I met a powerful South African multi-millionaire business magnate with business presence across the continent. He had just hinted me that he just finalised a deal to enter the Nigerian market and was considering Ghana too.
Having told me he has studied Ghana for about 5 years and now he is considering entering Ghana – I could not help but ask him a few questions about Ghana and his response has kept me thinking. Please take a look at this conversation and let us discuss.
Me: “Sir, please I need some insight from you and kindly permit me to ask them in the form of a passage cascaded with my questions.
Why don’t we have dollar billionaires in Ghana?
Since you just returned from Nigeria, permit me to cite them as an example; why don’t we have the Aliko Dangotes, the Mike Adenugas, the Tony Elumelus, folks who have built private businesses that has become major multinational corporations employing 10s of 1,000s. Dangote alone employs over 26,000 workers. Sir even if we digress into Ministry, David Oyedepo’s CanaanLand alone employs over 2000 staff; I mean the employed population alone are more than a whole congregation of a typical Ghanaian mega-church Sunday attendance. There are over 40 nigerian registered private Jets and some owners like Orji Uzo Kalu have 5, Oyedepo has 4, Adenuga has 3, Dangote has 2!
What are we not doing right here? Is there anything wrong with THE GHANAIAN? Most of our major businesses have been dominated by foreigners who employ our people and in some cases don’t even pay them well and with denigrating treatment.
Can you help attempt to solve this puzzle in my mind?”
It was a WhatsApp chat with this Magnate, he heeved a very long sigh; “hmmmmmmmmmm…” he typed. Then, I think the passage and its questions were too complex to reply with a typed chat, so he chose a better path and rather sent a very lengthy voice note.
I will try to type out all he said in the note verbatim, so it doesn’t lose its consummate meaning.
“Well, BigG, you have asked very deep and well articulately-coined questions, but let me try and put it in a simple way and let’s see if this will make a home-run for you.” He began.
“Actually, the answer to your question is a complex one. The first thing I will say is that I think Ghanaians are one of the most extremely well-mannered people I have ever met on earth. They are peace-inclined, they are organised and have more patience, I first noticed that in 2012 when I first came and saw that passengers understood queues, drivers were relatively more disciplined in their lanes and obeyed traffic lights – far better than what I had experienced in Lagos.
Having said that, I think this calm and patient disposition of the Ghanaian, although a praise-worthy virtue, could become a weakness if not closely monitored. Many of you Ghanaians are not angry! You are not provoked to do more and take more out of life. Partly because of your naturally less-aggresive build-up, so when many of your Entrepreneurs are able to push to a point where they have become the top-most in your sphere of contact, and they win some fews awards here and there, they are full, their hunger is full, they go to bed.
Another factor I have observed is that most of you guys talk too much and do less, then you also don’t truly love each other’s progress deep down your hearts.
BigG let me be candid with you, there are millionaires in your country who can easily buy a Jet, as your question seemed to suggest that the Ghanaian does not have the capacity, they do. But do you know why they haven’t?
1. Fear of too much talk in town – the Ghanaian doesn’t like muddying the waters that can create unnecessary ripples.
2. Fear of victimisation – the Ghanaian thinks he might be monitored or victimised by powers that be and since most people are not genuinely happy for eachother, he will rather “stay calmly in his corner”, but you see, that kind of thinking never produce Billionaires! A Billionaire is an alloy of bravado and reckless guts.
So that is why you dont see the jets there, in Nigeria nobody cares! Because everyone is busy doing, the competition to survive is too fierce fierce to have time for a fora or a communique on why Orji has 5 jets.
Another factor is Government, check all around the World, most billionaire entrepreneurs blew off that “M” ceiling into “B” because of favourable Government policies. The Nigerian Government at those times smithed those billionaires by creating intentional policies that changed the game globally for the Dangotes and the Adenugas. They are in no way smarter than your Amoabeng UT Founder or your Patrick Awuah of Ashesi, but I doubt if those folks of yours will ever enter the “B” bracket in their lifetime except Government identifies such Entrepreneurs and deliberately create channels of extreme prosperity through them by forming policies that can make it happen. I hope my response has answered you well? Some people play the population and size card, but I quite frankly think it is not a strong argument. What do you think too BigG?”
Folks, that was the content of the voice note, when I finished listening, I was overwhelmed with emotions.
Now, let’s discuss. Do you agree with him? What are your own thoughts too. How can we improve as Ghanaians and build a more prosperous nation with companies becoming MNCs and employing 10s of 1000s of people?