World Bank supports jobs, skills development and digital transformation


The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$315million from the International Development Association (IDA) to support job creation, skills development and digital transformation in Ghana.

This financing includes US$20million for the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project and an additional financing of US$115million for the eTransform Ghana Project.

“The two projects are aligned with the priorities of government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development, and are even more relevant and timely in the current COVID-19 context.  Restoring jobs and livelihoods for micro, small and medium enterprises is critical for promoting the country’s economic recovery, and is at the heart Ghana’s COVID-19 response,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana.

The Jobs and Skills project will provide apprenticeship and entrepreneurship training to develop skills and assist apprentices with self-employment activities, or help them secure employment opportunities and strengthen linkages to trade associations. The project will also provide training, grants and entrepreneurship activities to micro and small enterprises, and help establish a functioning Ghana Labour Market Information System – a public database that aims to capture information on employers and workers, and provide regular data and information on the jobs landscape in Ghana.

“In addition to supporting enterprises, the project will also upgrade district Public Employment Centres which have been mostly neglected, and also establish 16 additional centres across the country. Through these centres, it will provide information services to employers and job seekers for matching entrepreneurs and enterprises for enterprise development and job creation,” said Iffath Anwar Sharif, World Bank Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice.

The additional financing for the ongoing eTransform Ghana Project will improve efficiency and coverage of government service delivery. Activities to be scaled-up include digitisation of archives and other public records; increase in Internet bandwidth for district health centres and hospitals and other government services in 254 districts.

The project will also provide computer labs and networking for enhanced remote learning in two new universities, and in 200 senior high schools located in areas which do not currently have these facilities. Automation of the Judiciary and the development of an integrated information management system for the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice will reduce the need for face-to-face meetings and facilitate remote working. The scale-up of eProcurement for all government ministries, departments and agencies will ensure business continuity and reduce the requirement for physical travel.

“The project will help underpin a comprehensive COVID-19 digital response by increasing broadband provision in underserved parts of the country and preventing service disruptions,” said Michel Rogy, World Bank Practice Manager-Digital Development for Africa and Middle East.

…Realigns Africa Region into 2 Vice Presidencies for greater focus on country progress


As a sign of its strong commitment to Africa, the World Bank’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional portfolio will now be managed by two Vice Presidents, covering Western and Central and Eastern and Southern Africa, respectively. The institution announced the change in early 2020, which took effect July1.


Ousmane Diagana joins as Vice President for Western and Central Africa; Hafez Ghanem to become Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa


This year the World Bank is expected to lend about $50 billion to 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – significantly more than any other Region and making up about one-third of the World Bank’s entire portfolio. These financing volumes are almost double what the region delivered ten years ago. The Bank’s portfolio includes projects and programs in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water and sanitation. Furthermore, the growth in financing to fragile states has been even higher with about two-thirds of World Bank financing to fragile states happening in Africa.


The region has been led since 2018 by Hafez Ghanem, who today takes on the role of Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.


“Our commitment to Africa gets stronger every day, and I am thrilled to work alongside Ousmane Diagana to deliver even more resources to the people who need them the most,” said Hafez Ghanem,“We are two Vice Presidents, but we see Africa as one, and will continue sharing lessons, expertise, and ideas across the continent.”


The creation of an additional Vice Presidency Unit is part of the World Bank Group’s continuous efforts to align resources with priorities. This will help drive the reforms and policies needed to achieve sustained and broad-based growth, alleviate poverty and raise living standards for people on the continent.


Ousmane Diagana becomes Vice President for Western and Central Africa.


“I am honored to lead the Bank’s efforts in West and Central Africa, with a strong focus on innovation, impact, and transformation,” said Ousmane Diagana, Vice President for Western and Central Africa. “Working together with Hafez, I know we can and will do more to put countries and people first and find ways to confront today’s development challenges using all of the tools at our disposal.”


Diagana’s appointment comes as the Bank is looking to strengthen the delivery of its Africa program and further improve its operational focus on regional portfolios to better support the transformational improvements that are possible in Africa.


About Ousmane Diagana

A Mauritanian national with more than 25 years of development experience, Diagana joined the Bank in 1992. As the Vice President of Western and Central Africa, Diagana will lead the World Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational and knowledge work in Western and Central Africa.


Since joining the Bank, Diagana has held several technical and managerial positions including Country Director for Mali, Niger, Chad, Guinea and Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Benin and Togo. Diagana has worked extensively in Fragile, Conflict and Violence (FCV) affected countries.

Prior to this appointment, Diagana was the World Bank Group Vice President for Human Resources. He also served as Vice President for Ethics and Business Conduct and World Bank Group Chief Ethics Officer. As World Bank Group Vice President for Human Resources, he has been central to many initiatives to bring staff closer to clients, particularly in FCV client countries.


About Hafez Ghanem

Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national, is the Regional Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. A development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Ghanem leads relations with 26 countries, and oversees over 280 projects totaling more than $49 billion.


Prior to his appointment, Dr. Ghanem served as the Vice President for Africa. Under his leadership, the World Bank supported inclusive growth and poverty reduction by financing projects that boost human capital, support private sector development, raise agricultural productivity, improve access to infrastructure, build resilience to climate change, and promote regional integration. Intensifying assistance for fragile and conflict-affected states, promoting gender equality, and providing economic opportunities for youth are core to his vision for the Africa Region.




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