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24.08.2004 General News

Inclusion of Ghana in MCA is a challenge - JAK

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Accra, Aug.24, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday said the inclusion of Ghana to access the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was a challenge to the Government's policy on wealth creation to reduce poverty in the society.

He said the Government needed budgetary support in the implementation of this policy a major component of the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) manifesto, therefore, " when Ghana was included we thought the challenge was there for us".

President Kufuor made this observation when Mr Paul V. Applegarth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu. He said the Government had been very circumspect in the selection and implementation of its priorities and was moving on the right direction to achieve targets it had set for the economy and the reduction of poverty in the society.

Mr Applegarth said the MCC supported the Government because of its leadership and the good policies for poverty reduction being implemented.

"Ghana deserved recognition and was selected as one of the beneficiaries of the 16 developing countries. It is an honour", he said. The MCC are administrators of the one billion dollars Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) initiated by the US Government for 16 countries, eight of which are in Africa.

The eight eligible countries in Africa are Ghana, Benin, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal. The MCA would help the beneficiary countries to reduce poverty, offer real opportunity to access additional funding at minimal cost and inject massive foreign currency into the financial system.

Country selection criteria were based on strict transparent process employing multiple economic and social indicators - Ruling Justly; Investing in People and How Best a Government is Encouraging Economic Freedom.

The MCA is a new instrument by the United States Government in its provision and delivery of development assistance to developing countries in the form of grants.

Congress has approved an initial one billion dollars for the MCA for 2004 while 2.5 billion might be approved for 2005. By 2006, the US government is expected to increase development assistance by 5.0 billion dollars under the MCA.

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