Thoughts while in Ghana, Sitting in a Parking Garage at Makola Market
By Dave Ketchum, March 2, 2023
So many things I forget when I have not been in Ghana or other developing countries for a while.
The first thing that comes to mind is the number of people who walk, take public transport, or risk their lives to ride a motorbike between lanes of cars, trucks and buses to save time and money.
In the USA, we have “now hiring” signs at every business. In Ghana there is no work at any level. It is certainly not only the people at the bottom of the economic pyramid who are out of work. Multitudes of university graduates cannot find employment. People put boards on their heads to carry stacks of boxes in and out of tight places in a sea of people in the city-center markets. Their only tool is the board.
The Ghana Cedi in the last year has lost nearly a hundred percent of its value. So many people have to choose between sending their children to school and putting food on their table.
On this trip to Ghana, I have learned that in ’22 this country produced less than a quarter of the corn it produced in ’21! There are several reasons, from poor government policies to the war in Ukraine, to other world issues including high fuel costs, etc.
About 15 years ago, Ghana had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Today, Ghana is one of the least productive countries in the world. Some time ago, oil was discovered off the west coast of Ghana which gave the people great hope. Evidently the profits from that oil never reached the people.
I personally need to come here often to share what I experience. Others need to see for themselves how blessed we are in the USA. On the other hand, what Ghana has is potential. I see unbelievable opportunity to create businesses of integrity here to the glory of Christ.
There are very few good paying jobs where physical products are created. Most of the needed commodities to live on are imported. However, bauxite is here. Diamonds and gold are here. Many fruits and nuts grow here naturally. With irrigation, this country could produce lots of grain. In fact, with irrigation, I am totally convinced many crops could be harvested twice yearly.
Instead of importing chicken, Ghana could integrate corn production and raise their own chicken, pork, and beef. One of the delicious meats of Ghana is the grasscutter, a rodent that only eats grass, a healthy animal that can be raised here commercially as well.
Even though the conditions are challenging, the opportunities are endless … needing only inspired vision and excellent management.
I am a proud citizen of Columbus, Indiana, where J.I. Miller transformed a midwestern town into “The Athens of the Prairie”. As the principal stockholder of Cummins Engines, he brought vision to our community. And because of his vision, Columbus has world class architecture in its public buildings, schools, and churches. Because of his vision, local citizens have greater access to employment and education. Mr. Miller was a local, national, and world leader who advised presidents – and cared about his community.
Ghana and other developing countries of the world need men and women who will take their eyes off themselves and put them on Christ and then work to motivate, encourage and empower others to become what they can become.
Joseph Irwin Miller was fortunate to receive excellent training and an education rarely seen in his generation, but he used it to lift others up. One of his biographies is called The Cathedral Builder. Ghana and the rest of the world need a generation of Cathedral Builders.
With this type of godly leadership, our world would be far better within only a generation or two. Perhaps God will allow Mission Resource and its network to discover these men and women willing to pick up the mantle and keep their eyes on the prize, not getting caught up in the cares of this world and the pride that so easily entangles.