Ken Blanchard once said, the greatest leaders mobilize others by uniting people around a shared vision. National development in Blanchard’s perspective therefore is the ability of a country to improve the wellbeing of its citizenry by creating conditions that would ensure citizens have access to the necessities of life including social amenities such as quality education, potable water, affordable transportation, infrastructure, medical care amongst others.
In sum, Blanchard’s definition underscores the broader development imperatives which indicates the process of reconstruction for all citizens at various levels of a nation’s developmental agenda.
National development paradigm – Ghana’s situation
The term national development implies development for the whole nation. However, in most less developed countries there are noticeable disparities between rural communities and urban communities with regards to access to social amenities. In Ghana, inequalities exist in the provision of social amenities- medical care, portable water, transportation, electricity among others.
Medical facilities including CHPS Zones in rural areas are limited with few health personnel which hinder services and often leading to loss of lives which are preventable. Also, some rural communities share water sources with animals and the road infrastructure in these communities are inaccessible.
Again, schools in urban areas have good infrastructure and teaching staff; many schools in rural areas have one teacher teaching six or more classes, no classroom blocks, no desk for students and no teaching materials among others. Finally, the assessment of the state of indicators in the health, water and education sectors shows the level of national development in Ghana.
Ghana’s Multi-Dimensional survey outcomes
The Ghana Multidimensional Survey showed that 45.6 percent of Ghanaians are multidimensional poor. However, the level of multidimensional poverty in the northern belt of the country was worse with Northern Region recording the highest incidence of 80.8%, followed by the Upper East Region (68%) and Upper West Region (65.5%).
The establishment of the District League Table and its objectives
The District League Table (DLT) is a simple ranking tool for assessing and tracking the level of development in the 260 districts in Ghana. It uses selected indicators, with data collected from Districts, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
It ranks Districts in terms of the level of citizens’ wellbeing in relation to health, education, water & sanitation, energy, road and digital infrastructure, security, social protection and governance, using administrative data generated from the district to the national MDA level.
In 2017, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), as a body mandated to assist government with strategies to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities in Ghana, particularly in rural and deprived areas, began the implementation of the DLT.
The introduction of the DLT mechanism had several objectives including to:
- ensure that government gains better understanding of the status of development across the country;
- provide the evidential basis for increased equitable resource allocation and social investments;
- reduce disparities across Ghana;
- increase social accountability around service delivery between national and local government and their citizens across the country; and also,
- improve the state’s responsiveness in development and service delivery at the district level.
The significance of DLT
The adoption of DLT as a developmental assessment tool had revealed the following significant outcomes:
- inequalities in wellbeing and development across communities, districts and regions.
- greater accountability across all levels of governance, especially at the centre to ensure progress in development.
- resources have been allocated fairly to ensure that less endowed districts reach an optimal level.
- Greater number of citizens’ have access to information and participate in decision making- thus even though districts are not directly responsible for allocation of most resources for social services, their leadership, through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) played a critical role.
Against this background of DLT’s significance, that NDPC proposes DLT should be integrated into the disbursement formula used by the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to ensure resources are allocated more equitably, efficiently and effectively with the view to support MMDAs to use DLT outcomes to inform District planning and budgeting.
In addition, the DLT could be adopted as one of the official assessment tools of overall progress of the government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other development goals of the country. The DLT can also be used by national government, District Assemblies, Members of Parliament, NGOs and Development Partners, to mobilize resources for the development of lagging Districts.
The theme for this year’s DLT which focused on child inclusive development covered under 32 indicators including skilled attendant at delivery and under-five mortality rate, final exams pass rate, recorded cases of child marriage, recorded cases of child trafficking and abuse as well as the proportion of schools with access to computers and internet connectivity are very relevant.
NDPC wish to appreciate its collaboration with UNICEF and the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) during the pre-launching activities on DLT III on the theme; ‘Developing the District Analysis Table for Child-Responsive Inclusive Development (DLT III) as a tool for promoting national and district level accountability for achieving the SDGs‘.
The writer is the Head of Public Relations at the National Development Planning Commission