Supporting our own
At the yearly new year school programme organised by the University of Ghana this year, one speaker at the week-long event, Mr Daniel Mackorley, also known as McDan, made a very profound statement.
To paraphrase him, he said, Ghanaian businesses no longer hold the commanding heights of any major business in the country. In effect, Ghanaian business eat the crumbs left on the table by the foreign companies.
Hear him: "Ghanaian businessmen don't control any sector of this country, rather, we contribute". "All sectors in Ghana are controlled by foreigners. Banking is controlled by Nigerians and South Africans, retail is controlled by Lebanese and Indians, manufacturing is controlled by Indians and Lebanese, telecoms sector is controlled by British and South Africans, oil and gas, mining, trading, you name it, they are controlled by foreigners".
This, unfortunately, is the sad truth.
We do have a recent history, where Ghanaian businesses were the “saboteurs” of the economy and therefore became the target of government machinations to bring them under control for fear of them being too powerful.
Thankfully, we live in a different dispensation now. Our peers some 6 decades ago have found solutions to their economic challenges which has created opportunities for all who wish to be engaged in work and the pursuit of personal happiness.
In a world full of ideologies, even the liberals or the proponents of the capitalism ideology have fashioned out a sublime state protectionism of their companies amid growing competition from the Far East.
For instance, former President Trump’s “fight” with China was to protect American businesses and he was unapologetic about it. President Biden is following same, even though America is a signatory to the World Trade Organisation and huge player at that.
China has a vision to become the world’s biggest economy (if they are not already), by supporting and pushing Chinese firms beyond their borders.
Indeed, examples from Korea and major developed and developing economies show that one surest way of making it to the big leagues of a developed economy is deliberate state intervention or support for local businesses to become global brands.
Graphic Business believes that in spite of the shortcomings of indigenous Ghanaian businesses, our governments can adopt same strategies through a deliberate but fair policy that can identify Ghanaian entrepreneurs who have shown consistency in creating jobs for our people to also become global champions.
Through this process, we can now begin to grow the Ghanaian indigenous companies that will help save the economy from the capital flight we see once these foreign-dominated companies decide to repatriate their profits ashore.
Through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, we have an opportunity to expand and diversify this economy and help build a resilient economy.
Nothing stops this country from protecting its own from foreign domination of every sector of the economy. Indeed the WTO’s rules are clear on this.
Let’s be guided that there is no evidence anywhere in the world that shows that FDIs have solely developed any country. However, evidence abound that it is a combination of Local Direct Investors (LDI) and FDIs that have helped propel countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China and many others to now become the new economic blocks we seek to emulate.
Graphic Business believes that the current economic challenges present us with an opportunity to change how we have managed the economy over the years and to reassess how we provide indigenous companies with the incentives to propel them to the pinnacle of businesses in the country instead of feeding off the crumbs on the table of the foreign firms in the country.