Nov 08, 2010 at 10:10am
Ghana as a Global South Country
COMMENTARY ON PROSPECTS OF GHANA AS A GLOBAL SOUTH COUNTRY
Global South is a term that refers to the less developed countries located primarily in the Southern Hemisphere. Countries here are home to 85 percent of the world’s population but possess only 20 percent of the World’s wealth.
Global South countries are faced with challenges that have hindered their economic and political development.
Some of these countries are located in a zone of turmoil because, most of their people face chronic poverty amidst civil conflicts.
In spite of the challenges, some global south countries like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan have attained the levels of prosperity comparable to developed countries. Malaysia and Hong Kong are other notable examples of the newly-industrialized countries.
The ability of these countries to escape the syndrome that still affects the rest of the global south gives an indication of hope that, others can also succeed.
As a global south country, Ghana should learn from the experiences of these successful countries and chart a prosperous path for its citizens.
Ghana needs to take advantage of the opportunities being offered by the oil and gas industry to lift the poor masses of the population out of poverty. This calls for a deliberate industrial policy that will maximize the returns from the oil find for the mutual benefit of all Ghanaians.
Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, like Qatar and Kuwait have advanced to the high income group’s standards of living exceeding some industrialized countries. Ghana must also engineer export led growth and import substitution by pursuing aggressive policies aimed at protecting infant industries.
Local industries must be supported to produce certain items that Ghana has been importing. There should be state subsidies and tariff protection for the local industries to boost their productivity.
The cumulative effect would be the creation of a trade surplus which can help save the hard currency and improve on the infrastructure base.
South Korea with its coal and iron resources developed competitive steel and automobile industries which created a trade surplus from its export. There is the need to move beyond the export of unfinished goods to export manufactured goods, as the key to export-led growth.
Global inequalities cannot be reduced as long as developing countries continue to specialize in producing primary products for which there are often numerous competing suppliers. While attempting to carve a niche for the export of manufactured goods, it will require better technology, a more educated and skillful workforce and much more capital.
With the success stories of the global south countries like Taiwan and Singapore, it is indeed not far-fetched for others including Ghana, to lift themselves out of poverty despite the numerous economic challenges.
The successful global south countries suffered their own setbacks but they stayed the course towards growth and developed.
Stabilizing the Ghanaian currency, bringing inflation under control and privatizing businesses ones owned by government in a prudent manner could prove to be important preconditions for Ghana to also register its success story among the industrialised countries within the global south.
BY: ENOCK EGYIR, STUDENT UNIVERSITY OF GHANA LEGON.