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Business News of Monday, 10 July 2017


Underdeveloped countries must protect infant industries – Dr. Ha Joon Chang

Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on July 10, 2017, organised a press briefing ahead of its programme themed, “Destiny or Policy, development prospect for Ghana,” as part of its mission to promote good governance and economic development in the country.

Dr. Ha Joon Chang, the keynote speaker said, Ghana and other underdeveloped countries in their quest to develop must identify, promote and protect infant industries.

According to him, underdeveloped countries over the years have been brainwashed into believing that, there is only one model of development but his visit to Ghana is to provoke the minds of Ghanaians to debunk that assertion.

Dr. Chang said the argument that, the cause of underdevelopment in Ghana and other underdeveloped countries is due to structural and tropical climate effect is bogus.

“The English said the same thing about the German in the 19th century, the Americans did same to the Japanese in the 20th century, and the Japanese to the Korean but Ethiopia has developed after being land logged”.

He believes the problem with underdeveloped countries is the poor sense of time keeping and absence of relevant policies.

“The key to development is investment in industries and the industrial sector demands time keeping, so underdeveloped countries must learn to respect time and apply the right policies.”

The “kicking away the ladder” author among other things proposed, promoting export, getting better technologies, starting with cheap labour, protecting infant industries, investing into irrigation, subsidising fertilisers and focusing on agriculture as the way forward for Ghana.

“Think of the industry you want to promote and approach it in a case by case manner”.

Dr. Ha Joon Chang is a South Korean institutional economist specialising in development economics.

He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, as well as to Oxfam and various United Nations agencies.

He is also a fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. In addition, Chang serves on the advisory board of Academics Stand against Poverty (ASAP).

He is currently with the political economy of development department at the University of Cambridge