Lack of evidence-based development policies have been identified as one of the major challenges confronting Ghana's efforts at achieving inclusive and equitable development across country.
"One of the biggest problems we have in the country in terms of promoting inclusive development is the way that policies are made. Most of the policies are not based on evidence and if you make policies that are not based on evidence, they would not achieve the desired results."
Dr Mamudu Akudugu, Deputy Director, Institute of Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services (IIRaCS, University for Development Studies (UDS), said this at the Ghana Inclusive Development Research Network (GIDRN) stakeholder and media engagement on inclusive development, in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
GIDRN is a collaborative initiative by the IIRaCS and the United Nations Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to support research on inclusive development in Ghana through capacity building, small grants, networking and mentorship opportunities for researchers across the country.
The partnership supported national dialogue on how evidence-based research could be used by policy makers to formulate the right policies and programmes that would reduce poverty as well as bridge the inequality gap so as to promote holistic, sustainable and inclusive development at all levels.
Dr Akudugu, also the National Coordinator for GIDRN, stated that research was central to Ghana's quest to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
"For example, we say we want to promote inclusive in health delivery, what are the underlined causes of people not having access to quality health services, where is the evidence? So we need to start thinking of making policies that are grounded on robust research findings to enable them address the challenges," he added.
The National Coordinator explained that the District League Table revealed vast disparities among the districts across the country in terms of the development indicators and urged stakeholders in policy making positions to always make good use of accurate research findings to address the challenges confronting the deprived districts particularly those of the north.
Dr Abdulai Abubakari, Executive Director, IIRaCS, said there had been unequal distribution of development resources over the years and most of the decisions were taken at the central government level without taking into consideration the implementing agencies at the local levels.
He said GIDRN therefore aimed at creating a linkage between research institutions like the universities and decision makers, to employ the evidence produced by these research institutions to formulate policies to address issues of development, inequality and exclusive challenges.
A speech read on his behalf, Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, Vice Chancellor of the UDS, urged the various Municipal and District Assemblies to mainstream the activities of GIDRN in their development budgets to sustain the initiative for effective and sustainable development.
Madam Tangoba Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister, lauded the efforts of the UDS and UNICEF for implementing GIDRN in a bid to contribute to the promotion of inclusive development.
She said it would help to implement policies that would address the critical development issues that made the region one of the poorest in the country.
"Issues of quality and access to education, health, water and sanitation, mental health and child protection are basic prerequisite for the attainment of the SDGs and therefore our overall development,"she said.