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Mr. Chairman, Professor Emmanuel Larbi, President of the Regent University College of Science and Technology.

Reverand Dr. Kwabena Darko, Chancellor

Professor Nicholas Nsowa-Nuamah, Chairman of the University Council.

All members of the University Council

The Impressive Faculty and Staff

Hardworking Students

Members of the Media

Contingent from Global Access Savings & Loans Co and PVI Group Inc

Eminent Economist and Consultant Dr. Kwaku Osafo

Invited Guests, My Sweet Young Daughters Yaa and Abena

My able assistants, Nadia and Josephine, who helped me put this lecture together

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I bid you a Warm Good Evening

Hmmm… What a Great Occasion!

 

Ten years Anniversary of anything is a major event. But 10 Years Anniversary of a University College of Science and Technology is HUGE.

This University did not exist 20 years ago or even 15 short years ago. It may have been a dream of the Founder(s) or a twinkle in their eyes.

From conceptualization, accreditation, initial prep work, implementation, operation, maintenance and “staying the course” of the impressive mission and vision for 10 good years.

This University has and will continue to prepare graduates who will rise to Africa’s scientific and development challenges of the 21st Century.

And with a meaningful and inspiring Motto of "PEACE, JUSTICE AND INDUSTRY"

And for an institution that commenced its maiden lectures in January, 2005 with only 30 students and today boasting of nearly 2000 students:

Ladies and Gentlemen assembled here today, please rise up and join with me to observe a one minute silent prayer for the School, its Founders, Faculty and Staff and its Council and wish them another 10 glorious, successful and enlightening years.

And before we sit, let’s give them a resounding round of applause. 

 

Mr. Chairman,

Indeed I’m truly honored to be invited to be a part of such a great occasion and to be given the opportunity to share some of my thoughts about our dear nation Ghana. 

I have been asked to speak on the topic: “Industrialization of Ghana: The way forward”

And with your permission, I wish to take the topic in three parts:

 

First, I wish to indulge you a bit in the nature of industrialization – its 'whats', 'hows' and its 'whys' – and its causal impact on the economic and social progress of today’s developed and advanced nations, and why Ghana MUST OF NECESSITY INDUSTRIALIZE!

 

With what resources, how and which set of policies were applied to initially jump-start the advanced countries development, and what have been the next set of policies that are presently being applied to sustain the continuous development, growth and expansion of these top-breed advanced economies?

 

And second, Mr. Chairman, we will review the world in which your Gold Coast became independent Ghana, and how the promise of a better tomorrow became every young person’s ideal, the promise of a new dawn, and the sweet aroma of a bright future for all.

How did Ghana’s journey begin, what resources did we have to work with and how did we plan to move forward? Did we have a plan at all, and if we did, did the plan fail because it was deficient, ill-conceived, badly implemented or what? Or to borrow from William Shakespeare:

“Was the fault (Dear Ghana) in our stars and not in ourselves?”

And if per chance we were on the right or wrong track as the evidence will show, how do we pick up the broken pieces and mend our ways or how do we re-start the journey to industrialization.

 

And thirdly and finally I shall conclude with a set of proposals that can help point us in the right direction to redeem the unfulfilled promises and link us once again to the bright future of our Independence on March 6th, 1957.

And Mr. Chairman, with your permission, here we go:

 

Part 1

First, What is Industrialization?

Industrialization is economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacturing of goods in factories. In other words it is the process of making products by using machinery and factories.

And therefore if we process raw tomatoes, oranges or pineapples in a factory into canned tomatoes, orange juice and pineapple juice or mix all three to get fruit juice in a carton or in a bottle, we will be manufacturing these products or undertaking a process of industrialization.

 

And why is this necessary or desirable?

  1. Processing of raw materials through manufacturing creates higher value products with higher profit margins and therefore creates the capacity to pay higher wages to workers and improve living standards.
  2. Processing fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, oranges and pineapples is a proven method for preserving products that may otherwise go rotten and thrown away. Processing such perishable products help to preserve them for longer shelf life and therefore they can be exported, shipped, distributed to faraway places that may fetch higher prices and better profit margins, or preserved during harvest season when they may be in abundance and be used in off season when they may be unavailable or in shortage. This also provides positive addition to a nation’s food security.
  3. Manufacturing efficiency through the introduction of appropriate technology also creates a fast track avenue for a developing country like Ghana to enter and compete in the global market. Manufacturing large quantities of a product creates economy of scale and falling production costs, and hence the ability to compete on price at home and abroad.
  4. Manufacturing can also make the most effective use of the limited productive skills of the workforce of a developing economy, for example Ghana’s graduates from our technical, vocational and tertiary institutions many of whom are idling at home due to the lack of factories to absorb them.

 

To help us understand why Ghana must industrialize at all cost, let us take a peek at how the developed countries of the UK, US, and Germany organized their economies in their initial stages. (Let’s call these the Group A countries)

 

And before I proceed Mr. Chairman, I must offer a caveat here:

I am not in anyway advocating that Ghana copies blindly from other nations and I’m also aware that circumstances that underpin a nation’s prospects for development differ from one another and one period to another.

However, Mr. Chairman, I am proposing that over time and having examined the economic history of these nations, there are common threads that run through the programs and strategies that they used to move forward economically and socially. And these nations are dissimilar culturally, racially and geographically.

Some started much earlier, for example the UK under King Henry in the 1400s whilst the Americans started in the early 1800s and the Germans much later in the late 1800s. Japan/China/Korea followed later and Singapore/Brazil/Taiwan/Thailand and others in the mid twentieth Century.

This suggests clearly that there are tried and tested approaches and strategies that several different nations in different parts of the world and different periods in history have used successfully to meander through  the process of man’s journey from ignorance, poverty, diseases and want to a state of knowledge and intelligence, awareness and ability to control and cure diseases, and even in some cases a state of super affluence and scientific and technological knowledge to enable space travel and space living on distant planets.

 

And I maintain, Mr. Chairman, that we in Ghana and Africa, must pay heed to this observation – incontrovertible, and unambiguous – that has underpinned the progress of the human species of different races, in different geographical locale and at different historical periods. This will not be copying blindly… it will be like using Paracetamol for pain relief – a tried and tested and acceptable medication that works!.

 

The Group A Countries – What and How Did They Start?

In stage 1 they focused on Agriculture and Livestock Production, emphasizing food production for domestic consumption within their domestic economies.

This implies that they applied the natural resources of their LAND and their PEOPLE in the field of Agriculture to build their initial stage economies. And there are a lot of produce and products, that can come from Agriculture. 

 

Food – vegetables, cereals, tubers, fruits, oils for consumption

Livestock – meat, hide, milk

Wood and Fibres – furniture, weaving, bags etc

 

The United Kingdom, among other things, emphasized on the use of wool, since they were shepherds rearing Goats, Sheep and Cattle, to build the hi-tech industry of the time which was textile. This was around 1400 under King Henry VII and King Henry VIII who banned the export of raw wool and applied the policies of taxes and subsidies to support the manufacture of textiles with the wool whose production they had become the best in the world at the time.

Lacking the necessary skills for the robust processing of the wool into textile and finished clothing, King Henry VIII poached skilled workers from Belgium and other Low countries.

And gradually the UK became the textile and clothing center of the world, the hi-tech industry of the time and helped enrich its Stage 1 economy.

Could Ghana have banned the export of raw cocoa beans at some point and hired the experts from Europe and America to establish factories and manufacture at home the high-value chocolate, cocoa cake and cocoa powder to earn more and create jobs at home for our people?

 

Germany came on the scene and copied initially from the success of the UK and the US, who was doing similar things with its sugar and cotton also building initially an agro-based economy utilizing its Land and People resources. Sad to add, but the US realizing it did not have sufficient People resources to undertake its stage 1 Agro-based economy resorted to slave Labour mainly from Africa!

As these nations economies grew moderately, they ventured into other areas of raw material processing and manufacturing to create higher value products, releasing labour from agriculture to industry through the application of technology which boosted productivity.

It is important to note that the level of trading that took place among nations concentrated on a few areas in which nations possessed advantages in certain skills for making certain products:

UK with Wool/Clothing

US with Cotton/Sugar

Portugal with Wine

 

WHAT POLICIES GUIDED THESE “GROUP A” COUNTRIES?

