Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Yes, Plan We Must - But Let Us Also Discard Aspects Of Our Culture That Hinder Creativity In Young People

It is worrying that as a people, we seem to be ignoring the fact that it is only by becoming an innovative society in which cutting-edge ideas are constantly produced by research institutions, businesses and individuals; and the taking hold of an  enterprise culture amongst young people, which will eventually make Ghana a prosperous African nation - one underpinned by sustainability.

Why, when some disruptive technology could come along to suddenly change a particular sector of the national economy, for example, and render its business model obsolete, should we shackle ourselves with the straightjacket of a 40-year national development plan?

Yes, plan we must, but why are we not also devoting the same energy to examining those aspects of our cultural heritage, which  hinder the development of curiosity in children, and block the fostering of creative minds in the education of young people?

Development plans indeed are essential for a nation's  growth - but they need to be implemented by people with the imagination and agility of mind to adapt them to the challenges of an ever changing world.

Talking of creative thinking, why, for example, as a people, do we not see that gender parity will immediately double the available talent-pool needed to move the enterprise Ghana forward?

Towards that end, should we not therefore, as a matter of urgency,  pass laws reserving half the seats in Parliament for women - so that the legislative arm of government spearheads efforts at making Ghana a nation in which women are truly equal in all spheres of our national life?

Will that not enable Ghana's gallant and hardworking womenfolk to make an even greater contribution to the creation of a more prosperous society than they currently do?

As a result of the fact that there is a dearth of leaders who can think creatively in resolving our problems, sadly,  at a time of global climate change, we continue to spend billions of cedis constructing roads that develop potholes soon after being built, and are easily washed away by flash floods.

Yet, we have the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which could transfer to road contractors the simple technology of mixing melted plastic waste with bitumen, to enable our nation to be provided with a network of climate-change-impact-proof plastic roads, at virtually no extra cost.

Plastic roads last three times as long as conventional roads, remain pothole-free throughout their lifespan, bear heavier loads, and are not washed away by flash floods because plastic is impermeable to water.

A national network of plastic roads will  provide Ghana's national economy with some resilience and disaster risk-reduction capacity at a time when extremes of wheather have become the norm, and widespread flooding more frequent.

So, yes, plan we must, but it is only through constant innovation and creative thinking that Ghana will become a prosperous society. The various research institutes of the  CSIR should work closely with the Ghanaian business world to exploit their research findings for society's benefit.

By commercialising some of those research findings, could we not resolve the problem of youth unemployment, for instance, by encouraging young people to become self-employed, and teach them to access markets across the globe through the internet's plethora of e-commerce platforms including Alibaba, EBay, Amazon, Zulily, and Etsy?

And are there not crowdfunding websites that they could raise funds for their projects from, such as Greenvolved, GoGetFunding, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I ask?

Whiles we plan for the long-term, we must also move quickly to discard those things in our culture that block curiousity in children, and kill creativity in the educated youth of our country - and witness the resultant flourishing of innovation that leads to the development of dynamic and profitable businesses and industries in Ghana, spearheaded by creative minds with cutting-edge ideas.

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