Ghana is on track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 which is evident in the significant progress recorded in the area of poverty reduction, education and health related MDGs from 2003 to 2005.
Mr. Kenneth Owusu, an Economist with the National Development Planning Commission said the proportion of people in extreme poverty had been reduced from 36.5 percent in 1992 to 18.2 per cent in 2006, making Ghana the first African country to achieve the MDGs by halving poverty by 2015.
"In addition, Ghana has also reduced the overall incidence of poverty from its high level of about 51.7 percent in 1992 to about 28.5 percent in 2006."
He said the critical challenge, however, is how to strengthen the existing national data collection systems to generate adequate, relevant and accurate data in a timely manner to support an effective assessment of the progress in a transparent manner.
Mr. Owusu was speaking on the topic: “Is Africa On Track To Meet The MDGs By 2015" at the ongoing third session of the Africa Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD) in Accra on Thursday.
The Symposium, on the theme; "Best Practice and Exchanging Experience: Africa 2010 Round of Population and Housing Censuses" is to restore statistical development at the national, sub-regional and regional levels of Africa to ensure that every African was counted before the end of the 2010 population census decade to aid development planning agendas.
He said following the 2000 millennium summit, Ghana adopted the MDGs as its long-term minimum set of socio-economic objectives for national development and eradication of poverty and hunger.
Mr. Owusu said the MDG II of achieving universal primary education appeared to be within reach with the national gross enrolment at the primary school level increasing from 85.7 per cent in 2002/03 to 92.1 percent in 2006.
"The net enrolment ratio has increased from 46 percent in 1990 to 69 percent in 2006. The gender parity index at the primary school has also improved from 0.78 percent in 1990 to 0.95 per cent in 2006, being on track to achieve the target of 1.0"
Mr. Owusu said though there was a sudden upsurge in the prevalence in HIV/AIDS in 2006 to 3.2 percent after a decline from 3.6 per cent in 2003 to 2.7 percent in 2005, the Ghana Aids Commission had described the up and down movement as levelling or stabilization phase of the epidemic.
He said in the area of maternal health, various interventions had been initiated to bring down the high levels of maternal mortality, however, improvements had been slow making it unlikely to achieve the goal of reducing the rate by three quarters by 2015.