Ghanaians Asked To Adopt Development Attitude
Accra, Dec 29, GNA – Mr Mats
Karlsson, World Bank Country Director, on Friday appealed to
Ghanaian to assume an attitude that is oriented towards
speeding up the development process of the country.
He said the opportunity for a faster development was here
but there was the need to exhibit an attitude conducive to
greater economic development and questioned why in spite of
all the economic variables the country was not moving
Mr Karlsson in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said:
"All the elements for economic growth are here in the
country - financing, political dialogue, the knowledge… why
can't we make them gel even more?"
The WB Country Director noted as a Ghanaian problem, "doing
what we say we are going to do", adding that the issue was
also about "moving on quickly with what we know is the best
On the current energy crisis, Mr Karlsson said, the low
rains were only a trigger of the energy crisis, whereas the
actual reason was sluggishness to energy reforms that had
long been envisioned.
"But this is solvable, so let's solve it," he said.
Mr Karlsson said to attain the target of a middle-income
status, speed was part of the solution and the country would
not achieve much with the slow implementation of policies,
projects and programmes.
He said people in leadership positions, particularly at the
grassroots, should not be afraid to make mistakes, which
always resulted in them always waiting for decisions from
He said people at the grassroots must initiate moves and be
prepared to learn from their mistakes, "local leadership
should be paramount”.
District Chief Executives, opinion leaders and area council
leaders should have attitudinal change that would not accept
slow performance," he stated.
On the performance of the economy, Mr Karlsson agreed with
the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Paul Acquah that the
economy in 2006 had performed well and was also ahead of
most of its peers.
Mr Karlsson said there were tall and challenging benchmarks
that the country could set for itself.
He acknowledged that the year recorded some results that
were improvement over previous years of consistent
These included downward trends in inflation and interest
rates; higher growth rate; higher cocoa production and
non-traditional exports; as well as improvement in the basic
school enrolment and gender parity.
In the 2004/2005 academic calendar, enrolment at the primary
3.28 million with a total gross enrolment ratio (GER) of
92.1 per cent.
The Gender Parity Index was 0.95. At the junior secondary
level, enrolment was 1.12 million with a total GER of 74.7
per cent. Gender Parity Index was 0.94.
Mr Karlsson was, however, not impressed with achievements in
health and outlined three areas, nutrition, sanitation and
early childhood development as key areas to tackle.
"Nutrition levels are very low in a country that can grow
virtually everything and this is an attitudinal issue rather
than one of income," he observed.
He deplored a situation where people littered virtually
wherever they walked and called for a major attitudinal
change at all levels to deal with the problem of filth.
He said district assemblies, for example, could not pretend
they could not find 50 million cedis to construct public
places of convenience, as well as provide lavatories and
hand-washing facilities for schools in their localities.
Although he did not think local assemblies should rely on
the Central Government and donor partners for such projects,
he said the donor community had completed their framework
for such a support and was only waiting for implementation.
He said $62 million had been earmarked for sanitation under
the Second Urban Sanitation Project for the provision of
drainage, and liquid and solid waste management by the five
largest metropolitan and municipal assemblies in Ghana but
the project had encountered delays.
A total of $10.8 million meant for a sanitary landfill and a
liquid waste treatment facility has not been utilised
because there is no land to accommodate these facilities.
Mr Karlsson commended efforts by the Ghana@50 Secretariat to
make sanitation a key part of the celebrations. He
encouraged all Ghanaians to take advantage of it to rid the
country of filth during the 50th anniversary and beyond.
He also commended religious bodies, who, with the support of
the World Bank Ghana Office had established a best practice
initiative to use the pulpit to preach to the minds and
souls of all to change from the ungodly attitude of
littering the environment.
Mr Karlsson said he had learnt a new phrase in Ghana which
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness". He encouraged all to use
the Christmas period not only to do soul-searching but make
concrete efforts to change their attitudes and get rid of
On early childhood development, he said it should be given
serious consideration if the country was to see quality
future leaders in about 25 years.
For the long term, Mr Karlsson proposed two policies on
natural resource management; forestry and fisheries, both of
which were being depleted.
He also recommended that an urban policy should be enacted
to engender the right responses to deal with the rate of
urbanisation in Ghana.
"The rate at which urbanisation is occurring in the country
required clear-cut policies and strong leadership to contain
it, else the situation could get out of hand in 20 years,"
stressed Mr Karlsson.
According to the 2000 population and housing census, Accra's
population is growing at almost four per cent per annum and
higher than the national average of 2.6 per cent, and
Kumasi's population is growing at 5.6 per cent.
This means Accra's population will double in 16 years, while
Kumasi’s will double in 12 years. Therefore, if these two
largest cities do not plan in advance, there will be a
catastrophe by the end of the next decade.
Mr Karlsson also advised the country to maintain its grips
on the macroeconomic achievements, since it had profited
from it. "Greater ambition can get us there.”