This essay begins by defining what development is. Development has been a serious target by many countries especially third world countries like Ghana. This essay will identify two main development problems faced by Ghana today. The challenge of any period today depends on the task that faces those living in it. I believed we have misconceived the nature of the main challenge of the second half of the twentieth century. This has been seen as achieving an increase in the national income of the “developing” countries like Ghana, formalize in the target of 5% growth rates set for the first development decade. Of course, we have all been aware that development consists of much else besides economic growth. Sir Arthur Lewis made this point in the opening pages of “The theory of Economic Growth” in 1995, and the World Economic Survey for 1968 emphasizes it once more. Yet little more than lip service is paid to it; we are still setting targets mainly or only for the national income. It is now time to make the point more sharply. Surely we could hardly say that the situation depicted by one set of projections was preferable to that shown by another set simply because the former implied higher per capital incomes.
Now that the complexity of development problems is becoming increasingly obvious, this continued addiction to the use of a single aggregate yardstick, in the face of the evidence, takes on a rather different appearance.it begins to look like a preference for avoiding the real problems of development. Development can be seen in two (2) ways. Thus, Qualitative and Quantitative or Traditional and Modern conceptualization.
Development in traditional conceptualization can be viewed as the attainment of the highest possible growth, rise in GDP and the country’s ability to generate and sustains annual increase in GDP of about 5% and above.
Development in modern conceptualization, in this concept, the idea changed from being just an increase in GDP to improvement in infrastructural development, improvements in industrial development, creating the necessary conditions to reduce poverty and ensure equity, good conditions such as quality education, good health facilities, improved in market structures and so on. World Bank, world development report(1994) on the concept development largely laid emphasis on quality of life, including higher income, quality education, good health, care, nutrition, employment, greater industrial freedom, reduction of poverty.
Sawamura and Situna 2010, defines development as;
- Reduction in poverty
- Increase in welfare
- Increase in social and political freedom
- Quality health care.
Ghana has come a long way in its efforts to achieve sustainable development. Lessons of the country’s development over the last two decades consistently highlighted the need for more intensive effort to effectively address the two major development constraints. A combination of poor governance, ineffective policies, outright mismanagement, heavy external debt burden, poor governance, and conflicts precipitated the massive economic decline in 1980s.
The recovery in the latter half of the decade was partly due to major economic policy reforms as well as growing socio-economic pluralism and economic stability, which were consolidated in the decade of the 1990s.yet, much still remains to be done, as the African continent generally entered the 21st century faced with numerous development challenges. Ghana has come under serious development problems since independence. This paper highlight two major development challenge Ghana is facing in its efforts to achieve sustained growth with significant reduction in poverty within the first few decades of the 21st century.
The Challenge of Private Sector Development in Ghana.
For sustained economic growth and development in Ghana, the efficiency, dynamism and size of the country private sector is of vital importance. For the sector to play its role as an engine of growth, it needs to be encouraged by a conducive policy environment, the availability of functional and efficient infrastructure, effective public sector institutions, and security of investment. Ghana needs an enabling environment for both domestic and foreign private investment to flourish. The private sector needs improved management, better information on markets and investment, and a work force with the requisite skills and motivation. Supportive public policies and efficient supply of infrastructure and services, as well as specific interventions to enhance private-sector institutions are directly needed. The broadening of the scope of the private sector resulting in part from a redefinition of the state compels that the former be equipped with the requisite capacity to perform functions traditionally entrusted to the public sector. Strategic interventions aimed at strengthening chambers of commerce and industries, trade associations, chambers of agriculture as well as providing market and investment information will play a significant role in strengthening business and trade associations. Strengthening of management development and training institutions which cater to the need of the private sector especially in the development of entrepreneurial and management skills.
The Challenge of Revitalizing Ghanaian Universities and Research Institutions.
Universities in Ghana have a strategic role to play in Ghana’s development, given the dire need for skilled human resources and indigenous research capacity on the country. Unfortunately, however, Ghanaian universities have deteriorated to the extent that they are at present without requisite skills- base and facilities to support adequate standard of education and research. Their vital role in training, research, knowledge production, information transfer, and technology development will need to be strengthened if Ghana is to rebuild these important institutions that are sources of regenerative capacity. A rehabilitation process is therefore necessary and this must begin with expensive reforms to improve planning, vision and leadership. Capacity building will need to center on assisting universities through a special program to conduct strategic planning and management, improve the contents and relevance of curricula, upgrade infrastructural and training facilities, and address issues of incentives and opportunities for professional advancement as well as the long term financial sustainability of tertiary education. Support is also required for universities to design and implement programs to attract African academics, who have gone abroad, and to retain and upgrade the skills of those still in post at the universities.
What is evident from the foregoing is that the length of Ghana’s strides on the path to sustained development will be determined by the pace with which it addresses the development challenges that it faces, which are by no means formidable. These challenges are, however, not insurmountable. What they require are a set of strategic interventions, which range from good political governance to effective development policies and programs. These interventions, rather unfortunately, are driven by the capacity which irrespective of the benefit of globalization must necessarily have a disproportionately large share that is indigenous.
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Presented at the African Knowledge Networks Forum Preparatory Workshop, August 2000
Dudley Seers, “Institute of Development Studies, Information Resource Unit
Irene Debrah, “lecture note on Education and Development in Africa”
University for Development Studies Library
Mr.Seth Oboh Krampah
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