12 March 2018

Ghana: WB Plans New Development Support for Ghana

The World Bank (WB) is developing a new development socio-economic framework for Ghana which will guide the bank's development support for the country in the year 2019.

The new development framework dubbed Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) is under the Country Partnership Framework (CPF), among others, focused on economic growth, education and health and good governance.

According to the WB, the SCD was aimed at identifying the most important challenges and opportunities that Ghana faced in achieving poverty reduction and shared prosperity in a sustainable way and served as the basis of the WB's CPF that guides the bank's development support to Ghana.

Speaking at a stakeholder-consultation with civil society organisations (CSOs) on the SCD in Accra yesterday, a co-author of the SCD, Tomoni Tanaka, said Ghana could achieve a middle income status in the next 25 years if the country invest heavily in the private sector and improve on tax collection.

Ghana is currently a lower middle income economy with projected growth of 2018 as Gross Domestic Growth of 6.8 per cent.

Madam Tanaka, the Senior Economist Poverty and Equity Global Practice for Africa Region, said Ghana had done well to reduce poverty and achieve high economic growth, saying the national poverty had been reduced from 52.7 per cent in 1990 to 13.6 per cent.

"The transition to a stable political and governance system in the early 1990s was a key factor for growth and poverty reduction, but government and regulatory effectiveness has been declining since the 2000s in a way that now appears to constraint the future development path," she said.

However, the Senior Economist said there were regional poverty gaps, with poverty high in the northern part of the country.

Madam Tanaka attributed the country development challenges to declining government effectiveness, a costly large public sector, lack of value addition for the country's natural resources.

Among, other suggestions, the Senior Economist called for quality labour-intensive growth, efficient public service provision and spatial equality and reduced vulnerability.

On education, there, Madam Tanaka said there were increasing enrolment and a reduction in school dropouts due to the Free Senior High School programme.

Touching on health, the Senior Economist said there was increasing access to healthcare services in the country, but however, said, there were challenges in mortality rates, the time and distance the citizens had to walk to access healthcare services.

A Senior Economist of the World Bank, Kwabena Gyan Kwakye said the growth of the country in the 1970s was largely driven by labour accumulation and stressed factor productivity and capital accumulation were more relevant since the 1970.

"Even though Gross Domestic Product had increased markedly between the early 1990s and 2012, the rate of poverty reduction has declined," he said.

Mr Kwakye emphasised the need for the country to invest heavily in agriculture to generate more employment for the youth, stressing the growth elasticity of poverty began to increase in the 1990s when the growth of agriculture started to decline.

Kathleen Beegle, the Programme Lead in charge of Poverty, Health, Nutrition, Population and Social Protection of the WB, said the stakeholder-consultation was one of the serious programmes to seek the input of stakeholders in the SCD.

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