Fifty-seven years ago today, on March 6th, 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, later hailed as “Osagyefo,” or “redeemer” in the Ghanaian Akan language, was released from a jail term for anti-colonial civil disobedience to accept his election to form a new government in February of 1951. He became prime minister of the new government the following March, and five years later in 1957, he declared Ghana’s independence from the United Kingdom.
Ghana has made great strides as a nation in the fifty-seven years since ’57. Business and industry are on the rise, driven by Ghana’s growing dynamic community of entrepreneurs, including partnerships such as the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE), as well as programs like Ghana’s Next Young Entrepreneur (GYNE) which promote entrepreneurship in the new generation.
Ghana has also made significant progress toward the Millenium Development Goal of eradicating poverty and hunger, becoming the first African nation to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty almost in half in 2006. Ghana has been hailed as one of Africa’s “shining stars of democracy.” Much progress has been made in the country in terms of human rights, as demonstrated by the strong and vibrant civil society that has grown steadily over the years, addressing social issues ranging from education to women’s rights to rural poverty.
Although the nation still has many challenges to overcome, they have come far and made impressive strides in economic, democratic, and social development since gaining independence in 1957. Happy Ghanaian Independence Day!