Africa’s quest to transform its economy will yield fewer results if politicians in the continent do not commit to a deliberate agenda that aims to diversify their economies, enhance competitiveness and increase exports for the well-being of the people, an industrialist and ManagingDirector of Tropical Cable and Conductor Limited (TCCL), Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, has observed.

Consequently, he has asked politicians and policy makers to help embrace the transformation to help raise productivity and improve the living standards of the people.

Mr Oteng-Gyasi, a former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), was speaking at the 2019 Crystal Ball in Accra on January 10.

Siding with the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation on the definition of transformation, the MD of TCCL said transformation refered to “growth plus DEPTH: Depth being an acronym for Diversification, Export competitiveness, Productivity, Technology and Human well-being”.

“In essence, economic growth must be both a cause of Depth and also result in Depth. This then results in a virtuous circle of growth with depth leading to an ever-increasing growth and development,” he said.

The caveat

Commenting on the theme, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said a successful transformation of a company ???required that diversifies, achieve export competitiveness, enhance productivity, embrace technology and improve human well-being.???

“If enough companies undertake this journey, we will together start the African transformation process. And the transformation process will give opportunities to more companies to embark on the same journey,” he said.

“There is just one caveat: Individual companies and firms may be transforming but to achieve a critical mass, which will make a difference to entire nations and the vast majority of our people, we need policy makers and politicians to embrace the transformation agenda,” he explained.

He recalled the Executive Chairman of AB and David, Mr David Ofosu Dorte, once remarking that Africa would develop in spite of our politicians.

That, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said, “may be true but it will be a long arduous and painful process”.

“To reduce pain, we need our politicians to also transform the way and manner of both politics and policy making on our continent,” the CEO of TCCL said, noting that “transformation does not have to be so painful”.

Broad observations

Mr Oteng-Gyasi further observed that lip service would not achieve transformation and, thus, asked Africans to be ready to make some sacrifices and postpone some consumption to finance transformation.

To him, financing transformation required prioritisation and “nobody, no institution, no development partner will finance transformation” if Africans do not.

He was emphatic that the global trading order did not support and engender African economic transformation, hence the need for Africans to “seek to disrupt the current order or find ways around it”.

He said the essence of those observations were that “Africa must be ready to face and overcome huge obstacles in its quest for transformation. The continent needs to galvanise and put all its resources, human, material and whatever else is available to achieve this desire.

“As we embark on Crystal Ball 2019, the question I dare ask you irreverently if I may, is: ‘Do you have the balls to transform with the transformation?’,” he asked.

About Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball is an annual Pan-African business conference that provides a forum for business people and professionals to take a close look at issues that impact their businesses in the New Year.

This year’s event brought together over 200 business executives from across Africa and the rest of the world.

It was on the theme: ‘Transforming with the Transformation.’

It is organised by AB and David, a law firm.


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