General News of Friday, 28 July 2017
Africa’s requirement to compete favourably on the global market place is to shift radically from the mindset of dependence, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
He said Africa must also leverage its vast resources to ensure development and create wealth for the people.
President Akufo-Addo said this at the launch of the book “Making Africa Work” in Accra.
“Let us not make any mistake about it, in the global market place every other country is a competitor… That is the mindset African countries must have.
“There is no separate global standard reserved for African countries because they happen to be African. The competition is ruthless. We cannot enter into this competition with a mindset of dependency. We must build economies beyond aid,” he said.
Co-authored by four individuals, including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the 310-page manuscript has incisive insights on the demographics, economics, politics, governance and development of Africa.
The other authors are Greg Mills, Jeffrey Herbts and Dickie Davis.
The book is a guide to running Africa’s economies and improving the Continent’s capacity for economic growth and job creation.
President Akufo-Addo said though most African countries were endowed with great wealth in the form of natural resources, they faced the challenge of unemployment, especially youth unemployment.
With about 10 to 12 million young Africans joining the labour market each year, the President said many more jobs would have to be created to reduce the current levels of unemployment on the Continent.
“The interesting aspect of unemployment in Africa is that it is occurring within the context of underdevelopment, with so much work that needs to be done. Work in the areas of infrastructure, roads, railways, water, transportation, housing, energy, agriculture, schools and hospitals, dams, etc. is needed for economic development,” he said.
The President said a large number of countries, globally, were trying to find markets for their goods and services to generate the needed employment, insisting that Africa should develop the ability to produce goods demanded internally and externally to create employment through that demand.
He said on assumption of power, his government had set out to build the most business friendly economy to drive private sector growth that would generate the needed jobs since government’s ability to create employment was limited.
“We are, therefore, moving quickly to create an environment that will unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial instincts of the Ghanaian people to drive rapid growth and job creation,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said his administration had taken a strong stance against corruption which undermined the ability of governments to create jobs as the much needed resources were stolen.
Therefore, he said, a major opportunity for job creation was by dealing with corruption adding that the Government had already started comprehensive audits of various institutions.
Results from these audits reveal “the depth of the rot that has almost become the character of the way we treat public resources, and the way we perform our public duties and deliver public services,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said a new bill that had been laid before Parliament to create an Office of a Special Prosecutor to fight corruption was expected to bring transparency into public procurement, which was an avenue for underhand dealings by public officials.
He said it was the expectation that several tax reforms instituted by his administration would provide incentives for increased production of goods and services for individuals and businesses to benefit from.
The President made mention of a raft of policy interventions to reduce the cost of doing business, expected to take effect from September 2017.
These include making clearing and forwarding at the ports paperless, removal of all customs barriers along the highways and the mandatory joint inspections of shipments.
He announced that the period for clearing containers at the ports is expected to reduce drastically to four hours by the end of the year.
Former President Obasanjo, on his part, said Africa was not potentially poor but its bane was poor management by its leaders.
He said the Continent’s situation was the choice of its leaders and that it was time for Africa to make different choices that would lift her from the present state.
Greg Mills is a development and security specialist, advisor to African governments and currently the Director of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation.
Jeffrey Herbst is the 16th President of Colgate University, United States of America, with primary research interests in the Politics of sub-Saharan Africa; the Politics of Political and Economic Reform; and the Politics of Boundaries.
Dickie Davis is the Managing Director of Nant Enterprises Ltd and an associate of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation.