The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has rated Ghana as a Star Performer in Africa, while other countries were rated as surprise performers and potential performers across the continent for their progress in various areas, including growth, agriculture, healthcare, education and sanitation.
In its Mapping Progress report, the UK-based institute stated that: “Government-led reforms of the domestic cocoa market have driven a tremendous record of agricultural growth – averaging over 5% for the last 25 years.
“Ghana is on track to meet Millennium Development Goal 1 – halving rates of poverty and malnutrition by 2015. Having raised food production per capita by more than 80% since the early 1980s, Ghana is largely self-sufficient in staple foods.”
Star performers, such as Ghana, have shown sustained progress for more than two decades. By diversifying products and services they have added considerable value to national performance.
Star countries display a more mature level of development and are now beginning to face challenges more common to developed countries such as environmental degradation, aging populations and non-communicable diseases, the report added.
The report identifies the crucial role of effective leadership, smart policies, proper institutional foundations and international partnerships in driving development and calls for a new outlook on development in Africa.
ODI Director Alison Evans said: “Looking across all of these tremendous examples we can see that the most transformative and sustainable developments have occurred when the commitment to change has come from African countries and communities.
“This has happened in a number of ways – from the quality of political and technical leadership, to the quality and quantity of financing to specific innovations in delivery.
“The world’s perception of Africa needs to change and we hope that this report will show a continent making great strides towards a brighter future.”
Smart leadership – Transformation in Ghana, Rwanda and Brazil would not have happened without Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, Paul Kagame and Lula Naciou Da Silver respectively.
ODI which is Britain’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. With a mission to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.
According to the report, Smart policies – Progress has involved a changing role for government away from controlling (markets and prices) to facilitating and enabling (investment and production), and, in the best cases empowering citizens. Policies have been built on clear vision or national strategy and have been evidence based.
Smart institutions – In many countries, progress has been achieved through governance reforms that have decentralised and strengthened local institutions. Reforms have not only led to improved service delivery but also enabled more effective revenue collection and management of public finances.
Smart friends – Effective international partnerships can be important catalysts for progress. These partnerships can take various forms beyond aid, including the transfer of knowledge and technology, international trading relations and diplomatic interventions.