Chief Economist, Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) and Advisor to the Minister of Finance, Dr Yaw Ansu, said agriculture mechanization and value addition to agriculture products was critical for the transformation of Ghana’s economy.
He also advocates for local production of agricultural tools and equipment as part of efforts to increase productivity.
Dr Ansu said this in his presentation at the 11th national development forum in Accra, which was organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) on the theme “Ghana’s Development Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience against Hazards”.
He noted that difference between developed and developing countries was technology; stating that as a nation, almost every little piece of engineering equipment which was needed in agriculture sector in Ghana, had to be imported.
He intimated that for Ghana to be able to modernize its agriculture, it had to begin to manufacture the tools and equipment locally.
“If we are talking about adding value to agriculture, every piece of equipment that is needed for our food processing has to be imported; why don’t we do that, ourselves? Dr Ansu questioned.
“Going forward some of these agriculture equipment that we use will have to be manufactured locally to help domestic production.”
He said the production of local agricultural equipment and tools could be achieved through a public private partnership (PPP).
Dr Ansu said in order to accelerate economic growth; there was also the need for digitisation as a technology sector in business – in terms of using technology to leverage certain aspect of the economic to increase productivity and to improve delivery of public good and service.
“We intend to leverage our position as the headquarters of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), to really position Ghana as a hub in at least three areas: as a financial hub, the first point of call for global companies trying to do business in Africa and as a logistic hub.”
He said the Government had launched a number of flagship projects to move the economy forward; such as the One District, One Factory (1D1F), the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Free Senior High School (Free SHS).
He said as part of measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, the Government had come out with programmes such as the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He said finance plays a pivotal role in executing Government’s programmes; adding that a development bank was in the offing, which they hope to launch before the end of the year.
He said the Ghana at hundred agenda was not only about money to achieve it but how Ghanaians deploy their resources efficiently.
Ansu recommended that there should be continuity in direction and focus to achieve the Ghana at hundred objectives.
He reminded Ghanaians that attitudinal change was essential for the attainment of Ghana at hundred.
The Director General, NDPC, Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, lauded the efforts of the people of Ghana, championed by the Government in combating the COVID-19 pandemic
“We think that it is also a time to review our development path and be able to come out with all sort of innovations to bring about the next level of development,” he said.
“Development theories will tell you that anytime there are some of these hazards, it presents with it opportunities to move to the next level of development, and we have seen this with our history.”
The Chairman of the NDPC, Professor Stephen Adei, said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed weaknesses in national development systems across the globe.
He said the single most important factor was human lives; stating that farmers play critical roles in feeding the nation.