Although Ghana is currently said to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the country’s remarkable growth story has not been equally spread as the growth process has been characterized by low employment, declining agricultural output as well as widening income disparities.
In the five northern savannah regions, rural dwellers and food crop farmers have especially been marginalized from the fruits of economic prosperity.
To narrow the inequality gap, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services, IIRaCS, of the University for Development Studies, UDS and UNICEF formed the Ghana Inclusive Development Research Network two years ago.
The research network focuses on the increasing inequality and persistent poverty in Ghana and the need for the country’s academia to support national dialogue around them to narrow the inequality gap between the rich and the poor.
A formal website for the research network has therefore been launched at a round table discussion on inclusive development in Tamale, the Northern Regional.
The Vice Chancellor of UDS, Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, who launched the website, said the website will provide the platform to publish research works on topical national discourse as well as ensure visibility and access of the network to the global community for attention.
The agenda to support inclusive development is not new and for the past two years, UDS and UNICEF have been working to show with evidence the urgent need to take inclusive development seriously.
Inequality is now at its highest level in Ghana today as national resources are not shared equitably.
This is widening the gap between the rich and the poor as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Ghana’s first ever national research network, the Ghana Inclusive Development Research Network was formed to provide a reliable pool of researchers whose work can be used to inform national debate for consideration.
The Vice Chancellor of UDS, Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye said as the gap between the rich and poor continued to widen, the country needed some research input to address the issue head on so as to narrow the gap as much as possible.
Professor Teye therefore entreated all research teams to undertake proper analysis of their research to influence policy formulation and implementation to ensure inclusiveness in development efforts.
The Chief of Social Policy and Evidence for UNICEF, Yoshima Nishimo, said inclusive development was very necessary since the excluded will either slow the pace of development or even negate it.
According to her, UNICEF and UDS envisaged that the GIDRN as Ghana’s first ever research network had come to fill a critical gap in terms of supporting academia to promote the issue of guinea inclusive development in Ghana.
Professor Samuel Kwabena Anim, a government Statistician emphasized the importance of data and called on research teams to exhibit honesty and transparency both from the perspective of data capture and research findings.
As part of the program, there were presentations and discussions of some research papers which boarded on inequality, poverty, child poverty, social protection, domestic violence, maternal and child health and malnutrition.
Since the launch of the Ghana Inclusive Development Research Network, it has provided small financial grants, technical support, mentoring, policy engagement and networking opportunities for sixteen finalist Ghanaian research teams who proposed research projects in line with the defined research areas.