We need economic independence – HENRY LARTEY
*says Domestication is the answer to creating modern Ghana
By Ebele Orakpo
The major focus of the GCPP, according to Dr. Lartey, is African liberation and economic improvement of Ghanaians and he intends to achieve this by focusing on three major areas – energy, agriculture and job creation “The strategy of the GCPP is not about political power but rather economic change,” he said.
Dr. Lartey said energy is the cornerstone of modern economies. “Without it, we are powerless in every sense of the word,” he therefore advocated the establishment of a solar academy and alternative energy university which he said are indispensable to the future growth and development of Ghana if ‘we are to maintain our relevance as a leading African nation.’
“Today, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are the keys to ensuring both environmental protection and economic progress.
“Once in power, we will seek to convert Accra into the continent’s first solar and sustainable energy city for which an alternative energy university will be a major priority so that we will be able to guarantee the next generation of Ghanaians that they will never have to live in the dark again. This will make Ghana a key destination for renewable energy studies for both Africans and international students around the world. Domestication is the best policy for Ghana and for Africa,” he said.
Lartey is of the opinion that once Ghana gets the energy factor right; every other thing will fall into place.
Alluding to the €400 billion renewable energy (Desertec) project in Morocco which will satisfy100 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa’s energy needs as well as 15 per cent of the EU’s by 2050, Lartey said; “Europeans have drafted a plan that involves using the deserts of Northern Africa to provide energy for Europe, and they have committed hundreds of billions of dollars towards the idea.
It’s high time we Africans developed an aggressive plan to use African solar resources to generate energy for our own economies. We need to understand the technology and domestically manufacture wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars, etc., in Ghana. We should not wait for the west to start producing electrical cars and then, we go on consuming as usual,” he said.
Apart from strong political roots, Lartey also has deep roots in agriculture and he believes that with the right leadership and policies, Ghana, nay, Africa, can become food secure.
“Agricultural Domestication 2012 is about a bottom up approach to Ghana’s agricultural base. By working closely with all stakeholders, including the poorest farmers, we have to make new decisions regarding what varieties of foods we need, when to harvest, how long to store foods, what markets to export to internationally, and how best to consume our produce domestically.”
Lartey has been the chief executive officer at Lartey Associates Ghana Ltd., a leading exporter of fruits to European markets since 1987. Under his leadership, Lartey Associates has received innumerable awards of recognition, and has helped place Ghana as a top provider of fruits to Europe.
Some of the awards include: Golden Award for Quality and Business Prestige (Geneva 2007), International Golden Trophy for Quality New Millennium Award (Paris 2006), etc.; he is also a member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1983, which represents the membership of the top 1% of industry participants world-wide.
Lartey said they anticipate the creation of 370,000 new skill-based jobs from their intended electric cars initiative. “Given the current global challenges to the environment, electric cars are certainly the vehicles of the future.
Electric cars are rapidly gaining ground within developed economies. Like the US where there are already interstate highways that have opened special lanes for electric vehicles. Drivers can recharge their electric cars at charging stations along the highway while travelling long distances. The fast-charge batteries require only 20 minutes to be refilled. Moreover, the US Government has issued stimulus grants to make this possible.
This creates a unique window of opportunity for Ghana to become part of a future economy, rather than being a passive consumer in the future.
“Few Ghanaians appreciate the business and economic benefits behind the automotive industry. For example, in 2011, Mercedes Benz sold 1.3 million cars which generated revenues in excess of €106.5 billion. To put that in perspective, Ghana’s GDP during the same period was only €37 billion which means that one German car company produces more than three times the monetary value of our entire nation. Moreover, Mercedes earned €4 billion of its revenue in Africa, and yet, there is not one African nation seriously engaged in the automotive industry.”
Dr. Lartey said his party will create a modern Ghana which will be Africa’s first solar society. Explaining further, he said; “It is a nation rich in traditional cultures, forward-thinking and progressive not only in words but actions, a leading nation both on the continent and globally; an economically sound, capable and respected nation; fully employed, democratic, humanistic, intellectual, visionaristic and emancipated nation; a Ghana where all of us collectively working together, will build a better tomorrow.”
In conclusion, Lartey said; “We as Ghanaians and Africans know hardship, we know poverty, we know misfortune but the real question is ‘do we still have what it takes to work together to build a better society?’
Meanwhile, Global Friends of Dr. Henry Lartey will be organising a fundraiser for him. In a chat with Vanguard, the chairman of the group who is also the Chief/Executive Officer of PSC Solar Industries, Dr. Patrick Owelle, said the group will mobilize tremendous resources to support him. “What attracted me to him was his vision of making Accra the continent’s first solar and sustainable energy city.”