World Bank readies stakeholders to develop shock-responsive social protection strategy

Christabel Dadzie, Senior Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank

The World Bank has engaged social protection stakeholders in providing strategic social protection responses through existing systems that can be adapted for the delivery of interventions in times of shock.

According to the bank, experiences and lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic have heightened the need for governments to be more strategic in responding to shocks – by not only identifying suitable interventions but also ensuring the existence of systems that can be adapted for the delivery of these interventions.

At a knowledge-sharing workshop for stakeholders, Senior Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank, Christabel Dadzie, noted that social protection interventions are fundamental in responding to shocks such as national disasters, economic crises, pandemics, conflicts and forced displacements – which are usually transient in nature – to cushion affected persons, especially the vulnerable, to mitigate impacts of the shock event and prevent them from adopting negative coping mechanisms.

Ghana had a population of 30.8 million in 2021. In 2017, it was reported that 2.4 million people were living in severe poverty. Within the country, poverty levels vary drastically by location – with much higher rates in rural areas and various administrative districts. Rural regions had a poverty rate of 39.5 percent overall in 2016–17 compared to 7.8 percent in urban areas. In rural regions, there were 15.6 percent of people living in extreme poverty compared to 1 percent in urban areas.

“With social protection in particular, we all know that the poorest and most vulnerable are invariably the ones affected by shocks. So actually, even before COVID, we had been working with the Ministry of Gender to take a look at how there can be a systematic response to shocks when they do happen; and then fast forward to COVID-19 taking place, it highlighted the importance for us not to provide only sporadic responses.

“We’re supporting the ministry with other development partners to take a look at this critical issue, which is aimed at responding to shocks in a systematic manner by putting together a national strategy. And so we’re leveraging the World Bank’s convening power to bring people together like you’ve done today,” Ms. Dadzie said.

Ghana’s shock-response in the past has however been sporadic and exposed limitations: including absence of committed funding and ready data for beneficiary targetting; weak coordination among the various stakeholders in the delivery chain; and lack of clarity with respect to channels for delivery and response timelines.

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