ACCRA/KAMPALA – A 21-member Ugandan delegation is in Accra for a two-day benchmark study of Ghana’s progress and achievements in the areas of governance, including electoral administration, civic education, peace-building, security management and conflict resolution.
The delegation, led by Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa and supported by the Ugandan UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Rosa Malango, is also understudying how Ghana achieved some targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The team identified some areas the government of Uganda could collaborate with Ghana, including research, youth engagement and promoting national identity and values.
The rest are communicating civic duties, promoting value-based development, building on indigenous peace capacities and ensure that the SDGs played the role as oxygen for national development towards achieving the African Union’s Agenda for 2063.
They have held discussions with key governance institutions in Ghana, including the Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education, National Media Commission, National Peace Council and the Police Service, as well as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice and Special Advisor to the President on the SDGs.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on Thursday, Ms. Nankabirwa, the Leader of the Delegation, said the Ugandan government sought to learn from Ghana’s success story, especially in areas of electoral management, civic education and peace-building.
“Basically, we came here to learn and share our experiences and the few gaps we have identified in the SDGs implementation will be bridged,” she said.
The Kiboga District Woman MP said they visited Ghana at an opportune time when the West African country was preparing for a major election in 2020, which would enabled them to understand the preparations that went into elections and mechanisms put in place to manage election outcomes.
Nankabirwa noted that their presence in Ghana had enabled them to realise the crucial role civic education played in election preparation and lauded Ghana for setting up a peace council as a conflict resolution body.
“Election management has been one of the reasons we came here and civic education programming should be a continuous process and should be part and parcel of our education system and domestic programmes and should involve the youth, women and people with disability so that everyone will understand each one’s role towards nation building,” she emphasised.
Ms. Nankabirwa said the team had identified some common challenges faced by legislators in both Ghana and Uganda, particularly how to manage the expectations of the electorate.
She added that the co-ordination of activities by a high-level ministerial committee on the SDGs in Ghana and the synergy existing between the Committee and the National Planning Commission as well as the alignment of the national budget with the baseline study on SDGs implementation was an eye-opener to the Ugandan delegation.
Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator for Uganda, on her part, said Uganda identified civic education, electoral management and peace sustainability as key pillars that would facilitate the implementation of the SDGs.
Therefore, it identified Ghana as a frontline sister nation that could exchange information with Uganda towards achieving the SDGs and promote good governance, considering its wealth of experience over the years.
Madam Rokya Ye Dieng, Acting Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in brief remarks, said Ghana was well-acclaimed for its stable democracy and developed infrastructure and institutions for peace-building that had strengthened its resilience towards managing and preventing conflict.
Ghana was a reference point for democracy and stability in Africa, therefore it was in the right direction for the UNDP to facilitate south-south co-operation to exchange information and share experiences with other countries, she added.
She said over the years, the UNDP had facilitated smooth exchanges between Ghana and other African countries, and added that this year it received a delegation from The Gambia, which formed part of the UNDP’s integrated role to achieve the SDGs.
Madam Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator for Ghana, said the visit was a demonstration of how south-south co-operation would bolster good governance and accelerate socio-economic development in Africa.
“The visit by the Ugandan delegation shows the understanding of mutual learning because no single country is doing it perfectly, but by putting our knowledge together we can do great things,” Ms Lopez-Ekra stressed.
The delegation was made up of representatives from the academia, civil society organisations, security agencies and the electoral management body as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ugandan Embassy in Ghana and the Ugandan UN Resident Coordinator.