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Media engagement on Ghana’s Journey to the SDGs in a Beyond Aid context’

STAR-Ghana, in collaboration with the Ghana CSO Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) convened a Panel Discussion with the Media in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday 21st March 2019. The theme for the event was: ‘Ghana’s Journey to the SDGs in a Beyond Aid context’. The purpose of the event was to discuss the implications of the SDGs as Ghana moves beyond aid from the perspectives of key stakeholders - donor, state, civil society etc., draw linkages, and make recommendations for taking forward the Ghana Beyond Aid strategy.

Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chairperson of STAR Ghana Foundation

 

Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chairperson of STAR Ghana Foundation welcomed the all participants to the event. She highlighted the timeliness and urgency of the dialogue and the opportunity it offered for deliberating on the future of Ghana – the future we want for ourselves, children and one that leaves no one behind. She expressed appreciation to the key note speaker, the panel and panel members for honouring the invitation to the programme.

Dr. Yaw Ansu, special Advisor at the Ministry of Finance, provided an overview of the Government of Ghana’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ strategy document in his keynote address. He indicated that: to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid, there is the need to harness our own resources, deploy them effectively and efficiently for economic transformation. He advocated for a shift in mindset among Ghanaians to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid. Dr Ansu asserted that: Ghana Beyond Aid is not a rejection of aid. "A Ghana Beyond Aid welcomes what outsiders give but we must lead the way in generating the resources we need"  he noted.

Dr. Yaw Ansu, special Advisor, Ministry of Finance

 

The convening brought together a carefully chosen panel of state actors, civil society, donors and the private sector to interact with the media. The content of the interaction focused on the nexus between the Ghana Beyond Aid strategy and the achievement of the SDGs - structures for monitoring implementation, coordination of stakeholder efforts, financing architecture, etc. The panel, moderated by Anita Erskine, comprised: Kojo Sedega (UNDP), Philip Smith (Country Director, DFID), Beauty Emefa Nartey (Co-Chair, CSO Platform on the SDGs) and Dr. Eugene Owusu (Office of the President).

Dr. Eugene Owusu indicated that poor governance is the bane of Ghana’s development and advocated for the need to reinvent governance and make governance work for poverty reduction. He mentioned the relevance and importance of leveraging on innovation and the ingenuity of women to achieve the SDGs. He said: “It is important to fully leverage innovation to achieve the SDGs and a Ghana Beyond Aid. It is the new currency… the ingenuity of women has always propelled development around the world. Ghana needs to unleash the energy and enterprise of women around SDGs

 

Members on the Panel. From left: Dr. Eugene Owusu (Office of the President); Kojo Sedega (UNDP); Beauty Emefa Nartey (Co-Chair, CSO Platform on the SDGs) and Philip Smith (Country Director, DFID)

 

Philip Smith, Country Director of Department for International Development (DFID), Ghana, stated that: Aid has been diverted from Ghana to more fragile countries. He explained that the focus now is on helping Ghana spend its own money better – effectively and efficiently. Philip emphasised that Development partners can help governments build more resilient systems to protect people from shocks. He mentioned the expectation of donor partners to include a mindset shift in transformation and the need for a change in terminologies

Donor Partners are expecting a mindset shift of transformation – safeguarding environment, equality and inclusion, cleaner cities and reduction in child marriages… there is the need to change the terminologies – no more donor partners but international partners or equal partners” he noted.

 

In attendance was Clara Osei Boateng (left), Governance Advisor, DFID, Ghana

 

 

Beauty Emefa Nartey, Co-Chair, CSO Platform on the SDGs explained the need for all actors to understand that government alone cannot achieve the SDGs. She charged CSO to ensure that citizens’ voices are incorporated into the SDGs. “CSOs have to challenge ourselves such that everybody in any small village understands the SDGs

Beauty indicated that monitoring by CSOs ensures the tracking of government’s performance in all the goals and affirmed that “CSOs are demonstrating their commitment to the SDGs by monitoring what government is doing

Mr. Kojo Sedega of UNDP in his presentation attempted to answer the question of how the challenges of spatial inequalities in Ghana could be resolved. He outlined the variant drivers of inequality and offered some suggesting for consideration in bridging the inequality in the country. The recommendations included: good financial management, availability of social services, proper work and wages as well as ensuring gender equality-affirmative action to empower women.

In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty, fight hunger, tackle climate change and save the planet from environmental degradation. This Global agenda, according to the UN is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, are to implement this plan. The Government of Ghana on September 25th, 2015, committed to implementing the 17 Goals, together with its 169 targets and formally launched the SDGs in Ghana in February 2016.

 

H.E. Nana Akuffo Addo, taking the oath of office of President (7th January 2017)

 

His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently articulated a vision for the country encapsulated in the phrase “Ghana Beyond Aid”. In a speech delivered on the 61st anniversary of Ghana’s independence, the President of the Republic, defined a Ghana Beyond Aid as “a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of her economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, and that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment”.

Following this declaration, a committee, headed by the Senior Minister, Hon Osafo Maafo, was constituted to oversee the President’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid'. The committee has been tasked to draw up a charter which outlines the steps the country is to take in making Ghana self-reliant. This Charter will be finally adopted as a follow up to the Government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies 2017-2022.

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