Ghana has undergone several energy crisis, popularly referred to as DUMSOR. Under Rawlings, Kuffour, MILLS/Mahama, Ghana had its share of the same problem, that cripples businesses and individual comfort. Many well remember the prolonged dumsor under Mahama's leadership and despite Bawumia insisting he had solved the challenge, well, it is rearing its head again and Ghanaians trust that, he will use his magic that helped him solve a problem of a past administration to solve his own.
This will be well known in the few weeks and months ahead as in the rephrased words of Bawumia, "if the fundamentals are not right, the lights will not stay on." In looking forward to solving this challenge however, I strongly believe that, a young energy expert may well hold the keys. He is Dr Ishmael Ackah and he holds a PhD in Energy Economics and Policy from the University of Portsmouth, UK, and MSc. in Energy Economics and Policy from the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. He has more than 20 peer refereed publications in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, OPEC Energy Review, International Journal of Energy Sector Management and Insight on Africa, OGEL, and is ranked by REPEC/IDEAS in the top 10 Ghanaian economists among more than 70 registered top economists based on publications, citations, abstract views and downloads (https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.ghana.html).
He has consulted for the Natural Resource Governance Institute to develop the Natural Resource Governance Index (petroleum) 2016, World Education Inc. (clean cookstove uptake in Ghana), Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) and Africa Matters Limited (natural gas investment potential in Ghana). Ishmael Ackah’s research interest include sustainable energy development, renewable energy economics, political economy of petroleum resources management, natural resource governance, electricity sector governance and economic planning.
Dr Ackah most recently coordinated the petroleum revenue information system (PRSI) with Dr Joseph Asenso (Ministry of Finance) and served as a member of the Inter-Agency Modelling and Analysis Team (IMAT), where he has developed a baseline petroleum governance index that measures the state of oil and gas governance prior to the operations of the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth. Prior to this, he served the Head of Policy Unit and a Policy Advisor at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) for more than two years. He is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Institute of Oil and Gas Studies, University of Cape Coast, and the Department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Ishmael as an Energy Economist boasts of experiences that spans public service, civil society and academia. He is a fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra and currently serves as the Regulatory and Electricity Market Expert of USAID’s West Africa Energy Program in Ghana and also previously worked as the Head of Policy Unit at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, coordinating research and advocacy on accountant ability and transparency in sustainable energy management and petroleum revenue management. Ishmael was also the first Coordinator of Local Content at the Ghana Energy Commission. He has a keen interest in energy research, and has published about 35 peer-reviewed papers in several high impact journals.
Ishmael was awarded the Rising Star Award at the 2017 Ghana Energy Awards, the 2018 Australian Awards Africa for Energy and Mineral Economics, and the 2019 Emerald Literati Awards for Outstanding Reviewer-International of Energy Sector Management.
With reference to how specifically he can directly assist Ghana to solve this problem, his studies, that have received global recognition may well be a great starting point. He has built this solid conviction that, there is the need for Ghana to develop a national policy for oil revenue investment in the country to ensure that the resource benefitted a lot of people. “There should be an investment guideline for the annual budget funding amount (ABFA) and strong monitoring system to make sure Ghanaians benefit from the oil resources. This policy should dictate projects within the priority areas that should benefit from oil revenues and the minimum amount that should be allocated. The policy should promote ‘within prioritization’ to reduce the thinly spread of oil revenues and reduce time and cost overruns,” he had said.
He believes that, the continual use of direct negotiations to award contract in the petroleum sector continues to be a challenge, hence the need to speed up efforts to introduce an open and competitive bidding process. “We need to quicken our steps to develop regulations for the implementation of competitive bidding process,”
Several of his other studies that are directly applicable to solving our energy challenges are easily accessible online and its high time, Ghanaian authority's utilize the time tested principles and lessons his studies reveled.
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