Poverty, they say, is at the heart of Africa's problems. This is an overview of some of the economic challenges facing the continent.
Most of sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, is in the World Bank's lowest income category of less than $765 Gross National Income (GNI) per person per year. Ethiopia and Burundi are the worst off, with just $90 GNI per person.
Even countries such as Ghana, Gabon and Botswana who are in the middle-income category have sizeable sections of their population living in poverty.
Development campaigners have argued that the rules on debt, aid and trade need reforming to help lift more African nations out of poverty.
Although President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched a campaign on ‘Ghana beyond aid’, with the government planning to galvanise Ghana’s resources to spur growth and development, the country is still in need and we appreciate any support to lift up critical sectors of the economy.
This is why the Daily Graphic welcomes the signing of four new financing agreements between Ghana and the European Union (EU) to support the country’s development agenda with a grant of £175 million.
The money is to be used to support four programmes that the EU, a group of 28 countries, and the government have been working at improving.
The programmes are agricultural enhancement, with special focus on the savannah zone; decentralisation; resilience against climate change and public financial management (PFM) and the economic partnership agreements (EPAs).
Indeed, West Africa is home to some of the world’s poorest and historically most unstable countries. Even in peaceful states with good economic growth rates, many governments are struggling to create enough jobs for a booming youthful population.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, at the signing ceremony in Accra yesterday, expressed the government’s gratitude to the EU for its continued support for the country’s development agenda.
He said the latest support was timely, given that it came at a time the government had also prioritised the four areas that the grant would support for job creation and better service delivery.
We are even more excited that part of the grant is to support one of the critical sectors of the economy — the agricultural sector.
This will go a long way to spur the sector and make the country food secure, while creating more jobs in support of the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
But the flip side is the worry that some grants and aid are diverted to other sectors of the economy, misapplied or, in some cases, misappropriated and not utilised for the purposes for which they were offered.
That situation sends the wrong signals to the development partners that we are corrupt and not worthy of any support.
It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic calls for proper monitoring of all funds earmarked for development programmes.
This can be done by assessing the impact of all utilised funds on the lives of the people who are the beneficiaries of the aid or the level of development on the sector of the economy.
Once the proper monitoring structures are put in place, aids, grants and development support from our partners will be utilised for the benefit of the people.