A delegation from the African Union (AU) currently visiting Ghana has applauded the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for its inclusive approach to preparing a long-term national development for Ghana. The delegation is in the country to discuss strategies for domesticating the first 10 years of the AU’s 50-year transformation agenda, known as Agenda 2063, into Ghana’s long-term national development plan. They made the commendation during a courtesy call on the Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, at his office in Accra on 3rd November 2015.
The Commission is currently working with six major political parties to develop a long-term national development plan that will be binding on successive governments yet flexible enough to allow political parties to implement their manifestos towards the achievement of a common national development vision specified in the long-term plan. The parties are: The Progressive People’s Party (PPP); the National Democratic Congress (NDC); the New Patriotic Party (NPP): the People’s National Convention (PNC); the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP).
During their visit, a senior technical adviser of the African Union and leader of the delegation, Mr. Yaw Adu-Boahene, noted that the participation of Ghana’s political parties in the preparation of the plan would help ensure continuity and sustainability in national development across different governments. “This is something other African countries can learn from Ghana,” he pointed out. A delegation from Sierra Leone has already visited the Commission to learn from its planning experience in a democratic environment.
According to Mr. Adu-Boahene, Agenda 2063 should be seen as a unique opportunity to transform Africa within the next 50 years. “The Agenda is expected to be a continental source of inspiration for the development of national and regional development plans”, the leader of the delegation stated.
Other members of the delegation were: Ms. Tsilat Getachew, a development planning expert; Mr. Tichawa Shumba, a senior policy officer; and Dr. Robert Afriyie, Deputy Head of Mission at the Ghana Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
For his part, Dr. Thompson stated the importance of situating national development planning within the context of changes in the international community. In view of this, he said, “the proposed long-term national development plan [for Ghana] will have a chapter devoted solely to Ghana’s position in the global geo-political economy – how it affects Ghana and how Ghana can affect it for itself and for Africa”.
He added: “National development is not only about what happens within our borders but also what happens beyond them. We must anticipate global developments (both economic and political) and prepare for them rather than waiting for them to happen and then react as we’ve been doing for decades”. He also expressed displeasure at the practice where African governments congregate in other countries at the behest of leaders of those countries – such as the India-Africa Summit and the China-Africa Summit – and noted: “If we want to be respected in world affairs, we must first respect ourselves… we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be used as shoulder pads by others to project their power on the global stage. We must begin to project our own power, and that starts from looking within and believing in ourselves.”
He said Africa has a higher per capita income than India and an untapped potential for rapid and broad-based development and thus “has no business grovelling before others”. He warned: “South-South Cooperation can be nothing more than a Trojan horse for a new form of colonialism where we export raw materials to these tin-super powers but are not allowed to export manufactures to their markets. We must be careful”.
Dr. Thompson later talked about the importance of localizing Agenda 2063 as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals within the context of Ghana’s long-term national development plan, “because national development is ultimately the aggregation of all local developments… we must pay attention to local communities, the building blocks of national development”