American philanthropist extraordinaire Mr. Bill Gates made a somewhat unexpected visit to the Beacon of African Democracy (Ghana) last week. According to his blog, he was there to see first-hand why the Ghanaian immunization system is working so well and the people involved. Whatever Bill Gates saw impressed him enough to write a glowing tribute to Ghana entitled "Three Reasons I'm Excited about Ghana's future".
|Bill Gates' post|
A simple but powerful read that it is being shared worldwide via social media. This is the kind of post that fills all Ghanaians with a deep sense of pride at the strides our country is making.
One fascinating juxtaposition is that around the time Bill Gates was arriving in Ghana to see feasible projects that actually reduce mortality, the fiercest debate raging in our nation was about a government-facilitated trip for 200 pastors to Israel.
What trip to Israel you may ask? Well, it all started in early March when a sensational headline announced preparations underway in Ghana to "[fly] 200 pastors to Israel" for a pilgrimage. Amid the storm that the article ignited, the government communication team came out to say that this was not a 'government-sponsored' initiative but rather a 'government-facilitated' initiative. The plot grew even thicker when it emerged that the sponsor(s) of this trip wished to remain anonymous but were willing to provide $600,000 to fly the pastors to Israel to pray for Ghana. An even more intriguing question is why these anonymous donors would not rather put the money into:
1. Strengthening the immunization system that so impressed Bill Gates
2. Boreholes to provide clean potable water to a few communities
3. Investing in exploring energy alternatives to solve our persisting energy crisis
4. Various sanitation projects around the county including initiatives to convert human waste to energy
5. Strengthening the education sector.
Is it a simple case of us Ghanaians not realizing our own priorities? How much money could we actually mobilize in our own country without relying on outside donors?
These are all questions I cannot possibly know the answers to but like Mr. Gates I cannot help but be excited about Ghana; a Ghana where logic and prudence wins over bad ideas.