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Hope City Dream Must Succeed

It is widely held that the private sector is the engine of growth, but in our part of the world where the public sector has dominated the economy for a long time, it is becoming difficult to realise such a dream.

Bureaucracy in the public sector has stifled private initiatives and many public sector workers consider private investments a threat to the expansion of their 'kingdoms'.

We can understand the difficulties that confront public sector workers as they come to terms with the new realities. In the days immediately after independence, Ghana adopted the statist approach to development, whereby development was centrally planned. The government decided to invest in all the strategic sectors of the economy, such as telecommunications, railways, roads, electricity generation and water.

The situation has changed with the liberalisation of the economy, paving the way for deregulation in the telecommunications, electricity and water sectors.

In spite of the strides that have been made, we still have a long way to go in getting the private sector to risk its capital in strategic investments. Private capital always looks for the right environment to invest and that is why captains of businesses and industry always talk about the enabling environment.

It is, therefore, not out of place for President John Mahama to indicate at the launch of the Hope City at Dunkunaa near Accra yesterday that the government was considering a tax holiday for businesses that invested in the country.

Hope City is a $10-billion Information and Communications Technology (ICT) project being initiated by Rlg Communications and Microsoft. It is expected to provide work for more than 50,000 people and host 25,000 residents.

By our estimation, Hope City is an ambitious project.

It is the prayer of the Daily Graphic that Mr Roland Agambire, the Chief Executive Officer of Rlg Communications, will receive the necessary co-operation to realise this big dream.

Hope City cannot succeed with the mindset of the public sector. The status quo must give way to a new thinking that recognises that the destiny of the country lies in our own hands.

Interestingly, Hope City comes on board at a time when the environment is under threat from our negative attitudes. It is, therefore, heart-warming that Hope City intends to create a sustainable pilot project that takes care of both the present generation and those yet unborn.

Already, the Rlg dream is helping redirect the energies of many of our youth into the use of ICT for development. The company has not only helped provide the youth with employable skills but also created the platform for ICT education throughout the country.

Not quite long ago, the Ministry of Education, supported by Rlg Communications, presented thousands of laptops to schools, students and teachers in a bid by the government to expand ICT education.

In many rural communities across Africa, mobile telephony and, indeed, ICT is helping to improve livelihoods. Farmers and traders are able to use their mobile phones to engage in business transactions to get the best prices for their items. Health workers are able to diagnose illnesses through the use of ICT.

Although ICT has created the fertile ground for cyber crime to gain root, its benefits are quite immense.

The Daily Graphic commends Rlg for yet another bold initiative to turn Ghana into a knowledge society and major economic player on the Africa continent. Knowledge, they say, is power and it is our hope that the youth will take advantage of Hope City to renew hope in themselves.

Let us remember that years ago the most powerful people in society were emperors, kings and generals who had conquered large colonies and kingdoms. But today the richest people are those involved in ICT business. We can turn round the fortunes of Ghana if we leverage the opportunities inherent in ICT.