Philanthropy key to bridging Ghana’s financial gap for SDGs – STAR Ghana Foundation, others

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Philanthropy is key to bridging Ghana’s financial gap for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), STAR Ghana Foundation and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), have stated.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)They said the role of philanthropy in mobilizing financial resources for the achievement of the SDGs has been an important pillar for the United Nations.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies are working together to mobilize and unlock philanthropic giving for the SDGs.

In bridging Ghana’s financing gap for the SDGs, the CSOs said, there had been several initiatives, including securing funds from the Joint SDG Fund and the development of an Infrastructure Financing Strategy (IFS) for the SDGs.

It has been estimated that a total of $651 billion from philanthropic foundations alone could be unlocked between 2016 to 2030 for the SDGs.

Led by STAR-Ghana Foundation, the CSOs, including the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Center for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, and Giving For Change (GFC) Communities of Practice, disclosed this when they engaged with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2024 Manifesto Committee.

The engagement, which had the 2024 Presidential Running Mate of the NDC, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang in attendance, was to promote community-driven development initiatives for sustainable development across the country.

It was driven by the shared goal of fostering sustainable development by harnessing the collective expertise of the CSOs and the NDC Committee, which is currently developing its Manifesto ahead of the 2024 elections.

The collaboration sought to, among others, address key developmental challenges in Ghana while highlighting the role of philanthropy in sustaining Ghana’s development.

The CSOs noted that even though evidence existed to highlight the role of philanthropy in sustaining Ghana’s development, there had been a low commitment by various governments to taking pragmatic steps to catalyze philanthropy for development.

For that reason, they said the Ghanaian philanthropic sector was faced with many challenges, including the lack of a policy framework to regulate and provide an enabling environment for philanthropy.

They identified fiscal adjustments, tax treatments and exemptions, the lack of recognition of the role of philanthropy in financing the SDGs and the lack of transparency on tax exemption processes for nonprofits as some challenges the philanthropy sector was faced with.

Among others, the CSOs recommended the provision of strict VAT exemptions on social services provided by charitable organisations, citing Keyna where the VAT Act 2013 (VAT Act) allowed for VAT exemption on social welfare services provided by charitable organisations.

While Ghana had committed to establishing a robust policy framework for integrating the SDGs nationally and locally, the Country Financing Road Map for SDGs lacked provisions for leveraging philanthropy to achieve each SDG target, they said.

The CSOs, therefore, said to fully harness the potential of philanthropic funding, “there’s a need to broaden the scope of alternative philanthropic financing beyond traditional methods.”

“Exploring non-conventional financing instruments can open new avenues for channelling funds and making significant impacts on a larger scale,” they recommended.

Alhaji Amidu Ibrahim Tanko, Executive Director, STAR Ghana Foundation, said the CSOs saw the engagement as an important aspect of enhancing the country’s democracy as citizens are provided opportunity to engage those who seek their mandate.

He said it was significant to shape policy and practice, adding that there was a gradual shift from just interrogating Manifestos to assessing projects and programmes without having to go through the intermediary stage of subjecting them to critical analysis and conversations.

Alhaji Tanko said local philanthropy was part of who Ghanaians and Africans were and that it was time to shift the conversation to place philanthropy at the heart of social interventions particularly in terms of the ownership.

He said philanthropy seemed mostly focused on the provision of financial resources, emphasizing that it went beyond that as it is complemented by volunteerism by the citizenry to contribute their time and skills for community and national development.

The Executive Director said volunteerism, if properly positioned and supported as part of national development, would contribute greatly to achieving inclusive development in Ghana.

Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, NDC Running Mate for 2024 election, who underscored the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy to influence lasting social change, said governments needed to focus on more development issues that benefit the citizenry.

Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo, Chairman of the 2024 NDC Manifesto Committee, said as a social democratic party, it believed in constitutionalism, and that it would continue to ensure that sovereignty emanated with the people.

As a party drafting its Manifesto, he said, a series of consultations were ongoing to seek the views of people as evidence of what the party’s flagbearer was undertaking with his “Building Ghana Together”.

By James Amoh Junior

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