  1. State Subsidies in the form of Land grants, tax rebates to encourage exports.
  2. Financial support – cheap loans.
  3. Protectionist high tariffs to curtail heavy importation and thereby protect their domestic markets. And in the case of the US, its first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, made a passionate appeal to their Legislators that it would be suicidal to allow imports into the country and wipe out their infant industries. He managed to get the US to impose tariffs in the 40 plus percent range on imports, to help give breathing room to their fledgling industries to learn, grow and become efficient and competitive before opening their boarders for foreign products to come in.

 

My Chairman, with your indulgence, let’s take a pause and reflect a bit on this irksome but significant matter of “Protectionism”, one of the cardinal and powerful policy tool used by today’s developed countries in their infant stages. It is also a tool that today’s developing nations, especially African nations, are prevented, coerced from using lest they lose aid and development assistance.

The policy of protecting a nation’s infant industries has been used effectively by almost all nations that have industrialized, and attempts to deny the present group of developing nations to apply the same policy tool must be resisted.

There is the need for infant businesses to be protected until they are matured, just as children are by their parents and students by their teachers.       

                                    

The mechanism for acquiring manufacturing capability, like the means for acquiring all practical skills, has always been “learning by doing” – that is making things again and again until you make them well.

 

Like any kind of learning, it is somewhat hit and miss and involves many disappointments. But, just as we do not reject the idea of school if a child frequently gets his or her homework wrong, so it is not the case that individual failures mean that industrial learning is a flawed process.

 

Group B Countries: Japan, China, North Korea, Taiwan,  Brazil: The Emergence of the Next Wave of Developing Countries

The end of the 2nd World War in 1945 witnessed the struggle of several nations determination to rid themselves from different forms of feudal and colonial dominance: Land Barons and War Lords in North East Asia (Japan, China) and colonial impositions in Africa, Latin America and S.E. Asia.

Today the world is awash with several products made in Asia and a few Latin American Countries. How did these next wave of nations i.e. Japan, China, N. Korea, Taiwan and Brazil manage to jump from oppression, mass unemployment and pervasive poverty to wealth in a few decades and join the rich developed nations of Europe and North America? Mr. Chairman, HOW DID THEY DO IT??

 

WHAT POLICIES DID THEY USE?

Yes you guessed it: they also initially started with agriculture and livestock production, supported by their nation’s state subsidies for local companies, protection of their domestic markets from indiscriminate importation and beneficial tax breaks as incentives for production and exports.

 

China, S. Korea and Taiwan were poorer than Ghana at independence in 1957 but these nations are now counted among the rich nations of the world. It is projected that China may overtake the US as the largest economy in the world in a decade.

The obvious and inescapable lessons of the economic history of the First wave of Nations – the UK, US, Germany, etc – followed by the Second Wave of Nations - Japan, China, S. Korea, Taiwan and Brazil – is clear and unambiguous, and these lessons are:   

  1. Focus on the “low hanging” fruits of development to build an economy by utilizing the natural resources of Land and People. The engagement of your People in economic activity early on will build the foundation of a solid economy as well as inculcate and deepen the culture of work in the population. When work becomes an embraced habit, citizens proper, become fulfilled and their creativity and ambitions become the locomotive that drives their society forward in a progressive and enriching manner.
  2. Produce for domestic consumption to catalyze economic activity and thereby build economic strength and efficiency; Ghana presently spends about USD 1.5 Billion a year importing basic food items of rice, tomatoes, oil palm, fruit juice etc.
  3. Initiate and expand manufacturing capacity with export discipline.
  4. Apply State Subsidy, Tax Breaks, Cheap Loans as support vehicles for local companies to grow and expand domestically and into the global market to earn foreign exchange to support development.
  5. Protect your local infant industry from imports to help them gain strength through learning by doing, learning by doing to get better and better before they compete with stronger, experienced foreign companies.

 

Group C Countries – Ghana, Malaysia, Singapore, ETC

These next group of countries also freed themselves politically from colonial strangleholds in the 1950s and began the process of building their economies to provide employment, educate their people and eliminate stark poverty and ignorance.

