By Courtney Doll
Africa is full of countries under-achieving, with large chunks of the population living under the poverty line. To fight poverty, many countries have developed individually tailored policies. These policies contain series of goals, all with the hope that a structured plan can help the Millenium Development Goals be achieved.
Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (GRPS) is a multi-faceted plan with different strategies to boost the local economy. There are 7 sections in the two-part GRPS plan:
- Ensuring macroeconomic stability. The plan aims to achieve a per capita income of at least $3,000 in the long-term. In the medium-term, Ghana would ideally have a constantly increasing non-oil average real GDP growth rate.
- Enhancing competitiveness of Ghana’s private sector. This means developing the private sector, creating and maintaining a tourism industry, and promoting good corporate governance.
- Agricultural modernization. Under the plan, Ghana would find ways to speed up agricultural modernization and find ways to invest in natural resource development.
- Oil and gas development. Ghana should aim to create jobs in the oil and gas sector while finding ways to protect the environment from oil and gas pollution.
- Infrastructure and human settlements. The country will look to invest in road, railway and maritime transportation, science technology and development, and communications development.
- Human development, productivity and employment. This includes making developments in healthcare, increasing child survival rates, taking better care of the old and disabled and improving nutrition and food security.
- Transparent and accountable government. Through reforms, ensuring public safety, improving rights and reforming the public sector, the government of Ghana hopes to govern openly and transparently.
You can learn more about the second phase of the plan by watching the video below:
The reason this plan makes more sense to me is because it is not a broad Millennium Development Goal. There is no one size fits all solution to curing poverty. By targeting weaknesses in the Ghanian government and economy, the country can work to better itself from the inside out. These specific goals can help the MDGs be achieved.
Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) was replaced by a five-year National Development Plan that focuses mainly on the different sectors of the country. The plan, created by President Yoweri Museveni, sets out to make Uganda a middle-income country by the end of 2015.
The country hopes to focus on its growing sectors: oil and gas, mining, and tourism- to name a few, while improving social sectors such as employment and education. The plan also details a focus on how to make sectors work together: where science and technology intersect, how transportation and energy sectors can work together to make the country more efficient. The chairman of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism, Adedeji Adebayo, cautioned that these goals would not be successful without assistance from beneficiaries.
It should not come as a surprise that when one analyzes research pertaining to financial situations of such countries, tables such as the J.B. Morgan EMBI league table exclude certain Sub-Sahara African countries from the list. The table tracks total returns for “traded external debt instruments.” However, countries struggling to develop frequently have problems securing bonds and are not making exchanges with other countries. Over 98% of the factors this table considers are international bonds.
Whether these plans work or not is still to be seen. Ghana is in phase 2, while Uganda works to unify sectors to boost the economy. However, one can argue that specific plans of attack tailored to individual countries is a much better plan that broad, overarching goals such as the MDGs.