The founder, of the KJM foundation Mr. Emmanuel Kojo Jones-Mensah during his speech at the recent water project commissioning at Dawatrim in the eastern region on 30th January 2022, passionately expressed his concerns about the unsustainable development faced by most African countries. He strongly believes that most African countries do not have a central blueprint for national development.
He mentioned that a national development plan or a national agenda in place serves as a blueprint to guide national development. This will force African states to focus more on national development rather than developmental plans set to only benefit political parties or for political credit, thus the manifesto approach.
A national agenda that spells out a 25 or 50-year plan for the country with regards to infrastructural development, educational policies, and health-related issues, will serve as a guide for whichever party in power and would further confer on them the responsibility to ensure developments are undertaken within these plans.
Undoubtedly, there could be the existence of good leaders but until the focus is shifted from a partisan approach towards a national approach, we would as a country continue to experience setbacks in development.
Mr. Jones-Mensah stated that the KJM foundation was set up on three core mandates; Provision of potable Water, Educational support, and Youth Empowerment and since its inception has undertaken several water projects all over the country and supported some youths in both formal and informal education.
The foundation is passionate about the livelihood of others believes that every life matters and has made it a mission to give hope to the despaired as such, has partnered with various institutions and individuals to support education in Ghana, to ensure that educational facilities are improved within various communities, whiles providing learning materials to help enhance the educational environment of students within less privileged communities.
On the 4th of January, 2022 the foundation also launched a scholarship scheme which is aimed at supporting SHS graduates who have gained admission into the university. The five beneficiaries which included four students who had gained admission into the University of Ghana Legon, and a student from the University of Professional Studies, Accra received a scholarship that covers the full payment of their tuition from now till the completion of their tertiary education. This selfless act certainly lifts the burden of parents struggling to raise money for tuition. Other youths have equally benefited from the KJM foundation entrepreneurship fund, empowering them to establish their businesses, a step towards the reduction of the high rate of unemployment, through the KJM foundation youth empowerment project, this initiative seeks to empower and encourage the youth to regain control of their lives, by acquiring entrepreneurship skills. The approach comprises personal coaching with an entrepreneurial mindset and digital support.
Emphasizing the advantages of a National Agenda, he explained that a national agenda in place could be used as an instrument to monitor the progress of developmental projects, measure the effectiveness of policies, and identify growth rates in the various sectors. He referred to the success stories of Dubai and China.
Casting an admirable eye on Dubai, after they adopted and launched a national agenda in 2010; UAE vision 2021, we can all testify that their growth has been tremendous. The agenda which charted the next stage of UAE’s journey from 2010 to 2021, was aimed to position the UAE among the best countries in the world by their Golden Jubilee in 2021.
In the year 2014, Sheikh Mohammed launched a seven-year National Agenda to guide efforts towards the vision 2021. An agenda which specified various work programs, centered around six national priorities of the country, as a key focus of government strategy in the subsequent years and 52 national key performance indicators in the sectors of education, healthcare, economy, police and security, justice, social housing infrastructure, and government services; having the six priorities ensuring a unified society and well-maintained identity, safe public and fair judiciary, competitive knowledge economy, first-rate education system. World-class healthcare sustainable environment and infrastructure. The key performance indicators were used as long-term instruments to measure performance outcomes of each of the national priorities.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a long-term undertaking, which puts forward high requirements on the sustainability of related policies and actions.
Studying the China National Sustainable Communities (CNSCs) policy implemented over 30 years and its effects on achieving SDGs, it’s obvious that we need to understand the scope of sustainable development more broadly and how sustained actions can produce positive effects under the right objectives. Ever since China began to restructure its economy in 1978, GDP growth has been averagely recorded at 10 percent a year and more than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. There have equally been significant improvements in access to health, education, and other services over the same period. China can now be classified as an upper-middle-income country. China pushed its sustainable development forward in three major areas; the eradication of extreme poverty, building of an “ecological civilization” and contributing to global climate and sustainability. By committing to eliminating extreme poverty by 2020, the country has worked to lift 50 million people out of poverty through targeted policy measures. The measures that were put in place aided in the identification of peoples living in abject poverty and the origins that explained why they were still confined. The results from then till now have been very outstanding.
What are our priorities as a country? Do we have a national plan for our health care system, for education, security, housing deficit, growth of our economy, infrastructural development, entrepreneurship, climate change, food security and agriculture, and potable drinking water? Our population keeps increasing, shouldn’t there be a measure to ensure the development of adequate infrastructure?
To illustrate with regards to education, is there a possibility we can define our national agenda to reflect real sustainable educational structures which will include a comprehensive plan for all stakeholders within the primary, secondary, tertiary, and vocational educational ladder, he asked. How do we build adequate and functional educational facilities and infrastructure to support the quality of education we intend to provide? How do we subsidize the cost of education, if free education is what we need as a nation, how do we make financial provision for this? We have to critically look into this approach to ensure its feasibility.
Mr. Jones-Mensah reiterated the need for our country to consider the compilation of an all-inclusive national agenda with policies, designed and structured by all stakeholders, political parties, the media, the Religious council leaders, business environment, Ghanaians within the various tiers of the economy; high, middle and low, both home and abroad, artisans, students. This national agenda should be governed by realistic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the outcomes and results of these policies after implementation. This would be a representation of our priorities as a nation hence, political parties would be compelled to draft their manifestos and developmental ideas having the National Agenda in focus, which will mean that the national agenda becomes the skeletal framework, structure, or pillar on which they build the flesh of their manifestos for the development of our country. For several years, we have been a country ruled by the manifestos and ideas of political parties, without the consideration of the general need of the country. The National agenda would serve as a blueprint for the achievement of our Sustainable Development Goals.
This is a wake-up call to all patrons both home and abroad it’s time to push for a National Development Agenda. After all these years of attaining independence, it’s time to change the narrative to ensure accountability and progress, this is a wake-up call, let’s push for a National Development Agenda.