The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic yet again brings to the fore questions of the African ingenuity. It has exposed the underbelly of many of our industrial weaknesses. In Ghana, the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has received global commendations for his forward-looking programmes geared towards transforming the structure of our economy. One-District One Factory, Planting for food and jobs, stimulation packages for local industries, tax waivers etc are designed towards changing the face of our economy and to realize the Ghana Beyond Aid vision.
In Ghana, my country, the disease’s virulence has overwhelmed demand of hand sanitizers and supporting facilities. Even though a lot is being done by the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to encourage local production but this critical period is a wake-up call for us to do even more to support our indigenous industries.
We witnessed the immediacy and the verve with which local pharmaceutical companies produced sanitizers after they were given adequate support. It goes to illustrate the fact that with the appropriate support, the progress of our local industries will take off.
On the account of health, we have profound numbers of biochemists, pharmacists, doctors and laboratory scientists in this country yet the challenges we face are grand in size. What can these professionals do? We can’t domicile in a country where our health experts cannot produce anything beyond painkillers. What can we do to prop them up to live up to expectations? Can we assemble these professionals in times like this and charge them coupled with the needed support to produce the necessary drugs and supplements to support our health system? We have them more than enough. Let’s put them to use.
On the score of manufacturing, we have excess numbers of engineers and manufacturers whose knowledge is decaying away. Sometimes you question where Africa has placed our innovative and ingenuity prowess. We ought to summon all these geniuses and empower them to attain their full potentials. Our engineers cannot occupy our offices while Chinese are those building our roads. That certainly can’t be right on our continent.
Yes, we can! We can produce our needs here in Ghana. I believe we have the capacity to produce whatever we need in this country if we assemble and empower our own geniuses.
For instance, in the sphere of agriculture, there’s a crucial need for a more deliberate and direct intervention to exponentially grow the African food basket. We have more than enough capacity to feed ourselves. The lockdown of borders across many African countries has emptied stalls of shopping malls and exposed our inadequacy as a continent. There are arable lands, human resource and enormous energy sources which constitute major ingredients in producing enough to feed the African population. Feeding for the underprivileged would have been the least of our worries if calls for a lockdown are gaining extreme momentum.
It’s obvious that our economy is rather susceptible to the economies of other nations and sadly enough the health of our indigenous economy is dictated by what happens outside us. I understand very well that we are habitants of a global economy but it’s unacceptable that every cog of the economic machinery is remote-controlled by economic rules elsewhere
These happenings will have to shake and awaken decision-makers to encourage indigenous players not just in industry but agriculture, commerce, health, business and all major sectors of the economy.
The time has come when we should take stock of the state of our support systems in many African countries. How the outbreak unravelled blots on the effectiveness of our self-reliance is a wake-up call for all of us. Now there is no time to let down our guard. We must energize our indigenous entrepreneurs to spur on.
Let me conclude by exhorting all and sundry to strictly adhere to the basic precautionary measures including the avoidance of handshake, avoiding crowded places, regular washing of hands thoroughly, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and more importantly spending more times home. A concerted and collective energy coupled with the assiduously and pragmatic measures our government and the World health organization are approaching the evil global menace, this virus certainly would be defeated. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!