Why Northern Ghana Lags Behind in Ghana's Growth and Poverty Reduction Success

"Ghana’s post adjustment growth and poverty reduction performance has been hailed as impressive, albeit with spatial disparities in the distribution of welfare, especially between the north and south of the country. Researchers generally agree that economic growth does not always reduce poverty. Indeed, the effectiveness of growth in reducing poverty depends on the level of inequality in the population. Growth that increases inequality may not reduce poverty; growth that does not change inequality (distribution-neutral growth) and growth that reduces inequality (pro-poor growth) result in poverty reduction. This brief provides insights into north-south welfare disparities in Ghana by exploring the propoorness of growth in the country, and explains why northern Ghana has derived much less benefit from growth in the national output. The brief compares northern Ghana and the south in terms of changes in poverty and inequality, and pro-poorness of growth over 16 years (1991 –2006), and addresses the following questions: What is the extent of spatial (north-south) differences in the level of poverty and inequality in Ghana? Are there spatial (north-south) differences in the determinants of poverty in Ghana? Has economic growth in Ghana been pro-poor, both nationally and across the north-south divide?"