A $31.34 million Post COVID-19 Skills Development and Productivity Enhancement Project (PSDPEP) meant to contribute to the country’s sustainable post- COVID-19 recovery in the health sector was yesterday launched in Accra.
The project is expected to promote technical and entrepreneurship for job creation among youth and women.
The project is to be funded by both the government of Ghana and the African Development Bank (ADB) with each contributing $2.84 million and $28.5 million respectively.
Individuals who are expected to benefit from the project are staff and clients of the project implementing institutions, youth and women operating Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and the general population.
The PSDPEP will be implemented in seven regions, including Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, Northern, Western and Upper West region.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, who also launched the project, said the outbreak of COVID-19 two years ago had disrupted the provision of essential health services in the country by straining the existing health infrastructure.
He said it had also destroyed the livelihoods of citizens who derived their income from the informal sector.
“The pandemic also destroyed the livelihoods of many Ghanaians, 80-90 per cent of who derived their livelihood from the informal sector, a sector dominated by women and youth,” he stated.
Therefore, he said, the project was designed to address the dual challenges of the health delivery system and restoration of livelihoods of people.
Mr Baffour-Awuah said the project would support health-related skills development in higher education at the University of Ghana, Legon.
He noted that the project was relevant to the country’s development priorities because it was aligned with critical government development policies such as the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, the Government Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, among others.
He said two committees were inaugurated; the Project Steering Committee and the Project Technical Committee to ensure the necessary institutional and implementation arrangements for coordinating, overseeing and managing the project.
The Principal Social Economist and Task Manager for ADB, Abidjan, Mrs Ekoh Patience Ugonma, said the partnership was a captivating one as it would enhance the country’s health sector and restore and promote livelihoods of women and youth in MSMEs.
The Executive Director and Project Coordinator of Social Investment Fund (SIF), Mr Kofi Frimpong, said the pandemic hit livelihoods, households and businesses due to lockdowns, travel bans and other restrictions that curtailed economic activities and business prospects.
He said the project would construct a three health-related skills and research facilities for microbiological research and skilled development, biotechnology research and skills development and nursing and midwifery research and skills development at the University of Ghana.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Lariba Zuweira Abudu, said they expect that a gender parity principle would be adopted by the Project to result in an increase in the number of women accessing technical and vocational skills development opportunities and credit services for businesses.
Hence, she pledged her outfit’s unflinching support for the project believing it would contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women.