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Ghana holds nat'l forum on inclusive development

ACCRA, May 11 — Ghana needs a deliberate strategy to both generate growth and share its proceeds more equally among the population, a senior UN official said here on Tuesday.

Susan Ngongi, UNICEF Representative in Ghana, said despite reaching the milestone of halving the number of people living in poverty, Ghana's development needed to be fair and its transformation must carry along everybody equally, not just the wealthy as the country was seeing rising inequality since the 1990s.

"We see beautiful cars and big, new houses around parts of Accra; but go to an isolated rural community and it can look much the same as 20 years ago. Yes, we are seeing progress, but it is often not deliberate, policy-led progress," she said at a national forum on inclusive development in Accra.

The forum, organized by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), provided an opportunity to share ideas on how the poorest may be empowered to participate in and benefit equally from economic growth and social development.

Ghana has made remarkable progress in terms of economic performance over the past two decades, which has largely been pro- poor and inclusive.

The incidence of poverty has reduced consistently from 517 percent in 1991-1992 to 242 percent in 2012-2013.

While poverty levels have been falling, available statistics indicate that inequality has worsened. Recent statistics from the Ghana Statistical Service also reveal poverty levels still remain high in the three northern regions and among some socio-economic growth groups, especially food crop farmers.

Deputy minister of Finance Mona Quartey said the government had an objective of accelerating economic expansion in order to further reduce poverty levels and improve income distribution.

She said the government had put in place various measures to create fiscal space in support of pro-poor spending, including expenditure rationalization, revenue enhancement and provision of reliefs, and debt management measures.

The key output expected of the forum is a set of policy actions to promote inclusive development. (PNA/Xinhua)

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