I.K Adusei Writes: Why Africa's Economy Needs Change

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

   Written by I.K Adusei

  

It is a shocking fact that, 30 of the world’s 48 least developed countries are in Africa. Worse still, though more than 200 million Africans are between the ages of 15-24 years, Sub-Saharan Africa has about 60% of the unemployed being youth, and an average of 72% of the youth living on less than US$ 2 a day.

 

The  monster of unemployment among young Africans especially those in the rural areas, has led a huge number of them migrate to look for better opportunities in urban areas, but too often find themselves stuck in slums with little or no means of survival. Many of them end up being paid as thugs by political parties or joining militias – not because of an ideological compatibility but because they need to eat. Criminal enterprises also recruit from this pool of the unemployed hopeless youth. This unemployed and desperate youth pose untold danger to the African society.

 

There are veritable armies of unemployed youth eager to make a living doing whatever they deem fit for the sake of survival. Some leave for greener pastures oversees while a countless number of them either engage in illegal immigration to Europe and the Americas or add up to the pile of unemployed youth who usually live on less than US$ 2 a day.

Most African leaders parade themselves as the breadwinners and the sole providers for their people.  They therefore stifle private sector growth while they remain excessively incapacitated in providing sustainable jobs for their people. They have no viable policies to support group and individual initiatives. There are no genuine efforts to harness and develop talents, intellects, scientist, inventors and innovators. These talents, initiatives and projects go fallow, unattended to and unsupported. This invariably has been the major bane of  industrialization and job creation on the African continent.

 

As our leaders were dogmatically taught in the classrooms of their colonial masters, their focus have perpetually been on the production and exportation of raw materials to gain revenue to feed the large masses of the people. To keep doing the old things and expecting different results has been tagged as the definition of madness.

 

Enough is enough Africa! History makes us know and understand that no single country has ever become rich by being a chief exporter of foodstuffs and raw materials without further development of its industrial sector and presently, advanced service sector.

 

It is a disturbing fact that, the more a country specializes in the production of raw materials, the poorer it becomes. This is a medicine which African leaders find so difficult to push down their throats. In the 19th century, the saying in America was: “Don’t do as the English tell you to do, do as the English did.” In this 21st century a good advice to African leaders and that of other developing countries is that: “Don’t do as the Americans and British tell you to do, do as the Americans and the British did.”

 

It is about time African leaders learn from history. The Roman politician and philosopher, Cicero ones said, “Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infantry of knowledge.”

History teaches us that all the nations that went from poverty to wealth used the same toolbox which was first developed by the city-states of Florence and Venice in Italy, and the Dutch Republic in today’s Netherlands, borrowed and enhanced by Britain, and imitated by the United Sates and the late comers in Asia thus: Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and India.

 

Until African leaders see the need to adopt the  import substitution industrialization which the Venetians and Genoese adopted in the 13th century, the English in the 16th century, the Americans in the 19th century and so on, sustainable economic development, independence and progress will elude us like a mirage while unemployment tears our social and economic fabric apart like a canker, leading us into eternal dependency, vulnerability, poverty and misery.

 

Now the toolbox; what then is the toolbox?  Two most conspicuous writers have succeeded in assembling all the various parts of this toolbox in their writings. Erick S. Reinert, a Norwegian Economic Historian as well as Ha-Joon Chang, a South Korean Economist have elaborated this toolbox in their books: How Rich Countries Got Rich...and Why Poor Countries Stay poor as well as Bad Samaritans – The Guilt Secrets of Rich Nations & the Threat to Global Prosperity respectively.

 

These rich countries are driven on the wheels of industrialization, division of labor and private sector development. Invariably, the youth have been at the heart of this massive evolution in these rich and enviable countries.

It is evident that, the power of every successful nation is the youth power and thus, the strength of a nation’s youth determines the nation’s strength. Youth development therefore equals national development.

 

Singapore for instance (a third world country which has succeeded in evolving to first world between 1965 -2000) has over the years relied on the power of the youth for their economic fortunes. Today, the National Youth Council of Singapore continues to supports youth organizations strongly in terms of funding for projects, and has implemented various schemes to enhance youth organizations’ capacity. It has also developed a policy to facilitate the support of local youth organizations to benefit from foreign funds and grants, international partnerships as well as linking local youth organizations to foreign youth sectors and agencies. This is with the ultimate aim of nurturing a world-ready youth to provide quality human resource for national development at the long run.

 

 

Africa has come of age, and it is about time our leaders became dyed-in-the-wool students and artisans of world economic history. If Africa will see the radiant light of day, the youth must bear the light. Youth neglect in the development process has over the years been the major bane of Africa’s development. Africa's economy needs fundamental change NOW! 

