Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Pat Alsup at the Launch of the “Ghana on the Rise” and Ghana Resources for the Awareness of Population Impacts on Develop

Professor John Gyapong, Chairman

His Excellency, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana

Mrs. Comfort D. Cudjoe-Ghansah, Minister for Social and Allied Agencies

Mr. Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health

Ms. Marian Kpakpah, Acting Executive Director, National Population Council

Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, Director-General of theNational Development Planning Commission

Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, United Nations Population Fund Representative

Representatives from Development Partners

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This Saturday, July 11 is World Population Day. We are here today because we recognize that Ghana can benefit from the positive effects of demographic change. This country is blessed with many ambitious young people eager to contribute to the development of the country. If we can move them, responsibly, into their working years as healthy, educated, and productive adults with fewer dependents, they will be positioned to energize and sustain Ghana’s economic growth.

This is both a challenge and an extraordinary opportunity. Family planning can shift Ghana’s age structure and position the country for greater economic growth and productivity. We are gathered here today to understand the impact of Ghana’s rapid population growth on the country’s development.

Voluntary family planning programs are an investment in health.  Family planning is one of the most successful development interventions and one of the strongest and most cost-effective investments available. Family planning reduces poverty and enables governments to invest more resources in infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

Unwanted, unplanned pregnancies and lack of access to quality health care are leading drivers of maternal deaths. These deaths–both of mothers and babies–are preventable and should not happen in this day and age. Not now. Not anymore. Together we need to commit to ensuring the dignity, safety, and access to reproductive health care for women and girls.

The United States government, through USAID, is committed to promoting and protecting reproductive rights for Ghanaians.  Our programs support the systems that ensure the availability of contraceptives as well as the delivery of family planning services.

We know that we must strive every day to improve the availability of health care, share educational information, and ensure that the 30 percent of Ghanaian women with an unmet need for family planning have better access to family planning services.

In that spirit of information sharing, we are proud that USAID’s support and the leadership of the National Population Council, along with a task force of key stakeholders from various Ghanaian ministries, have given rise to the presentations you are about to see. The presentations address the importance of reducing rapid population growth and increasing access to family planning tools to reduce poverty and achieve national development goals.

With the right policies and investments, Ghana can realize a “demographic dividend,” through the faster rates of economic growth generated when declines in fertility rates and mortality are combined with effective socio-economic policies.

With a larger working population and fewer dependents, Ghana will have greater opportunity for rapid economic growth and increased stability. To realize this dividend, investments must be made to build institutional capacity, strengthen human capital, improve employment prospects, increase access to quality health care, and ensure good governance and economic policy.

I challenge each of you here today, leaders at all levels, to play a part in Ghana’s growth by demonstrating your support for family planning. This is a vital step to help Ghana achieve its development goals.

Investment in family planning is an investment in health. Investment in family planning is investment in economic growth. Investment in family planning is investment in progress.

I urge you to take the actions necessary to help Ghana realize the promise of the demographic dividend and make the most of this moment in history.

Thank you, and I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration.