Communities and households in northern Ghana are benefiting from better road conditions, increased local economic activity and better access to health and education, thanks to a road project funded by the African Development Bank.
The findings were drawn from an impact evaluation conducted by the Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) at the African Development Bank, four years after the Bank supported the flagship Fufulso-Sawla road project, which was completed in 2015, funded by a $ 156 million grant from the African Development Fund.
In addition to the construction of a 147.5 km road along a transit corridor connecting the port of Tema in Ghana to the landlocked countries of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the project provided other infrastructure. such as health centers, schools, markets, and water and sanitation facilities, which have improved livelihoods. in the zone. This approach made it possible to respond in an integrated manner to the needs of the beneficiary neighborhoods, with an estimated population of 30,000 inhabitants in the immediate vicinity of the road.
The evaluation compared the project beneficiaries to a control group that did not benefit from the intervention, and examined several measures to determine the impact of the road on poverty and economic development. He found that the project achieved the desired effects: a 2.16% decrease in the multidimensional poverty index among beneficiary households in 2015 and a 2.59% decrease in 2019 when the assessment took place. Monthly household income increased by about $ 68.
Other notable results include a 33% decrease in travel time (120 minutes per month), improved market conditions, market integration and market diversification (an increase of 14%, 7% and 2, 2%, respectively), as well as an increase of 17%. increase of the water quality index and improvement of 14% of the index of sanitation conditions among beneficiary households in 2019. This led to positive results in terms of health and education, women and girls benefiting greatly from this impact.
At the same time, the evaluation found that the benefits of the project were very unlikely to be sustainable. Interviews with beneficiaries revealed that poor maintenance affected many of the facilities provided, in particular the health centers, schools, bungalows built for teachers and nurses, and the wastewater treatment plant. Part of the road had also deteriorated, reducing the impact of the project. Finally, the project had a negative impact on the environment due to a marked growth in charcoal activities in the three beneficiary districts.
Evaluations such as the one carried out by IDEV also produce lessons and provide recommendations that can guide similar infrastructure projects in the future, especially in using an integrated approach to maximize development impact.
The report recommends that, in order to sustain the benefits, beneficiaries should be active participants and not just recipients of information. For example, in the case of the Fufulso-Sawla road project, participation could have taken the form of collaboration in the maintenance of the road and its adjacent developments.
Among IDEV’s recommendations in the report is the strengthening of human and institutional capacities to support development gains in similar projects. Investing in transport infrastructure is one of the Bank’s key priorities and is essential for achieving sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty. By proactively adopting community development projects in road projects similar to Fufulso-Sawla road through sound project design and focus on results, a significant difference in multidimensional poverty reduction and inclusive development can be achieved.
The Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) at the African Development Bank conducts independent evaluations of the Bank’s operations, policies and strategies, working across projects, sectors, themes, regions and countries. By conducting independent assessments and proactively sharing best practices, IDEV ensures that the Bank and its stakeholders learn from experience and plan and implement development activities to the highest possible standards. .