By this time, the acceptable formula of development was all too familiar, hinging on creating domestic production capacity to satisfy domestic demand for food, shoes, clothing, and other domestic needs; this was now the tried and tested method for building the foundations of a strong economy anchored on a nation’s natural resources and skills.

In 1960 Ghana unveiled a 7-year Development Plan that gyrated around agriculture and livestock production, with State subsidies in the provision of crop seeds, cheap loans to farmers, agronomic extension officers, and the like. Lite manufacturing for the production of radios, fridges, bicycles, matches were initiated.

Housing, Roads, Power, Health and Education infrastructure were embarked upon and these created massive employment across the country.

 

One stellar project that succeeded fantastically was the Cocoa Project through which thousands of small-scale farmers became successful business units, adequately supported with subsidies, loans, extension officers, Purchasing Outlets for immediate cash payment of produce. This program incentivized the farmers and tiny Ghana became the world’s largest producer of Cocoa earning significant foreign exchange to support economic development. The subsidy investment made in the people paid off many fold, and the nation is still reaping significant returns!

 

A coup d’état brought an end to Ghana’s path to development via the same tried and tested route used by several nations.

 

Ghana’s classmates, Malaysia and Singapore, continued on the same path – President Mahathir of Malaysia staying on for over 20 years in power and President Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore staying in power for over 30 years. Both these countries traversed slightly different route due to the significant difference in their natural resources composition and size of territory.

 

Singapore is a small nation with very little land and therefore could not travel the Agric/Livestock route but all the same focused on building its domestic economy with similar subsidies, tax breaks, export incentives and tariff walls to protect its fledging infant industries. At some point it eased up to attract massive foreign investment to fuel rapid transformation and diversification to become one of today’s highest income precipita nations in the world.

 

Malaysia, with abundant fertile land traveled the Agricultural/Livestock route. It is no secret that Malaysia picked the seeds of oil palm trees from West Africa just as Ghana got its cocoa tree seeds from Fernandopo by Tetteh Quashie. As Ghana wisely trudged along with its Cocoa Project successfully, Malaysia labored with its Palm oil plantations and today it’s the world’s largest producer of palm oil, exporting millions of tons of oil palm and palm kernel oil to the world and earning billions of dollars each year. The Oil Palm project absorbed productively a huge acreage of Malaysia’s hitherto idle land, created jobs for thousands of its illiterate citizens and generated billions of dollars to help finance industrialization into many other areas.

 

 

So what Happened to Ghana?

Past the Coup days of over 3 decades ago, Ghana has been living in an anti-elite age in which intellectual accomplishment is frowned upon, academia has been decimated and pushed to the periphery of national policy making and the center in most instances has been occupied by opportunists of various shades.

Professor Adu Boahen’s famous angst against the Culture of Silence has metamorphosed into a sickening Culture of Talkatives, aptly named Social Commentators.

 

To borrow from an astute observer:

“No nation can survive long without decent men and women at the helm”

Ghana does not suffer from a shortage of men and women of honor and excellence. There still exist Ghanaian politicians, academics, business, traditional and religious leaders whose convictions and orientation are great and equal to our best thinkers and leaders of the past, with talent and character that match those of other nations.

 

But there is presently a social corrosion against excellence and as such a gradual drift towards hypocrisy, opportunism, selfishness and greed…Ghana has been corrupted. But let’s not be mistaken…a nation can drift for a while but such nation’s prospects and progress shall suffer immensely.

And for our nation Ghana, the classmate of Singapore and Malaysia, the torch bearer of the African liberation movement, we must recognize and accept that we have failed to apply the tried and tested principles, policies and strategies that virtually all nations have used to build, to construct and to leverage themselves from agrarian, peasant, feudal, societies into mega economies, with impressive middle class standard of living and a sense of optimism and hope in their citizens for a continuous better tomorrow even with challenges and hiccups once in a while.  

 

The failure of Ghana to travel this “Road to Success” (RTS) has many reasons but the key ones are, in my opinion, the following:

1. The architecture of our Politics is flawed and not in sync with the Road To Success (RTS) model

 

The present state of Ghana requires the nation’s top thinkers and doers to be at the helm of policy making, legislation and the execution of national programs and projects,

 

Unfortunately, our politics and electioneering system do not help to produce such top-breed citizens on a consistent basis into our Parliament and the Executive Chamber. And hence the necessary discussions and debates that must produce direction for the nation often times lack strategic content and effect.

