A report I chanced on capturing Ghana’s progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals shows a decline in poverty. The ‘2010 Ghana MDG’s Report’ revealed Ghana’s growth has been robust despite the economic crises that plagued the globe- slowing down economic growth.
Experts believe Ghana’s growth which averages at least 6.5 per cent per annum between 2007 and 2010 is strong enough to sustain the progress towards national poverty reduction. Extreme poverty incidence in rural Ghana recorded about 50% reduction in 2005/06, while reduction in urban areas was more than 50%, thereby achieving the target ahead of the 2015 deadline. However, disparity still exists- no significant improvements have been observed in the three northern regions as poverty incidence remains high and may not be able to achieve the target before 2015.
According to the report the progress in Ghana has been driven by high GDP growth rate supported by increased government development expenditure, debt relief and increased foreign investment. Special social intervention programmes aimed at increasing public expenditure on initiatives targeting poor and vulnerable people. In the three northern savannah regions the following interventions have been key factors contributing to our progress; Adoption of positive and productive security measures to address the long standing civil conflicts in Bawku and others zones; Increased resource commitment to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to address the north-south disparity in poverty incidence and depth; the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) initiative, Ghana School Feeding Programme and Capitation Grant in the three northern savannah regions and other parts of the country with high depth of poverty; Improved infrastructure development, particularly road networks in areas that are not well accessible.
The report also captured five key challenges that stand in Ghana’s way despite the strides in our quest to attain Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; Macroeconomic bottlenecks, Infrastructural constraints, Low productivity especially in agriculture, Limited support for food crop farmers and weak investment climate.
The Findings of the report should guide government to stay on course, committed and take action on challenges discovered by as we work towards a world we want by achieving the MDGS!