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‘Stop Reciting Economic Solutions’

Business philosopher and Executive Director in-charge of Operations at Bullion Financial Advisors, Prof. Samuel Lartey, has called on policymakers and stakeholders of the economy to stop paying lip-service to addressing the myriad challenges facing the country.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Accra, he said creating a vibrant environment for business and economic growth requires effective implementation of sustainable solutions using an “all hands on deck” approach and not a mere recitation of those solutions.

“As a country, it is time we moved away from the regime where everybody seems to have solutions to the problems facing the economy but we continue to witness slow implementation of those solutions.

“The current situation requires people who will own the solutions, gain the required mandate and implement those viable solutions in the interest of socio-economic growth,” he said.

The comments come on the back of concerns about the disparity between the current level of national development and the bunch of home-grown policies and interventions that are yet to be implemented to push the country’s growth agenda.

Government in 2014 convened the National Economic Forum to promote dialogue toward achieving consensus on the policies, strategies and measures that would accelerate the country’s transition to a higher and more sustainable path of development and improve the lives of Ghanaians.

However, most of the suggestions contained in a communique issued at the end of the forum — including the establishment of an investment programme that would deal with the energy crisis in order to propel growth, employment, competitiveness and macroeconomic stability — are yet to be pursued.

Industry, academia and other critical sectors of the economy are currently reeling under the harsh consequences of a persistent power crisis on the back of rising inflation and a depreciating currency.

But the business philosopher said all is not gloomy for the country, with strong collaboration and significant contributions from experts in various sectors of the economy.

“All is not lost for Ghana’s economic transformation and socio-economic development targets; we have competent national business operatives and institutional office-holders.

“And fortunately, too, we know and have the solutions to most of these economic conditions; what we lack is how to implement those solutions,” he said.

Prof. Lartey also charged Ghanaians to riseabove personal gains and collaborate with government to implement viable solutions to address the current economic hurdles.

“Collaboration is working with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals.

“The resultant synergies are usually more than the intersection of common goals seen in cooperative ventures; they are a deep, collective determination to reach an identical objective,” he said.

Prof. Lartey challenged students, national office-holders and the business community not to give up yet on their journey. Ghana is not lost! He said our national business operatives and institutional office-holders are so precious to lose! “Our success and our national development is still within reach. Let us begin implementing our thinking. Don’t allow your peers and colleagues leaning over the back fence to make fun of our dreams.

With friends like that, we don’t need any enemies. If they want to remain buried in failure, let them. Don’t let them drag us down. Fortunately, we know and have the solutions. What we don’t know is how to implement them.

Let us rise over and above personal gains and collaborate to get the solutions implemented. Collaboration is working with others to do a task and achieve shared goals. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals. The resultant output (synergies) is usually more than the intersection of common goals seen in cooperative ventures; rather, a deep, collective determination to reach an identical objective.

He shared a story that is over 600 years old. Now, picture the scene with me if you will. Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, Germany, lived a family with eighteen children. In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighbourhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the kids — Albrecht and Albert Durer, the elder children — had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy. After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact (agreed a solution).

They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines, and with his earnings support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years financed his brother — whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation.

Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you”.

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed. He placed his clasped hands on his face and repeated, over and over, “No …no …no …no”.

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands!

The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late”.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands”, but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands”.

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one — no one — ever makes it alone! We need to collaborate to implement our solutions.


Source: B&FT

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