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SPEECH DELIVERED BY PROF. EMMANUEL BOBOBEE ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF SOLIDAIRE GOVERNANCE FORUM (SOLIDAIRE GHANA) AT ERATA HOTEL.

MADAM CHAIRPERSON,
DISTINGUISHED BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SOLIDAIRE GOVERNANCE FORUM,
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,
DISTINGUISHED FELLOWS OF SOLIDAIRE GOVERNANCE FORUM,
DISTINGUISHED PARTNERS IN SOCIAL ADVOCACY AND DEVELOPMENT,
FRIENDS FROM THE INKY FRATERNITY,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
Permit me to welcome you all warmly to this launch today. As you are aware, many countries around the
world have instituted various forms of rules and precepts to regulate the conduct of governance generally
and therefore codified set of rules have largely been the instrument that regulates the relationship between
the citizenry and government. This relationship on how the affairs of the state are administered has become
what is termed as constitutionalism. The government does not enjoy unrestrained power but also this
system regulates the conduct of the government that have become objectively certain, uniform and above all
legally enforceable.

In view of the above, many proponents of democratic governance have therefore come to conclude that it is
the best form of government and no system of government is comparable to it. These conclusions give the
impression that democratic governance is fit for all societies and that it is an end in itself. Periodic elections
which enable popular participation and the smooth transfer of power from one party to the other or from one
leader to the other, sounds sufficient to these proponents.

There is also the understanding that representations in parliament serves as the sounding board of the nation
and that government is held in check in between elections. The continuous interplay or interactions of the
various arms of government and the need to also take on board the views of the public or the electorates
does appear to be the core and essential ingredient of democratic governance.

These issues highlighted notwithstanding do not fully or fundamentally address the issues associated with
governance especially for communities or societies that aspire for equitable and fair distribution of the
national cake. There are many issues that require strong intervention of government to ameliorate the
shortfalls of the structure of society, where iniquities have paralyzed many potential contributors to the
national cake. EQUITY DOES NOT AID THE INDOLENT

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
I am sure we are all asking ourselves, if the proponents of democracy are so right, why then has democracy
failed in Guinea and Mali. We have all seen the videos of teeming youth who have poured on the streets to
celebrate the overthrow of democratically elected leaders in Bamako and Conakry. Such scenes of joyous
African youth, some bare-chested, tell a LOUD story of a liberated people.
A liberation from a Democracy?
Clearly not!!
It is indeed a liberation from democratically elected Democrats who became dictators AND DESPOTS.

A baseline study of the motivation for these youth who are celebrating the coup d’états in Mali and Guinea
will show that the youth are celebrating an end of an era of dashed hopes, LOST OPPORTUNITIES, lack
of job AND EMPLOYMENT opportunities/AVENUES, social protection AND social intervention
policies for these youth AMONG OTHERS.
The third leg of issues affecting the youth is fundamental and in fact it is the cause of the hopelessness. That
is the need for social protection or social intervention policies to mitigate the suffering of the people. If you
cannot provide jobs for the people, cut back on your expenditure and use the money to provide social
protection interventions for the people.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
It is on the need for social protection that the issues affecting the youth of Mali and Guinea, the same issues
affecting the Ghanaian youth that I present this brief statement on the launching of SOLIDAIRE
GOVERNANCE FORUM.
I speak today on the topic:

THE RELEVANCE OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDST OF COVID 19.
Social Democratic philosophy, which births the Social Protection and Social Intervention measures,
addresses the fundamental issues of these disparities and require a more germane approach that genuinely
seeks to lift up people out of poverty and enable all TO have A LEVELED playing field to realize their
potentials as valuable contributors to the national development process.

Cushioning those on the lowest part of the income levels, is a proposition founded on the principles of social
democratic values inspired by socialists’ movements across the globe. This movement emphasizes more on
concrete attempts at correcting the imbalance that existsin the society, rather than simply churning out
flowery propaganda tools that fail to address the fundamental issues in the larger society.

In light of the issues chronicled on the forgone discussion, SOLIDAIRE GHANA through the direction of
its board is promising to work in partnership with like-minded organisations, to tap and deploy the immense
talents of its Fellows to greatly, but persuasively draw the attention of THE GENERAL POPULATION
AND policy makers to this state of affairs.
It is our considered view that we only blossom TOGETHER when we genuinely engage in discourse that
necessarily binds us together and excite our best forms for our common cause such as this exercise. Let me
add rather quickly that our approach will be far from being adversarial but would be essentially
accommodating, persuasive, suggestive, engaging AND AUTHENTIC.
It is our belief that with this approach WE ARE EMBARKING ON TODAY, OUR NATION GHANA
stands to benefit immensely since this would LEAD to all hands-on deck in our collective fight towards a
fairer, equitable and sustainable development.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Our monitoring of recent global discussions on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and how to support
humanity to overcome the economic downturn, has brought to the fore a renaissance of the relevance of
social democratic policies and principles. The International Labour Organization (ILO), under the United

