The economics of business and social policy always happen to creep into my mind whenever I visit a new place. It was no different in Ghana. I had a great opportunity to talk with everyday folks to find out their take on government, politics, money and business.
Most Ghanaians I met, seemed fairly settled on the economics of their market the way with the singular goal of improving their lot and spending quality time with friends and family. To that end, everyone was an entrepreneur and everyone was industriously applied to some form of mercantilism. Ghanaians sold biscuits, water, candy, soap and household goods everywhere. Being in business was not an optional endeavor, it was an absolute way of life. I was most fascinated by those who weaved between waiting traffic to solicit and sell goods.
My experience made me question the argument regarding Africa’s need for entrepreneurs? Had they visited, Accra?- Everyone was in business in some way–whether selling food stuff, cloth or shoes there was hardly a space to be found that was not occupied by a little business. What was striking, however, was that every product seemed to be manufactured elsewhere (I suppose there are some similarities to America in Africa). Even many of the packaged foods were manufactured in Turkey or India.
I traveled far and wide in Accra, and I assure you I’ve never seen more hard-working industrious people in my life. The kinds of work that Ghanaians performed on a daily basis left me in awe of their ingenuity and perseverance. Ghana’s small businesses need scale, and I’m sure with the right incentives that can happen. With the right support, Ghana’s domestic industrial revolution will dawn. The revolution may not be televised, but it definitely needs to happen! Viva Ghana! Viva Africa!
Next Up: Part 5: The Music That Moves (Series Finale).