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Government responds to report considering UK aid in Ghana

16 February 2021

The International Development Committee’s Sub-Committee on the work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has received a Government response following its work on the Changing Nature of UK Aid in Ghana.

In its response, the Government explained that it is deeply concerned by the impact covid-19 is having on women and girls, and that there is evidence that gender-based violence, child marriage and teen pregnancy are increasing in the country.

It is also concerned with the impact the pandemic is having on the country’s economy, with economic growth in 2020 being reduced from 5.8% to 0.9%. The deficit will expand to 16.4%, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Committee on the work of ICAI Chair, Theo Clarke MP, said:

“Covid-19 has ravaged countries around the world, and its effect on Ghana is deeply troubling. The Government’s response to our recently published report on aid in Ghana has brought this into sharper focus – the covid-19 pandemic is potentially setting back progress in gender equality with increased instances child marriage and gender-based violence, whilst the country’s deficit will likely increase to being one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

“While Ghana is transitioning to a country that can finance its own development, the impact of covid-19 highlights the fragility of the country if we reduce UK aid too quickly. It is promising that the Government recognises these risks, and I look forward to hearing how its engagement with civil society and work with multilateral organisations can support delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Government’s response to The Changing Nature of UK Aid to Ghana report’s recommendations:

The UK should maintain a diverse aid portfolio in Ghana with both financial and technical support in social sector areas such as healthcare and education.
A new HMG Strategy for Ghana will be established within the themes of the seven global challenges, which includes building global health security and supporting girls’ education. The Government acknowledges that UK aid is making a difference in Ghana and will continue to do so.

The FCDO should seek to increase its leverage in, and cooperation with, multilateral programmes in Ghana that are supported by UK aid to ensure they are coherent with UK aid priorities.
All UK investments – bilateral and multilateral – need to be spent effectively and HMG Accra is stepping to this challenge, for example, working closely with the World Bank to ensure a coherent, mutually supportive approach. The Government confirms that the full force of UK effort will be used to galvanise international action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ghanaian citizens’ needs and preferences should be included when assessing how fast to reduce aid in key sectors such as health, education and livelihoods, engaging with civil society.
The FCDO is reviewing how it uses aid to deliver the greatest impact, which will require a strategic effort with clear goals. Focus will be on technical assistance to build governments’ own capability to deliver growth and development as countries exit poverty. FCDO will continue to engage with Ghanaian civil society.

The FCDO should continue to ensure girls’ education remains a priority across UK aid spending in Ghana. In light of pressures on the UK aid budget due to Covid-19, the FCDO should engage with the Ghanaian Government to review the impact in terms of quality education.
FCDO Ghana is stepping up its focus on gender equality amid concerns of the impact covid-19 is having on women and girls. Girls’ education will remain a priority for UK aid. In early 2021, the FCDO will work with the Ghanaian Government and non-state partners to conduct a review of the Girls-PASS programme 2012-2020 to assess the longer-term impact of UK aid on quality girls’ education.

Further information

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