Dr Kingsley Y. Amoako (left), Founder of ACET, in a discussion with Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, TUC Secretary-General, during the event
Dr Kingsley Y. Amoako (left), Founder of ACET, in a discussion with Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, TUC Secretary-General, during the event

Citizens’ compact for inclusive development in the offing

The Citizens' Convention, a technical conference that seeks to validate a compact for the country’s political and economic transformation as envisioned by citizens, has opened in Accra, with a call for bold and ambitious actions to accelerate sustainable national development. 

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The Ghana Compact, which is spearheaded by the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) with support from some state institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs), outlines the vision of citizens in critical areas such as youth employment, gender equality, education, health, fiscal responsibility, climate change, development planning and private sector development.

The compact, which provides the needed collective action for change, is expected to guide political parties in the drafting of their manifestoes for the 2024 elections.

The two-day Citizens Convention opened today (June 18), bringing together stakeholders across the spectrum, ranging from politics, academia, CSOs and development partners.
Representatives of political parties at the event were the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Council of Elders, Hackman Owusu Agyeman; Minister of Works and Housing, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah; a member of the manifesto committee, Dr Emmanuel Marfo; the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto committee, Prof. Danso Boafo; a member of the manifesto committee, Afi Agbenyo; as well as a member of the Movement for Change, Nana Ohene Ntow.

The Director-General of the National Development Planning Committee (NDPC), Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampah; the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy; and the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, were present at the event.

Why compact?

Underscoring the critical need for the Ghana Compact, the Founder and Convener of ACET, Dr Kingsley Y. Amoako, said the document would guide the country’s political and economic journey for the next 25 years.

Dr Amoako stressed that the time had come for a frank discussion on what was holding back the country’s development and take bold, inclusive measures to tackle those challenges.

He said it was worrying that after almost 70 years of independence, the country was grappling with challenges such as the growing polarisation of politics, increasing youth unemployment, frequent change in policy direction and inability to translate the natural resources of the country into development.

"These are the real challenges that are drawing us back, and we need to be bold in tackling them in a courageous manner," he stressed.

Dr Amoako said the development of the Ghana Compact was a major move towards sustainable development because it would serve as an accountable agreement between the government and citizens for the future.

For her part, the Chairperson of the NCCE said the Ghana Compact had provided an opportunity for enhanced engagement with citizens across the 16 regions of the country, which ensured that their views were harmonised into a single document.

Ms Addy said the compact was progressive and would ensure that the inputs of citizens were factored into the national development policy planning process. "From our engagement with citizens across the 16 regions, it became clear that this compact must go beyond the usual discussions to action; and leaders must be committed to implementing the provisions in the document," she said.

The NCCE boss said some of the cross-cutting issues that emerged as priority areas were sustainability of social intervention programmes, inclusive education, job creation and tackling corruption.

Good move

Dr Mensah-Abrampah said the citizens’ compact would complement the work of the commission and ensure inclusiveness in policy formulation. He also said it was important to wean the NDPC off political control so that it would be a more technical institution for development planning.

Dr Yaw Baah said the compact was all-encompassing with clear vision that represented the vision of all Ghanaians. “TUC is an organisation of workers, so if they are developing something that will give power to the people, we cannot stay away from it.

 We have been part of the process of developing this compact because we believe that we as a people must determine what happens in this country. After all, we elect politicians to lead us,” he said.

He stressed that the citizens’ compact was about giving people the power to lead and also giving them their terms of reference. “We have to make sure that they go by the terms of reference, and that is why the compact has components for monitoring and tracking progress,” he said.

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