Sustainable economic development

Programme description

Title: Sustainable economic development in Ghana
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ghana
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoF)
Overall term: 2006 to 2016



Ghana’s economic development since the mid 1990s has been one of the greatest success stories in sub-Saharan Africa. Economic growth exceeded 13 per cent in 2011, and since 2012 the economy has benefited from oil production. The World Bank has categorised Ghana as a lower-middle-income country.
Nevertheless, the small and medium-sized enterprise segment is expanding only slowly. Entrepreneurship is hampered by inadequate infrastructure and time-consuming administrative processes. This is compounded by the low levels of vocational education and labour productivity. There is also only limited access to loans and insurance schemes tailored to the needs of small enterprises.


Access to innovative and demand-oriented financial services has improved, as has the level of employment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.


The programme operates at the intersection between the public and private sectors and the financial industry. It contributes to the basket fund for the implementation of Ghana’s Private Sector Development Strategy, and promotes cooperation among the various donors.

The programme is being implemented in cooperation with the GFA and GOPA consulting groups, as well as KfW development bank. It consists of three areas of intervention:

  1. Banking supervision, financial education and consumer protection

    Strengthening microfinance not only involves reforms to the legal framework and the supervision of banks; it is also important to pursue consumer protection on behalf of small-scale entrepreneurs and low-income workers, and to introduce courses in basic financial education, while improving the range of products offered by the banks.
  2. Insurance

    The programme uses information campaigns to educate small enterprises and low-income households about the costs, benefits and risks of insurance schemes. It is advising the National Insurance Commission on the revision of legislation, while also supporting private insurers with the development of needs-oriented insurance products. The programme also promotes networking between local insurers and more experienced international insurance firms. In doing so it is cooperating with the initiatives ‘Making Finance Work for Africa’ and the ‘Access to Insurance Initiative’.
  3. Vocational education initiative

    In collaboration with the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the programme is raising the standard of vocational education and improving the management of the vocational training system. This process involves support for business and professional associations to help them identify training needs and develop appropriate courses for instructors, specialists and trainees. The programme encourages the participation of women in courses for occupations traditionally reserved for men. In cooperation with KfW development bank, it is also helping to develop innovative financing mechanisms in the field of vocational education. Exchanges of experience with German private sector organisations also form a significant part of the programme’s work.


In the vocational education and training sector, training standards have been developed for the service and manufacturing sectors, while the supervision of vocational education and training has improved. In this area, the programme collaborates with a number of institutions, including the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training and the trade associations, to improve the training capacity of trainers.

GIZ is supporting the microfinance sector with a number of innovative approaches, and in so doing is contributing to consumer protection and basic financial education. The programme has developed tailor-made mentoring and training programmes for microfinance institutions, as well as financial education materials suitable for illiterate target groups.

Ghana: local business people discussing economically and ecologically sustainable management of their industrial zone. © GIZ

A large number of people around the country have received their first ever basic education in financial matters at road shows organised in cooperation with 110 microfinance institutions. These institutions have improved their customer service and the quality of their financial products. This in turn has helped them attract more customers and significantly increase the level of the savings deposits. The experience gained has been presented at international conferences.