The Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has called for a more deliberate conversation on prioritizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to achieve the desired outcomes in the face of limited financing.
He made the call during a side event of the 78th United Nations General Assembly organized by the Government of Ghana in collaboration with the Governments of Uganda, Nigeria and Tonga.
Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the government was clear about the development of the human capital base, particularly in the areas of education, health and technology. However, limited resources were being used to pursue significant projects and that called for prioritization of the projects.
He further assured that the government’s agenda of providing economic freedom and social liberty through human capital development of its people would not be compromised because of an election.
According to him, though Ghanaians were yet to fully realize the gains of some policy interventions like the Free Senior High School programme, the One District, One Factory, among others, the government would continue to embark on such policies that have long-term benefits for Ghanaians rather than spontaneous projects for political gains.
“The real gains of the Free Senior High School will not be seen in four years and so it is a choice and a real daring pursuit of the government to develop the human capital of the country and that is linked with the SDGs,” he added.
From the Minister, the solution to the myriad of challenges impeding the achievement of SDGs targets on the continent was known to all but what was lacking was prioritizing them in the face of limited resources.
‘’We could have enough resources globally, have the solutions and the human capital on our side, but we are not there. Everybody is saying the right thing but somehow, we are not there,’’ he exclaimed.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Lord Fakafanua, stated that most of the SDGs were held ransom by climate change and that no single country could these challenges alone.
According to him, developed countries had a moral obligation to address the challenges posed by climate change and COP 27 affirmed what the Pacific knew to be true about climate financing and the need for more commitments to ensure climate prosperity for the next generation.
“Sometimes the solutions are just common sense, we just need to take time to realize and bring them to action,” he added.
Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, the Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission, noted that the challenge for most African countries was the penchant for ad hoc or short-term solutions to long-term challenges.
He stated that for most African countries, a lot of the gains made in national policies may not be immediate and therefore there was a need for structural elements in dealing with these challenges.
He talked about the transformation of the economy, transitioning from being primary producers of products to value additions and protection of the vulnerable through programmes like the LEAP programme as the essential elements that needed priority in the national budget.
The event, themed “Accelerator actions and innovative financing to deliver on the SDGs by 2030’’ brought together officials from Hilton Foundation, the International Rescue Committee, and Ghana UN Country Team.
Patience Anaadem, ISD