A Ghanaian polymath, Professor Stephen Addae has entreated the government to ensure equitable distribution of revenue from Ghana’s oil production as a surest way of avoiding the oil curse.
Speaking from years of experience he had in the oil-rich country, Saudi Arabia, he said that country escaped from the troubles associated with oil because those in authorities made sure there was development in every corner of the country.
“There was the assurance that every part of the country, a village, a hamlet, benefited from the oil wealth. You could see it… you will find that the infrastructure [in a village] was and is as good as what it is in the big cities… The great thing that the Saudis have done is to make sure that the infrastructure reached everybody.”
Prof. Addae who worked in Saudi Arabia as a physician said Ghanaian leaders must also show commitment with a “singular determination” of developing the country.
He recounted the “massive” investment-driven projects initiated by the Saudi government, “rapid” education development, in addition to “first class roads” connecting to every rural community as well as electricity to the extent that, even before a place developed into a settlement, every social facility was in place.
He noted that with equitable distribution of facilities coupled with strict adherence to laws, Saudi Arabia was able to pursue and achieve its development agenda.
For instance, he said, that country’s law abhors drinking of alcohol and people found to have contravened it, and other laws of the state were expelled from the country including their dependants.
“The challenge here is going to be…whether the laws can be enforced rigorously. Rigor in enforcement is important here.”
Prof. Addae, who is also a scientist and a holder of PHD in history, cautioned Ghanaians to tone down on their high expectations of the oil, counseling that “it takes a while for the oil wealth to come”, noting that benefit of the oil wealth cannot be experienced "all of a sudden”.
Prof. Stephen Addae has chronicled his ten years experience in Saudi Arabia into a book titled: “Experiencing the Saudi Oil Wealth: Lessons”, which provides critical lessons that can guide the country in the judicious use of the oil resource. It would be on the book shelves by the end of March, 20011.