President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the biggest challenge for African governments is to find a way to guarantee the future of young people whose population would reach some 1.65 billion by 2050.
Africa’s population is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, that is, one in four people on the planet would be an African and out of this number, 60 to 65 per cent of the population will be young people under the age of 35.
Ghana, which had a population of 6 million people at independence (1957), has grown more than five times in the past 65 years to 32.83 million as of 2021.
Speaking to some Harvard Business School MBA students, who called on him at the Jubilee House on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo said African countries must develop a modern intelligence governance system and an economic management model that would enable the continent to grow faster and provide a productive future for the young population.
The Harvard Business School students are in Ghana to conduct research as part of their MBA degree, on the impact of global economic trends on African governments and businesses and find solutions to deal with them.
Teamed up with students of Ashesi University in the last two weeks, the students have been attached to 12 companies in Ghana to find the impact of globalization, energy prices, the Dollar, Covid pandemic on their operations and find solutions to them.
Speaking on Ghana’s economy, President Akufo-Addo said in the first four years of his administration, the government succeeded in growing the country’s economy from an average GDP growth rate of 3.4 per cent to 7 per cent by 2021.
The economy, according to the President, expanded systematically and saw a significant expansion of infrastructure developments and the implementation of important social intervention policy initiatives such as the Free SHS which created a model of development that rapidly made Ghana a big talking point on the continent.
Then came the climax of the Covid pandemic, rapidly followed by the events in Ukraine, he stated.
But as always, President Akufo-Addo said the most critical has been the management of the economy. “Though, with the 7 per cent systematic rates of growth that the country has seen, unfortunately, as the result of Covid, global slowdown, disruption in global supply chains, the economy is now growing at less than 1 per cent.”
Increases in energy prices, food prices and raw materials prices, President Akufo-Addo stated, had not escaped Ghanaians as the economic difficulties that confront them are intimately tight to these developments.
The impact on standards of living and the dynamism of the economy has been difficult and impacted negatively on the lives of Ghanaians in the past two to three years while the government tries to reposition the economy to grow again.
Those difficulties, the President indicated, had forced the government to find some economic “accommodation” with the IMF, whose process is ongoing and “hopefully by the end of February, a full-blown IMF agreement would have been reached to help Ghana repair its public finances.”
He said a very important feature of Ghana’s public policy is its commitment to the integration and unification of the continent.
The mindset of Ghana since independence, according to the President, has been that Africa would be better served when it comes together politically and economically to leverage effectively the energies of its 1.3 billion, hence the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said for Ghana to take advantage of the AfCFTA, the government through its industrialization policy underpinned by the “one district, one factory” had seen 297 projects ongoing out of which some 124 had been completed.
President Akufo-Addo said this policy has already inspired a significant transformation of the country’s industrial landscape.
The government, through its strategic goal of exploiting the country’s bauxite and iron ore resources deposits, had established Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GHIADEC) as a coordinating force to bring to fruition an integrated bauxite industry in the country.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie, leader of the Harvard Business School student delegation, said the students selected a course on Africa as part of their MBA Degree and focused on major international trends and how those trends have impacted or affected Africa—globalisation, energy prices, the Dollar, Covid.
The second course is for each student to come to one African country, learn and study what impact have these international forces made on a particular country and particular company.
Some of the companies in Ghana in which the students are conducting research are, Ghana Commercial Bank, Kasapreko Company Limited, Access Bank among others.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD