The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER, University of Ghana, has launched the 25th edition of its flagship report: The State of the Ghanaian Economy in 2015 Report.
It was held on Tuesday, 27th September, 2016 at the Conference hall of the Institute amidst drumming and dancing by the Ghana Dance Ensemble.
Speaking at the launch, the Director of ISSER, Prof. Felix Asante thanked the reviewers of the report and gave a point-by-point overview and outlook of the economy. He urged the government to curb its appetite for borrowing and over reliance on oil to propel the economy.
He said at 73% of GDP in 2015, total government debt remained high (from 36% in 2009 to 73% in 2015) a situation which called for serious prioritization of public finances.
Quoting figures from the report, Prof. Asante stated that Ghana’s GDP grew by 3.9% in 2015, down from 4.0% which continued the trend since 2011.
The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Oduro Owusu launching the Report
The Director noted a significant development in 2015 which saw, for the first time since 2011, non-oil GDP of 4.1% outpace the country’s GDP of 3.9% giving credence to the call on government not to push aside other sectors and rely wholly on oil.
The optional chapter in the report was education which looked at the state of the sector since Independence.
It observed that the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme introduced in 1995 has improved access to primary education with enrolment climbing from 3.5 million in 1990s to nearly 7 million pupils’ in 2012.
Seated on the high table from left to right were, Dr. Charles Ackah, Head Economic Division, ISSER, Prof. Felix Asante, Director, Prof. Oduro Owusu, V-C and Prof. Samuel Adjei-Mensah, Provost, College of Humanities
Mensah, Provost, College of Humanities
For tertiary education, enrolment in Ghanaian universities went up from under 10,000 students in Ghana’s three public universities in 1987 to over 400,000 by 2015, (according to the National Accreditation Board).
Some challenges identified by the report include decreasing quality of education at all levels as a result of increased access not matched by increased funding and a secondary education system where the top 20% of school graduates account for 70% of the candidates for tertiary education.
Others are that the enrolment in science and Mathematics programmes is significantly lower, stemming from low performance at the Senior High School level and the fact that the overall ratio of science-based to humanities-based programme was about 30% to 70% in 2014.
Some of the audience at the launch
During the open discussion, representatives of some institutions and individuals asked questions and responses came from some members of the team that wrote the report and amongst them were Prof. Jonathan Arko Fletcher, Prof. Asante, Prof Peter Quartey and Dr. Charles Ackah.
Launching the report, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, commended ISSER for the report and the role it is playing in providing empirical-based knowledge on the economy.
He noted the neutral stance of the report and hoped it will set the agenda in the media space for meaningful discussion towards national development.
The Vice-Chancellor urged the government to resuscitate the agricultural sector arguing that countries which have developed like Japan started with agriculture.
He argued that the way forward for the nation is to give priority to science at all levels of the educational ladder.
As the world rolls out the next set of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General has turned the ‘heat’ on African governments
While, globally, most think tanks have become transparent about their sources of funding, only one Ghana think tank scored five stars in Transparify’s Think Tank Transparency 2016 report released today June 29, 2016.
The report which looks at think tanks that take money behind closed doors, has three categories; highly transparent (five stars), broadly transparent (four to two stars) and highly opaque (1-0 star).
ISSER, in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), organised a training programme for personnel from various units of GSS.
A 3-day meeting on Nigeria Baseline Study Design was held at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) from 16th- 18th May, 2016. It was attended by 20 Researchers from research institutions in seven countries in Africa, The Netherlands and two from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), in Seattle, United States.
Ghana has failed to structurally transform its economy and society in spite of a sustained period of growth since 1983, vast natural resources availability, stability and relatively strong human capital. Recent analysis of the political economy contends that it is the character of politics in Ghana that has stalled the transformation agenda.
Research is a kind of investment that requires huge funding in order to achieve its corollary benefit of development. However, funding research can be challenging especially in less developed countries where poverty, disease, poor education and corruption may be priority. Ironically, solutions to the never-ending problems in Africa for instance lie in proper scientific research.
The benefits of social science research travels beyond academic purposes to impact on our daily lives. All over the world new methods and new tools are transforming the way social scientists do research and make arguments.
The West African Think Tank Network (WATTNet) has been officially launched at the inaugural conference under the theme “Transforming West Africa for Inclusive Development”. WATTNet is a network of West African think tanks established in September 2015 with the goal of promoting socio-economic and political development in the sub-region.