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COVID-19: Morocco's production of ventilators

Tue, 14 Apr 2020 Source: Isaac Ato Mensah

Last week, Morocco’s Industry minister in an email to Reuters announced that his country had ordered 500 ventilators which will be ready this week.

According to the story which was also featured on Ghanaweb, “The North African kingdom has confirmed 1,431 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 105 deaths, and is seeking to raise the number of its intensive care beds to 3,000 from 1,640”.

For at least 24 hours, that is, from the time Ghanaweb published the story at 10:30am on 12 April to 14 April by 01:00 GMT, there had been no comment on it – and the legendary Ghanaweb trolls had taken flight.

Now I understand what my mentor said: “You know the ghanaians NEVER comment when their laziness is exposed”.

The same story was also published on nytimes.com on April 10.

Why repeat it then?

It is because of the important lessons that the story should generate from public discourse.

His Majesty Mohammed VI was here in Accra from 16-18 February 2017.

The king arrived from Liberia where he and his delegation had gone to confer with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, then ECOWAS chairperson.

Have we lost the chance for Morocco to join ECOWAS?

Is our country exploring a genuine business partnership with this great ancient African kingdom?

Morocco’s aeronautics industry has the capacity to produce the initial 500 ventilators.

Let us compare it to ghana’s cocoa industry.

We realise that Morocco’s annual USD1.58bn worth of aeronautics exports produced by 10k workers is about the size of our cocoa industry.

Our cocoa industry for which every year we take syndicated loans of about USD2bn employs approximately 800K in basically primary commodities production.

Now USD2bn/800K people =USD2500 per head per year from ghana’s cocoa industry.

Whilst USD1.58bn/10K people=USD158K per head per year from Morocco’s aeronautics industry.

Who mentioned oil and gas and the USD 900M in our Heritage Fund?

And as my mentor will add, “And they have enough food to last them the next six months WITHIN THE COUNTRY while they fight COVID-19”.

In ghana when serious educated people are contributing to public discourse, they have to battle with rent seeking or hired trolls.

Now where are the trolls?

Have they taken flight with the drones?

Or they are also busy sharing food in those unsightly videos of people fighting over food?

Maybe they are also chasing contracts and sharing in the millions of dollars being spent on fighting the COVID-19…..ghana style.

So with all we have done for the drone company, “The largest drone health delivery service in the world” etc, etc, can they not deliver food or anything to the door steps of the poor and needy?

We have realised that our disinformation minister does not mention the 200 ICU beds and ventilators anymore.

The so called “astute” journalists have still not asked to verify the portable ventilators in the 308 ambulances.

Ok, now that the trolls have been told to ceasefire, any cogent responses from the financial gurus who packaged the syndicated loans, the bookmakers and book builders who were congratulated by our “financial analysts” for their superior knowledge that earned their banks/institutions about 5% profit every cocoa buying season?

Our seasoned bankers and chartered accountants who touted expertise in syndicated loans for the KIA Terminal Three project- where are their contacts in the aeronautics industry when we need ventilators and the industry is begging to be engaged?

“Hey hey…..only divine intervention can save us,” my mentor concluded. “Because we have NOTHING to fight with and almost everywhere you turn something strange or irrational is happening.”

We need to learn from or simply follow the example of the ancient Northern African kingdom; There are important lessons which can help us improve our lot.

Remember our forebears from ancient Ghana also settled there.

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Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited exist to be a moral and intellectual guide to the best practice of PR and integrated communications around the world, beginning with Ghana.

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah
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