Sir Samuel Esson Jonah is concerned about how Ghana’s future leaders – the present children and grandchildren – are going to pay back the huge debts the country is incurring, something that he says will suffocate them.
“We are borrowing huge sums of money for our children and grandchildren to pay, yet we are not seeing realistic strategies that assure us of our capacity to pay back.
“How are the 30-year, 40-year bonds going to be paid?,” the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa, said when he addressed Rotarians in Accra on the theme; ‘Down the Up Escalator: Reflections on Ghana’s Future by a Senior Citizen’ on Thursday, April 22.
He added that unless there were clear plans to ensure the economy created jobs, reduces poverty and improves upon the quality of life of the Ghanaian, he was afraid that “a sense of hopelessness and helplessness will be the lot of our children and grandchildren”.
“The debt will suffocate them. This is what concerns me,” Jonah said.
Sam Jonah questioned, “How do we avoid this situation?”
“I will now put on my investor cap and ask this question. Given that I have a choice in where I put my money, what will I like to see in my country to make it the preferred destination for my investment? Every investor has got a choice.
“So, I am asking you; if you were an investor, what would you like to see in a Ghanaian business environment which will make you want to put your capital here? We are all celebrating the good news of Ghana being chosen as the host of the Africa Free Trade Secretariat and the Government should be commended for this remarkable development. However, we can only realise the benefits if we become the most competitive economy on the continent. We are nowhere there. I’m afraid we have a lot of work to do to attain this status.”
He cited research and advisory firm, Konfidant, which reported that Ghana fell short on almost all AfCFTA competitive indicators. These are: Cost of credit, cost of power, productive capacity, customs efficiency, trade logistics and dependency on foreign input.
“Investment promotion is like a beauty pageant. The reward goes to the country which is adjudged to be the most attractive as an investment destination. What conditions create a conducive environment for investment in any country?” Sam Jonah quizzed.