 

And Mr. Chairman, before I’m decapitated for this assessment, and which decapitation I will be honored for if such will serve my nation better, we are all aware of some of our excellent men and women in these organs of our governance machinery. However the good are not enough in numbers and judging by the poor conditions of our Nation and its citizens, we must speak up honestly and boldly, with malice towards no one but only with the hope that somehow our collective heartbeats will chant in unison and create a new awakening for unity and love among ourselves and hence dissolve once and for all the divisiveness, the acrimony and the character assassination that have become so pervasive in our nation!!

 

The winner-take-all structure encourages people who may be incompetent in economic and social development matters but however quite competent in what to do and say to win elections and hence rise to the top hierarchy of national power, sidelining the competent men and women of mettle.

 

The “one-person – one-vote” reduces political election into a farce. People with little or no understanding of issues being discussed possess equal voting power as everybody else. And in an illiterate, poor society the intellectually blind are in the majority. And we are saddled with the liberal principle of majority rule which asserts that those who prevail in numbers ought to prevail in power. I propose, Mr. Chairman, that there is the need to reassess if this type of democracy can underpin our desire for rapid development. As has been observed by the wise: “Democracy can only thrive with an enlightened electorate”

 

  1. Past governments have shied away from producing and following a well thought out multi-year plan for the nation’s development based on the nation’s resources, especially, its Land and People as has been the case for all ex-agrarian societies. We sometimes hurry and put together the semblance of a Development Plan to satisfy the call for a Plan only to be abandoned when the chorus subsides.
  2. Our fertile abundant land, all 91,000 square miles – is burdened with a tenure system inimical to serious development. Hostility of land guards, endless litigation and fiats from traditional and political authorities are the order of the day.
  3. For far too many of our post-independent years, we have tied our apron strings of development to the directives of the IMF/World Bank and so-called Development Partners. And even though this approach has not produced sustained positives for Ghana’s economic and social progress, we continue on the same path.      

 

Mr. Chairman, witness the following:

a)   Our fertile lands remain idle

b)   Our people remain jobless

c)   There are no factories or industries and our teeming graduates stay home with no jobs to go to

d)   We are still importing basic food staples of rice, canned tomatoes, onions, vegetables, fruit juice and the like

e)   We are so import-dependent, some of our foreign business friends get into the importation business and quickly rise to the top of the rich list of the nation.

In short, our development policies have been outward-looking and not inward-looking enough… even degenerating to the point that we are unable to understand and appreciate the intrinsic values in our natural resources, for us to apply the simple Road To Success methods that almost all nations have understood, accepted and implemented successfully to get from NOWHERE to SOMEWHERE, from Poverty to Affluence and hence from the ignoble practice of BEGGING to the dignity of GIVING!

 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly suggest to you and to all Ghanaian citizens that we must change course.

We must change course not for political or electioneering desires and outcomes  

We must change course not because our leaders, past and present, are not patriotic

We must change course, not for the sake of changing course

But Mr. Chairman, we must change course because we are not on the tried and tested “Road To Success”. We have lost our way and groping in the dark, instead of taking the logical, commonsensical, tried and tested path.

And now Honorable Chairman, Brothers and Sisters, let’s pause here and veer into the scriptures for possible biblical authentication of the Road To Success formula, which is applying your God given natural resources of Land and People to build a strong economy that works for all and not a few:

 

Matthew Chapter 25 verse 14-30 

The parable of the Bags of Gold

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 

15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 

16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.

 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 

20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 

25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 

27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 

29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 

30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

 

Mr. Chairman, please permit me to repeat the conclusion of this parable:

“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”

 

Our dear Nation, Ghana has been gifted by Providence with…

  • Bags of Gold, Bauxite, Iron, Industrial Diamonds
  • Rivers criss-crossing our land – The Volta, Prah, Ankobra, Densu and others pregnant with fishes and enriching their banks with desired agricultural nutrients of nitrates, phosphates etc
  • Miles and miles of fertile land
  • Forests harboring exotic Timber, game and wild life
  • The Greenwich Meridian – the world’s Longitude Zero – passes through our Port City of Tema
  • The Equator – Latitude Zero – is only five degrees below Ghana…. makes your Gold Coast literally the geographical center of the globe.

