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DEVELOPMENT IN UNITY- THE NEW WORLD BESTSELLER BY DAASEBRE OTI BOATENG

Ghana over the past two decades and a half has seen comparative development within many spheres of human life.

This is evidently clear in many local areas where individuals and some opinion leaders have led the communities to put up one or two development programmes.

Some traditional leaders indeed have led the way in ensuring some appreciable level of development in their areas.

One of such traditional leaders whose traditional area has seen massive development, socially, educationally and economically is the Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area in the Eastern Region, Daasebre Professor (Emeritus) Emmanuel Oti Boateng.

Daasebre, the longest serving Ghanaian Government Statistician, an Emeritus Professor of Statistics, Chancellor of All Nations University and the first African Chairman of the United Nations Statistical Commission, has produced a new and exciting book entitled Development in Unity Volume 3 which is a worthy conclusion to the Development in Unity series published in Volumes one and two.

This new Volume covers his experience and research works and other exploits spanning over four decades aimed at revolutionizing development thoughts and inspiring a new inter-generational philosophy of development.

Part One of the Volume gives a general perspective of development with special emphasis on regions of growing economies. It provides a comprehensive discussion of the new concept of development followed by a critical examination of   the various development theories and practices that underpinned the global development order over the greater part of the 20th century in both classic and contemporary contexts. 

It then discusses the contribution of the author’s award-winning root-based model for sustainable community development, which pioneers an alternative inclusive development approach in response to contemporary global development challenges.  Part Two of the Volume captures various research works over the years by the author highlighting a range of issues, which keep resonating on the development landscape particularly in Ghana.

The new concept of development, which places special emphasis on developing countries, goes well beyond the previously limited view of economic growth to embrace a much more inclusive concept of increasing the welfare of societies.  It has been influenced by the powerful messages of Gaulet (1971), Sen (1983, 1999) and others leading to a strong re-conceptualization in terms of components of human development encompassing human well-being beyond income and the process through which people are empowered to shape their own development priorities and to be better enabled to exercise their human rights. In the view of the author, “The new concept of development is, in essence, a multi-dimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, national and indigenous institutions as well as acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of poverty”.

The section further discusses the construction of a composite index of human development by the UNDP which draws heavily on the work of Gaulet, Sen and others thus taking into account economic as well as social variables to provide a credible and improved measuring instrument for human well-being, thereby enormously influencing the development dialogue and presenting a useful basis for informed key policy decisions.

The book takes an analytic overview of the development theories and practices that defined the global development order of the greater part of the last century and debunks the one-size-fits-all view of development. Issues discussed include the Washington Consensus on the role of the state in development and the New Washington Consensus in the late 1960s, which addresses inequality and recognizes a broad and extensive global role in development for government.

 

It maintains that  “successful development requires a skillful and judicious balancing of market pricing and promotion where markets can exist and operate efficiently, along with intelligent and equity oriented government intervention in areas where unquestionable market forces would lead to undesirable economic and social consequences”.

 

It, therefore, urges developing countries to adopt local solutions suited to their cultures and local constraints instead of importing “best practices” which may not fit into the contemporary institutional and political realities of these countries.    

 

The book seeks to revolutionize development thoughts through a dependable partnership of the author’s award-winning root-based development model with the top-down and bottom-up development approaches within the framework of the new concept of development.  In this respect, the Root-based Model provides the missing link and a fascinating bridge between the dominant growth concentrated pattern of development and the alternative development paradigm. In addition to its institutional networking dynamics utilizing the power of shared information for sustainable community development, the model resolves the critical issue of integrating the citizens sector into the national development process through a genuine participatory approach.

 

This concept of building sustainable community development from the bottom-up in the root-based model guarantees that the citizenship of communities become stakeholders and provide their full support for building sustainable development that will benefit many future generations.

A distinguished Traditional Ruler and Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, comments on the model as follows; “Pioneering a roots-based developmental framework, he [Daasebre] reveals an innovative networking mechanism, transparency, accountability and institutional integrity. Daasebre’s ground-breaking work provides pathways to local governance and development whilst generating diverse routes for exiting poverty through female empowerment and the release of a community’s productive potential through inclusive and sustainable local programmes and activities”.   The Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana also gives the following comment; “In my view, developing countries bent on the path of sustainable development must adopt the root-based development approach which allows for the democratization of development”.

