Just Sociology

Promoting Positive Economic Growth and Social Development in Ghana

Positive economic growth and social development are at the forefront of national goals for low to middle income countries. Ghana, a West African nation with a population of approximately 31 million people, has experienced impressive economic growth over the past few years with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of 6.8% in 2018 (World Bank, 2021).

This article explores the main topic of positive economic growth and social development in Ghana by examining the government’s initiatives for social development, theories of development and governance, and the generalizability of Ghana’s development model. Additionally, this article analyzes the limitations of Ghana’s development model for other countries.

Economic Growth and Social Development in Ghana

Over the past few decades, Ghana’s economy has grown substantially with an average annual rate of 6.7% from 2015 to 2019 (World Bank, 2021). This growth can be attributed to a reformed economic agenda that included liberalizing trade, agricultural modernization, industrial development, infrastructure investments, and enhancing fiscal management (World Bank, 2019).

The government has also channeled resources to sectors such as health, education, water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) to promote social development. The country has reduced its poverty incidence from 56.5% in 1992 to 23.4% in 2016 (World Bank, 2020).

Indeed, Ghana has made remarkable progress towards achieving its social development goals over the past decade. Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has expanded to cover over 40% of the population, making healthcare more accessible and affordable (WHO, 2017).

Similarly, the government’s Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy, implemented in 1997, ensures that all children have access to basic education (GSS, 2012). The School Feeding Programme has been pivotal in increasing school attendance rates and nutritional outcomes, as well as generating employment opportunities (GOG, 2017).

To further promote social development, the government has implemented the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) along with the WASH programme, which aims to provide access to sanitation facilities and clean water sources for all (WHO, 2017). Finally, Ghana’s Adult Education Programme has successfully improved the literacy rate of the population aged 15 and above from 58.5% in 1990 to over 70% in 2016 (GOG, 2017).

Government Initiatives for Social Development in Ghana

The Ghanaian government’s commitment to social development has been crucial in improving the quality of life for its citizens. This is demonstrated by the implementation of various initiatives and reforms that promote economic growth and welfare.

One such initiative is the oil extraction tax, introduced in 2015, which aims to generate revenue for development activities (IMF, 2019). Moreover, the Ghanaian government has focused on good governance, which has been identified as a significant factor in achieving social development goals (World Bank, 2019).

Transparency and accountability have been prioritized, leading to a reduction in corruption and the mismanagement of resources (World Bank, 2020). The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has also increased tax collection and has initiated measures to reduce tax evasion (Adu, 2020).

The GRA’s efforts have contributed to the growth of revenues from taxation, which has been channeled to finance public services and investments in infrastructure.

Theories of Development and Governance

Theories of development and governance provide a lens through which the effectiveness of the government’s initiatives for social development in Ghana can be assessed. The neoliberal theory of development, which posits that economic growth can stimulate social development, underpins the Ghanaian government’s approach to development (Escobar, 2018).

Moreover, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have supported this strategy, focusing on government reforms, private investment, and deregulation (IMF, 2019). Taxation has also played a critical role in Ghana’s development, as more revenue has been available to enhance public services.

However, the effectiveness of state-led development has faced challenges. Governance issues, including corruption, conflict, and inadequate regulation, have been detrimental to social development (Kwakye, 2020).

Corruption has eroded public confidence in the government, leading to reduced tax compliance and decreased investment. Ghana’s governance failures are a reminder that economic growth is not an end in itself without a strong commitment to the rule of law and good governance.

Generalizability of Ghana’s Development Model

Ghana’s approach to positive economic growth and social development provides a model for other low to middle income countries. The country’s stable government and minimally corrupt government can be viewed as a comparative advantage that has supported Ghana’s development trajectory (World Bank, 2020).

This model is all the more compelling considering the lack of progress in other countries affected by corruption, political instability, and resource constraints. Peer countries, such as Rwanda and Tanzania, have shown remarkable progress in reducing poverty rates and improving social development indicators (World Bank, 2021).

