donor nation in situations where that support is coerced, forced and not prudent.

While Mr. Addo was intensely critical of European nations, he did not once mention northern African Arab political leaders who have, unsurprisingly, been eerily quiet about reports of slavery in the failed state of Libya. They should have been the targets of Mr. Addo’s barbs, attacks.

By failing to doing so, the president missed a golden opportunity to direct added attention to the plight of our young men and women slaving under harsh and horrible conditions in Libya, and to expose the racial ugliness of Libya without the charismatic Gaddafi.

All in all, Mr. Addo was at his best, and the hope here is that, he continues this pattern of speaking truth to power. I am the last person you would find to sing the President’s praises, but I could not help it this time. He was simply fabulous.


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