16.06.2005 Business & Finance

"We are proud of our work in Ghana," -WB

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Accra, June 16, GNA - The World Bank Office in Accra on Thursday said even though it was not satisfied with its work in the country, it was "proud" of the numerous efforts it had made so far to reduce poverty and bring development to the doorsteps of the poor and vulnerable.

Addressing a Development Dialogue Series organized in conjunction with JOY FM, an Accra-based radio station, Mr Mats Karlsson, World Bank Country Director, said there were a lot more changes that the Bank wanted to see as the Government's partner in development. He said the Bank had managed to increase the capacity of the poor in the three Northern Regions by ensuring the non-payment of hospital fees by pregnant women and the vulnerable and expected that the same thing was repeated countrywide.

Mr Karlsson said it was the vision of the Bank to work efficiently at making poverty outdated. He said currently the Bank was engaged in a discussion with the Government on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and expressed the hope that it would offer the Bank an opportunity to be an active partner in Ghana's development.

The GPRS is a strategic document that outlines an effective and proactive development plan based on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to make life better for all by 2015. The MDG among other things aims at reducing by half the people living on a dollar a day, halving the number of people who suffer from hunger and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 and at all levels by 2015. Mr Karlsson said there was a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) programme for Ghana spanning 2004 to 2007. The CAS hinges on three basic concepts namely, sustainable growth and job creation, human development, governance and empowerment.

Mr Mike Kottoh, Chairman of the Intercollegiate Development Think-Tank, said it was regrettable that Ghanaians were looking forward to what the World Bank could do for Ghana without examining the bigger picture of development agenda, which covered the role of the communities in decision-making. He said poverty reduction, as a national agenda, should not just be an end but a means to an end since poverty reduction alone would not solve the problems facing the people. "We must as a people work at creating a balance of making the people self- reliant, wealthy and capable of taking charge of their destiny," Mr Kottoh said. Ms Adadzewa Otoo of the Debate Society of the University of Ghana, urged the World Bank to do more to meet the development needs of Ghana's development agenda by ensuring that its conditionalities were less stringent.

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