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28.10.2004 General News

Ghana organises Validation workshop on MCA

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Accra, Oct. 28, GNA- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP), on Thursday spearheaded a Validation workshop on the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), established by the US Government to reward Ghana and 15 other countries for nurturing democracy and good governance.

The 16 countries are to benefit from the first tranche of one- billion dollar development support, to be disbursed by the US Congress, between October 2004 to September 2005, as part of the New Agenda for Development of the world's super power.

In collaboration with the Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisation on Development (GAPVOD), the Ministry subjected the Concept Paper of the MCA to public scrutiny at the workshop, attended by stakeholders mainly from the private sector.

The 27-page Concept Paper include the Objectives, Constraints on Economic Development, Key Features of the Economy, Policy Interventions for Implementing the Compact, Projected Outcomes and Stakeholder Consultation Process.

Ghana's principal economic goal in the Paper is to achieve middle-income status within one generation, driven by private sector led growth.

The objective therefore is to develop sustainable advantage as agro- based industrial economy, supported by a strong services economy and to achieve a leadership position in West Africa.

The proposed MCA programme would ensure that Ghana optimises its unique location in West Africa to get access to the market of about 250 million people in the Sub-Region.

The Paper identified under-developed infrastructure, insufficient capital, low productivity and weak institutional framework and management capacity as among the constraints hindering a comprehensive programme of economic transformation.

The MCA would also insulate the national economy against the external shocks such as falling prices of cocoa, gold and the rise in the price of crude oil

Mr. Paul Ofori Agyiri, Chief Director at the MFEP said Ghana was expected to develop a Compact Proposal to indicate the country's priority programmes and projects aimed at promoting economic growth and poverty reduction for the next five years.

"Achieving this feat without the involvement of all segments of society will not augur well for the success of this programme. We are therefore carrying out this consultative process, not only as requirement by the MCA but as part of good governance principles as we did in the case of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy."

He said accelerating the pace of Ghana's Development by using the MCA was critical in the realisation of the national objective of attaining a middle income status by 2010.

During the interactive session, the Management of Blue Skies-Ghana, dealers in tropical fruits, expressed concern about the bureaucratic process investors go through in acquiring land to establish their businesses, as well as the bad nature of roads, unreliable water and electricity supply, inefficient communication facilities and congested ports.

Alhaji Issah Salifu of the Amasachina Self Help Association, an indigenous non-governmental organisation, expressed concern about the rising cost of food production, lack of ready markets for foodstuffs and the marginalisation of scale farmers.

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