The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$155 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to support the Government of Ghana’s efforts to increase access to sanitation and water supply services.
It is also intended for the improvement of the capacity of government agencies to plan and manage natural resources more sustainably.
According to a statement from the World Bank, the funds will support two of the Government of Ghana’s priorities: manage natural resources in a sustainable manner and bring improved sanitation and water supply to over 3.6 million people living in and around the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).
The first part of the IDA grant totaling US$5 million, will support the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance project with technical assistance to help improve the capacity of government agencies to plan, manage and use natural resources in selected sectors more effectively and sustainably.
This project is aimed at supporting the analytical work, policy dialogue, consultations and capacity building to address critical sector challenges identified in the first phase of the NREG Programme (2008-2012).
Commenting on what informed approval of the grant, Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director of Sustainable Development, Africa Region, said: “The high rate of environmental resource degradation exacts a heavy toll on Ghana, an annual cost of about ten per cent of GDP.”
“These funds will help the Government better manage its natural resources, particularly its forests, and bring more jobs and improved livelihood opportunities to people living in the country’s rural and forest areas,” he added.
For his part, Ventura Bengoechea, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project stated: “Ghana’s economic growth has been accompanied by rapid urbanisation. But the provision of basic services has not kept up, and it is particularly affecting people living in low-income areas. I look forward to helping to ensure effective implementation of this project and to bringing improved sanitation and water services benefiting many low-income GAMA residents."
The second IDA grant of $US150 million, the World bank says, will support the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project, a five-year programme designed to bring sanitation facilities and water supply to residents in the GAMA, with emphasis on low income communities and to strengthen management of environmental sanitation.
To access the grant, the services will be identified by each community through a participatory process, with a goal of selecting options that best suit residents’ needs, especially women, who have the responsibility to get water in most households, while the project selection will take into account the specific physical conditions of each community, such as soil characteristics and space availability.
Established in 1960, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called credits) and grants for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa.