Ghana’s fisheries sector in crisis – World Bank

Accra, The fisheries sector in Ghana is in crisis with declining catches and nearly irreversible damage to the country’s fish resources, the World Bank has declared.

Dr Kathleen Beegle, World Bank Programme Leader for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, said strong practical commitment was needed to reverse the depletion of Ghana’s fish stock.

She said fish and other aquatic resources were valuable renewable natural resources of Ghana, which, if well managed, could significantly contribute to the national economy and socio-economic development.

“Fisheries generated over one billion dollars in 2009, accounting for nearly 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product; directly and indirectly providing livelihood for about 2.5 million people; constituting 60 per cent of animal protein consumption in Ghana,” Dr Beegle stated on Wednesday in her keynote address at the Third School of Social Sciences International Conference at the University of Ghana (UG).

“There is the marvellous Ghana coast line which needs a coastal management policy, in line with the Abidjan Convention, that emphasises management of social, natural and economic capital in the coastal zone to reduce erosion and flooding,” she stated.

The Annual School of Social Sciences International Conference focuses on theoretical and practical issues concerning inclusiveness and development.

To this end, this year’s conference was hosted on the theme: “Promoting Inclusiveness and Sustainable Development in Africa”.

The two-day conference is being organised by the College of Humanities, UG, with the support of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development, UG, the World Bank, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and UNICEF.

Dr Beegle said Ghana experienced the lowest rate of growth in 2015-2016 after more than a decade of robust growth and noted that Ghana’s growth and external position was expected to improve over the medium-term under assumptions of restored fiscal consolidation, no major negative terms-of-trade shocks, improved stability in prices and the exchange rate, and improvement in electricity supply.

She said the gross domestic growth (GDP) growth was expected to reach 6.5 per cent in 2017 and about eight per cent in 2018.

Dr Beegle said among the pressing issues in Ghana was the debt situation; stating that “the public debt stock increased dramatically, rising from 38.7 per cent of GDP in 2011 to 56.2 per cent in 2013 and further to 72 per cent of GDP as at November 2016”.

“Furthermore, the public debt figures do not fully reflect the total debt and arrears accumulated by State-owned Enterprises.”

She said there was the need to deepen and sustain fiscal consolidation efforts to stabilise the economy, and bring debt levels down in order to lower interest rates, and crowd in private sector financing.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice Chancellor, UG, said the alarming decline in Africa’s environmental resources was the consequence of a basic poverty confronting the continent.

“This disturbing situation obviously has very serious implications for sustainability of the continents economic growth,” he said.

Prof Samuel Agyei-Mensah, the Provost, College of Humanities, UG, said the concept of inclusive development emphasised on social, political and economic dimensions of development.

He said it had been argued that the social development growth focused more on social exclusiveness rather than ecological and relational inclusiveness.

Prof Charity Sylvia Akotia, the Dean, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, UG, said the theme was informed by the growing need for countries to embrace inclusiveness and to make efforts to reduce inequalities and promote social justice.

She said inclusiveness was key in the discourse on the post-Millennium Development Goals all over the world and that social scientists had key role to play in helping achieve inclusive development.

Prof Akotia said one way to promote inclusiveness was through research.

Mr Burhard Hellemann, Country Representative, KAS, said the Foundation had been a long time partner of the College of Humanities, UG.

He said the KAS was operating in over 120 countries, and had made unique contributions to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and a social market economy.

Source: Ghana News Agency