Monday, Aug 08

“People are not corrupt because they are Ghanaians; they are corrupt because Ghanaian institutions don’t work well” – Prof. Ernest Aryeetey

“People are not corrupt because they are Ghanaians; they are corrupt because Ghanaian institutions don’t work well” – Prof. Ernest Aryeetey

Academic colossus; ex-Vice Chancellor; Leader, Professor Ernest Aryeetey is these and more. The Vaultz magazine caught up with the accomplished and astute Professor. His career path, as well as his insightful perspectives on the country’s economic and education sectors provide valuable food for thought for all and sundry.

TVM: What, in your opinion, is the state of the economy that the new government has inherited? PEA: Well, unfortunately, the state of the economy has been quite bad for several years. It is not a new thing and it is not a secret.

The macro situation has been quite bad for some time, which is what led to the IMF agreeing to step in with its program. I don’t envy the new government; the situation is quite bad. It is my hope and expectation that everything possible will be done to change the situation as soon as possible.

TVM: As a development economist, what recommendations will you give the new government to take us out of the state you just described?

PEA: The situation that we face today is probably at a slightly lower level, compared to the challenges that we faced back in the 1980s and 1990s. It was the kind of situation that forced us to pursue structural adjustment. I think the elements of significant economic reform are important.

Basically, the new government needs to pursue policies that can be described as fairly mainstream ‘common sense’ economics– “Do not spend money that you do not have”; “don’t pursue things that are not going to yield significant returns or acceptable social outcomes within the foreseeable future”. ‘Common sense economics’ is really the only way to go at this point in time.

Let us see how best we can contain the fiscal side, and then we can deal with inflation. These are the two things the government needs to focus on, and once it does that, we will see some return to stability that will be reflected in the exchange rate and the other macro indicators. I am fairly confident that with the right approach, attitude, guts, pursuing an approach of not spending monies we don’t have or acquiring things that we don’t need, Ghana should overcome the current challenges.

TVM: How should the new government treat the Private Sector to become the engine of growth for the economy?

PEA: It is very difficult to identify one way to deal with the Private Sector. But, if we are to look for that one way the best approach will be to leave it alone. Leave the Private sector alone! Let the Private sector be innovative, take their own initiatives, be adventurous, be ambitious. Give them the necessary incentives.

The best incentive the government can give the Private sector is to leave them alone and not to interfere in what they do. The government should ensure that the taxes they are required to pay are reasonable; reflecting the value of their output and the structure of the economy. Government should have a banking system that is fairly free and finds an incentive in lending to the Private sector.

Develop a system that provides strong market structures and the private sector in Ghana should be able to respond to that. Whether they respond as appropriate or not would depend on the types of people that you have in the sector. So, it’s an issue of how best to incentivize the Private sector without being perceived to be overly interfering.

TVM: When you say “leave the Private sector alone”, are you looking at less regulation for certain sectors of the economy?

PEA: It’s not a matter of less regulation. It’s more a matter of the right regulation. Some regulatory regimes can be extremely interfering while others may not. But, regulation should be structured to incentivize. There are regulations that appear from the onset to be sanction-driven. That happens when there is lack of trust between the state and the Private sector, and so the regulatory regime is perceived to be designed to intimidate the private sector.

That Professor Ernest Aryeetey Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana Academic colossus; ex-Vice Chancellor; Leader, Professor Ernest Aryeetey is these and more. The Vaultz magazine caught up with the accomplished and astute Professor. His career path, as well as his insightful perspectives on the country’s economic and education sectors provide valuable food for thought for all and sundry.

TVM 35 shouldn’t be the case! We should make the Private sector feel welcome, and at the same time mindful of the rules and regulations. These rules and regulations should not be onerous, and there should not be too many of them. They must be fairly easy to follow. And so in the absence of compliance, sanctions can follow.

TVM: How can the new government improve on the cost of doing business in the country to attract foreign investors?

PEA: This is also largely an issue of the regulatory environment. The cost of doing business in Ghana rises steadily as a result of businesses having to do too many things with too many public institutions. We have a situation where the private sector and the government do not always appear to understand each other’s motives.

