Professor Bernard Kumi-Boateng, Professor of Geomatic Engineering at the Department of Geomatic Engineering and Dean of Planning and Quality Assurance at the University of Mines and Technology delivered his inaugural lecture on the topic, ‘Mapping the Poor in Ghana: A Geospatial Multidimensional Poverty Index Approach’, on Thursday, 15th June 2023. The lecture focused on the development of a poverty map through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assist policymakers to alleviate poverty in Ghana.
Delivering his lecture, Professor Kumi-Boateng said that Governments of Ghana have over the years developed and implemented diverse policy frameworks as part of their poverty reduction programmes in the country. However, he indicated that these frameworks will be successful through the use of a poverty map to guide them.
According to Professor Kumi-Boateng, the key parameter to consider in poverty reduction is data on poverty and its dimensions. He said that accurate data such as the location and condition of the poor provide a good foundation for the planning and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes. He also added that poverty cannot only be determined by income but factors such as education, sanitation, good health and access to basic social services should be taken into consideration.
Prof Kumi-Boateng proposed the use of geospatial technology such as the Geographic Information System (GIS) to map poverty-endemic areas in order to identify the spatial dimensions and poverty pockets using a Multi-dimensional (Non-monetary) Poverty Index approach. This approach, he said, goes beyond the conventional monetary measures and captures multiple aspects of poverty and provides a comprehensive understanding of challenges faced by the poor. He added that some of the many factors to consider when mapping the poor are education, sanitation, electricity, and other basic social needs.
Throwing more light on his research Professor Kumi-Boateng said that his research was conducted across all the regions in Ghana using spatial and statistical data and that his findings presented ten (10) poverty indicators which include, years of schooling, child-school attendance, maternal mortality, child mortality, safe drinking water, sanitation, flooring, electricity, cooking fuel and overcrowding which are related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4, 6, 7 and 11.
The study revealed that a considerable number of households are deprived of non-monetary poverty indicators. The findings also revealed wide disparities between the Southern and Northern Regions which buttresses the view of inequality of development between these regions. Also, besides the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions which recorded the least poor ratio, the remaining regions especially the five (5) Northern Regions and Volta Regions recorded the highest poverty levels.
Addressing issues on the challenges of poverty alleviation programmes in Ghana, Professor Kumi-Boateng revealed that poverty alleviation interventions have become unsuccessful due to the high cost associated with data collection, limited data and difficulty in accessing the poor. These he said result in disorganised and untargeted implementation.
Ending his lecture, the Inaugural Professor urged policymakers to implement poverty alleviation programmes through the use of GIS technologies and Artificial Intelligence because they deploy cutting-edge mapping strategies.
The Professor of Geomatic Engineering also used his lecture as an opportunity to acknowledge and express appreciation to his family as well as persons who influenced him positively in his quest for academic excellence. He expressed his deepest appreciation to his mentors, lecturers, and teachers for their tutelage and guidance.
The Vice Chancellor and Chairperson for the Inaugural Lecture, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah congratulated Professor Kumi-Boateng on his accomplishment and for his contributions toward the growth of the University and his services to the national and international communities.
The Inaugural Lecture, which is the 8th to be delivered at the University gathered an extensive audience from across the world and was well attended by Academia, Chiefs and Queens from the Traditional Area, Managers and Representatives from the Mining industry and Allied industries, Clergy, the University Community and the general public.