Like I said yesterday on another wall, most of our political parties write up their manifestos only to come into power to be met with medium term development frameworks (e.g. Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies [Vision 2020], GPRS 1 and 2 to GSGDA I and 2, etc.,) which lack a STRATEGIC FOCUS and are often dictated to at the behest of multilateral donors. Trouble is that most of these party manifestos are often drawn without recourse to what Ghana’s medium to long term objectives are – in fact they don’t exist! What are the nation’s collective aspirational goals and can we [our political parties] draw on these to fashion out a programme that delivers on these objectives in an incremental manner – KPIs over the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years and beyond?
A good National Development Plan offers a long-term perspective; it defines a desired destination and identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching that goal― it is pragmatic and takes into full account the political economy dynamics. These policies, programmes and projects are often expressed in the form of strategic long-term framework within which more detailed planning takes place in order to advance the goals around which national development efforts are coordinated.
In Ghana, the first three-year Medium-Term Development Plan (1997-2000) in the past 25 years was actually crafted out of Vision 2020. Vision 2020 was curtailed following Ghana’s decision to seek assistance under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative in 2002. The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I) came on the back of this from 2003-2005 followed by the GPRS II from 2006-2009 and then the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (2010-2013; 2014 -2017) and recently The Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2014-2020).
It is a good move to have a single blueprint which consolidates all existing development strategies, drawn with citizen participation and engagement among others into a WORKABLE GOAL-SEEKING AND TIME-BOUND FRAMEWORK that allows our political parties to draw their respective manifestos and plans from ― specifics to be left to the political parties! Given the many failed attempts at nation-building and the wanton rape and pillage of her resources by its political elites; I understand the cynicism people have shown surrounding this 40 year plan. However, my preliminary concern lies with the fact that I’d much rather see a two-part 15-20 year plan of economic and social transformation. I can immediately relate to that, at least. I have over the years come to believe that there is little ideological purity amongst most of the political parties in Ghana’s Fourth Republican politics. By virtue of Ghana’s weak constitutional provisions, all have become centrist in one way or the other to the extent that power and largesse conferred by a State-led system negates any desire for fundamental constitutional changes. That is part of the elephant in the room which we need to fundamentally address ― i.e. the pre-conditions for successful implementation of any plan.
God bless Ghana!