World Bank approves over $100 million to reverse Ghana’s land degradation

The World Bank has approved $103.4 million for Ghana to reverse the degradation of about three million hectares of degraded landscapes and strengthen the country’s integrated natural resource management.

The Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining project will focus on land-use planning for integrated landscape management and promote sustainable mining by helping formalize artisanal and small-scale mining, with over 250,000 people as direct beneficiaries.

A statement issued by the World Bank, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the project would be working with communities of the Northern Savannah zone and the cocoa forest landscape.

It said the cost of environmental degradation in Ghana due to unsustainable use of land for agriculture, forests, and mining, stood at 2.8 percent of GDP (2017).

The statement indicated that if the current natural resource extraction persisted, Ghana’s natural resource base would be destroyed over the long term, with fewer opportunities to sustain growth and shared prosperity.

“The project will help boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery, create jobs and secure livelihoods in some of the poorest parts of Ghana by focusing on agricultural productivity, ecosystems management and sustainable small-scale mining,” said Mr Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana.

The statement said the project would also support sustainable land, water, and forest management activities in the climate-vulnerable target landscapes.

“The project aims to place landscapes and mining sector management on a path that would transition from degraded landscapes, poverty, and low productivity toward one of the resilient landscapes that optimize the ecosystem functions for better livelihoods and more sustainable economic returns,” said Mr Sanjay Srivastava, World Bank Practice Manager, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy.

The statement said the project would also enhance women’s role in local-level forest and landscape management activities, and create better income-generating opportunities.

“This joint project aligns with the World Bank’s Forest-Smart Mining Initiative and will promote forest-smart interventions in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector and strengthen regulatory compliance and sustainable mining practices,” said Mr Zubin Bamji, World Bank Acting Practice Manager, Energy and Extractives Global Practice.

The financing includes an IDA credit of $75 million and $28.4 million in grants from the Global Environmental Facility, the Extractive Global Programmatic Support, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes (PROGREEN) multi-donor Trust Funds.

The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries.

Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries.

Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 per cent going to Africa.

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