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17.03.2007 General News

UK-Ghana To Launch A New 10 Year-Development Partnership-Blair


The United Kingdom (UK) is to launch a new 10-year development partnership with Ghana in reward for the country's good democratic governance and prudent economic policies, Prime Minister Tony Blair, announced at the 10 Downing Street last Wednesday.
The programme, which would come on-stream, next year, would provide the opportunity for the UK to improve the quality of its development assistance to Ghana.

Mr Blair was addressing a joint press conference with President John Agyekum Kufuor, after bilateral talks during which, the two leaders reviewed the relations between their countries.

They also used the opportunity to look extensively at broader issues outside their relations, such as the conflicts in Darfur, Somalia and other troubled spots in Africa.

Prime Minister Blair noted that President Kufuor has demonstrated strong leadership and shown remarkable capability to make optimal use of financial support to his country to fight poverty and raise the quality of life of the people.

Ghana is showing how democracy can work and is an example to the rest of Africa, he said. He paid tribute to Ghana for the role it was playing to bring peace and political stability to the Continent. The UK, he stated, cherished its relations with Ghana and would remain its strong partner.

Responding to a question on the situation in Zimbabwe, Mr Blair said, what was happening there was truly tragic and expressed his country's determination to work with the African Union (AU) to bring normalcy to that country. "I feel sorry for the people in Zimbabwe. What is happening to Zimbabwe is a tragedy."

On Darfur, he called on the international community to send a strong signal to the Sudan Government that it was prepared to take decisive action. What is taking place in Darfur is scandalous and must be put on the agenda of the international community, he added.

President Kufuor said he welcomed the UK's special long-term partnership arrangement planned for Ghana and that the vision of the country was to achieve middle income status. This, he said, would require adding value to its products through industrialisation, modernising its agriculture and entering into joint economic ventures.

President Kufuor said Ghana was therefore ready to receive investors and business people who wanted to re-locate their businesses there. Answering questions from Journalists on conflicts in Africa, President Kufuor, who is the AU Chairman, said in the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), they wanted the rule of the law to take firm root in the Continent. Allowing the Constitution to work is the way forward and not violence.

He gave the assurance that the AU would not give up in its efforts in bringing peace to Somalia, Darfur and restive spots in Africa.