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21.07.2005 Education

Poor needs education to take advantage of growth - JAK


Accra, July 21, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday said education was a necessary key to position the poor to take full advantage of economic growth for positive impact on their lives. He said interventions to provide quality education and health enhanced the capacity of the poor to benefit from structural reforms while participating in development.

"Otherwise, it will be unlikely that the poor will benefit from any growth in the economy if they are ignorant of opportunities created by improvement in the economy."

President Kufuor was opening an International Conference on "Shared Growth in Africa" organized by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon, near Accra. The conference, being attended by about 45 researchers, mostly economists, is a window to examine research processes across Africa on how growth can be achieved and how best it could be duplicated across the Continent.

President Kufuor said evidence showed that the quality of growth was important if growth was to contribute to poverty alleviation. He said Ghana had adopted various practices that were brining her closer to the ideal of building a common platform for decision-making and resource allocation.

"This we have been doing through the Economic Dialogue, People's Forum with all shades of stakeholders and extended consultations over the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) update."

He said the Government had identified three key priorities - human resource development, private sector led growth and good governance. To achieve these, government had planned to intensify efforts to consolidate public expenditures; strengthen revenue collection; maintain the stance of monetary policy to achieve the targeted reduction of inflation while deregulating the petroleum sector for private sector investment and activity to establish a pricing regime devoid of Government control.

The GPRS is undergoing refinement to come out as the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

President Kufuor noted that shared growth was important for development, not from the position of weakness, but one of strength. Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Director of ISSER, stressed the need for growth to spread on the Continent, especially in rural communities. He said while it was accepted that "we could not share easily if we had not created or grown, there is increasing evidence that growth is even more difficult if proper sharing does not take place. "We seek, therefore, to explore the forms of sharing that stimulate growth in an appreciable manner."

Prof. Aryeetey said there was no doubt that China's current impressive growth would have considerable effect on Africa's future growth, particularly if Africa chose to ignore that development. "The challenge is for Africa to develop the means to be more competitive in a more innovative way."

Ms Sharon Cromer, Director of USAID in Ghana, described the conference as timely, coming at a time when Africa was fast becoming important to not only the United States, but to the entire developed international community.

She described the recent G-8 Meetings, Live 8 Concerts, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) meetings and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum in Senegal as clear demonstrations of the importance of Africa's prosperity to the world. Ms Cromer said the US believed that Africa was a continent full of promise, talent and opportunity and would do its part to help the people to realise the better future they deserved.