World Bank approves US$315m to Ghana
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$315 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to support job creation, skills development and digital transformation in Ghana. The package includes US$200 million for the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project and an additional financing of US$115 million for the eTransform Ghana Project. “The two projects are aligned with the priorities of the Government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development and are even more relevant and timely in the current COVID-19 context. Restoring jobs and livelihoods for micro, small and medium enterprises is critical for promoting the economic recovery of the country and is at the heart Ghana’s COVID-19 response,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director to Ghana. The Jobs and Skills Project will provide apprenticeship and entrepreneurship training to develop skills and assist apprentices with self-employment activities or help them secure employment opportunities and strengthen linkages to trade associations. The project will also provide training, grants, entrepreneurship activities to micro and small enterprises and help establish a functioning Ghana Labour Market Information System, a public database which aims to capture information on employers and workers and provide regular data and information on the jobs landscape in Ghana. “In addition to supporting enterprises, the project will also upgrade district public employment centres, which have been mostly neglected, and also establish 16 additional centres across the country. Through these centres, it will provide information on services to employers and job seekers for matching entrepreneurs and enterprises for enterprise development and job creation,” said Iffath Anwar Sharif, World Bank Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. The additional financing for the ongoing eTransform Ghana Project will improve the efficiency and coverage of government service delivery. Activities to be scaled up include digitization of archives and other public records; increase in internet bandwidth for district health centres and hospitals and other government services in 254 districts. The project will also provide computer labs and networking for enhanced remote learning in two new universities and in 200 senior high schools located in areas which do not currently have these facilities. Automation of the judiciary and the development of an integrated information management system for the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice will reduce the need for face-to-face meetings and facilitate remote working. The scale-up of e-procurement to all government ministries, departments and agencies will ensure business continuity and reduce the requirement for physical travel. “The project will help underpin a comprehensive COVID-19 digital response by increasing broadband provision in underserved parts of the country and preventing service disruptions,” said Michel Rogy, World Bank Practice Manager, Digital Development for Africa and Middle East.