“…The Government and people of Ghana have two major preoccupations: the first is to develop this country as fast and as best as our own resources will enable us to do, with a view to raising the standard of living of our people, and enabling them to live a much fuller life than has been possible in the past. We embarked upon this work through our First Development Plan which is now completed, and we propose to continue the process of development through the Second Development Plan which we have already launched and carried — through its first six months…” (Kwame Nkrumah, 9 January, 1960).
Readers who have been following this discourse know exactly what our primary interest is. It is to provide the most credible, fact- and data-grounded versions of the actual performance of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana compared to Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore.
We are proving that the Ghana-Singapore thesis where Kwame Nkrumah is placed second fiddle to Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew is bunkum, without data or fact at bottom.
Unless you are a mad man, the period you would be interested in would be 1957-1966, more precisely 1960-1966, being the period there is comparative data for the rational man.
This is the period and the approximate time the two leaders were titular heads of their states. Fact is, only mad, irrational men (and they are always MEN as far as we know), will sit in their living rooms in Accra and Kumasi, and in some foreign capitals, and compose data-deficient articles and comments that blame Nkrumah for the inadequacies and failed leadership of those same 60-year old men and their friends, decades after the passing of Kwame Nkrumah.
It is as absurd as they come!
BACKGROUND ON RELEVANT ECONOMIC DATA
Fact is, in 1966, when Kwame Nkrumah’s government was overthrown by Ankrah-Harlley-Afrifa-Nunoo-traitor bunch backed by “rascal” Busia and the Johnson CIA, Ghana owned an amount from all sources that was less than 30% of Ghana’s annual GDP at that time. In comparison, the British national debt-to-GDP ratio, was a whopping 75%. For the British, owner of a large empire system that included Ghana, India, and Singapore, etc., that GDP to debt ratio (has) been consistently higher since the late 1930-1940s, a period that covers World War II.
By 1936, Singapore was already a major commercial, trading, and industrial port.
In 1939, the British completed construction of a massive 54.39 square kilometer (21 square mile) naval base in Singapore. It was not only the largest dry dock in the world, it was also the “third-largest floating dock”, and could hold “enough fuel tanks to support the entire British navy for six months.”
Naturally, by 1936 Singapore already had a Shell oil refinery, an airfield, flying boat station, etc.
The British never bothered to construct an oil refinery in Ghana in 80 years.
But Kwame Nkrumah did, in less than 10 years at the helm, in 1963.
All those British investments in Singapore, and that singular British military expansion in that “Crown Colony” required education, training, and employment of thousands of Singapore workers on an industrial scale. In other words, the naval base was a massive economic and development booster for Singapore. Economic “empowerment” programs of that kind benefit generations at that location and region, including benefits for the unborn, even after lost wars.
And it was surely not the People of Singapore who paid for all of that, if we have a critical bone in our skull, intellectual, as some of us claim we are.
To the point, that massive naval port project cost the British and its Empire, Gold Coast included, a whopping £60 million. ($3.8 billion in 2016 dollars).
Needless to say, if we must connect the dots, throughout World War I and World War II, the Gold Coast contributed massively to the British economy and their war efforts. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that the Gold Coast actually subsidized the British “war and peace” efforts to the benefit of Britain and Singapore, in more ways than one.
Kwame Nkrumah had a sense for all those linkages, the critical mind he was.
In a recent publication, Professor Kwame Botwe Asamoah provides the following observations by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah about the Gold Coast of the 1950s, a short decade after the British spent that massive £60 million on the naval port in Singapore:
“…In his address on the eve of Ghana’s independence, Nkrumah pointed out that ‘when spending ₤124 million during the course of the Five Year Development Plan, the CPP…received ₤1 ½ million in aid from…(Britain)…It was not a large proposition and we had in return made our contribution to the gold and dollar resources of the sterling….The Gold Coast has contributed, on an average, 25% of the net dollar earnings of the British colonial territories, and, taking into account our contribution of around ₤9 million a year in gold, in the five years from 1951 to 1955 in which the CPP have been in power, the Gold Coast contributed a net positive balance of ₤150 million to the gold and dollar reserves of the (British) sterling area. It will be seen therefore, that though the Gold Coast is small and, by Western standards, not a very wealthy country, it has made a significant contribution to maintaining the stability of the sterling area…” (In Botwe Asamoah, 2015).
