World Bank: COVID-19 Reversing Ghana’s Economic Gains

World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Pierre Frank Laporte,

Accra, Ghana, October 21, 2020//-World Bank has warned that the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which is causing global humanitarian and economic crisis is reversing Ghana’s years of economic gains.

The West African country has been among the fastest growing economies in Africa since 2017, with significant progress in poverty reduction. But since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the country, the story has changed.

An economist at the World Bank Ghana office, Kwabena Gyan Kwakye who disclosed this on a virtual youth engagement event to mark this International Day for Eradication of Poverty-End Poverty Day (EPD), lamented that the pandemic is widening the inequality gap in the country.

Human Capital Index in Ghana 2020

The World Bank, in conjunction with the United Nations which hosted several events in various countries around the world under the theme ‘Charting the Road to A Resilient Recovery’, revealed that Ghana’s Human Capital score of 0.45 is higher than Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) average but below the average for lower middle-income countries.

Low Human Capital Index (HCI) is driven by high levels of learning poverty, according to the bank’s HCI report.

Expected Years of School

 In Ghana, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 12.1 years of school by her 18th birthday.

On harmonized Test Scores, it said students in Ghana score 307 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.

While learning-adjusted years of school, factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 6 years.

Learning losses and exacerbation of inequitable access as a result of COVID-19

All schools, colleges and universities were closed on March 16, 2020 affecting 9.2 million children

Following a partial lifting of the lockdown, classes resumed for JHS 2 and 3 and SHS 2 and 3 learners; primary and kindergarten schools will remain closed until January 2021.

There are inequities in access to internet, TV and radio resulting in inequities in accessing remote learning, the report added.

It warned that school closures and inequities in remote education delivery are likely to exacerbate loss in learning and increase risk of dropouts among marginalized groups.

On-going Education Sector COVID-19 Response

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ghana Education Service (GES) has worked on a comprehensive response plan centered around five key pillars namely: content reform; content delivery; learning management system and knowledge and skills bank; communications and monitoring and evaluation; and direct COVID-19 response.

MoE is currently implementing with the support of the World Bank the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) and its Additional Financing – Global Partnership for Education (GPE) emergency COVID-19 Accelerated Funding ($15 million grant, World Bank is the Grant Agent).

The activities aim to support the national COVID-19 response plan for continued learning, reentry and resilience in basic education through: strengthening remote education service delivery; support to safe school re-opening and re-entry; and strengthening management for education sector resilience.

While GALOP was designed before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, the existing project interventions are likely to support the national covid-19 education response.

World Bank covid-19 support to Ghana

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Pierre Frank Laporte, said during the peak of covid-19 between April-May 2020, the bank supported Ghanaian government with over $100 million through the World Bank Group (WBG) global emergency health program.

The program according to him provided the government with essential PPEs, recruited and trained health professionals in surveillance, infection prevention and control, contact tracers and laboratory technicians, enhanced testing capacity from two to ten active laboratories, among others.

The bank funded a life insurance package worth GH¢10.3 million (equivalent $2 million) – approximately $52,000 benefit per incidence, for those directly involved in surveillance, case management, laboratory, and the project also strengthened national and sub-national coordination and risk communication and community engagement.

As at end-June 2020, a total of 2,250 individuals had been evacuated with the government bearing the full cost of flight and the project paying for the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine services for 1,116 persons, most of whom are students.

Subsequently, the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project, which supports Social Protection reallocated resources to allow for a temporary expansion of cash transfers to poor and vulnerable people who will be heavily impacted by COVID-19, Mr Laporte, said.

The Jobs and Skills and Economic Transformation projects he revealed would be providing financial and technical support to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“The youth play a major role in leading change through entrepreneurial activities; advocating to Government for change; and defining the way forward for promoting resilient recovery in Ghana.

Therefore, we are excited that you could join us today. Our goal is to attain some concrete ideas that we can turn into action in support of Ghana”.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report







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