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16.03.2007 General News

Britain To Step Up Support For Ghana

Britain is working out a new partnership arrangement to provide quality support towards Ghana's development over the next 10 years, Mr Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, announced in London on Wednesday.

The 10-year deal, which will be launched next year, has been necessitated by the able leadership of President J.A. Kufuor, during which period Ghana has demonstrated its capacity and capability to make the best use of financial resources for development.

Premier Blair made the announcement at a press conference at No. 10 Downing Street after holding bilateral talks with President Kufuor who is on a three-day State Visit to Britain.

Mr Blair did not give details about the value of the partnership but indications were that the new deal would provide further impetus for Ghana's drive towards industrialisation and the achievement of a middle-income status.

Britain, which is Ghana's largest trading partner, has provided various forms of support for the country since independence.

British aid to Ghana has mostly been in the form of budgetary support, with emphasis on poverty reduction and improvement in health, education, rural infrastructure, water, capacity building, trade and private sector development.

In 2003, Britain supported Ghana's development effort with £110 million over three years.

Mr Blair said Ghana's economic growth of about seven per cent over the last few years was impressive and commended the country's active role in African affairs.

He said, for instance, that Ghanaian troops were engaged in peacekeeping missions in the Sudan and other troubled spots in the world.

Mr Blair said Britain placed a high premium on its relations with Ghana and said that the country would remain a strong partner in Ghana's development effort in the years ahead.

President Kufuor said his invitation to Britain was a welcome development to all Ghanaians, saying it was indicative of the strong relations between the two countries.

He said the new partnership arrangement was a healthy development in Ghana's drive to attain a middle-income status.

President Kufuor for his part said Ghana wanted to add value to its exports and industrialise through joint ventureship and indicated the country's willingness to receive companies from developed countries which wanted to relocate to take advantage of cheaper factors of production.

On African affairs, President Kufuor said said the African Union (AU) was concerned about the trouble spots on the continent and expressed the view that the rule of law should be the way forward to attain good governance on the continent.

Responding to questions, Mr Blair condemned the attack on opposition leaders in Zimbabwe and said the situation in that country was tragic.

He expressed the readiness of Britain to work with the AU for the restoration of normalcy in Zimbabwe.

Story by Nehemia Owusu Achiaw

& Nana Sifa Twum