President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated in New York that Ghana seeks to achieve the 2030 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by way of a strong industrial growth.
He stressed that the country was entering a new era when industrial transformation would be the major driver of the economy.
The President made the statement when he called on Mr Peter Thomson, the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, at the UN building in New York, USA, last Friday.
With Ghana’s economy largely dependent on the production and export of raw materials for many years, President Akufo-Addo noted that the situation had resulted in the economy being unable to create the necessary numbers of high-paying jobs that would enhance the living standards of the people.
It was for that reason that he told Mr Thompson that the addition of significant value to Ghana’s primary products through initiatives such as the one-district, one-factory policy was a priority of the government.
President Akufo-Addo stated that his government had introduced a number of policy measures aimed at creating an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish.
Those 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, he indicated that initiatives such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the one-village, one-dam policy in the three regions of the north were answers to the twin problem of the migration of the youth to the cities in search of non-existent jobs and the disgraceful spectacle of Ghana importing foodstuffs from neighbouring countries.
President Akufo-Addo pointed to the fact that the countries that had done well, even without natural resources, were the ones that had invested in education and skills training, the most important sources of empowering and providing opportunities for the youth to help drive Ghana’s development, and in the process create jobs.
He told the UN General Assembly President that from September 2017, his government would begin the free senior high school policy.
Having inherited a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that was indebted to the tune of some GH¢1.2 billion, which threatened the very survival of the scheme, President Akufo-Addo said his government had put in place measures to find the money to pay off the debt and revive the NHIS.
He added that the implementation of those policies would put Ghana on the firm path towards progress and prosperity, as well as meeting the 15 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As Co-chair of the SDGs Advocates Group of Eminent Personalities, President Akufo-Addo stressed that he, together with the other members of the group, would do all in their power to mobilise political support for the realisation of the goals and promote global development that would leave no one behind.
He commended Mr Thomson for his leadership of the assembly which ensured a seamless and smooth transition at the United Nations when Mr António Guterres replaced Mr Ban Ki-Moon as the new UN Secretary-General.
Vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid” laudable
For his part, Mr Thomson congratulated President Akufo-Addo on his decisive victory in the December 2016 elections and the measures he had put in place to ensure the realisation of the vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
He described the vision as laudable and one that must be emulated by leaders of developing countries in Africa and across the world.
He also congratulated President Akufo-Addo on his appointment by Mr Guterres as Co-chair of the SDGs Advocates Group and expressed optimism that he would be successful in mobilising political support for the implementation of the 15 goals.
Mr Thomson pledged the support of the UN for the endeavour.
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