Monday, 4 April 2016


I chanced upon one of the nation’s prominent men of God on his usual television program. I watched with great admiration as he performs several miracles: the blind could see, the lame started walking and the diseased were healed. There were several others who gave testimonies about the Goodness of our Lord and other miracles that they experienced in their lives; Indeed God is able to exceed our expectations in all the things we desire of him. However, a particular testimony which was received with great applause from the congregation troubled me; it was the testimony of a woman in her thirties (I guess) who narrated how she has been given an American Visa after several rejections at the Embassy. According to her, the visa came only after she visited the church for prayers. Praise the Lord!!!

Unlike the cheering congregation, my soul was troubled because I could not fathom why a congregation will rejoice over a Visa to travel outside one’s mother nation. The mood of the congregation means that given the opportunity, most or even all the members of the congregation would travel abroad, a disturbing trend.

Unfortunately, this particular incident is only one in a million. Travelling outside Ghana has become trendy especially for the youth of Ghana. Most young people believe they can only become successful by seeking greener pastures outside the boundaries of our country.

A tour to the American Embassy and some other embassies and high commissions within the capital reveals how desperate Ghanaians are towards leaving Ghana. As early as 3 a.m., one could spot a long queue in front of these embassies in a desperate attempt to acquire a travelling visa. It is therefore not surprising how the officials of these embassies treat Ghanaians disdainfully. Those who are unable to go through this hassle resort to using unapproved routes to fulfill their travelling ambitions. 

The dangers of using these unapproved routes do not even scare them. Several lives have been lost in the process. Many migrants from Ghana make the dangerous journey through the Brazilian Amazon through Colombia, Panama and Mexico. Many of them lose their lives but it is not deterring enough for many desperate youth.

Currently, there is a huge deficit in the nurse to patient ratio not because the country does not produce enough nurses but because most of them leave the shores of Ghana just after receiving their training. The same can be said of doctors and some other professionals. Interestingly, most of them use these enviable professional qualifications to do menial jobs that they will never accept here in Ghana.
Undoubtedly, the economic conditions of Ghana are not as rewarding as those of these developed countries but it is time we recognize the fact that Ghana is our home country and no one can build Ghana for us except ourselves.

We need to reorient ourselves, we need to brace ourselves up to the task of building our country. Americans built America to be what it is today, it took leadership to make China and Singapore what they are today. We have the capacity to do same and make Ghana a home for Ghanaians.  I wish above all things that we all embrace the challenge of building a Ghana that we can be proud of. The youth must use their ingenuity to water the grasses here so that our own pastures will be greener. I look forward to a day when acquiring a visa won’t be a miracle.

Successive governments have demonstrated commitment towards investing in improving infrastructure and other social amenities. There have been several youth development policies such as Youth Enterprise Support Fund, Youth Employment Agency and many more. Certainly, we should be able to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the country and we will surely be heading towards prosperity. Young people must be encouraged to stay here and contribute to the development of our homeland.

I believe in Ghana, I believe in the ability of the Ghanaian youth.

Eric Edem Agbana,
Founder of the United Volunteers Network and a former SRC president at the University of Ghana

1 comment:

  1. Edem I agree with you to an extent. But you will also agree with me that sometimes our systems become so frustrating that seeking to travel to the west becomes the greatest miracles anyone can think of. This does not in a anyway justify a visa being a miracle. While we encourage people to help build home, let's create the proper environments for them. I believe in some Ghanaian youth.
    Great paper