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Say It Loud


2007-11-06 00:29:54

GHANA is right there ? right there on the cusp where she can take advantage of the windows of opportunity opening in the West African sub-region. The erstwhile economic fast train that was the Ivory Coast is now hobbled by internal strife. Nigeria can?t seem to get over her usual baggage of issues involving regional schisms based on religion, oil and the ever-present massive corruption. Senegal for a time shone bright but somehow has managed not to find the ?next gear? to shift itself into economic over drive.

The Port at Tema is bursting at the seams with all the incoming and out going commerce headed for other land-locked West African economies. The Port at Takoradi is currently being rehabilitated to take up the overflow from Tema and to potentially become the main loading depot for the Dixcove?Cape Three Points Oil fields should that fully come on line.

So why are we acting with no discernable national sense of URGENCY to take advantage of the current opportunities to catapult our economy to the next level? For 50 years we have been overwhelmingly dependent on the export of the so-called primary products to earn foreign exchange. As a national economic policy, that is just so yesterday! Show me an economy that is primarily dependent on basic extractive and non-value added raw materials as the main source of revenues and I will show you a backward, under-developed economy. To vault our economy to the next level requires our Government to make some targeted investments not only in accelerated infra-structural development but also in markets where we may perhaps enjoy relative advantages and economies of scale. We don?t even have to be the best at these targeted areas ? just strive to be in the competitive upper echelon of those areas that we would target and then go after it with determined and dauntless purpose. Let?s take Gold for example. Gold has been mined in Ghana for millennia yet no concerted effort has been made to refine the gold in Ghana. By investing in gold refining to the international standard of 99% purity, Ghana stands to command more for its gold on the international market. I heard today on the business news that gold is currently fetching over $800 an ounce. And yet we sell it cheap as semi-processed ingots and then turn around and import it from ?Kwesi Broni? at a price considerably higher than we sold it for. Duh!!

We have now succeeded in placing sovereign bonds on the international capital markets, even if at higher than normal interest rates. Some might scream bloddy hell because we're paying high interest for these. Well, beggars can't be choosers and in case we have all forgotten there is a premium cost to be paid for our past serial fiscal mismanagement(past bad credit record, if you?d like). If our national leadership(Finance Ministry) is worth its salt, it should daily leave no stone unturned to come up with plans to leverage and take advantage of this new found confidence on the part of the international capital markets in Ghana. Time to channel the energy otherwise and usually misspent strategizing about how much more ?international aid? could be ?begged? out of the so-called international community.

The upcoming election in 2008 is so very crucial in this regard. Do any of these men have the fore-sight and the fire in the belly to be all about Ghana 24/7 ?. In my book that ought to be the baseline for not just the next President but for all those who would seek to be given lieutenancy in carrying forward the national agenda for progress. They should be ALL ABOUT GHANA - 24/7.

With regards and much respect,

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