Former President of the Republic, John Agyekum Kufour, has attributed developments achieved during his tenure, to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
He referred to achievements under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative by the World Bank, which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government signed on to in 2001.
Speaking on Ghanaapaawa segment of Angel FM/TV’s Anopa Bofor show on Friday, September 9, 2022, Mr Agyekum Kufour admitted that the Queen’s intervention immensely impacted the country.
According to him, the government could not have made any significant change to the economy had the Monarch not intervene.
He said they were compelled to sign on to the programme despite the dissenting views expressed on the HIPC initiative, owing to its implications on the state.
He blamed their engagement with the World Bank on his predecessors, whose administrations had burdened the nation with heavy debts. “The economy then was in tatters, and the loans were overwhelming,” he stated.
The former president indicated that the Queen’s government, through one Minister Clare Short and the leadership of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, talked him into signing up for the programme.
“She [Clare Short] assured me that the British government will timeously assist with policy arrangements to get things right and to settle our debts,” he intimated in the interview with Nana Yaa Brefo.
“So based on the conversation I had with the lady [Clare Short], I instructed my Finance Minister [Osafo Marfo] to go and announce to the Ghanaian Parliament that I said we should sign up for HIPC,” Mr Agyekum Kufour added.
According to him, Britain was the first country to come to the country’s aid after the government engaged the IMF “in fulfilment of Mrs Short’s words”.
“Then, we needed 50 million pounds to pay the interest. The debt was huge, and the amount for just the interest for 2001 was 50 million pounds.”
The interest, the former president said, was paid by the British government and many other debts were settled.
The intervention, therefore, made it possible for the NPP government to pursue its developmental projects.
Debts consequently fell by some 65%; primary school graduation also increased to about 50%, and Gross Domestic Products over 30%.
“So when you see an infrastructure be it a school building, hospital, with Benefit of HIPC inscribed on them, they came from Britain,” he said while lauding the Monarch for granting the opportunity.