Disbursement challenges dog World Bank Ghana Portfolio of over $2b

Ms. Beatrix Allah-Mensah
Ms. Beatrix Allah-Mensah

The World Bank’s financing programme for Ghana in the forms of grants and credits come to a total of over $2 billion, according to Ms. Beatrix Allah-Mensah, Seniour Country Officer of the Bank in Accra.

Speaking to journalists in Accra Monday August 3, 2015, she stated that there are between 23 to 25 projects in Ghana that the Bank is financing, and there are a few that would be signed soon.

The relative age of the projects are about three years, she said. These projects according to her include infrastructure, energy, water, sanitation, education, health and PPP among others.

She however, indicated that one of the biggest challenges with most of the projects is with disbursement. According to her even though disbursement levels have improved over the years from about 12 per cent in 2010 to 13 per cent in 2013, improved to 22 per cent in 2014 and gone up to 28 per cent by 2015, the highest in the last five years, she express expectation that it would rise up to at least 30 per cent.

She added that there are often project approval delays, especially at the District Assemblies level and what she described as procurement challenges.

According to Ms Allah-Mensah, Ghana has to improve on efficiency, documentation of results and effectiveness of projects.

Only last week, the World Bank Board of Directors approved what has been described as the largest financing for the oil and gas sector in Ghana. The Board approved guarantees totalling $700 million for the Sankofa Gas Project.

The Bank describes the guarantees as a “record investment” for a transformational project that will help address the country’s serious energy shortages by developing new sources of clean and affordable natural gas for domestic power generation.

It also notes that it is a unique combination of two guarantees for the Project – an IDA Payment guarantee of $500 million that supports timely payments for gas purchases by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and an IBRD Enclave Loan guarantee of $200 million that enables the project to secure financing from its private sponsors. Together, the guarantees are expected to mobilize $7.9 billion in new private investment for offshore natural gas, representing the biggest foreign direct investment in Ghana’s history.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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