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05.03.2007 General News

Ghana can make it big

By myjoyonline
Ghana can make it big

The President of the World Bank, Mr Paul Wolfowitz, has said that the World Bank is looking forward to see Ghana reach the levels of best performing economies in the world.

Mr Wolfowitz stressed that Ghana's economy in the last 10 years had become one of the strongest performing African economies and that had come about through human capital development with emphasis on sound economic policy.

Briefing newsman on a tour to some selected locations within Accra and Tema Municipality to inspect World Bank supported projects; he said the country's economic progress was very much possible since it had got the energy, human capital and creative talent to come out of the woods.

Some of the places Mr Wolfowitz visited included the Barry Callebaute Factory and the Tema Fruit Terminal; Busy Internet and the Madina market.

He said the Bank provided the needed resources to speed up the country's development drive, particularly the building of roads, power plants and other infrastructure.

He said: "The country knows what to do and the challenge now is how to continue to create the right environment for businesses to thrive and attract massive investment opportunities."

Mr Wolfowitz said Ghana could blaze the trail for West African countries that had been embroiled in decades of so much trouble to follow.

He expressed satisfaction at the progress Barry Callebaute factory was making in processing cocoa to semi-finished products for export.
Mr Wofowitz was also enthused at the fast pace at which work was going on at the Tema Fruit Terminal (Shed 9) being refurbished to serve as a storage facility for horticulture products to maintain their quality before export.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Ernest Debrah the facility, which was expected to be completed in April 2007 would cover a ground area of 4,400 metre square and would be equipped with 10 docking bays and eight independently temperature controlled chambers.

He noted that the refurbishment work, which was jointly being undertaken by the horticulture export industry initiative of the agricultural investment programme of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at the cost of 3.9 million dollars would provide a big boost to the horticulture industry.

He said: "Three of the chambers would be fitted with pre-coolers and the remaining five have standard refrigeration capability, all eight chambers would be linked to centrally-controlled micro processing unit."

Mr Debrah stated that the shed was initially designed for non perishable goods before shipment to the international market but because of poor ventilation the product quality was compromised.
He noted that Ghana's horticulture industry had shown strong performance over the past decades with annual export rising from 46,000 tonnes at 20 million dollars to 153,000 tonnes valued at over 75 million dollars.

He said: "Despite the impressive growth, the full potential has not been realised since average Ghanaian produce does not enjoy the same level of price as its competitors and the lack of cold chain infrastructure has been identified to be one of the problems."

At the Busy Internet, Mr Wolfowitz inspected the Bank's incubator project that aimed at harnessing the potential of small scale internet providers to grow into huge businesses.

The Managing Director, Busy Internet, Ms Estelle Akofio-Sowah, said the internet service providers, particularly the small-scale ones needed support since it was an area that could foster rapid socio-economic development.

She said: "Internet is a great tool that can bring about development but the focus is rather on telecommunication."

Mr Wolfowitz also toured that Madina market to have a-first-hand information on the state of urban poverty and other sanitation problems associated with the community.

Mr Mat Karlson, World Bank Country Director; observed that urban poverty and sanitation were increasingly becomingly emerging issues that needed to be nipped in the bud.

He, therefore, called on municipal authorities to join hands with other stakeholders to solve the problem before it got out of control.