Ghana’s Election 2024: Bridging Inequality through Manifestos and Learning from China’s Prosperity Strategy

Accra – As Ghana gears up for the 2024 General Election, political parties are preparing to unveil their manifestos, focusing on infrastructure development, health, education, and the economy. However, there’s a growing concern about the persistent issue of inequality in the country, as highlighted by Oxfam International. The organization points out significant disparities, particularly between the south and the north of Ghana, where a large segment of the population survives on less than $1 a day. The nation ranks 140 out of 189 on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to Ghana News Agency, about 24.2 percent of Ghanaians live below the poverty line, with stark inequalities existing between women and men despite various policy interventions. This situation has prompted some peace and development experts to suggest adopting China’s Common Prosperity strategy to enhance citizens’ wellbeing, eradicate poverty, and consolidate democracy in Ghana. President Xi Jinping of China first introduced the concept of Common Prosperity in August 2021, focusing on raising the incomes of low-income groups and promoting fair and balanced development.

In Ghana, income inequality has led to agitations and protests, with calls for the government to regulate high incomes and reduce expenditure, especially for Article 71 office holders. The Chinese approach, which includes controlling excessive income and encouraging public welfare and charitable endeavors, could serve as a model for Ghana. In China, this approach has improved the incomes of public servants and prioritized low-income earners in basic public services.

Addressing poverty and enhancing income equality in Ghana can be achieved by adopting similar strategies. The World Bank reports that Ghana successfully reduced its poverty rate from 52.6 percent to 21.4 percent between 1991 and 2012, but sustaining this reduction and addressing the repercussions of COVID-19 pose significant challenges. Approximately 2.99 million Ghanaians live in extreme poverty, with a majority in rural areas. This disparity is evident in the lack of access to basic amenities like water and housing, as reported by the Ghana Statistical Service’s 2021 Population and Housing Census.

In terms of pensions, there is a vast gap between the highest and lowest earners, with many pensioners receiving minimal amounts. This situation reflects the broader issue of income inequality in Ghana. To address this, the country could learn from China’s method of improving pension and healthcare security and narrowing the financial and benefits gap between different segments of the population.

Healthcare and wellness are also critical areas of focus. Despite efforts to provide quality healthcare services to all Ghanaians, many still lack access due to poverty and other barriers. The government is addressing challenges like the high cost of kidney treatment, but more comprehensive policies are required to ensure widespread access to quality healthcare and address environmental degradation and green technology.

As political parties in Ghana prepare their manifestos for the upcoming elections, there is an opportunity to incorporate strategies that address these deep-rooted issues. Learning from China’s approach to common prosperity, Ghana can develop policies that not only promise growth but also ensure it is inclusive and sustainable, lifting those left behind and addressing social ills for the common prosperity of all citizens.