Sir Sam Jonah has wondered what the fate of gold, oil and remittances will be in the next 40 years and the impact that a negative prospect relating to them risks having on Ghana’s economic fortunes since they are currently major drivers of the economy of the West African nation.
In a speech to Rotarians in Accra titled ‘Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana’s future by a senior citizen’, the executive chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa, said: “Let us look at the main drivers of the economy and their prospects going into the future. Take mining for instance, and here I refer to gold mining because it is the most significant mineral in the mining sector”.
“Like all minerals, gold is a depleting resource. It is irreplaceable”, citing: “Not too long ago, South Africa was, by far, the biggest producer of gold in the world; in 1994, out of a total global production of 81 million ounces, South Africa alone produced more than 20 million ounces, representing 25%”.
Ghana, at that time, “did not even register as one of the major producers”, he noted.
In 2020, he said “South Africa’s share of global production is only 3%, and it has lost the top spot even in Africa”.
“Ghana now enjoys the enviable position as the biggest producer in Africa”, Mr Jonah said.
“But, 40 years from now, who can say for sure that we will still be producing gold here?” he asked.
He said: “As for our newly found jewel, oil, a lot of countries are talking about green energy and alternatives to fossil fuels due to the phenomenon of climate change”.
Most countries, he mentioned, “are making plans to ban or phase out the use of fossil fuels in the near future”.
“So, 40 years from now, what would be the demand for oil? That is if we still have some”.
Meanwhile, he said “remittances from Ghanaians in the diaspora, which is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Ghana, is also at risk due to major generational changes”.
“Again, 40 years from now, it is not certain whether the next generation of Ghanaians in the diaspora will feel so attached to families here as to be sending money to take care of them or build houses here”.
“To put it in context, this source represents a significant part of our national income”.