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Expert says vulnerable groups marginalized in MDG targets

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market1Professor Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, Director of Centre for Social Policy Studies, on Thursday noted that vulnerable groups are being marginalised in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets.

She said though the eight goals look very simple to achieve, research indicates that some group of people have multiple deprivations to create a pool of inequalities and threat of social exclusion.

Prof Bortei-Doku Aryeetey said : “We have a situation in which some groups are marginalised in the society  resulting from socio-cultural and political and barriers aggravated by poverty, ignorance, institutional discrimination, lack of access to social services , social protection, market failures and income insecurity and lack of employment .”

She was speaking at a day’s social development workshop organised by Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSSER), University of Ghana in collaboration with Economy of Ghana Network (EGN) to discuss the outcome of the MDGs and the way forward in Accra.

The workshop, which is the phase two of the EGN project, attracted researchers, academia, civil society organisations and the public to reflect on social development priorities and challenges.

She said monitoring of inclusion of vulnerable groups such as People with Disabilities and the youth under the MDGs are inadequate while the agenda is silence on certain women’s rights like safety from violence and harmful cultural practices and access to productive assets.

Prof Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, who is an Associate Professor at ISSER, said the MDGs do not make any reference to older persons and PWDs and “we only assumed that if the agenda succeed they will automatically benefit from it”.

She said apart from MDGs two no mention was made to the youth, no target was set for them and they turned to set the world up-side-down.

She identified persistent culture of early marriages as limitations to girls’ inclusion and participation in socio-economic development.

She said MDGs goal three was very useful but there were under lying currents of social exclusion, which needed to be addressed effectively to enable the country achieve the MDGs targets.

The Professor noted that apart from halving poverty in Ghana, the country is nowhere near achieving any of the targets.

Dr Shaibu Gariba, Director-General of Management Development and Productivity Institute , speaking on the topic “MDGs and Youth Employment”, said youth unemployment have been a security problem and remains one of the biggest challenges in the world.

He said all governments have been trying in their own capacities to address the perennial problem for policy makers in Ghana.

He said since 2001, the government have a number of attempts at getting a clear picture of the extent of youth unemployment.

These efforts, he said, began with the registration of about 950,000 unemployed youths but nothing was done about it.

He,  called for the revitalisation of the cooperative systems, entrepreneurial training, use of insurance  schemes/open market to get insurance to access capital, and peer lending and collection system to mobilise youth adequately and effectively for socio-economic development.

Dr Gariba also underscored the need for government to work closely with well established firms in the private sector to promote internships, graduate trainee programmes, and community-based projects that create jobs for young people.

The country’s agricultural system also needs swift transformation to encourage more youth to go into agriculture as full time business, he added.

Source: GNA

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