Unleashing potential of 24-hour economy – global trends and opportunities


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 globalisation, 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 globalised world.

Key aspects of the 24-hour economy include globalisation and time zones, where there is interconnectedness of 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.

Therefore, we in Ghana must be able to take advantage of the pivotal role that digital technologies are playing in shaping economies through digital communication tools to help enable businesses to operate seamlessly across different time zones, providing citizens with access to goods and services at any time and in real time; and this cannot be only ATMs, chopbar operators or night clubs.

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 theatre district 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 characterised 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. These examples mentioned mean that Ghana can start the 24-hour economy through the regional capital and then as infrastructure is improved, it will spread to the district capitals.

In Africa also, we see Lagos in Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous city, has recognised the potential of a 24-hour economy and is taking steps to foster its development. The city’s entertainment industry is particularly vibrant, with numerous nightclubs, bars and restaurants operating late into the night.

Johannesburg in South Africa is another African city embracing the 24-hour economy concept. Its thriving nightlife, including casinos, restaurants and bars, attracts both locals and tourists, contributing to the city’s economic growth.

Cape Town in South Africa has embraced the 24-hour economy by extending its operating hours for businesses and attractions. The city’s vibrant waterfront area, with its restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, is particularly active in the evenings. All these are resulting from the changing consumer preferences and lifestyles that contribute to the demand for services and products at unconventional hours. There will be no sense in saying we have digitised if it will not be beneficial to our citizens. Policies are there to inure to the citizens, not just a campaign slogan.

How do we, therefore, use this to unlock  economic potential here in our country? Ghana has cocoa, oil, bauxite, etc. and with its growing economy and youthful population, stands poised to benefit from the adoption of a 24-hour economy. Extended operating hours create additional shifts and job opportunities. This can help reduce unemployment rates and boost economic participation, particularly among the youth.

A 24-hour economy means the country can lead to increased productivity as businesses capitalise on round-the-clock operations. This heightened efficiency contributes to global competitiveness, attracting investment and fostering economic growth. One interesting area is the tourism and hospitality sector, which requires a substantial face-lift and could have substantial growth by offering 24-hour services.

Catering for the needs of international tourists arriving at various times can enhance the overall visitor experience and encourage repeat visits. Embracing the 24-hour model aligns with the digital transformation sweeping across the globe. Ghana can leverage its burgeoning tech sector to provide innovative solutions and services, fostering a digital economy that operates seamlessly across different time zones.

The adoption of a 24-hour economy could drive investments in infrastructure, such as transportation and public services. Improved infrastructure can further attract foreign direct investment and enhance the overall quality of life for Ghanaians. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the shift toward a 24-hour economy represents a transformative opportunity for nations to unlock new avenues of growth and development.

Ghana, with its rich cultural heritage and economic potential, has the opportunity to harness the benefits of a 24-hour economy to propel itself into a more dynamic and competitive future. By embracing this model, Ghana can not only meet the changing needs of its population, but also position itself as a global player in the evolving landscape of economic development.

>>>the writer is a seasoned InvestBankprenuer boasting 29 years of experience in academic, corporate and agribusiness domains. With key positions at UBA Ghana, SIC Financial Services, Empretec, and the Swiss International Finance Group, his global financial outlook is evident. A pioneer in risk management, compliance and corporate strategy, he has significantly contributed to Ghanaian entities and spearheaded initiatives in Venture Capital, business/financial reengineering and fundraising. Driven by a passion for capacity development, he has provided consultancy services for both local and multinational organisations, showcasing his multifaceted expertise in the financial and business realms. He can be reached via [email protected]

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