Feature Article of Friday, 24 August 2012
Columnist: Thompson, Kofi
.....To Boom - Through Lateral thinking?
By Kofi Thompson
It is safe to say that the importance of the private sector, in the creation of desperately needed jobs for Ghana's teeming unemployed, is not lost on any of the political parties in the Ghana of today.
Clearly, for the Ghanaian private sector to grow in a sustainable manner, it must have access to relatively inexpensive long-term capital. Surely, the time has come for some lateral thinking on the part of our ruling elites to make that a reality?
Why not take advantage of the doldrums much of the financial services sectors in Europe and north America are in presently - and create a conducive environment here for their services?
Made aware of the many opportunities existing here for European and American private equity firms willing to venture here, even the presence here of a handful of pioneering entrepreneurs from within their ranks, could make a huge difference to the fortunes of Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
Such awareness ought to be created somehow. And I am aware that a few media professionals (my humble self being one), keen to help create an entrepreneurial culture amongst young Ghanaians, are doing what they can in that direction.
Through the use of tax incentives, the Ghana government of could encourage overseas private equity firms to fund projects by Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
If their revenues were made tax-free for say twenty-five years, working with overseas private equity firms, for example, Ghanaian entrepreneurs could undertake infrastructure projects such as building thermal power plants to utilise Ghana's natural gas deposits, and the Accra-Paga railway line, on a build operate and transfer basis.
And if the Ghana government could lobby all the member-nations of the African Union (AU) to agree to the declaration of the continent as one open-sky for African airlines, that could be of some help to Ghana's private sector.
If that were done, would it not be feasible and possible for a Ghanaian entrepreneur, to set up a pan-African airline using the low-cost carrier business model, to provide safe flights within Africa and from Africa to Europe and north America, for example?
And given the necessary tax incentives, would it not be possible for a Ghanaian entrepreneur to build a bridge across the. Volta River by leveraging private equity financing from Europe or America?
With respect (and said very humbly, dear reader), some of us are able and willing to introduce them to overseas entrepreneurs who are experienced African private-sector hands, with impressive track records and access to private equity firms in the US and Europe.
Endless possibilities do actually exist for Ghana's private sector to boom - through the application of lateral thinking by our nation's political and business elites. Having been thus prompted, one hopes they will put their thinking caps on, for Mother Ghana's sake. A word to the wise...
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