Ghana has made strides in the ‘African Social Development Index’ (ASDI) Report, which measures Human Exclusion for Structural Transformation in West Africa, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

ASDI was developed to measure problems of development that are specific to the continent and it follows a life-cycle approach which measures the extent of human exclusion in six areas including survival, health, education, employment, means of subsistence and life expectancy at 60.

Dr Zack Jones Zulu, Social Affairs Officer, Social Development Policy Division, ECA launching the report said Ghana’s Human Exclusion was estimated to have reduced by almost 32 per cent during the period 2000-2014.

This, he explained, was on account of healthy economic growth during that period, complemented by targeted social policies that included specific measures for improved inclusive health through the national health insurance scheme and other social protection initiatives.

Dr Zulu said the expansion of government’s flagship Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty programme benefited the poorest people and was on track to expanding its coverage by 62 per cent in 2015 to reach 144,980 households.

He said in terms of gender dynamics, the exclusion of women decreased by more than 32 per cent, while the exclusion of men decreased by 28 per cent between 2000 and 2014, saying there was a reduction in gender disparities in exclusion, which reflected government’s effort to improve lives and provide opportunities to women.

Dr Zulu noted that the rise in human exclusion at the sub-national level confirmed a significant rise in almost all the 10 regions, adding, the rate was lower in the Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions compared to Central, Western and Greater Accra during the period 2000 to 2014.

He said notwithstanding the improvements in human inclusion, the social indicators have a varying contribution to the ASDI, which had changed over the period under review 2000 to 2014.

“Although the actual data on infant mortality dropped from 77 to 41 deaths per 1000 live births during that period, human exclusion was driven by infant mortality and poverty,” he said.

The report said Ghana continued to face challenges in bridging the gap between population growth and economic development, given that the youthful population was characterised by high levels of unemployment and underemployment.

The report said the smooth conduct of the general elections in 2016 and transfer of power to a new President and government in January 2017 provided the country with a strong foundation for political stability, which will contribute to continuing the existing social development agenda.

A speech read on behalf Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said government was committed to fostering the participation of all persons in the development of the nation.

She said the Ministry was mandated to ensure equality through the mainstreaming of gender consideration, promote the welfare and protection of children and empower the vulnerable, and persons with disabilities to contribute to national development.

She said the Ministry was in the process of finalising the ‘Aged Bill’ to give it a legal basis for the implementation of the National Ageing Policy, which would focus on promoting the welfare of the aged, nutrition, poverty among others.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh