An official of the World Bank group has urged Ghana to undertake strong structural reforms to protect the vulnerable.
Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, said at a forum to mark the 2023 “End Poverty Day” that such strong structural measures would ensure that the vulnerable are not unjustifiably and unduly impacted when the economy goes through crisis.
He said the vulnerable were the worst hit by the impact of COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and Ghana’s challenging economic crisis characterized by high inflation, ballooning public debt, and exchange rate depreciation.
“The burden of the challenges -the high inflation and low growth, has fallen on all, but especially on the vulnerable segments of the population: In Ghana, over a quarter of Ghanaians live on less than 2.15 U. S. dollars per day,” the World Bank Group official observed.
He added that the high inflation over the past couple of years had eroded the purchasing power of Ghanaian households with the risk of pushing many more Ghanaians into poverty.
Moreover, Laporte added that food insecurity also worsened since the last quarter of 2022, when inflation peaked.
While addressing the current crisis and restoring macroeconomic stability, the official said Ghana needs structural reforms to preserve its long-term growth prospects and build economic resilience.
“Bolstering long-term growth prospects will require policies that support investment, human capital development, buttressing resilience, and crisis preparedness, especially in agriculture and food systems,” he stated.
The theme for the End Poverty Day in Ghana is “Delivering Growth through People for Better Jobs in Ghana,” and Laporte urged policymakers to introduce well-targeted investments to create better jobs, lower income inequality, and boost productivity while intensifying efforts to grow the economy and protecting the most vulnerable.
He added, “Jobs and employment are the surest way to reduce poverty and inequality. The impact is further multiplied in communities and over generations if we purposefully empower women, girls, and young people.”
Ghana has been battling a severe economic meltdown in recent years with high inflation, a volatile exchange rate regime, and debt overhang, creating vulnerabilities in the quality of life of the people.