Almost halfway through his mandate as Ghana's President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, is rating the country as a "much better place" economically, than a couple of years ago, though he concedes Ghana is not out of the woods yet.
According to him, in order to address some structural economic problems the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama government bequeath to the NPP, his administration has had to implement some not too "particularly popular" fiscal measures.
The President further stated that "the free easy money" that existed under the previous government is "no longer there", and people now "make money" they "worked for".
He was speaking in an interaction with the Ghanaian community in South Africa after participating in the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, over the weekend; a programme that honoured the centenary and celebrated the legacy of South Africa's first democratic President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
The President had earlier taken advantage of the opportunity to popularize the 2030 UN Charter on Human Development on the Sustainable Development Goals, at meetings with some world leaders, philanthropic influencers, celebrities and other members of society to pledge and commit to making a difference.
Buttressing his point with some economic indicators, President Akufo-Addo stated that the country's economic growth has more than doubled from its 2016 level of 3.7% to 8.5% as of 2017.
"....In my view, we are in a much better place. Some of the facts are matters of record that cannot be disputed. The economy we inherited in 2016, is not the same economy that we have today. We have a much stronger macro-economy in Ghana today and a much stronger economy that is operating in our country today....
"Bringing back discipline in the management of our public finance...it has not been easy and it has also not been particularly popular in some circles because the free easy money that there was before, it is no longer there. We have to have a different dimension....whereby people make money because they worked for it," Nana Addo said.
Touching on the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, Nana Addo said he feels strongly about the concept and bemoaned the fact that most of the keys areas of country's economy, are still heavily-dependent on donor support.
The President, who commented on virtually all areas of the economy in his address, - including the recent power outages, the fight against galamsey, the menace of vigilantism and the recent crisis that hit the banking sector, resulting in the liquidation of some 7banks, industralizing the economy through the 1D-1F initiative - also reiterated his government's resolve to structurally transform the economy through investing in agriculture and developing the country's human capital.
"...the 3rd matter that is of a big significance is the development if our human capital. The situation whereby on the average, every year 100,000 young Ghanaians drop out of the school system not because they didn't have the capacity, they didn't have the grade, but because their parents didn't have the money, that one is a big wastage of our human capital. And that is the reason why we've opened up access to the secondary schools....," he added.
The meeting, also afforded members of the Ghanaian community in South Africa, the opportunity to raise issues bordering on their stay in the Southern part of the African continent before the President.
Most of the questions asked focused primarily on the need to empower the Ghana Mission in SA, the difficult in acquiring a residence permit as well as a birth certificate and the government's slowness in passing the Right to Information Bill currently before Parliament.
In attendance were the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, a Deputy Chief of Staff, Asenso Okyere, Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, amongst others.