In the course of trying to understand each other, the cost of doing business could rise. In a very stable environment, the policy regime should not change so rapidly; policy change should be predictable. Both parties need to know what the policies are at all times, the rules and regulations that go with them, their duties and obligations. When that is taken care of, and the infrastructure situation improves, the cost of doing business will come down.

TVM: How can this new government tackle the issue of corruption in the country?

PEA: Corruption is the outcome of the failure of institutions. People are not corrupt because they are Ghanaians; they are corrupt because Ghanaian institutions don’t work well. Ghanaian institutions create incentives for corruption and they don’t have the capacity to sanction wrongdoers. It’s a matter of whether we, as a people, respect the authority we have given to our institutions.

I think it’s about time that we subjected our institutions to more demanding standards. It’s about time that we asked more of them, and also protected them as appropriate. When we appoint officials into positions of authority, it’s our job and responsibility to protect them so they can do what we expect of them. Corruption is a very expensive thing for any country. So long as people remain corrupt, we will never mobilize all the resources that we need for our development.

For instance, Ghana’s roads continue to be the way they are because roads are a lot more expensive to construct here than in most other places. The energy situation will continue to be the way it is because the provision of it is a lot more expensive here, compared to other places, etc. Indeed, everything that the state provides is a lot more expensive than it should be, and with that kind of situation our future development is compromised. It’s about time we understood that somebody is in charge to make our institutions and organizations work.

One of the problems we’ve had in this country over the last several years has been the growing perception that nobody is really in charge of the country. People don’t care much about law enforcement because there is little law enforcement. So, until somebody is seen to be in charge of public institutions, and therefore supervising and managing the public space, we are going to have corruption with us, and it’s going to be costly. We can solve the problem through firmness and fairness.

TVM: You’re saying ‘there’s a growing perception that nobody is really in charge’. Is it the leadership that is weak and who is supposed to provide the protection?

PEA: We have under the constitution several types of institutions. We have the various arms of the government, including the legislature, the judiciary and the executive. They have been given different types of authority and a lot of power to go with it. Have they used their authority and power effectively?

That is the big question! Has parliament used the authority given to it by the constitution to pursue what is right? That is highly debatable! Has the judiciary always performed to the level that is demanded of it in the constitution? Again many things have happened over the years to suggest that there are questions that could be raised. Has the executive arm used the authority that it has to pursue development?

Has it used the authority to administer the nation in the best way possible, in pursuit of development? The development of well-functioning state institutions has often been compromised by bad politics.

TVM: How can the new government align with the IMF parameters that it finds itself as against its numerous campaign promises?

PEA: Well, it is an agreement that was signed with the previous government. The situation has changed! I believe the new government will be well within its rights to seek an early review of some aspects of the program. There is precedent, both here in Ghana and elsewhere, of such reviews and possible renegotiation taking place.

It is basically a matter of ensuring that the spending program that the new government wants to push is in alignment with the general expectations or the standards placed on us. The new government cannot renegotiate and bring in completely new criteria. The broad objective of achieving stability needs to be maintained. By all means there will be a limit to how much spending the new government can do; by all means, the IMF will be anxious to place some limits on our borrowing.

It is for us to ensure that the limits that we agree to do not compromise our future growth and the ability of the government to function. That’s the most important thing.

TVM: Is the fear that Ghana might experience Dutch disease grounded?

PEA: The fear that Ghana might suffer from Dutch disease arose out of the expectation that Ghana was going to generate ‘lots and lots’ of new revenue from oil. Clearly that has not happened. It has not happened, not because there is no oil in the ground, but for many different reasons, some of which are technical and others economic.

The world market situation for oil has changed significantly. Many things have worked to ensure that Ghana has not derived the expected benefits on the revenue side, and that probably would have saved us the reality of Dutch Disease. It doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen in future; things can change. There are a number of ways in which a country like Ghana can avoid Dutch disease.

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These have been discussed quite extensively over the years, long before the oil started flowing. We had many proposals in terms of how to manage the revenues; how to save part of it, and how to develop a heritage fund that would ensure that we didn’t consume everything that came out of it.

