March 6, 2017 will be a special day for all Ghanaians; we will be 60 years as a nation. In Africa and indeed globally, Ghana symbolises the ideals of freedom, liberty and justice.

Exactly 60 years ago, our forebears defied all odds to secure independence from our colonial masters, the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to do so.

Ghana blazed the liberation trail that spurred on more than 30 other African countries to gain independence within the next decade.

The words of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah were true when he declared that Ghana was the new African who was ready to fight his own battles and demonstrate to the world that the black man was being self-reliant. Here we are today, respected as pacesetters in Africa, a nation of peace, stability and harmony where brave and spirited citizens are birthed.

Our heroes and heroines such as King Tackie Tawiah, Yaa Asantewaa, Dr Kwegyir Aggrey, J B Danquah, and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah fought forces that stood against our values and traditions. They were icons who demonstrated the strength of character that flows through our blood. Their acts depict the bravery and perseverance of the Ghanaian to fight for what is right and just, ‘freedom and justice’, this is who we are as a people.

Sixty years on, we have held high the black star. During certain years, its light dimmed, the black star slipped off the horizon on these dark days, but we have persevered, growing stronger and bolder. We have deepened our democratic culture and upheld the rule of law whilst holding on strongly to our traditions and culture. Our success story is evident for the world to see.

Some achievements

Over the past decades, Ghana has been on a forward march towards economic growth and sustainable development. We have had our challenges along the way, but we have stayed the path, a journey that has left no one behind. We are forging a Ghanaian society where dreams are possible and we are building an enabling resilient political environment that empowers every Ghanaian to realise their goals.

Through good governance and sound policies, Ghana is reaping the impact of social and economic development. Inclusive growth in the last 20 years has made us halve the poverty rate from 52.6 per cent in 1991 to 21.4 per cent in 2012. Our remarkable achievements in poverty reduction has been made possible by diversifying our economy beyond agriculture while increasing access to education, health, telecommunications and energy.

We are expanding our infrastructure and enhancing the business environment for both local and international investments. In addition to our rich minerals of gold and bauxite, we have discovered oil in commercial quantities.

Ghana is integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our national development framework. We are putting in place strong policies and legal frameworks that ensure gender equality and protection of the poor and vulnerable in our society.

We are expanding trade and implementing strategies to increase economic growth. Our drive and determination is manifest in sports also. Here, our black star has dimmed, but will light up again. In 2010, we sent the US National Team home and became the third African team to reach the quarter finals of the Fifa World Cup. And in 2015, our Black Queens won gold at the All Africa Games.

Ghana is among the top destinations for tourism and investment. We have said ‘akwaaba’ and welcomed the world to see the richness of our culture, our traditions and our festivals (Homowo, Aboakyire), our fabrics (kente, batakari), our game reserves (Kakum, Mole), our water bodies (Bosomtwe and Volta), and our landmarks (Castles and Forts).

Forward ever

We will continue to impact the world in arts and sciences. Apostle Safo Kantanka is using technology to manufacture cars with amazing special features. Our movie stars John Dumelo, Yvonne Nelson, and Majid Michel, have seen great successes at the international level. Similarly, Osibisa, Wolomei, Shata Wale, Efya, Sarkodie, Wiyaala, Manifest, and Becca inspire the world with great music. Recently, Abraham Attah, our young 15 year old son won the Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards. These names show the world what it means to be a Ghanaian, what it means to belong to a country that believes in hard work and determination.

But beyond age 60, we need to reflect on the strength of our oneness and unity. Are we still ‘One nation, one people with one destiny?’ At independence our founders, particularly Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, worked hard and united Ghana across ethic groups, tribes, the three territories and protectorates and social classes. 60 years after independence, we are split right in the middle not along ethnic, religious and tribal lines, but along political lines. Even sports that once united Ghana is now politicised. Ghana united with a purpose? whither united Ghana at 60?

Yet Ghana is rising, and we have hope. Yes we are! Ghana is transforming. Like every other country, we have had our share of challenges. We too are impacted by the changing tides of international geopolitics, global warming and economics.

But, like 60 years ago, we will still turn neither left nor right. We will look within for strength. Ghana looks up to its sons and daughters to make the difference. We are stronger and bigger than all our challenges and with united purposeful effort and the grace of God, we will surmount them.

Let us keep shining and rising. Let us tell the world that a Star can be black and our Black Star will continue to shine beyond 60 years. As a daughter of Ghana, my chest bursts with pride at our prospects and opportunities at 60. I am proud to be a Ghanaian now, then and beyond.

We are 60! God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong. Shidaa, akpe, medaase, aseda. Ghana@60 reflections.