Nations, has particularly been at the forefront, advocating for social protection and social security policies by
all governments. The findings and recommendations of the ILO World Social Protection Report 2020-2022
for example captures the following:

The Covid 19 pandemic has exposed deep-seated inequalities and significant gaps in social protection
coverage, comprehensiveness and adequacy across all countries.
COVID-19 provoked an unparalleled social protection policy response that provided urgently needed
support to many, yet many challenges remain.

As a result, Trade Unions are encouraged by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the need to
engage governments and employers to provide social protection to workers and those who are laid off work,
as a result of Covid 19. The ILO is demanding a universal social protection that will cover everyone living
below acceptable standards of living.

Flowing from this, social dialogue to explore ways of providing social protection is very important in this
regard, and all governments, including our Ghanaian government, must be compelled to sit at the table for
this discussion. There is no excuse for government to use the usual mantra of “there is no money” to avoid a
discussion on the nature of social protection badly needed by our countrymen and women.

I am sure that we all admit that Social protection is a human right and the need for it to be rolled out by our
government is more critical now than before.
International bodies including International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) through its General
Secretary, Sharan Burrow, made similar observations to the effect that some countries brought in temporary
pandemic measures and copious evidence abounds to suggest how little progress has been made overall. In
his observations, he felt that a global scandal had befallen the world that so many billions of people lack any
form of protection and that only one-third of the world’s population are adequately covered.

He further observed that least wealthy countries in particular, needed a global social protection fund and the
urgency was even more relevant than ever. Governments need to recognize that social protection is an
investment that generates positive returns, socially and economically and the multiplier effect is even far
reaching than imagined.
Secretary Burrow intimated that lack of investment in social protection was also a major public health issue,
especially during a pandemic, when people have no option but to work in order to survive, exposing them
and those near them to infection.

The absence of social protection generally under a ravaging pandemic such as COVID-19 will continue to
gravely affect efforts at containing the pandemic as alluded to in the statements aforementioned thereby
claiming many more lives and potentially giving rise to new variants that could threaten everyone on the
planet. That’s why universal social protection is one of the essential ingredients for all citizens of the world.
In Europe, many people live on social protection instead of it being a fall back safety net. In our context
however, many people live on the benevolence of neighbors, friends and family, because there are no job
opportunities for them. The situation is worse when the neighbor, friend and family also becomes
unemployed or his/her business suffers a crush or difficulties.

Every country can afford social protection, but as to which degree. So, every Ghanaian in need must enjoy
some form of social protection. This requires political will.
Finally, Social protection must not be seen by our African governments and businesses as a cost, but as an
investment. Our Economic Management team and the Finance Ministry need to create fiscal space to enable
government invest in the provision of social protection.

Social protection cannot be put at the lower part of the budget, after government has prioritized buying cars
for Ministers, CEOs, Board Chairmen, Directors, and others.
Social protection cannot come after you have increased salaries for the President and those in Article 71.
Social protection cannot find space in the budget, after you have created new offices in government to
overburden the consolidated fund.

Certainly, social protection cannot be your priority, when you annually make payment orders for the
purchase of ammunitions for the security institutions to use to brutalize the very people who are in need of
social protection.
The ILO has some advice for our governments. To guarantee a basic income security and access to essential
healthcare for all and close the income financing gaps for 2020 alone, Developing Countries must invest
approximately $1.2 trillion (on the average that should be 3.8% of GDP)

For low-income countries this represents about $80 billion of the total financing gap, which must be spent
on social protection investments. This is about 15.9% of their GDPs and must do so as part of national
efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Some governments have provided short term financing assistance to their populace, just as the current
government did last year in the run up to the election, but this is nowhere enough to close the gaps needed.
You cannot share money to yoursupporters and their friends like you are sharing pancakes to kids and
justify it as social intervention.

To create the needed fiscal space that will enable our government provide the necessary social protection
interventions, international speakers are advocating that domestic income mobilization is not enough, but
has to be complemented by international resources based on global solidarity. But in the meantime, we need
our government to be disciplined in its expenditure items. Closing the income disparities widened by this
pandemic must occupy the minds of our government and WE IN SOLIDAIRE hereby say this is
achievable. With consented political will, we can make this happen and we can make social protection a
reality for all.

LONG LIVE THE GOOD PEOPLE OF OUR DEAR MOTHERLAND GHANA.
THANK YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS YOU

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