Daasebre disclosed “the root-based model differs from the other alternative development approaches by creating distinctive and strong institutional framework which makes the Community Development Councils the focal points of development and the communities the dignified agents of their own development. The model further advances grassroots democracy through its community development governance thus providing a critical hedge against poverty, migration, insurgency mobilization, radicalization and transnational organized crimes thereby weakening a major source of insecurity in the world.”

The author’s rich and enormous experience in research and data analysis is noticeably displayed in his research works presented in Part Two of this Volume with a touch of lucidity. These works consider a range of issues that keep reverberating on the development landscape particularly in Ghana.

The research on Global Coalition for Africa: Building Information and Statistical Systems for Africa, provides a broad action programme for developing sustainable statistical and information systems to meet the serious development challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper on inflation traces the historical roots of inflation in Ghana followed by a brief theoretical review and detailed analysis of the causes, consequences and possible remedies of the phenomenon. It points out that a combination of demand-pull and cost-push as well as structural factors underline the inflationary pressures, which have bedeviled national development since the early 1960’s. In particular, the Government budget deficit financing, the balance of payments crisis, increased money supply, wage and salary increases and low level of productivity in the agricultural sector are among the most important factors contributing to inflation in Ghana. The issues discussed therein are as relevant now as when they were first written.

The author also takes a look at other developmental issues such as housing conditions and utilization of health services in a study on the population of Achimota Village, Adabraka and Tesano areas in Accra. This research generated the important result that 

In communities where people lived in good houses, clean environment and were aware of disease causing organisms, the frequency of visiting hospitals and clinics was low whereas in communities of poor environmental conditions in which the houses were substandard and occupied by people with little knowledge about the germ theory of disease causation, the frequency of visiting hospitals and clinics was higher. On this basis it asserts that health is an integral part of the development process and must therefore be integrated in the general planning for development.

A major research presentation in the book is on The Weija Dam Project: An Evaluation Study of Water Utilization Behavior and its Related Socio-Economic Impact which was commissioned by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to ascertain from the Project the socio-economic changes that follow the provision of improved water supplies and other amenities. The Project on Weija Dam, the main source of treated water for more than half of the population in the Accra metropolis, affected about two thousand people from six villages who were to be resettled while about 14,000 people in sixteen other villages were to be affected in varying degrees by the proposed irrigation scheme. It was also planned to provide all the resettled villages with treated water while other villages such as Kasua, though not directly affected by the project, were also to be supplied with treated water.

This in-depth research study produced invaluable baseline data with lessons, which can be of much use for the planning, execution and evaluation of similar and related projects.    It emerged from the study that provision of water per se will not bring all the benefits unless it is accompanied by adequate utilization behavior.

The book makes a number of suggestions to revise the model which formed the basis of the Weija study, prepared originally by CIDA before discussing it later with the local researchers, including the need to involve and educate the affected people at the planning stage in priority setting and decision making about their development to enable water and water related projects to be put in the correct setting in development planning for the area.

It also makes the salient point that, unless there are pressing reasons to the contrary, the model forming the basis of the research study should, from the beginning, be a joint effort of the outside agency (CIDA) and the local research institutions to make it possible for local knowledge and suggestions to be incorporated in the formulation of the model.

The 2016 general Election in Ghana which generated a lot of controversy in the country and formed a major component of political lessons for many a country around the globe especially in Africa takes a discussion point in the book with matters about women also focused on “Ensuring The Central Role Of Women In Development”

Comprehensive tables and diagrams are used to explain and give the research findings better clarity, for example, on household sanitation, income, inflation and provision of water in certain parts of the country.

Published in South Africa by the world-renowned publishers, partridge publishing, the 404-page third volume of the Development in Unity series has already been assumed a global favorite. It has been on sale at Amazon, the world’s largest Internet sales company and other major book outlets.

The book has also earned slots in the forthcoming London International Book Fair Exhibition from 12 to 16 March 2019 and the Book Expo America from 29 May to 02 June 2019. In addition, Development in Unity by Daasebre Oti Boateng will be on the stands later in the year at the international and prestigious book exhibitions at Frankfurt International Book Fair, 2019, Beijing International Book Fair and the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Daasebre Oti Boateng has expressed satisfaction in the completion of the project saying it will add some knowledge and new applications in the way development is approached in third world countries especially in Ghana.

By Nana Sifa Twum

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