Africa Region Findings & Good Practice Infobriefs

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These briefs report on ongoing operational, economic, and sector work carried out by the World Bank and its member governments in the Africa Region.

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  • Publication
    Ghana - Women's Role in Improved Economic Performance
    (Washington, DC, 1999-10) World Bank
    The Government of Ghana's program to develop a gender strategy has been supported by the World Bank. This article is based on a Bank-assisted sector study, Ghana: gender analysis and policymaking for development. The Bank team worked closely with Ghanaian Ministries of Agriculture, Micro-finance, Education, and Health to identify gender issues and study feasible recommendations. Along with the government, a broad range of stakeholders participated in the study, including academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and women's groups. Through workshops and mission visits, four points of focus were identified for the study: agriculture, micro-enterprises, education, and health. Many of the stakeholders also emphasized the importance of strengthening Ghana's institutional capacity to develop and implement policies that adequately address gender concerns. The study focuses on two broad areas of gender-based differences and inequalities: the links between gender and economic productivity, and the development of human capital. In addition to the study described here, the Ghanaian government produced two policy documents from this study; both are now under final review within the government.
  • Publication
    Ghana - Financial Services for Women Entrepreneurs in the Informal Sector
    (1999-06) World Bank
    The Ghana Microfinance Institution (MFI) action research network brings together organizations interested in providing financial services to the poor in Ghana. With World Bank support, the network carried out this study which provides brief descriptions of the innovations that informal, semi-formal, and formal MFIs have developed in providing financial services to female entrepreneurs in Ghana. It also makes recommendations on how such services can be strengthened and improved.
  • Publication
    Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for Ghana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-06) Hewawasam, Indu
    Environmental degradation of coastal areas was identified as a key issue in Ghana's Environmental Action Plan. The central objective of the World Bank-assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) initiative in Ghana, which commenced in 1995, was to identify economically, socially and environmentally appropriate interventions and projects in the coastal zone that improve the prospects for human development. ICZM is recognized by governments, international agencies and by the donor community as a process through which coastal eco-systems and resources can be protected, developed and managed in a sustainable manner. In order for implementation to be successful, effective ICZM must be based on a clear understanding of the complexities of the relation between coastal natural resources, and the coastal population that subsists on these resources. More concretely, this understanding must relate to how specific economic, political, social and technical parameters link, in a reciprocal way, specific coastal ecosystems and specific human activities.
  • Publication
    TechnoServe in Ghana
    (Washington, DC, 1998-05) World Bank
    TechnoServe (TNS) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1968 and has programs in 14 countries in Africa, Latin America and Central Europe. The Ghana program was established in 1971. TechnoServe's mission is to establish sustainable community-based enterprises that increase productivity, income and employment. It opposes food relief, subsidized inputs and grants and promotes self-help and technical assistance to rural communities. This approach involves the provision of financial and business management training in order to help these communities make sound business decisions and create and operate their own enterprises. Although TNS believed that the key to financing these small community-based enterprises was savings, eventually it became convinced that credit was also necessary. TNS therefore evolved its own financial mediation strategy by developing innovative mechanisms for micro-enterprise financing.
  • Publication
    Ghana - Building Local Capacity for Integrated Coastal Zone Management
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-04) Mohan, P. C.
    During 1996 and 1997, a series of Bank-assisted workshops were held under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana. They intended to: 1) raise awareness among coastal communities of the need for better management of the marine and coastal ecosystem; 2) identify the priority needs of coastal communities; 3) identify appropriate, cost-effective interventions for addressing these needs; 4) raise awareness of ongoing initiatives to support such interventions; and 5) assist coastal communities in the design of appropriate small-scale initiatives to address priority needs.
  • Publication
    Road Sector Reform in Burkina Faso and Ghana : Impact and Lessons
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-02) Mwale, Sam M.
    There is neither sufficient historical perspective nor similarities by which to compare the Ghanaian and Burkinabe experiences. Burkina Faso's reforms are more structured and planned, while Ghana's more complex political and economic history have had greater influence on road sector reforms than any attempt at advance planning. Yet many African countries find themselves in situations somewhere between those of Ghana and Burkina Faso. Their choice of path towards reform depends largely on their condition of the roads, the state of their public road-management institutions, the capacity of their private sector, the government's own policies and policy objectives, and the financial resources available to them from their budget and from donors.
