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29.04.2004 Press Release

UK and Ghana continue to work closely

By No 10 Downing Street
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The Prime Minister met with President Kufuor of Ghana today in No 10 Downing Street. The two leaders later held a joint press conference. Read the transcript in our speeches section.

Read the joint press release from the two leaders below:

Joint press release by the Prime Minister and President Kufuor of Ghana, 26 April 2004

The Prime Minister and President Kufuor met today in No 10 Downing Street and reviewed developments in Ghana and the West Africa sub region since the visit of Mr Blair to Ghana during his West African tour in February 2002.

Mr Blair commended President Kufuor for the continued strengthening of democracy in Ghana, and for the example set by Ghana in becoming the first country to undergo the African Peer Review Mechanism within NEPAD. The two leaders looked forward to Ghana successfully reaching Completion Point under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative later this year. President Kufuor emphasised that his Government was committed to the running of free and fair Presidential and Parliamentary elections in December 2004 by the independent Electoral Commission of Ghana; and to building on existing foundations to develop a stable and diversified economy capable of sustainable high levels of growth. He and the Prime Minister hoped that this would be supported by increased levels of bilateral trade and British investment in Ghana.

The Prime Minister briefed President Kufuor on the launch of his Commission for Africa, which would lead into the planned focus on Africa during the UK's Presidency of the G8 through 2005, and of the EU from July - December 2005. President Kufuor expressed support for the Commission, and looked forward to Ghana making an active and constructive contribution to its work.

President Kufuor briefed the Prime Minister on regional issues in West Africa, including the latest situation in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. Mr Blair expressed his appreciation of and support for the crucial roles which President Kufuor is playing in his second term as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and which ECOWAS, and the Ghana Government and Armed Forces, are playing in conflict prevention and peace support operations, as well as in deepening economic integration and growth in the sub-region.

Against that background:

Mr Blair reiterated the UK's continued commitment to supporting Ghana's strategies for economic growth and poverty reduction as the country's largest bilateral development partner contributing £138 million over the next 2 years; and committed the UK to work with Ghana on its ambitious plans for getting all Ghanaian children enrolled in primary school by 2010.

The British Government underscored its appreciation of Ghana's participation in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism under NEPAD by agreeing to fund work by Ghanaian experts in the Peer Review and the dissemination of information and lessons about the review to a wider regional and international audience.

Mr Blair announced a further contribution of £362,000 to support the Ghana Armed Forces already deployed in Cote d'Ivoire, bringing direct British assistance to the Ghana Armed Forces in the country since the outbreak of the crisis in September 2002 to over £3.35 million. He also announced further UK support of £2.5 million in the current financial year for the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping and Training Centre in Accra in recognition of the Centre's importance in building the capacity of West African nations for peace support operations supported by the UN, ECOWAS, G8 and other donors.

The President and Prime Minister pledged Ghana and the UK to work together and within their respective regional organisations to strengthen peace support capabilities in the sub region by ensuring that such initiatives as the African Union Stand-By Force and the European Union's Africa Peace Facility are made operational as soon as possible.

26 April 2004

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