Ghana records big strides in poverty reduction levels

By Lawrence Quartey

Posted on June 21, 2011 14:09

Ghana has made significant strides towards poverty reduction over the last two decades, the country’s Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, has said.

Poverty levels, Duffour noted, had dropped to 28.5 per cent in 2006 from 51.7 per cent in 1992. Similar strides had been made in the case of extreme poverty.

With such pace, the Finance Minister revealed, Ghana has been tipped to achieve target 1 (One) of Goal 1 (One) of the Millennium Development

Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule.

At a Development Policy Dialogue organised by the World Bank (Ghana Office) in Accra, the Finance Minister said social protection programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), School Feeding Programme, and free exercise books and school uniform programmes had significantly contributed to reduce poverty in the country.

Pockets of deep poverty

But despite the sharp drop in poverty levels there are still pockets of deep poverty especially in the northern savannah area resulting in a wide poverty gap between the north and south of the country.

Official statistics, quoted by Duffour, show that while the number of the poor declined by 2.5 million between 1992 and 2006 in the South, the North registered an increase of 0.9 million.

“A recent notable intervention to bridge the north-south development gap is the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) designed to attract investment to growth corridors in the northern ecological zone whilst providing employment and income-generating opportunities for the people,’ he added.

Country Director of World Bank, Mr Ishac Diwan, has commended Ghana’s rapid economic development and reduction in poverty amid concern over the country’s historical north-south divide in terms of living standards.

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