Category Archives: Opinion

Akufo-Addo’s speeches are all full of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy – A Plus

Kwame A Plus known in private life as Kwame Asare Obeng, former Pro New Patriotic Party (NPP) member, says President Akufo-Addo has told nothing in his speeches but lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy to Ghanaians.

A Plus shared his opinion about the sitting government of the political party he once supported on his social media handles on Monday 28 September, 2020.

According to A plus, Akufo-Addo speeches of Covid-19 are all full of lies and dishonesty to the people of Ghana.

Explaining further his argument, he claims the President has ban almost all social gathering because he said people will contract Covid-19 if social distancing measure is not enforced.

Read also A Plus reveals how Kojo Opong Nkrumah has chopped more girls than Papa No

Meanwhile, the NPP government is actively engaged in huge number gatherings of people in their campaign tours ahead of 2020 general elections.

A Plus wrote on his wall:

“If we play football people will die of Covid-19. If we go to school people will die of Covid-19.

If we don’t wear nose mask people will die of Covid-19 If we spend more than two hours in church people will die of Covid-19

If we go to the beach people will die of Covid-19

If we demonstrate people will die of Covid-19

But if we organise events like this, coronavirus will go to the village to visit his grandmother.

This country nankasa sometimes I wonder why we call ourselves a Christian nation.

Akufo Addo will come on TV and speak English; arish rish kontomire, all be full of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy”

Kwame A Plus

Read also Audio: Kumawood actor, Sekyere Amankwah speaks on death rumours

She also shared the photo below when making the above comment.

Read also Mahama’s “Big Push” programme for massive infrastructural development

THE ROLE OF AFCFTA IN POSITIONING AFRICA IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS

Written by: Princess Sekyere Bih

It is a known fact that global governance was well structured, administered and controlled by institutions created without Africa’s inclusion at a time when they were under colonial bondage (Uhomoibhi, 2019).

Therefore, as late actors, their influence was challenged given that their interests were not taken into account in the policies and programmes that were developed by these bodies.

Also, neither were African countries’ perspectives and views reflected in such international legal and human rights instruments as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights adopted in 1948 by which the entire international community, including African States, are today assessed and measured. This created an unfair playing ground for Africa and developing countries.

Furthermore, Africa’s underrepresentation and voting power in these global institutions at the time impacted the level of influence Africa had. The dominance of the big powers in the United Nations Security Council as well as leadership of these same powers in institutions especially the World Bank and IMF, generated and formulated broad economic perspectives and ideas in their favour to the detriment of African countries. The lack of representation and weighty voting power, allowed the US and its cronies to shape and impose global economic governance policies (Oloo, 2016).

In spite of these constraints, Africa has participated and made some contributions in global affairs in several areas. A major area in which independent Africa made its mark from the early 1960s was in the advancement of political freedom and commitment to the entire liberation of the continent from imperial and colonial rule.

African states rallied global support in the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Non Aligned Movement to defeat the scourge of colonial domination, racism and oppression. This formed the basis for the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which was created in May 1963, with the key reason being the Liberation Committee of the Organization which had the most interest, attention and resources of the continent. Oloo (2016) maintains that the defeat of the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1994 was in every respect the climax of Africa’s success in the struggle for liberation and a defining moment in its involvement in global affairs.

The Security Council’s five permanent members―China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States―were designated in 1945 and have since remained unchanged. While 10 non-permanent members have been added, including South Africa and Nigeria, these members do not have veto power and can only serve non-concurrent two-year terms. To date, both Africa and Latin America lack representation among the Security Council’s powerful permanent members.

Africa made its contributions to global peace and security by discharging these tasks either through its continental or sub-regional organizations such as ECOMOG or through the mechanism of the United Nations.

After the first UN Peacekeeping in Congo whose leadership was provided by Nigeria, the UN was instrumental in other countries such as Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1964, Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The involvement of Africa in UN peacekeeping was not limited only to Africa: African countries were also actively involved in global peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, East Timor and other conflict areas.

Though Africa, along with other Non-Alignment Movement members campaigned for a new international economic order and, most notably, pushed for a UN conference on trade and development, among other such initiatives it ceded the power to change economic order to its chief benefactors.

A typical historical illustration of this concession of power to economic change, was the so-called Washington Consensus or IMF “prescriptions”, the Structural Adjustment Programmes which turned out to be perhaps the greatest factor that undermined Africa’s takeoff in the early 1980s.

For example, in Nigeria, the harshly iniquitous IMF conditionalities undermined industrialization projects, unrealistically devalued the national currency and halted growth. By the time the flaws and contradictions of the imposition became manifest in much of Africa, considerable damage had been done to their economies, setting back their growth and development by decades.

African States have not been able to establish self-activated and productive economic systems to generate prosperity and power as the Asians. With the continent’s status as primary producer of raw materials and net importer of manufactured products still very much unaltered, intra-African trade has also largely remained marginal in the context of global trade. Africa has been unable to develop and achieve prosperity and power, defend itself and advocate its own causes independently. This has greatly affected Africa’s role and position in global affairs.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement & AU Agenda 2063

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) can be traced to the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980 and the Abuja Treaty of 1991, where the then Organization of African Unity established an Economic Community for Africa. In January of 2012, 44 heads of state met in Addis Ababa and agreed to establish a Continental Free Trade Area – CFTA (Nwafor, 2019).

The CFTA is aimed at helping African countries to boost economic and trade growth, transform their economies and achieve Sustainable Development Goals and African Union Agenda 2063. The AfCFTA is one of several AU frameworks supporting the Abuja Treaty’s end goal, the establishment of an African Economic Community (Parshotam , 2018).

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 aims to accelerate Africa’s economic growth and development as well as promote a common identity by celebrating its shared history and culture.

According to the African Union Agenda 2063, AfCFTA is “Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.”

What is AfCFTA?

In 2018, member countries of the African Union took a major step to boost regional trade and economic integration by establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). They agreed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalize trade of key services, address non-tariff obstacles to intraregional trade, and eventually create a continental single market with free movement of labor and capital.

The AfCFTA has been ratified by 29 countries and was scheduled to take effect in 2019, although negotiations on specific features of the agreement are ongoing. Once operational, the AfCFTA will establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion. This could be an economic game changer for the continent (African Union, 2017).

The AfCFTA has been described by experts as a possible game-changer if implemented successfully because the AfCFTA is about creating a larger market. It aims to liberalize trade among African countries, significantly accelerate the growth of intra-Africa trade and use trade more effectively as an engine of growth and sustainable development by doubling intra-Africa trade, strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations (Nwafor, 2019).

The AfCFTA will make Africa the world’s largest free trade area with a gross domestic product (GDP) worth about US$2.14 trillion dollars. This is key because the population of Africa is expected to grow to about 2.6 billion by 2050.

The AfCFTA seeks to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods. According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers will increase intra-African trade by 52.3 percent by 2020. This increment will then lead to a generation of more employment opportunities. It will also facilitate better use of local resources for manufacturing and agriculture and increase access to cheaper products.

According to economists, free tariff access to a market as huge as Africa would encourage service providers and manufacturers to leverage economies of scale. Hence, the increase in demand will lead to an increase in production and a decrease in unit costs. This would mean consumers will pay less for products and services and businesses will expand operations.

The AfCFTA will also help diversify trade and encourage a move away from extractive commodities, such as oil and minerals, which have traditionally accounted for most of Africa’s exports.

The impact of AfCfTA in Africa

By the year 2050, the AfCFTA would clearly be exerting the greatest impact on GDP per capita and reduce extreme poverty. For example, in lower-middle-income countries it would be boosting annual GDP per capita by over US$1 500, compared to the next biggest factor, technology leapfrogging, which would be adding just over US$900. By 2050 also, the AfCFTA would have reduced extreme poverty by over 6%, versus the next most effective driver, revolutionized agriculture, which would do so by about 5.5% (African Union, 2017).

The most recent estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) suggest that the removal of tariffs on goods alone would contribute to increasing intra African trade with most gains accruing to the industrial sector (Economic Commission for Africa , 2018).

The largest increases in trade volume are expected in the textiles and apparel, vehicles and transport equipment, wood and paper, leather, and electronics sectors. In agriculture and agri-food sectors, the largest gains would be in meat products, milk and dairy products, sugar, beverages and tobacco, vegetables/fruit/nuts and rice(Oloruntoba & Tsowou, 2019).

The AfCFTA will encourage the creation and development of regional and international value chains, and facilitate their integration into existing ones by taking advantage of economies of scale and improved business and trade practices. More fundamentally, ratification of the AfCFTA begins the process of continental integration to change lives, reduce poverty and contribute to economic development (Economic Commission for Africa, 2019).

