THE ECONOMIC BLACK STAR
That we were the first black African country to gain independence rightly fills us with pride and makes us command admiration internationally. However, it also places on us many responsibilities- some we have lived up to and others we are yet to address.
What are some of these responsibilities? To cite two:
Politically we had a first child duty to show the rest of our African brothers that liberal democracy can be practised in an African country of many ethnic groups with a chequered political history. In 1992 we started to address this responsibility and can now say with some confidence that we are a vibrant democracy- with some problems but still trudging on.
Economically, we have another responsibility to show ourselves and the world, and inspire the rest of the continent, that, after colonial economic exploitation and our own failures as an independent nation, we can rise to build prosperity. Yes, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia have economies that compare well with those of countries like Argentina and Chile and Indonesia. But the peculiar histories of these African countries do not make their economic successes as much of an inspiration to the continent generally as what an economically successful Nigeria or Tanzania or Ghana would be. Ghana must therefore recognize its destiny as the black star, and the responsibility that, we have to show the way in wealth creation too.
Since 1992, Ghana has painfully and steadily continued to build a fairly strong democracy. In a continent rife with unaccountable despots and violent political conflicts, our democratic achievements are applauded and pointed to as an example to other African countries. However, it appears that our character of tolerance, patience, and satisfaction with our lot, which have nourished our democracy, have not been very helpful for entrepreneurship which generally requires a character of positive impatience and restlessness, and healthy competitiveness.
So how will Ghana create wealth? We must inspire ourselves that we can indeed create sustainable wealth; educate ourselves about the opportunities that exist for wealth creation; and equip ourselves with the relevant knowledge and skills to confidently and fully exploit those opportunities. This is what the OPPORTUNITIES CONFERENCE 2010 aims to achieve.
On 24th and 25th February 2010, Forethought Ghana will bring together an erudite gathering of Ghanaian academics, civil society activists and business leaders for an intense dialogue on sustainable wealth creation, dubbed OPPORTUNITIES CONFERENCE 2010.
The programme will involve:
Panellist discussions during which knowledgeable individuals will be lead discussants to vigorously deliberate on business opportunities in Ghana,
Breakout sessions when participants will be organised into industry-specific groups for stimulating conversations on particular sectors of the economy, say financial services, mining, ICT and Telecommunications, agriculture etc.,
“Innovative Expo” which will be a fair where businesses can display their new products and innovations to participants and the public generally,
Presentation of research findings on the economy of Ghana by various research institutions and think tanks and
A session with an international business icon in the person of British billionaire entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson who will share his rich experience.
The Opportunities Conference, it is hoped, will spark a flame of ideas-based entrepreneurship for sustainable wealth creation in Ghana so that this country can set an example for the rest of Africa regarding the building of prosperity.
With resource persons like Professor Stephen Adei; Ashesi University's Patrick Awuah; Keli Gadzekpo of Databank; Economist Dr Nii Moi Thomson; Joyce Aryee, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines; Imani Ghana's internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur, Bright Simons; the Acting Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority, Alexander Mould; Jean Mensa of the Institute of Economic Affairs; the conference is sure to be the most stimulating business conversation for the year.
On the 24th and 25th February, the programme will come off at the Accra International Conference Centre from 9am to 5pm daily.