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The West African country’s economy has grown for decades, thanks to its natural resources—but recent setbacks have increased inequality and poverty.

In 1957, Ghana became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence, thrusting aside British rule and starting the wave of decolonization that washed over the continent in the 1960s-’70s. Now a middle-income country known for its cacao, minerals, and oil exports, Ghana has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty in recent decades, but its success has been uneven. Significant inequalities still exist, especially between the south and the north, where the majority of the population lives on less than $1 a day. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a major impact on the poorest people in the country.

With your help, Oxfam has been working alongside local organizations and allies in Ghana for 30 years to offer lifesaving support to people in times of crisis and to tackle inequality, poverty, and injustice. Our work to fight inequality includes assisting women entrepreneurs and farmers, advocating for transparent and equitable uses of export revenues for reducing poverty, and supporting organizations protecting the environment and human rights.

What is Oxfam doing to help people in Ghana?

Oxfam’s work with partners in Ghana to fight inequality helps people survive immediate crises in the short term and tackles the root causes of poverty and injustice over the long term.

Helping people in Ghana survive in the short term

Young women sell goods at their home in Axim, on Ghana’s coast. Their family relies on fishing for their main livelihood, and participate in a project that is helping fishing families protect the fishery resources the rely on for their main livelihood --which this family supplements with a shop they run out of their house. Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam

Helping people in Ghana thrive over the long term

Building a just economy to end poverty

Oxfam is working with civil society organizations that are helping women and other vulnerable and impoverished people improve their livelihoods. For example, we’re helping 500 cocoa farmers in the Ashanti region to gain documented land rights to make their access to farmland more secure. We’re also working with local organizations in fishing communities to help 300 women acquire fuel efficient fish smokers, a tool that can add value to their catch and thus earn them more money.

A young woman in Kpatua, in northern Ghana, studies for her high school classes. Her family benefits from a well that uses solar power to pump water installed by Oxfam and a local partner. Women in the area use water from the well to grow vegetables during the dry season. Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam

Fighting for women’s rights and gender justice

Oxfam’s vision for Ghana includes equal rights for women and girls, and the same opportunities and access to public services and assets as men. We are working with women’s rights organizations to support leadership training for girls in high schools across Ghana, programs to support women’s economic empowerment among women farmers in rural areas, and encouraging families to redistribute unpaid care duties in the household to afford women more time for business and leadership roles in their communities.

Afia Dede, 64, works at a stall in the market in Ayanfuri. Oxfam works with civil society groups in Ghana to push the government to manage tax revenues in ways that benefit small, women-owned businesses like hers. Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam

Demanding an accountable government

Oxfam is helping to build people’s movements working for a government that is more democratic, inclusive, and accountable. We support constructive engagement with lawmakers, help amplify calls for change in the media, and promote dialogue at all levels. We believe in people power backed by evidence-based analysis to tackle corruption and waste.

Oxfam is also helping members of the Peasant Farmer Association of Ghana to push the government and private sector to take action on climate change. We work with the African Centre for Energy Policy to encourage disclosure of mining contracts, transparency in the use of oil revenues that helps people to benefit from Ghana’s natural resources, and better accountability in the operations of a state-owned oil refinery.

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