If Ghana contributed an average “25% of the net dollar earnings of the British colonial territories”…(excluding ~₤9 million a year in gold), we must conclude that as much as £15 million ($950,000,000 in 2016) of those funds for the naval port in Singapore, to the extent none of that would have been effectively fire-walled (or as much as $950,000,000 in 2016 dollars), actually originated from the Gold Coast. Those funds were used to develop Singapore for the use of the British and Singapore, all the way up to 1957, to the events on the eve of the independence of Ghana.
In contrast, the construction of the Port of Takoradi was the single most expensive project ever undertaken by the British in the Gold Coast. But, this was a project to serve their own British mercantile interests a decade before the massive Singapore project, in 1928. Even so, when colonial over-lord Gordon Guggisberg trimmed his 10-Year Development Plan for the Gold Coast:
“…from 1919 to 1928 because of trade recession after the first world war, he retained the construction of the Port with two other projects namely, 4800 km motor roads construction and the Kumasi/Accra railway line…The funds for the three projects totaling about £12million were generated locally and farmers contributed a great deal of it…”
In fact, according to some other sources, the cost for the most expensive project the British ever constructed in the Gold Coast, in Takoradi, probably did not exceed £3 million. Again, all paid to the penny by the People of the Gold Coast.
Here is a look at GDP per capita, if we must avoid that minor, but important, distraction.
GDP COMPARED, GHANA VS. SINGAPORE (1957)
One of the more outrageous character traits of Nkrumah-bashers like Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe and Kwabena Yeboah who recently confessed that he has been “…making this point for years – this is how Dr. Nkrumah short changed Ghana’s development to augment his fanciful united continental Africa…”, is, you never can tell what they were for, before they changed their minds on anything. Further, they never have data to back up what they say, except to present coup plotter narratives and Johnson-CIA talking points, with large doses of Cold War era newspaper headlines.
Before that “fanciful united continental Africa”, Kwabena Yeboah told the world:
“…First of all, I am a firm believer of Dr. Nkrumah and his accomplishments for our country and believe he is in a league of his own in projecting the African Personality – no African, present or past, has been able to match this attribute, not even Mandela…”.
So, we must now scratch Nkrumah’s “fanciful united continental Africa” and replace with Nkrumah’s uncommon “… accomplishments for our country…he is in a league of his own in projecting the African Personality.”
And, we are supposed to see that as objectivity, even balance, from their side of the discourse.
Maybe Kwabena Yeboah imagines playing the role, “projecting the African Personality”, could be done for a song, for zero pesewas!
Maybe, that is the reason they never bother to tell Ghanaians exactly how much Nkrumah gave ungrateful Africans who were not Ghanaians, for “fanciful united continental Africa”.
So, these same Nkrumah-bashers without data worthy of a scrap of respect, it is they who want the whole world to know about their intellectual prowess, their achievement as professors, the contracts they have signed that conveniently prevent them from directly addressing issues they themselves started, and to support their mouth and electronic pens with their own data, for all the world to know.
In sum, we see it as the height of absurdity that like many politicians in Ghana, these so-called scholars and intellectuals never have data. They never speak with data, preferring instead, to speak in fanciful literature prose as they re-cycle coup plotter narratives and Johnson-CIA talking points long discredited by same US Government in official files.
To compare Ghana vs. Singapore under this context, an elementary, but rational question to ask is, what was the GDP per capita when they both started. What was the GDP per capita when it ended for one such that it was no fair comparison if one were to compare one with the other when the other was gone from the scene (either dead, infirm, deposed, etc.)?
