Ghana has set out ambitious plans in recent years to reposition African economies on the global stage by moving "beyond aid" and accelerating its investment through foreign direct investment and industrialisation.
The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area is a significant milestone for the outward-looking economies of the continent, despite Covid-19 now leaving many plans on hold or moving backwards.
Under the ambitious pro-business, pro-investment leadership of President Nana Afuko Addo, Ghana seems to be in a good place with impressive growth figures to back up the optimism.
However, the long term challenges for Ghana are numerous. AfricaLive speaks to the nation's leaders regarding the path forwards.
The government must make a deliberate effort to not only upgrade infrastructure in terms of waterways, motorways, technology, but also skills. It will be of no use, if we have good infrastructure but a shortage of skills.
The millions of jobs that we need will only be achieved if we equip our young people with the right skills to make them competitive.
A lot of our unemployment issues in this sector and many others stem from a lack of skills. If you don’t have the knowledge and skills, you don’t even realise that there are opportunities. The government is putting in good work as far as expansion and upgrades are concerned. If we fix the knowledge and skill gap issues, our ports will be as competitive as those in Dubai, Singapore, and Antwerp. If we keep up the good work, this can happen in a decade.
I would talk up the need for digitisation of processes. There is a need for the creation of a digital economy to help eradicate corruption, reduce unemployment, increase revenues and improve efficiency. It should not be a big leap to make because we have already digitised the ports and court systems.
A digitised system would help the government function better because tax, ID, and registration systems will be improved. Having a robust digital ecosystem will also help us improve our traffic systems because it will reduce human interference and incidences of road carnage. I believe that the adoption of technology will reduce the gap between developing countries and those that are highly industrialised.
When we speak internally and also with other universities, we understand that data revolution is a big topic. Universities are, therefore, coming to the realisation that we must keep up with the world. We have to stay updated and train students for the jobs of the future or else lose our credibility. The questions we were asking ourselves before Covid-19 were; what will future jobs look like? Will we be teaching the same way? How will data science influence the future? With the onset of the pandemic, universities have been jerked forward in a way that has made them move forward with their plans faster than scheduled. We have to focus our strategies so that ICT, data science and open innovation become central moving forward.