President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that Africa ought to emulate the successful East Asian economic model, if the potential of the continent is to be realised.
He indicated that the pragmatic East Asian economic ‘miracle’ which saw the 23 countries of East Asia registering tremendous growth from 1965 to 1990, was largely hinged on their belief in the primacy of the private sector, and the critical support they offered to ensure it survived and thrived.
President Akufo-Addo stated this on Wednesday when he addressed the plenary session of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Japan.
The conference is to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
Japan is a co-host of the conference, with the co-organizers being the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSSA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The President told the conference that Ghana was taking steps to put the country on a similar path the East Asian nations threaded.
His government over the course of the last two and a half years in office, he said, had succeeded in restoring fiscal discipline in the management of the economy, resulting in the macroeconomic indices pointing in the right direction.
“We, in Ghana, are taking steps to put our country onto a similar path. Maintaining a stable macro-economy is fundamental to attracting private sector investment.”
“We have restored fiscal discipline, our macro-economic indices are pointing in the right direction, we have implemented tax cuts and incentives to stimulate the rapid growth of the private sector, and we are projected, according to the International Monetary Fund, to be the fastest growing economy in the world this year,” he stated.
Thus, the favourable macro-economic situation prevailing in Ghana, the President noted, was a firm indication of government’s commitment to the creation of a conducive business atmosphere needed for the private sector to flourish.
This, the President told his colleague heads of state and governments, led “to some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturing companies signaling their intention to set-up assembly plants in the country, with global energy giants investing in the development of our considerable oil and gas deposits, and the establishment of the first Artificial Intelligence Centre in Africa by Google in Ghana. Their decision to operate in Ghana is for good reason.”
Additionally, Ghana, under his leadership, he said, was leveraging technology to help reform and improve the country’s institutional and regulatory processes, to develop a digital economy that is supporting sustained economic growth, and improving the wellbeing of our citizens.
“We are embracing fully the advancements made in the digital world to help drive growth and increase productivity of our economy,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the structural transformation of Africa’s economies can no longer be postponed, if the aspirations and desires of Africa’s young populations for jobs, progress and prosperity, were to be met.
“It is time we also traded in the world economy, not on the basis of exports of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make and grow”, he said.
With the future of Africa and her economy going to be driven by the youth of the continent, President Akufo-Addo was confident that “they are going to build Africa, and we, in Ghana, are determined to provide them with the skills to do so.
The vision is to build a free, prosperous, self-reliant Africa, an Africa Beyond Aid.”