For us, the starting point for a Singapore-Ghana comparison is 1957, being the year Gold Coast became “independent” Ghana and the year the British granted Singapore “complete internal self-government” and statehood. British-educated lawyer Lee Kwan Yew would be elected Prime Minister of Singapore two short years later, in 1959.
Fact is, after the unprecedented, massive accumulation by the CPP internal government of “₤124 million” during 1953-1957 for the “Five Year Development Plan” for which the then Gold Coast only “…received ₤1 ½ million in aid” from Britain, at the end of 1957, Ghana’s GDP per capita was just about 47% of Singapore’s. There is data from the World Bank and other sources.
How, pray tell us then, confederate-matemeho intellectuals, tell us how Ghana and Singapore could have started on equal footing.
Further, all village idiots can fairly estimate that it would be a lot easier to sell port and stevedoring industrial services at a prime location such as Singapore had, with its natural port, compared to selling cocoa beans, timber, and produce overseas for which the same Britain had never bothered to establish a single productive factory in over 80 years of crown colony plunder of the Gold Coast.
To be more precise, in 1960, Ghana’s GDP per capita was $182.98, compared to $427.88, for Singapore. (That suggests Singapore’s was 133.84% higher than Ghana’s).
Again, how, pray tell us, tell us how Ghana and Singapore could have started on equal footing.
NKRUMAH’S GOVERNMNT SURPASSED SINGAPORE’S:
Four years later in 1964, through the efforts of the CPP government, Ghana’s GDP per capita was $230.44, compared to $485.36, for Singapore. (That suggests Singapore’s was now just 110.62% of Ghana, a reduction (or catching up by Ghana) of 23.22%).
The next year, in 1965, through further development efforts by the CPP government, the difference in GDP per capita between the two countries had shrunk to approximately 93.86%, from a high 133.84% in 1960.
This catch-up of Ghana to Singapore is seen a lot visibly in the graph below. The simple graph shows changes in the rate of growth/decline in GDP per capita between Ghana and Singapore during 1961 and 1970.
The figure clearly shows that in terms of that rate of growth of GDP, Ghana outpaced Singapore during the years 1963-1965. In other words, Ghana was actually on track to perform even better in later years thanks to the industrialization and import substitution programs of the Nkrumah government.
But Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana-Centered/Ghana-Proud government was overthrown in 1966 by the hands of a traitor bunch of corn-flake-eating, ice-cream puffing intellectuals and brainless military and police brass who wanted to have their corn flakes and ice cream to keep, after they had eaten them all.
It is that class of so-called intellectuals, mad men, all of them, who, practically 60 years later, want to tell the world that Kwame Nkrumah is responsible for Ghana’s development miasma, in 2016.
That is as irrational as they come.
1. Prof Lungu. Only mad 60-year olds fault Kwame Nkrumah for Ghana’s development quagmire (1) (2). Ghanaweb (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/browse.archive.php?date=20160515/)
2. Kwame Botwe Asamoah, Ph.D. THE FALLACY OF BRITAIN LEAVING HUGE SUMS OF MONEY FOR KWAME NKRUMAH’S GOVERNMENT, 2015. (http://www.ghanahero.com/Visions/Nkrumah_Legacy_Project/Botwe_Asamoah/The_Fallacy_of_British_Leaving_Huge_Sums_of_Money_v2.pdf/).
3. History of Singapore, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Singapore/).
4. Bob Hackett. Singapore at War! 2016. (http://www.combinedfleet.com/Singapore.htm/).
5. David Meredith. The Construction of Takoradi Harbour in the Gold Coast 1919 to 1930: A Case Study in Colonial Development and Administration. 1976, Transafrican Journal of History, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1976), pp. 134-149.
6. GhanaPorts, (http://www.ghanaports.gov.gh/page/27/Takoradi-Port-Our-History-And-Future-/).
7. Robert Hill. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol III, September 1920 – August, 1921.