The World Bank has engaged social protection actors to provide strategic social protection responses through existing systems that can be adapted for the implementation of interventions in times of shock.
According to the bank, experiences and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic have reinforced the need for governments to be more strategic in their response to shocks – not only identifying appropriate interventions, but also ensuring the existence systems that can be adapted for the delivery of these interventions.
At a knowledge-sharing workshop for stakeholders, the World Bank’s Senior Social Protection Specialist, Christabel Dadzie, noted that social protection interventions are fundamental to responding to shocks such as national disasters, economic crises, pandemics, conflicts and forced displacements – which are usually transitory in nature – to cushion the affected people, especially the vulnerable, to mitigate the impacts of the shock event and prevent them from adopting mechanisms negative adaptations.
Ghana had a population of 30.8 million in 2021. In 2017, 2.4 million people were reported to live in extreme poverty. Within the country, poverty levels vary widely from place to place – with much higher rates in rural areas and various administrative districts. Rural areas had an overall poverty rate of 39.5% in 2016-2017, compared to 7.8% in urban areas. In rural areas, 15.6% of people lived in extreme poverty compared to 1% in urban areas.
“With social protection in particular, we all know that the poorest and most vulnerable are invariably those who are hit by shocks. So in fact, even before COVID, we were working with the Ministry of Gender to look at how there can be a systematic response to shocks when they occur; then fast forward to COVID-19, it underscored the importance of us not only providing sporadic responses.
“We are supporting the ministry with other development partners to address this critical issue, which aims to respond to shocks in a systematic way by developing a national strategy. And so we are leveraging the convening power of the World Bank to bring people together like you did today,” Ms. Dadzie said.
Ghana’s response to shocks in the past, however, has been sporadic and has exposed its limitations: notably the lack of committed funding and ready data for beneficiary targeting; poor coordination between the various players in the supply chain; and lack of clarity regarding delivery channels and response times.