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11.03.2009 General News

Ghana hits Jackpot

By the Ghanaian Journal
Ghana hits Jackpot

…to receive US$1.2 billion interest-free loans from World Bank

The World Bank's Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has announced a US$1.2 billion in interest-free loans to Ghana over the next three years.

In a press release copied to the Ghanaian Journal, the target sectors for this future lending, according to the Bank's Country Director for Ghana, Ishac Diwan, are water and sanitation, agriculture and fisheries, energy, natural resource management, transport and budget support.

Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili, wrapped up a three-day visit to Ghana, meeting President, Prof John Evans Atta-Mills and discussed issues bordering on natural resource management as a key component of macro economic policy. She reiterated the importance of citizens' participation in the development processes in complementing government efforts in finding solutions to Ghana's macroeconomic challenges.

Commenting on her visit earlier, Ms Ezekwesili said: “it is obvious that government and people of this country have been making tremendous efforts to lift themselves and future generations out of the vicious cycle of poverty and hardship, however, the impact of the current global financial crisis on Ghana calls for macroeconomic measures that would ensure that the growth that Ghana has enjoyed over the past decade and more is not negatively affected, but is rather sustained to help improve the standard of living of the people.”

President Mills, noted that an important ingredient in dealing with macro economic problems is transparency and the need for citizens to know the true state of the economy and what the government is doing to solve the problems.

The statement stated that the Bank has launched a landmark initiative that challenges civil society organizations and other citizens' groups to help deepen transparency and accountability by monitoring the implementation of Bank-funded projects in the country.

Currently, the World Bank-financed portfolio for Ghana is among the biggest in Africa , with 26 active projects which have an undisbursed balance of about US$700 million of interest free loans, a sizeable proportion of which can be front-loaded. The Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has also provided assistance to businesses pursuing projects in the oil and gas, mining, banking, leasing, education, housing and SME sectors.