Business News of Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Ghana would learn from the best practices in Kenya, India, and other partners, to complement its strategies for giving decent jobs to vulnerable people, towards the eradication of hunger and poverty by 2030.
Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the President’s Representative to the 55th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, told the Ghana News Agency, in an interview that, adopting Kenya’s fish-farming, urban bag farming and handicraft projects, would help to put money in the pockets of the very poor.
She explained that after identifying the beneficiaries and giving them the necessary skill training and logistics, they were also assisted in selling on both the local and international markets.
In some projects, she said, the beneficiaries were making handcrafted packaging materials for international cosmetic companies and earning good money, adding that, Ghana had the talents to take advantage of such opportunities.
“I had discussions with several delegates after the opening ceremony to share ideas with them, and I have learned a lot that we can bring on board to make life better for our poor women, persons with disabilities, the aged poor, unemployed youth, kayayei, and other marginalised groups,” she said.
“It would be helpful to send our people to these countries to understudy their projects and adapt them to suit our own situations, and even improve upon them.
“One of the reasons the UN provided this platform is for us not to reinvent the wheel when we can learn from one another.” Madam Otiko Djaba said Ghana could even help its people who would be engaged in these ventures with tax reliefs and other incentives.
“Poverty is a canker – it is disease that reduces the dignity of human beings, especially marginalised – it is, therefore, very important we all work together to give social protection to the marginalised ones to become self-reliant and live a happy dignified life,” she said.
She said there was also a lot of interest in Ghana’s strategies, as well, explaining that, the country’s democratic credentials in having uninterrupted democratic rule since 1992 had made it admirable.
On the domestic strategies, Madam Otiko Djaba said the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), would be expanded to also support the aged poor to engage in sustainable income-earning activities because the traditional safety nets for caring for them had been eroded by migration and other limitations.
She said setting aside 50 per cent of the loans disbursed by the Micro Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) for women to improve their financial status and their contribution towards national economic growth would help to achieve sustainable development.
Additionally, she said, the Government’s policy of expanding and building micro and small-scale industries; and agro-based enterprises in every district would provide employment to the youth, the poor and the vulnerable.
The building of small-scale dams in arid communities, especially in the Northern part of the country, would also boost agricultural production and improve food security.
“We are determined to actualise our motto: ‘Change, an Agenda for Jobs, Equal Opportunities for All’, to make the Ghanaian dream a reality for all,” she said. The Social Development Session is being held at the world body’s headquarters in New York on the theme: “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development For All.”
The 10-day event is providing various platforms for members of the Commission and other key stakeholders, including civil society organisations, to advance the dialogue towards the eradication of poverty, targeting issues related to Ageing; Indigenous People; the Family; the Youth; Disability and Cooperatives.
The achievements made would build on the experiences gained in implementing the Copenhagen Programme of Action, adopted at the World Summit for Social Development, in 1995.