Building a more equal Ghana

A 5-point action plan to close the gap between the rich and the rest

Publication date: 19 September 2018
Author: Abena D. Oduro, Albert A Arhin, George Domfe, Seidu Alidu, Felix S.K. Agyeman, Doreen Edem Asimadu, Jo Walker, Luke Gibson, Chiara Mariotti, Sarah Hall

Oxfam estimates that just one of the richest men in Ghana earns from his wealth more in a month than one of the poorest women could earn in 1,000 years. Inequality is slowing down poverty reduction, hampering economic growth and threatening social cohesion. Nearly 300,000 more men, women and children could have been lifted out of poverty between 2006 and 2013 had inequality not increased during this period.

Inequality is not inevitable and can be addressed. In 2017, servicing public debt cost Ghana more than the annual amount the government would need to pay for free quality health care for all Ghanaians and to deliver on its globally agreed health goals by 2030. Meeting these goals could have saved the lives of more than 7,000 new-born babies and 1,000 mothers in one year alone.

The government should:

  • improve public financial management;
  • use public spending to reduce inequality;
  • create decent work with good wages;
  • put women’s economic empowerment at the heart of policy-making; and
  • make governance work for everyone.