The number of Ghanaians living in extreme poverty has increased since last year, with over a quarter of the population presently living on less than two dollars (GH¢24) a day, the World Bank Country Director, Pierre Laporte, has said.
Inflation over the past couple of years, he said, had eroded the purchasing power of Ghanaian households as incomes had not kept pace.
“It is expected that the current economic woes the country has endured may have pushed many more Ghanaians into poverty, and food insecurity worsened by the last quarter of 2022 when inflation was at its peak,” Mr Laporte said.
He added that the burden of the challenges, particularly high inflation and low growth, had fallen on all, but especially on the vulnerable segments of the population.
He was speaking at a ceremony to mark End Poverty Day at the World Bank Office in Accra yesterday.
It was on the theme: “Delivering growth to people through better jobs in Ghana”.
Mr Laporte said people’s well-being could be improved by ensuring more equitable access to health, education and basic infrastructure to all Ghanaians regardless of their background.
He said while the government worked to address the current crisis and to restore macroeconomic stability, there was the need to enact structural reforms to preserve the country’s long-term growth prospects and build economic resilience.
“Bolstering long-term growth prospects will require policies that support investment and human capital development, as well as buttressing resilience and crisis preparedness, especially in agriculture and food systems,” he said.
Mr Laporte explained that “well-targeted investments” could create better jobs, reduce income inequality and boost productivity.
“Jobs and employment are the surest way to reduce poverty and inequality.
Impact is further multiplied in communities and across generations if we purposefully empower women and girls, and young people,” he said.
The World Bank, he said, was evolving its vision and mission in response to a succession of global crises that had upended development progress.
“The World Bank is transforming through the urgency of a new playbook which focuses on enhancing and modernising our financing capacity, delivery model and efficiency of delivery, among others, to drive inclusive development that does not come at the cost of the vulnerable on the planet, leading to better quality of life and jobs for people,” he said.
In a panel discussion led by entrepreneur, Paulina Adjei, with the Founder of Hatua Tech, Nehemiah Attigah; Chief Executive Officer of Jobberman Ghana, Hilda Nimo Tieku, and Zuzo Founder, Gilbert Debrah, in attendance, young people were encouraged to acquire new skills that would increase their employability and open new doors for them.
Mr Attigah said there were thousands of jobs out there that required some particular skills that were not taught in the classroom, hence the need for young graduates to look beyond the classroom for skills acquisition.
For Ms Tieku, a lot of job openings were posted online on a daily basis that were not filled due to the lack of skills and experience.
She called on the World Bank to provide funding for private businesses that had shown interest in preparing young people for the job market to improve the employability of young graduates in the country.