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Our economic destiny – why embracing 24-Hour economy is the answer

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The Finance Ministry’s brief released on March 04, 2024, on the potential impact of the bill on Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bills on the implementation of the 2024 Budget left me deeply disheartened, especially knowing Hon. Dr Amin personally from our days at the University of Development (UDS) and understanding his capabilities.

The emergency meeting convened by the finance minister designated, although commendable, raises questions about our economic managers’ capacity to handle challenges internally without relying solely on external support.

Ghana must seek homegrown solutions and broaden its development partnerships beyond Western influences to align with cultural values and norms. Prioritizing sustainable economic growth while allowing democratic processes to address societal issues like LGBTQ+ rights is crucial. Ghanaians emphasize economic stability, infrastructure development, access to social services, youth empowerment, and human rights as essential components for inclusive and sustainable development, reflecting a collective aspiration for a prosperous and resilient nation.

That is why in my view embracing the 24-Hour Economy Is the Answer to our economic woes. The practical definition of a 24-hour economy is an economic system where businesses and services operate continuously or for extended hours beyond the traditional 9-to-5 working day.

Thus the 24-hour will help extend operating hours for key sectors such as manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and hospitality. But an economic “ model lies in its utility as a tool for understanding, analyzing, and predicting economic phenomena. In practice, economic models are used by policymakers, businesses, researchers, and analysts to make informed decisions about various economic issues.

That is why is very simplistic for those who think that the 24-hour economics is for chop bar operations and ATMs. This is because the model aims to maximize productivity, efficiency, and economic outputs. Thus it is clear that models will be employed to make predictions, evaluate policy options, and gain insights into economic phenomena. the economic landscape in Ghana presently is characterized by several self-inflicts challenges and vulnerabilities.

High public debt and fiscal deficits have been persistent for the past 6 years contributing to exchange rate volatilities and inflationary pressures. The Ghanaian cedi depreciated by 8.4percent against in 2024 to the dollar, exacerbating inflationary concerns, with rates reaching 25.2percent. Unemployment remains a significant challenge, particularly among the youth, where the unemployment rate exceeds 37percent with an infrastructure deficit and a trade imbalance, with a dependence on primary commodities exacerbating economic vulnerabilities.

As if that is not enough, Ghana’s global ranking in corruption is 75th out of 180 countries, highlighting the need for comprehensive economic reforms and strategies to address these pressing issues and foster sustainable development.

So what will be the approach to solve all these myriad self-infliction and poor leadership we have seen from our political leaders using the 24-hour economy.  A few key strategies could be:

  • Extended Operating Hours where labor laws may be amended to permit flexible working hours and night shifts, streamline business licensing processes, and update zoning regulations to accommodate 24/7 operations while considering noise control and residential compatibility.
  • Promotion of Economic Growth where there could be provision of tax incentives for businesses operating non-traditional hours, investment in infrastructure development, and launch marketing campaigns to highlight the advantages of a 24-hour economy and encourage business expansion.
  • Ensuring Worker Rights and Safety through enacting regulations to guarantee fair wages, breaks, and safety measures for workers, implement security measures such as increased police presence and improved lighting, establishing mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing compliance with labor laws and safety regulations, and lastly but not the least
  • Addressing Potential Challenges through developing consumer protection measures, enhancing public transportation services for late-night mobility, and establishing a framework for monitoring and evaluating the impact of 24-hour economy policies, allowing for adjustments based on feedback and data analysis.

The transitioning to a 24-hour economy in Ghana may hold the potential to address several pressing challenges ingrained in its current Ghanaian economic model.

The predominant focus on extractive industries, such as mining and agriculture that lead to environmental degradation and exploitation in Ghana can be mitigated through sustainable development and economic resilience while safeguarding its natural environment by transitioning to a 24-hour economy through diversifying economic activities to decrease reliance on extractive sectors, adopting sustainable practices like responsible mining and organic farming, leveraging innovation and technology to minimize environmental impact.

