An Economist, Dr. Oteng Gyasi has said the COVID-19 pandemic requires countries across the world to develop new strategies and capacities aimed at making them more self-sufficient.
Dr. Gyasi on The Point of View on Wednesday said it is relevant for countries to focus on becoming self-sufficient in key areas such as the production of food, shelter and pharmaceuticals.
“We need to be strategic about where we first develop capacity. It is a no brainer that every country should strive to be self-sufficient in food. In your pharmaceuticals, there is no reason why if India refuses to send you the active ingredients for chloroquine, you cannot produce your malaria medication, your clothing and of course your shelter- these are basics.
“Every country should try and achieve a large amount of self-sufficiency. Even if you do not do it at 100 percent, at least you should be 50-60 percent self-sufficient in these basic industries that you need for your own survival as a country,” the Economist who doubles as an Industrialist argued on The Point of View. Focus on local production.
Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani agreed with Dr. Gyasi's suggestion, saying the pandemic presents an opportunity for Africa to pay more attention to local demand and supply to boost the economy.
“We have to go back and visit all the old economic terminologies that Africa did not participate in defining. We need to have a trade-off between resilience and efficiency. Most of the developed economies took a huge jump, 30, 40 years ago and built resilient economies based on local demand and out of that became efficient and then played on the international market through efficiency.
“Africa never took off. So if you go on the route of efficiency, then the only efficient thing is that because natural resources are here, they will come and take it and we will have that dependency that we always mourn about. So it is non-protectionism if we say Ghana should be able to feed itself. If we actually draw the curtains down and put the bright investments with bright policy support, Ghana should be able to eat what we largely produce. We have got a very good relationship with two or four of the top pharmaceutical firms who can literally give us most of the medication we need,” he added.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh a few weeks ago made a similar suggestion when he emphasized the need for Ghana to prioritize industrialization in the wake of the pandemic.
Mr. Prempeh on Citi TV's current affairs programme, The Point of View intimated that the pandemic should propel Ghana to jumpstart an industrial policy that will halt the country's dependence on imported goods.