Ghanaian Panel on Economic Development begins national dialogue

The 25-member Ghanaian Panel on Economic Development on Tuesday held its maiden meeting in Accra to begin a process of national dialogue on the structural transformation of the economy.

The group, put together by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), is made up of experts from the public and private sectors, political parties, researchers and civil society organisations.

It would meet quarterly every year from 2011-2013 to develop a blue print for an economic transformation to achieve a socially inclusive and pro-poor economic development.

Addressing the opening session, Ms Daniela Kuzu, Resident Director, FES Ghana, said despite various efforts to transform the Ghanaian economy, there was still more to be done especially in the area of agricultural modernisation.

She said the export of commodities such as gold, cocoa beans and timber in their raw form was putting the country at risk as nobody could predict how the next downturn of world market prices or financial crisis could affect the country.

Ms Kuzu said as the country had started producing oil, it was a great opportunity to think about the structure of the economy in general to avoid the resource curse, adding that there was the strength to transform the economy in such ways that the livelihood of the people could be secured through solid economic foundation.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, said economic transformation was key because it was the only way to sustain development and reduce poverty.

He said the country had not been able to overcome this over the years because development thinking had not been consistent as many governments failed to implement programmes as well as the poor capacity to determine what must change.

Prof. Aryeetey called for public and private sector collaboration in identifying export markets and other areas that the entrepreneurs could tap into.

Dr Peter Quartey, Senior Research Fellow, ISSER, said although lending rates might adjust to the policy rate to reflect improving macro conditions, there was the need for structural improvements to bring down the overall cost of banking.

Source: GNA

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