It’s my hope that in the coming years, the oil revenues would improve significantly, and when that happens, we will be able to use any of the several means available to government to ensure that some of the additional revenue is saved for future production and consumption.

TVM: Until recently, you were the Vice

Chancellor of University of Ghana. That position must have given you deeper insight as to the state of tertiary education in the country. How would you describe the tertiary education in Ghana?

PEA: Tertiary education in Ghana is very broad. It covers many different types of institutions: polytechnics, teacher training colleges, several other specialized colleges and then the universities. Among the universities we have the private ones which have grown astronomically over the last several years and the public, which are also growing quite fast.

Thus, today we have about ten public universities and over eighty private universities. The numbers keep increasing. People are worried about the quality of tertiary products. Is it justified? To some extent, it is. But I think some of the negative vibe is misplaced and born out of prejudice.

The negative perception is not necessarily grounded in any particularly strong analysis of what the products can do or cannot do. People are coming from these institutions to find placements in the industries or in the public sector, etc. To what extent are these workplaces prepared for them? Everyone has a responsibility to bear.

The role of the tertiary institution is to make it easier for industry players to train these graduates for their specific purposes. They provide the basics required for the world of work to build upon. The institution cannot produce people that are ready for every single industry in this country or in this world. So, it is the industries’ duty to train these graduates to meet their specific needs.

If employers share the view that there is a problem with the products of tertiary institutions, then they should also contribute by investing either in capacity building or putting funds into these institutions to provide them with the specific kind of products for their industries. But that is not happening here.

In the past, companies contributed to the development of these students because they accepted that the students were being prepared for their use in the world of work. All of these things– it’s not just money; it’s more dedication and a commitment to training, building the capacity of the people that you hire. In the last decade, the products of tertiary institutions have improved considerably as compared to the 90s when there were such challenges as the poor state of learning facilities, lecturers poorly motivated etc.

In those kinds of situations, there was no way to produce good graduates. But currently, there has been an improvement and that is reflected in the new crop of graduates being churned out. There’s hope that with the right kinds of management, with the appropriate investments, with the right motivation, we will see a very different crop of graduates emerge from our institutions.

TVM: In your submission you stated that industries should invest; what should they invest in? Are they to invest in the infrastructure within the institutions or in the researches that the professors and the faculty engage in?

PEA: They should invest in different areas including the infrastructure, the research, etc. They should provide various forms of incentives for students, for faculty members. It’s done everywhere in the world except in Africa. Everywhere in the world, you will find industries paying for the education of people that are going to run those institutions, except in Africa.

TVM: What’s your take on the conversion of the Polytechnics to Universities?

PEA: I see the motivation for the conversion as extremely poor. I do understand that our polytechnics have challenges. They have challenges in meeting the demands and expectations that we have of them. This is because we don’t invest enough in them. They don’t have the equipment to produce the people that we are looking for.

Why did we create polytechnics? We created them because we wanted people that knew how to run industries. We wanted people who knew how to produce things. Universities are generally not designed for that. So, if we have created polytechnics for these purposes and they are having difficulty fulfilling their mandate– will turning them into a university make it better? NO! It is my view that if they can’t do what they’re supposed to do, you help them to do it.

You don’t change the mandate! That’s what we’ve done in this country. The only reason why we are doing it is because the institutions and their heads are asking for it. It’s unfortunate that we’ve used the polytechnics for this illustration, but it happens in many other sectors of our society. When there’s a problem, instead of solving the problem, we change the name of the unit, as if renaming it will make the problem disappear.

It doesn’t! Changing the name wouldn’t solve the problem. The problem will persist because you have the same students, same lecturers, and same facilities.

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TVM: If you’re appointed the Minister of Education or the advisor to the Minister of Education, which particular area within the continuum of our education sector will you focus on and why?

PEA: Well, I have no interest in becoming the Minister of Education. But, I have a strong interest in how the education sector is structured and functions; perhaps largely from the several roles that I have played over the years in the sector. I believe that the area that the State should look at a lot more closely is the Secondary or Senior High School level and the Junior High School level.

