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IMANI Notes: UNICEF and Civil Society Discussion on Inclusive Development

Meeting notes by: Festus Ankrah and Maud Martei

The meeting was attended by over thirty representatives from Civil society including Third World Network, OXFAM, CDD, IDEG, IMANI, IBIS, Send Ghana, ChristianAid, ActionAid, WaterAid.

The first session was Poverty and Inequality in Ghana: Background to the issue and out of the National Forum on Inclusive Development. The presentation by Sarah Hague, Head of Policy UNICEF highlighted Ghana’s consented effort in fighting against poverty based on the National Poverty level falling from 56.5% in 1992 to 24.2% in 2013, thereby achieving the MDG 1 target.  However, the annual rate of reduction of the poverty levels slowed down to 1.1% since 2006 compared to 1.8% in the 1990’s. In the case of urban and rural poverty the statistic showed urban average rate of poverty was 10.6% and rural 37.9%. The presentation further highlighted the inequality in Ghana measured by the Gini coefficient has stalled since 2006 at 41. The Upper West region had the highest level of inequality. Inequality in terms of consumption showed an increase of 27% among the wealthiest and 19% among the poor indicating the growing inequality in Ghana.

The second part of the presentation touched on the Advocacy Channels and angles to address the Poverty and Inequality.  The channels highlighted were Political, Media, CSOs, Academia, and Technical/Policy. The session concluded with the point that a Healthy Macroeconomic condition is necessary for inclusive development agenda.

The second part of the program was a Facilitated Discussion on the Challenges Civil Society in Ghana face in advocating to tackle poverty and inequality. The discussions were based loosely on a SWOT analysis with some of the points belonging to two or more categories. Notes from the discussion are presented in the table below.

Strengths Opportunities
  Democratic space/civic space


Best practices

Collaborations/coalitions exist

Diversity-leverage diversity for bigger results

Care Ghana-platform one

Legislative framework for poverty and even beyond to include the SDGs.

The NDPC process opens an opportunity for engagement to include the issues on poverty

Strengthen CSO on SDG goal 10 platform-SEND, OXFAM, IBIS, WACSI

Future opportunity of the RTI bill

Donor partner influence diminishing. Thereby opening a space for NGO and civil society


  Long wait times for implementation

Limited understanding of inclusion and the scope and how it cuts through respective areas of work

Governments have little concern about the views of CSOs. Where there’s convergence, usually driven by fear of donor

Proliferations of NGOs that focus on symptoms and less on root cause

Sustainability challenges

Engagement with social media low


Media sensationalism

Technical capacity within media weak

Civil society been kept in the dark

Limited responsiveness from the government


Weaknesses Threats

UNICEF indicated their on-going poverty advocacy in Ghana is two years long.

Festus Ankrah and Maud Martei are senior researchers at IMANI


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