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02.02.2007 General News

British High Commission Hosts Media

By Times Reporter
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THE British High Commissioner in Accra Gordon Wetherell, has urged the media to continue to create awareness on the government’s programmes aimed at reducing poverty in the country.

He said the High Commission, through the Department for International Development (DFID) is in a partnership with Ghana to ensure that the programmes being undertaken to improve the lifestyles of the people are beneficial.

'My colleagues in DFID and I believe that the media, private sector and civil society can play a key role in this development,' he said.

Mr Wetherell who was speaking at a reception for the media on Tuesday also used the occasion to offically unveil a special logo illustrating the partnership between Britain and Ghana.

The logo, an Adinkra symbol denoting the importance of the links between Britain and Ghana, is dubbed 'British in Ghana Partnership - BIG.'

Mr. Wetherell said the symbol enjoins the two countries to consider the relationship between them, that is, a shared heritage and a shared future.

The relationship, is modern, forward-looking, solid and dependable, based also on shared values, aspirations and interests,' he said.

On the bilateral relationships Mr. Wetherell noted that in recognition of Ghana’s efforts at reducing poverty, Britain signed a 10-year agreement with Ghana in July last year for a grant of 105 pounds sterling to continue to provide free and quality basic primary education for all Ghanaian children.

He said bilateral assistance to Ghana totalled 78 million pounds sterling, 33 million of which was provided directly to support the government’s budget and the implementation of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).

He noted that Ghana has made notable progress in alleviating poverty over the past few years, saying this could be measured in the decreasing percentage of Ghanaians living on less than a dollar a day, or by the growing figures for primary school enrolment.

'But challenges remain, for example, in the number of children who die between the ages of 0 and 5 or mothers who die in child birth, among others,' he said.

Mr. Wetherell said the media, private sector and civil society can play a key role in the developments, hoping that the media will continue to create awareness of the GPRS 2 and facilitate informed public debate on broader developmental issues in the country, holding government to account for its stated programmes and policies.

He confirmed that the Duke of Kent will represent the Queen at Ghana’s 50th anniversary celebration in March, to be followed closely by a state visit to the UK by President J. A. Kufuor and Mrs. Theresa Kufuor, at the invitation of the Queen, the first visit of its kind by a Ghanaian President.

On security issues, Mr. Wetherell said the British Government would work constructively with Ghana in the new Human Rights Commission in Geneva in view of the fact that Ghana was elected to the initial membership of that body with a good record number of votes, which augurs well for the new institution and for all who take human rights seriously.

'We continue to work with different communities across Ghana through our small grants scheme which in the last year has supported 17 grass roots projects across the country.' The projects included the building of classrooms and community facilities, funding skills training projects, supported the Muslim communities in Ghana and also worked with the media and sponsoring a workshop on the theme 'The media and the law.'