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19.03.2004 Business & Finance

World Bank Country Director expresses hope in Ghana

World Bank Country Director expresses hope in Ghana
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Accra, March 18, GNA - The World Bank Country Director, Dr Mats Karlson has expressed the need for Africa's universities to be supported to enable them to provide the needed assistance required for sustainable and accelerated development.

Dr Karlson made the point at a seminar organised by the Legon Economics Students Society (LESS) at the University of Ghana, Legon. He said but for corruption and other factors, many African countries would have seen a galloping progress in their growth and development.

He, however, expressed delight that a few countries on the continent, including Ghana had chosen their own ways towards achieving the goals they had set for themselves and expressed the hope that Ghana vision to reach a middle-income status would not be a mirage.

Mr Kwaku Opare, an Official from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who represented the Minister of Finance, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, explained that Ghana's decision to join the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative was not for nothing.

He said the economic position of the country at the time necessitated that decision in order to reduce the external debt service burden on the nation's foreign exchange and also improve her reserves and the balance of payment position.

He said: "Again we had to free up more resources from domestic revenue to support economic programmes."

Mr Opare said through the HIPC proceeds the Government had been able to put up several buildings to enhance educational development and quality healthcare services.

He announced that in 2002 and 2003 alone, a total of 224 billion cedis was used to service domestic debts while 301.6 billion cedis had been projected for domestic debt reduction in the current year. This, he said, indicated that the HIPC initiative had not been fruitless, as some people had earlier speculated.

He, however, admitted that the HIPC initiative was not the sole panacea to the nation's economic woes. "Hence the need for the citizenry to meet their tax obligations for the general good of the nation."