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02.06.2007 General News

Africa is ready for take off –Kufuor

By GNA

President John Agyekum Kufuor has assured development partners that African countries were ever more determined to lift themselves into the mainstream of the competitive global market.

He said the continent was prepared to work on the basis of the principle of win-win outcomes and also with the Public Partnership arrangement to achieve accelerated growth.

It is in this direction that NEPAD was created to lead and facilitate the acceleration of the continent's development through identification; studying and implementation of priority projects that would enable Africa launch itself on the path of sustainable development.

“By the visions and principles enshrined in NEPAD, such as commitment to good governance, respect for good business practices, rule of law, regional market groupings, transparent and accountable governance, recognition of the private sector, the Continent has declared that is prepared to work on the basis of the principle of win-win outcomes and also with the Public-Private Partnership arrangement to achieve accelerated growth,” he said.

President Kufuor was speaking at the closing session of the two-day Accra Financing for Development conference, which was held on the theme: "Infrastructure for Growth-The Energy Challenge."

The conference brought together Finance and Energy Ministers from across Africa and development partners to discuss and find sustainable solutions for meeting the financing needs of the energy sector to enhance its contributions to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

President Kufuor said a sustainable and affordable energy was critical for the success of the development goals set under NEPAD, adding however, that the challenge was how to mobilize financial resources to meet the energy requirements.

He said it was clear that individual countries on their own would be unable to mobilize such resources in time to overcome poverty, hence the aim of NEPAD to sponsor regional, continent-wide and international partnerships as vehicle for resource mobilization and execution of critical projects.

President Kufuor mentioned the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project to transport natural gas from Nigeria through Benin and Togo to Ghana and the West Africa Power Pool, where member nations can buy excess power from one another as some projects being given recognition by NEPAD.

He also referred to the Grand INGA Hydro-electric Project of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has the potential to generate 38,000 megawatts of power enough to meet the electricity needs of Africa as one
of the Project being canvassed for by NEPAD.

President Kufuor, said compared to other sources of energy like thermal, the unit cost of energy from this source would be both competitive and more affordable to even the ordinary domestic consumer, saying INGA project offered hope for meeting the energy needs for development.

In a communiqué adopted at the end of the conference, the Ministers undertook to mobilize domestic resources through new financing instruments, appropriate energy pricing and payment mechanisms and to create opportunities for investment by domestic investors.

They also agreed to reform regulations in the energy sector with the view of creating an attractive enabling environment for private sector participation and improving access of the poor to energy through appropriate pricing policies, distribution and composition of energy supply.

The Communiqué also urged the G8 and other development partners to treat Africa as a priority.

Source: GNA

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