Ghana’s development model could provide ideas and experiences that could guide these countries in their development path. Limitations of Ghana’s Development Model

The development model of Ghana is not a panacea for all economies.

Its effectiveness is limited by its inability to provide solutions for failed states (Jenkins, 2017). Failed states, such as Somalia and South Sudan, have been confined in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment, chronic poverty, conflict, and social disintegration (Jenkins, 2017).

A development model similar to Ghana would have minimal success in these fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Moreover, Ghana’s development ladder suggests that the country requires more progressive policies if it is to achieve its vision of becoming a developed country.

Conclusion

Positive economic growth and social development are not only desirable objectives but necessary for the survival and sustainability of low to middle-income countries. Ghana provides excellent examples of how governments can promote social development by implementing various initiatives and employing strategies that emphasize good governance, inclusivity, and equal access to public services.

However, the applicability of Ghana’s development model to other contexts needs to be weighed critically based on its limitations. Ultimately, the Ghanaian context presents an excellent opportunity for other countries to study and learn from its development experiences.

References

Adu, G. (2020).

Taxation in Ghana: The challenges and opportunities of formalising the informal sector. Journal of African Business, 21(3), 430-444.

GOG (Government of Ghana). (2017).

The Medium-Term Development Policy Framework. Accra, Ghana: GOG.

GSS (Ghana Statistical Service). (2012).

2010 Population and Housing Census Summary Report of Final Results. Accra, Ghana: GSS.

IMF (International Monetary Fund). (2019).

Ghana: 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Ghana. Washington D.C.: IMF.

Jenkins, R. (2017).

Why the development models of failed states must differ from those of other low-income countries. Third World Quarterly, 38(11), 2431-2450.

Kwakye, A., & Aidoo, R. A.

(2020). Corruption and public sector management in Ghana: Issues and challenges.

In Handbook of Research on Corruption in Public Organizations and Sector (pp. 123-145).

Hershey, PA: IGI Global. World Bank.

(2019). Ghana – Economic Outlook Fall 2019: Reforms for Inclusion.

Washington, DC: World Bank. World Bank.

(2020). Ghana Economic Update, April 2020: Protecting Lives and Livelihoods.

Washington, DC: World Bank. World Bank.

(2021). Ghana.

Washington, DC: World Bank. WHO (World Health Organization).

(2017). Country Case Study: Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme.

Geneva, Switzerland: WHO. Escobar, A.

(2018). Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds.

Durham: Duke University Press. In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive overview of positive economic growth and social development in Ghana.

From examining the government’s initiatives for social development, theories of development and governance, and the generalizability of Ghana’s development model to the limitations of Ghana’s development model for other countries, it is clear that Ghana provides excellent examples of how governments can promote social development. By learning from Ghana’s experiences, countries can implement similar policies and strategies to promote inclusive growth and reduce poverty.

FAQs:

Q: What has been Ghana’s average annual GDP growth rate from 2015 to 2019? A: Ghana’s average annual GDP growth rate from 2015 to 2019 was 6.7%.

Q: What are some initiatives that have been implemented in Ghana to promote social development? A: Ghana has implemented various initiatives, such as the National Health Insurance Scheme, FCUBE policy, School Feeding Programme, WASH Programme, and Adult Education Programme to promote social development.

Q: What is the government’s strategy towards development in Ghana? A: The government’s strategy towards development in Ghana is based on the neoliberal theory of development, which posits that economic growth can stimulate social development.

Q: What are some governance issues that have hindered social development in Ghana? A: Governance issues such as corruption, conflict, and inadequate regulation have hindered social development in Ghana.

Q: Can Ghana’s development model be replicated in other countries? A: Ghana’s development model can be replicated in other low to middle-income countries that have stable and minimally corrupt governments.

However, its applicability needs to be examined critically based on the individual country’s context and limitations.

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