FLASHBACK: How Asantehene’s phone call saved Ghana after failed attempts by Kufuor, others
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, is not a politician; however, there is little contention regarding the significant role he has played in the framework of Ghana’s politics.
In this story which GhanaWeb first published on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, but sourced from mynewsgh.com, a fair idea of one of such instances that the Asantehene’s influence came to bear is given.
According to the report, Otumfuo’s influence got the World Bank to pass Ghana as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) during the era of President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Nana Agyenim Boateng, a communications team member at Manhyia Palace, also known as the Amoamanhene, is reported to have made the revelation.
Read his full account of the story below:
His Royal Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the King of the Asante Kingdom, heavily influenced the World Bank’s decision to allow Ghana to gain Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status with just a phone call after President John Agyekum Kufuor and his entire government machinery exhausted all avenues available to them at the time.
A communications team member from the Manhyia Palace and sub-chief Amoamanhene, Nana Agyenim Boateng, made the shocking revelation about the influence wielded by the respected King to the advantage of the country.
Former President of the Republic of Ghana John Agyekum Kufuor and his government in the year 2001 joined the HIPC.
According to Mr Kufuor, the move was to serve as an opportunity to take a breather to pursue medium to long-term targets and not just a “political gimmick or trick”.
At the time, many Ghanaians, especially the opposition, strongly opposed the decision by the Kufuor administration to opt for HIPC, but the government insisted it was necessary considering the state of the economy at the time.
However, revealing the brain behind the success of the World Bank deal, Nana Agyenim Boateng clearly noted that it took Otumfuo’s phone call to complete everything.
“This is an available record and not from me. After the Assessment by World Bank, there were some deficiencies in our economy. At the time, Asantehene did not go to Washington; it was just a telephone call. He called James D. Wolfensohn, the World Bank Boss at the time and told him this was the situation, and the World Bank cancelled our debt, and Ghana went HIPC. It’s on record”. Nana Amoamanhene Nana Agyenim Boateng revealed this in an interview with Hello FM in Kumasi, monitored by MyNewsGh.com.
“The social intervention Asantehene did was not for Kumasi alone but the whole country”, he added.