Ghana presently has 26 million citizens with a significant high youth percentage, a demographic asset well-managed nations will die for to underpin a robust job creation drive and turbo-boost their economic growth.

PEOPLE ARE GREAT ASSETS!

 

Mr. Chairman, I believe the point has been clearly established that Providence smiled generously on us and yet if we don’t change and get on the paved ROAD TO SUCCESS strategy, we may be cast away like the lazy, worthless servant into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

How can Ghana be begging for grants and aid from small nations with much less natural resources like Norway, Switzerland? Etc

We need to change course focusing more inwards to build a strong domestic economy using the tremendous resources we have been blessed with.

 

How does Ghana get on to the "Road To Success”?  

Mr. Chairman, please permit me to now humbly introduce again my Three-legged or Tripod Development Paradigm for the nation.

I proposed almost 4 years ago in Koforidua the same Development Plan on Friday October 12, 2012 to the 7th Biennial Conference of the Alumni Association of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Again, I emphasized on the same theme on March 5, 2014 at the Independence Day Lecture to the National Union of Ghana Students at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.

 

And I have deliberated on the same theme on television, radio and newspaper interviews and therefore at the peril of sounding like a broken record, I venture to propose it to this august audience my Three-legged Development Plan to the nation I so dearly love and wish to see a turn around in her fortunes.

The three legs of the strategy

  1. Agriculture
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Finance

 

A PRACTICAL AND SENSIBLE STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING GHANA

The three legs of the strategy

 

Mr. Chairman, I may sound repetitious in parts of my presentation. Please be assured that it is intentional and designed as such for effect. For I am deeply convinced that if Ghana and other nations in Africa do not heed these tried and tested strategies, we shall continue to rely on outsiders for their advice, their money and their wisdom to guide us.

As much as they may mean well, and some may not, we shall continue the same path of dependency, borrowing and begging which has not obviously worked too well for us.

 

 

1.  AGRICULTURE      

a)  Objectives and Expected Benefits

Maximize agricultural output by putting idle labor to work on idle Land

(i)           Increased food production for domestic consumption to avoid hunger and malnutrition and also to save the money used in importing food. In the case of Ghana, isn’t it scandalous that we import vegetables, fruit, fruit juice, rice, sugar, flour, tomatoes, canned tomatoes.

We can invest the savings to produce more and export more. The Government has in the past announced that Ghana imports yearly USD 1.5Billion of rice, tomatoes, edible oil, meat, etc.

(ii)          The fullest possible use of people (young people) in rural communities and villages is to help maximize farm output of various crops and vegetables. This will also curtail if not stop the pathetic rural-urban drift of Ghana’s able youth. Absorb the youth in rural economic development.

(iii)        Ghana is abundant in rich, fertile Lands. A focused agriculture policy will put these lands to practical use and create abundance of jobs for our rural dwellers and afford them incomes and rural purchasing power.

(iv)        All governments need tax revenues from citizens to finance their investment and operational responsibilities. Majority of Ghana’s citizens live in the rural areas. We must invest in the rural areas and create sustainable revenue producing opportunities to empower our rural citizens to earn a living and become tax-paying citizens to government, who in turn will have the funds to provide them with the necessary services like health, education, better housing etc.

 

We cannot keep borrowing to finance consumption of health, education and other services. We must get our people involved in producing the wealth with which we finance infrastructure investments. As the saying goes: “Borrowers die before their time”

 

2.  MANUFACTURING

I have already discussed the virtues of manufacturing or industrialization. However, to really be taken seriously in a Development Plan, I wish to position manufacturing in a practical context of a Regional Development Plan for Ghana.

 

a.  Regional Development

Ghana must embrace Regional Development Plan within the overall framework of the Road to Success. This will put focus on the natural resources unique to each region and be the catalyst for sparking economic development, creating job opportunities in each region and thereby diminishing the present unhealthy and unhelpful migration to the few city centers. Graduates native or not to each region, if possible, can serve as the human capital resource to take on the ripe opportunities.