 

 

            

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Do you know that the richest man to ever live was an African?

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, according to the 2019 Forbes billionaires' list released this week. With an estimated fortune of $131bn (£99bn) he is the wealthiest man in modern history. But he is by no means the richest man of all time.

That title belongs to Mansa Musa, the 14th Century Malian ruler who was so rich his generous handouts wrecked an entire country's economy.

In 2012, US website Celebrity Net Worth estimated his wealth at $400bn, but economic historians agree that his wealth is impossible to pin down to a number.

Mansa Musa was born in 1280 into a family of rulers. His brother, Mansa Abu-Bakr, ruled the empire until 1312, when he abdicated to go on an expedition.

According to 14th Century Syrian historian Shibab al-Umari, Abu-Bakr was obsessed with the Atlantic Ocean and what lay beyond it. He reportedly embarked on an expedition with a fleet of 2,000 ships and thousands of men, women and slaves. They sailed off, never to return.

Mansa Musa inherited the kingdom he left behind, and under his rule, the kingdom of Mali grew significantly. He annexed 24 cities, including Timbuktu.

The kingdom stretched for about 2,000 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to modern-day Niger, taking in parts of what are now Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

With such a large land mass came great resources such as gold and salt.

During the reign of Mansa Musa, the empire of Mali accounted for almost half of the Old World's gold, according to the British Museum. And all of it belonged to the king!

Though the empire of Mali was home to so much gold, the kingdom itself was not well known.

This changed when Mansa Musa, a devout Muslim, decided to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, passing through the Sahara Desert and Egypt.

The king reportedly left Mali with a caravan of 60,000 men.

He took his entire royal court and officials, soldiers, griots (entertainers), merchants, camel drivers and 12,000 slaves, as well as a long train of goats and sheep for food.

It was a city moving through the desert.

A city whose inhabitants, all the way down to the slaves, were clad in gold brocade and finest Persian silk. A hundred camels were in tow, each camel carrying hundreds of pounds of pure gold.

It was a sight to behold.

And the sight got even more opulent once the caravan reached Cairo, where they could really show off their wealth.

Mansa Musa left such a memorable impression on Cairo that al-Umari, who visited the city 12 years after the Malian king, recounted how highly the people of Cairo were speaking of him.

So lavishly did he hand out gold in Cairo that his three-month stay caused the price of gold to plummet in the region for 10 years, wrecking the economy.

US-based technology company SmartAsset dot com estimates that due to the depreciation of gold, Mansa Musa's pilgrimage led to about $1.5bn (£1.1bn) of economic losses across the Middle East.

On his way back home, Mansa Musa passed through Egypt again, and according to some, tried to help the country's economy by removing some of the gold from circulation by borrowing it back at extortionate interest rates from Egyptian lenders. Others say he spent so much that he ran out of gold.

Mansa Musa returned from Mecca with several Islamic scholars, including direct descendants of the prophet Muhammad and an Andalusian poet and architect by the name of Abu Es Haq es Saheli, who is widely credited with designing the famous Djinguereber mosque.

The king reportedly paid the poet 200 kg (440lb) in gold, which in today's money would be $8.2m (£6.3m).

In addition to encouraging the arts and architecture, he also funded literature and built schools, libraries and mosques. Timbuktu soon became a centre of education and people travelled from around the world to study at what would become the Sankore University.

The rich king is often credited with starting the tradition of education in West Africa, although the story of his empire largely remains little known outside West Africa.

Timbuktu became an African El Dorado and people came from near and far to have a glimpse.

Mansa Musa had put Mali and himself on the map, quite literally. In a Catalan Atlas map from 1375, a drawing of an African king sits on a golden throne atop Timbuktu, holding a piece of gold in his hand.

In the 19th Century, it still had a mythical status as a lost city of gold at the edge of the world, a beacon for both European fortune hunters and explorers, and this was largely down to the exploits of Mansa Musa 500 years earlier.

After Mansa Musa died in 1337, aged 57, the empire was inherited by his sons who could not hold the empire together. The smaller states broke off and the empire crumbled.

The later arrival of Europeans in the region was the final nail in the empire's coffin.

"The history of the medieval period is still largely seen only as a Western history," says Lisa Corrin Graziose, director of the Block Museum of Art, explaining why the story of Mansa Musa is not widely known.

"Had Europeans arrived in significant numbers in Musa's time, with Mali at the height of its military and economic power instead of a couple hundred years later, things almost certainly would have been different," says Mr Ware. Source: BBC

 

Related: 

 

Jay-Z on Why You Aren't Getting Paid Right

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

Credit: Getty Images

Mogul rapper Jay-Z is worth a half billion. In a classic Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club interview, he gives why most artists don't get paid their worth.