The State can’t do much at the Tertiary level beyond providing the resources and providing a regulatory regime. But the State can play a more significant role at the High School level. Why do I say that? The State’s role in forming the character of the individuals going through the school system is very important because this is at the foundation level.

The state should have an interest in what the students are learning because that foundation is what is going to prepare them for later life. The state should have an interest in who and how many people are getting that secondary education. We, in Ghana, have created the Ghana Education Service for the task of ensuring that basic and secondary education are provided in an environment that is conducive, productive, and efficient.

Unfortunately, the Ghana Education Service is an over-centralized body, despite the fact that it has offices in the regions and districts with District Directors and Regional Directors and so on. The officers function in an extremely over-centralized manner. Decisions that are best taken at the school level get escalated to the top of the hierarchy. School authorities do not have adequate responsibility for what happens in their schools. All of their authority is, more or less, taken away by the Ghana Education Service.

As a result, even if there were good school managers capable of running our schools all over the country, they have no space to do that because everything is vested rather inefficiently in the Ghana Education Service. If I was advising the Minister of Education I would say, “The most important thing to do is to decentralize the Ghana Education Service”.

Make the districts have more authority to take decisions on the curriculum, management, teacher discipline, resource mobilization, etc. But, even more importantly, make the Boards of schools more responsible. Put people who have the capacity to manage the schools, who have the commitment to manage schools, who can mobilize resources for the schools, in charge of schools.

And let them take decisions on admissions, employment of staff, the maintenance of the institutions and that will make our secondary system blossom. Today, they are struggling because the Centre does not have the resources, the expertise and the capacity to run them. This has led to the schools to also struggle, and consequently sometimes feed the tertiary system with weak products.

It can be changed without necessarily increasing the amount of money spent by the state on secondary education, and we’ll get much better results. Without these structural changes, I can’t see how any other reform can be successful.

TVM: In your opinion, that’s what you refer to as decentralization

PEA: Exactly! They should give more authority to school boards, District Directorates, etc. to take decisions. So decisions are taken locally and not by the center.

TVM: In terms of your submission, how does the free SHS feed into this system; is it going to compound the problem?

PEA: If we maintain this current structure and say it’s going to be free, the free things will be managed by the GES in the same poor manner. Many more people will be coming into schools, but they will be leaving with extremely poor education.

TVM: What will you say is the role of academia and then by extension research in nation building or building an economy?

PEA: We have always maintained that African economies must transform or restructure in other to be more competitive. Restructuring means for me and for most developing economists, moving from low income agroproduction to higher income activities, probably in more secondary sectors of the economy, especially manufacturing.

The only way we can achieve that transformation is to have a critical mass of highly-skilled people. People who can make good use of technology to increase production much cheaper and to scale. Unfortunately, that is lacking in many African countries, including ours. If we want to see that happen, it means we’ve got to get more knowledge out of our universities and other tertiary institutions.

We need to be able to use new technologies or develop new technologies that will only come out of research. Even if the research has been done in other parts of the world, somebody here needs to do the research to show us how to adapt it to our local situation and conditions. So, without investing in research, our transformation is not going to happen.

For me it’s a given, without research, there’s no way we’re going to be a much faster growing economy. Of course, research takes time to yield results and there are different types of research. It’s our job to increase significantly the amount of research being done, and to make sure it is good quality research. It must also be largely relevant. Universities should be encouraged and supported to do more research.

Through research, we will be able to answer the questions of industries, the agricultural sector, health, education and so on. Without the research, no transformation is going to happen.

TVM: What happens to the multitude of researches conducted by Professors every year? Is it that the institutions required to implement or apply those research documents are all not willing to do so?

PEA: We are certainly not producing as much research as we need. Without the resources that I mentioned, individuals like me will do the research that they can afford. People in Africa are doing research without any grants and that doesn’t happen in anywhere in the world. Many of our scientists do not have both the basic and the sophisticated equipment that they need to do good research.

