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24 Hour Economy already exists in Ghana and is not a new policy

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The coming of the 24-hour Economy?

A 24-hour economy refers to an economic system where businesses and activities operate around the clock, 24 hours a day. This concept has gained prominence in modern society due to increased globalization, technological advancements, and changing consumer behaviour. The 24-hour economy extends beyond traditional working hours, allowing for continuous productivity and accessibility. This paradigm shift not only fosters economic dynamism but also addresses the changing lifestyles and demands of a globalized world (Liu,2023).

Mehta et al, (2023) posited that key aspects of the 24-hour economy include globalization and time zones, where there is interconnectedness in the global economy. This means that businesses operate in different time zones. To facilitate seamless communication and transactions, many industries, especially in finance and technology, need to function 24/7. For instance, the rise of digital technologies and automation has enabled businesses to operate more efficiently outside regular working hours. Online platforms, e-commerce, and automated processes contribute to the continuous functioning of the economy.

Glorieux et al, (2008) also indicated that generally speaking, the 24-hour society is believed to be driven by exogenous or macro-level factors, supported by (Presser, 2005). Flexibilization and destandardization have often been understood as ways to accommodate changes in technology and the global market (Garhammer, 1995). The spread of information and communication technologies (ICT), along with a globalizing economy, have made it necessary for international companies to run 24 hours a day to respond and deliver (just) in time, to compete with different time zones, or to stay in contact with branch offices in different locations all over the world.

To maximize profits on capital investments, employers will seek to extend operating times. For employers, the wage costs of shift work are lower than overtime payments to day workers, as there are strict rules on how to compensate workers for overtime in developed economies (Van Doorn, 2023).

Demand Supply Conditions and the Service Market

An element in the demand for more flexible work-time arrangements is the noticeable growth of the service sector, which in the last few decades has become the largest segment of many economies (Presser, 2004). Due to the preponderance of service work, the temporal boundaries instituted by industrial society are being questioned. Consequently, there is increasing interest in extended shopping and service hours.
The remarkable expansion of the recreation and entertainment industries has also accelerated the need for paid evening, night-time, and weekend work. The desynchronization of social time implies that free time for some people becomes the work time of others (Lallement, 1995). This macroeconomic factor favouring a 24-hour society is therefore also related to changes in the supply and demand side of the labour market. The growth of the service economy goes hand in hand with women’s participation in the labour market, and these trends are mutually reinforcing. While women are easily employable within the service economy, their engagement in paid labour increases the demand for services and commodities, since part of what was formerly produced at home is purchased instead (Glorieux et al., 2008).

 

The increasing number of dual-income families has strengthened purchasing power, but there are fewer opportunities to go out and buy goods and services during normal working hours. This, in turn, enhances the demand for extending the business hours of services and shops (Presser, 2005).
On the supply side of the labour market, demand for more flexible hours is also rising. Individualization, the emphasis on individual autonomy, and the numerous problems resulting from the individual’s need to manage his or her time in a high-pressure society underline the need for work-time autonomy. In this respect, time sovereignty is an important factor since more temporal sovereignty leads to more temporal flexibility (Glorieux et al., 2004). Employees with more time sovereignty work longer days than employees with no or less time sovereignty and are therefore more likely than ‘regular’ full-timers to carry out some of their paid work at non-standard times, such as in the evening or during the weekend(Glorieux et al.,2008).

The World and Africa 24-Hour Cities That Never Sleep

New York is one renowned city that ‘Never Sleep’. New York City embodies the essence of a vibrant 24-hour economy. Its bustling nightlife, thriving entertainment scene, and round-the-clock business operations contribute significantly to the city’s economic vitality. There are others like London’s 24-hour economy, which thrives on its diverse range of industries, from its renowned theatres to its lively pubs and restaurants. The city’s transportation network operates throughout the night, ensuring seamless connectivity for businesses and leisure activities alike.
Tokyo in Japan also operates a 24-hour economy that is characterized by its efficient transportation system, which allows people to move around the city easily at all hours. The city’s vibrant nightlife and diverse range of restaurants and entertainment options further contribute to its thriving 24-hour economy.
It is also important to note that in Africa, some countries also benefit from the 24-hour economic systems. These countries include Nigeria and South Africa. For example, in cities like Abuja and Lagos, Johannesburg and Cape Town there is the saying that the city never sleeps. What that means is that some businesses work 24 hours in these cities. The entertainment business, catering and transportation are examples. To ascertain whether the 24-hour economic systems operate in Ghana or otherwise, data was collected using secondary sources. That is, data that already exists in this economic system. Sources include journals and articles, research reports, and newspapers. Journals between 2004 to 2023 were randomly sampled and used for this article.

Ghana and the 24-Hour Economic System
The findings reveal that Ghana has not been left out of the wave of this economic system. Secondly, the findings indicate that not much is noticed about how and where this system works in Ghana. Analyzing the data collected, it was revealed that Ghana as a 24-hour economy depends on two pillars, and that it is these pillars that influence demand and supply conditions fundamental to the success of this economic system. The pivotal pillars are discussed in this article as enablers and inhibitors. The enabling factors are Technology, Physical Infrastructure, and Human Resources backed by skilled IT professionals. The inhibitors according to the findings are security and the lack of knowledge of this system by most small and medium, scale enterprises (SMEs) in the rural areas of Ghana which form about 44% of the population of Ghana.

