Ghana: An Interview with Godfrey Ewool (from IDA)

February 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Africa | Leave a comment
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Godfrey Ewool is Chief Executive Officer of  Contract Management Specialists Ghana Ltd. He has previously served as a senior adviser to the Minister of Finance, a consultant to the Ministry of Local Government, and as an infrastructure specialist at the World Bank.  He is also an adjunct professor at the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

1) What is different for a child born in 2007 in Ghana versus one born in 1983?
I can say that there is tangible improvement in the macro economic environment, resulting in low inflation, stable prices, relatively improved minimum wage for public servants, just to mention a few. Also, the culture of multi-party democracy is gaining strong foundation in the country, with a very vibrant print and electronic media. Nearly every one has opportunity to make their voices heard on nearly every issue of national interest through radio and other media.

I can say with some confidence that there has been a great deal of improvement in basic education, particularly in relation to school structures, including transportation to school as well as feeding in public schools. At the tertiary level too, there has been significant improvement in opportunities through the provision of additional facilities in existing institutions and the involvement of the private sector in the establishment of private universities. With regard to infrastructure, I can see a lot of work going on in the area of road construction. There has also been some improvement in access to health services for the ordinary person, although it would take some time yet for the potential to be fully harnessed.

On the other hand, there is a substantial increase in national population coupled with a fast growing incidence of urbanization, with the attendant negative effects of crime, poor waste management and inadequate utility services. These pose a great challenge.

2) How did the IDA partnership contribute to the changes you have outlined?
The IDA and its other partners have helped to promote development dialogue and advice on prudent policy choices. They have also provided badly needed financial support for macro economic management and investment in social and infrastructure services. They have also provided vital technical assistance for identification, planning and implementation of development projects. Through these, and with a lot of push from civil society organizations, we now have the second poverty reduction strategy which serves as the strategic framework around which Ghana’s development agenda is built.  Without these, successive Governments would have had great difficulty meeting the aspirations of the people.

3)  What are the two or three challenges that clearly require international support?
I believe the current approach of designing piecemeal projects implemented over unduly long periods is not achieving the much desired impact within reasonable time. Much bigger projects would be implemented in about the same time with better prospects for achieving the desired impact with gains in the area of economy of scale and efficiency. I also believe that specific actions to promote long term political stability, peace and security in the country, which are critical for ensuring continuity in the improvements outlined above, would have to be adopted. The World Bank needs to recognize this important prerequisite and support the Government’s efforts towards the deepening of democracy.

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