Good research equipment is expensive and can cost several million dollars. Faced with that challenge, researchers will rather do work that they can publish in some journal in order to advance their careers. They will not do research that is going to lead to very significant transformation of agriculture because that costs a lot of money and they don’t have the money.

For me, the proposed National Tertiary Education Research Fund is very important. It is one that should be properly resourced and managed, and used as a strong incentive for attracting people to do good research.

TVM: How was your childhood like growing up?

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PEA: I had a very interesting childhood. I was born in Kumasi because my father was working there at the time. But the first eight years of my life were spent at Nkawkaw, in the Eastern Region. This was because my mother was a private midwife and had a clinic there.

That’s where I started school. Together with my siblings we moved to Accra in 1963 to continue our education and lived with our father at Korle Gonno. It was at Korle Gonno that I formed many of the friendships that I cherish today. I really enjoyed my childhood growing up with a father who was very strict, a mother who was extremely caring and very resourceful, and siblings who were fairly united and supportive of one another.

I attended Radiantway Preparatory School, a private school at Korle Gonno in those days. Thus, I moved from a public school at Nkawkaw to a private school in Accra. From Radiantway I proceeded to Achimota. From Achimota to PRESEC, Legon. I learned a lot from these two schools that later influenced my thoughts and how I organized my life.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when we were changing governments rapidly; so I saw how, even as a young person, Ghanaians reacted to political development in this country. I watched my father and his friends debate issues and discuss things such as politics and the economy, obviously not loudly.

TVM: What were some of your favorite memories?

PEA: I remember the coup in 1966. I wouldn’t say it was a favorite, but I remember clearly how many Ghanaians responded to the coup. I remember the first ever Trade Fair that we had in this country. I think it was in 1967. It brought excitement to many Ghanaians.

I remember new buses for public transport being introduced by the Accra City Council in 1965 and how those buses made every body excited in the city. So, there were things that occurred as a child that one can look back at with fondness or interest. Not that everything was good. Ghana has been a very interesting place over these years for me.

TVM: During your formative years, what influenced your choice of career; did you envisage going into academia?

PEA: Not really! It’s a question I have been asked many times and I always struggle to answer. I know that every young person growing up, by the time you are ten years old, you expect to become a doctor! By the time you are maybe twelve or thirteen, it would have moved from doctor to lawyer; and then may be move from lawyer to engineer.

I remember when at school we were made to write essays on what we would like to be, I sometimes wrote doctor, but not with any strong conviction or commitment. I never really had my eyes fixed on any particular profession. I went to school basically to get education and then see what it would bring me. Indeed that has been my approach to my development. I never planned to become a Professor.

It was not my dream to become a Professor, no! I knew I wanted a degree. I gained admission into the University of Ghana and was offered economics and other subjects. I loved it and went on to do my masters in Planning at KNUST. Afterwards, I pursued my PhD studies in Germany. After the PhD I realized that a logical place for me to work would be at the university, making a career in research. I had come to love research during my studies. So, that’s how I ended up in academia.

TVM: As Vice-Chancellor, how would you describe your leadership style?

PEA: Transparent, open, and very clear in what I wanted to do. I believe I became ViceChancellor as a result of the transformations that I brought to ISSER. Everybody saw how ISSER changed under my leadership. It had become a very productive and well managed institution with a solid international record. It became a very transparent institution– one that was able to mobilize resources and use the resources effectively.

As a result its reputation was significantly enhanced. I saw my becoming Vice-Chancellor as the University basically saying to me “we are giving you a bigger platform to do what you’ve already done elsewhere”. So, when I became ViceChancellor I said to myself “I will continue doing exactly what I know how to; run the institution in a transparent, open but with a very clearly structured goal-oriented approach”.

My leadership style basically is ‘there is a problem, go and solve it’; or ‘there’s a problem, find the people who can solve it, if you can’t do it yourself ’. And I think that’s what basically led to a lot of the success we experienced at Legon.

TVM: Will you say your leadership style is innate or you had certain role models that you studied either in person or maybe through books or will you say it was from your upbringing?

