A visiting professor, Copenhagen Business School, Bjorn Lomborg, has underscored the need for Ghanaians to change the national conversation to compel politicians to push for smart policies for accelerated growth.
He said smart solutions through economic prioritisation were a better approach to accelerated national development.
Prof. Lomborg, who is also the President, Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC), was speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview last Friday. He was accompanied by Mr Roland Mathiasson, the Executive Vice-President of the centre, and Mr Ralph E. Nordjo, the Coordinator, Ghana Priorities of the centre.
The Copenhagen Consensus Centre is a global think tank which aims at helping countries to prioritise the best policies using cost-benefit analysis.
Quantification informed prioritisation
Speaking on “Finding the Best policies for Ghana’s Future, Starting with the Sustainable Development Goals,” Prof. Lomborg told the Daily Graphic that smart policies could help pull many Ghanaians out of poverty and hunger, reduce violence and improve education, and essentially make the country a better place.
He believed that though the country was already prioritising, he advocated for more of quantification-informed prioritisation.
As Ghana gets ready the 2020 Election, he also said it would be more prudent for the country to catalogue for implementation all the smart things needed and necessary for accelerated national growth.
For instance, he said, it should be possible for the academia, civil society organisations, politicians, youth and the electorate in general to engage in a national conversation as to where the nation spent its resources.
“We are not looking at good or bad policies that have been done already; but going forward we rather need smarter and good policies and not mediocre policies for the country’s rapid growth,” he stated.
Dense academic matter
In the view of Prof. Lomborg, dense academic matter needed not end on the shelves but must end up in national conversation.
In so doing, he also urged the country’s politicians to come out with their good and smart policies for the country before the 2020 General Election for them to be considered a part of the national conversation.
Politics is not only about winning the next election but changing the national conversation to focus and adopt smarter development goals for the good of the society.
Touching on why Ghana needed to prioritise its policies through research, Prof. Lomborg said Ghana for instance had an increase of GH¢11 billion for its budget, and every sector would want its fair share of the national cake.
“What we are hoping is to show some of the best interventions, where the country can do a lot of good for every Ghana cedi spent rather than just a little good,” he stated.
He said similar research work had been done in countries such as Haiti, India and Bangladesh and in all those countries it was found out that prioritising training of first responders over building urban sanitation and addressing cholera issues were more impactful on the lives of the citizenry.
“We are not trying to catch anyone but some popular ideas are not necessarily smart and good. We are just trying to steer everyone to the smart and good ideas,” he stated.
Ghana priority project
Prof. Lomborg disclosed that the global think tank, CCC, had initiated an inclusive Ghana Priority Project aimed at working with politicians, academics and economists in the country to help prioritise the most impactful policies for the country’s well-being.
“Together with the politicians, academics and economists over a period of one year, they will analyse the policies, hold panel discussions and present the best policies for the country.
“We have huge things to do but first we need to prioritise, and the lack of it is hampering sustainable accelerated growth,” he stated.
In line with this, the centre organised a public lecture in Accra last Thursday to begin the process of finding the best policies for Ghana’s future.
Panel discussions, he said, would also be organised to prioritise the policies and inspire the process.