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16.10.2004 Business & Finance

World Bank to offer 50 million dollars guarantee to Ghana

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Tema, Oct. 16, GNA - Ghana is to receive a 50-million-dollar World Bank guarantee for the West African Gas Pipeline Project to enable private companies to support the project.

The guarantee is only for Ghana, which is the second largest participating nation of the project, which has 16.38 per cent in the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO).

The others are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, 25.25 per cent, SOTOGAZ and SOBEGAZ of Togo and Benin, respectively, two per cent each.

The rest are Chevron Texaco West Africa Gas, 41.87 per cent, and Shell Overseas Holdings 16.50 per cent.

Mr Thomas E. Walton, World Bank Safeguards Co-ordinator for the Africa Region, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency at Tema, on Wednesday after a meeting with the Kpone and Tema Traditional Councils, as well as assembly members, said the World Bank decision on the guarantee would be announced in November, this year. He expressed satisfaction with land acquisition, compensation and involuntary displacement, from the responses the World Bank team had with the traditional councils.

Mr Walton explained in reaction to a question from fishermen that the pipeline would not have any negative impact on fishermen, because the pipes will be buried deep in the sea, adding that fishermen have nothing to fear about their activities.

The Traditional Councils' members said, they have re-located the farmers at the project site, so that they will continue to practise their farming activities to support themselves economically; adding that the lands given to them is not far from where they were farming previously.

"Our support for the project is to the effect that its (the gas project) implementation will reduce the high cost of electricity for Ghanaians as well as provide a reliable electrical source of energy for industrial use in Ghana."

The Chiefs were happy that the project will also provide job opportunities, and said they have high expectations for the project. Other members of the World Bank team were Arbi Ben-Achour, Senior Development Specialist Environmental, Rural in Southern Africa, Kristine Schwebach, Operations Analyst and Yasmin Tayyab, Senior Civil Society Co-ordinator, Africa Region.

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