Ghana & Development

The priorities outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP), 2018-2022, as the basis for the collective support of UN Agencies, are consistent with the medium-term development aspirations of Ghana as defined in the President’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP), 2017-2024.  This document, which was prepared on behalf of the President by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning, and with substantial inputs from Ministers of State, was approved by Cabinet in September 2017. It was submitted to Parliament by President Nana Akufo-Addo on 20 October 2017.

The title of the CPESDP, An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All, reflects the Government’s vision that the CPESDP is to create: “An optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation, through the creative exploitation of our human and natural resources, and operating within a democratic, open and fair society in which mutual trust and economic opportunities exist for all.” (CPESDP, page xiv)

The CPESDP identifies a “new direction” for national development in creating “the conditions for the Ghanaian private sector to propel growth and create ample employment opportunities, especially for the youth” (CPESDP, page xv).  This reflects a commitment to private sector development as the means of growth and to better work for more young people as a key goal of that growth.

The direction of “Ghana beyond aid” for self-reliant growth, to break out of the “mind-set of dependency,” is to be founded on creating the conditions for private sector innovation, industrialisation, and job growth that will build “one of the most business-friendly and people-centred economies in Africa.” (CPESDP, page 3)

The Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies spells out four main goals:

  1. creating opportunities for all Ghanaians;
  2. safeguarding the natural environment and ensuring a resilient built environment;
  3. maintaining a stable, united and safe country, and
  4. building a prosperous country.

An additional priority is to strengthen Ghana’s role in international affairs. This includes leveraging the nation’s “governance and security” credentials to promote its political and economic interests abroad, creating a favourable business environment for trade and investment, capitalising on the potential of the Ghanaian diaspora to support national development, and enhancing Ghana’s influence in international organisations, including the United Nations (CPESDP, page 99).

The Government has announced the creation of a number of key policy initiatives, or flagship programmes, as the centrepieces of putting its vision into practice in the short- to medium-term. Their implementation will be monitored directly by the Office of the President, through the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, and target priorities in agriculture, industry, infrastructure and poverty alleviation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious and unified agenda for social, economic and environmental development, translated into concrete and measurable results through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The SDGs are owned nationally, and each UN Member State is responsible for setting its own strategy for how to achieve them - strategies that are enabled through national budgets, that are prioritised in development partnerships, and that can be tracked and documented through national data sources.

Ghana took a leadership role in influencing the global development of the Sustainable Development Goals and early on established a cross-Ministerial Technical Committee to ensure their inclusion in national planning and budgets. This work was reinforced in September 2017 with the President’s inauguration of the High Level Ministerial Committee for SDG implementation. These inter-ministerial bodies, at technical, strategic, and political levels, recognise that the SDGs are not stand-alone goals. They are all interconnected. Working to achieve one goal helps achieve another.

The CPESDP outlines the “localisation process” for integrating Ghana’s global development commitments in national development strategies (CPESDP, page 99-100), citing in addition to the 2030 Agenda, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21).  A three-step localisation process has been adopted: i) Alignment, to assess the extent of convergence between local, regional and global frameworks; ii) Adaptation, to identify suitable targets and indicators and make any needed amendments to suit the Ghanaian context; and iii) Adoption of targets and indicators for use in national and sub-national plans without modification if found to be consistent with national aspirations.

Ghana has also made substantial commitments to other recent international development initiatives, most importantly the development finance agenda (set out at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015), the integration of the humanitarian and development agendas (agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016), and the New Urban Agenda (agreed in Quito in October 2016).

The development context for achieving national development goals, and through them the SDGs, has significant strengths but also some recognised weaknesses.  Among the considerable strengths are robust democratic institutions, peaceful and credible elections, a substantial basis for improving data collection and management, as well as its use for development, and vibrant civil society with necessary political space to promote public accountability.  Among weaknesses, the Government has acknowledged systemic challenges in translating policies and laws into action, constrained national financial resources to invest in development, gaps in accountability with corruption, and high inequalities – including gender inequality.  However, it is recognised that gender parity in junior high school has been achieved at the national level, while yet to be achieved in senior high school.  Ghana has also recognised the urgency to prioritise youth development, given the growing population and the worrying levels of unemployment and under-employment.