As the world goes through a devastating period under the gruesome crawls of the deadly Coronavirus christened COVID-19, with the virus having a major annihilating effect on the health of individuals, destruction of the world’s economy has also not been spared.
But as much as the economy of the entire world and the respective countries are taking a nosedive, there still exist loopholes in the economy where respective countries especially those who have not been hard hit can take advantage of the current situation to become the economic hubs among the countries of the world through their respective engagement in massive production, manufacturing, and supply of the current needs of the world.
From all indications, Africa stands the greatest chance to position herself to be an economic hub of the world due to the low level of the impact of the virus on the continent, the continent’s large human resource, the fast growth of the continent’s digitalization sector, fall of the world price of crude oil, continent serving as a more fertile ground for United States of America (USA) and Europe to move their factories to from Asia plus the continent’s current capacity to leverage on the current needs of the world and serve as a centre of production, manufacturing and supply of such needs.
Furthermore, among the African countries, the country best placed to lead this charge is Ghana. It is so because of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement’s (ACFTA) location in the capital of the country, the peaceful nature of the nation, the hospitality of her citizens and the country currently harboring a world’s enviable economic status and conducive business environment, which have all been made possible in the shortest possible time through stringent measures which were timely put in place by her current President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, after taking over power from former President John Dramani Mahama. This has, as a result, placed Ghana in a suitable position to capitalize on the aforementioned loopholes to make huge gains and through that place herself as an economic hub not only in Africa but across the world, if only the leadership of the country would in the immediate put in place strategic policies to aid it vis-A- vis the remarkable fruit-bearing policies which have been put in place to help fight the COVID-19 virus and its spread.
Some of the main policies put in place by President Nana Addo that have gotten Ghana well solidified and positioned to take up this role has been the strengthening of her private sector with sound initiatives such as;
A. Reduction in tax rates
B. Reduction in bank interest rates and a further reduction in bank charges for three months under the COVID-19 lockdown
C. Implementation of One District One Factory policy
D. Promotion of Science and Vocational Skills and Training through revamping, resourcing and equipping vocational skills education, creation of Science Ministry, prioritization of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, the commitment of higher funds to science institutions/organizations for an increment and broaden of science-related research
D. Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)/Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ)
E. Increase in the number of beneficiaries under the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) and Presidential Pitch initiatives
F. Reduction in electricity bill and a further free and huge electricity bill reduction for three months under the COVID-19 lock down
G. Reduction in water bill and a further free water supply for three months under the COVID-19 lock down
H. Digitalization of the economy
I. Implementation of mobile money interoperability and a further reduction in mobile money charges rate under the COVID-19 lock down
J. Introduction of electronic commerce platforms
K. Introduction of a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme in a stimulus package disguised form of about 1 billion Ghana cedis to rescue and revitalize our industries under the COVID-19 lock down
L. Introduction of a policy that has given a breathing space period for the filing of taxes by owners of companies at Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) under the COVID-19 lock down
M. Introduction of a policy that has given a breathing space period for the payment of bank loans under the COVID-19 lock down
The above if leveraged on very well in the immediate can get the country to place herself as an economic hub in the short and long terms, and through that replenish all her would-be economic losses under the COVID-19 pandemic and also strive on to become economically independent.
In the short term, the country can take advantage and become a major manufacturer and supplier of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs), diversified types of Sanitizers, Food, Hospital beds (Wood/Metal), Faceguards, Automated Hand Washing and Sanitizer Machines, Electricity and other major needs to the rest of the world.
On the long run, by capitalizing on the nation’s advantage of its foreign investor confidence’s high score in Africa which paved way for the location of ACFTA, Toyota, Sinotruck and other reputable manufacturing companies in the country, Ghana can easily lobby a large number of other European and USA industries to relocate into the land and also set up lots of industrial parks across the entire regions of the country. Again, with regards to the nation’s sound history of the richness and efficacy of her herbal medicine which has proven very effective in areas where western medicine has had zero significance like cure for Hepatitis, sexual weakness and other chronic diseases, Ghana can leverage on it to position herself as a research centre for herbal medicine and health in the world, and sit on this advantage to be a manufacturer and supplier of cures for COVID-19, Ebola and others to the world.
Further more, for Ghana to achieve and sustain an economic hub status, the nation must take advantage of her prioritization and strengthen of the nation’s STEM education to review, modify, diversify, restructure and improve her educational system, and as a result, incorporate in its structure and syllabus, right from nursery to the tertiary education levels, with the topics and programmes of the future of education such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Genome Editing, Robotics, 3-D Printing, Neurotechnology, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Autonomous Vehicle, Energy Storage, Biotechnology, Material Science, Nanotechnology, Augmented Reality and others, because these are the fundamentals of the needed skills of the fast approaching Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) where one has to either adopt else will not fit in the industrialization drive of this fast approaching era. It has as a result become incumbent on Ghana to develop a human resource well equipped with these knowledges and expertise so that she will not only be able to position and sustain herself as an economic hub, but would also be able to compete properly with other nations geared at also making themselves economic hubs or would-be threats to Ghana’s economic hub agenda.
The wind is in the sail of Ghana so the nation needs to immediately capitalize on it.
Hhhmm, May God be praised always
By Nana Kwadwo Akwaa (CTI)
CRITICAL THINKERS INTERNATIONAL (CTI)
For Interview contact:
Richard Bram …… 0540462696
Member, Communication Directorate of CTI