A Development Planner, has blamed the protracted economic woes facing the African continent on the over reliance of the pursuit of so-called “favourable” economic indicators as a goal to satisfy the quest of external partners.
Mr Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo said instead of broad-based inward oriented human development targets, African leaders continue to rely on economic development agenda, which render the entire development purpose on the continent towards the pursuit of statistical targets to satisfy the quest of external partners.
Speaking to a cross section of journalists in Kumasi to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cocoyoc declaration and brief them on its outcomes, Mr Azongo pointed out that mass poverty in Africa was as the result of the Eurocentric and grand deceptive economic development theory which has been religiously embraced as the solution to Africa’s future.
The Cocoyoc Declaration was issued in October, 1974 by a consortium of United Nations Experts calling for the rejection of the existing economic growth model and its associated ‘trickle down’ illusion to “redefine the whole purpose of development from the development of things to the development of man”.
He noted that economists oversimplifies development as a conclusive statistical product, engineered from the centre, and by this posture, remains the weakest link in the coach of development.
According to Mr Azongo, this has misled and blindfolded African governments and the developing world in the unbridled pursuit of aggregate statistical economic indicator targets, such as middle income, Gross Domestic Products (GDP), interest rates, inflation etc.
These indicators only create an illusion of progress.
He pointed out that Ghana had over the years attained significantly higher growths in terms of economic indicators but had been consistently struggling to meet the basis needs of its population.
Mr Azongo cited the case of 1978, where a growth rate of 9.8% was registered yet scathing economic circumstances culminated in a coup de tat in 1979, and the famine period of 1984, where an ‘enviable’ growth rate of 8.8% was equally registered.
He said 70 years of proven illusion with the existing economic growth development order and its “economics twin-disciplinary anchor in trickling development down to the masses of the world, is a lesson well-aged to wake African governments from the slumber of perpetual enslavement with the growth and trickle down syndrome of economics”.
He said the massive weakness of the existing economic growth paradigm and trickle down illusion had been admitted on several platforms by the very global authorities, like the World Bank, as lacking the depth to drive broad-based development, particularly in the developing world.
Mr Azongo, who is also the consultant to the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO) questioned why the very authorities of applied economics were questioning the very basis of these theoretical postulations, yet African economists, continue to present the growth concentrated economic model as the panacea for African’s development.
“Mass poverty, cyclical economic crisis and frightening inequalities remain the age-old character of the economic growth-concentrated model of development”, he emphasised.
He bemoaned the lack of courage by African governments and African educated elites to muster intellectual courage in challenging global development systems and theories which have proven unworkable in the African development landscape.
Mr Azongo appealed to African leaders to change the existing economic development order and pursue bottom-up mass participatory economic strategies that would harness the potential of the people to undertake development activities that would improve their wellbeing.