PEA: Does one have to have role models? Yes, there were older people that I admired. There were also many people, especially older colleagues, who shared their stories and experiences with me, and I learned from them. I didn’t learn from them everything that I did or do. There were things that they told me about, and which I found very informative or very important to know and would apply if possible.

There are other things that I picked from the environment I live in, as well as from my own DNA. Combining all of these may have yielded the right results. To a very large extent, what I learned from reading biographies and autobiographies of TVM 39 leaders, both Ghanaian and foreign, allowed me to put many things in perspective. So, it is a mix of many things that determined how I look at leadership.

TVM: In your time as Vice-Chancellor what were some of the successes that you chalked that you are extremely proud off?

PEA: As Vice-Chancellor, I identified seven priority areas that I wanted to focus on: Research, Teaching and Learning, Physical Development, Governance, etc. I therefore made it a point that under each of the seven there would be at least two things that I would pursue and ensure that by the time I was leaving office I could identify what I had achieved in those seven areas.

I am happy to see the university– University of Ghana, gaining prominence for the number of researches published as a result of the significant support we gave to research. This has attracted many young people into research. I am happy we were able to restructure the PhD Program under the Teaching and Learning objective. This should improve significantly the quality of Legon PhDs in the years to come.

Under governance, I am happy we restructured the University, and in so doing, created the four colleges to make governance a lot easier. For the first time also, we were able to document on financial regulations that guides everybody on how to manage university resources. I am happy we were able to produce an HR Policy document and many other policy documents.

In the area of gender, we were able to increase significantly the number of girls admitted into our programs, the number of professional women employed, and the number of women promoted into senior academic positions as Associate Professors and Professors, etc. For infrastructure, the evidence is there for all to see.

I was always fully aware of the fact that the University was not only about buildings and roads, but they do matter a lot. I was happy that by the time I was leaving office, we had a strategic plan for the next decade. In sum, I left office a very satisfied man, knowing very well that I had done what I committed to do, and even more! I was lucky in having a very effective University Council under Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah to guide me.

It was a great University Council that I worked with. If the Council had been any less effective I don’t think we would have gotten the results that we got. There were many other colleagues in the Administration and in the Academic Units that played very important roles in carrying our agenda forward. I should express my deepest appreciation to all of them. This doesn’t mean there were no remaining problems. There were many other problems that we couldn’t tackle.

TVM: Are you in any way stating that you’ve built a strong foundation for your successors to build upon?

PEA: I believe so. I also believe one person cannot do everything. I built on what others before me had built.

TVM: Is the strategic plan bound by the ten years formula?

PEA: Yes, I believe. It’s the responsibility of the University Council to ensure that successive Vice-Chancellors develop programs to achieve the objectives that are enshrined in the plan. They don’t have to do the things that we were doing. All they have to do is to pursue programs that will achieve the outcomes agreed to in the strategic plan.

TVM: With the benefit of hindsight, would you have still chosen the path of academia?

PEA: I believe there is no way I would have done things differently. I came into academia by chance. But, I have enjoyed it. It has been a very worthwhile experience. I have achieved far more than I expected and I hope many young Ghanaians will take academic life seriously.

TVM: What is your greatest fear?

PEA: I don’t have any fears for myself. But, I worry about what I call ‘revisionism’ in Ghana and also in the world. By revisionism, I mean, things happen, and later people like to rationalize how they happened, but adding too much of their own twist to how they happened.

I see it in the way we discuss our politics and also our economy. I see it in the way the history of this country has been written or presented, and I get worried. I fear that after a few generations, people may not have access to the truth. I worry for young people in general.

TVM: What would you say is your deepest regret either professionally or outside the borders of your profession?

PEA: I may have a few personal regrets, but these shall remain private. In terms of my public life, working relationship with others, etc., I don’t think I have any regrets.

TVM: What is the most important thing that throughout your sixty years you’ve appreciated and you’ve learnt?

PEA: I know that many Ghanaians mention the role that religion plays in their lives, but in a very perfunctory manner. I am also fully aware of the fact that many of the things that I have achieved could not have been done by simply relying on my own strength or wisdom. I am fully aware of that.

