Ghana was ranked at 67.5 that depicts that the country is in the median range of being a failed state (FFP, ffp.statesindex.org). This ranking is significantly better as compared to other African countries but significant improvement is desired. Mounting demographic pressures and internal displacement of population of Ghana is within the medium range. Poverty index, part of the failed state index, is at 6.0 for Ghana that represents that there is a threat of poverty coming back if not tackled properly.
3- Particular Area in need of development
The HDI index of Ghana lies at 135 out of 187 whereas failed states index is at 67.7. This implies that the country is not under the threat of potentially high levels of poverty. The country is striving hard to come out of below-poverty line. The main threats to an improving situation are that 21.6% of Ghana's population is vulnerable to multiple deprivations. Similarly, 31.2% of the total population of Ghana lives in multidimensional poverty (World Development Report, P.2). Another important disparity is within different poverty indicators. If compared together, multidimensional poverty index and the income poverty index of Ghana indicate towards a different and more aggravated situation. The income poverty faced by Ghana population, that percentage of their population living below $1.25 per day is lower as compared to multidimensional poverty. Multidimensional poverty headcount was 2.6% more as compared to income poverty. As of year 2008, Ghana's 28.6% of the total population lived below income poverty line (>$1.25), 11.4% in severe poverty, and 21.6% were vulnerable to poverty. This indicates that despite huge progress made in the last one decade, the country still needs to address the poverty issues of more than 60% of its total population. The rural population of Ghana is 60% of the total population and consequently, 60% of the rural population in underdeveloped. Having analyzed such a situation, UNDP in this study will provide a comprehensive framework by setting up benchmarks for achieving higher HDI rankings in coming five years.
3.2- Why this particular area is important
The Urban-Rural divide in population distribution has narrowed down in the recent years. However, there is a considerable disparity in fighting poverty in the northern and rest of the Ghana. The north part of Ghana is the largest of geographical region in Ghana. The Northern part of Ghana is composed of 20 districts but the population during the last few years has emigrated from this region due to poor infrastructure and economic support. Majority of the population in the Northern part is related to agriculture for subsistence. More than 75% of the economically active population of the Northern part is associated to agro business.
Along with the bleak situation prevailing in the Northern part, the other parts of the country are also largely related to agriculture as a source of income. Women are also part of this economic system based on agriculture. Having assessed the importance of rural poverty alleviation, the government of Ghana has also tried in recent years to address the issue of rural poverty. Agricultural and rural development is the main emphasis of government and non-government agencies to eradicate poverty. Nonetheless, to create a lasting impact there needs to be sustainable measures for removing poverty from rural areas. Despite greatest numbers of opportunities, in form of agricultural land, cattle, poultry, and agro business opportunities, the people of rural areas due to lack of social support, lack of education and awareness, and lack of infrastructure and agricultural equipment could not rid themselves of poverty. This lends credence to this endeavor of presenting a poverty alleviation and reduction proposal for the rural areas of Ghana.
It is also observed that most labor intense areas of business are also agro-based such as crop harvesting, fishery farms, poultry farms, and seasonal vegetables farms. All these agro-based businesses require more headcount for cultivation and rearing. Sanitation is also an important issue that develops several health epidemics in the rural areas. Litter and human waste is not properly disposed that causes several life-threatening diseases specifically to the children that are the most vulnerable segment of rural population (Rural Poverty Portal, ruralpovertyportal.org).
Rural agricultural development is necessary since there are large numbers of populations segments attached with agriculture for earning income in Ghana. Some of these main population segments are wage earners, self-employed small farmers, unpaid family members, and indigenous people. Women are part of all the aforementioned population sections. Thus, it is appropriate to eradicate or reduce the poverty in the rural areas of Ghana and emphasis of this proposal shall be on agricultural revival of Ghana.
3.3- What impact poverty alleviation will create?
One of the main poverty consequences in African region has been the undernourishment of their population. Thus, if poverty is alleviated effectively, the population at large will get enhanced nutritional foods. The food intake percentage of Ghana's population indicate that there has been a gradual improvement but implementation of poverty reduction plans need to be closely monitored for enabling a sustained growth rate as well as consumption of foods such as cereals, vegetables, and milk. Since 1980 to 2005, there has been 90% of improvement in cereal intake, 15% in vegetable intake, and 133% in milk intake by Ghana's population. This needs to be brought to reasonable levels. From Banana plantations to Cocoa production Ghana agro sector will completely benefit from poverty reduction efforts.
Education and skills training program is also another area or group of areas that need to be assessed for change. It has been observed that poverty alleviation efforts in Ghana have gained success whenever community participation in planning, implementation, and monitoring phase have been made part of the poverty reduction process. Through sustained participation of community stakeholders the poverty assessment can be more precise and the resultant efforts can gain more footholds in the rural areas. The local government systems help the effective delivery of poverty reduction services and the government also benefits from an enhanced human developed index.
Education: Through poverty reduction efforts, the local governments of rural Ghana will be able to increase the enrolment rate of school children. Since most of the family members in each household participate in the livelihood earning, the children and left without education. Lack of education also forms in itself 'a vicious' circle of enabling more poverty through worsened health and social status.
Employment: Employment generation is another main result that is desired from poverty reduction plans in Ghana. Current plan will also enable the opportunities of employment to be increased on continuing basis.
Good governance: Good governance is also a main aim of poverty alleviation and also a system through which parity in employment and social opportunities is created by the governments, both at the local and provincial level.
Decentralization of power: The poverty reduction plan will also enable the power structure to be devolved and the role of local and small farmers and rural family heads will be increased. Since most of the poverty reduction plans only meet half of their objectives due a lack of feedback and interaction with society, the current program of poverty alleviation will include local stakeholders. These will not only provide feedback but also act as agents of change.
4- Specific Policy plan
4.1- Programs implemented in other countries
There have been quite a number of initiatives by corporate bodies and World Bank to alleviate the extreme poverty levels in Ghana. Some programs have resulted in tremendous support from grass roots level and acclaim from experts in the field of poverty reduction. Decentralization has always remained the 'principal institutional development strategy' (ESCAP, www.unescap.org). There were many models of poverty alleviation adopted during the second half of twentieth century. All the models largely emphasized upon import substitution driven by state authorities, export promotion-based market oriented models, and lastly the trickle down models that emphasized upon rural community and urban community participation. Following are some of the models of poverty reduction applied in different regions of world.
Sub-Saharan Africa SSA Region
SSA region is the largest beneficiary of international development assistance programs of World Bank. Our bank has provided more than $5.7 billion in international development assistance resources in the SSA regions. To help improve the social conditions, social protection program have been vital in reducing poverty and alleviating the vulnerable status of major population segments in African states.
Malawi is one of the least developed countries (LDCs) of the world. Due to rampant poverty and malnutrition in general population, World Bank has assisted the country is the drive to alleviate poverty. For this purpose, social protection (SP) programs are considered most essential in eradication poverty. In Malawi as well as other LCDs, the poverty intervention programs are vital for developing short-term safety nets for the vulnerable sections of the society and then these short-term nets are converted into long-term development action plans for the population. From…