Economist bemoans lack of value addition

The country cannot continue to sell its base resources cheaply whilst joblessness swallows its youth, economist, Prof Edward Ayensu, has said, calling on government to take value addition to resources seriously.

“Ghana and a number of politically stable African countries are at a crossroad. I am convinced that with proper handling of our natural resources, the youth of this country must be poised to begin an unprecedented economic and social progress,” he said at a matriculation ceremony of the Accra Institute of Technology.

“Since independence, our track record in terms of economic growth has been uneven,” the former Chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said. “But the recent economic crisis has thought us some lessons. Ghana continues to sell its base resources cheaply without much processing or semi-processing of its resources.”

for the first time in so many years, Prof. Ayensu said, the combined economic output of the three major economies from the south — Brazil, China and India –is now about equal that of the six large economies from the north –United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada.

This is because Brazil, China and India have taken value addition seriously, and have managed to turn their economies into major production hubs.

By 2020, according to global projections by the 2013 UN Human Development Report, the combined economic output of these three leading developing countries –Brazil, China and India—will surpass the aggregate production of the six large economies.

Prof Ayensu believes that some African countries, including Ghana, with its large natural resource base and human capital, should become part of the major economies of the global south.

The country, he said, can achieve this by aggressively following the industrialisation path that was started by the first President of the country, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and revamp major factories which he started.

In doing so, he said government needs to collaborate a lot more with the private sector. must government, he said, needs to collaborate with the private sector to revamp projects like the Meat Processing Factory, Paper Processing Factory, Tema Food Complex, Tema Oil Refinery, Tomato Processing Factory, among others, to create jobs for the youth.

Corruption

He said Ghana cannot get there and be among the major economies unless it eliminates corruption from the system.

“Our continent is riddled with corrupt practices championed by individuals who should know better and are in positions to set exemplary lives. Many African government officials do not see their role as public servants, but rather a private individual carrying the public mantle.

This has led to the impunity of accumulating obscene wealth through their access to state power rather than through contributions to the productive sectors of the economy, hence the rampant corruption that we have been witnessing on the continent today.”

 

Source: B&FT

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