Surnal bi am na ab palaŋ yokkuté nit..
Bii yi bi palaŋ bi nekk nañu...
- wañi magaay askan
- yokk njàng bi mag
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- yokk giiru-dundu
- wañi feebar
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Jamono bi ci topp wi dina yeggali liggeey bi.
What is Vision 2020?
Vision 2020 was presented to parliament by president Jerry John Rawlings in 1995. The document formed part of the incoming president’s constitutional obligation to present social and economic development policies to parliament after assuming office. The policy’s main aim was expressed as “raising Ghana into the ranks of the middle-income countries of the world” by 2020. This would be done through five ‘themes of development’ :
Human Development – focusing on reducing poverty, tackling inequality and promoting equal opportunities.
Economic Growth – aimed at achieving a long-term economic growth rate of 8% per annum, through improved economic infrastructure and an increased focus on science and technology (S&T).
Rural Development – aimed at improving the standard of living for the rural population, which formed two thirds of the population at the time.
Urban Development – focusing on urbanisation of small and medium-sized towns to alleviate pressure on main urban centres and to assist rural transformation.
Enabling Environment – focusing on embedding changes in public administration and the legal framework to underpin and support the four development objectives listed above.
However, by the year 2000, Ghana’s economy had taken a major hit, with inflation hitting over 40% and the cedi depreciating by nearly 50%. This saw the NDC losing power to the NPP in the 2000 presidential election. With the NPP coming into power, the outgoing government’s Vision 2020 policy document was scrapped and replaced by the NPP’s Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (GPRS). While Vision 2020 is no longer considered valid, it is an important document in Ghana’s history, providing a useful yardstick by which to gauge progress. With this view in mind, this series of articles will attempt to evaluate the long-term measures outlined in Vision 2020 to see how the country has performed over the last 25 years.
The five themes of Vision 2020 will be condensed into three main categories: human development, science and technology advancements and environmental improvements. An assessment of each of these categories will be used to attempt to answer the question: How does the Ghana of today measure up against the 2020 Ghana imagined by Jerry John Rawlings in 1995?
Vision 2020: Human development
The long-term goal for human development, as described in Vision 2020, is “to improve the health, life expectancy and capabilities of all individuals, to eliminate extremes of deprivation, reduce poverty and ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits of development.” The human development measures include improvements to education, gender equality, population control and health. A subset of these will be assessed to give a picture of the progress made over the past 25 years. These include:
- Reducing the rate of population growth
- Eradicating adult illiteracy
- Increasing female enrolments and completion rates at all levels in the educational system
- Increasing life expectancy at birth, significantly reducing child mortality and reducing the incidence of communicable and preventable diseases
- Eradicating child malnutrition and child labour
- Ensuring access to safe water, sanitation and housing.
According to Vision 2020, the long term goal for population growth was to reduce the rate to 2% pa by 2020. The latest population statistics for Ghana for 2019 puts year on year growth at 2.2%, down from 2.9% in 1995. Despite the downward trend, Ghana now ranks 46th in the world by population, up from the 52nd spot in 1995. While there is a chance that the country will achieve the goal of 2% pa by 2020, the consistent rise in Ghana’s global ranking seems problematic.
The goal of Vision 2020 was to eradicate adult illiteracy by 2020. According to World Bank, Ghana’s 2018 adult literacy rate was 79%, up from the 53% quoted in the 1995 Vision 2020 document. This is an average increase of just over 2% a year, leaving it unlikely that Ghana will eradicate adult illiteracy by 2020. At the current rate, it is expected that illiteracy would be eradicated in Ghana by 2030, 10 years later than envisioned. On a positive note, the rate of literacy has increased at a faster rate in comparison with the overall rate for Sub-Saharan Africa over this period.
One of the measures aimed at addressing gender disparities was to increase female enrollments and completion rates at all levels in the educational system. UNESCO’s Gender Parity Index provides a measure of female to male enrolment at all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary). According to the most recent data, primary enrollment was 0.899 in 1995 and 1.012 in 2018, secondary enrollment was 0.726 in 1995 and 0.985 in 2018 and tertiary enrollment was 0.308 in 1994 and 0.765 in 2018. This shows a steady improvement in the ratio of females to males enrolled at all levels, however at each level the GPI decreases, indicating that the dropout rate for females is higher than for males, the root cause of which still needs to be addressed. Reasons for this are probably related to early childbearing, being kept from school to take on household responsibilities, such as cooking, cleaning and caring for younger children, gender-based violence and a lack of menstrual hygiene solutions and support.
Vision 2020 sought to increase life expectancy at birth and significantly reduce child mortality and the incidence of communicable and preventable diseases. Overall, life expectancy has increased by 6% from 57.5% in 1995 to 63.5% in 2017. While this is still 2.5% higher than the rate for Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate for Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 10% over the same period. This indicates that the life expectancy rate has not increased as favourably as it has in other similar countries. There has been a marked reduction in the infant mortality rate, which has reduced from 72 per 1000 live births in 1995 to 36 per 1000 live births in 2017.
According to data from 2017 published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, malaria, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are still leading causes of premature death in Ghana and the statistics show that the incidence of these communicable and preventable diseases is significantly higher than in other similar countries.
Child malnutrition and child labour
Vision 2020 also sought to eradicate child malnutrition and child labour by 2020, however these measures have not been met. In 2014, 11% of children under the age of five were considered underweight by the World Health Organisation and approximately one in five children had stunted growth. More recent statistics are not available, but there is little chance that Ghana will eradicate malnutrition by 2020, given the prevalence of young pregnancies, especially in rural areas. By the age of 19, more than 36% of girls in Ghana have begun childbearing.
According to UNICEF, child labour is also still a significant problem in Ghana, with about 21% of children aged 5-17 involved in child labour. This is mainly in agriculture and fishing and is twice as likely to be the case in rural households.
Vision 2020 aimed to “ensure adequate access to reliable supplies of safe water for all communities and households” and to “ensure the safe disposal of all solid and liquid waste for all communities and households.” According to the WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Project (JMP), which aims to provide a source of comparable data globally for water, sanitation and hygiene, Ghana has achieved 81% safe water coverage across households, however only 36% of this is considered “safely managed”. For a water source to be considered safely managed, it should come from an improved water source which is located on premises, available when needed and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.
The picture for sanitation is worse. According to the JMP, only 18% of sanitation meets the criteria to be considered “at least basic”, which requires “improved facilities which are not shared with other households.” A large proportion of those affected live in , with 31% still resorting to open defecation and 19% using pits, bucket or hanging latrines.
Providing sufficient housing for the entire population and ensuring adequate facilities were listed as priority measures in Vision 2020. The most recent statistics show that housing is still an issue. Single-room houses occupied by two or more members account for 56.1% of single-room dwellings, and for two-room dwellings, nearly 46.9% contain four to six members. 56.9% of rural dwellings use mud as a primary building material for walls and 76.8% of all dwellings used metal sheeting for ceilings. A large problem that exists is that government housing policies are not consistent and are often abandoned, especially when changes to the ruling government take place.
Overall, in terms of meeting the criteria set out to measure long term success for human development through the Vision 2020 policy, the data shows that Ghana has not met some of the key measures outlined. Specific focus areas should be improving the availability and resources for education, with a specific focus on supporting girls and rural families and improving the provision of basic sanitation and water access.