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Africa Economic Brief - Volume 8 Issue 1 - Truth is the Safest Lie: A Reassessment of Development Economics


Ghanaians pride themselves for being the first African country to reclaim its independence from colonialists. The pride and the boasting have reached new heights this year, as they celebrate the sixtieth year of their freedom. But behind the chanting, dancing, talking, and conferencing, the question often discussed mezza voce is the true length of the road traveled since then, and the size and value of the dividends of freedom. Many Ghanaians in the poor slums of Accra and Kumasi, and in the miserable rural areas of the country, are blaming their political leaders of the past six decades for being mainly sinners who should be held responsible for their plight.

They don’t think that independence has yielded its promise. In fact, it is an appropriate moment for Ghanaian, African leaders, and development economists to step aside from the dancing and the chanting to reflect on progress—and on what went wrong in the quest for prosperity, not just in this country, but throughout the developing world. And perhaps to seek redemption.

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