With every piece of clothing we wear, with every item of food we buy to prepare our meals, with every single thing we use, we should ask ourselves, “Was it made in Ghana?” And even more important, “Could it have been made in Ghana?”
During my youth it seemed as though people placed a high premium on imported goods because they were rare; not your everyday possessions. They were often gifts or things that had been carried back from trips abroad.
My father owned a Teasmade automatic tea maker, which he’d acquired during a trip to England. It had a clock, with a timer and an alarm, which my father programmed every single night without fail so that by the time he was up and alert, his first cup of tea would be ready and waiting for him. He cherished that machine. But it was one of only a small number of things in our home that was not made in Ghana.
My father, like most Ghanaians, mostly purchased products that were manufactured in Ghana. This was during the years of Operation Feed Yourself. International trade regulations were not as liberal and the world had not yet become a global village. Ghana’s self-sufficiency extended beyond the agricultural sector; during those days we were manufacturing a fair amount of quality products.
That was a half-century ago. Now it seems that in most Ghanaian households, imported items are the norm and made-in-Ghana merchandise is, rather, the anomaly. It seems also that we are not manufacturing nearly as many products as we used to. In fact, many of the items that we spend millions of cedis to import could easily be produced right here in Ghana.
There is nothing wrong with purchasing an imported product. I remember how much my father loved his automatic tea maker, but I am certain that if the same product of comparable quality were being manufactured in Ghana he would have purchased that instead, and the Teasmade machine would have remained in England.
In order for our nation to fully develop, we must expand our local industries. When we spend our money on made-in-Ghana goods, that money remains in Ghana and is redistributed throughout our communities. When we support our local industries, we support the creation of additional jobs; we support and encourage the creativity and innovation of our fellow citizens; we teach our children how to be more than consumers, we teach them how to be entrepreneurs and visionaries, and how to rely on themselves to fill the basic needs of our nation.
On March 6, during my Independence Day address, I asked my fellow Ghanaians to start being more conscious about the products we are using. I followed the same instruction. The following morning, I began taking an inventory of my home to find out just how many made-in-Ghana products I used on a daily basis.
I am sharing my list with you with the hope that you will take your own inventory and share it with others. Maybe in so doing, we can inspire the young entrepreneurs among us to pursue their business ideas and we can inspire one another to invest in our communities by purchasing our locally made products.
Source: Daily Graphic