 

For instance we can invest in a fruit juice plant in a region with the suitable soil and climatic conditions for growing fruits, etc. Graduates in Chemistry, food science, soil science, engineering, marketing, etc can be absorbed. There ought to be a Regional Development Fund for each region to underpin a serious effort to engender development in all corners of the nation, taking advantage of each region’s potentials.

 

b.  Local Manufacturing

This must be the center piece of any sustainable development program, starting with areas of natural comparative advantage. In the Regional Development model that I am proposing, let us establish where feasible two or more Manufacturing Plants in each region. Further research will be needed to identify what and where but I believe that the following areas may be appropriate:

 

 1.  Food and Vegetable Processing (Fruits)

This will promote increased output from existing farmers as well as new farm investors who can be incentivized through attractive tax and low-interest loans.

Such factories can also curtail or eliminate the enormous imports of canned tomatoes, fruit juices, flour etc. these activities will need the services of agronomists, agric engineers, bio-chemists, sales and marketing experts, Lawyers, architects, Surveyors etc. the products from our universities, our graduates shall and should be put to good use. Don’t invest to produce graduates and not be concerned with their usefulness to society.

 

2.  Meat/Fish Processing and Packaging

Modern cattle farms, piggeries, poultry, ocean fishing where appropriate, fish farms etc.

Many of the support activities will generate a variety of jobs spanning a wide spectrum of skill sets including some high end skills of our university and technical/vocational graduates and many more jobs for many others.

 

3.  Finance 

If Agricultural Policy is important to the development of a country because house-hold farming can provide a quick boost to output in rural-based economies

 

And

Manufacturing Policy is important because an infant industry strategy offers the fastest way to shift the country’s economy towards more value-adding activities

then

 

Finance Policy becomes important because it can target a nation’s limited resources at these two objectives.

 

Indeed, it is the close alignment of Finance with Agricultural and industrial Policy objectives that has facilitated the unprecedentedly rapid economic development of north-east Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China.

 

In Ghana, Finance Policy of Government must recognize the need to support small, high-yield farms in order to maximize aggregate farm output. Witness the tremendous success of Ghana with cocoa where small cocoa farms received sustained support with loans, seeds, pesticides, extension services, purchasing, storage, marketing etc. which propelled Ghana cocoa to the top league of global best producers, and generated adequate incomes to the farmers and tax revenues for development to government. This has proven to be a wise investment, LETS DUPLICATE IT IN OTHER AREAS!

 

In Ghana, our banks have been making good profits every year. That’s good for the banks because businesses that don’t generate profits eventually become stunted or die.

 

However herein lies the problem when in an emerging economy like Ghana’s where banks become very profitable but industry remains non-existent or remains at best technologically backward and cannot expand to create jobs for even the graduates we have invested huge sums to nurture, not to mention the generality of the population.

 

A situation like that lacks coherent planning that can support viable development and growth.

 

The cause for deregulating and liberating finance so that it seeks out the most immediately profitable investments is therefore not strong in the early stages of economic development.

 

It will be far better to keep the financial system on a short leash and targeted for a considerable period of time and make it serve industrial policy developmental purposes.

This logic, and the precise financial policy it entails, has been one of the anchors of the development successes of almost all rich nations at the initial stages of their development.

 

Money must be made to serve the objectives of national development policies, i.e.

  • Maximize agricultural output
  • Invest and support manufacturing to produce and export.

 

 4.  OTHER PROMISING SECTORS

Mr. Chairman, it must be pointed out that the 3 – legged Road To Success Plan of Development does not in any way preclude other equally promising economic activities that have become indispensible and supportive to major programs and projects in Agriculture and Industry.

 

E. Commerce and ICT, our Petroleum and Gas sectors are areas that require serious focus and attention to help leverage even more efficiently what we do in Agric and various industries.

 

However, the point that cannot be overlooked is that presently Agriculture and the processing of Agriculture products pose the best option for engaging the two most abundant and valuable resources Ghana has: Our LAND and our PEOPLE. And the more of these resources we put to use productively the stronger will be our domestic economy with regards to job creation and income generation for our PEOPLE.

