At the close of a long day, Songhai’s Managing Partner Nana Ampofo and Social Impact Director Lord-Gustav Togobo go back and forth about the challenges facing impact-oriented clients investing in Ghana. At the top of the list, it turns out, are ‘soft’ issues surrounding communication between investors and principals, principals and customers – four of which are laid out below:
- Trust: Rentier economics in our countries is well-documented and as such, investors are likely to touch down in Accra and drive to the project site accompanied by concerns about self-interested officialdom. However, local stakeholders will often have a similarly low opinion of the ‘outsiders’ – informed by their experience of programmes or investments quoted in the millions, high living standards of expatriate staff and the slow pace of progress. ‘Out of the total committed, more is going to personnel pretending to work than anything else’ is a typical refrain. The result is a ‘them and us’ culture which, if not addressed properly, can harm the quality of communication, warp relations and working practices.
- Expectations: And yet, and yet. Prevailing incentives in major impact-oriented sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and social housing can be an impediment to productivity. For example, as stated by a policy adviser at a recent Savannah Development Authority (SADA) dialogue, business pipelines are distorted by government waivers. There can also be an expectation of ‘handouts’, which, if denied, might create a constituency that will work to frustrate the proposed intervention or at the very least, not assist. Read more