WASHINGTON, October 22, 2013 - The World Bank Board of Directors today approved funds to support Ghana’s on-going actions to improve the efficiency and coverage of government service delivery using Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
“The Government of Ghana has already made significant investments in communications infrastructure, and continues to seek solutions which leverage the infrastructure to improve government services and extend the reach of such services to all its citizens, in particular the most vulnerable” said World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Yusupha B. Crookes. “Today’s project will promote the use of these innovative applications to effectively provide services and jobs, assist in targeting services to the most vulnerable in the society, improve lives, and make Ghana competitively placed to participate in the global digital economy.”
Today’s funding, a US$97.00 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA*) supports eTransform Ghana. The project is aligned with the Government’s own Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) that seeks to contribute to higher growth and shared economic opportunities for the poor and to create jobs.
The eTransform Ghana project will support policies, laws and institutional capacity that address an array of issues such as cyber security, consumer protection, and data protection. Funds will also go towards the software and hardware necessary for developing cloud storage and a back-up facility that will be managed in partnership with the private sector.
Today’s funds will also help fund programs that use innovative technologies to improve the quality and reach of health and education services, improve the country’s digital identity system to help deliver public services more efficiently to intended beneficiaries (safety nets, health insurance, etc.), and increase financial inclusion. The robust national identification system is based on international standards and will also help prepare Ghana for a modern e-commerce industry while improving e-government services designed for poverty alleviation.
“Ghana’s improved economic performance is coming with the unintended challenges of rapid urbanization, and related increase in unemployment, especially among the youth, and increased ‘service divide’ between urban and rural communities,” said Jamal Saghir, Director, Sustainable Development, World Bank Africa Region. “In addition to improving the quality and coverage of health and education services and improving social safety nets in poorer communities, the project will also ensure that rural communities are able to apply for key services such as birth and death certificates, passport forms, and driver licenses. This will make significant strides towards reducing poverty and accelerating shared prosperity.”
“The eTransform project will improve the reach and efficiency of public and private service delivery through smart use of ICT,” said World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project, Mavis A. Ampah. “I am pleased to support the implementation of eTransform.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs 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 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.