World Bank Provides US$956m To Ghana Over Three Years

Over the last three years, the World Bank provided new Credits and Grants totalling US$956 million to support 14 projects in Ghana.Of this amount, infrastructure, received the biggest support of US$316 million. Education, Health, and Social Protection received US$274 million, while Agriculture and Fisheries had US200.3 million, with US$130 million going to Public Sector Management and Reform. Among the recent projects approved by the Bank was the additional financing for the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, which aims to reduce poverty and expand social opportunities for the poorest people through public works employment and grants for poor households. Ghana Social Opportunities Project The USS50 million additional financing will be used to extend Ghana’s Labour-Intensive Public Works (LIPW) programme from 49 to 60 districts, as well as to scale up grants from 100,000 to 150,000 poor households through the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme. Also, social protection systems will be strengthened through improved targeting and the establishment of a National Household Registry. According to Yusupha Crookes, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, “The Ghana Social Opportunities Project supports Ghana’s efforts to fight poverty in the country’s poorest regions and to ensure that poor and vulnerable households are not left behind as the economy grows. This will build on Ghana’s gains in recent decades, which include reducing the poverty rate from 52 per cent in 1992 to 28 per cent in 2006, and help the country to make faster progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.” The ongoing public works programme has already exceeded the number of beneficiaries targeted; with over 80,000 people benefiting directly, against a target of 13,000. Climate change public works projects have been the most labor-intensive, followed by small earth dams and dugouts, roads and social infrastructure. Both the public works and household grant programmes have achieved excellent gender-targeted results. Sixty per cent of public works beneficiaries and 69 per cent of household grant beneficiaries so far have been female; these programs have therefore helped to empower women and increase their income. One of the most important long-term aspects of the project is its funding for the integrated National Household Registry System which will help to expand the coverage and scope of social protection initiatives, and to allow more accurate selection of households based on their socioeconomic status. The Ghana Social Opportunities Project, which currently awaits parliamentary ratification, will be implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, and will run until 2017.