Ghana has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but the country’s long-term economic growth is challenged by high energy costs; high levels of government debt, including in the energy sector; low access to credit; high borrowing costs; low agricultural productivity; a business climate that restricts private sector growth; and regional trade barriers. Disparities also exist between the country’s North and South. Nearly 68 percent of Ghanaians in the Northern Region live on less than $1.25 a day, and stunting rates among children under five are as high as 40 percent in some districts in the region. USAID is helping Ghana to address these challenges through programs that promote a more diversified economy with a broader export base, while addressing the long-term economic impacts of COVID-19; increased private sector-led investment; expanded use of affordable energy; healthy, skilled citizens participating in economic and social development processes; and increased incomes.
INCREASING AGRICULTURE-LED ECONOMIC GROWTH
Agriculture is central to Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings and overall economic well-being. Through the Feed the Future initiative, USAID applies a behavior-change approach to help Ghana achieve self-reliance by enhancing agricultural productivity and profitability, strengthening competitive market systems, increasing access to finance, promoting resilience, optimizing economic inclusion, improving nutrition, and advancing country leadership through evidence-based interventions, including:
- Targeting food security interventions in districts in northern Ghana, where poverty and nutrition statistics are poorest.
- Working to protect Ghana’s marine fisheries to prevent the depletion of fish stocks in coastal areas.
- Promoting production of diverse, nutrient-rich crops, and improving processing, storage, and preservation to reduce seasonality and post-harvest losses while increasing market access to nutritious foods.
- Partnering with private firms, particularly within the agricultural sector, to expand their businesses and improve their offerings to meet national and global standards.
These efforts helped many Ghanaian farmers to overcome challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, USAID/Ghana helped over 63,000 farmers – over half of them women – in northern Ghana to access agricultural inputs and finance, an intervention which generated over $12 million in sales. In the same year, the Agency also organized 3,000 women to save $250,000 through village savings and loan associations.