Assessing public and private sector contribution to poverty reduction in Ghana- a case of the Nadowli District of the Upper West Region

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Poverty reduction is a strategy central to the achievement of sustainable economic and social advancement in the developing countries. The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy is a response to tackling the problem of poverty in the country. The main goal of the GPRS is to ensure sustainable equitable growth, accelerated poverty reduction and the protection of the vulnerable and excluded within a decentralized, democratic environment. The GPRS calls for some active collaboration and involvement of the private sector in poverty reduction efforts. The implementation of the decentralization program in Ghana has been almost thirteen (1988-2005) years and this process also calls for strong private public sector collaboration to reduce poverty Since the 1980s, NGOs have become increasingly active, developing services for the marginalized. This expansion in NGO activity has coincided with the decline of the public sector in response to budgetary crisis and structural adjustment measures. Collaboration, both in terms of focus and financing, would ensure efficient and judicious use of scarce resources. Furthermore, collaboration would not only ensure accountability among stakeholders and their financers, but also ensure accountability to their beneficiaries. Effective collaboration calls for a comprehensive blueprint for collaborating in the fight against poverty, and such a blueprint, has to be the product of all stakeholders in the district. However, the findings of this study in the Nadowli Distnct revealed that there was very little or no collaboration between the public and private sectors in poverty reduction in particular, and in development in general. The findings revealed duplication of efforts, rivalry (in terms of focus, financing and to whom credit for certain successes should be ascribed) and inefficient use of resources in programmes and projects for the poor in particular. Thus, poverty reduction interventions impacted very minimally (about 10.2%) on the income levels of beneficiaries and there was short-term positive impact on the beneficiaries ability to meet their basic necessities of live. Similarly, the impact of poverty reduction interventions on the beneficiaries’ capacity for self-reliance was very little as 78% of the respondents said they were not taught any skills while of the few who were taught some skills, 62% could not put their skills to good use because they lacked the necessary funds and inputs to do that. As many as eighty-two (82.4%) percent of the respondents, said that, the loans were highly insufficient (mostly between 050,000.00 and 0200,000.00 for about 84.4% of the beneficiaries) for them to do any meaningful investments. Therefore, policies and programmes for reducing poverty must ensure effective linkages; for instance, the link between micro-credit policies and their effects on income levels, the link between agricultural businesses development, capacity building and adequate financing and their effects on sustainable livelihood earning abilities, as well as that between collaboration and effective resources utilization. All these would take place more meaningfully in an environment where effective social services policies on health, education, housing and infrastructure, creates access to basic services and needs.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2005