Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Mills and Akuffo Addo start talking economic strategy

Under growing pressure from both the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and rivals within the ruling National Democratic Congress, President John Atta Mills set out his views on Africa's economic strategy on 15th March.

Last week, the NPP presidential candidate, Nana Addo Akufo Addo announced a policy programme that he claims would transform Ghana's economy within 10 years. He said it would focus of the “comprehensive industrialisation ” of the productive capacity across Ghana's ten regions.

Mills told a delegation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) that better co-operation between African states will fast-track the diversification of their economies and cut poverty and create wealth. The delegation was led by UNIDO director-general, Dr Kandeh Yomkella.

The government would intensify its support for agriculture as well as trade and industry, and wanted to avoid undue dependence on the oil industry.

The UNIDO delegation was in Accra for a two-day conference on diversifying Africa's economies. "Africa must position itself to be the next frontier of growth, " said Yomkella, who is in his second term as director general of UNIDO.

The executive director of the IMANI Ghana think-tank, Franklin Cudjoe, downplayed the significance differences between Mills and Akufo Addo over plans for economic growth.

He argued that Ghana needs effective leadership more than visionary leaders to develop the nation. “We don't need any vision; we already know the problems. We should call on the leadership currently to work at it.”

Commenting on Akufo-Addo's 10 year plan, Cudjoe said he should come out with measurable targets to achieve its goals. He added that Akufo-Addo had not clearly define how he intends to transform the country.

Ghana would benefit from a proper decentralization of power and resources, Cudjoe argued, “because development comes from below and not above”. If government plugs all the holes in the tax system and corrected anomalies in the state pay roll system, the economy would be transformed, said Cudjoe.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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