In summary the AfCFTA is meant to achieve the following nine benefits (Saygili, Peters, & Knebe, 2017);

  1. Create bigger and integrated regional market for African products.
  2. Permit producers to benefit from economies of scale and to access cheaper raw materials and intermediate inputs.
  3. Improve conditions for forming regional value chains and integrating to global value chains (GVCs).
  4. Allow consumers to have access to cheaper imported products from other African countries.
  5. Lead to better allocation of resources and faster economic and trade growth.
  6. Catalyze the structural transformation of the countries from resource and low technology based economies to more diversified knowledge based economies.
  7. Eliminate some challenges associated with multiple and overlapping trade agreements in Africa (spaghetti bowl).
  8. Encourage both intra-African and external direct capital flows to African countries.
  9. Stimulate cooperation in other areas such as technology transfer, innovation, investment and continent-wide infrastructure development.

Globally the AfCFTA will contribute to strengthening Africa’s   position in global trade. With the failure of the Doha Round and the crisis of multilateral trade negotiations (and ultimately of the World Trade Organization’s ruling authority), the latest international trade rules have been fixed under preferential agreements negotiated at bilateral, regional (continental) or trans-regional levels, from which Africa has been almost systematically excluded.

The consolidation of African regionalism can therefore prove decisive, on the one hand, to develop an adequate negotiating power vis-à-vis relevant commercial partners such as the European Union and China; on the other, to promote economies of scale and value chains that can boost African companies to compete on international markets. The realization of these benefits, however, is conditioned by the overcoming of numerous infrastructural, legal, and political challenges (Cofelice, 2018).

Challenges to AfCFTA

A major challenge to implementing the AfCFTA is poor infrastructure that dots Africa. There is the need for governments to modernize and improve the road infrastructure of all the countries involved. When talking about road infrastructure, all forms of transport that are part of the channels of supply chains used in commerce must be considered.

The network of roads and highways are best to start with, as this should dramatically reduce the transit times of heavy transport and people throughout the treaty regions. More investment should also be made in the rail network, as well as in ports and airports. These infrastructures are critical for commercial development.

It will be important to accentuate the efficiency of infrastructure and customs personnel within borders, so that there is free transit of merchandise according to the bases of the treaty, combined with the internal laws of the country where it is only transited or is the end point of destination of the goods or people.

Among these challenges are establishing the minimum and necessary legal frameworks so that resolutions of conflicts and disputes can be carried out efficiently.

Another critical and major challenge is financial control, due to the high flow of transactions that will result from the opening of investment markets and the exchange of goods and services, as well as the mobility of people. This control should be aimed at monitoring monetary flows and their origins.

The scourge of money laundering is a global problem, and is also an issue within Africa. It may not be easy to apply more efficient controls and policies adapted to the reality of the way in which criminal structures operate. However, the support of countries with more development in establishing and enforcing financial controls could help Africa, supporting economic growth through trade and investment, and bringing development and prosperity for its inhabitants (Sobalvarro, 2019)

E-commerce is also an important part of the future of this vision, which should be supported by clear rules, together with a modern regulatory framework. It could create the conditions to generate the sale of millions of products, following the major global trends of retail and business to business (B2B).

Conclusion

In summary the AfCFTA seeks to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on goods and services from member states in order to facilitate intra-African trade; promote regional value chains to foster the integration of the African continent into the global economy; boost industrialization, competitiveness and innovation, ultimately contributing to Africa’s economic development and social progress.

The Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) represents one of the most ambitious plans and frameworks geared towards ensuring that African countries trade more with one another. Though the main objectives of the AfCFTA are ambitious, it is doable if the identified challenges, including poor infrastructure are addressed. The appropriate legal frameworks and customs and the necessary financial controls must also be put in place.

This ambition is attainable and will positively influence Africa’s impact in world affairs.

Post-harvest loss in watermelon and tomatoes: a case of seasonal glut or market system failure?

It’s yet again that time of the year in the Upper West Region of Ghana especially within the Wa municipality where there is a lot of tomatoes in the market. Many farmers are harvesting the product and there appear to be a glut. A few weeks ago, this was the case of watermelon. There was a glut of it in the market in places like Paala in the Wa West and other watermelon production centres.

Though attempts have been made to explain the situation as being occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not been different in pre-COVID-19 era. Hence, as usual the glut comes with the challenges of post-harvest loss (PHL) of tomatoes and watermelon and consequently losses in incomes of farmers.

Situation of PHL in watermelon and tomatoes

Post-harvest loss is one of the major challenges in the Agriculture value chain. It is generally defined as all the quantitative and qualitative losses that are incurred along the commodity value chain after harvest until the produce reaches the final consumer. Therefore, from production to consumption, PHL can occur where some of the produce does not reach the final consumer but is lost along the chain.

In Ghana, it is estimated that the country losses US$700,000.00 annually to post harvest losses. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture estimates that 20-50% of perishables like fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops that is produced in the country is lost due to post-harvest losses. Watermelon and tomatoes fall under the category of perishables and therefore are highly susceptible to losses.

Read also Cocoa farmers’ pension scheme kicks start in October 2020 – Joseph Aidoo

Causes of PHL in watermelon and tomatoes

A major cause of PHL in tomatoes and watermelon is poor handling of the produce by farmers. Watermelon and tomatoes are perishable products, and therefore the way it is handled is very important in preventing losses. They require the right knowledge in terms of handling them and the adherence to good agronomic practices around the products. The absence of these makes them to be susceptible to losses.

Poor road linkage is another contributory factor to high PHL of farm produce like watermelon and tomatoes. Many roads linking production centres and urban areas are not in the best of shapes. For instance, a community like Paala in the Wa west district is one of the communities where water melon production is high, but the road linking Paala and Gusi can best be described as non-existent.

Many watermelon and tomato farming communities across Northern Ghana have similar challenges. The absence of good roads therefore heightens the losses incurred by farmers who are into the production of these perishables.

Inadequate market for watermelon and tomatoes contributes to high losses. Currently there appear to be a glut of tomatoes within the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region as many farmers have difficulty accessing market for their produce. Many farmers are not able to get market and given that the produce is perishable, a lot of it is lost.

Also, appropriate storage facilities for tomatoes and watermelon is lacking and hence contributing to high losses of the produce. Currently, there are inadequate cold room and packhouses for vegetables and fruits in the Upper West Region. For instance as at 2017, in the entire Upper West Region there was only one packhouse located in Jirapa. This therefore is a major challenge in storing the produce so as to minimize losses.

Read also Is there any correlation between increased local value addition and cocoa farmers’ income?

Effects of PHL in Watermelon and Tomatoes on Farmers

Post-harvest loss incurred in the production and consumption of watermelon and tomatoes has serious implications on farmers and food security in general. It denies the farmers income. An increase in PHL constitutes an unfortunate and avoidable reduction in the incomes of farmers. It shows that produce that could have been sold and accrue as income to the farmer is lost.

It also constitutes a waste of resources. There are many resources that are committed to production such as land, water and other key inputs. Therefore, PHL is an unsustainable way of engaging in agriculture as a means of livelihood. It amounts to wasting the resources that have been committed to the production process.

PHL in watermelons and tomatoes also poses a threat to the food and nutrition security of the country. In this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the consumption of products like watermelon and tomatoes could boost the immune system of consumers, PHL denies the food system good and nutritious food. This therefore contributes to nutrition insecurity of many people.

Recommendations and way-forward

In order to get these issues addressed, there is the need for strong public investment in rural infrastructure to augment the existing ones. For example road networks connecting farming communities to market centers needs to be constructed for easy transportation of watermelons, tomatoes and other farm produce to the market centres. Failure to do that could further increase the losses.

Additionally, the full implementation of the one-district one factory concept in production centres around the country could also help to curb PHL in watermelon and tomatoes. Such factories could be established to ensure that they process and add value to the raw watermelon and tomatoes. For instance watermelon can be transformed into juice to be sold in both the local and international markets. Similarly excess tomatoes can be canned to reduce the incidence of losses.

Also, there is the need to put in measures to ensure all year production of the products. Seasonal spikes in the production of watermelon and tomatoes cannot attract any serious investment. Hence there is the need to ensure there is consistent supply of the product all year round. This would require the provision of appropriate irrigation facilities that suits small holder farmers.

Besides, strengthening of the market system with information on Watermelon and tomatoes could help curb losses. Currently data on production volumes on the two products is scanty. Information on the variety, the location, the quantities, and the prices of the produce could help other market actors play their roles to ensure losses of the produce are minimized.

