Country Session 1: Ghana
The Ghana session at this year’s Growth Week was motivated by the Enterprise Map of Ghana book which has stirred an intense interest in discussing how to promote the growth of the private sector in the country since its launch in April 2012. Under the theme ‘Promoting Private Sector Development for Growth in Ghana’, the session brought together academics, key policy-makers as well as private sector practitioners and stakeholders. The presentations and discussions focused on what government is doing in terms of policies to promote the private sector; how the private sector is performing and responding to what government is doing; areas of policy gaps and knowledge gaps; and whether there are endogenous feedbacks from the private sector that influence the quality of business regulations.
One key message from the session is that there is a strong possibility that even though the private sector is influenced by government policies, there are feedback influences from the private sector on the quality of business regulations. There is also a need to find out where there is a critical size that the private sector must reach for its impact on governance to be significant. These conclusions were drawn from the preliminary result of studies being undertaken by Matthias Busse (Ruhr University Bochum) and Robert Osei (University of Ghana). The session also showed that while government efforts under the PSDS II programme were laudable, the private sector still experienced a lot of challenges mainly due to lack of infrastructure and a long term development plan. The government policies were presented by Joe Tackie (Ministry of Trade and Industry) while Nana Osei-Bonsu (Private Enterprise Foundation) spoke on behalf of the private sector.
The session was very well attended with about 45 participants and the discussions were very deep, passionate and comprehensive. One participant – the governor of the Bank of Zambia – commented that among all the workshops and conferences he had attended on the private sector this was the most serious discussion.