- The World bank has awarded Ghana US$1.2 billion of interest-free loans over the next three years to boost the country’s economy, the bank’s statement has said.
The target sectors for the funding are water and sanitation, agriculture and fisheries, energy, natural resource management, transport and budget support.
The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili said the country has progressed to redeem itself from the vicious cycle of poverty. However, the Vice president said the impact of the current global financial crisis on Ghana calls for macroeconomic measures that would ensure that the growth that Ghana has enjoyed over the past decade and more is not lost.
Currently, the World Bank-financed portfolio for Ghana is among the biggest in Africa, with 26 active projects which have an undisbursed balance of about US$700 million of interest free loans.
Ms Ezekwesili said the World Bank which has for decades focused on development and how to alleviate the suffering of most Africans, and now has embarked on massive projects to help Africa’s weak economies saying the current global financial meltdown has shocking impact on African continent.
She said social accountability is an important tool for ensuring development effectiveness, and should be used not only to monitor government stewardship, but that of the Bank and other development partners.
Ms Ezekwesili also discussed issues bordering on natural resource management as a key component of macro economic policy. She reiterated the importance of citizens’ participation in the development processes in complementing government efforts in finding solutions to Ghana’s macroeconomic challenges.
The newly elected President John Evans Atta Mills says his government will co-operate with the World Bank to structure the economy in the face of the global economic downturn. “This will help provide jobs, health care, food, education and shelter for the people,” he said.
According to President Mills, government already knows the benchmarks and what to do in dealing with the World Bank.
The Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has also provided assistance to businesses pursuing projects in the oil and gas, mining, banking, leasing, education, housing and SME sectors.
Ghana’s economy has taken a low gear as demand for its commodities dropped amid the global financial crisis. The country ranks behind neighbouring Cote Divoire as the world’s biggest cocoa producer and is Africa’s second-largest gold miner, after South Africa.
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