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Can Ghana Learn From Indians in Business?

5 Min Read
Ghana's Kejetia Market looks like an alien mothership landed in the centre of Kumasi. Closer up, the rusting tin roofs of this huge market (often cited as the largest in West Africa; there are 11,000 stalls and at least four times as many people working here) look like a circular shanty town. Inside, the throbbing Kejetia is quite disorienting but utterly captivating.

We can learn from even the ruins of Myanmar. You try too hard to make a bogus point, my friend.

India has many of the typical problems of the Periphery. Till Modi, it had the highest number of poor people in a single country and the highest number of open defecating people in one country.

To therefore seek to give the impression that things happened in India because they were somehow specially trained is to lie.

India like Ghana, has a small technocratic elite. The difference there though, is that Indian governments work very closely with this professional elite everywhere in the world, to deliver results. Narendra Modi is a master at this.

In my years working with Harish Manwani, I saw how this played out. 2 or 3 times a year, the Indian business elites meet each other at events like ET Summit in Mumbai.

There the academics from the top universities, the late C.K. Prahalad, Nitin Nohria, Srikant Dakar, Amartya Sen along with entrepreneurs like Mukesh Ambani, Sunni Mittal and Nandan Milekani, plus the global corporate cognoscenti, people like Harish Manwani, Ajay Banga, Vindi Banga, Rakesh Kapoor, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichar, Indira Nooyi, etc. etc. exchange ideas and thoughts. Even when not physically present.

Wherever they are in the world, they network strongly. Recently I was on a panel in the City of London, with some very high achieving people from Global Africa.

We had all worked in the City for years. Yet we were meeting each other for the very first time. I was embarrassed to my bone marrow.

This would be impossible among the Indians, I protested after the event. They would have met and worked out how to support each other long ago.

Even though they are very hardworking and extremely competitive. Their embassies would have brought them together for networking events.

Where in Africa is a business man revered in a country the way the Indians uphold Jasmetji Tata? Do you know how India celebrated Professor C.K. Prahalad before his death? I was fortunate to meet him in Goa before his illness.

There is much more I could say. The Hindustan Unilever Alumni system is about the best I have seen anywhere in the world.

At weddings of the children of the present corporate elites, you found the old guard present. This is how I got to meet people like Dr. Ashok Ganguly and Keki Dadiseth.

Bangalore as an ICT hub happened because of state policy. It is not an accident that they have emerged a world leader.

In many parts of Africa people like these are shunted aside by insecure politicos. You have recently seen Dr. Donald Kabureka take on Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame in public at the ruling party Congress.

Here too Kagame is an exception. So was Thabo Mbeki. I pray we can add the new “kid on the block,” Bola Tinubu to that list. Look at the Investment Advisory Councils these men formed. They had some of the biggest names from all over Africa in the business space by them.

If you pull together such people, be prepared for them to tell you as President to go to hell, in public, if that is where you belong.

Try that in Ghana. They will tell you about Ghanaian values. About respect for age. Whatever, whatever! While the country sinks under a heap of nonsensical politics and policies.

The Indians dominate global corporate leadership today. It is not because of their DNA. That is just like ours.

They work hard. And they want it. I often say Ghanaians will like to be developed. But we have no idea what it means to want to be developed. The latter possesses your national character with intensity.



Author- Yaw Nsarkoh,

10 April 2023 (Myjoyonline)

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