In Ghana, the Pilot Programme focuses on the contribution decent work can make to poverty reduction, particularly in the informal economy. Four out of ten Ghanaians are classified as poor according to the 1998/99 Ghana Living Standards Survey. That would be 8 of the 20 million people in Ghana today. Poverty reduction has thus been declared the top national development priority. Between 25 to 30 per cent of the people who depend on the informal economy for their livelihood are poor, making them the second largest group of poor after subsistence farmers. In addition to providing often very low and instable incomes, decent work deficits abound in the casual works and micro- and small enterprises that make up the informal economy in Ghana.
The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) sets the national framework for policies, resource allocations and interventions to combat poverty. To contribute to this process, the Decent Work Pilot Programme uses a two-pronged strategy: first, it enhances the capacity of social partners to participate meaningfully in the GPRS process and to place decent work on the policy agenda; and second, it is developing and testing an integrated approach to improving productivity, conditions and incomes in the informal economy at local level. This approach is to be incorporated into national policies to decentralize initiatives for poverty reduction.
The outcomes aspired to by the Programme were changes in relevant policies and programmes that would promote decent work in the five priority areas identified by the constituents. The operational target was to include these in the revised GPRS. This goal has been achieved. For a summary of the Ghana Decent Work Pilot Programme see: DWPP Ghana Coutry Brief - pdf 151 Kb
The revised GPRS II, renamed Growth and Poverty reduction Strategy, was adopted by Government in September 2005 and endorsed by donors. It identifies employment as a central objective and means of poverty reduction. Priority sectors for investment and development have explicitly been selected on the basis of their employment potential. Specific programmes concerning the informal sector, local development, productivity and wages as well as skills development, in particular STEP, are included in the text and the policy matrix. Measures for the inclusion of persons with disabilities were mainstreamed. The district work was not sufficiently advanced at the time of revision to obtain explicit support for the SPGE model of decentralization. The GPRS II does however maintain the drive toward the principle. Attention will now shift to ensuring that these items are appropriately funded under the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework based on the GPRS II.
Although still work in progress, the district approach - pdf 2 Mb has proved to be a viable strategy for decentralized, pro-poor growth which is led by small enterprises assisted by national and local government in a private-public partnership. It has led to improved governance, improved efficiency of government spending, better revenue collection, and small enterprise development benefiting poor groups, including a large proportion of women.
The local economic development scheme is to be replicated in other regions of the country as part of a USD 100 million youth employment programme and of the new employment policy to be implemented under the coordination of the Ministry of Manpower starting in 2006. The partnership with the SIF is to be extended to include additional districts. Technical cooperation resources are being sought to support expansion of the district approach and its consolidation in the two pilot districts. Several donor agencies have signalled interest.
The work of the DWPP was presented to the ILO Governing Body in March 2005 by a delegation led by the Minister. It was used as an example for the successful implementation of an integrated ILO programme for poverty reduction, based on the Global Employment Agenda. The ILO Decent Work Country Programme for 2006-2009 will build on the work of the Pilot Programme and focus on local economic development and women's entrepreneurship to support the youth employment programme.
It has taken more than 3 years, over a million dollars and a lot of commitment from national partners and coordinators, the ILO Area and Regional Offices and technical units to achieve these outcomes. Strong national ownership and a good selection of the priorities at the outset have been also been vital for the positive outcome.
Overview of the Programme
Documents on policy areas covered by the Programme:
Employment and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy
Public procurement and labour-based infrastructure