Accra, July 13, 2015 – At the launch of this year’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2015 in Accra, the Coordinator of Third World Network Africa, Dr. Yao Graham not only managed to provide an in depth briefing on the information provided in the report, but also guided the audience in a nuanced analysis that drove intense discussion among the audience.
Dr. Graham focused on the importance of optimizing the infrastructural service sector in Africa, describing the service sector as ‘something you cannot drop on your toe”, distinguishing these non-tangible goods, such as transport, energy, water or financial services from tangible goods. He later delved into specifics on Ghana, in what he called “The Ghanaian experience” towards structural transformation. According to Dr. Graham, the concept of Africa rising is worrying because the quality of growth is not creating employment and thus not transformational, a necessity for sustainable growth.
In the area of manufacturing in Ghana, Dr. Graham noted that “Liberalisation and import dependent consumption has destroyed the manufacturing sector”. Touching on the way forward to ensure economic development, Dr. Graham said “we do not need to reinvent the wheel”, but rather optimize existing sectors by moving higher up on the value chain.
Following the presentation of the report, various questions were asked by the audience who were highly engaged. An all-encompassing question presented was regarding what can be done after the launch to create noticeable change. In response, Dr. Graham encouraged the media to play a role in fueling conversation around the issues raised in the report. He also encouraged institutions to provide seminars where people can discuss the issues and create action plans.
He commended the work of UNCTAD in providing this important piece of information which can provide a platform for necessary discourse to enable action.
The EDA report 2015, subtitled, Unlocking the Potential of Africa´s Services Trade for Growth and Development, examines some of the major policy issues that underlie Africa’s services sector and provides policy guidance on how services, if adequately harnessed, could contribute to Africa’s regional integration and generate inclusive growth and employment.