The African Centre of Excellence for Inequality Research (ACEIR) has presented an inequality diagnostic report for Ghana to aid policy formulation in the fight against poverty and inequality.
The launch, which was done by Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Office of Research, innovation and Development, University of Ghana, was also used to present two papers on the dynamics of inter-household consumption inequality, and the relationship between economic inequality, inequality of opportunity and education outcomes in Ghana.
In a presentation on the highlights of the diagnostic report on Friday at the Cedi Conference Centre, University of Ghana, Dr. Richmond Atta-Ankomah said, “Ghana has achieved stable and high growth and also seen sustained poverty reduction, but various forms of inequality continue to persist in the nation.”
Dr. Atta-Ankomah informed that consumption inequality was largely systemic and not driven by gender of household head, locality and region of the household, and education. He however indicated that inequality was higher in regions of high poverty.
Dr. Atta-Ankomah said even though labour market inequality was declining, inequality in the labour market did not favour women with unemployment rate higher among them.
He indicated that access to social amenities had increased over time, but open defecation remained a major concern with regional disparity in access to amenities still an issue.
Dr. Atta-Ankomah therefore called on government to pursue inclusive policies that focused on enhancing access to social amenities and services for all, address regional and locational disparities in social and economic infrastructure, and investment, expand access to social protection programs, and address gender constrains in the labour markets.
Dr. Nkechi Owoo, in a presentation on the first paper, said even though Ghana had been experiencing a decline in poverty overtime, “the benefits of this growth had not been equally distributed among the different groups of people in the country which has the potential to undermine the progress Ghana had experienced with national growth and poverty reduction, …thereby weakening social cohesion, and worsening social tensions within the country.”
Dr. Owoo said, for Ghana to close the inequality gap, she must improve on her social safety nets which were powerful inequality-reducing interventions, and improve the socioeconomic status through access to education and employment.
Dr. Monica Lambon-Quayefio, in the second paper, said the source of inequality based on factors and circumstances beyond the control of individuals, referred to as inequality of opportunity, is unfair, unjust and unacceptable, and so policies should focus on reducing this kind of inequality.
She said there was the need to include access to quality education in all regions which would shape the opportunities the current dispensation would present future generations.
Dr. Lambon-Quayefio indicated that the distribution of social infrastructure in economic resources should be deliberately done to create equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of where an individual found themselves in Ghana.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the launch, Prof Robert Darko Osei, Coordinator of ACEIR’s Ghana Node & ISSER, University of Ghana, said, in her drive to improve the lot of the people, Ghana should not only worry about poverty.
“We need to also worry about inequality because if you really want to embark on poverty reduction that is sustainable, then that poverty reduction has to be associated with reducing inequality as well, otherwise you will always find yourself in that cycle trying to fight one or the other,” he said.
ACEIR was established in 2018 as one of the centres of excellence of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) to address the analytical, empirical and data needs required by policy makers and civil society for the implementation of evidence-based policy aimed at mitigating the persistence of inequality.
ACEIR has three centres which are in the University of Cape Town, University of Ghana, and University of Nairobi representing Southern, Western and Eastern Africa respectively.
The inequality diagnostic report was prepared by Richmond Atta-Ankomah, Robert Darko Osei, Isaac Osei-Akoto, Felix Ankomah Asante, Abena Oduro, Nkechi Owoo, Monica Lambon-Quayefio, and Stephen Afranie.
The project partners are: Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and ARUA with support from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), the University of Ghana (UG), and the European Commission.