By integrating these approaches, Ghana can foster sustainable development and economic resilience while protecting its natural environment. Furthermore, a 24-hour economy can help lessen Ghana’s reliance on global markets, particularly Western countries, by fostering local development and value-added production chains.

This can reduce vulnerability to fluctuations in global commodity prices and market demand, ultimately promoting economic stability and resilience. By promoting inclusive development and investing in technology and innovation, a 24-hour economy can also help alleviate inequality and poverty within Ghanaian society, while simultaneously addressing environmental degradation and climate change.

Additionally, by prioritizing technological advancement and human capital development, Ghana can break free from the cycle of dependency on primary commodities and extractive industries, paving the way for a more sustainable and knowledge-based development pathway.

Implementing a 24-hour economy in Ghana presents opportunities to promote various sectors and address socio-economic challenges. For Ghanaian agriculture, extending operating hours can support farmers by providing flexibility for harvesting and marketing produce, while also facilitating nighttime agricultural activities such as irrigation and pest control. In the educational sector, 24-hour access to educational resources and facilities can accommodate diverse learning schedules, including adult education programs and skill-building workshops.

Similarly, in the health sector, round-the-clock healthcare services can improve access to medical care and emergency response, benefiting both urban and rural communities. Market women, head porters (Kayayei), taxi drivers, and motorcycle drivers (Okada) can benefit from extended operating hours, allowing them to cater to customers’ needs at various times of the day and night, thereby increasing their income opportunities.

Moreover, addressing Ghanaian youth unemployment can involve creating night-shift jobs in sectors such as hospitality, retail, and security, while initiatives like night schools and vocational training programs can offer educational and skill-building opportunities during non-traditional hours.

Additionally, measures to mitigate inflationary problems and deficits can include round-the-clock monitoring and adjustment of monetary policies, as well as facilitating continuous access to financial services to manage inflationary pressures and stabilize the economy. Overall, embracing a 24-hour economy in Ghana has the potential to foster economic growth, improve social welfare, and enhance overall resilience in the face of various challenges.

Consequently, in my view, Ghana stands at a critical juncture in its economic journey, grappling with various challenges such as high public debt, fiscal deficits, and unemployment. Amidst these hurdles, I agreed on the need for a paradigm shift as the so-called Gugisbberg economic model has not worked for us as a country.

The concept of transitioning to a 24-hour economy emerges as a compelling solution to steer the nation toward sustainable growth and prosperity. Embracing a 24-hour economy entails extending operating hours for businesses through unlocking the potential of round-the-clock operations across sectors such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and entertainment. Ghana can capitalize on untapped opportunities for job creation, revenue generation, and overall economic expansion.

Moreover, transitioning to a 24-hour economy not only addresses immediate economic challenges but also fosters long-term resilience and competitiveness on the global stage. This paradigm shift represents a transformative step towards shaping Ghana’s economic destiny, propelling the nation towards a brighter and more sustainable future.

>>>the writer is a seasoned InvestBankpreneur with an illustrious career spanning 29 years across academic, corporate, and agribusiness sectors. His extensive professional journey includes pivotal roles at esteemed institutions such as UBA Ghana, SIC Financial Services, Empretec Ghana, and the Swiss International Finance Group, reflecting his profound understanding of global finance. Renowned as a pioneer in risk management, compliance, and corporate strategy, Dr. Tetteh-Dumanya has made significant contributions to the Ghanaian financial landscape. He has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives in Venture Capital, business/financial reengineering, and fundraising, thereby playing a pivotal role in the growth and development of numerous entities. Driven by a fervent dedication to capacity development, Dr. Tetteh-Dumanya has offered consultancy services to a diverse array of local and multinational organizations notably GIZ, AGRA, SNV, DANIDA, and USAID among others. His expertise in financial and business domains is multifaceted, showcased through his adept navigation of complex challenges and his commitment to driving sustainable growth in every endeavor. For inquiries, Dr.  Tetteh-Dumanya can be reached at: [email protected]

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