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20.02.2005 General News

Initiate Programmes To Help Africa Develop -Defence Minister

By NANA SIFA TWUM, LONDON

London -- Ghana has proposed to the Commission on Africa to support the European Union and the G8 to initiate effective programmes to assist African countries towards holistic development to ensure a better living place for the people of the continent.

It has been realised that certain policies and programmes especially in trade and commerce by the European countries and the rest of the western world have not supported the economic growth of the African continent.

Ghana's Defence Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufour made the proposal at the 4th annual Ghanaian forum in London over the weekend.

The forum is organised annually by Ghana High Commission for Ghanaians in the UK to discuss issues affecting the development of the countries. It also creates the platform for the Ghanaians citizens in the UK to adopt strategies collectively towards the development of Ghana.

He observed that British Prime Minister's special interest in the development of Africa leading to the establishment of the Commission on Africa last year provide fervent hope for Africa, by way of, development.

Some time now Ghana has taken the leading role in ensuring peace, stability and development on the whole of the African continent.

Among the proposals, the Defence Minister noted that there is the urgent need for the commission to free the continent from conflicts. He observed that the number of conflicts going in Africa can easily be ended with the intervention from the west.

Dr. Kufour noted that most of the problems in Africa are primarily due to the negative image of Africa portray by the international press thus giving little or no hope at all in the development of the continent.

On the continent's human resources development he said the commission should work with the EU and the G8 in achieving the human and social conditions that people in Africa aspire to. The noted that many current initiatives are working and should be supported. The outcome will be a focus on action by States and institutions outside and inside Africa which reduce human vulnerability, and increased access to opportunities, especially for the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Kufour lamented on the continent's primary products like cocoa which have to be sent to the western world to be processed before sending back to Africa to be sold to the people who primarily produced it and called for pragmatic efforts by the commission to help add value to such products.

The Defence Minister also called for easy access of African products to the international market. This according to him could be done by the western world eliminating all forms f bottlenecks which virtually prevent African countries from send their products to the world market.

He also called on the commission to assist in ensuring good governance in Africa by promoting transparent governance which will consider how transparent and accountable political, economic and corporate institutions, and the people who work in them.

Other areas proposed by Dr. Addo Kufour for assistance from the by the commission included the development of the private sector and modernization of agriculture on the continent adding that at this age hand tools like cutlass and hoes are still used in Africa for commercial farming.

Ghana's High Commissioner to the UK, Mr. Isaac Osie regretted that due to dodgy activities some Ghanaians are languishing in UK jails. He said such records do not give the nation any good record and called on Ghanaians living in the UK to be law abiding.

He however commended the larger number of them who are proving themselves worthy ambassadors of Ghana. He said through the hard work and sincerity of such Ghanaians over two billion dollars was remitted from the diaspora to Ghana in support of the national economy.

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