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EU implements €1m agribusiness project in Nkoranza North District

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The European Union (EU) has launched a one million Euro agricultural project to enhance local economic growth and development in the Nkoranza North District of the newly- created Bono East Region.

The four-year project which spans 2019-2022 and targets to improve mushroom production is expected to create new jobs for 1,300 people – 390 women, 858 youth and 52 people with disabilities.

Basic infrastructural development under the project comprise modern agribusiness incubation centre, spawn laboratory and mushroom villages for commercial mushroom production.

The Africa Centre for Development Finance (ACDF), Centre for Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO) and Community Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are the EU’s local project implementation partners.

Speaking at the launch held at Busunya, Mrs Maria-Luisa Troncoso, the Head of Governance Section of the EU’s delegation to Ghana, said the EU has two main objectives for providing the funding support to the District Assembly.

This, she said, was to promote creation of jobs for the growing numbers of youth and women seeking employment and to strengthen the decentralisation process.

She lauded government for playing the catalytic role in facilitating the growth and development of the private sector as the engine for providing jobs and decent incomes to her populace.

Mrs Troncoso said the EU regarded decentralisation as a way of promoting democracy at the local level and local development outcomes, saying local authorities have the potential to reduce and eliminate inequalities in the society, creating jobs and wealth as well as tackling a range of other pressing development challenges.

It is in the light of the promising role of local authorities that the EU is providing funding for the implementation of the mushroom production and agribusiness development in the District, she said.

Considering their potential to contribute to national development and social stability, Mrs Troncoso said the EU considered job creation for the youth and women as a top priority and would be looking forward to sustaining the positive experiences with the District Assembly.

She said successful cooperation between the Assembly and the project implementing partners as well as other stakeholders such as the private sector and traditional leaders would help to produce the desirable outcomes of the project.

Mrs Gifty Akosah Arthur, the Nkoranza North District Chief Executive, said the Assembly and its partners are very committed to the project adding that the funds would be put to judicious use by creating jobs for the people to make them self-dependent, and also to improve on their socio-economic livelihoods.

She said the District has many tourist attraction sites which included Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Bono Manso Water Fall, Pinihin magic caves and the historic Bono Manso slave market, and appealed to the EU to help the Assembly to develop these sites to enhance eco-tourism in the area.

Ms Perfect Gifty Agbley, the Communication and Advocacy Manager of the ACDF, on behalf of the other local project implementation partners, assured the EU of their commitment to facilitate the successful implementation of the project.

She said high unemployment and its attendant repercussions remain the biggest socio-economic challenge facing Ghana and the rest of Africa, and advised the people to appreciate and contribute to the success of the project.

Source: GNA

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Malaria control to be derailed without support to Global Fund

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The need to step up domestic and international financing to fight malaria and also support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, would be the focus of stakeholders at the 6th Global Fund Replenishment Conference, scheduled for October this year, in France.

Currently an additional $1.4 billion and more is expected to be raised between now and 2020 to finance various aspects of malaria control.

Mr Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, referring to his background as a banker and also the urgent need to fund malaria, said there is a compelling moral and economic reason to get rid of malaria.

Mr Sands was speaking at a ministerial session on malaria at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, which was on theme: “Malaria: stepping up the fight to reach 2030 objectives”.

He explained that there are threats hanging over the malaria control efforts, therefore, there is urgent need to sustain malaria financing.

According to him, because of emerging threats such as insecticide and drugs resistance there is the need to make use of current tools to fight the disease, while researching for new ones to help solve potential threats and rein in malaria.

Mr Sands said the Global Fund is focusing on the malaria elimination agenda, helping the 11 countries with the highest malaria burden and ensuring that both international and domestic financing of the disease are sustained.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), addressed the gathering on malaria elimination milestones in the context of achieving the SDGs.

He used the occasion to also congratulate Argentina and Algeria for having been recently officially certified by WHO as malaria-free.

Both Dr Mohamed Miraoui, Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria and Dr Miriam Burgos, Under-Secretary for Prevention and Control of Communicable and Vaccine-Prevention Diseases of the Ministry of Health of Argentina, spoke briefly on political engagement in malaria elimination.

By Eunice Menka, back from Geneva, Switzerland
Copyright ©2019 by Creative Imaginations Publicity
All rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in reviews.

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Government is determined to implement market friendly policies – Energy Minister

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Mr John-Peter Amewu, Minister of Energy, says government is determined to formulate and implement market friendly policies to make Ghana competitive.

He said as a Government committed to private sector development, we are prepared to change course. “This is particularly important because oil and gas projects have become very expensive, upstream investments are not increasing faster, and the threat of the green revolution to the prospects of hydrocarbon based economic development, have led us to reconsider our strategy for the accelerated growth of our oil and gas industry,” he said.

