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09.06.2005 General News

Ghana, Development Partners sign MOU for Private Sector Strategy

GNA

Accra, June 9, GNA - Ghana and her development partners on Thursday signed a 300 million-dollar Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy under the aegis of the Ministry of Private Sector Development (PSD).

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of PSD, signed for Ghana while the development partners signed for their respective countries. The MOU is the outcome of government's commitment to ensure a successful implementation of the Medium Term Private Sector Development Strategy and represents a milestone of the Development Partner Harmonization Agenda launched by President John Agyekum Kufuor last year.

Mr Bartels told the development partners that the Strategy was a coordinated inter-sectoral effort aimed at removing the institutional and bureaucratic bottlenecks constraining the private sector to reduce the cost of doing business in the country. He said government was aware of the immense challenges that globalisation placed on Ghana adding, "our efforts will be focused at improving the environment for business and enhance our private sector's ability to compete in the global market place. "We have been making steady progress, manifest in notable strides in trade reforms, the financial sector, legal and regulatory reforms ....."

Mr Bartels said the event marked another significant milestone in Ghana's implementation process saying, "since the beginning of the year we have been in consultations to provide...support to enrich the implementation of the strategy." He challenged the development partners to coordinate their support to ensure effectiveness.

Uncoordinated donor activities clearly undermined the effectiveness of the cooperation, he said, adding that harmonizing and promoting the use of common arrangements maximized complementary efforts. Mr Bartels gave the assurance that the Ministry was putting in place a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that would ensure that "we all take part in continually assessing the impact of our efforts".

Mr Gordon Wetherell, British High Commissioner to Ghana, who spoke for the Development Partners, described the support as part of their overall commitment to the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy and Growth Agenda, "which marks our confidence in Ghana's strategy to develop its business-enabling environment". He said the aid should enhance effectiveness noting that the support came in a form, which made it easier for Ghana to use the pooled fund and made donors focus their efforts on improving the investment climate in Ghana.

Mr Wetherell commended the Government for its "tremendous" effort in bringing the country to this point. However, he said, "this is where the real challenge begins", pointing out that there were no short cuts to achieving middle level-income status.

"Agreeing on strategies and setting targets are not sufficient; Ghana will face stiff competition ... but we will all need to work together to ensure that we turn this solid foundation into substantive action." Mr Wetherell said Ghana needed to tackle vested interests, take difficult decisions and improve coordination at all levels to attain shared goals, and this fell in line with the objectives of the Commission for Africa's recommendations. The development partners included the European Union and the World Bank.

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