Ghana launches a national Multidimensional Poverty Index

29 July 2020 – Two out of every five Ghanaians are identified as multidimensionally poor according to Ghana’s national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which launched today.

Ghana joins Seychelles, Maldives and the State of Palestine among the countries to launch their first national multidimensional indices this year.

The Ghanaian MPI is a new official permanent tool designed to complement existing monetary measures on poverty. It offers new information on the overlapping ways in which people experience poverty in their health, education, and standard of living.

It has been developed by the Ghana Statistical Service, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

Ghana’s Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, spoke of the intended use for the measure ‘The MPI provides detailed information regarding public policy instruments to motivate the design of coordinated programs between different sectors to ensure effectiveness in reducing poverty in all its dimensions’.

Computed using data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) 2016/2017 and the 2011 and 2018 Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), the Ghanaian MPI is made up of three dimensions in health, education, and living standards, with twelve corresponding indicators. Households deprived in 33% or more of these indicators are identified as living in multidimensional poverty.  For the dimension of health, nutrition and health insurance were selected as indicators; for the education dimension, data on school attendance, attainment, and lag were used; and, for the living standards dimension, the selected indicators were electricity, water, sanitation, cooking fuel, assets, overcrowding, and housing.

The report found that the two leading indicators that contributed most to multidimensional poverty in Ghana were deprivations in health insurance coverage and school lag.

Regina Bauerochse, Country Director GIZ Ghana, reflected on the opportunities that the measure provides for policymaking: ‘The Ghana MPI is an important milestone, as it provides disaggregated data that sheds light on the realities of the most vulnerable. This information is key for identifying and tailoring effective interventions that reflect the development needs of all Ghanaians.’

Disaggregation of the Ghanaian MPI highlighted several areas for policy interventions. For instance, multidimensional poverty was found to prevalent among children under 15 years, suggesting that households without a child are less likely to be poor. It was also found that inequality between rural and urban populations remains a challenge, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty in the rural areas being more than twice (64.6%) that of the urban areas (27.0%).

The report also studied trends in multidimensional poverty and found that Ghana had made significant progress on poverty reduction over time, with deprivations reducing from 55% in 2011 to about 46% in 2017. All the regions reduced their poverty levels between these two time periods.

A comparative analysis of multidimensional poverty with monetary poverty in Ghana highlighted that 19.3% of the population (about 6 million Ghanaians) are poor in both multidimensional and monetary measures of poverty. However, half of those identified as multidimensionally poor were not considered poor by monetary measures. The Ghanaian MPI therefore provides additional important information on poverty to ensure that no one is left behind.

The Ghanaian MPI will be updated regularly and used to inform and evaluate targeted policies in reducing the incidence and intensity of multidimensional poverty. Gita Welch, Acting UNDP Resident Representative, stated that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic the MPI will be useful to track progress towards the SDGs and ‘address the remaining inequality challenges’ in the remaining decade before the 2030 deadline.

OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire, said ‘The launch of the Ghana National MPI is the culmination of months of rigorous technical work by the Ghana Statistical Service, as well as consultations with key ministries and other stakeholders. We are honoured to have been involved in this process and look forward to seeing it used as a policy tool to accelerate poverty reduction.’

Multidimensional Poverty – Ghana Report.
Recording of the 29 July event.