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Business News of Thursday, 30 June 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Ghana 6th best in SDG index - Jeffrey Sachs

A renowned American economist and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Prof. Jeffrey David Sachs, has stated that Ghana’s ranking as the sixth best in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) index for African countries puts it in a strong position at the start of the SDGs.

“So Ghana starts in a strong position and we know that the potential here is absolutely enormous and one of the reasons we want you to achieve all the SDGs fast, so you can go help your neighbours too, as that will be good business, good politics, good diplomacy and good humanity,” he said.

Prof. Sachs, who is also the Director of the Earth Institute at the Columbia University, USA, was speaking at a public lecture on the topic: “SDGs and economic growth in Africa”, at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Monday.

He said in view of Ghana’s position and sterling performance in the MDGs, it had the capacity to achieve most of the SDGs.

The index is topped by Mauritius, followed by Botswana, Gabon, Cape Verde and South Africa.

How to achieve SDGs

Prof. Sachs, who aided in the crafting of the MDGs, commended the former UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and former President John Agyekum Kufuor for their roles in putting the MDGs in motion and outlined ways to achieve the SDGs.

Paying glowing tribute to the two Ghanaian statesmen, he said although poverty levels kept rising in Africa from 1990 to 2000, they started reducing when Mr. Annan became the UN Secretary General and Mr. Kufuor became President.

Describing the SDGs as an investment project, he said their success required an investment in six kinds of capital by the public, private and social sectors.

He indicated the need for investment in research and development, saying, “It is not wise to leave the technology to someone else. They are not going to give it to you for free and they are not going to give you what you need by the way because nobody else can figure out the technologies that are appropriate for Ghana’s needs but Ghana.”

Prof Sachs, however, said he did not discount technology from abroad and stressed that partnerships between the universities and the government were key to developing the new technologies.

No global goals after SDGs

He stated that there would be no other global goals after the SDGs.
Listing all the 17 SDGs, he said: “These are the only global goals we are going to have...”

On the MDGs, he said they made a difference and that poverty globally reduced by more than half, comparing 1990 and 2015.

“The last 15 years was a period of progress and a lot to build on,” he said.

On Africa, he said according to World Bank data, the extreme poverty rate was 58 percent in 2000 and that by 2015 it had declined to 37 percent.

He stated that Ghana’s poverty rate was currently below 25 per cent and said that was close enough to reach zero by 2030, the end of the SDGs.

Prof Sachs urged Ghana to partner China and India in its development efforts to also see tremendous progress as the two countries had seen.