How Ghana can overcome leadership challenge by Yamson

April 20, 2023
Featured image for “How Ghana can overcome leadership challenge by Yamson”

Ghana must quickly devise a system that identifies and grooms as future leaders individuals who are not only able to properly read today but also correctly anticipate the future if the country Is to urgently end the cycle of economic under-performance and pervasive poverty that has plagued it since the end of independence leader Kwame Nkrumah, chairman of the board of MTN Ghana Dr. Ishmael Evans Yamson has warned.

Speaking recently in Accra at a public lecture organized by the Central University, Yamson traced what he described as Ghana’s current ‘complex external and domestic polycrisis’ to the country’s accumulation of destructive values and behaviours over the years.

“The many years of political instability and the associated breakdown of good governance, loss of key democratic principles, disregard for the rule of law and the destruction of our cultural values and behaviours, which had shaped our governance arrangements even at our traditional levels, accompanied by pervasive greed and corruption, have succeeded in accumulating very destructive values and behaviours which have consistently undermined attempts to develop a prosperous country.  And we are also now very conversant with the fact that our world has changed considerably driven by many disruptive technological changes, fundamentally changing the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we teach and learn, the way medicine is practiced, even the way wars are fought among many other changes to the lives of people all over the world. Regrettably, Ghanaian political leaders after Dr Kwame Nkrumah, have failed to demonstrate any understanding of these complex external and domestic polycrisis, with their disruptive changes and impact on the country and its citizens. And the simple reason is that we have not had, and still do not have, leaders who can anticipate the future, adapt and respond, by changing the governance architecture and operating model and execute appropriate resilient plans to shore up the economy, grow it and create jobs and wealth. Instead, they have always managed the past and the today. Yet, leadership is not about the past, it is about today and the future; the past only provides leaders with lessons of mistakes which should not be repeated and the good things to build on. Ghanaian leaders post Nkrumah, have only focused on yesterday and today, that is why we are not going forward but rather going backwards,” he noted.

Ghana is presently grappling with a depressed economy and rising inflationary trends as prices of basic commodities have spiralled. Goveernment’s finances are also at their weakest in years with the local currency, the cdi, now the world’s worst performer aagainst the the US dollar.

Yamson, who spoke on the theme ‘Leadership for the Future: Reflections from a Fifty-year Career in Corporate Africa’, painted the profile of what Ghana’s new fit-for-the-future leadership should be, and how the country can identify them.

Among others, they must be people with purpose, integrity and conscience; must have the know-how to restore macro-economic and social stability; are committed to good governance, as a pre-condition for wealth-creation;  must be ready to confront greed, graft and corruption; and, must be skillful and savvy enough to build honest and transparent partnership with the private sector.

“Undoubtedly, leadership matters most in national development; a corrupt leader will bankrupt a country for personal gain; a rudderless leader will resist change and miss all the opportunities that come with the change; an incompetent leader can only mismanage an economy to the detriment of the creation of wealth and jobs. I can go on and on. It is for this reason that the issue of electing the right leaders has become key and urgent in Ghana. But what I see on the horizon does not give me confidence.

“Restoring macro-economic stability in Ghana is urgent and critical. The economy is traversing very difficult times. The deep deterioration of the fiscal and macro-environments, characterised by unsustainable debt with debt service ratio in excess of 100%, high levels of inflation, steep depreciation of the Cedi, over 40-year record high interest rates, elevated uncertainties and risks from debt defaults, have all shattered the trust and confidence of investors in the economy. Reversing this situation clearly is urgent and requires a new leadership mindset. And in Ghana’s case what is needed most is a dose of humility in Ghana’s leadership to admit that the country’s crisis was home-grown and not imported and that it is also more complex than just the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. And let me be clear, going to the IMF will never be a permanent panacea to Ghana’s problems, otherwise we should not be where we are today, having been under Fund Programmes 16 times already. What will be a permanent solution is a commitment to a clear purpose to build a prosperous country for all, and an uncompromising commitment to good governance,” he stated.

Fourth in the series, the lecture which held in the auditorium of the International Central Gospel Church, ICGC’s Christ Temple West, Abossey-Okhai, was organized by the Central University to help address the many pertinent issues presently confronting Ghana.