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13.09.2005 General News

Global Human Development Report for 2005 launched in Ghana

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Accra, Sept 13, GNA - Mr J. H Mensah, Senior Minister on Tuesday launched in Accra the Global Human Development Report for 2005, and expressed optimism that with good governance and hard-work, Africa could overcome the scourge of poverty.

He underscored the need for African countries to fashion their own development agenda within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which had become the least common denominator for development.

Mr. Mensah, said good education and governance coupled with a viable system of international unity and solidarity were necessary to achieve a high level of development within Ghana's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Mr Mensah reminded the global community that the time set to achieve the goals in the MGG was just 10 years away, and said although the development partners had 40 years earlier written their pledge to assist the developing nations, they had just begun to commit themselves to the goals.

Mr Mensah said development should help the poor nations and people to work their way out of poverty.

Mr Alan Kyerematen, Trade and Industry Minister, observed that it was no longer a matter of public debate that trade was the engine of growth and development, However, it could bring development only if it was deliberately engineered to bring growth by addressing the challenges of unfair trade practices of limited market access because of technical barriers, export subsidy, and tariffs for the benefits to be evenly spread for all peoples and nations throughout the world.

"After Cancun, the development agenda is still in jeopardy. Global trade has made the poor [nations] poorer," Mr Kyerematen said and called for measure to avoid another fiasco in the next trade talks scheduled for Hong Kong in December.

He said trade aid must now be used to support the ability to develop, adding, "trade, aid and investment must go together."

Mr Daouda Toure, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, said the promise made since the 2002 Monterrey Conference and the last July G8 Gleneagles pledge to reach 500 billion dollars of development assistance over the next five years needed to materialise quickly in addition to flow of resources.

He said the Human Development Report for 2005, noted that the progress to achieving the MDG's was still too slow, and if nothing were done, poverty would not be halved in 2015.

"We will be short of meeting that target by some 380 billon people living with less that one dollar a day. Another 1.2 billion people would, at the same time be surviving with two dollars a day. "The inequality in a world that is more prosperous will become even more serious. Africa of all the regions will lag dramatically behind if nothing is done.

"It is important to highlight the inequalities are not only at the global level, but within the countries as well as creating [the] perception of exclusion that often led to conflict."

Mr. Toure said increased trade aid must be met by proper allocation of resources internally, rationalisation of public expenditure, a sound macro economic framework as a well-motivated and efficient civil service and zero tolerance for corruption.

He observed that armed conflicts must be addressed with aid and trade reforms, check the challenge posed by the proliferation of small arms and to support post conflict reconstruction, and called for the encouragement of the on-going public sector reform to remove the inherent bottlenecks to achieving the MDG's.

Dr Nii Noi Ashong of the Centre for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA) in a review on the Report on the theme, "International Co-operation at Crossroads: Aid, Trade and Security in an Unequal World", said the Report indicated that gains in human development had been less impressive, with large parts of the developing world being left behind.

"Human development gaps between rich and poor, already large, are widening.

"Also, some of the countries most widely cited as examples of globalisation 'success stories' are finding it harder to convert rising prosperity into human development, and progress in reducing child mortality, one of the most basic human development indicators, is slowing," he said.

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