In 2057, Ghana will be celebrating 100 years of independence. To this effect, the National Development and Planning Commission (NDPC) is already out with what could be described as Agenda 2057 seeking to make Ghana a developed economy.
According to the NDPC, by 2057, Ghana should be classified as a developed country with GDP per capita of $50,000. The current GDP per capita is $1400. It is important to also note that this futuristic agenda is to start in the year 2021. Well, 2021 is already here with us and seems to be the right time to demand for the roadmap towards realising what would obviously be a grand mark achievement Ghanaians would be wishing for.
Ghana as Developed Economy! Wow!!! Practicably this means that, apart from seeking for marked improvement in living standards, Ghanaians would be expecting: stable and un-interrupted power-supply all year throughout in the ensuing years; universal access to quality water, first class and accessible infrastructure including roads and railways across the country.
There would also be high expectations for universal healthcare in its true sense. The rights of women, children and the elderly will be protected and access to quality education will indeed be inclusive and of equal standards throughout the country.
I am convinced Ghanaians would also be in high expectations that the conundrum of abandoned projects would be gone forever. Agenda 2057 is indeed herculean and we do not want to believe that the blueprint is a mere vision on paper. Ghana indeed has the track record of missing targets set in many of such well-intentioned global agenda and we do not want to believe this is also going to be mere rhetoric.
Contextually, we have just ushered in a new phase in the 4th republic which I believe should offer us the opportunity to launch this stimulating but obviously herculean agenda of becoming a developed economy. According to a report by the Mckinsey Global Institute (www.mckinsey.com), in nine years’ time, the world’s population would be 5 billion compared with the current figure of 3.6 billion.
About 60 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities of developing countries such as Ghana with relatively high population growth rates – population explosion. Three key processes and benchmarks have been outlined by McKinsey as measures to be exhibited by leaders seeking to transform and create great cities.
- Focus on smart growth by planning ahead, being inclusive and also investing heavily in sustainable infrastructure. In this respect, Public Private Partnership (PPP) is the only way out for Ghana
- Doing more with less by ensuring that all taxes due are collected. In Ghana this means expediting actions to expand the tax net and also blocking all leakages.
- Focusing on winning the support of the populace for change. This means building high performing teams of civil servants who can ride user-friendly negotiation skills forging stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community.
It is obvious that, while stakeholder engagement would have to be paramount going forward, this will require huge sacrifices in behavioural change. However, as pointed out by Mckinsey Global Institute, “Change is not easy, and its momentum can even attract opposition”.
Popular support indeed is what will guarantee that we forge a common vision towards realising this ambitious road. This means that we all have a role to play. Here are a few many modest suggestions one can highlight for the way forward; focussing on parliament, district assemblies (MMDAs), the media, NCCE and the Ministry of Education.
The Role of Parliament
As soon as quickly as possible, parliament has to get settled with the business of the house and lay down the plan for dispassionate debate and rallying of consensus for the pragmatic way forward on this proposed all important vision.
Apart from legislative support, it will be the first step in winning support and bringing the issues into the public domain. In addition to debating the document in parliament, MPs should also be expected to hold fora with their constituents to help win their support base to accept the roadmap.
The role of district assemblies in this context is crucial as they would eventually be the implementors of the actions.
The role of MMDAs
As agents of development at the local Government level, the responsibility for implementing all action plans towards meeting targets lies in their ambit. The human resource base of the assemblies in helping to build the winning team to engender support for change is crucial and would be paramount.
We are at a critical time that we need MMDAs to bring everybody on board and in particular avoid partisan politics in this all-important project. Perhaps, this is the time that we need to have DCE/MCEs elected for accountability. Even in the absence of the foregoing, commitment is necessary for a successful project.
The role of the media is integral and commences right from the date the idea was conceived to the putting of the document in the public domain.
The media constitutes the channel for dissemination of everything that the public needs to know and if this agenda should succeed or not, it will indeed be as a result of the support the media provides and vice versa. We have a long way to go and a lot to do indeed and the goodwill of the media in carrying the masses with them is expected to be a priority and non-partisan.
With its constitutional mandate, the NCCE should be ready to also make this agenda a priority in the national discourse especially in getting the message to the grassroot and every nook and cranny of the country.
This discourse demands the full support of all Ghanaians and everything possible should be made by the NCCE in drumming down the message to Ghanaians. Change is indeed required in the mental attitude of Ghanaians for national orientation, and the NCCE should begin this as an important agenda that we as a country cannot fail to embrace
Ministry of Education
This is the time that we need to begin nurturing generation thinkers for the next century, who must buy into this agenda and also bring their piers on board. This requires a new orientation to educational curriculum with a sense of nationalism.
There is therefore the need for a reform of the educational curricular to reflect a robust roadmap and hence prepare the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills required in preparation and development of the generation thinkers
All and sundry
We owe it to the youth and the next generation of Ghanaians to leave a legacy that would offer hope for opportunities and dignity to their survival in ever increasingly global competitive community. Anything that we can all do as a people to make this dream come true will be a true reflection of the belief we have always had in ourselves as a Nation of hope in Africa. We all need to embrace and rally behind Agenda 2057. It is now or never.
The SDGs target
Ghana, like other countries has only nine years to meet the SDGs target. It is therefore a more likelihood thinking that we align our efforts in achieving the SDGs target to our vision for 2057. Alternatively, if we should fail to meet the SDGs target, then it would mean we have planned to fail already.
The author, Prof. Divine Ahadzie is with the Centre for Settlements Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
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