Manhyia Palace

Celebrating the Pillar of Peace: Otumfuo Led Ghana to a $4B Debt Relief- Kufuor

According to former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Ghana made a historic exit from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in what would have taken a year-long to do so thanks to the mediation of Asantehene Oumfuo Osei Tutu II.

Ghana as a result of this intervention, got a debt relief of about $4 billion from the country’s external creditors, he revealed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) agreed on February 22 and 26, 2002 respectively, to support a comprehensive debt reduction package for Ghana under the enhanced HIPC initiative.

The former President explained that although his government worked hard to reach the completion point of the HIPC programme, it faced a major setback as the Board of the IMF, which was meeting in Washington, USA, decided against the country’s exit because the government failed to observe the conditionality of not increasing wages and salaries.

The IMF thus decided to prolong the country’s exit for a year, which could have come with some grave consequences.

Asantehene’s intervention
Coincidentally, Mr Kufuor said, the Asantehene was in Washington on the invitation of the then World Bank President, James D. Wolfensohn.

“At that point, I decided to send a message through the Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, who was travelling to the USA to join the Asantehene on his trip, to get the King informed of the development in order to get his friend Mr Wolfensohn to work something out with the IMF on the development.

“Nana Juabenhene stepped out of my office and phoned Otumfuo who immediately called me and we had a conversation and I pleaded with him to get Mr Wolfensohn to talk to the IMF on the assurance that we will correct the anomaly. Otumfuo did that leading to the debt relief,” Mr Kufuor stated.

Mr Kufuor shared this when a delegation from the E ON 3 Group and its key partners visited his residence on January 7, 2022, to present a piece of the Otumfuo commemorative gold coin- minted to honour the King for his peace works- to him.

The former President also mentioned the laudable role the Asantehene played in resolving the Dagbon crisis.

He said when the Dagbon disturbances broke out in 2002, he, as President, set up the Wuaku Commission to go into the criminal aspect of the incident, but he realised that the problem was deeply rooted in tradition.

“I decided that, apart from the criminal aspect, the traditional aspect should also be tackled using our traditional leaders. So, I appealed to three traditional rulers of high repute – Asantehene, Nayiri and Yagbonwura- for help which they readily accepted leading to the realization of the peace process during the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo,” Mr Kufuor stated.

Therefore, the former President said it was appropriate for the Asantehene to be honoured with the gold coin.

Today, E ON 3 Group capitalizes on the words of Mr Kufuor in today’s edition of the celebration of the Pillar of Peace- Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as part of his Silver Jubilee Celebration this year.

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