Read also China-Africa Relations: Rethinking China’s Participation in African Agricultural Development in the Post-COVID Era

Conclusion

In conclusion, the country’s agriculture has been touted over the years as the mainstay of the economy. But if measures are not put in place to curb PHL especially in perishables like watermelon and tomatoes it would reduce the impact of the sector on job creation and incomes generation. Indeed, it would render the farming of the products unstainable.

The subsector requires investment that would ensure food security, massive employment and sustainable development. Until that is done, the perennial woes of watermelon and tomatoes farmers is more of a market system failure and not just case of seasonal gluts of the products.

WRITER: Emmanuel Wullo Wullingdool

Read also Grosso Foods Launch: Promises food security in Africa

Post-Harvest loss in watermelon and tomatoes in Northern Ghana: A case of seasonal glut or market system failure?

A Policy Advocate and Consultant in Agriculture and International Trade, Emmanuel Wullo Wullingdool, has share his thought on whether or not the perennial post-harvest loss in watermelon and tomatoes in Northern Ghana is a case of seasonal glut or market system failure. He writes …

It’s yet again that time of the year in the Upper West Region of Ghana especially within the Wa municipality where there is a lot of tomatoes in the market. Many farmers are harvesting the product and there appears to be a glut. A few weeks ago, this was the case of watermelon. There was a glut of it in the market in places like Paala in the Wa West and other watermelon production centres.

Though attempts have been made to explain the situation as being occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not been different in pre -Covid-19 era. Hence, as usual the glut comes with the challenges of post-harvest loss (PHL) of tomatoes and watermelon and consequently losses in incomes of farmers.

Situation of PHL in Watermelon and Tomatoes

Post-harvest loss is one of the major challenges in the Agriculture value chain. It is generally defined as all the quantitative and qualitative losses that are incurred along the commodity value chain after harvest until the produce reaches the final consumer.

Therefore, from production to consumption, PHL can occur where some of the produce does not reach the final consumer but is lost along the chain. In Ghana, it is estimated that the country losses USD700, 000.00 annually to post-harvest losses.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture estimates that 20-50% of perishables like fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops that is produced in the country is lost due to post-harvest losses. Watermelon and tomatoes fall under the category of perishables and therefore are highly susceptible to losses.

Read also Farmer-based-organization calls for strong collaboration among state institutions to fight fake agro-chemicals

Causes of PHL in Watermelon and Tomatoes

A major cause of PHL in tomatoes and watermelon is poor handling of the produce by farmers. Watermelon and tomatoes are perishable products, and therefore the way it is handled is very important in preventing losses. They require the right knowledge in terms of handling them and the adherence to good agronomic practices around the products. The absence of these makes them to be susceptible to losses.

Poor road linkage is another contributory factor to high PHL of farm produce like watermelon and tomatoes. Many roads linking production centres and urban areas are not in the best of shapes. For instance a community like Paala in the Wa west district is one of the communities where water melon production is high, but the road linking Paala and Gusi can best be described as non-existent.

Many watermelon and tomato farming communities across Northern Ghana have similar challenges. The absence of good roads therefore heightens the losses incurred by farmers who are into the production of these perishables.

Inadequate market for watermelon and tomatoes contributes to high losses. Currently there appear to be a glut of tomatoes within the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region as many farmers have difficulty accessing market for their produce. Many farmers are not able to get market and given that the produce is perishable, a lot of it is lost.

Also, appropriate storage facilities for tomatoes and watermelon is lacking and hence contributing to high losses of the produce. Currently, there are inadequate cold room and packhouses for vegetables and fruits in the Upper West Region. For instance as at 2017, in the entire Upper West Region there was only one packhouse located in Jirapa. This therefore is a major challenge in storing the produce so as to minimize losses.

Read also Bono East: Traders and Farmers Cry As Watermelon Go Waste

Effects of PHL in Watermelon and Tomatoes on Farmers

Post-harvest loss incurred in the production and consumption of watermelon and tomatoes has serious implications on farmers and food security in general. It denies the farmers income. An increase in PHL constitutes an unfortunate and avoidable reduction in the incomes of farmers. It shows that produce that could have been sold and accrue as income to the farmer is lost.

It also constitutes a waste of resources. There are many resources that are committed to production such as land, water and other key inputs. Therefore, PHL is an unsustainable way of engaging in agriculture as a means of livelihood. It amounts to wasting the resources that have been committed to the production process.

PHL in watermelons and tomatoes also poses a threat to the food and nutrition security of the country. In this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the consumption of products like watermelon and tomatoes could boost the immune system of consumers, PHL denies the food system good and nutritious food. This therefore contributes to nutrition insecurity of many people.

Read also The current situation of rainfall in Ghana: A threat to food security

Recommendations and Way-forward

In order to get these issues addressed, there is the need for strong public investment in rural infrastructure to augment the existing ones. For example road networks connecting farming communities to market centers needs to be constructed for easy transportation of watermelons, tomatoes and other farm produce to the market centres. Failure to do that could further increase the losses.

Additionally, the full implementation of the one-district one factory concept in production centres around the country could also help to curb PHL in watermelon and tomatoes. Such factories could be established to ensure that they process and add value to the raw watermelon and tomatoes. For instance watermelon can be transformed into juice to be sold in both the local and international markets. Similarly excess tomatoes can be canned to reduce the incidence of losses.

Also, there is the need to put in measures to ensure all year production of the products. Seasonal spikes in the production of watermelon and tomatoes cannot attract any serious investment. Hence there is the need to ensure there is consistent supply of the product all year round. This would require the provision of appropriate irrigation facilities that suits small holder farmers.

Besides, strengthening of the market system with information on Watermelon and tomatoes could help curb losses. Currently data on production volumes on the two products is scanty. Information on the variety, the location, the quantities, and the prices of the produce could help other market actors play their roles to ensure losses of the produce are minimized.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the country’s agriculture has been touted over the years as the mainstay of the economy. But if measures are not put in place to curb PHL especially in perishables like watermelon and tomatoes it would reduce the impact of the sector on job creation and incomes generation.

Indeed, it would render the farming of the products unsustainable. The subsector requires investment that would ensure food security, massive employment and sustainable development. Until that is done, the perennial woes of watermelon and tomatoes farmers is more of a market system failure and not just case of seasonal gluts of the products.

Contact Emmanuel Wullo Wullingdool on 0249731699/0209029686; Email: wullingdool@gmail.com

Read also Tomato Glut: Farmers in Wa lament over lack of market for produce

Civil society organizations and government relationship in Ghana — what is the way forward?

Over the past few days, there has been some back and fort between the Civil Society Organization (CSO) and the government over some mineral royalty deal entered into by the state.

Though the work of CSOs over the years has been very useful in the governance of the country, the current relationship between the state and the CSOs does not seems to be a good one.

A fellow at the Centre for Better Society Advocacy and Research (CEBSAR) – Africa and Research fellow at Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILPI), Mr. Haruna Gado Yakubu, has shared his view on the tussle going in the country [Ghana] with myaimreport.com. The rest of this article are solely the views of Mr Yakubu.

Read also Promoting Sustainable Beekeeping to Alleviate Deprivation and Poverty

The tenets of good governance anywhere in the world is to ensure good quality livelihood for the citizenry. It is for this reason that constitutions revolve on the power of ‘WE THE PEOPLE’.

The people give power to organized few, herein, political leadership to execute the developmental strategies on behalf of the people. This is the basis for good governance — a mutual relationship between the PEOPLE and Political leadership.

In this part of the world where the average citizen is very much afraid of victimization, the voices of citizens are usually silent. The only way to criticize and proffer solutions to complement Government effort, is through a well organize structure which ideally should be non-profiting — CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION.

In the context of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, ‘’CSOs are Non-State, not-for-profit, voluntary entities formed by people in the social sphere that are separate from the State and the market.

CSOs represent a wide range of interests and ties. They can include community-based organizations as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).’’

Read also Agricultural Policies Vs Political Rhetoric: A vicious cycle in Ghanaian Political Environment

It is the responsibility of Government to listen to the criticisms and alternative ideas from the people. It is very true that CSOs, may not know it all, likewise the Government — having power doesn’t make humans supermen. This, is not to say the CSOs must always have their way.

The UN recognize the role of CSOs in good governance, in the 2000 reform document titled — “we the People-The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century”. Commissioned by SG, Kofi Annan.


Pope Francis, the Romanus Pontifex of the Roman Catholic Church, put it in a better form:

‘’Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: “Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good.’’

Pope Francis

Unfortunately, because of the distrust people have in both institutions — Government and CSOs, it is difficult to come to a common understanding on issues of good governance.

