The India High Commissioner to Ghana, H. E. Mrs. Ruchi Ghanashyam, has announced that the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme had provided technical assistance worth more than $2 billion to developing countries, including Ghana.
Since the inception of the programme in 1964, it has benefited thousands of students and professionals from Africa, while India spends over $ 100 million annually on ITEC activities.
H. E. Mrs. Ghanashyam disclosed this at the ITEC Day celebration held at her residence in Accra over the weekend.
The India High Commission in Ghana celebrates ITEC Day every year to mark this milestone in its technical and economic cooperation programme.
The Day provides a platform to all ITEC alumni to come together and share their experiences. These interactions provide the High Commission with a useful avenue to get feedback about the programme, and helps in making the courses more productive and result-oriented.
According to her, Ghana has been one of the major participating countries under the ITEC scheme.
H. E. Mrs. Ghanashyam revealed that since the commencement of the ITEC scheme, over 1,100 Ghanaian students and professionals had been trained in India, and added that during the financial year 2009-10, Ghanaian professionals and students were able to utilise all the 110 ITEC slots earmarked for Ghana, against the 80 slots for the 2008-09 financial year.
Ghanaian students and professionals also benefit from other existing schemes, such as annual scholarships awarded by Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), the Government of India to Ghanaian students to pursue undergraduate/post graduate and higher courses in India, UN Peacekeeping courses, professional courses for Foreign Diplomats and the “Know India Programme” for Ghanaian citizens of Indian origin, among others, the High Commissioner further disclosed.
Apart from the training of civilian personnel, ITEC also imparts training to defence personnel through various defence institutions in India.
According to her, the entire expenditure for training, including to and fro airfare, tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses was always borne by the Government of India.
H. E. Mrs. Ghanashyam told the well-attended gathering that the ITEC programme ranges from short term courses to Diplomas and Masters Degrees of one-two year durations.
She stated that ITEC courses cover diverse fields such as agriculture and agro-processing, entrepreneurship development, tool design, small business creation, tele-medicine, energy, promotion of rural industries, information technology management, banking, food processing, audits and accounts, among others.
Touching on India-Ghana bilateral relations, H. E. Mrs. Ghanashyam emphasised that “India's relations with Ghana have been long and historic, and enjoy exemplary bilateral relationship.
The strong foundation of India-Ghana friendship was laid by India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Ghana's first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.”
This friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two countries have grown steadily and have stood the test of time, she stressed.
Indeed, India's initiatives such as “Focus Africa Policy,” and ITEC, have strengthened cooperation between India and Ghana, which today extends to key sectors, namely, agriculture, rural electrification, infrastructure and human resource development.
The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ITC and the Golden Jubilee House are shining examples of India-Ghana bilateral cooperation.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, commended the India High Commissioner to Ghana for her continued support, and the tireless effort in helping to make Ghana a major participant in the ITEC programme, saying, “It is therefore not surprising to us that progressively, Ghana's number of seats at these programmes have increased from 80 to 110 seats.”
He noted that India had extended considerable technical assistance to Ghana through various Indian institutions, such as ITEC and the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan (SCAAP), which emphasis have been on human resource development and transfer of knowledge.
Alhaji Mumuni added, “It is truly gratifying to note that Ghana has, over the years, benefited from the goodwill and support of the Indian Government, through the latter's sustained commitment of making a positive contribution to the socio-economic development of Ghana, through its SCAAP programme.”