Mr Yaw Osafo-Marfo, Senior Minister, has charged government officials, institutional heads and Civil Society Organisations to devise strategies that will help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, and completely alleviate poverty and inequalities in rural communities.
In an address read on his behalf at a High Level Inclusive Growth and Development Agenda Forum in Accra, Mr Osafo-Marfo tasked the Forum to address inclusive growth in each sector, what key indicators to consider in assessing inclusive growth in each of the sectors and which people were the most vulnerable in the sectors.
According to Mr Osafo-Marfo, it required all hands on deck to adequately address the issues for a sustainable response to the phenomenon of development exclusion, created prosperity and opportunity for all to make the nation great and strong.
The Senior Minister noted that the current Government was providing special initiatives to pursue inclusive programmes, with the emphasis on increasing production and productivity with the focus of getting the private sector to lead and unleash all the potential to increase productivity in all the sectors.
He said facilitating private investment through Public-Private Partnership would clearly set the agenda to create jobs and prosperity for all, adding that the launch of the Public Sector Reform Strategy by President Akufo-Addo would help track where the citizenry was less served.
He explained that It was against this backdrop that Government introduced specific anchors like Apprenticeship and Skills Development Centres; restructuring of the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC); support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurship Development; developing agriculture as the main driving force for rural development; Free Senior High School education; mass cocoa spraying, formalising the informal sector and the expansion and restructuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), among others, to make growth inclusive.
On her part, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, and chairperson for the forum, said the benefits of inclusive development should not be limited to sectors of the economy, but should spread across for members of the community as a whole.
Mrs Osei-Opare said the Forum was expected to encourage policy makers to come up with ways of ensuring that policies were implemented by developing strategies for action and providing equal opportunities for all sectors in the economy.
In her remarks, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, a Representative from the United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF), said Ghana had the economic strength to drive its own development and make growth inclusive.
Ms Dufay said Ghana had halved its poverty rate, achieved high levels of enrolment in basic education, reduced child and maternal mortality rates and provided a more protective environment for the most vulnerable.
She pledged UNICEF's commitment to supporting the generation and analysis of data on poverty and inequalities from the most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and proposed multidimensional child poverty analysis to help the government make the right choices in resource allocation to improve equity and support the poorest.
This year, the World Bank projects an inclusive growth rate of almost seven percent, according to Ms Dufay.
Touching on inclusiveness in all sectors, Prof. Kwesi Jonah, a Representative of the Civil Society Platform for Sustainable Development Goals, mentioned that inequality was one of the major challenges and that once the country was able to reduce this in all sectors, there would necessarily be growth and development.
Prof. Jonah expressed concern about the several policy interventions Government was currently pursuing and urged Government to focus on agriculture to help reduce poverty with impact on inequalities.
Source: ISD (Chantal Aidoo)