Over the past 25 years of Ghana’s democracy, corrupt deals from Government have made it increasing difficult to trust any international agreement or transaction executed on behalf of the people.

Similarly, mushrooming CSOs mostly affiliated to political parties, have been seen over the years, mostly when their political parties are in opposition or minority, pushing the agenda of minority parties.

Also read Factors Ministry of Food and Agriculture must consider for sustainable Agricultural policies

The political leaders know this fact, and will therefore think CSOs are all the same — anti Government. These political affiliated CSOs go moribund, and the leaders mostly appointed into Government, immediately their political parties win power.

The sad reality is that those in Government know how most of the CSOs function — political influence, because they have done same before. CSOs must remain firm and resolute.

They must operate on conscience always. This will command respect from the people they represent. Some CSOs are living to the mentioned principles.

The Government must also improve on transparency and accountability principles of good governance — making unclassified information available to all stakeholders in the governance structure.

Government and CSO communication should be a two-way process with respect and not arrogance.

Long Live the Republic of GHANA!

Read also Disappointed citrus farmers in A. A. K. district trained to produce honey from bees

The plight of small-scale farmers in the COVID-19 pandemic – the situation in Ghana

It’s Monday morning and I have to get ready for the day’s activities. I have five calls to master beekeepers I supervise to get me some data I need for my report. I checked my mail as usual to see if I have receive any.

Lo and behold I had received a mail from Monmouth, UK asking me to get some information for our upcoming project. I grabbed my phone and back pack.

I put on my spectacles and face mask as has become a new normal – security officials in town may harass you if you are without face mask.  I hopped onto my motorbike and left home to seek for some fact to respond to the mail I received.

As I got to Offuman junction in Tuobodom, Bono East Region, many small-scale farmers have gathered there looking for means of transport to their various farms. Suddenly, I heard some noise from the crowed so I got close.

They were fighting over a space in the bucket of a pickup car so they could get to their farms – the only reliable means of transport available apart from motorbike.

Upon asking, they told me they had to observe physical distancing whiles on board and so people are fighting to board before others – the bucket could only pick few people other than it used to pick when there was no pandemic.

This struck me and decided to find out from these farmers what has been the impact of this deadly pandemic on their livelihoods.

Before I continue, let me give a brief background to this pandemic I am talking about. The novel coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19 is not just a threat to human race (loss of life) but also poses greater risk to the livelihoods of millions of people.

Many Ghanaian small-scale farmers are currently losing greater part of their household income as COVID-19 continues to disrupt major activities in agriculture and the food supply chain.

The COVID-19, a pandemic that came upon our land in March 2020, has made people resorting to lives that otherwise were never used to – such as wearing face masks, avoiding handshakes and hugs, among others. As at today June 25, 2020, Ghana has confirmed nearly 15473 cases of COVID-19 with 95 deaths.

In an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the government of Ghana imposed a number of measures, which include banning all social gatherings; the closure of schools, colleges and universities; and the imposition of restrictions on movements of people in a partial lockdown.

Although necessary, these impositions have adversely affected a major sector of the economy i.e. the agricultural and agribusiness sector. Some of which includes disruptions in transportation, hampered supply chain in agriculture and decreased demand for agricultural and agribusiness activities. These disruptions are obviously slowing down growth in agriculture and agribusiness in Ghana.

Back to my story! After chatting with some of the farmers, I decided write this article. I must say this is my first non-scientific article I have written.

I realized from our chat that transportation is a major issue as many of these small-scale farmers use motorbike to and from the farms. Some of them mostly depend on colleagues to get to their farms but due to the coronavirus they are not allowed to carry other people on the bike.

People have to either walk long distances or find money (they do not readily have) to use public transport – the fare has also been increased since drivers have been ordered to reduce the number of passengers on board to observe physical distancing.

Millions of small-scale farmers in Ghana grow fruits, vegetables and various cash crops like cocoa and cashew that are sent to America, Europe, China and others. Presently, exports of these products have halted in the past few months as all borders are closed or restricted around the world.

In an interview with an exporter, he said to another news portal that “we are not doing anything now”. Again, the closure of borders has limited farmers’ access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides/weedicides, farm tools and equipment as well as restricted access to local and international markets.

For example Kojo Mensah a small-scale farmer in Tuobodom told a friend of mine that “I am not even sure whether we will have farm inputs this year”. This uncertainty coupled with fear has subsequently impacted negatively on planting decisions which will eventually lead to a reduction in the volume of the some agricultural produce in food production areas in Ghana.

Also, the closure of local weekly markets in some communities is mostly devastating for small-scale farmers as they depend on sale made during these market days.

COVID-19 has made small-scale farmers to slow down or in some cases abandon their farm work completely. For example Afia Boakyewa in Traah near Techiman told me that “we cannot go anywhere; our husbands cannot travel into cities to buy inputs like hoes, cutlasses, pesticides, or fertilisers for our farms because we are afraid of contracting the virus”. The above narration will affect the production level and farmers’ productivity this year if the situation continues.

Other evidence of COVID-19 impact is in the cashew sector. Cashew which is a major export cash crop in Ghana that generates between US$378 million and US$981 million annually for Ghana, has been hard hit by COVID-19, causing huge losses for its growers.

They have already seen prices drop from US$130 for a 100 kg bag of raw cashew nuts to just US$75 this year. Cashew grower Kofi Ameyaw lamented when I engaged him saying “we are forced to sell at a lower price”.

In addition, India, China and Vietnam, largest importers of cashew, have cut orders as their processing factories close due to lockdowns imposed and this has led to a glut, forcing the international market price of the commodity to slump by 63 percent since January 2020.

Same can be said about Ghana’s most important cash crop, cocoa, which its international market price continue to fall. Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, a government agency that buys cocoa beans from small-scale farmers and sells on the international market has indicated (in an interview with a news portal myjoyonline.com) that, “Immediately COVID-19 has brought to Ghana a deficit of almost US$1 billion and if this thing should continue, paying our farmers will be difficult.”

In addition, there is reduced imports of raw materials for the manufacturing sector and petty trading items, especially from Ghana’s main trading partner, China – importers could not travel to bring in these items. This has led to lost jobs due to the fact that farmers who earn extra income from petty trading could not obtain supplies.

Also, loss of jobs especially in the service sector (hotels, airports, restaurants, local chop bars). Some people I spoke indicated their family members who work in these areas have lost their jobs and support or remittances to them from these working family members were cut/reduced. This has affected their farming activities since they depend on the support from these relatives for their farm inputs.  

The marketing of general agricultural produce has suffered as bulk buyers form urban areas could not easily travel to buy food items from producers (small-scale farmers).

The purchasing power of people is descending coupled with reduced money in circulation – in actual fact the general economic activities have reduced, and these small-scale farmers are not spared.

The above impacts, already being experienced by small-scale farmers, are expected to linger on especially when the world has not been able to find any lasting solution to this pandemic. Until a drug or vaccine is found, these small-scale farmers will continue to be affected heavily by the novel coronavirus.

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: Essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [part IV]

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now and the citizens’ role in causing financial loss to the state: the essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic.

This is the continuation of our previous article The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part III]

In 100 years from now (2118)
Everyone anticipates a promising future and that develops a form of hope for them. Before now, it would have been difficult to tell what will happen in the next few years and those who could do that were seen as extraordinaire.

While we were young we watched several cartoon movies of fairy-tales of which many of the things we felt were fictitious have become realities these days, so we often say some people are living in the future.

It is no doubt that nobody can tell exactly what will happen in totality, however, many aspects of life have become easily predictable if not telling it exactly how it will be. Occurrences like natural disasters, accidents, and so on are incongruously predictable, however, they occur as a response to environmental moderation by human activities.

So, having the capacity to follow the patterns of human activities and how the environment reacts gives very visible clues to tell the future. On this premise, I want us to experience life together in the next 100 years.

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We all believe in procreation and most of us are aggressively working hard to set good paths for our children as well as hoping to make them better than what we will achieve in life. In doing so, we hardly consider the universal effect of our ambitions. Pause, take a deep breath. I am sorry to tell you that if indeed you wish that good for your children, then your current actions are hurting them already.

While we vehemently resist and ridicule the news of birth-control by the National Population Council, probably due to their inability to explain matters to us, the future of those children we cannot wait to have or have had already is scarily despondent. Our population rate is exhaustively huge sending the future of our generations into the abyss.

According to the data provided in Figure 4A, the population of Ghana will reach an alarming size of 262,000,000 (two hundred and sixty-two million people on the same landmass 29,770,000 people scrambled for in 2018. As of the year 2018, every Ghanaian was entitled to at least 12 plots (100x70ft) of land – that includes sharing the whole Ghana including forests and farmlands for the whole population. In 2118 (100 years’ time) a Ghanaian will be entitled to only 1.4 plots of land.

