A World Bank Representative in Ghana, Ms Kathleen Beegle, has asked Ghana to put in place a coastal management policy to reduce erosion, flooding and overfishing among other challenges.
In a keynote address at the 3rd School of Social Sciences International Conference in Accra yesterday, Ms Beegle warned, “The fisheries sector in Ghana is in crisis, with declining catches and nearly irreversible damage to the country’s fish resources.”
Recounting the potential of the sector, she said that in 2009 the sector generated more than $1 billion in revenues and accounted for nearly 4.5 per cent of gross domestic products (GDP), providing livelihood for about 2.5 million Ghanaians.
She said the sector also constituted 60 per cent of animal protein consumption in Ghana.
Ms Beegle, therefore, advocated a coastal management policy in managing the social, natural and economic capital in the coastal zone to reduce erosion, flooding, overfishing and other challenges in the sector.
“Strong political commitment is required to reverse the depletion of fish stock,” she added.
The conference was organised by the School of Social Sciences under the College of Humanities of the University of Ghana, Legon.
It was on the theme, “Fostering inclusiveness and sustainable development in Africa.”
Ms Beegle’s keynote presentation on the conference theme, focused specifically on Ghana’s economic growth and development and their impact on vulnerable groups in society such as the poor, youth and women.
Other areas were public debt management, improving domestic revenue mobilisation to creating a sustainable fiscal space for financing public infrastructure, employment creation through dialogue between the government and the private sector, were some of the themes she dwelt on.
On ensuring that these economic measures are undertaken to include more Ghanaians in the development process, Ms Beegle proposed the right levels of investments and attention on pro-poor areas in the budget, such as agriculture, education and health.
She called for deepening dialogue between the private sector and policy makers to incorporate the private sector in the development agenda.
The Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Prof Charity Akotia, said the theme for the conference was informed by the growing need for countries to embrace inclusiveness and reduce inequalities in their promotion of social justice.