Time to focus on economic triggers – Economist

Business News of Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Source: B&FT

Dr. Yaw Ansu ACET

Chief Economist at the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), Dr. Yaw Ansu, has described the country’s economy as being at a crossroad, which requires government to put in place a viable economic strategy that will drive transformation or risk the consequences.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the maiden Ghana Transformation Forum jointly organised by ACET and the National Development Planning Commission in Accra, he said considering the current economic situation, there is need for a vibrant strategy that will focus on the key triggers of economic growth.

“What we need now as a country is a strategy and vision that transcends politics; a strategy that targets key sectors that are critical to the country’s medium- to long-term transformation — such as energy, labour-intensive light manufacturing, export promotion and skills development.

“Talking about skills development and the light manufacturing sub-sector for instance, we cannot become a middle-income country without a strong manufacturing sector. We must be able to add value to traditional exports including the downstream petroleum sector.

“As it stands, the national economy has not changed much over recent decades, and it is about time government worked on improving the trend,” he said.

Dr. Ansu’s comment reinforces the views of several economic experts on the need for long-term planning and restructuring of the Ghanaian economy, especially the manufacturing sector, to shield it against the several economic shocks that continue to stifle the country’s growth prospects.

Economists have argued that the light manufacturing sector has the potential to transform the country’s economy, and diversify the production and export base while increasing employment, incomes and export earnings.

Dr. Ansu said outlining a clear strategy to transform the national economy goes beyond drafting and implementation of a national strategy, as there is a need for mechanisms to track performance through monitoring and evaluation.

Founder of ACET Mr. Kingsley Amoako called for structural transformation that is hinged on a balanced relationship between the public and private sectors — including independent institutions of State such as civil society organisations and the media — in pursuit of economic learning, development and growth.

He said aside from setting the strategy, government must create an enabling environment for private sector investment as businesses cannot expand to employ more hands without the needed support.

The two-day forum pooled about 120 leaders of Ghanaian businesses, civil society, and government; and the international development community as well as diplomatic corps and senior government officials from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, and Rwanda to share their expertise and success stories.

The African Centre for Economic Transformation is an economic policy institute supporting Africa’s long-term growth through transformation via the promotion of policy and institutional reforms for sustained economic growth and transformation.