President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that the fastest way to resolve issues of an economy that does not meet the needs of the people and with an alarming rate of unemployment lies in entrepreneurship, business, and technology.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the country has not come to terms with the image of the entrepreneur in our country, adding: “We seem unsure about the definition of what constitutes business.”
Nonetheless, the President has noted that “it is time to take entrepreneurship seriously”, explaining that “successful economies always depend on entrepreneurs running successful businesses”.
President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered a speech at the International Conference on Entrepreneurship, Business and Technology (ICEBUT), organised by the Methodist University College Ghana, on Monday, March 27, 2017.
The President noted that it is in the interest of all stakeholders that “those who set up ventures and take business risks are able to generate wealth”, adding that “this is the sector that must grow, for it is the sector that will provide the cure for our unemployment crisis”.
It is for this reason that the President has assured that impediments, largely found in the public sector, which include petty corruption and excessive regulation, which demoralise businesses will be removed to ensure that the businesses grow.
The ‘Asempa Budget’, the President added, “has shown that my government is serious about its part of the bargain and is committed to strengthening business and the private sector”.
On the role of educational institutions, President Akufo-Addo noted that “educational institutions would have to take a closer look at their curriculum content and the way they teach, and align it with present day realities”, as “the value of a university is measured by how easily its graduates find jobs”.
The President also urged businesses to employ the use of technology in the running of their businesses as it “formalises their operations without much cost”.
“It is time to utilise them to the full, instead of the one-upmanship gadgets they tend to be currently. A smartphone can enable a market woman decide when the best time is to make the planned trip to the orange farm for her purchases, because she can see the state of the oranges from her home or office 200 kilometres away. That same smartphone would hold all the records of her previous transactions and enable her conduct her banking. The possibilities are endless and we have the opportunity to make rapid progress, with the aid of technology to create wealth,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also urged for the development of “partnerships between industry and universities to ensure that the next generation of business leaders are appropriately trained”, adding: “Our educational institutions need to know, at first hand, what is happening in industry and train their students accordingly. This is a fundamental imperative if we are to achieve best practice and create jobs. We ignore the teachings of two of the most powerful economies of our era, the German and the Chinese, to our cost.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo was glad to learn that the Methodist University College Ghana, through its Centre for Entrepreneurship Education, Research and Training (CEERT), has developed programmes aimed at developing skills for the business community, and creating entrepreneurial managers for corporate as well as for individual businesses.
“It is equally good to learn that the entrepreneurship training the University College offered national service personnel in the Brong Ahafo Region in 2014, as part of the University’s social responsibility and extension services, is turning out to be a success. I would want such a programme to be rolled out nationally to affect a greater number of service personnel. The new leadership of the National Service Scheme will be alerted to the potential of this programme,” he said.