American idealism has always been an illusion that’s blinded us, feeding into the notion that the West is truly the best, and has the greatest in all there is to offer. The United States current state has made a mockery of those ideals, leaving its credibility as a leader of the Free World shot in midst of it’s failing and ever so disappointing national administration, rigid healthcare system, and economic disparities. All the while Ghana and its leaders push to lead, a representative powerhouse of the Global South despite the current state of the world.
In 2019, Ghana was successful in the execution of the largest national tourism campaign on the Continent with the promotion of ‘The Year of Return’. A campaign that left Ghana booming economically through tourism in addition to its various industries from automotive and ship construction to manufacturing and digital services. The recent crisis on many levels has been a cause of great concern, but it doesn’t extend as great as the United States’ prioritisation of economic development and less on the wellbeing of its citizens. While in Ghana, a state with arguably less resources in comparison, is doing the most it can to help its people first. Examples of what the Ghanaian government is doing for its people through its “Coronavirus Alleviation Programme” is by providing free hot meals for those of the poorer class, funding for the transportation of health workers, and additional funding to support local industries to encourage domestic economic development. These actions create a clear difference in the illustration of priorities that often shape the policies of Western nations as opposed to emerging nations.
Donald Trump has received great criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic as many have seen his slow and ineffective response towards embracing public health measures that could have contained the virus, seeing that the United States has become the epicenter in a short period of time. More recently he announced his plan to stop American funding of the World Health Organization, further highlighting his inadequate leadership. The New York Times reported the United States 2019 contributions (estimated as over $893 million towards the World Health Organization’s $4.8 billion budget, which will undoubtedly cause a foreseeable dent in funding in the middle of this pandemic. While the United States faces greater issues within healthcare, and the disproportionate impacts that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the wider Black, immigrant, and other marginalised communities who inherently contribute to existing health disparities, Trump’s focus is on the ‘economic disaster’. Given the failure of warnings about the disease and the lack of accountability, the United States illustrates a common theme of the West: illusion of leadership with the cost of avoidable suffering to those less fortunate.
Ghana, seeing a recorded 636 confirmed cases as of April 15 as reported by Africa News has been working hard to continue to test more people past the current 30,000 so far. As is the norm where recoveries outnumber the deaths, Ghana has seen fewer recoveries as opposed to other African states. At the beginning of the pandemic, Ghana made sure to intensify its preparation efforts by setting up a 100 bed capacity facility remotely to deal with suspected cases. In addition, the Ghana Ministry of Health worked towards securing thousands of personal protective equipment for health personnel, channeling a precedent that the United States failed to follow. Despite the preparation, there’s been significant impacts of coronavirus on Ghanaian livelihood as the crisis continues.
While the United States works towards pulling resources away that could help its citizens internationally, the Ghanaian government sent food to 151 students through the Ghana Mission located in Beijing, China for Ghanaian students stuck in lockdown in Wuhan city. In addition, the government sent money and temporary supplies to aid the students during their stay. This act by Ghana’s government exemplifies its consideration for their citizens despite ongoing economic concerns. It is a more significant effort on Ghana’s part, while the United States continues to neglect even the citizens within its borders by the lack of federal accountability and unwillingness to take personal responsibility.
The socio-political concerns of the two nations are vastly different given the United States’ concern on its economic well-being, versus Ghana’s concern for its societal well-being that has long existed in norms of life as it was known before Coronavirus. Their differences outline the concerns of Western capitalism versus the drawbacks of African unification, a unification that Ghana has always been at the forefront of shaping even though its implicit structure has various needs of improvement. As the U.S. continues to lose respect and admiration due to its misplaced priorities on the global stage, Ghana continues to set a tone of perseverance and innovation that is not to be underestimated. Whatever the outcome of this crisis, we will prevail.