The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $50 million credit for the Ghana Social Opportunities Project aimed at extending Ghana’s Labour-Intensive Public Works (LIPW) programme from 49 to 60 districts.
The project will also scale up grants from 100,000 to 150,000 poor households through the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
Also, a National Household Registry will be set up to improve social protection efforts in 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,’ said Yusupha Crookes, World Bank Country Director for Ghana.
‘This will build on Ghana’s gains in recent decades, which include reducing the poverty rate from 52 percent in 1992 to 28 percent 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 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 percent of public works beneficiaries and 69 percent of household grant beneficiaries so far have been female; these programmes 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.
‘When these activities are coordinated and targeted well and driven by strong policies, there can be rapid gains against poverty,’ said Suleiman Namara, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Ghana Social Opportunities Project.
The Ghana Social Opportunities Project will be implemented by the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, and Gender, Children and Social Protection. It will run until 2017.
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