GHANA has received $150 million additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project 2 (GPSNP 2) to expand and enhance social safety nets and provide access to productive income generating opportunities for the poor.
It also introduces support to Ghana’s largest social assistance program, the Ghana School Feeding Programme, which reaches 3.6 million children in public kindergartens and primary schools across all 261 Municipal, Metropolitan, and District Assemblies.
As part of Ghana’s program with the IMF, the Government of Ghana has made commitments to safeguard and increase social spending to protect the poor and vulnerable during this time of fiscal distress. Ghana’s social safety net programs supported by GPSNP 2 are central to protecting the consumption of the poor, improving food security, and increasing productivity and human capital. However, given recent fiscal challenges, release of payments for government-funded social protection programs have largely been delayed.
“The World Bank is happy to support this project with additional financing in these times of macroeconomic challenges to enable it to meet its commitments on social spending and maintain critical social assistance programs while the country works towards fiscal recovery,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. “This support is also consistent with Ghana’s overall vision for development as stated in the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017–2024) and the Government’s vision for Ghana’s social protection sector, including productive, gainful employment for the poor”.
The project builds on its predecessor and previous World Bank financed projects (since 2010), supporting the Government of Ghana to strengthen its social protection system and increase transparency and efficiency to maximize program impact. The project will also provide technical assistance to identify potential sources of sustainable social protection financing. It will assist the government to safeguard and improve regularity of payments within the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and Ghana School Feeding Programme and provide employment opportunities to about 32,000 caterers and cooks in addition to providing a daily meal for school-going children. The GPSNP 2 additional financing also seeks to increase funding under the LEAP to support the government in meeting its budget commitments for an increase in the transfer value to the targeted 350,000 beneficiaries, given its major erosion due to inflation in the past year. It will scale up the Productive Inclusion Intervention by providing sustainable livelihoods to 60,000 beneficiaries (up from 25,000 currently) and expanding access to the Labour-Intensive Public Works short-term employment program to 90,000 beneficiaries (up from 60,000 currently). It will also raise the level of the productive grants in line with inflation. This will significantly increase poor people’s incomes, savings, spending on food and other essentials, and increase their productive assets like livestock.
“The GPSNP 2 is timely given that poor and vulnerable individuals are mostly affected by national and global shocks like the one we are facing,” said Christabel E. Dadzie, Senior Social Safety and Jobs Specialist and Task Team Leader for GPSNP 2. “Through this effort, we will ensure that critical social protection programs and systems are maintained, and targeted urban poor are also provided with support. Intentional support will be given to vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities.”
The GPSNP 2 will also provide technical assistance to identify potential sources of sustainable social protection financing.
*The IDA is the World Bank institution that provides aid to the world’s poorest countries. It was established in 1960 and provides grants and low- to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve the lives of poor people. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to 1.6 billion people. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61% going to Africa.