Canadian international assistance in Ghana

Despite having achieved middle income country status in 2010 and having met the MDG targets related to extreme poverty and hunger, primary education, infant mortality and access to safe drinking water, Ghana only ranks 119 out of 188 countries on the 2016 Human Development Index. Pockets of vulnerability and poverty remain in many parts of the country, including Northern Ghana where 25% of the population lives below the poverty line. Economic growth has been uneven, resulting in growing inequalities within and across regions.

Agriculture is Ghana’s largest employer, yet more than 80% of farmers live below the poverty line and more than 2.2 million Ghanaians still cannot afford to feed themselves an adequate number of calories per day. Similarly, only 15% of Ghanaians have access to adequate sanitation services, which significantly contributes to poor health outcomes.

In spite of efforts to address gender inequality, women of all social strata continue to face significant social and economic barriers to the attainment of their full rights. This limits their ability to demonstrate leadership and effectively contribute to the development of their communities. In addition, women continue to face multiple barriers in relation to their sexual and reproductive health and rights, including social and cultural norms which limit their access to knowledge, services and decision making. Unsustainable natural resource management practices, partly in response to climate-related stress, are affecting water availability and land productivity. Improved environmental management and support for climate change adaptation are needed to sustain these gains and increase the resiliency of communities, particularly in the dry, arid northern regions.

To avoid losing progress made and the risk of falling back to a ‘least developed country’ status, Ghana needs to focus on promoting broad-based growth, modernizing agriculture, improving health outcomes by enhancing access to services and strengthening key institutions. The country continues to face multiple governance and macroeconomic challenges, including a limited ability of Government at all levels to mobilize resources to address poverty needs. 

Our international development assistance

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Canada's bilateral development program supports agriculture as an engine for inclusive growth, as well as an important area of investment to address the needs of Ghana’s poorest families. It supports climate-smart, resilient agricultural practices and specifically targets women farmers. The program also supports improved access to water in underserved areas, as well as sanitation and hygiene services as a means of advancing the dignity of the poorest and vulnerable, and contributing to improved health and nutrition indicators.

To address uneven levels of growth and development, programming increasingly focuses on needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, and specifically targets the regions where development needs are the greatest.

Programming is delivered through a range of programming modalities and in collaboration with a variety of partners, including multilateral and international organisations, the Government of Ghana, civil society and the private sector. This includes working with Canadian partners in areas where their specialized expertise and networks best position them to address important development gaps and reach vulnerable populations.

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