On Monday the Ghana Government received $65m from the World Bank, with another $35m expected next Monday, specifically to assist our efforts to fight Covid-19. It is probably the fastest disbursement of funds Ghana has ever received from the Bank.
The cash is here due to the fast-thinking and action on the part of President Akufo-Addo in engaging the World Bank for Ghana. It has nothing to do against Ghana Beyond Aid. In fact, Government plans to spend over GHS1 billion of our own funds to deal with the impact of the pandemic. But, this situation means we should invite any assistance we can get.
Indeed, Yesterday, mighty US received a cargo plane full of support from Russia. UK is leaning on China for assistance.
On Wednesday March 11, President Akufo-Addo announced a $100m package to fight covid-19 in Ghana. It was bold and the biggest yet in Africa. Ghana only confirmed its first two cases of Coronavirus the very next day.
When his Finance Minister later on went to Parliament to explain that Government was making a case to the World Bank for $100m support, critics went to town immediately, ridiculing the Govt as still dependent on aid.
Never mind the fact that the Ghana Government has been spending money from day one to combat this virus and will spend even much more.
The President deserves credit for acting fast and decisive. His Finance Minister has been co-chairing video conferences (last one was yesterday) with other African finance ministers on how to deal with the virus and its impact. He’s also been busy with the IMF, World Bank and our bilateral partners and corporate Ghana to see how we deal with this crisis.
On March 3, when Covid-19 was only in 60 countries but spreading, the World Bank announced an initial package of up to $12 billion (later increased to $14bn on March 17) in immediate (fast-track) support to assist member countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Available to all member countries and to help “developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies.”
Leadership is what we are seeing. But as Ken Ofori-Atta said in Parliament Monday, “the virus thrives on indecision, indiscipline and complacency. But, it fails where responsible leadership triumphs and with this I mean leadership at every level, not just from the President, not just from this August House, but from all of us as Ghanaians.”
The pictures have our Finance Minister in separate video conferences with African Finance Ministers and the IMF, all last Tuesday.