Ghana’s population will be the largest amongst all the countries under consideration with the exception of the US. Ghana’s population will be more than twice that of the UK, Japan, Malaysia, etc. this situation is dangerous and life-threatening for the future of Ghana.

The population keeps exploding, meanwhile, the resources are dwindling while we sit down watching unconcerned. You may want to ask why the government is not doing anything about it forgetting you have equally not done anything about it yourself and still thinking of your second and third children. Universally, the per capita of all the countries will appreciate, that notwithstanding, the rise in the per capita of Ghana will be of no importance.

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Holding all the parameters considered here constant (stable economic growth and pop growth rate), Ghana will be severely poor in 100 years’ time against all the larger economies and further lose to Zimbabwe, perhaps due to the high literacy rate of Zimbabwe.

However, it will continue to be 3 times richer than Rwanda also due to the high pop growth rate of Rwanda. You might be wondering why no solace is taken in the fact that Ghana is doing better than the most hyped promising economy of Rwanda, my brethren, anyone who wants to affirm their physical strength will not do so by engaging in a weight-lifting contest with a patient who is yet to recover from surgery.

In fact, I must say that the margin of wealth between Ghana and the US, Singapore is exceedingly alarming and worth mentioning. My heart skipped when the graph popped up after the analysis. As of 2018, citizens of the US were 29 times richer than Ghana but will be 64 times richer in 100 years. Citizens of Singapore were 29 times richer in 2018 but will be 77 times richer in 2118.

You may see it as mere figures, but what it means is that what we call as hardship today is going to multiply by at least in folds. I feel like fainting. What is so alarming is the fact that our currency is measured by the strength of the US dollar, so in 100 years US$ will be twice as expensive as it was in 2018.

The implication is that, with exactly the same amount you are earning today, the price of everything on the market will be twice. For instance, if you earn GHS 200 and buy a loaf of bread for GHS 5.00 now, in 2118, a person who earns the same equivalent amount of GHS 200 will buy a loaf of bread for not less than GHS 10.00.

In sharp contrast, the wise decisions and conscious strategies mapped out by Singaporeans will ultimately make them better and richer even than the US in a period when our carelessness would have sent our descendants into perpetual dearth.

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Sadly, the predicament will even be heightened further. A major contributor to our GDP is our discovered oil, unfortunately, we face a situation of running out reserves as well as losing value for crude oil in the advent of electric cars and modern technological advancement.

The longest any gasoline consuming automobile may remain in the system is 50 years. Well, if you thought things were going to get better soon, then be disappointed to buckle up your shoes because it will get worse soon if no reasonable efforts are made.

I must tell you that, whilst we carelessly sink, the well-planned economies will continue to rise and that will even bury us deeper- while we jubilate over the sluggish crawling of our economy (see Figure 5B of PART 5), they are busily training their economy to fly at supersonic speed.

There will be a time soon when almost all the developed countries will prevent non-professionals from entering their countries. Well, the only hope is that some few people will be living in space because traveling to Mars or the Moon will be as ordinary as traveling from Kumasi to Accra.

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Looking at this kind of inhumane situation we are creating for our next generations, I believe we have no right or whatsoever to blame our ancestors, we are maliciously insensitive than they were (we all have perhaps contracted some disease and are suffering from the “dead goat syndrome”).

At least, our ancestors obeyed simple cultural practices of preserving our water bodies and forest reserves by neither farming too close to rivers, refilling buffer zones for construction nor mining inside water trenches in a period we believe they were uncivilized.

Hmmm, why should all these happen, how did we get here, who caused it, what can be done? Keep thinking, don’t be quick to say it is the managers of our economy or the work of the devil or quiz why you should worry about something that will not happen in your presence because you may be dead and gone.

Sorry, but you will live in a part of this period. Or by then “na obiaa awu”? (maybe everyone will be dead by then) or perhaps the world would have come to an end? That is very laughable though because carbon dating proves this earth has been in existence billions of years – at least 4 billion years.

Find out who caused our woes and who is making it worse and if it is possible to reverse it and rather become better as the subsequent chapters unfold. Thank you for reading.

Part V (how we got into this situation, those contributing to making it worse and the fate of Ghana in 100 years’ time) … coming soon.

You can contact the author [Nana Abankwah] via kingabankwah@gmail.com

You may also read Cocoa Prices likely to fall by 10 percent

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part III]

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now and the citizens’ role in causing financial loss to the state: the essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic.

This is the continuation of our previous article The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part II]

Some indicators of interest
The true “state of a nation” should be its competitiveness on the global market, rather than a report of infrastructure and policies that have been implemented.

Although physical infrastructure may glorify a country, if it has no direct long-lasting income generation, its significance in contributing to GDP growth can be very negligible. In fact, an asphalt road passing the gates of a jobless man is merely a black-painted space, he sees no usefulness of it.

Also read Artificial Intelligence in Precision Agriculture

Over the years, managers of our economy have decried our high rate of importation and have severally blamed it for the weakening of our local currency [Ghana cedi].

Again, it is widely suggested that increasing our export will help rake in more foreign exchange to consolidate our Forex reserves thereby cushioning the local currency to avoid the rampant inflation and cedi depreciation.

That is true in juvenile economic sense, however the question is how much of GDP can be exported to earn enough? In principle, should we export all the assets in the country (GDP of US$ 65.56 billion) which is a 100 % export, the maximum returns we can have is twice our GDP, something that isn’t possible in present times, but needs a thoughtful leader to create such avenue, not a case of “you and I were not there” when others were creating the mess – on a lighter note.

Read also: Agricultural Sustainability: How to find credit as a farmer

In the subsequent paragraphs you will find out how that can be done with ease. In not so long, about 2000 years ago, the Holy Bible recounts Jesus Christ narrating a story about how important the kingdom of heaven is, by likening it to a pearl a labourer found on a field (Mathew 13: 44 – 46). The wisdom in that parable if well interpreted can prosper any nation which seeks economic breakthrough – you don’t need to get anxious, we are in this together.

It is noteworthy to state that, international trading (import and export) patterns have very significant effect on countries with either a smaller population or smaller economy and therefore must be appropriately be balanced as shown in Figures 3A and 3B below.

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However, larger populations with large economies have little to bother about international trade. This can be seen among all the three low GDP countries having higher import as compared to their exports.

However, though Singapore has a bigger economy, their population is so small that they have to depend on market rotation. They have adopted what I call transit economy system. In this system, the country’s population does not have the capacity to produce much from their own resources neither do they have enough population to consume their products should they even produce largely.

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Again, such a country has a very limited land mass and cannot risk increase its population carelessly. So, it simply adopts a strategy of importing large volumes of raw materials, process them to gain more value and then export.

By this strategy, the country retains any profit from the added value to increase its GDP and that is exactly what Singapore is practicing (you can read about the investment made in the Singapore Changi Airport and how much revenue it is fetching the country). I am sure you are quizzing yourself whether managers of our economy are aware of this information, well, that is to be discussed later.

In contrast, larger economies with corresponding large economies do not bother much about international trade. Such countries dwell on domestication, they produce and consume locally without relying so much on international trade.

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In fact, the United States of America has higher imports than export, yet very resilient and buoyant. Such economies have very minimal international trade per GDP.

One may ask so which one will be suitable for Ghana?

It is widely believed that high literacy rate supports economic growth which is largely true according to Figure 3C, sadly, high literacy in Zimbabwe I must say is irrelevant to economic growth and this is what reveals the real problem of Africa. You seem not to either get it right or do things rightly and could that be the situation in Ghana? This is why I take you to the next 100 years, a free ride teleportation.

Figures 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D.

In simple terms, good economy provides good living and prolongs life. Weaker economy frustrates citizens and terminates their lives. I am sure you are very eager to see the next 100 years soon, yes, we are almost there …

Part IV will definitely give you goosebumps stay tuned

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You can contact the author [Nana Abankwah] via kingabankwah@gmail.com

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part II]

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now and the citizens’ role in causing financial loss to the state: the essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic.

This is the continuation of our previous article The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part I]

Economics
In the previous article [Part I], the demographic characteristics of the countries were revealed by placing emphasis on land mass, population, birth rate and population growth rate.

Ghana had a very high birth rate which was seen as a general characteristics of underdeveloped countries creating a sharp contrast between the giant economies and the weak economies.

In this paragraph, we look at the financial statuses of the countries reveling the reasons for the present worth of citizens in each of the countries, as well as providing us with fair idea on the future projections up to the next 100 years in subsequent paragraphs.

