The vice-president, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, has defended the record of social democratic parties across the world, arguing that the philosophical stance of such political parties are anchored on advancing the interest of the working class in the pursuit of social development.
Opening the Socialist International Africa Committee meeting in Accra yesterday, Mr Amissah-Arthur said since the manifestation of Socialist International in 1951, the association had been very active with increased membership which indicated “even in an increasingly globalised environment the progressive agenda is relevant”.
The two-day meeting has the theme “Advancing our social democratic vision in Africa: securing jobs, guaranteeing accessible quality education, developing health systems and ensuring social protection for all.”
It brought together members of socialist political parties from 16 African countries, including South Africa, Togo, Namibia, Angola and Kenya.
It is a platform to share ideas on how to live up to the ideals of socialism in order to ensure sustainable democratic governance.
The Vice-President welcomed the delegates and urged them to build a consensus on the common agenda of enhancing Africa’s development.
Touching on the theme, he stated that the progressive movement sought to advance the interest of the people for which reason they could not relent in their effort to provide greater access to social services and infrastructure to the most vulnerable in the society.
Mr Amissah-Arthur stressed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was proud of its social democratic credentials, and that the government’s priority was to invest in people, especially in the areas of education and health.
He said the 2016 manifesto of the NDC had a renewed commitment of investing in people, expanding economic infrastructure, creating jobs and governing in an open and transparent manner.
On the international front, he pledged support for the socialist movement for putting forward Mr Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary General.
He said though the challenge facing him was formidable his accumulated experience as former Prime Minister of Portugal, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and former Vice President of Socialist International placed him in a good position to run the world body.
On the 2016 elections, Mr Amissah-Arthur asked socialists international to, in accordance with standard practice, send an observer mission to join others to observe the polls.
“As the governing party we pledge to do nothing to thwart the will of the people of Ghana. Although we are confident of victory we would respect the rules of engagement without interfering with the work of state institutions that are assigned responsibilities to ensure a free and fair election,” he added.
Call to Africa
The President of Socialists International, Mr George Papandreu, observed that the best way for African countries to develop and be relevant in the global economy was for them to devise modules that would resonate with local needs.
He said it took massive investment in human resource, establishment of strong governance structures, and a robust educational system to break all barriers and empower African economies.
“African countries do not need diviners or magicians to turn their economy around. What they need to do is to put the right social structures in place and adopt innovations that will enhance socio-economic development,” he added.
The General Secretary of Socialist International, Mr Luis Ayala, said socialist political parties ought to be epitomes of peace, for which reason he called on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to exhibit that virtue in the elections of this year.
Mr Ayala eulogised the leadership qualities of former President John Evans Atta Mills and added that the commitment of President John Mahama to building upon the structures laid by the former would earn him victory in the 2016 elections.