2021 University of Ghana Alumni Lecture

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 17:00
Great Hall, UG


Members of the University community are hereby informed that the 2021 Alumni Lecture will be delivered by Hon. (Mrs.) Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Republic of Ghana.

The lecture is scheduled to take place as follows:


Topic: Social Protection in Ghana: Are we on track?    

Date: Wednesday 1st, December 2021

Time: 5:00 pm

Venue: Great Hall, UG


All are cordially invited



The endemic nature of poverty and other forms of socio-economic vulnerabilities have been issues of immense concern from pre-colonial era until now. In fact, an extensive body of literature indicates that the global poverty outlook continues to be threatening with increasing levels. According to the World Bank’s Global Poverty Updates in March 2021, Sub-Saharan Africa tops the global poverty level with 42.7% poverty level. At the international level, social protection has been based on widely shared principles of social justice which are grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR,1948); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966); the Convention on the Rights of the Child; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other human rights instruments, as well as the ILO Conventions and Recommendations on social security and nationally-defined social protection floors.

Ghana has equally had its fair share of this poverty syndrome resulting in the mainstreaming of numerous social protection initiatives towards salvaging the challenges posed by poverty. So far, the poverty outlooks in Ghana indicate that the aged, children, youth, women and People with Disability (PWD) are specially identified among the most vulnerable in the country. Since the attainment of independence in 1957, successive governments have introduced many social protection systems as a significant way of fighting poverty, reducing inequality as well as promoting socio-economic stability among the vulnerable communities in Ghana. The famous Free Senior High (FSHS) Policy, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant for School at the basic level, the Disability fund, the Free Maternal healthcare, Free School uniforms for the very poor, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer, Fertilizer subsidies for farmers, Youth Employment initiatives and the various microfinance and skills training schemes earmarked for women and youth entrepreneurship among others, serve as important social protection ecosystem in Ghana. The central question is how far Ghana’s social protection system is responding to the needs of the vulnerable.

The lecture critically examines the prevailing social protection interventions for mitigating poverty and vulnerabilities with proposals aimed at enhancing their effectiveness going forward.


Profile of Hon Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei Opare, Chief of Staff - Office of the President of Ghana

Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare was born on 5th June, 1947, in Kumasi. Her biological father, Mr. Charles Edward Osei of blessed memory, whom she drew enormous inspiration from, was popularly known as "C.E. OSEI". Mr. C.E. Osei occupied an enviable place in Ghana’s history as an astute Kumasi-based businessman, politician and a statesman who served as a former Director of the Bank of Ghana and the first Ghanaian to append his signature on Ghana's post-independence currency note (The Pound) in 1958 during the regime of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Hon. Osei-Opare is married to Dr. Kwadwo Dua Opare, a former lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ghana, Legon and International Consultant to FAO Africa. She is blessed with four (4) Children, three (3) daughters and a son (of Legal, Medicine and Business professions).

Hon. Osei-Opare read Bsc. Home Science at the University of Ghana, Legon and subsequently gained a Canadian Government Scholarship to further her education at the Guelph University in Canada where she was awarded a Master of Science degree in Foods.

Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare worked as teacher at St. Monica’s Secondary School in Mampong; Research Assistant at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana until her appointment as a Lecturer at the Home Science Department of the then Faculty of Agriculture in University of Ghana, Legon. Whilst working in her capacity as lecturer, she rose to occupy an Acting Head of Department position between the years, 1988-1989.

She has also worked as a Lecturer / Consultant at Yambio Institute of Agriculture under the Government of the Republic of Sudan’s USAID funded Southern Manpower Development Project. She also worked on the Community Welfare/Socio–Economist-Integrated Rural Fisheries Development Project, Nigeria FAO/UN.

Additionally, she was a Consultant on the Women in Fisheries: FAO/UN project in Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, Brazzaville, Kenya and Namibia. Furthermore, she was the Consultant for Income Generation: FAO/UNDP Programming Mission for the 5th Country Programme for Malawi.

She became the Programme Officer of SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation in Ghana where she was later elevated to the position of Senior Programme Coordinator and also the Acting Field Director of the SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation Ghana, before her appointment as the Country Director of Action Aid Ghana and Internationalization Advisor for same in Africa.

Hon. Osei-Opare started her Political career as a student in Legon where she held the position of Treasurer of the Legon branch of the Erstwhile Progress Party (PP). In the year 2004, she entered into active politics and contested the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries at Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency and emerged victorious at the general elections. Consequently, she became the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Constituency from 2004 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2012.

She was appointed the Deputy Minister for Manpower and Social Welfare, now Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. She became the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cadbury Ghana Limited.

Hon. Osei-Opare was also instrumental in the introduction and institutionalization of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme and championed the cause to end Child Labour in Ghana's Cocoa growing areas. She further championed the cause of Persons with Disability and received the Coveted Prize by the United States Senate, in this regard.

In Parliament, she rallied support and galvanized the Women Caucus to champion the Affirmative Action Bill for Women and the Passage of the Disability Bill in Parliament. She has chaired the Conflict Resolution Committee of the Party for almost a decade.

In recognition of her accomplishments, H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, upon assumption of the high office as President of Ghana in December 2016, appointed her as the Chief-of-Staff at the Office of the President, the first female to be appointed to this position in the history of Ghana. She was re-appointed as the Chief of Staff in January 2021.