President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has restated his government’s commitment towards Ghana’s industrial transformation, diversifying agriculture for increased productivity and creating a strong social services sector in the country.
These, according to the President represented Ghana’s path towards the realisation of the 2030 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.
President Akufo-Addo disclosed this when he called on Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, at the UN building in New York, USA.
With Ghana’s economy being largely dependent on the production and export of raw materials for many years, President Akufo-Addo noted this situation has resulted in Ghana’s economy being unable to create the necessary numbers of high-paying jobs that will enhance the living standards of the masses of the people.
He told Mr Thompson that the addition of significant value to Ghana’s primary products, through initiatives, in collaboration with the private sector, such as the one-District-one-Factory, was a priority of his government.
To this end, the President stated that his government had introduced a raft of policy measures aimed at creating an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish.
These measures, he added, would shift the focus of Ghana’s economy from taxation to production, and, hopefully, make Ghanaian businesses very competitive in West Africa, Africa and beyond.
On agriculture, the occupational mainstay of the majority of Ghanaians, President Akufo-Addo indicated that initiatives such as the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, and the one-Village-one-Dam project in the three regions of the North, are the answers to the twin-problem of the migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs, as well as ending the disgraceful spectacle of Ghana importing food stuffs from neighbouring countries.
President Akufo-Addo pointed to the fact that the countries that had done well, even without natural resources, are the countries that had invested in education and skills training.
Education and skills training, he noted were the most important source of empowering and providing opportunities to the youth to help drive Ghana’s development, and in the process create jobs.
He told the UN General Assembly’s President that his government had found and committed resources to begin the Free Senior High School policy from September 2017.
President Akufo-Addo stated that his government had put in place measures to find money to pay off a debt of GH¢1.2 billion which threatened the survival of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and revive the scheme, thereby taking away the fear of getting sick among Ghanaians.
The implementation of these policies, President Akufo-Addo noted, would put Ghana on the firm path towards progress and prosperity, as well as meeting the 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
As co-chair of the UN SDGs Advocates Group of Eminent Personalities, President Akufo-Addo stressed that he, together with all other members of the Advocate Group, would do all in their power to mobilise political support for the realisation of the goals, and promote global development that left no one behind.
President Akufo-Addo commended Mr Thomson for his leadership of the Assembly in ensuring a seamless and smooth transition at the United Nations, when António Guterres replaced Ban Ki Moon as the new UN Secretary General.
Mr Thompson congratulated President Akufo-Addo for his decisive victory in the December 2016 elections, and the concrete measures he had put in place to ensure the realisation of the vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid.”
This vision, he added, was a laudable one, which must be emulated by leaders of developing countries in Africa and across the world.
Mr Thompson also congratulated President Akufo-Addo on his appointment by UN Secretary General, António Gutteres, as co-Chair of the SDGs Advocates Group, and was confident that the Ghanaian President would be successful in mobilising political support for the implementation of the 15 goals, pledging the support of the UN to this end.