There are different approaches to development, ranging from top-down to bottom-up. The former involves governments and international organizations deciding what is best for a country, while the latter involves local communities driving their own development.
However, there is a middle ground, a pragmatic approach that combines evidence-based decision-making with context-specific solutions. The Ghanaian government has adopted such a strategy, identifying key areas for investment that can yield significant returns for their citizens.
Pragmatism in Context
Ghana has made impressive progress in its development journey, but challenges remain. The government is committed to finding practical solutions to these challenges by adopting a cost-benefit approach that prioritizes investments in areas that can have the most significant impact on their citizens. This approach is inspired by the Copenhagen Consensus, a research organization that advocates for evidence-based prioritization of development interventions.
Approach: Under this approach, the Ghanaian government has identified investments in digitization, malaria prevention, maternal health, and tuberculosis (TB) treatment as highly cost-effective.
These interventions are supported by evidence from research and successful case studies from other countries.
Digitization: Expanding internet access to facilitate e-commerce, online education, and healthcare services.
Malaria prevention: Investing in long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying.
Maternal health: Improving access to quality prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, and emergency obstetric care.
TB treatment: Providing patients with a combination of drugs to treat and cure TB.
The government has also prioritized investments in other areas such as education, agriculture, infrastructure, and sanitation, among others. These interventions have been carefully evaluated using cost-benefit analysis to ensure that they are the most effective use of resources.
The Ghanaian government has adopted a cost-benefit approach inspired by the Copenhagen Consensus, identifying key areas for investment that can yield significant returns for their citizens. For example, investment in malaria prevention is expected to yield a return of up to $90 for every dollar spent, while investment in maternal health can yield up to $50 for every dollar spent. This approach demonstrates a commitment to evidence-based and practical solutions that can drive sustainable and inclusive development in Ghana.
The Ghanaian government's approach is rooted in evidence and practical solutions. It draws inspiration from successful case studies in other countries, such as India's use of mobile technology to improve maternal and child health outcomes and Brazil's Bolsa Familia program that provided financial assistance to low-income families, reducing poverty and improving health outcomes.
The Ghanaian government's approach to development is pragmatic, evidence-based, and context-specific. By prioritizing investments in areas that can have the most significant impact on their citizens, they are working towards achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
Their top 20 interventions demonstrate a commitment to improving health outcomes, reducing poverty, and promoting economic growth.
Expanding internet access to facilitate e-commerce, online education, and healthcare services.
Investing in long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying to prevent malaria.
Improving access to quality prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, and emergency obstetric care to enhance maternal health.
Providing patients with a combination of drugs to treat and cure tuberculosis.
Improving access to education, including primary, secondary, and vocational education.
Investing in agricultural research and development to enhance productivity and reduce poverty.
Promoting financial inclusion through microfinance and mobile banking services.
Improving road networks and transportation infrastructure to enhance connectivity and access to markets.
Investing in renewable energy, including solar and wind power, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Providing clean water and sanitation facilities to reduce the burden of waterborne diseases.
Improving access to healthcare services, including preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services.
Increasing access to family planning services to improve maternal and child health outcomes.
Providing nutrition support and supplements to children under five and pregnant women.
Enhancing the efficiency of the justice system to ensure access to justice for all citizens.
Supporting small and medium enterprises to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth.
Strengthening the capacity of local government to deliver public services and promote local development.
Investing in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to enhance resilience.
Improving land governance and management to reduce conflicts and promote sustainable land use.
Promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through education, health, and economic opportunities.
Enhancing the capacity of the public sector to deliver services and implement policies effectively.
The Ghanaian government's approach is a model for other countries looking to achieve practical solutions to complex development challenges to consider.
The cost-benefit approach to development, as adopted by the Ghanaian government and inspired by the Copenhagen Consensus, can potentially work in South Africa. The approach involves prioritizing development interventions based on their potential return on investment, and investing in areas that can yield the greatest benefits to citizens. Think Tank thought experiment and Impact Bond pilots would be an encouraging way forward in exploring the feasibility of this approach for South Africa.