 

 

Enablers
In terms of technology as an enabling factor, the digitization agenda of the government for example, the Ghana card, mobile phone interoperability allowing the free flow of funds from mobile phones to banks, Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), the Ghana Post, DVLA, NHIA and Ghana Ports are all enabling factors that have supported the unnoticed 24 hour economic systems in Ghana from the demand (Customers and users) according to the research.
Supporting the flow of goods and services within Ghana 24/7 business activities has been influenced positively by the availability of roads and telecommunication facilities according to the research. The privatization of the telecommunication sector, to accommodate the mobile phone telephony companies is also an enabler of the 24-hour business activities (Asiedu, 2019). This has also catapulted up the flow of goods, services, and financial resources, enhancing the flow of the unnoticed 24-hour economy. Economic systems referred to in the article is based on the demand side (Customers and Users) and the supply side (Businesses).
Backing the Technological and Physical Infrastructure as pillars for the 24-hour economy are human resource initiatives provided by the government from the grassroots through the free education systems according to the research. Not only that, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) boost given by the government has also led to the improvement of skills in roping in the development of applications(Apps) and improving the social media businesses and platforms in Ghana. Examples of these platforms that operate 24/7 are Tonaton, Etsy, Jiji, Hubtel, Uber Eats and Bolt Food. Ghanaian customers also order goods from Amazon for delivery to U.S. locations, then use discount express couriers through Ghana Post and EMS to ship goods to Ghana more cost-effectively. These enablers, according to research that influences both the demand and the supply side of businesses in Ghana, exist but are not noticed by all, especially the Ghanaians who do not have access to the internet.
Inhibitors

The findings indicated that in the rural areas, people did not know, and were not aware that 24-hour economic systems work in Ghana. From the data reviewed, not much was found on how knowledgeable customers and even some of the businesses are aware of a system called the 24-hour economic system. Secondly, security, armed robbery, and consistent electricity supply were also identified as factors that inhibit the businesses from operating 24 hours. The data also showed that technological securities like data protection, and cyber security are issues as well.
The 24-Hour Economy Business Model in Ghana (E.I Model)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insights from the Research and Conclusions

Interestingly, the findings show that there are some activities of the 24-hour economic systems operating in cities like Accra, Kumasi, and Koforidua. The types of businesses experiencing these include food and beverages, the media, catering services, bars and restaurants. Other sectors include the transportation sector and businesses that operate using electronic and social media platforms. Examples of specific businesses are Private Hospitals and Clinics, VIP Operators, Bars and Restaurants, and Food street vendors in prominent areas of Accra, Kumasi, and Koforidua. For social media and sales platforms, we have Jiji, Tonaton, and Etsy just to mention but a few. These businesses are thriving despite the rising impact of technological inhibitors. Including protection issues, cybercrime, and internet instability in rural areas.

In conclusion, a 24-hour economy as a new way of doing business already exists in Ghana and it is working. What, in my opinion, needs to be done to strengthen and widen it from the hospitality and the essential services sector to other sectors. It is not a new policy and should not be seen as such in my opinion.
Rather, more needs to be done for expansion to other sectors and make it workable. As this is an ongoing economic system impacting the shape of Ghana’s, economy. This article creates an opportunity for further research on the influence and implications of the demand and supply conditions, and perhaps a comparative analysis of how this economic system operates in other countries in the sub-region versus Ghana. Another area that can also extend the knowledge and insights that this article provides would be to examine the lessons learnt from economies implementing this system and how they have learnt to manage the inhibitors.

 

References

Asiedu, E.M., Shortland, S., Nawar, Y.S., Jackson, P.J. and Baker, L., 2019. Supporting Ghanaian micro-entrepreneurship: the role of mobile technology. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 11(3), pp.306-327.

Garhammer, M. (1995) ‘Changes in Working Hours in Germany: The Resulting Impact on Everyday Life’, Time & Society 4(2): 167–203.

Glorieux, I., Mestdag, I. and Minnen, J., 2008. The coming of the 24-hour economy? Changing work schedules in Belgium between 1966 and 1999. Time & Society, 17(1), pp.63-83.

Lallement, M. (1995). ‘La fine di un tempo? Flessibilità e differenziazione del tempo sociale in Francia’ (The end of an area? Flexibility and differentiation in social time in France), Sociologia del Lavoro 58: 81-101.

Liu, H. and Lim, G., 2023. When the state goes transnational: The political economy of China’s engagement with Indonesia. Competition & Change, 27(2), pp.402-421.

Mehta, Balwant Singh. “Changing nature of work and the gig economy: Theory and debate.” FIIB Business Review 12, no. 3 (2023): 227-237.

Van Doorn, N., Ferrari, F. and Graham, M., 2023. Migration and migrant labour in the gig economy: An intervention. Work, Employment and Society, 37(4), pp.1099-1111.

Author: Dr. Emmanuel Mensah Asiedu
Director & Educational Consultant
Pinnacle Amofahba Education and International Recruitment Services UK & Ghana
Telephone nos 07947152878
Email: Pinnacleamofahba@gmail.com

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