In my new book Bring Your Worth, I share the ways we undervalue what we bring to the world.  The problem is never other people, though. People can say what they want. It is up to us to decide to believe them.

The challenge is even harder when you are a creator.

 

Rapper turned business mogul Jay-Z articulated the issue in a classic Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club interviewI included the Instagram clip, but here's the juicy quote:

They are like, "You're an artist. You shouldn't have money!" [and you're like] "I'm an artist. I don't want any money. I want to be a pure artist!"

Why we get confused

 

The fundamental flaw in our thinking is we believe we have to suffer to truly bring our best. The entrepreneur who sacrifices their family life to build a unicorn? The businessperson burning bridges to succeed? The guy who almost died for his startup? They get the attention, and on goes the mythology.

We don't talk about the person who stayed balanced and made an impact in the world.

At least, until now.

We're realizing comfort does not equal laziness and contribution does not equal sacrifice. It directly links to money, too, as, for most of us, having a livable salary affects our ability to produce.

When a business partner (and, as I say in Bring Your Worth, all your contracts are partnerships) undervalues your service, then they are not respecting your ability to produce, as they are not giving you what you need to create. It's like neighborhood kids stealing from the local supermarket, then feeling angry when it closes up shop. You aren't holding up your end of the partnership when you aren't helping the partner function.

Give something, get something

Your business may not be able to give a partner what they are worth, or another business may not have the capability to give you what you truly need. There are many reasons, from budget limitations to conflicts of interest. That's OK.

What matters is how you or the other partner making up the difference by:

  • Bartering services
  • Actively expanding their network
 

Or, just wait until you have the resources to actually give what one is worth. I consciously stopped partnerships last year because I couldn't give them what they were worth. I even explained it to them, and was thankful that they understood. I was even more thankful that they didn't try to negotiate down their own worth just to sustain the connection.

If someone is trying to convince you to take less than your value, then be honest about your own worth. And if you still feel shortchanged, then make peace with either taking a short-term gain for a potentially trendsetting decision or taking a brief loss for a potentially long-term gain. Don't judge yourself over your decision. The important part is to recognize that it is a decision.

Excerpt: How To Start Small by I.K Adusei || Special Feature

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

 

From his ground breaking book soon to be launched, How To Start Small: Financial Skills For Business Success, I.K Adusei shares an exclusive excerpt.

Know that as an entrepreneur you only have yourself to impress.

Entrepreneurship is not a popularity contest. It is not an arena for the display of wealth, neither a competition for who is who in the world of business. It is far from it.

Jeff Bezos is the richest individual in the world today. His real time net worth as I write today stands at USD $ 163.3 billion, checking from Forbes real time rankings. As of June 2018, his net worth was $112 billion, checking from the same sources. His closest ally Bill Gates has a real time net worth of USD $ 95 billion.

It is likely you may not have heard of this till now. Jeff Bezos is the Founder of the e-commerce leviathan, Amazon. He foundered Amazon from his garage in Seattle, USA on July 5, 1994.

Over the years Amazon has been engaged in a massive recapitalization exercise mainly using retained earnings from the company. This meant that, the company was reinvesting its profits to create more cash flow and develop its systems. Shareholders were therefore not making profits for years since the company was unable to declare profits.

Jeff Bezos was missing out from Forbes list of top 5 richest men in the world for several decades till the year 2016 and 2017.

In 2018 he emerged as Forbes Richest Man overthrowing Bill Gates whose net worth stands at $USD 90 billion as at June 2018. Jeff Bezos is the first person ever to exceed the net worth of USD 150 billion in the 3 decades of Forbes operations.

Keep a low profile just to be able to increase your assets and create more cash flow which will create more cash flow. Many people who are expectant of you keeping up with the Joneses will decide to ridicule you, but always bear in mind that, entrepreneurship is not a popularity contest. You have but yourself alone to impress. Keep this in mind and go for gold. There is no time to impress people whose predisposition have always been that of hatred and envy. The world is yours if you are able to do this! Go out there and make yourself proud. To be continued...

 

Related: 

 I.K Adusei To Publish Second Book II Special Feature

African-Americans resettle in Africa

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Ghana is the first African country to open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world..

The logo of the International Decade for People of African Descent

The logo of the International Decade for People of African Descent

In Prampram, a town just an hour’s drive east of Ghana’s capital Accra, many holiday houses line the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean. One of them belongs to Jerome Thompson. Located only 500 metres from the water, Mr. Thompson’s house is resilient to the effects of the salt and wind. The floors, windows and doors are made of hard wood. His self-designed furniture is made from quality Ghanaian timber and hand-carved by local artisans.

