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The impact of trade liberalisation on access to water and medicines in Ghana

Ofori, FNK

Authors

FNK Ofori



Abstract

This research examines access to water and medicines in Ghana in the context of two World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements: the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The key argument is that while the GATS and TRIPS agreements aim to promote economic and social development through trade liberalisation, developing countries such as Ghana lacks the negotiation, technical and financial capacity to take full advantage of such potential benefits that the WTO agreements offer. In addition, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) play influential roles in the context of access to water and medicines by prescribing various strategies to help Ghana target the socio-economic development of the people. However, this research shows that the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) do not promote Ghana’s human right obligations and fail to effectively benefit the poor people. Also, this study shows that due to limited resources and infrastructures, Ghana is unable to negotiate favourable loan agreements to transform her home-grown water and medicines industries. The other relevant actor in the water and medicines sector is the multinational companies which operate several investment projects in Ghana. This study shows that the profit- oriented focus of these companies fail to effectively promote the socio-economic wellbeing of Ghanaians.
In conclusion, this research offered three key suggestions. First, constitutional right to water and medicines along with strong procedural rights is likely to improve access to water and medicines in Ghana. Second, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has been proposed as an alternative strategy to help promote effective access to water and medicines. Third, human dignity in respect of access to water and medicines can be promoted in Ghana if the government shows the political will to initiate legislative reforms in consonance with its international obligations, and supported by a judiciary system that is sensitive to the values of human rights by eschewing corrupt practices.

Citation

Ofori, F. The impact of trade liberalisation on access to water and medicines in Ghana. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis

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