According to President Akufo-Addo, as a relatively new entrant in the league of oil-producing countries, Ghana is not going to treat her oil like she has done with gold, and allow it to be exported in its raw material form as crude.
Ghana’s oil, President Akufo-Addo explained, presents the country with the perfect opportunity to transform the structure of Ghanaian economy through industrialization and value-added commercial activities.
“Our oilfields provide us with the perfect opportunity to create a petrochemical industry in Ghana. We have begun the processes leading to the setting up of a gas feedstock industrial estate in the Western Region of the country,” he said.
The President indicated further that “we intend to convert our petrochemicals into hundreds of industrial and consumer products produced in Ghana, including plastics, paints, rubber, fertilisers, detergents, dyes, textiles, solvents and, hopefully, bitumen for road construction.”
President Akufo-Addo was convinced that from the petroleum, the country can get the preservatives to can food produced in Ghana, with the synthetic by-product from petroleum serving as raw material for the manufacturing of different types of garments and footwear.
The President made this known on Saturday, 12th May, 2018, when he delivered a speech at the London Business School’s Africa Summit, on the theme “Scaling for Impact – the important role of Industrialisation.”
In his remarks, the President indicated that unless Ghana industrialises with the goal of adding value to her primary products, the country cannot create the necessary numbers of good-paying jobs that will enhance the living standards of the mass of the Ghanaian people.
“Raw material producing economies do not create prosperity for the masses. The way to that goal, the goal of ensuring access to prosperity, is value addition activities in a transformed and a diversified modern economy, with a modernised agriculture. In other words, the industrial development of our economy, which takes on board the aid of digital technology,” he added.
Importance of Education
Industrialization, the President said, can only be successful with a workforce that is equipped and skilled, and can compete effectively on the global market.
Any country that aims to transform itself into a modern productive player in the global marketplace must get its educational policies right, adding that the countries that have made rapid progress around the world put education at the heart of their development.
Citing the example of the United States of America’s transitioning to publicly funded high school education in the mid-19th century, President Akufo-Addo stated that the experiment paid off, and America set herself up for 20th century success, creating a workforce fit for rapid economic development, which has inspired the emergence of the most powerful economy so far known to human history.
“Indeed, other nations, who began their lives as independent states at the same time as we did, like Singapore, Malaysia and Korea, have emulated a similar model, and have also achieved great economic success. In fact, in their case, they followed Japan’s excellent example,” he said.
Through the policy of Free Senior High School education introduced in September 2017, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that 90,000 more students gained access to Senior High School in 2017, than they did in 2016.
“We are of the firm conviction, also, that we shall be able to transform Ghana’s economy and reduce unemployment, when we pay attention to technical and vocational training. That is where the skills needed for the modern economy can be developed,” the President added.
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated, has the opportunity to become a regional centre for light manufacturing for a market of some 350 million people in the ECOWAS Community, projected to reach 500 million by 2030, “by weaving together our numerous natural resources, like food produce, bauxite, iron ore, oil and gas, with our talents and energy, to turn our nation into an economic powerhouse in West Africa, generating full employment for our teeming youth.