General News of Friday, 6 February 2015
Source: R. Harry Reynolds
Ghana has achieved the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal One of halving extreme poverty.
This follows the reduction of the current extreme poverty rate from 16.5 per cent in 2005/2006 to 8.4 per cent in 2013/14 according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey.
Nana Oye Lithur, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister announced this today(February5, 2014)at a side-event at the on-going 53rd Commission for Social Development at the UN headquarters in New York. It has the theme “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world”. The event afforded the Minister and some officials of her sector and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF),the opportunity to give an overview of various social protection measures initiated in Ghana to reduce poverty, assist the poorest families with basic needs, improve the health and educational status of children, among others.
Acknowledging that Ghana had made significant strides from an historically uncoordinated and poorly targeted social protection regime, she said however that some disparities still existed which were being addressed through various interventions.
“To ensure effective and efficient complimentarity of interventions, a graduation framework is being developed for implementation to ensure that all Social Protection beneficiaries are linked to livelihood creation opportunities,” she explained.
To cap this, the Minister disclosed that a policy framework being developed to guide social protection in Ghana will be followed immediately with legislation.
To achieve its objectives, she said her Ministry had formed partnerships with bilateral and multilateral partners, government institutions, Parliament, development partners, civil society together with technical and financial support from partners.
Mr. Ted Chaiban, Director, Programme Division, UNICEF, who chaired the event,commended Ghana for being an example to many countries seeking to expand social protection and make programmes more integrated and coherent.
He noted that the emergence of social protection and specifically cash transfer programmes is a “revolution from the south”, a simple idea that is changing the lives of millions of people across the globe.
Mr. Robert Austin, National Coordinator of the Ghana Social Opportunities Project gave the current status of Social protection, spending, gaps and challenges. Mr. Mawutor Ablo, Director, Social Protection of the Ministry also, gave a snapshort of the existing portfolio of interventions for the different target populations, relevant stakeholders and existing institutional arrangement whilst Mr. Peter Luigi Ragno, also of UNICEF, presented the results and impacts of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty(LEAP)