The Minister said this in an address at an Oil and Gas Legislative Review Stakeholders meeting held in Accra on Friday to examine a new strategy and to collate views of stakeholders in order to speed up growth of the Oil and Gas Industry.

He said the strategy would pave way for a review of the existing regulatory frameworks and practices, and would include the development of new regulations and amendments of some provisions.

“These changes will ensure that the regulations are aligned to our policies and strategies. Laws must be informed by policies and strategies and not the other way. Therefore, with an evolving industry and changing policies, our laws must be effectively responsive,” he added.

Mr Amewu noted that Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry had grown in size and in activity from a long period of zero rig to about four rigs, working at the same time to determine the potential of the basins.

“In terms of the fiscal impact, we have seen growth from 1,400 barrels per day in 2009/10 to 214,000 barrels per day in 2019,” he added.

He stated that many Ghanaians had been impacted through employment opportunities and service contracts, adding that, the country now largely used gas for most of the electricity generated, hence the industry’s value addition to the economy had been well established.

The Minister, however, said the Oil and Gas Industry continued to face significant challenges and risks, adding that, basins were largely not de-risked.
According to him, significant data gaps and low data quality still existed, and many companies continued to site the industry’s fiscal regime as disincentives.

“As a country, we have concerns about the operations of industry players, and therefore our policies and regulations have been designed to maximize value for the country and our people,” he added.

Mr Amewu assured stakeholders and potential investors that Government was willing to travel the journey of providing laws that supported the growth of the industry.

‘‘Industry legislation and regulatory institutions must exist to facilitate growth of the industry, not become constraints on its potential; attract credible investors, not scare them away; and improve on the application of advanced technology, not maintain the status quo,” he said.

Government will do everything possible to reposition our oil industry to take its rightful place in the competitive oil market; and increase the contributions of the oil industry to the overall growth of the Ghanaian economy,” he added.

He said government’s desire to improve on the investment climate for the oil industry was mainly to provide certainty and predictability to investors, and to reward investors that were willing to invest and meet their work obligations.

However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that government is going to give away freebies but that the ministry is opened to work with investors that obeyed the rule of law governing the sector’s operations.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister in charge of Petroleum, said the event was significant in moving from current policies and approaches to formulating new plans to boost development of the growing sector.

Deputy Minister in charge of Finance and Infrastructure, Mr  Joseph Cudjoe, expressed optimism that the objectives for the consultation would be achieved, to set the roadmap for further inputs for the regulatory framework in the sector.

The meeting brought together participants, including International Oil Companies, indigenous companies, investors, regulatory authorities, civil society organizations, the media and other key players in the oil and gas sector.

Companies present were Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Cosmos Energy, Petroleum Commission and Exxon Mobil.

Source: GNA

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Passing of RTI law is a plus for President Akufo-Addo – Dr Opuni-Frimpong

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Rev Opuni-Frimpong

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been commended for giving Presidential assent to the Right to Information law, which was recently passed by Parliament under his tenure of office.

Reverend Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, and a Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, on Friday said the President deserved “congratulations for having this long journey coming to an end under his leadership”.

He has however cautioned that the zeal and enthusiasm that brought the RTI bill into law must not die with the giving of Presidential assent to the bill, adding that the law must become a household concept through intensified public education.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Rev Opuni-Frimpong said the passing of the RTI law “is indeed a victory for Democracy in Ghana. The law is a clear demonstration of what a determined and purposeful people can achieve in the midst of delays, frustrations and attacks”.

He expressed his happiness that the Right to Information Bill (RTI) that was drafted in 1999, after going through several reviews over the years was finally given Presidential assent by the President.

The RTI law, which would be operationlized in 2020, would enable citizens to hold governments accountable, to ensure that there was a high level of transparency in the governance of the country through having access to relevant information.

Rev Opuni-Frimpong acknowledged the many Civil Society Organisations, Media Houses, Members of Parliament, Donor Organisations, Faith Based Leaders and many more who identified themselves with the process of getting the Bill passed into law and signed by the President.

He said such entities and people, whether “dead or alive, truly ‘defended forever the cause of freedom and of right, and must be celebrated as dedicated sons and daughters of Ghana”.

He said by that law, Ghana now joined other African countries like South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, and Guinea that had already adopted such law.

He urged churches, mosques, academic institutions and the media to provide “oxygen to the new law for it to offer us transparency, accountability, and good governance”.

The campaign for the effective implementation of the RTI law must start now, Rev Opuni-Frimpong stated.

Source: GNA

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