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World Bank approves US$103 million to reverse land degradation in Ghana

The Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining project will focus on land-use planning for integrated landscape management and promote sustainable mining, among other measures.

The World Bank has approved US$103.4 million for Ghana to reverse the degradation of about three million hectares of land and strengthen the country’s integrated natural resource management.

The Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining project will focus on land-use planning for integrated landscape management and promote sustainable mining by helping formalize artisanal and small-scale mining, with over 250,000 people as the direct beneficiaries.

A statement issued by the World Bank on Tuesday (31 August) said the project would be working with communities of the northern savannah zone and the cocoa forest landscape.

It said the cost of environmental degradation in Ghana due to unsustainable use of land for agriculture, forests, and mining stood at 2.8% of GDP (2017).

Road to ruin

The statement said if the current natural resource extraction persisted, Ghana’s natural resource base would be destroyed over the long term, with fewer opportunities to sustain growth and shared prosperity.

“The project will help boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery, create jobs, and secure livelihoods in some of the poorest parts of Ghana by focusing on agricultural productivity, ecosystems management, and sustainable small-scale mining,” said Pierre Laporte, the World Bank country director for Ghana.

The project will also support sustainable land, water, and forest management activities in the climate-vulnerable target landscapes.

“The project aims to place landscapes and mining sector management on a path that would transition from degraded landscapes, poverty, and low productivity towards one of the resilient landscapes that optimize the ecosystem functions for better livelihoods and more sustainable economic returns,” said Sanjay Srivastava, World Bank practice manager in charge of the environment, natural resources, and the blue economy.

Women’s role

The statement said the project would also enhance women’s role in local-level forest and landscape management activities and create better income-generating opportunities.

“This joint project aligns with the World Bank’s Forest-Smart Mining Initiative and will promote forest-smart interventions in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector and strengthen regulatory compliance and sustainable mining practices,” said Zubin Bamji, World Bank acting practice manager in charge of energy and extractives global practice.

The financing includes an IDA credit of $75 million and $28.4 million in grants from the Global Environmental Facility, the Extractive Global Programmatic Support, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes (PRO GREEN) multi-donor trust funds.

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