According to the World Bank, between 1991 and 2012 Ghana’s poverty rate was cut in half, from 52.6 percent to 21.4 percent. Progress in poverty reduction has vastly improved since then. A new workshop called the Economic Inclusion and Poverty Eradication Project (EIPEP) has a more ambitious goal: to eliminate poverty in Ghana.
Launched recently by the Institute of Applied Science and Technology at the University of Ghana in collaboration with Bulaiza PLC, EIPEP is a workshop that is also a part of the open-source Ghana Economic Well-Being Project.
EIPEP aims to bring together investors, academics and the public to promote economic development in Ghana by adopting practical solutions and innovative technologies. Furthermore, it seeks to influence decision-makers at the governmental level to chart the course of poverty-elimination, and not just poverty-reduction, programs.
Emmanuel Kwaku Asiedu, CEO of Gratis Foundation presided over the opening ceremony of the workshop, which counted small-scale farmers, business people, researchers, investors, academia, traditional leaders and state ministers in attendance.
Ghana is not a country deficient in resources or incapable of food security; in fact, its natural resources consist of land filled with nutrients that are then extracted by crops. Unfortunately, technological limitations and a lack of funding make it a challenge to eradicate poverty in Ghana.
Studies have shown that the state of Ghana’s agriculture is largely characterized by low productivity, low farm incomes and the usage of inefficient production techniques. Public attitude is an effective component in eradicating poverty in Ghana. A poverty alleviation strategy, therefore, must take into account attitudinal changes.
Daniel Mckorley, executive chairman of McDan Group of Companies, noted that “poverty is a security problem” and that practical education along with services is necessary for combating poverty and promoting the country’s economic development.
People with disabilities in Ghana constitute a great proportion of the poor. Estimates of disabled people range from 15 to 20 percent of the total population. Of the disabled, about 70 percent live in rural areas where they are not only isolated from opportunities, information and resources but also face widespread discrimination.
Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Gifty Twum-Ampofo urged the adoption of technological equipment to assist disabled people in the country and eradicate poverty in Ghana. Similarly, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Sadique, the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, admitted that development in Ghana had been discriminatory and pledged to develop a “fair, equitable and all-inclusive society.”
The Ghanaian government has been actively working to wean the country off the mindset of dependence, charity, aid and handouts.
Noskim Atidigah, general manager of Federated Co-operative Multi-Purpose Society Ltd., envisioned the establishment of a co-operative bank that should be locally controlled. “Ghana requires a new financial paradigm to free itself from the shackles of the so-called developing countries syndrome,” he noted.
The director of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Professor George Nkansah, summed up the shared responsibility of the business leaders as well as the government. “We cannot leave poverty eradication to the government alone. All of us specifically the business community must be at the forefront, with the government rather behind giving us the push,” he said.
Ghana has shown steady and robust growth in the past two decades. With the establishment of EIPEP, Ghanaians are headed towards a commendable model of self-reliance and sustainable development. If these stated plans and commitments are put into action in a collaborative approach, the government and the private sector will be well on their way to eradicate poverty in Ghana and realize all Ghanaians’ full potential.
– Mohammed Khalid