Your Excellency the Vice President, Rt Hon Speaker,Your Ladyship, the Chief Justice,Hon Members of Parliament, Mr Speaker, allow me to begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Afehyiapa.
This hall that exists within these walls is a place where I have always felt at home. It was in this august House, as a Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi, that I began my political career. Or, better said, it was in this august House where I first held public office. The residents of that community entrusted me with the privilege of representing their best interests in the national dialogue of policymaking and legislation.
It seems fitting that I should find myself here in this same House, to deliver my final public address which will, in effect, bring to a close my tenure as President. I deliver this Message on the State of the Nation in fulfilment of article 67 of the 1992 Constitution in advance of the dissolution of this Parliament.
It has been a rare honour and privilege for me to serve my country in the highest office as President. It has been a worthwhile journey. Let me seize the opportunity to thank God for His grace, and the good people of Ghana for the opportunity to serve.
May I also respectfully thank my Vice President, Mr Speaker, Her Ladyship the Chief Justice and Hon Members of this House for the cooperation and solidarity
I have enjoyed during my tenure as President.
Mr Speaker, the purpose of this specific State of the Nation Address is to let the people of Ghana know where we stand as a country, as the baton of leadership is passed from one leader to another. Where are we in this race, so to speak, insofar as nation-building is concerned and how is Ghana faring when compared to other nations in Africa, and of course, the world?
Our world has become increasingly complex and unpredictable. Majority of economies around the world are sailing against strong headwinds.
The world economic crisis and the slow-down in the growth of the Chinese economy has affected the growth of emerging markets and has resulted in a fall in world demand for commodities.
As the United States of America (USA) makes a slow but steady recovery, the recent increase in the USA interest rates means more money is leaving emerging markets and being reinvested in America.
Coupled with the fall in commodity prices on the international markets, this causes an adverse economic outlook for lower middle-income economies like ours.
Changing climate has made the world weather more unpredictable. In our part of the world, deforestation, sea erosion and tidal waves, erratic rainfall and more severe harmattan are becoming the new normal situations. These are wreaking havoc on non-irrigated agriculture and power production from hydro sources.
The rise of insurgency and failed States in North Africa and the Middle East and religious fundamentalism have resulted in a rise of many terrorist cells
that have created a deadly cocktail across the whole world and increasingly in Africa, stretching from the Sahel, through West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa all the way to the Horn of Africa. Our sub- region has not been spared and attacks as close as Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire have brought the reality of possible terrorist attacks closer to our doorstep. This is the global context in which our country has had to survive and make progress.
Mr Speaker, at the start of our term in office, and for many years prior to that, there has been national dissatisfaction at the declining standards of education at the basic and secondary levels. Lack of access to both basic and secondary education has meant that, many children were being left behind.
A shortage of professionally trained teachers, teacher absenteeism, shortage of core textbooks, resulting in a situation in which four (4) children shared one textbook, dilapidated school buildings, lack of science laboratories and workshops, among others, manifested in declining acceptable results at the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations
Our vision under my administration had been to turn this situation round and not only improve access to education but equally the quality of education.