“The ocean helps me fall asleep and wakes me up in the morning,” says Mr. Thompson, an African-American retiree taking a stroll on the beach where palm trees shade hand-carved canoes. “Where else can I live this close to the ocean? It would cost me millions of dollars!” 

Mr. Thompson, a native of Maryland in the United States, retired to Ghana 11 years ago. He first visited the West African country on a tour in 2000. “I fell in love with Ghana and its people,” he recalled, during an interview with Africa Renewal. “It was good seeing black people, my people, in charge of the country (Ghana).”  

That trip took him to many attractions across the country, including the Cape Coast Castle from where centuries ago millions of Africans walked through the infamous “Door of No Return” into slave ships bound for plantations in the Americas and the Caribbean, never to set foot in their homelands again.

But for their descendants like Mr. Thompson’s, the sign that hangs on that infamous door today reads: “Door of Return”. 

“I was so ready to turn my back on the United States,” he says, adding: “We did so much for the US, yet they don’t want to see us as first-class citizens.” 

A feeling of belonging 

Mr. Thompson is one of the 20 or so African-Americans and other people from the diaspora of African descent who have found a home in this fishing community, attracted by the beaches and the peace and tranquility the town offers away from the hustle and bustle of Accra. 

According to 2014 estimates, more than 3,000 African-Americans and people of Caribbean descent live in Ghana, a country of about 26 million people. 

Whatever their motives, Ghana, the first sub-Saharan Africa country to shake off colonial rule 58 years ago, has become the destination of choice for diasporans looking for a spiritual home and an ancestral connection in Africa.

While some returnees have gone through the emotional journey of tracing their families through DNA testing, for the majority who just come to visit, or to settle like Mr. Thompson, the feeling of being “home” on the continent is satisfying. “It’s good to know that you came from some place and it’s not just a figment of someone’s imagination,” he says. 

Claudette Chamberlain shares Mr. Thompson’s feelings of belonging. She was born in Jamaica but lived in the US and United Kingdom. Seven years ago, she moved to Ghana and built a five-bed guesthouse at Prampram. 

“When I got off the plane, I just had this overwhelming feeling come over me,” Claudette says, adding that she realized then that Ghana was the place she wanted to be. She misses her mother and siblings who still live in London but she doesn’t miss London. “Ghana is definitely home, I’m going to spend the rest of my days here.” 

Ms. Chamberlain, a former dentist, says while her native Jamaica is more beautiful, it is not as peaceful as Ghana.

Currently, there are around 200 million people in the Americas identifying themselves as of African descent, according to the United Nations. Millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, and in most cases they experience racism and discrimination.

To promote the respect for and protection of their human rights, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015–2024 as the “The International Decade for the People of African Descent”, to be marked annually on 25 March.

Right of Abode

Ghana, from whose shores the majority of 15 million Africans passed into slavery, has invited its descendants in the diaspora to return home.  The country has had a long history, from the days of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, of encouraging the return of persons of African descent to help with the continent’s development.

In 2000, the country passed a law on the ‘Right of Abode’, which allows a person of African descent to apply and be granted the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. And recently, the country set up a Diaspora Affairs Bureau under the foreign affairs ministry to provide a sustainable link between the Ghanaian diaspora and various government agencies to achieve development
and investment goals.   

Beyond laws

More needs to be done to make returning African brothers and sisters feel welcome back on the continent if Africa is to benefit from their return. Samuel Amankwah, the director of research at Ghana’s interior ministry, admits that the authorities need to engage more. “Those who left our shores are still our brothers and sisters,” he says, adding: “Offering Africans in the diaspora a right to abode in Ghana is a way of engaging for our common interest.”   

When the late televangelist Myles Munroe visited Ghana in 2012 and paid a courtesy call on President John Mahama, then a vice president, he encouraged people of African descent living in the diaspora to take advantage of Ghana’s Right of Abode law and reconnect with the African continent. 

Mixed feelings

Despite some initial setbacks, people of African descent continue to migrate to the continent, though not in the expected droves. And like Florindo Johnson, who just retired from Delta Airlines this January, says: it is important to encourage more blacks to come. 

Having flown in and out of Ghana for nine years, Ms. Johnson, a Caribbean who lived in Chicago, is retiring in Ghana to operate her six apartments in Prampram that she intends to rent out as holiday accommodations. “I really want black people to come and see for themselves. It is disheartening that a lot of black people don’t want to come because of what they’ve seen in the media, yet white people come.” 

 

Written by Efam Dovi  and Originally posted on: un.org/africarenewal 

Related: Africa could feed the world - if it overcomes these key challenges

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