‘Use aviation to transform the structure of Ghana’s economy’

Ghana’s cash crop-based economy can be transformed and moved into the bracket of developed economies, if aviation is used as a catalyst for structural transformation, Ing. Leslie Alex Ayeh, President of the Ghana Institution of Engineers, has said.

The country’s economy is heavily reliant on cash crops, mainly cocoa, and commodities such as gold, bauxite, and oil. A significant fall in the price of these commodities on the international market mostly derails government’s planned programmes and projects, leaving very little or no fiscal space.

Ing. Ayeh said just as aviation had transformed Dubai, Singapore and other countries, Ghana could leverage on same.

He said improvements in the air transport infrastructure would help to raise living standards and alleviate poverty in Africa by lowering transport costs, supporting more rapid economic growth and increasing personal mobility.

“The aviation industry is particularly important for countries that adopt an outward–oriented development strategy in providing access to wider markets, ” he said.

“Having studied the success stories of Singapore, Ethiopia, Dubai and Morocco, there are reasonable grounds to argue that Ghana has an unexploited potential which, when unleashed,  should make her another miracle and a talked-about nation,” Ing. Ayeh said when delivering the 50th Presidential Address of the Institute

The event, held virtually, was on the theme: “Aviation, A Catalyst for Structural Transformation and Sustainability Development in Ghana.”

He noted that in using aviation as a vehicle for transformation, the strategy depended on the overall role of aviation as envisioned by the Government.

“The role must fit into the global agenda and must fit into the international puzzle if other international players are to buy into it. There are six choices to be made to fuel the contribution of aviation to the transformational agenda of Government and the choices are whether the nation should be a tourist destination, general aviation centre, hub, combination of tourism and general aviation, hub and general aviation, or a hub of general aviation and tourism,” he said.

Ing. Ayeh noted that currently, the Ministry of Aviation had embarked on some projects, which are laudable but an aggressive approach is needed.

“This step taken by the Ministry of Aviation is a good approach. However, Ghana still has a lot of potential and an aggressive posture would leapfrog Ghana into a centre of excellence in the aviation industry,” he said.

Ethiopia’s example

Air transport services directly contribute more than US$2 billion annually to the Ethiopian economy. According to Ing. Ayeh, Ethiopia’s success story can be drawn from two main sources: Geographical Positioning and Human Capital Development; and Strong Managerial and Operational Practices.

Geographical positioning of Ethiopia makes it an obvious choice as a gateway between Africa, Middle East and Asia. Addis Ababa is also a home for two major organisations, namely the Africa Union and ECA. Aviation Ghana.

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