President John Mahama has reassured Ghanaians that the government will advance its socialist democratic vision by creating and strengthening social structures to enhance job security, quality education, accessible health care and social protection for all.
He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would continue to pursue an agenda that would put people at the centre of societal transformation and national development, positing that the 2016 manifesto of the party made adequate provision to drive the transformational agenda.
"As a social democratic party, we say no to any structural arrangements that create a regime for resources to be concentrated in the hands of only the strong and powerful. We say yes to the equitable and equal distribution of resources for the benefit of all and the creation of conditions for public-private participation in all sectors of national development," he said.
He was speaking at the closing session of the Socialist International Africa Committee Conference in Accra on Saturday.
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The two-day event, which started last Friday, was held on the theme: "Advancing our social democratic vision in Africa: Securing jobs, guaranteeing accessible quality education, developing health systems and ensuring social protection for all”.
The conference brought together socialist political parties from 24 African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Burkina Faso, the European countries and countries across the world.
Participants in the conference discussed issues relating to youth unemployment, improving quality and accessible education, providing quality health care and ensuring social protection for all people.
President John Mahama reiterated that as part of the transformational agenda, the next NDC government would prioritise investment in education in order to harness the country's human resource potential for sustainable national development.
In that regard, he reiterated that the NDC would continue to pursue policies and programmes that would give meaning to the four thematic areas on which its 2016 manifesto hinged.
"As a government, we have rolled out programmes such as the school feeding programme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the urban card for elderly persons and other social interventions that will alleviate poverty among the disadvantaged population," he said.
Touching specifically on measures to tackle unemployment, President Mahama stated that the next NDC government would, over the next four years, increase the beneficiaries of youth employment modules to more than 400,000 people.
He observed that the youth formed the generation of hope for the country’s development and that every avenue would be explored to develop their skills and potential, especially in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Victory in the elections
On the upcoming elections, he expressed optimism that the track record of the NDC in terms of the robust investment in educational infrastructure, roads, health care, agriculture and other initiatives would translate into votes to earn him victory in the December 7 polls.
He said the issues that had been discussed at the conference were in tune with the ideas espoused in the NDC's manifesto for the 2016 elections, adding that no stone would be left unturned to win the elections based on the party’s track record.
The General Secretary of Socialist International, Mr Luis Ayala, paid glowing tribute to the NDC leadership, saying that its social policies and the demeanor of its leaders had endeared it to other socialist parties and the international community.
He said the initiative to put people at the centre of national development, as captured by the 2016 manifesto, was a step in the right direction.
Mr Ayala urged all socialist parties to support one another, adding that political parties of the socialist ideology who were in opposition ought to be given special support.
In a related development, the participants at the conference came out with a communique in which socialists political parties have been called upon to take pragmatic steps to create employment opportunities for the youth through education and training.
The document, which was presented by the Director of International Relations of the NDC, Mr Kofi Attoh, required that socialist governments prioritise social housing, health insurance policies, job security and other social interventions for the vulnerable population.
On matters of peace and security, it called for collaboration and building common strategies to face the challenges of armed insurgencies by terrorist groups.
"The meeting conceded that steps ought to be taken to make the elections of this year in Ghana free, fair and transparent to reflect the will of the people," the communique stated.