  • Publication
    Ghana - Capacity Development and Utilization Initiative
    (Washington, DC, 1997-06) World Bank
    The widely-acclaimed Economic Recovery Program launched by Ghana in 1983 faced the challenge of sustaining the gains achieved in terms of economic liberalization and macroeconomic stability. The country needed to enter a phase of accelerated export-led growth and social equity that would deliver a modern economy by the 21st century. Urgent action was required to address a number of national capacity issues that had constrained Ghana's development efforts since independence in 1957.
  • Publication
    Ghana - Promoting Growth, Reducing Poverty
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1995-11) Alam, Asad
    The policy reforms since 1983 have reduced the fiscal deficit and inflation, helped improve infrastructure services, and shifted relative prices and incentives towards the tradable sector, in general, and towards exports, in particular. The key element of fiscal consolidation up to 1991 was the growth in government revenues, whose share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from 6 percent in 1983 to 13 percent in 1986 and to 16 percent in 1991. Higher revenues made it possible to reduce the fiscal deficit and, at the same time, increase public investment in infrastructure which had virtually collapsed prior to 1983. Prudent monetary management also led to inflation falling from 123 percent in 1983 to 40 percent in 1986 and 18 percent in 1991. The resulting improvements in macroeconomic stability made it possible for farms and firms to respond to the shift in production incentives induced by the policy reforms. As a result of these reforms, the economy turned around. Although economic activity witnessed its biggest surge during the early years of the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) (5.3 percent annually during 1983-86), aggregate growth has averaged 4.7 percent per annum since 1987. The private sector has made a significant contribution to growth. However, this growth performance has not been uniform across sectors. Agriculture recorded an annual growth rate of only 1.9 percent since 1987 while services have grown at an average annual rate of 7.4 percent over the same period. Merchandise exports and imports have grown faster than GDP and with it, complementary wholesale and retail trade. The share of external trade in GDP increased from about 5 percent in 1983 to 32 percent in 1986, 35 percent in 1991, and 55 percent in 1994.
  • Publication
    Ghana : Bringing Savers and Investors Together
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1995-04) Boehmer, Hans-Martin; Wetzel, Deborah; Gupta, Arvind
    After 10 years of successful adjustment, with real economic growth averaging 5 percent per year, Ghana's recorded savings and investment rates remain very low - even by sub-Saharan African standards. However, survey evidence suggests that actual savings and investment rates are much higher than recorded rates. National accounts statistics do not capture a large part of the underlying savings and investment activities of the household, rural, and informal sectors. Comparative financial indicators confirm that Ghana's financial system is not very deep and as a result not fully contributing to economic growth. Ghana's broad money holdings are small relative to GDP when compared to other countries with similar per capita income. Also, currency holdings are relatively large, suggesting that Ghanaians prefer cash to bank accounts. Meanwhile, the bulk of financial savings has financed public sector deficits, leaving little for private investment finance. There is considerable evidence that many household savings are invested in real assets yielding zero, or negative, returns. Widespread lack of trust in formal financial channels makes these nevertheless the preferred form of investment. Ghana can grow faster with existing savings by improving the efficiency of investments through enhanced finanical intermediation.
  • Publication
    Small Enterprise Finance under Liberalization in Ghana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1994-11) Aryeetey, Ernest; Baah-Nuakoh, Amoah; Duggleby, Tamara; Hettige, Hemamala; Steel, William F.
    This study investigates the apparent contradiction between the high propensity of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to identify finance as their primary constraint and the view of banks that SME lending remains low in part for lack of bankable demand. Surveys were conducted of relatively successful microenterprises and SMEs to assess demand and sources of finance, and formal and informal financial institutions were interviewed to analyze constraints on the supply side. The survey results show that credit for start-up is rare and that the smaller the enterprise, the greater the equity finance share of the initial investment. Many SMEs achieve substantial growth through reinvestment of profits, making it difficult to conclude that entry and growth of SMEs depends crucially on loans. Other forms of finance, such as customers' advances and supplier's credit are at least as important as bank credit. Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that exploitation of highly profitable opportunities by SMEs could be accelerated if they had greater access to external financing. Tight money, banks' efforts to improve portfolio performance, centralization of decision-making, and lack of competition explain why banks have shown little interest in developing SMEs as a market niche. The study suggests techniques that banks could adopt to overcome the problems of high transaction costs and risks in SME lending, drawing on the methods of informal financial agents.