Caption: Dignitaries and participants at the meeting in a group photograph

The Centre Ghana for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have called on businesses to be strong strategic partners in peacebuilding efforts.

The duo, made the call in Accra during a Multi-Stakeholder Forum on the theme: “Building and Investing in Peace for Sustainable Development: The Role of the Private Sector”.

It was organised by CDD-Ghana in collaboration with the UNDP under the banner of the “Multi-stakeholder Consultative Platform for Peace and Governance”.

The Platform is composed of major stakeholders in governance, including; peacebuilding and conflict management, and has the aim of sharing expertise on governance and democracy, and coordinate implementation of workable interventions that will be generated by platform members, with a view to improving and shaping national policy responses to systemic governance challenges.

The forum, aimed at providing an interface opportunity for the private sector, governmental and non-government organisations to engage in meaningful partnerships to promote Ghana’s renowned peace architecture.

Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, said there were a number of reasons why all stakeholders should continue to be concerned about peace and continue to act proactively to ensure Ghana’s upcoming general election would be peaceful and incident-free.

“When we talk about stakeholders on this matter, we normally think of the Political Parties, donors, Civil Society Organisations, but we do not factor the private sector”, he added.

He said it was a well-known fact that if Ghana was peaceful and stable, it was one of the selling points,that businesses sell to the world, as, it factors into political risk analysis, which the business community pay attention to.

Madam Silke Hollander, Acting Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, also noted that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, were a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

She said the UN Secretary General, addressing a Private Sector Forum in New York last year “the UN SDGs are deeply related to peace, as they are both precursors to it and a result to it”.

“Although the primary responsibility for peace and security rests with Governments, businesses play a key role in ensuring that they do no harm and in contributing to and investing in sustainable development and peace”.

Madam Hollander highlighted that one of such contributions of the private sector was the potential to provide sustainable employment for the youth, especially those, who were at risk of being pulled into instigating trouble.

During a panel discussion on the topic “Exploring the opportunities for promoting peace”, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council, said over 90 per cent of Ghanaians were religious and therefore in terms of promoting peace religious groups could not be ignored.

He said the Accra Regional Peace Council recently launched an initiative that aimed at training school children in peace-building, and was an area businesses could sponsor.

He recounted that from his own perspective as Rev Minister, they used the young people in counselling, specifically peer counselling and found out that it worked even more than adults counselling them.

Mr Tsonam Akpleloo, Greater Accra Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said the fundamental cause of conflicts was poverty, hence, there was a need to curb it by creating more jobs.

He said the creation of jobs had different components; and implied government must put in systems that worked and also the need for the right business environment.

Mr Akpleloo also underscored the need to bridge the gap between industry and academia, saying, “In as much we want to employ, we are also looking for graduates who are ready; and this implied graduates who have the right attitudes towards work”.

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