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POLICY interventions are very critical to breaking the poverty cycle and bridging social inequality in Ghana, a development analyst has emphasized.
According to Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Vice Chair at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), poverty and inequality do not just go away they require conscious policy efforts.
“Poverty and inequality leads to polarisation and risk of conflict. And it requires a policy design to address it with urgency. I believe policy intervention is critical to breaking this cycle and bridging this inequality,” she noted.
She was speaking on the sideline of a Media Interaction Session on Inclusion Development organised by the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF), Ghana in Accra.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the issue of poverty and inequality is not a problem “the market can fix” but one that only policy can.
The NDPC Vice Chair proposed that there must be a deliberate intervention to ensure that the poor have access to opportunities to break the poverty cycle, break generational poverty and get opportunities to better themselves.
“For instance, education has been indicated as one of the most important and significant breakers of poverty. We need to identify what quality education is, who has access to it, where is that education leading them to, can they make a life for themselves…These are questions that we have to ensure are answered,” Dr Ofei-Aboagye added.
According to her, the mandate to break the poverty cycle and bridge social inequality should not be left with just politicians but civil society must also work at address the situation.
“It should not have to be just the politicians. Everyone must be concerned. Ghana must also invest more in data collection. That would help to know what we are dealing with,” Dr Ofei-Aboagye stated.
According to the UNICEF, between 1992 and 2013, Ghana’s national level of poverty fell by more than half (from 56.5 to 24.2%), thereby achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 target.
However, the annual rate of reduction of the poverty level slowed substantially from an average of 1.8% per year in the 1990s to 1.1% per year reduction since 2006.
Conversely, the rate of reduction of extreme poverty has not slowed since 1990s and impressive progress in cutting extreme poverty was achieved even since 2006 (cut from 16.6 to 8.4%).
This means that relatively more progress has been made for the extreme poor in recent years than those living close to the poverty line.
As such, Ghana must work earnestly to halt further polarisation of the Ghanaian populace and avert a possible risk of conflict.
Source: Raju PARWANI & Joline CHENG || The Finder, Accra