[Essay] Effective leadership for socio-economic development in Ghana

[Essay] Effective leadership for socio-economic development in Ghana

With a focus on eradicating corruption, unemployment, and economic underdevelopment.

Editor’s Note: This essay won the Readyforwork Content Writing Contest and was written by Ms. Huda Ibrahim, and edited by Mr. Tom-Chris Emewulu, SFAN President. Ibrahim also received a smartphone gift as the most outstanding participant in the program from Ms. Tracy Kyei, Marketing Manager at Samsung Ghana.

Socio-economic development is a concept that answers to the social and economic needs of people. Its emphasis is on human-centered development. This concept indicates an intention to incorporate economic growth into social development. We can measure progress in a society not only through the lens of its wealth but also the well-being of its people. Hence, creating sustainable socio-economic development in Ghana requires a different kind of leadership. The type of leadership that commits to long-term vision.

This long-term vision must incorporate basic human needs like education, jobs, healthcare, a transparent judiciary system and so on.

So, what type of leadership do we need to achieve these goals? The answer is simple. We need effective leadership. We need leaders with less loyalty to their political parties and more commitment to the people. If we get it right at the top, the influence will trickle down.

According to Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, “Responsive leadership means recognizing the increasing frustration and discontent among those not experiencing economic development and social progress.”

It is fair to say that there is no society without some level of corruption in this world. Especially because there is no conclusive definition of what corruption is. Bribery in one context may be a gift or encouragement in another. Still, there are clear instances of corruption that we must uproot in Ghana. Some of the prominent corruption cases we are dealing with today include embezzlement of public funds, abuse of power, and bribery.

The first step in tackling this problem is to punish the culprits to the full extent of the law. It’s not enough to pay lip service to the fight against corruption. Our leaders must show unrelenting commitment.

Again, the citizenry has a role to play in bringing social change. A corrupt nation benefits the few – the masses suffer in the end for the consequences of these actions. We must go beyond complaining. We must use the systems of governance to demand accountability from our leaders.

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In a democratic society like Ghana, elections are opportunities for citizens to exercise their power. Still, the “election power” may not be enough. What we need is zero-tolerance on corrupt practices from the fundamental level. That means, beginning from the family unit to institutional and social networks. These are systems that nurture our leaders. These are the systems that teach children about a society’s culture as they grow up. A collective responsibility towards exterminating corruption will yield the results we seek because our leaders come from among us. That collective effort will also help us achieve other goals like sustained economic development.

Let’s reflect for a moment, can Ghana become a developed country within the next decade? Are we ready to do what it takes to make this dream a reality? For a nation with over 60 years of independence, what exactly is our excuse for keeping a majority of the citizens in poverty?  

According to the World Bank, Ghana can reach universal financial access across regions and key demographics using innovative technology. The government’s swift response in addressing the vulnerabilities in the financial sector in 2018 is commendable, the report notes, and adds that additional efforts will be required in 2019.

Unemployment is one of the leading causes of poverty in our society. Thus, creating decent jobs for people will need a policy transformation. We need an educational system designed in tandem with the demands of the industry. Also, we need an enabling environment for private sector investment and entrepreneurship. Equally important, we need agricultural transformation, increased manufacturing, and improvement in infrastructure development. Begining from Rwanda to China to Singapore or Isreal, we have lessons to learn about what’s possible.

In the final analysis, it all boils down to responsive leadership. We need leaders that will not only have the vision of a prosperous future but can mobilize the citizens to actualize it. Also, we need a national awakening on growing the economy. All hands must be on deck. We must create systems that encourage and empower the citizens to contribute to the principles and strategies for improving our national standard of living. This ideal will require dedication and commitment. It will also demand sacrifice and discomfort for the sake of the greater good. Once a handful of leaders in relevant positions imbibed this mindset, it will only be a question of when, and not if, we can achieve socio-economic growth in Ghana.

Join startup executives and young professionals at the 6th edition of SFAN Breakfast Meeting scheduled for December 7 at Silver Star Tower, Accra. Learn more and get a discounted pass.

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