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22.07.2005 Regional News

Serve as catalyst for economic growth - Deputy Minister

GNA

Zabzugu (N/R), July 22, GNA - Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, has urged the Management of the Rural Enterprise Project (REP) to use the initiative to serve as a catalyst to enhance the economic potential of the people and improve the living conditions of rural communities in its catchment area The REP aims at promoting micro and small businesses in rural areas to enhance their income levels and also serves as one of the interventions geared towards the realization of the objectives of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).

Mr Adam said the Management could do this through the imparting of skills in business management, technology transfer, the provision of financial services and market linkages to the rural poor. He was speaking at the launch of the second phase of the Rural Enterprise Project in the Zabzugu/Tatale District at Zabzugu on Thursday.

For the past two years, only the West Mamprusi and the East Gonja Districts in the Northern Region, Kassena/Nankana and Bawku West Districts in the Upper East Region and Nadowli District in the Upper West Region have benefited from the REP.

The Deputy Minister said the concept of the REP was a marked departure from other interventions, which had failed to address the poverty of the rural people because they had tended to be more prescriptive rather than participatory in their approach.

Mr Adam said the Government was committed to its agenda for growth and development in the rural areas within the context of the President John Agyekum Kufuor's promise of the "Golden Age of Business", wealth creation, employment generation and the reduction of poverty. He said to achieve this goal the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) would fully support the Project Coordinating and Monitoring Unit of the REP, as well as the Ministry of Environment and Science to achieve its objectives. Mrs Afua Ohene-Ampofo, Tamale Zonal Coordinator of the REP, said the first phase of the project, which started in 1995, was carried out in 13 selected districts in the Brong-Ahafo and Ashanti Regions. Under second phase, she said 53 new districts would be enrolled nationwide, adding that the Government, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the project beneficiaries, were jointly financing the REP.

Mrs Ohene-Ampofo appealed to all the stakeholders including District Assemblies, National Board for Small-Scale Enterprises (NBSSI), traditional authorities and the project clients to fulfil their obligations under the memorandum of understanding to enable the districts to reap maximum benefits from the project. Mr Ivan Gam, Zabzugu/Tatale District Coordinating Director, urged entrepreneurs of small businesses in the District to take advantage of the REP to acquire the requisite knowledge to effectively manage their businesses.

Mr Adams later inaugurated an 11-Member District Implementation Committee of the Project, with Alhaji Yakubu Bukari, the District Chief Executive, as the chairman. 22 July 05

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