Chiana (U/E), April 22, GNA - The President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Mr. Paul Thibault arrived in the Upper East Region from Mali on Wednesday to begin a three-day working visit to Ghana.
Mr. Thibault said the country offers a unique example of deepening commitment to the process of decentralization in Africa. He said any country that wanted to speed up the process of sustainable development in the midst of scarce resources must make a conscious effort to involve all sectors of the society, adding that development was not only about building physical infrastructure such as boreholes and wells.
Mr. Thibault, who was visiting Africa for the first time since assuming office in May last year as CIDA President, had already gone to Senegal and Mali where he met and interacted with civil society groups, local beneficiaries of CIDA funded projects and government officials. Speaking on his arrival at Chiana in the Kassena-Nankana District to inspect a CIDA funded water project, the CIDA President announced that his country was beginning a new partnership with Ghana and five other African countries.
Under this new relationship of equals, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique would receive direct budgetary support from the Canadian government, he declared. More.
Mr. Thibault said Ghana in particular, needed the commendation and support of its development partners because it had taken the right decision to embark on a sustained process of empowering the citizenry through the decentralization process to serve as the vehicle for strengthening democracy and rapid socio-economic development.
On Ghana and Canada relations, he said the two countries had a lot in common and that his visit was to offer him the opportunity to learn at first hand Ghana's developmental challenges.
Mr. Thibault would hold discussions and interactions with government officials, local communities, and civil society groups so as to find the way forward in strengthening CIDA-Ghana relations.
He said CIDA would continue to find innovative ways to assist Ghana in the areas of poverty reduction, deepening democracy and cementing decentralization.
Welcoming him at Navrongo, capital of the Kassena-Nankana District, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mahami Salifu, thanked CIDA for assisting Ghana over the years to improve upon the well being of its people.
He traced the cordial relationship existing between Ghana and Canada since independence, and said the Canadian government support through CIDA, especially in the provision of potable water and sanitation facilities in the three Northern regions had made a tremendous impact on the lives of the people.
Mr. Salifu, who expressed the appreciation of the chiefs and people of the region for the visit of the CIDA President, was also hopeful that CIDA would continue to support Ghana to provide the basic needs of the people.
He said CIDA should also consider expanding its assistance to cover conflict resolution and management, since ethnic and chieftaincy conflicts in the three northern regions were major obstacles to socio-economic development.
The Regional Minister pledged government's commitment to ensure that funds provided by donors were judiciously applied to the benefit of the people.
The CIDA boss later inspected the Chiana small water system, which was rehabilitated in 2000 at a cost of 250,000 dollars under the second phase of CIDA's Ghana Assistance Programme (GAP). He also interacted with farmers at the Vea irrigation project site, near Bolgatanga and inspected the rehabilitation of irrigation canals funded by CIDA. Mr. Thibault would meet the three Northern Regional Ministers in Tamale on Thursday morning, and later travel to Accra to pay a courtesy call on President John Agyekum Kufuor, interact with the Senior Minister and other government officials, meet civil society groups, and visit an HIV/AIDS clinic as well as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre.