Ghana At 61: Is The Country’s Level Of Growth Sustainable?
Sustainability has become a catchy word in a way that has attracted the attention of many people from different professions. It is of no surprise that the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), developed some years back became transmogrified into the term Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations and its members hold the contents of SDGs to a high esteem because members think that is the blueprint needed to change the world into a better place.
The term sustainable growth has a plethora of meanings from a scientific point of view. However, the definition given by the United Nations has become widely accepted. The United Nation’s define sustainability as developments that meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of the future generation. This definition gave birth to the term Triple Bottom Line (TBL) which has its pillars on Economic and social developments as well as environmental protection.
Ghana is now 61 years old and therefore there is the need to assess our level of growth critically, whether it is sustainable or not. First, on the economic growth of the country, the African Development Bank has reported that Economic growth fell from 14% in 2011 at the onset of oil production to 3.5% in 2016, the lowest in two decades. However, the economy recovered in 2017 with a growth of 7.9%. The World Bank has projected that Ghana will be the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 amid falling inflation and interest rate.
Secondly, on social development, many researchers use indicators that point to the provision of quality life to people. Some of these indicators include better education, food security, shelter and improved health facilities. The introduction of Free Senior High School in the country is one of the major social interventions that has brought enormous financial relief to many parents. After 61 years, Ghana still depends hugely on food imports from foreign countries to supplement its food requirement. There is the need to support the government program dubbed “Planting for food and jobs” to yield its desired results and impact. Shelter provision for citizens is not seeing the needed impact on the economy since a significant number of people lives in indecent structures and slum dwellings especially in the major cities. A possible social intervention on affordable housing delivery must be given the necessary consideration as a way of advancing social sustainability.
Thirdly, on environmental issues, many researchers base their assessment on issues such as global warming potentials, deterioration of ecological systems, energy consumption, pollution, waste management, natural resource exploitation. After 61 years of independence, Ghana is threatened with poor sanitation and the pollution of water bodies, among others. During the Ghana at 60 years occasion, President Akuffo-Addo stated that “the current state of the environment cannot be ignored, it is endangering the very survival of the beautiful and blessed land”. Recently in 2018, Kwami Sefa Kayi, a renowed journalist has stated that he was sickened by the filth that had swallowed up the Capital city, Accra and other parts of the nation and the nonchalant attitude Ghanaians have towards ensuring good environmental sanitation. There is the need for the nation to rethink and come out with better approaches in dealing with environmental issues
This article has presented the pillars that define sustainable growth. From the article it is shown that both the economic and some aspects of social dimensions of growth appears to be impactful on the Ghanaian and hence sustainable. However, the country after 61 years appears to be hugely challenged in terms of environmental sustainability. By Ghana at 62 years, it is hoped that efforts put in place by some government ministries and authorities yield the desired results in keeping the environment benign.
Information about the writer
Ing. Dr. Mark Bediako
Senior Research Scientist
CSIR- Building and Road Research Institute
email: [email protected]