Analysis of the impact of alternative enterprise interventions on poverty and livelihoods in rural Ghana
Despite the spate of urbanisation fuelled among other factors by rural-urban migration across the African region, majority of people continue to reside in rural communities with greater burden of poverty and livelihood vulnerabilities. Ghana’s case has not been different. However, in response to the high incidence of rural poverty, the seasonal nature of agricultural livelihoods and the attendant increase of unemployed youth engaged in rural-urban drift, successive governments of Ghana introduced and supported the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) to promote livelihood diversification and restructuring of the rural economy. The REP phases I (1995-2002) and II (2003-2011) sought to contribute to the development of competitive rural medium and small-scale enterprises (MSEs) in beneficiary districts backed by good quality, relevant, sustainable and market-driven business development support services. For almost two decades of implementation, the REP has run on policy assumption that, focusing on direct agricultural activities alone cannot produce substantial rural poverty reduction and support the actualisation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in rural Ghana. However, performance of the REP on its assumption requires verification. Following mixed research techniques, this paper uses the experiences of selected beneficiary communities from the Ajumako- Enyan-Essiam District to examine how the alternative livelihood development interventions of the REP have impacted rural livelihoods and poverty. The extent to which rural enterprise development interventions have engendered livelihood diversification and affected the asset-base of rural households, and how the interventions have produced positive livelihood outcomes and poverty reduction in the intervention area studied are discussed in this paper.
Keywords: Rural Development; Poverty; Livelihoods; Micro-enterprise Development; Ghana