Ghana launches the 2014 Human Development Report

13 Aug 2014

imageNana Oye Lithur (in head gear) flanked by Ms. Gita Welch (right) and Mrs Gladys Ghartey (left) and supported by Prof. Songsore and Mr. Majeed during the launch of the 2014 HDR (Photo credit: UNDP in Ghana)

The national launch of the 2014 Human Development Report (HDR) has taken place in Ghana, with a call on government to address the widening inequality gap in the country.

In the report entitled, Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience,  Ghana is ranked 138 out of 187 countries and territories, with a Human Development Index value of 0.573.  This latest ranking means Ghana maintained its position in the 2013 index, placing the country in the medium human development category.

In her opening remarks as the Chairperson of the event, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Nana Oye Lithur said addressing inequalities and ensuring human development is indeed complex and requires a multidimensional, complementary, and well-integrated approach.

“Aside the call to address the widening inequality gap attendant upon our economic growth, it is important we acknowledge the fact that economic growth in itself is meaningless unless it is closely linked to human development”, Hon. Oye Lithur said.

The Minister acknowledged that governments need to work harder in order to reduce the inequality gap. She added, “It is in this regard that the Government of Ghana has initiated measures, including legal, policy and institutional reforms to strengthen existing systems to ensure that the needs of the vulnerable are adequately addressed”.

Hon Oye Lithur mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, and the Labour Intensive Public Works as some of the programmes the Government of Ghana has implemented to improve the socio-economic status of the poor and vulnerable.

Delivering the welcome address, the acting UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Gita Welch was full of praise for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for being at the forefront of providing leadership on a number of critical issues, such as scaling-up the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, which provides cash and health insurance to the extremely poor.

Sharing highlights of the 2014 HDR, Ms. Gita Welch said the report looks at the relation of vulnerabilities, human insecurity and resilience with regards to human development. “The 2014 HDR points out that it is not enough to reduce poverty, but we need to ensure that people are able to stay out of poverty; while we pay attention to those who are not poor, but could very easily be thrown into poverty as a result of crisis and other events”, she explained.

The 2014 Human Development Report also points out that while national policy space to enhance coping capabilities is becoming more constrained as globalization deepens, public goods needed to build long-term coping capabilities and resilient societies are underprovided.

Other presentations by Ms. Radhika Lal and Mr. Kordzo Sedegah, UNDP Economics Advisor and Economics Specialist respectively provided global trends and key messages from the report as well as human development indicators for Ghana. Prof. Jacob Songsore of the University of Ghana and Mr. Majeed, a Planning Officer at the Wa Municipality also provided some reflections on vulnerability and resilience in Ghana.

The well-attended launch was also witnessed by heads of UN agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, Ministry Of Finance, development partners, development practitioners, local government officials, civil society organisations, research, academia and the media.

The Human Development Report is the flagship publication of the United Nations Development Programme commissioned and published yearly. The 2014 report provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience. It was first launched globally in Tokyo in July 2014, with regional and country-level launches occurring since.  

It is expected that the successful launch of the 2014 HDR in Ghana will generate the requisite interest and stimulate discussions among stakeholders for improved action and benefits to the people of Ghana.

The full report can be found here.