As a result of that realization, I appreciate far more than 40 TVM many people expect the significance of GOD to me. I appreciate that a lot. I believe that GOD’s influence on my life has been very significant and that is what has held me even in difficult times.

TVM: Outside your professional life, what successes or achievements are you really proud off?

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PEA: I am quite satisfied with the way I have engaged with my old school, Achimota School. I am the President of the Old Achimotan Association (OAA) and that means a lot of time spent on school matters. While it takes quite a bit of my time these days, I think it’s time well spent.

I’m very happy that apart from Achimota School, I do have engagements with some other basic schools. I used to be quite engaged with church administration activities, especially as a Warden. I also serve on several Boards and Committees, both locally and internationally. I get invited to speak at lectures and symposia quite often and I am glad about all of these roles.

TVM: What has been the proudest moment in your professional life?

PEA: I think being appointed ViceChancellor of University of Ghana. I was very proud of the fact that I came to the University without any plans of becoming its Vice-Chancellor but the University found me worthy. I was very happy that the university authorities saw in me a leader that they could entrust the premier University to and gave me that opportunity.

TVM: What are some of your hobbies?

PEA: There are two things that I have tended to do. I used to read a lot when I was a little younger. Now, I enjoy gardening and walking.

TVM: Any sporting discipline that you like or love?

PEA: Yes. But, that has changed over time. I used to enjoy cricket and hockey quite a lot. Lately, because there isn’t much variety on what is available in Ghana, I tend to watch on TV a lot of English Football.

TVM: Who was your role model considering the various facets of your life?

PEA: My parents have been my role models. My mother taught me how to care and my father taught me how to organize my life. There are things I do simply because I know my parents would have done them too.

TVM: Your favorite delicacy and wine?

PEA: I like banku and okro stew. It is my favorite. I also do kenkey and okro stew. I like beer for my beverage. I don’t mind red wine either.

TVM: How is a day in your life like?

PEA: A normal day in my life is still very active. The only difference is that when I wake up in the morning, I don’t worry about what official meetings I have at any point in time. I determine the time for most of my meetings today. I’m still very busy.

I run a network of research universities in Africa; about sixteen of them, and that keeps me very busy in terms of emails and meetings. I still have a very active life even in retirement.

TVM: What’s your advice for the new government?

PEA: I will say: “stay focused”. They should stay focused on the things they can do. So long as the government stays focused without allowing itself to be drawn into unnecessary debates, etc., they should be able to do what is required.

TVM: The business community?

PEA: The business community needs to be ambitious and push for the things that will bring change to their business. I don’t think Ghanaian businesses have been ambitious enough.

TVM: The youth; those within the tertiary institutions and the graduates?

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PEA: I think, they also need to be ambitious. Many are those who are leaving the institutions and waiting to see what will happen. I don’t believe that everybody can go into self-employment. But, those who can should, and even those who cannot, can offer to organizations ideas on what they would like to do for them. By offering ideas to organizations they could find themselves employment.

I know that we live in a country where ambition is often seen negatively. What I always tell my students is that there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. There is however a problem with being over-ambitious. When you don’t know your limits then there is a problem. So, I strongly encourage young people to be ambitious in developing ideas and selling those ideas.

TVM: What’s your advice to the President in his first one-hundred days in office?

PEA: The President must be seen to be laying the parameters of how he is going to govern. It’s important that very early in his term people can identify him with particular ideas and thoughts. There’s nothing more disconcerting as a citizen than following a leader and not knowing where he’s going or where he wants to go. It’s happened in this country on a number of occasions.

It’s important that within the next hundred days, our President makes us fully aware of where he’s going or where he wants to go, so we can also think about how best we can help him to get there. Forget about what was said during the campaign, forget about what promises were made; here, now there’s power, authority, and resources– what are you going to do? What do you want to do? How can we help you to achieve your goals? So, the first hundred days should be for agenda-setting and this agenda must be properly sold to all, for all to see how they fit in and how they can contribute to realizing the agenda.

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