A Ghanaian prospective media researcher based in Norway, Joseph Kyei-Boateng, has called on Ghanaians living in Norway to learn many positive stories from Norway to impact on Ghana.
He shares the opinion that even though every country has its own negatives, Norway as a western country, has many positive stories that Ghanaians living in this Nordic country could learn to cause a paradigm shift in the developmental affairs of Ghana.
He shared this opinion in an interview with Adom fm's Abednego Asante Asiedu after the inauguration of the National Union of Ghanaians in Norway (NUGN) last Saturday in Bergen, Western Norway (Vestland).
Mr Kyei-Boateng who is also the Secretary to the Board of the NUGN and a journalist by profession said that it was important for Ghanaians in Norway to network and collaborate with one another for job security, donations back home in Ghana, investments, among others; it was also pertinent to learn both individually and collectively as a people, to change the face of Ghana.
"Yes as we live in Norway, whether we are temporary or permanent residents, whether we have naturalised to become citizens of Norway or not, we still have the blood of Ghana in us. And we can possibly learn from Norway as a developed country to help our Motherland Ghana to move a step further on the global development agenda", he stated.
He said he represented Ghanaians in Kristiansand, Southern Norway (Agder) on the board of the NUGN and that the excitement of Ghanaians in Agder for the inauguration of the NUGN followed the same excitement when the Embassy of Ghana was opened a year ago in Oslo, capital of Norway.
He observed that before Norway discovered oil in the early 1980s, the nordic country was relatively as poor as Ghana.
He said, as Norway advanced in its oil revenues, it made huge investments to become rich, quoting Jonas Olhsson (2015), a media author who describes the nordic countries(Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden) as "little over-achievers".
Mr Kyei-Boateng however, noted that Norway exports only Oil and Fish to become rich through investments and queries why Ghana exports oil, timber, cocoa, gold, manganese, etc but Ghana is struggling to become rich.
"The oil revenues of Norway have been heavily invested. And currently, the Norwegian Pension Fund Global is one of the largest investments in the world. It is worth $200,000 per citizen. As government of Ghana and as a people, can we learn collectively from Norway?", he rhetorically asked.
From Inequalities to Equalities
He said one of the important indices that have brought Norway this far as a developed country in United Nations (UN) terms, is Equality.
He observed that Norway throwed away inequalities to embrace equalities in Gender, in Age, in Pay, in Politics as in decision making process, in titles, in human rights, etc and held the opinion that "as Ghanaians living in Norway, we can also learn from this".
And once Equality is part of UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he noted that "In Norway, the university professor is as equal as the kindergaten pupil, everyone is called by their first names, titles are not needed . As Ghanaians we can learn from this to be equal in humanity. And when we understand equality, it helps us ward off enough discrimnation and corruption, to chart the path of development".
Free University Education
Mr Kyei-Boateng also observed that university education in Norway is free (tuition free) - for both nationals of Norway and foreigners.
On that score, he commended Ghana Government for its free education policy in the second cycle but recomended that Ghana government could also learn from Norway by making tertiary education, especially, university tuition free.
He said the era where admission forms to the tertiary institutions are sold to applicants in Ghana could end, government of Ghana can absorb the revenue accrued from the sale of admission forms and make online admission applications free in this digital era.
New Transportation Model
"If you compare Ghana and Norway, without shred of doubt, it is sincere to say that Ghana possibly needs a new and better transportation model. The trotro system in cities and environs, could be avoided and replaced with buses and trains. Government could do this replacement alone or in public-private partnership for an improvment in the transport sector", he stated.
He explained that for a better transport system in Ghana like in Norway, Ghana Government could recruit many trotro drivers and taxi drivers for buses and trains, in order that these trotro drivers would not lose their jobs.
Other trotro drivers, who could not be part of the replacement, could be usefully engaged elsewhere in Factories and that he suggested Government built more factories to hold unemployment in check.
Population Control Model
He held the opinion that any country that fails to plan along with its population, heads into the ditch.
On that backdrop, Mr Kyei-Boateng suggested that once unemployment is both national and global security threats, the government of Ghana needs to review its population control mechanisms and if possible, have a new model and a compelling one indeed.
"In Norway which is a rich country for example, birth rate is 1.8% (almost 2.0%). People give birth to one child, sometimes two on the average. Few give birth to three or more. This birth rate, by population wise, helps Norway to at least plan the future of the country alongside development.
In Ghana, birth rate is considered to be 3.0%, but the question is: are the citizens following any birth rate at all? Big NO. People, especially, poor families in rural Ghana, are giving birth to five, six and sometimes 10 children and over when unemployment is still hanging around the neck of government like an albatross. This calls for a new population control model to solve unemployment problems", he stated.
He commended the Ghana Embassy in Oslo, for collaborating with the local Ghana unions in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Kristiansand, to achieve this feat of NUGN and applauded the Ghana's Ambassador to Norway, Jennifer Lartey for her immense contribution to towards the formation of the National Union.
He assured that once the Embassy is having consular services for Ghanaians in Norway, Finland and Iceland, the Board of the NUGN would consider strategising to have another inaugural ceremony in 2022 for one big Union of Ghanaians in the three Nordic regions: Norway, Finland and Iceland.