In 2018, Ghana was among the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world and is currently the second-largest economy in West Africa. The country has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty in recent decades. But its success has been uneven and significant inequalities still exist, especially between the south and the north where the majority of the population lives on less than $1 a day. Around 24.2% of the national population lives below the poverty line. Ghana ranks 140 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Inequalities between women and men also continue to be very high. One of the richest men in Ghana earns more in a month than one of the poorest women could earn in 1,000 years. Between 2006 and 2016 the country saw 1,000 new US dollar millionaires created, but only 60 of these were women. A girl from a poor family is 14 times more likely never to have been to school than one from a rich family.
The real tragedy of Ghana, and indeed of many other countries in the region, is the fact that although it possesses the resources needed to end extreme poverty and even up the disparities that are tearing society apart, it is failing to do so.
Oxfam in Ghana
Oxfam has been working in Ghana since 1985. We aim to reduce poverty and inequality, especially between women and men by supporting influencing and advocacy in three areas of intervention; Agriculture, Essential Services and Extractive Industry Governance.
Fostering Economic Justice and Food Security through Agriculture
The agricultural sector employs over 41% of the active population. Through our Economic Justice program, we support farmers’ livelihoods by helping them to adapt to climate change, improving their access to equipment, and by advocating for targeted investment in the agricultural sector.
Addressing inequality in health and education
We address issues of inequality within the health and education sector and we aim at creating a fair, responsible, efficient, modern and transparent taxation system through private sector actions and public policies. Our campaigns contribute to the development of pro-poor policies in health and education with financing mechanisms that support universal access to quality healthcare and basic education in Ghana.
While we believe governments are ultimately responsible for providing essential services, Oxfam has contributed to reducing maternal mortality in rural communities as well as supporting children, particularly girls, from deprived communities to acquire literacy, numeracy and life skills.
Advocating for a fair and optimal taxation system for development
We work with other civil society organizations to promote accountability from duty bearers and demand that the government uses Ghana’s significant mineral wealth to support development in poor and vulnerable communities.