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22.03.2004 General News

Government's performance has been exemplary - Wolfensehn

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Accra, March 22, GNA - The Government has used the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) funds extremely well, Mr James D. Wolfensehn, President of the World Bank said in Accra on Monday.

He said: "The Government is on track. Performance has been exemplary especially with the HIPC funds which the Government has diligently used for social services."

Mr Wolfensehn made the observation at the end of his three-day official visit to Ghana when he paid a courtesy call on President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Castle, Osu.

The World Bank President participated in the just-ended Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government meeting and held talks with Ghanaian Officials on the economy.

He said in view of the extremely constructive relationship the Bank had had with the Government in the application of the HIPC funds, the Bank had agreed to release 500 million dollars to Ghana this year.

This, Mr Wolfensehn said was part of the 1.4 Billion dollars support for the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy for the next four years under the Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) 2004-2007.

Mr Wolfensehn said with Ghana hosting the ECOWAS Summit demonstrated Ghana's leadership in relation to many aspects of development within the Sub-Region.

He said the leadership in Ghana was not concerned only with its domestic issues and development but also concerned with regional issues and integration.

The World Bank President said the relationship between the Bank and the Government had improved tremendously with regard to the increase in economic stability and that the atmosphere was positive in the relation between the Government and the business community.

Mr Wolfensehn said the main objective of the Bank under his leadership was to ensure that African leaders realised that the future of the Continent was in their hands and not the World Bank.

President Kufuor expressed appreciation to the Bank for their support within the past three years to alleviate poverty among the people through the HIPC Initiative.

He said under the HIPC the Government managed to tackle poverty among the people and was able to spread resources throughout the country and offered financial assistance to small scale farmers, fishermen and improved education in rural areas.

President Kufuor said with the HIPC assistance the Government was now solvent and would cooperate with the private sector to grow and accelerate the economy for Ghana to become partners globally. He commended Mr Wolfensehn for being an advocate for developing countries. World Bank President departs Accra, March 22, GNA - The President of the World Bank, Mr James D. Wolfensehn left Accra for Senegal on Monday after participating in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Governments Summit on the Challenges of Regional Integration and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) implementation. Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance, Dr. Paul Acquah, Governor of Bank of Ghana and the Resident Director of the World Bank and Officials of the Ministry of Finance saw him off at the Kotoka International Airport.

During his visit, Mr Wolfensehn met President John Agyekum Kufuor and held talks with the Government on the World Bank Partnership with Ghana over the years especially over the last three years that the present Government had been in office.

He also discussed the introduction of the multi-donor budget support programme.

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