Feature Article of Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Columnist: Mohammed, Chief Obosu
A nation that places less emphasis to its human development is a failed state. All over the globe the phenomenon of success largely depends on the human capital driven by science and technology. Natural endowments alone are necessary but not sufficient enough to give competitive advantage to nations. Most African countries over the years have retarded growth and remained under-developed despite the enormous natural wealth it has been blessed with by the Creator. This arguably can be linked to its weak leadership and managerial inefficiency, which is detrimental to the mass of its people.
In Ghana this mediocrity is no exception. Over the decades our crops of leaders have failed miserably to stem this growing occurrence which seeks to exalt poverty, diseases and low-standard of living. I must also admit there have been some tremendous improvements by certain regimes; however, the road still looks blurry and hopeless by current happenings.
It is imperative that Ghanaians critically scrutinize the policies and programs of the various political parties to make an informed choice whether they will want to continue retrogressing or be part of the transformational world. As an independent-minded Ghanaian who strives for the best for his nation and the well-being of its people, I have come to appreciate certain pragmatic and meaningful programs being advanced by the Leader of the largest opposition party; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to transform and move the nation from what he terms “Guggisberg economy” to an “Industrial base economy”.
Obviously, not adding value to the raw materials we produced has not been of substantial benefit to the country since the days of our forebears. Therefore, we must begin to do things differently and be much more innovative to be able to aspire to greater heights as a nation; hence the radical and bold vision been passionately espoused by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Though, the policy document (manifesto) of the party is not yet out and available, I will be confined to just giving a synopsis of the vision therein and a clear direction as to the pedestal this country is going to be placed under his leadership in my understanding.
*Education/Human Resource Development*
On several platforms, both locally and internationally, he averred his unflinching commitment to make Education and Human Resource Development a top-most priority in his government. Education they say is key to success, and therefore it is worthwhile to invest massively in that endeavor.
In his vision for education, he did emphasize on stretching of the free educational policy to the Senior High School (SHS) level and making it the first exit point at the basic level. Some have doubted his ability to undertake such a bold initiative; however, we shall discuss its feasibility on a different date. This policy will afford many of our young men and women the foundation and opportunity to broaden their scope of knowledge and to seek higher education in their chosen field. It will create a pool of intellectuals who may want to acquire further specialized skills. This policy will also generate a massive infrastructural development of our educational system at all levels such as the provision of state of the art specialized institutions.
The teacher-first policy which also seeks to make the teacher the center-piece of the massive educational take over by providing excellent remuneration and benefits, refresher-courses, modern teaching practices and equipment’s, well researched syllabus et al. This policy will greatly enrich the human resource base of our people by harnessing and developing individual talent, making them skilled, specialized and competitive for the job-market.
No country has ever developed or become competitive without creating skilled human resources or a scientific base and specialized financial resource. However, it must be stressed that simply having university graduates does not mean they have specialized knowledge that is inevitable for national development. Hence, the desire to build a society of skilled specialized and educated work-force to propel the forward-movement of the economy. These expertise and knowledge we earnestly need to migrate into an industrial based economy.
*Industrialization of the Economy*
Indeed, it is absolutely becoming glaring that national prosperity is created and not inherited. Notwithstanding our vast natural resources such as Gold, Timber, Cocoa and now Oil, our country continues to be overwhelmed by mass poverty, unemployment, diseases and under-development. It is incumbent for us to be innovative in other to be competitive in the global arena. The much talked about vision of moving the nation from a “Guggisberg economy” to an “Industrial base economy” by the Leader of the main opposition is timely and an antidote for our economic recovery.
Although the Japanese always declare that they are an island with no natural resources, they are among the most industrialized and developed nations. This clearly does not add-up especially with all the natural resources at our disposal. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo seeks to create a society where our raw materials will be transformed into finished goods for both local consumption and export. This is to be achieved by intensifying and resourcing our research system and aggressively pursuing and enhancing of our science and technological base.
Adding value to our raw-materials will widen our income net, solving largely our un-employment situation, infrastructural development and fundamentally expanding the economy for massive socio-economic transformation. It is almost impossible for us to aim at being one of the “African Tigers” without a determined and coherent policy for structural development and economic emancipation.
The linkage between the two ground-breaking policies cannot be downplayed. It is evident that, the much touted Educational policy was not made in a vacuum but to be the bedrock and give realistic meaning to the vision of making this nation an industrialized one. We need a leadership that is decisive, visionary, bold and inspiring; an action-oriented leadership that will put together a team of critical-thinkers and problem-solvers that will place us on the road to be a first-world economy. In that leader, we can find Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Credit: Chief Obosu Mohammed