By Alex Ababio
Ghana is one of the most highly revered countries in the Africa regarding its entrenched democratic governance and rule of law, a phenomenon which is partly regarded universally and accepted as a precursor to sustained growth and development.
Despite this enviable status, we have achieved for ourselves over the years, the country’s economy is wobbling with financial challenges or if you like difficulties as a results of slow pace of growth in terms of infrastructural development, access to job and security, industrialization and international trade among other economic factors.
As a results of these economic challenges various governments over the years have tried to embark on different economic recovery programmes at certain point in their terms of office to turn the economy around but to no avail.
So due to exacerbation in economic difficulties these governments one way or the other overly have hunted for Foreign Aid from western countries to support their budget in their attempt to resuscitate the nation’s economic drive. Some of these economic recovery progammes include Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) , Structural Adjustment Programme, Economic Recovery Programme, ERP,Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative among others.
SUSTAINING AN ECONOMY BEYOND ‘AID’
One popular phrase which literally says nothing is free should be a watch word to remind us as people to the realization that it is always prudent to work hard to economically depend on ourselves than going out there begging for arms which has so many strings attached to it.
Besides, many of our corrupt leaders who have enviably consistent streak of laziness and greedy lavishily spend the money without properly account for it in terms of development projects that money are meant for. The following are some but a few observations from some Americans on foreign aid :
Paul Hanson noted : ‘’In this financial year we will be spending at least $1.5 billion on foreign aid and we cannot be sure that this money will be properly spent, as corruption and mismanagement in many of the recipient countries are legend’’.
‘’Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country and giving it to the rich people of a poor country’’,. Ron Paul stressed
According to Britannica.com
‘’Foreign aid is the international transfer of capital, goods, or services from a country or international organization for the benefit of the recipient country or its population. Aid can be economic, military, or emergency humanitarian (e.g., aid given following natural disasters).
Whether we like it or not Ghana indeed cannot continue to depend on foreign aid to experience economic transformation and in the face of that reality , the President of Ghana His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision to put the country on the track where it will attain economic freedom with a deliberate policy geared towards building the economy beyond aid is but a sustainable and systematic approach to restructure the economy for growth and development.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the realisation of his vision of Ghana Beyond Aid “requires a deliberate, qualitative change in all aspects of our lives; especially, in the structure of our economy, the nature of our infrastructure, the education of our young people and acquisition of skills, and, above all, in our attitudes and holding firm to the values that define us.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “even if there were no aid fatigue, and with the best will in the world and the most charitable governments in place in the so-called donor countries, there will never be enough aid to develop Ghana to the level we want. Aid was never meant to be what would bring us to the status of a developed nation.”
To achieve this economic transformation the leadership of Ghana, especially the current administration led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo needs to go beyond rhetorics and begin to commit themselves to the practical ordinances that will accelerate policy reforms aimed at underpinning the economic structure for sustainable development.
Apart from rigidly adhering to the proposed economic fundamentals as espoused by President Akufo Addo such as dramatic change in the structure of our economy ,the nature of our infrastructure ,the education of our young people and acquisition of skills ,our attitudes and upholding to our values that define us as people, we should also study some international economic models and infrastructure that have helped transformed some economy in the world. For instance we could adopt the South Korea Economic Models and begin to perfect upon it to suit our economic transformational agenda.
A study of various international economic reports have indicated that South Korea has experienced one of the supreme economic transformations for the past 60 years. The country started its economic drive as an agriculture-based economy in the 1960s, and it was rated as the 11th largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.
FACTORS IN SOUTH KOREA’S ECONOMIC SUCCESS
Various economic studies point South Korea’s structural transformation to policy reforms geared towards exposing the country to foreign markets.
The country deliberately formulated policies that tremendously gave a lot of financial commitment to the promotion of export-oriented economy which in effect have proven to be one of the most important factors of its success: South Korea is now rated as one of the top 10 exporters in the world, and its exports is put at a percentage of GDP increased from 25.9 percent in 1995 to 56.3 percent in 2012.
