UN sustainable dev’t goals can be met – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated the commitment of his government towards the industrial transformation of the country’s economy, the diversification of agriculture and an increase in agricultural productivity, and the creation of a strong social services sector in Ghana.

These, according to President Akufo-Addo, represent Ghana’s path towards the realisation of the 2030 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.

The President made this known on Friday, 9th June, 2017, when he called on His Excellency Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, at the UN building in New York, USA.

With Ghana’s economy being largely dependent on the production and export of raw materials for many years, President Akufo-Addo noted this situation has resulted in Ghana’s economy being unable to create the necessary numbers of high-paying jobs that will enhance the living standards of the masses of the people.

It is for this reason, therefore, that President Akufo-Addo told Mr. Peter Thompson, that the addition of significant value to Ghana’s primary products, through initiatives, in collaboration with the private sector, such as the 1-District-1-Factory, is a priority of his government.

To this end, the President stated that his government has introduced a raft of policy measures aimed at creating an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish. These measures, he added, will 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, President Akufo-Addo indicated that initiatives such as the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, and the 1-Village-1-Dam project in the three Northern regions, are the answers to the twin-problem of the migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs, as well as ending the disgraceful spectacle of Ghana importing food stuffs from neighbouring countries.

President Akufo-Addo pointed to the fact that the countries that have done well, even without natural resources, are the countries that have invested in education and skills training. Education and skills training, he added, are the most important source of empowering and providing opportunities to the youth to help drive Ghana’s development, and in the process create jobs.

From September 2017, he told the UN General Assembly’s President that his government has found and committed resources to begin the Free Senior High School policy.

Having inherited a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) indebted to the tune of some GH¢1.2 billion, which threatened the very survival of the scheme, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government has put in place measures to find the money to pay off the debt, and revive the NHIS, thereby taking away the fear getting sick from Ghanaians.

The implementation of these policies, President Akufo-Addo noted, will put Ghana on the firm path towards progress and prosperity, as well as meeting the 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As co-chair of the UN SDGs Advocates Group of Eminent Personalities, President Akufo-Addo stressed that he, together with all other members of the Advocates Group, will do all in their power to mobilise political support for the realisation of the goals, and promote global development that leaves no one behind.

In concluding President Akufo-Addo commended His Excellency Mr Peter Thomson for his leadership of the Assembly in ensuring a seamless and smooth transition at the United Nations, when António Guterres replaced Ban Ki Moon as the new UN Secretary General.

Vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid” laudable

On his part, Mr. Peter Thompson, congratulated President Akufo-Addo for his decisive victory in the December 2016 elections, and the concrete measures he has put in place to ensure the realisation of the vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid.”

This vision, he added, is a laudable one, which must be emulated by leaders of developing countries in Africa and across the world.

Mr. Peter Thompson also congratulated President Akufo-Addo on his appointment by UN Secretary General, António Gutteres, as co-Chair of the SDGs Advocates Group, and was confident that the Ghanaian President will be successful in mobilising political support for the implementation of the 15 goals, pledging the support of the UN to this end.

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