 

It is important to engage our rural folks and some of our idle graduates in meaningful ways for them to become the architect of our economic and social progress. This, I believe, will help create a stronger foundation for our domestic economy, and create the viable linkages and multiplier effects for a more sustainable growth and an economy that can benefit all, rural and urban dwellers alike.

 

WE MUST FOCUS ON THE WELFARE OF OUR PEOPLE IN EVERYTHING WE DO!!

 

 

CONCLUSION

So to wrap up, Mr. Chairman, let’s revisit the topic we started with “Industrialization of Ghana: The Way Forward”

I have attempted in my presentation to lay out clearly the basic, unambiguous and specific programs, policies and the resources which the first wave of nations –the UK, US, Germany- applied in their initial attempts of development.

The importance of catalyzing the building of a domestic economy by relying mostly on a nation’s natural resources of Land and People has been established.

It has also been established that the second, third and fourth waves of nations in this development practice embarked on the same or similar strategy of applying their Land and People to catalyze domestic economies built on Agriculture initially to produce food and livestock, and then to venture into manufacturing to produce high value products from their agricultural raw materials.

The evidence shows clearly that the efficacy of the Agriculture and Manufacturing Road to Success is not limited to one race of people or one geographical area or indeed limited to one specific period in history. The nations who have successfully used this same model span the globe – Europe, North America, North East Asia, South East Asia and South America – not to mention the span of time from the 15th Century to the 20th Century.

Post-independent Ghana seemed to be on its way on the Road To Success but its politics truncated the process.

I have advanced my observation clearly and offered the Kofi Amoah Three-legged Development Paradigm of Agriculture, Manufacturing and Finance and I’m convinced that it is not too late to have a primarily inward-looking development agenda and build the base for a strong domestic economy whilst engaging the global economy through the export of manufactured products from subsidized home-grown agro-based factories, protected through tariffs to insulate our infant industries and give breathing room for learning.

                                                                  

Mr. Chairman, it is important to underscore that the Push and Pull strings of economics are non-discriminatory and apply equally to all nations. This means that Ghana can easily jump on the Road To Success using the 3-legged Plan discussed herein and build an impressive economy using its abundant Land and People resources.

 

In the ongoing US Presidential Campaign, both Mrs. Clinton of the Democratic Party and Mr. Trump of the Republican Party are emphasizing the significance of having products “Made in America” so America can be great again!

 

They both harken back to restoring a by-gone era when many of the products they needed and wanted were produced by American workers in American factories. Now they have become import-dependent, with trade deficits soaring and rendering many Americans jobless.

 

The lesson is produce more at home to satisfy domestic demand and create domestic jobs or keep importing and render your population jobless, poor and destitute!!

 

 Mr. Chairman, I humbly submit that Ghana must heed this call to adopt the suggested 3-legged Development Plan of Agriculture, Manufacturing and Finance to catalyze strong domestic economy and create the sorely needed job opportunities for our teeming youth and graduates.

 

And before I sit down I want all of us to take this home:

 

One hundred years ago today, the land we now call Ghana was inhabited by a mass of people who are now dead and gone. What they did. How they lived. Their pomp and pageantry. Their successes and failures color and affect who we are today. In fact, how a people are viewed and defined in the eyes of others depends to a large extent on their ancestors footprints in the sands of history.

 

By the same measure, one hundred years into the future, when all of us in this room and many more who call themselves Ghanaians are dead and gone, the new inhabitants – future Ghanaians – shall be viewed and defined by how we lived: did we have confidence in our individual and collective abilities. What were our successes and failures. How did we interact with each other and with the outside world. But most importantly did we leave a better Ghana than the one we inherited?

 

I leave that on our individual and collective conscience. What should be your role and how should it all fit into Ghana’s drive to the proven “Road To Success”

 

Let this 10th Anniversary celebration of this fine Regent University light the fire that shall keep warm our unquenchable desire to build the pride of Africa.  The enduring shining city on the hill. To prove to ourselves and show the world that Yes we can return back to our great future that was but never became.

 

And May God bless Regent University

And May He grant our dear Nation the Courage and Wisdom to travel on the Road To Success