OPEC Fund provides $20m loan to enhance social and economic infrastructure, improve livelihoods in Ghana
The OPEC Fund for International Development is providing a $20 million loan to the Republic of Ghana to support the Integrated Rural Development Project – Phase 2. The project will help close the inequality gap between rural and urban areas through the development of social and economic infrastructure, benefit 120,000 people across 16 regions and create about 2,000 job opportunities for vulnerable and poor populations.
Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General, OPEC Fund: ”The OPEC Fund is pleased to support this multi-sectoral, integrated program in Ghana, which will increase rural productivity and incomes, create new jobs and improve agricultural resilience. This will help sustain and stimulate economic growth, prosperity and poverty reduction and promote economic recovery following the negative socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The second phase of the Integrated Rural Development Project is a comprehensive and multi-faceted plan that builds on the results of the OPEC Fund sponsored first phase, which completed the development of 78 basic socio-economic infrastructure units such as classrooms, rural clinics and marketplaces. Similarly, Phase 2 will support the construction and equipping of 215 basic socio-economic infrastructure units across the beneficiary districts, including 43 sanitation facilities, 42 six-unit classroom blocks, 20 teachers’ quarters, 19 agricultural drains and 15 rural clinics. The development of these units will support poverty reduction, increase agricultural resilience of rural communities and contribute to key development indicators in health and education sectors.
Additionally, aligned with the government’s One District, One Factory Program to support local businesses, the project will provide $3 million in micro-loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises, increasing household incomes and access to finance of rural farmers. The funds will be used for financing rural SME’s needs for increased productivity, resilience and market access, such as provision of fertilizers, marketing of agricultural produce, planting materials, agro-chemicals, agricultural processing plants, machines and working capital.
Inadequate rural infrastructure is a key development challenge in Ghana. Although urban poverty has reduced in recent years, the inequality gap between urban and rural areas has doubled. The Integrated Rural Development Project – Phase 2 aims at contributing to reducing this gap. To date, the OPEC Fund has extended 26 loans to Ghana totalling $178.2 million in the transport, water & sanitation, energy, agriculture, health, financial, SME and education sectors.