Let’s target 20% GDP growth, Pastor Otabil speaks at Festival of Ideas

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Pastor Mensa Otabil
Pastor Mensa Otabil

For Africa to make any meaningful progress and create more jobs for the youth, the continent must be targeting a minimum of 20 per cent GDP growth annually, the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Pastor Mensa Otabil, has said.

Giving the keynote address at the 12th edition of the Festival of Ideas conference, he said for things to be different in Africa, there must be audacity.

“Audacity is an uncomfortable thought because it is like walking on water and hoping you do not drown. We have to dare to achieve something extraordinary,” he stated.
Pastor Otabil also pointed out that it was critical not to jeopardise growth prospects for today’s material gain.

He said decisions that had the appearance of strengthening an institution in the short term may be detrimental in the long term.

“We must transition from managing other people’s stories to creating our own African success stories,” he noted.

“The future of Africa lies in creating an atmosphere that empowers people to break the mould,” he added.

He said the mindset remained the continents major development challenge.

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Narrowing in on Ghana, he said it should not be too much of a task for the country with a population of 29 million prople to create one idea that grows at 50 per cent per annum.

Creating the African story

Pastor Otabil also wondered how every example of great developments such as the Amazons and Apples did not come from Africa, adding that it was time for the continent to also own some of these great development stories.

“The interesting thing about all of them is that they are recent and we can point to a person or a group of people who made the difference. So when are we going to have our own Apple?” he asked.

“When are we going to have a lecture like this and it will not be Apple or Amazon but something different that was created in Africa,” he added.

He said Africa must transition from managing people’s stories to creating our own stories.

Africa's potential

Also speaking at the conference, the Managing Director of Tullow Ghana , Kweku Awotwi, said consumer spending in Africa was expected to triple to $4 trillion by 2035, adding that it presented numerous business opportunities.

He said the continent’s labour force was also projected to grow to 1 billion, which would be the largest in the world by 2035.

Mr Awotwi told business leaders to “understand what is happening in your industry, but go beyond it. Solve tomorrow’s challenges, not just today’s problems. Understand your strategic approach to change.”

Strategic planning

Mr Awotwi described strategic planning as a comprehensive process for determining what a business should become and how it can best achieve that goal.

Touching on what it takes to maintain a competitive advantage in business, he highlighted four points which included “understanding what was happening in your industry but go beyond it,” and determining your strategic approach to change.

He said others included “solving tomorrow’s challenges, not just today’s problems and making digital strategy integral to your strategy.”

Technology as an enabler

For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Ms Yolanda Cuba, said it did not matter whether technology was an enabler or disruptor.

She said technology was a tool available to everyone and, therefore, urged people to make good use of it.

“It’s a tool available to you. It takes no prisoners and all people are subject to it so you have to make use of it,” she stated.