IMANI – the Center for Policy & Education – is inviting early-stage researchers and aspirants (PhD Fellows and Non-PhD Fellows) to indicate their interest in an upcoming internship program to support an initiative called the Big Bang.
The Big Ideas for Ghana Beyond Aid & Against Negative Growth initiative shall explore creative means to keep the spotlight on chronic and structural economic and policymaking challenges. In the nearly two decades IMANI has been operating in Ghana, blending accessible research with high-powered advocacy, we have witnessed persistent cycles of strong confidence in Ghana’s future abruptly cut short by gloomy economic downturns.
During the good years, everyone forgets about fiscal prudence and either move on to something else or joins the chorus of celebration as “sod” after “sod” are “cut” to “outdoor” grand projects. Soon the bad years return and the joyful ones become mute or move on whilst naysayers move center-stage. This endless boom-bust cycle must end, and it falls on civil society and well-meaning, non-partisan, Ghanaians to take a bold stand to keep important matters constantly in the limelight.
There are thus two main focuses of the Big Bang research-driven advocacy program:
- Hold the current President, and his government, to the Ghana Beyond Aid promise by evaluating how flagship projects like 1D1F, One Village One Dam, One Constituency One Million Dollars, Free SHS and Planting for Food & Jobs have truly fared, away from the heated partisan squabbles. Billions of dollars of capital investment and recurrent expenditure have flowed into these flagship promises but to date little has been done to determine if they are truly moving Ghana towards self-sufficiency. Today, as we lament the closure of the international capital markets to Ghana, we have the perfect opportunity to ask: Ghana Beyond Aid, so how far?
- Popularise the concept of Negative Growth as it applies uniquely and specifically to Ghana’s situation. In 2000, Ghana had a GDP of $5 billion. Today, that number is about $65 billion. That is a thirteen-fold growth. Yet, many of the problems of underdevelopment like youth unemployment, poor shelter, disability-adjusted life expectancy and environmental decay seem to be worsening, or at best not improving anywhere near the rate of GDP growth. Part of the reason is that adjusted for population growth, biodiversity loss and other HDI factors, the 5.1% of annualized growth rate experienced over the last five years may indeed be negative. How do we truly track “transformational improvement” in our governance, lives and social relations?
- Your CV
- A short cover letter indicating how long you can commit to the initiative, whether you will require a stipend and how much, whether you would be based in Ghana or overseas during the period and when you can start
- An essay between 1000 and 3000 words commenting on any aspect of the Big Bang Agenda
- (Optional) A video monologue of between 5 and 15 minutes of yourself critiquing the logic behind the Big Bang Agenda