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18.01.2005 General News

Donors to support Ghana in Millennium goals

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Accra, Jan. 18, GNA - Donor groups in Ghana on Tuesday pledged their support to ensure that Ghana achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but urged the country to show a strong commitment to eradicate poverty.

Making separate presentations at the launch of the MDGs Report in Accra, representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Department for International Development (DFID) of Britain and the World Bank urged the Government to undertake prudent measures to maintain the current stability on the macro-economic front while striving to reduce poverty.

The MDGs Report contains key constraints and recommendations adopted by different taskforce groups established under the Millennium Project by the UN to undertake a diagnosis after the world body agreed to go by it in 2000.

The Report was presented to the UN in Washington on Monday and Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, in Accra on Tuesday, launched a copy.

The key recommendation in the Report insists that the main goal to half the world poverty by 2015 is achievable.

The Millennium Goals are internationally agreed development outcomes intended to elicit national responses through initiatives and strategies geared towards reducing poverty and improving the standard of living of the poor in society.

Efforts to meet the targets as set by the UN require developing countries to pursue and implement development programmes while the developed nations are expected to support them through aid.

Ms Alphecca Muttardy, IMF Country Representative, said the Fund was committed to a strong worldwide effort to reduce poverty and appreciated the current growth, inflation and balance of payment levels in Ghana.

She said Ghana was well advanced in meeting the MDGs strategy due to the implementation of Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) but faced the challenge of getting additional resources to achieve the millennium targets.

Ms Muttardy also called for an improvement in public sector management and human resources development to aid in achieving the MDGs. Mr Mats Karlsson, World Bank Country Director, said this year would be an extraordinary year for Ghana to update the GPRS, strive to meet MDGs, develop its programme for the next four years and also develop its programmes for the consultative group meeting.

He urged the managers of the economy not to adopt a mechanical approach to achieving the MDGs but to ensure that they developed a sense of ownership among the people for their effective participation in the project.

Mr Karlsson also challenged the Government to set higher targets of growth of about seven per cent to eight per cent instead of around five per cent. She should also diversify the backbone of the economy from cocoa and gold and invest in areas such as tourism and ICT, which would also create jobs.

Ms Emma Spica, Representative of DFID, said the United Kingdom would continue to increase aid.

Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, Acting Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said the momentum around the MDGs was critical to Ghana's own agenda for growth and prosperity.

"Thus, with the long-term MDGs and the medium-term GPRS Framework, the necessary policy instruments for piloting the economy and building strong partnerships to keep Ghana on the right and sustainable development track are now firmly in place."

Dr Ashong said Ghana had recorded some achievements that were verifiable.

They include sustained stability and improved macro-economic indicators; implementation of a robust GPRS; undertaking peaceful and successful general election and becoming eligible for the Millennium Challenge Account.

He, however, observed that a major breakthrough was needed to achieve the MDGs targets by 2015 saying: "Actions on both sides of the development divide will have to be swift and concrete." Dr Ashong said Ghana was counting on the unwavering support of her partners to achieve the goals.

The targets in the MDGs are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; achieve gender equality; ensure environmental sustainability and create a global partnership for development.

The rest are to reduce child mortality; maternal mortality and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

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