Additional dynamic economic factors have also significantly tipped to have contributed to the increase in international trade and industrialization in South Korea include the following:
An improvement in the business environment
Policies incentivizing investment in innovation
ENVIRONMENT AND INNOVATION FACTORS
First, it is widely held view that a strong business environment engender growth in the domestic market and exert a pull on foreign investors unto the local market. Reports from the World Bank, stipulate that South Korea is ranked No. 4 in terms of the overall Ease of Doing Business (DB) index in 2018, while the U.S. is ranked No. 6.
According to the list of criteria, South Korea leads in the ease to start a business and insisting contracts. Indeed, these have demonstrated that they are economic elements that play a significant role in encouraging investment, production, communication and, eventually, economic growth.
Second, South Korea has deliberately committed its large chunk of its resources to develop and expand its technology and innovation to encourage growth. The country has shown considerable improvement in Innovation and technology as they see them as the key factors that have underpinned its export competitiveness and fueled the country’s remarkable economic rise over the past decades.
It is estimated that in the last five decades, the average annual rate of growth in South Korea has exceeded 5% and the economy is considered as an innovation-driven, high-income country of a population of 49 million people with a total GDP in excess of $1 trillion and a per capita income of over $20,000 .
This is remarkable achievement which was not attained on silver platter, but strict economic principles and consistent effort with a well clearly defined vision backed by a right attitude and determination to succeed.
Ghana can make similar strides in its quest to achieve economic freedom through building the country beyond aid. Ghana beyond Aid involved building a resilient economy that provides opportunities for job creation, positive growth and sustainable development.
Statistics from the World Bank indicate that the globalization of services has been more significant for developing countries, and the phenomenon as in services exports are on the increase with much quantum and speed than in developed countries; developing countries’ share in world services exports has increased from 12 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2016.
One of the distinguished countries in this example is China —a manufacturing inspiration that has had a considerable transformation between 2005 and 2015 to move into services, which accounted for over 50 percent of GDP in 2015, up from 40 percent in 2005.
All the time more, services are overwhelmingly being dispensed across borders and within borders by means of digitalization. It is believe that this inclination is expected to continue to increase as more people connect to the internet and trade digitally with the rest of the world. With this dramatic increase, services are poised to occupy a more prominent position to drive many countries’ economic growth. That is why it is pertinent for managers of Ghana’s economy to deliberately pay attention in developing that sector. For instance Ghana can identify a competitive advantage in areas such as training more nurses and doctors and transport them to countries where their services will be much needed to rake in more revenue.
The NPP Government’s policy regarding One-District-One-Factory and One-District-One-Warehouse as policy initiatives to usher the new dawn of the Ghanaian indigenous business promotion aimed at adding value to county’s raw materials, creating jobs, and stimulating local level economies for the benefit of all citizens is a sure bet to revolutionaries Ghana’s economy. There is therefore the need to ensure such brilliant economic intervention is pushed through to resuscitate the country’s economic drive.
However, there are already numerous existing local factories which should be supported by the government by creating an enabling environment for them to thrive.
In the area of agriculture the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign, which is anchored on the strategic pillars of providing improved seeds, fertilizers, and dedicated extension services, will be dynamic when the Government make serious investment in the establishment of factories that process agricultural raw materials to add value to the produce.
Building a strong and buoyant economy is partly hinged on building strong institutions that will severely fight against corruption. This will be extremely important when we adhere to the tenets of existing laws, deepening and tightening same where necessary, while at the same time enacting new laws. NPP Government vision of establishing key relevant institutions such as Office of Special Prosecutor is commendable, but all effort must be made to make it sacrosanct and insulate it from partisan considerations to make it more relevant in the fight against corruption.
The government should also endevour to put in place mechanism to significantly reduce the number of sole-sourced contracts relative to competitive tendering to save government millions of cedis for development.
E-procurement system currently piloted by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) should be made to be fully operationalised to ensure that the state has an ultimate control over the corruption practices that occur through procurement processes.