On the face value, GDP growth in all the smaller economies (low GDP countries) is higher and much promising than all the bigger economies, however they are almost irrelevant to the improvement of the per capita of the citizens.

The 8.6 % GDP growth rate of Rwanda, which is the highest, has no effect or whatsoever to compete with the 0.8 % GDP growth of Japan. Ghana has the second highest of GDP growth and may nominally be seen as performing better but you will be disappointed to know such figures are barely deceptive.

The reasons are that, due to the smaller nature of those low income economies (Rwanda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe), even a 100 % GDP growth will mean nothing to reflect in the improvement of the purchasing power to match that of their counterparts in the developed countries and will continue to be poor.

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While a 0.8 % (fig. 2C) growth of US$ 4.971 trillion is (US$ 4.931 trillion) suggesting a shrink in the economy of Japan, the 6.3 % growth of Ghana’s GDP of US$ 65.56 billion will be (US$ 69.695 billion).

With the population growth of 2.2 for Ghana and -0.2 for Japan, the per capita of Ghana will appreciate from US$ 2,202.31 to US$ 2,290.71, while that of Japan will decline from US$ 39,290 to US$ 39,060.

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I am sure you have a sarcastic smile on your face now. It is interesting, isn’t it? This may be the reality you had not woken up to know. Yes, indeed, the per capita of Ghana has increased while that of Japan reduced, but do the changes make a Ghanaian richer?

So if a political leader in Ghana tells you he has grown the economy by even 10 % making the citizens richer and hence deserves an applause, you must understand that it is merely aesthetic but not relevant to making you better or anywhere near your cohort in any of the developed worlds.

Yes of course it is an achievement of a sort, but deserves only a passive commendation. I am sure you are often deceived by praises from global entities like World Bank and IMF that such economies are doing well, so it makes you feel good, brethren, dare not tickle yourself and laugh because you are still being poor.
Now let me put it into simple terms for the general readers.

What I have discussed above simply means that, because we have very little money, the interest that we can get from it is very small. However, the people in the developed countries have a lot of money, so even when they make a loss, they still retain more than us and in excess.

Also read Policy makers in Africa misunderstand and are ignorant about the caliber of the citizenry – Prof. Gyampo

It is like two children whose parents took their monies to Banks, the first child’s parent (A) had US$ 2,202.21 and the second child’s parent (B) had US$ 39,290 because he worked harder. So after a year, the parent A’s bank says they had made profit though they employed new staff so his money has increased to US$ 2, 290.71.

Then parent B’s bank said they made a little loss because they had a little challenge at the bank so his money has reduced from US$ 39,290 to US$ 39,060. Now parent ‘A’ tells his children that they are going to be richer and even better than parent B because their money has increased so he doesn’t need to work harder but must be praised.

I am sure you may be feeling uneasy, but yes, often times you hear on campaign platforms where political leaders tout such achievements as unprecedented and something that even a developed nation like US couldn’t achieve in their year of review.

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That is how cheap those politicians see us, we cannot blame them because, we are part of the problem. I guess you are contemplating how you are part of the problem.

Again, we often hear from our politicians lashing at their counterpart on excess borrowing and raising red flags against them, to an extent of making campaign gains out of such backlash. Sadly, they churn out figures carelessly to the public without any responsibility of explaining what those figures mean.

At some point in time, feathers were ruffled in the parliament house of Ghana by an opposition party claiming that government had borrowed close to 70 % of GDP and hence the economy was at the verge of collapsing.

It was so because, before then, the now victim had also taking their turn to victimize the now accuser for careless borrowing, chanting there was a lot of money in the country that could be harnessed for development without necessarily borrowing, so it is a case of “you do me, I do you”, but the question is whether you the ordinary citizen deserve such deliberate gimmicks.

Read also “We hate our own; couldn’t Duffuor, Nduom, Amoabeng’s banks have been saved?” – Agyinasare

Indeed, you are made to believe that when government borrows so much every citizen owes some huge amount which makes you feel guilty and burdened. The crux of the matter is the purpose of borrowing and its profitability. Looking at figure 2B (Public Debt), the total public debt of Ghana as of 2018 was 59. 3 % while that of Japan was 238.3 %.

The understanding here is that Ghana owes a little over half of its GDP while Japan owes more than twice of its GDP. But why hasn’t the US which also owes more than its GDP (104%) or Japan gone to join HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries).

The reason is very simple; they obtain higher returns from their larger economies so are able to service their debts without any cause for alarm. They have an active and expanded economy running so receive equal gains enough to meet payment terms of contracted loans.

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However, those of us with meager economies risk of crushing into slavery if we take such risk. Our economy is dormant and tiny and yields barley no returns so can easily be overrun by our creditors.

A simple scenario is that, two businessmen entered a bank for a loan to invest into their businesses. The first businessman was selling bicycles with document showing evidence of selling 5 bicycles a month, and needed the loan to decorate his bicycle shop with automatic lockers and security lights and also lay floor tiles at his shop to attract customers.

The second businessman was rather a car dealer who provided evidence of selling at least 50 cars in a month and needed the loan to clear his newly arrived cars at the port. If you were the bank manager, who will you attend to first, how much will you give to each of the businessmen and what duration will you agree for repayment of the loans?

Well let me leave you to apply your intuitive economics. I guess your thoughts were as good as mine. The first businessman is the case of Ghana (or any of the small economies) and the second businessman is the case of US or Japan.

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While it will be very easy for the bank to confiscate the bicycles even if they gave him a meager amount upon fears of default, it will be barely unreasonable to make any attempt to do same to the car dealer even though he may owe the bank higher.

I believe you have now painted a picture but still not certain what exactly you have made. Rest for now, the next paragraphs will add more colors to your painting. Thanks for reading.

—Part II will be in soon, I hope you are not weary of reading yet—

You can contact the author [Nana Abankwah] via kingabankwah@gmail.com

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The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part I]

The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now and the citizens’ role in causing financial loss to the state: the essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic.

Introduction
The well-being of citizenry depends solely on the purchasing power of the country on the global competitive economic market. This translates to the total monetary worth of each individual in the country.

The total worth of a country is described as nominal Gross Domestic Products (GDP), which is deduced from the valuation of all assets of the country in monetary terms.

Conventionally, data from these deductions are used to rank countries on the world economic scale as to which country has the largest or the least economies. Presently, the United States of America has the largest economy with GDP of US$ 21.44 trillion, followed by China with US$ 14.14 trillion and then Japan with US$ 5.16 trillion. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa with GDP of US$ 397.3 billion as of 2018 (World Bank data).

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Although GDP is used to rank countries as being largest or least economy, the livelihood of citizens goes little beyond that. The actual purchasing power of citizens which translates into their ability to survive is assessed by what economist describes as per capita GDP (or GDP per capita), that is the share of every individual in the country when the total value of the country is divided by its population. That reflects the actual wealth of that country.

In that regard, Qatar is the richest country in the world with per capita GDP of US$ 116,799, while that of Ghana is US$ 2,202 and US$ 2,250 in Nigeria (the largest economy in Africa). In simple terms, a citizen of Qatar is worth US$ 116,799 while a Citizen of Ghana is worth US$ 2,202.

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In a simple case scenario, if the world was to be sold in some quantities, while a Qatari can by 53 parts, a Ghanaian can buy only 1 part. Alternatively, it can be said that on the average, every Qatari is 53 times richer than every Ghanaian.

The per capita GDP as described above is dependent on both the country’s population and its GDP. However, the GDP involves a multifaceted phenomenon whose calculation oftentimes raises several contentions depending on the government of the day especially in Africa and Ghana in particular.

Thankfully, the World Bank has taken that responsibility to provide such data as an independent body. Insofar, Ghana has been 63 years since independence and is still struggling to carve a niche for itself in the global competitive market since that is the only life wire for poverty alleviation.

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As a concern citizen, and a student of Global Leadership Program, I deem it a responsibility and a service to my country to share some highlights on the fate of Ghana in a period of 100 years and also elaborate on how citizens contribute to financial loss to the state either by direct involvement or by a clandestine approach.

In this monograph, I have taken time to do a systematic comparative analysis of 10 key indices for national development between Ghana and 7 other countries, namely, United Kingdom (UK), Japan, United States of America (US), Singapore, Malaysia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

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The selection was based on largest economies, year of independence, literacy rate and seemingly promising economies.

Indices compared for the purpose of projecting the future of Ghana in the next 100 years in this article are: land mass, populations, birth rate, population growth rate, GDP, per capita, GDP growth rate, import rate (percentage of country’ asset that are imported); and export rate (percentage contribution to GDP from exported products – the value of a country’s wealth obtained from exportation).

