Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is in America, has taken advantage of the absence of Burkinabe officials and went reporting his neighbours’ alleged dealings with Russian mercenaries; called the Wagner Group.
According to the Ghanaian leader, a mine has been given out to the Eastern Europeans as payment by the Burkinabe military junta to help fight an insurgency in their country.
President Akufo-Addo, who is in Washington for the US-Africa Leaders Summit, made the claims at a meeting on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a statement from the department.
The meeting in Washington, on the invitation of the American President, is seen by many as an attempt by the US to reassert itself in Africa in particular where the influence of Russia, China and Turkey is growing exponentially with America and even France receiving cold shoulders.
Akufo-Addo, said the mine is near Ghana’s northern border with Burkina Faso, which used the operation to pay for work done by the Wagner Group.
The entity is a mercenary outfit run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He added that Ghana’s criticism of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine made his country particularly concerned about the Wagner Group’s presence.
“To have them operating on our northern border is particularly distressing for us in Ghana,” he said.
Moscow has denied any links to the group.
Burkina Faso was not invited to the Washington summit and a call and email to the country’s US embassy weren’t returned.
In nearby Mali, a 1,000-strong mercenary unit — according to US estimates — has been operating since 2021, helping protect the military junta that has been in power there since 2020. Mali’s government has denied the presence of Wagner forces.
Akufo-Addo called on the US to work with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to protect nations in the region from armed groups that threatened democracy.
“It’s important that we bring that matter to your notice and see to what extent we can engage you as a reliable partner in the pushback of those forces,” he said.
On the same trip, President Akufo-Addo, is being bashed for advising his colleagues to stop begging the West for assistance at a time when he is collecting a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Senator Shehu Sani of Nigeria, had tweeted “ Ghana’s President is collecting IMF loan with the right hand and using the left hand to warn African Governments against begging the west for money”.
The Ghanaian leader, on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, advised his colleagues to stop begging the West for assistance.
“If we stop being beggars and spend African money inside the continent, Africa will not need to ask for respect from anyone; we will get the respect we deserve. If we make it prosperous as it should be, respect will follow,” Mr Akufo-Addo said.
In his view, “Africans are more resilient outside the continent than inside,” adding that “We must bear in mind that to the outside world, [there’s] nothing like Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya, we are simply Africans. Our destiny as people depends on each other”.
President Akufo-Addo, said this at the opening of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.
The Ghanaian leader’s comment to African leaders came a day after his Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and the IMF jointly announced a staff-level agreement for a US$3-billion bailout.
Speaking to journalists after the announcement, Mr Ofori-Atta, said Ghana is “blessed” to have secured the for the US$3-billion extended credit facility in five months contrary to the protracted situation with some African countries who negotiated similar deals.
“To God, indeed, be the glory for the great thing he hath done within 5 months. I am certain that God, who began the good work, will continue until it is finally finished – Greater things He will do. For we shall gather the harvest with joy”, Mr Ofori-Atta celebrated on Tuesday, 13 December 2022.
He said: “These, indeed, are both times for a Joseph recovery and a Nehemiah rebuilding”, adding: “Let us continue with courage, the spirit of love for each other and self-discipline to go through this together”.
The minister, who survived a censure motion recently, said since the announcement on 1 July 2022 to formally engage the IMF for an IMF-supported programme, “there have been three rounds of negotiations with the IMF interspersed with a number of virtual meetings in-between to ensure both the GoG and the IMF teams work around the clock to get the SLA by end Dec 2022”.
Addressing journalists at a press conference following the staff-level agreement, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “Truly, the eventual conclusion of the program will assist us in our efforts to restore stability, tackle inflation, and strengthen our currency.”
“That is why the various ingredients of the programme should be supported by all Ghanaians and all stakeholders.”
The staff of the IMF and the Ghanaian authorities reached an agreement on economic policies and reforms to be supported by a new three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) of about US$3 billion.
The authorities’ strong reform programme is aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while protecting the vulnerable, preserving financial stability, and laying the foundation for strong and inclusive recovery.
To support the objective of restoring public debt sustainability, the authorities have launched a comprehensive debt operation.