The people of the Upper West, even though they are among the brightest in Ghana, are the poorest in the same country. In the Upper West Region, seven-out-of-every-ten people live below the poverty line. The people naturally are intelligent, they however hardly make ends meet. Does this imply that the educational system is not sufficient to meet the needs of the people? I cannot say, but it glaring that there is a problem. The educated people are chiefly employed by the government, and only a few have their own businesses running.
In Wa, which is the regional capital, most people are gainfully employed, or are at least engaged in petty trading. The problem here is that; everybody does the same work; everybody trades in the same thing. For example, the number of drinking spots in “small Wa” is alarming. You can literally find 5 drinking bars within a 50 metre square area. The trend for those who “have money” is to put up a filling station, and so just like drinking bars, there are a lot of filling stations coming up. The economic patterns of the people are therefore niched and skewed in the same direction.
In our pursuit of businesses, the people of the Upper West Region are not identifying the many prevalent and very widespread problems of the region. Consequently, they are not designing entrepreneurial concepts to solve these problems that are very pervasive and destructive. It is apparent that we are generally not entrepreneurial, but entrepreneurship is the way forward. The few who are, are not thinking right in their business endeavors.
The story is not so different in the district capitals even though employment rates are much lower there. The villages are where you can find the gruesome picture. The people depend on peasant farming alone. There, the only people employed by the government are the 2-5 teachers in the village school. Trade is low, there’s almost zero technical and vocational skill, literacy is “down there”, commercial farming is absent.
But let this not blind you, from these villages come medical doctors, engineers, professors, etc. Our people have the mental capacity to explore and understand information and literature. However, we are poor economically. We depend on grants and other forms of assistance from NGOs and philanthropists. Sad!!!
If you thought that at the end of this write-up I would provide a roadmap to improving the situation, then I’m sorry. I do not have that blueprint. However, I recommend that in our few entrepreneurial practices we should endeavor to solve problems rather than create more. For example, people can pursue social enterprises in agriculture that will produce food crop and livestock, train others to do same, employ people, and boost trade. This is in contrast with the drinking spot pandemic which doesn’t look at the big picture, but just makes a few coins at the expense of another man’s health. Secondly, let us be innovative; let us bring ideas different from the ones already common.