Others include public debt per GDP (how much has the government borrowed compared to the total assets or value of the country); education (percentage of individuals who are 15 years or older, who can read and write simple statements); and life expectancy (the average number of years a citizen of a country is expected to live).

The graphs simplify each of the compared variables for easy understanding. For effective comparison and projection, the data used in this discussion were the values as at 2018 obtained from the various sources listed in the appendix.

Also read Impact of COVID-19 on Ghana’s Agriculture: Viewpoint of a Young Farmer

Results and Discussion

Demography
The land mass of a country remains barely the same for several years and will only expand either by reclamation of the sea, or reduced by submerging under the sea. In some circumstances, border dispute may result in changing of land mass, however, the case of Ghana has remained unchanged at least since independence.

Meanwhile, some countries like the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Korea have reclaimed land from the sea increasing their land size considerably. While the size of every country in terms of land remains considerably constant, the population keeps changing at the discretion of the citizens based on national policies and focus.

The number of births per 1000 people in Ghana is very high comparing with that of the developed nations but relatively at par with the other low income countries, suggesting high birth rate has some relationship with low income.

As mentioned early on, the per capita of a country is dependent on GDP and population, and therefore low GDP with high population produces low per capita. Birth rate is also the major contributor of population growth rate, which means the higher the number of births, the higher the increase in population.

However, there are other minor factors such as migration and life expectancy. In the case of Ghana, the number of births outweigh deaths and migration and hence increase the population by 2.2 rate annually. A situation which could be detrimental to our economy.

See the figure or picture below:

Watch out for Part II of this article soon

You can contact the author via kingabankwah@gmail.com

Read the continuation here The fate of Ghana in 100 years from now …: essentials of shaping the thoughts of our body politic – Nana Abankwah Buadu [Part II]

Policy makers in Africa misunderstand and are ignorant about the caliber of the citizenry – Prof. Gyampo

In a Facebook post the political science professor, Prof. Ransford Yaw Gyampo, indicated that there is a fundamental misunderstanding and ignorance on the part of policy makers about the caliber of citizenry that populate developing countries. Ghana is no exception.

He continued …

In the Course, Strategies for Development in Africa, POLI 356, we first interrogate the theoretical explanations of under-development.

The Dependency Theory, Modernization Theory, Geographical Location Theory, WW Rostov’s Historical Theory, Institutionalist Theory, and the Knowledge Theory, are among a host of theoretical explanations of under-development we examine, to see whether they make sense, and adequately capture why we are where we are, in terms of development in Africa, and Ghana, for that matter.

One of the explanations that seem to partly make sense in Ghana’s current COVID state of affairs, is the Knowledge Theory, articulated by Acemoglu and Robinson (2012), in their path-breaking work titled “Why Nations Fail”.

The fundamental assumption of the theory is simple. We are where we are because our leaders and policy makers are either ignorant or lack a firm grasp and sophisticated awareness of the issues that affect us, and the very proactive solutions to dealing with them.

We are seriously battling to have citizen comportment, as a means to help win the fight against COVID-19. But we have failed. Many citizens aren’t complying with the announced safety protocols. The few who are complying, do not also seem to know what they are doing.

Yesterday, at a mall in Accra on the Spintex Road, there was this attendant who frequently touched the face of his face mask, and used the same fingers to type on his computer. He didn’t disinfect his fingers and his computer afterwards.

Later, I found him rubbing his fingers around his eyes. Assuming the face of the mask was infected through droplets from customers, you can imagine how he could infect himself and other gadgets, by his frequent touching of the face of his face mask.

There are those who wear the mask, only to pull it to their chin, and spit saliva droplets on people, when they want to talk. There are those who still think COVID-19 is a myth, while others believe the disease is only meant for the affluent in society and top government functionaries.

Last week, I was buying fish among the fishmongers around the Kormantse-Abandze stretch of the road from my hometown Saltpond, to Cape Coast. When I asked the fishmongers to wear face masks, they told me COVID-19 wasn’t meant for them. To them, it is a disease for those of us from Accra.

Because of the challenges in getting the citizens to comply with the safety protocols, we have suddenly labeled Ghanaians as recalcitrant. The refrain, for sometime now, is “Ghana fo aso y3 den”.

Recently, the Electoral Commission told all of us that they could not be blamed for the infractions on the safety protocols, and that Ghanaians are old enough to comply with the protocols to keep themselves safe as they queue to register.

The government also feels it has done all that must be done. Ghanaians must therefore, simply comply with the protocols and take their destinies in their hands.

But we aren’t complying with the safety protocols and our COVID infection rate seem to have been thrown out of gear. How can any policy maker who reasonably understand the caliber of people that populate a developing country expect compliance with rules, simply because they have been announced?

Any policy maker with such an expectation, rather displays ignorance about the caliber of citizenry in developing countries. Ideally, politicians should have a demonstrable knowledge of the citizenry before they can be declared as fit to govern.

We cannot blame Ghanaians for their lack of compliance with the safety protocols. We must blame policy makers, for their fundamental ignorance about the caliber of citizenry they signed our social contract to govern.

In other words, our policy makers are failing in the fight against COVID-19 because they don’t fully know the people they are governing.

Michael P. Todaro and other astute scholars of African Development, have outlined many features of developing countries, including Ghana. If you see these features in a country, it means, that country is under-developed or developing.

The features are many, but one key among them, is IGNORANT POPULATION. By this, Todaro for instance argue that, in a developing country, majority or a good number of the citizens are very ignorant. Some may be educated and yet ignorant. Some may also be uneducated and very ignorant.

The majority of people in such a population, in the works of many scholars of African Development, cannot just understand and simply comply with directives and protocols.

Any policy maker who is ignorant of this, will fail his people and his policies targeted at the people will also not thrive.

So, we will keep soaring our COVID figures unless policy makers begin to fully appreciate the caliber of citizenry they preside on, and fashion out strategies to make them reasonably supportive of the policies aimed at fighting COVID.

There can be only two interventions to save the situation, in the view of scholars of African Development.

First, there should be massive, sustained, public education and sensitization drive, aimed at internalizing the ideals of COVID protocols and policy prescriptions among a cross section of the citizenry.

The lackadaisical “two by four” urban public education we do for a few days, and go to sleep, isn’t what is being recommended.

A drive that proactively tackles rural ignorance, akin to what we did to get Ghanaians to participate in the 1991 Referendum, that accepted the 1992 Constitution, is what is being recommended.

Those who are old enough will remember the days of “REFERENDUM” & Y3RE FR3 DOM”.

Secondly, announcing protocols without rigid enforcement, achieves nothing, in dealing with the caliber of people in a developing country.

During the UK lockdown, I called a student of mine, asking about how he was faring and how he was complying with their lockdown directive. He told me there were no police officers enforcing the directives. Yet there was total compliance.

What our policy makers must know is that, even though we are all human beings, the citizenry in a developing country will require rigid enforcement of rules and protocols, till compliance becomes internalized.

Compliance becomes internalized when obedience to rules, become part and parcel of the lives of the people, such that they won’t need another person to enforce the rules.

So, policy makers must not blame their ignorance and failure to understand the caliber of people they opted to govern on the citizenry.

There should be more work on the fundamental challenge of the citizenry, using the recommendations above as a guide.

Once we tackle ignorance among a huge chunk of the population, we will make giant strides in eliciting popular support and compliance with our rules and COVID protocols.

But, is the African politician of today, interested in an enlightened citizenry? Don’t they prefer majority of us wallow in ignorance?

Let the policy maker in Ghana, lead the way in dealing with ignorance among the citizenry, as a way of tackling COVID-19, and generally, shaping the fight against under-development.

Factors Ministry of Food and Agriculture must consider for sustainable Agricultural policies

Following our publication on July 9, 2020, we promised to bring to our cherished readers a part two of that article. In that piece, a fellow at CEBSAR-Africa and ILAPI-Ghana, Mr Haruna Gado Yakubu, expressed his opinion on Agricultural Policies Vs Political Rhetoric: A vicious cycle in Ghanaian Political Environment. Check that out if you have not read already. Today, we bring a follow up of that publication in this article.

Over the years, Ghana as a country has put together so many agricultural policies but as to whether those policies are workable we will soon find out.

According to Mr Yakubu, an efficient conceptualization, formulation and implementation, of any agricultural policy, must consider the following questions: What are the policy objectives? Do current policies meet objectives? What are the characteristics of a new policy set? How to implement new policies? How to monitor and evaluate?

