Some nations prosper while others struggle.
For years, the differentiating factor in this dichotomy has been identified to be innovation, which is seen as the key to unlocking the potential and the competitive advantage of countries.
It is thus not for nothing that the first 10 countries that were ranked and captured in the Global Competitive Report in 2017-2018 were all from the developed world.
Switzerland took the first position in the ranking through its capacity for innovation and the quality of its scientific research institutions.
And, like Switzerland, the United States, Israel, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Japan and Singapore that followed in that order all ranked high in innovation.
Ghana, like most developing countries, may not be able to match the developed economies in the sheer pace of technological change seen in recent years.
But there are other areas where we can take advantage, as we may have a competitive edge over other nations.
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It is instructive to note that whereas innovation was once largely confined to corporate or university laboratories, it is now being driven from many different sources.
The United Kingdom is the world’s leading net exporter of financial services, which generated an industry trade surplus of £68bn in 2017.
Indeed, there are reports that when related professional services, such as legal, accounting and business advice, are added, the UK’s combined financial and related professional services trade surplus was around £83bn ($107bn).
Ghana can similarly look within its borders and identify areas where it can also train professionals and export them for the needed foreign exchange to shore up its development.
It is not in doubt the fine professionals that the country can boast. Our country has some of the finest teachers and university professors.
It has some of the most efficiently trained policemen and soldiers and its medical personnel, especially nurses, are ‘hot cakes’, even in developed economies, which are noted for putting professionals trained outside their jurisdictions, especially those from developing countries, under very sharp microscope.
Talk of Ghana making efforts to train and export its professionals, especially nurses, has been on the social agenda for some years now.
Discussions on the idea gained momentum in the last couple of years when the posting of qualified nurses became a challenge because of lack of money to pay them when they are engaged.
It is good news, then, that finally Ghana is holding discussions with other countries to export nurses to those countries, as announced by the Minister of Health when he met with health professionals in Hohoe in the Volta Region yesterday.
The Daily Graphic is happy to learn from the minister that the country is training more nurses and midwives to be able to make the export possible.
We see the initiative to be good, as it will help solve the unemployment challenge in the country.
Conservative figures put foreign remittances to Ghana at around eight per cent of GDP and we think this will be an opportunity to shore up the country’s foreign reserves.
We admonish, however, that everything must be done to keep to producing quality, so that more countries will request for such professionals for the benefit of the country.
We also caution that we should not just be anxious to export these professionals and overlook good negotiations that will avoid the nurses being short-changed at their destinations.
Ghana can look at other groups of professionals too and see which of them we can train more for export. It can be our way of innovating to develop