The late Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the former Vice President of Ghana, has been described as a champion of education, public service, accountability and dignity during his service to the nation in the capacity as a politician, public servant, economist and an intellectual.
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who made the remarks, therefore, advised current research and professional economists to stand out and be counted in the public space when it comes to economic issues.
He said these when he delivered the keynote address at the maiden Kwesi-Bekoe Amissah-Arthur Economic Forum organised in collaboration with the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, to honour the economic ideals he championed during his life as an economist, academician, public servant and politician.
Prof. Soludo said it was high time economists come to the forefront of issues to do with national matters so that their input could matter in national discourse for rapid economic transformation.
He also advocated seven-year one-term of office for political leaders in Sub-Sahara Africa, adding that under such tenureship, African leaders could resort to implementing long-term economic strategies to transform most moribund economies culminating from short-term stop gap measures to satisfy voters.
Prof. Soludo said good leadership with the necessary governance system support could inure to social and economic benefits, since one without the other could not create that ideal situation for progress.
He said putting the necessary structures in place to support governance were imperative to economic progress, while there was the need to take care of national resources for present and future generations.
Prof. Soludo asked African leadership to reposition itself in taking advantage of human resource capital the continent could be having in the near future, since with huge population, in the near future Africans could have comparative advantage in supplying labour to many western countries whose population kept declining.
He, however, cautioned that Africans in order to take advantage of such situation in the near future must avoid the temptation of “Westernising” by running down their culture and tradition which inadvertently would not create the necessary conditions for looking African and working for Africa.
Prof. Soludo said one thing Nigerians learnt from recapitalisation of their various banks to down-size their numbers was that, it made the banks more competitive internationally while it created the necessary economic environment for foreign investments.
He asked Ghana to avoid the temptation of borrowing to finance annual budget since that would eventually create a big debt in the long-run, creating economic mishaps as often happens in Nigeria.
Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations Special Representative of the Head of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) described the initiative of the family as an inspiring, generous and philanthropic gesture.
BY: LAWRENCE MARKWEI AND DEBORAH ASUMA