When quality answers are given to the above questions, the positive impact of the policy under consideration is expected to be felt, he added.

A policy cycle mostly will start from an identification and mapping of policy issues or problems. This process usually involves mechanisms, largely, broad in nature: including the voice of concerned citizens and consumers, lobbying activities by interest groups or stakeholders, political pressures (from the Executive arm) and critical suggestions or inputs from the academia, and other experts. Ideally, this process results to a definition of broad policy objectives.

What do we want to achieve? Herein, a political rhetoric or an impactful policy outcome? — This question he asked is a follow up to our previous publication: Agricultural policies vs political rhetoric; a vicious cycle in the Ghanaian political environment.

He added that it is desirable that policy aims and targets are formulated in defined operational terms, so as to have an efficient basis for assessment and to facilitate accountability. Mr Yakubu, therefore, outlines six factors that sustainable agricultural policy formulation and implementation for Ghana must consider.

Gender Disaggregate Data
Unfortunately, the agriculture sector is mostly misunderstood to be for only the masculine, however, many activities in the agriculture chain include women. Manual planting, harvesting and processing are mostly done by women, especially in the rural areas of Ghana.

It is therefore important to factor in the gender disaggregate data, when formulating agriculture policies in Ghana. This is because agricultural activities are still peasant in nature, though unfortunate, mechanization of the sector is still in the infant stage. The sex, number, and age bracket of labour in the sector must be delineated, to give a clear policy target.

Agro Ecological Distribution
Fortunately, this factor has been considered in many of our policy implementation guidelines. In the current implementation of the planting for foods and jobs (PFFJ) several crops and animals have been earmarked for the different agro ecological zones in the country.

However, when so many target crops are considered at a time for only 4 years ‘political policy cycle’, the intent verse the actual, become vague: monitoring the actual production gains for several crops and different production locations and the economic impact becomes a problem for a sector where monitoring and evaluation, and extension services are limited. It is his candid opinion that, going forward, fewer crops should be considered.

For instance, the staple foods: cereals (maize, guinea corn and rice) be considered for the Northern (Savannah), Transitional and Zones with wetlands or lowlands, for maize, guinea corn and rice respectively. The major tuber crop: yam, and root tuber: cassava, should also be considered in the Northern (Savannah) and Transitional zones, with Cashew as the only cash crop, to be considered in these zones.

And, of course, cocoa, oil palm, and coconut being the main crops to be considered at the Coastal, Deciduous and Forest areas. He added, the emphasis of fewer crops, herein (9) will enable easy allocation of limited resources, throughout the country, and also enabling easy monitoring and evaluation.

Possible Aggregation of Peasant Farmers to Farm Cooperatives
It is his view that smaller farm units could be aggregated to form larger cooperatives with a specific crop and yield target. In that regard, MoFA, can easily offer support in finances, inputs, and consultancy services, which will yield positive outcome.

Farmer groups which perform best in a season, should have a percentage increase in funding, as a motivation, he indicated. The current wholesale service approach, where individual farmers receive incentives to work on small sized farms will not yield significant impact, in his candid opinion. Large scale farmers can be left on the current support scheme.

In the animal sector, this will enable efficient distribution of limited resources by applying the Livestock Unit (LSU): a reference unit which facilitates the aggregation of livestock from various species and age as per convention, via the use of specific coefficients established initially on the basis of the nutritional or feed requirement of each type of animal.

Efficient consultancy services other than the farm visits by extension officers must be exploited in every agricultural policy
Farm visit by extension officers is key in the production chain, however, technical advice in the form of export trade by individual large scale farmers becomes a challenge.

Many farmers do not know about latest phytosanitary regulations put in place by our trading partners, EU, US and China. The main reason why we get most of our vegetables rejected at export.

It is therefore important to factor in such consultancy services in policy implementation. To a certain extent, the Ministry of Trade, is helpful in this aspect. What is the benefit of a ‘bumper harvest’ when the quality food harvested cannot meet export requirements? – he quizzes.

Farm income objectives and welfare
This is obviously and directly related to farmers. The level and variability of farm income has long been a central concern of agricultural policies.

The traditional policy instrument must set targets for income to be generated from each farmer or farm groups, using previous or current prices at the market for computation, depending on the inputs offered by the ministry.

When farm income is well accounted for, the economic impact on their activities can be well established.

Objectives related to consumers
Generally concern the volume and quality of the products produced by the agricultural sector, which is served to the consumer. Every agricultural policy targeted at significant produce sales, must factor in the consumer objective.

The value addition and quality control measures, starting from the farm to the market must be considered, else, the produce will not attract significant demand in the competitive market. The integrity of the produce must meet the preference of consumers.

When these factors are carefully considered, the timeline for the policy should be clearly defined as well to measure targets.

It is his sincere hope that, Government of Ghana [through MoFA] will focus on agricultural policies that are based on market interventions, addressing specific economic issue using agriculture as the driving force, at the same time, considering social and environmental objectives, to ensure policy sustainability.

When the above stated, are carefully considered in agricultural policy formulation in his view, the vision of MoFA, can be achieved: “A modernized agriculture culminating in a structurally transformed economy and evident in food security, employment opportunities and reduced poverty.”

Agricultural Policies Vs Political Rhetoric: A vicious cycle in Ghanaian Political Environment

A former University of Cape Coast student who is currently a PhD student in Hungary, has expressed his opinion on the above subject matter. In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Haruna Gado Yakubu, writes on the vicious cycle Ghana’s political environment has witnessed when it comes agricultural policies and the usual political Rhetoric in Ghana. His write-up was supported by figures and it goes like this:

“Governments all over the world implement agricultural policies with the ultimate goal of achieving a specific outcomes: guaranteed supply level, price stability, product quality, product selection, land use or employment.

Understandably, many experts argue that economies have an objective in assuring that there is sufficient domestic production wherewithal to meet domestic needs in the unlikely event of a global supply disruption. Large dependence on foreign food suppliers makes a country disabled, in the event of war, blockade or embargo.

Therefore, maintaining adequate domestic production allows for food self-sufficiency that reduces the risk of supply shocks due to unfavorable geopolitical events. Ultimately, agricultural policies are intended to support domestic producers as they gain domestic and international market share.


The Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (MoFA’s) stated vision is a “modernized agriculture culminating in a structurally transformed economy and evident in food security, employment opportunities and reduced poverty”.  In conformity with this vision, all strategic policies and plans includes, infrastructure development, and agricultural research and extension, as focus areas of policy intervention to achieve greater agricultural output for livelihood improvements. So doing, the policies takes into consideration, market-driven logic and foresees greater engagement of the private sector.


Some of the brilliant agricultural policies implemented by Government of Ghana under the Ministry of Agriculture since 2007, include:

• Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II, 2007),
• The National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS, 2008),
• The Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP 2010-2015) is the implementation plan of FASDEP II, and
• The Planting for Foods and Jobs (2017-date) (Source: MOFA).

Programmes under these policies implemented by MoFA at national level include the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme, the Block Farming Programme, Agricultural Mechanization Centers and the Irrigation Development Programme.

It is estimated that these programmes together comprise about 85 percent of the ministry’s capital budget (World Bank, 2015).


Brilliant as these policies are, and considering the jamboree in their launching, do they have any significant contribution to our economic growth as the cliché goes “Agriculture is the backbone of our economy?”
To answer this cliché, let’s look at the available data at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), regarding the agriculture performance of the economy. 
From the tables below: 1, 2, 3 and 4;
1. The growth rates of Gross Domestic Product at Constant 2013 Prices (percent) for the year ending 2018 were generally poor compared with the previous 2017, the drop for the Agriculture sector was 1.3%, (Table 1) with the fishing sub-sector witnessing a very poor growth since 2014, compared with other sectors like crop, forestry and livestock. 
a. To improve the agric sector growth rate, more detailed action plan is needed to improve the fishing sub-sector. 

Table 1
Table 2
Table 3
Table 4

2.  Sadly, the distribution of non-oil GDP-Agriculture sector (2013-2018) had the least distribution compared with industry and services. More needs to be done in the distribution as well. 

It is important to note that the 2019 provisional data saw an additional drop in the GDP growth rate at 0.2% (from 2018 4.8% to a 4.6% in 2019) according to recent data released by GSS.

It is very clear that the significant policies previous and current Government kept in place are not yielding significant results compared with the political jamboree we usually witness during the policy launching.

Clearly, the reality on the grounds currently doesn’t favour the Agriculture sector as the backbone of our economy. 

In my next write up, I will proffer a policy orientation approach for the Ministry, going forward.”

myaimreport.com will monitor to bring you the next part of Mr Yakubu’s write up.   

Screenshot of the Facebook post