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Government negotiates with EU for funds to construct more feeder roads in UWR — Minister

  Tue, 18 Jun 2024
Social News Government negotiates with EU for funds to construct more feeder roads in UWR — Minister
TUE, 18 JUN 2024 LISTEN

The government is negotiating with the European Union (EU) to expand its funding support for the construction of more feeder roads to cover the remaining districts of the Upper West Region.

“This is important for us because the EU is a strategic partner to Ghana and we hope and we are confident that the EU will understand and appreciate the strategic importance of the region and its development gap challenges and provide additional funding so that the entire region will be covered under the EU –World Bank funded farm road project”, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, the Finance Minister has hinted.

He said if the request was considered, it would demonstrate the presence of the EU in the region and in Ghana to bring development to the doorsteps of the people.

Dr Adam gave the hint at the commissioning of a 670-kilometre of rehabilitated, upgraded and maintained feeder and farm access roads in the region, which was funded by the EU in the Upper West Region at Daffiama to connect the people in the communities to market centres to sell their goods and agricultural products.

He said the achievement marked not only the improvement of infrastructure but also strengthening and extending partnership between the EU and the government of Ghana.

The results of such commitment through improved road connectivity to enhance livelihoods for rural communities, also enhanced interconnectivity between food production areas and market centres, which will help to address critical barriers to economic growth in the rural communities, especially in transportation.

“The roads are indeed lifelines that connect the farmers to market centres to enable them to sell their products more efficiently and at better prices. The intervention also came to help reduce travel time, improve road safety and enhance institutional management of our transport sector”, he said.

Dr Adam said the government was determined to continue to provide for the needs of the people to improve livelihoods and to bring the development desired to uplift the living standards of the people.

He appealed to development partners not just the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and African Development Bank but all bilateral partners to continue supporting Ghana's economic development agenda saying, “We need to work together to address the challenges and create an enabling environment for development in Ghana”.

The EU’s continued support of Ghana's development agenda, particularly in the areas of general reforms of public financing management, decentralisation, sustainable agriculture, education, employment creation and social protection was evident in the allocation of 203 million euros under the Ghana 2021-2027 multiannual indicative programme for the 2021-2024 programming period.

He announced that a financial agreement to the tune of 120.1 million euros had so far been signed to commit funds under the three focal areas of green growth for jobs, smart and sustainable cities and good governance and security.

The finance minister noted that the EU’s generous grants of 35 million euros for this project highlight a shared commitment to sustainable agriculture development and poverty alleviation

He assured that the government would continue to work with the people and its development partners to bring development to the region

Mr Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador in Ghana, who graced the occasion, said the EU was committed to supporting the socio-economic transformation of Ghana, particularly in the northern regions.

He said the 35 million Euros roads project was special as it was an important part of the EU Global Gateway initiative, which was the EU global connectivity plan.

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The EU was supporting three Global Gateway projects; two of them, which included the feeder roads and the Kaleo Solar Power Plant in the region.

He said large-scale quality and sustainable investments were the bedrock of economic development, driving growth, creating jobs, fostering innovation, generating long-term value and uplifting the communities; that transformative potential was the essence of the EU Global Gateway.

The EU Ambassador said many of the communities in the region were isolated and could not effectively trade among themselves due to inadequate proper access roads, noting that the occasion was a milestone in EU –Ghana partnership to ensure the socio-economic transformation of the country through improved access and connectivity of roads in rural areas.

Mr Razaaly said the roads were to provide links between areas of agricultural production and market centres to help unlock new economic opportunities for the people, diminish transport costs, shorten travel time, increase the trade of agricultural products and raise the incomes of the farmers.

The intervention also empowered the government with innovative planning, execution and maintenance of its transport investments.

“Back in 2019 when the EU started, it was the first time that the Ministry of Roads and Highways used the Output and Performance-based Road Contracting (OPBRC) model. This “design-build-maintain” approach had proven to be efficient for road assets management and maintenance”, he said

Mr Razaaly said aside from the roads, the project also rehabilitated 16 Community-based Health Planning and Services and provided them with mechanised boreholes powered by solar, and that intervention could not be overstated.

He said with the infrastructure, the EU had empowered the local Communities, promoted socio-economic advancement and fostered inclusive growth in northern Ghana.

The road rehabilitation was only one of the components of the broader EU –Ghana Agricultural Programme EU-GAP 132 million Euro grant to promote sustainable Agriculture in the region.

“I want to recognise the joint efforts of the World Bank and the EU in the delivery of the project. When we join forces, we multiply the impact. Looking into the future, the EU remained committed to continue fighting poverty in rural areas, notably in northern Ghana”, he said.

An additional 30 million euros in funding support has been allocated to improve food security and support for climate change adaptation across northern Ghana for the next three years.

GNA

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