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Adding value means more factories, jobs - Dr Ankrah says ahead of Graphic Business-Stanbic Breakfast Meeting

BY: Charles Benoni Okine
Dr Sam Ankrah, President, African Investment Group
Dr Sam Ankrah, President, African Investment Group

Ahead of the Graphic Business-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on unemployment, an economist, Dr Sam Ankrah has called on the government to take pragmatic steps to ensure that the country adds value to all of its raw materials before exporting them.

He said with such a deliberate policy, more companies would be set to create job avenues for the mass of the people and reduce the present unemployment figures to the barest minimum.

“We must add value to all raw materials instead of exporting them.

When we do that, we will see more industries and these industries will create several jobs for our people.

“We have been saying this for far too long but nothing concrete has been done to actualise it. The time is now in view of the global uncertainties which is worsening the unemployment situation for our country and others,” Dr Ankrah, who is also the President of the African Investment Group, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

Breakfast Meeting

The second quarter breakfast meeting which is on the theme; “Tackling Unemployment to Create Wealth – Opportunities for Ghana” comes off on Tuesday, June 14, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.

The panel members for the event are Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie, Economics Lecturer, University of Ghana, who will speak on Sources and Causes of Unemployment while Florence Hope- Wudu, Managing Consultant, Purple Almond Consulting Services, will share perspectives on Existing and New Opportunities. Nana Osei Bonsu, President of the Private Enterprises Federation will speak on the topic, Avenues for Jobs and Wealth Creation.

Sponsored by Stanbic Bank Ghana, the breakfast series which has grown to become one of the country’s most sought-after thought-leadership events is meant to discuss issues of national importance to help policymakers to make informed decisions on the teething issues bedevilling the country.

Other partners for the event are GraphicOnline, GraphicNewsPlus App, Joy News, Joy FM and TV3.

Unemployment scenario

The unemployment rate in Ghana has almost tripled in little more than a decade, according to the country’s latest census.

More than 1.55 million people, or 13.4 per cent of the country’s economically active population, are out of work according to the 2021 Population and Housing Census as reported by the Ghana Statistical Service on its website.

The unemployment rate in Ghana, according to a Bloomberg report, has almost tripled in little more than a decade, according to the country’s latest census.

If the minimum age of 15 years is applied, the proportion of people without work is 7.8 per cent, the statistical service said. The proportion of economically active males 15 years and older was 63.5 per cent, compared with 53 per cent for females, according to the report.

Ghana’s population increased to 30.8 million in 2021 from 24.7 million in 2010, according to the census.

Giving details about the country’s exportable commodities, Dr Ankrah mentioned the leading export earning commodity, cocoa, much of which is exported in its raw state, gold, oil, timber, fish, and cassava among many others and noted that, leveraging the One district, One factory initiative, the country could establish more factories to process the raw materials before export.

“Can you imagine the number of employment these raw materials are going to create if there is a forced policy by the government on value addition before exports? he questioned and added that “all is not lost”.

Dr Ankrah said Indonesia, which stopped exporting raw iron ore to export manufactured steel, managed to move from a return of $1.9 billion to $8 billion in just a year after the policy was introduced, creating over 70 per cent more employment.

That, he said, could be done if the country set its agenda right and focused.

Concerning the breakfast meeting, he expressed the hope that the panellists would help to proffer other solutions all of which the government had to take seriously to create jobs for the youth, in particular.