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08.11.2005 General News

Partners pledge 1.2 billion dollars for Ghana

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Accra, Nov. 8, GNA - Ghana's development partners on Tuesday pledged 1. 2 billion dollars in support of Ghana's development strategy in the first year of the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS). This figure could rise to five billion dollars with dedicated implementation and the achievement of results within the 2006 - 2009 period of the GPRS.

This was contained in a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of the Consultative Group Meeting between Ghana and her development partners including the IMF/World Bank, DANIDA, EU, JICA, DFID and USAID. The meeting was to build a foundation for a new Ghana Partnership Strategy that aligns development partner's support to the outcomes articulated in the Government Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy to focus on monitored results.

Presenting the communiqu=E9, Mr J. H. Mensah, Senior Minister, said the meeting marked the beginning of a new process where the Government and partners would meet annually to review progress and agree jointly on priorities.

"Future meetings will seek to anchor choices and commitments to the country's budget process within a framework that is consistent with macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability."

Participants agreed to convene on this basis in June next year while recognizing the considerable efforts made by government on macroeconomic stabilization, increased growth rates, and reforms in a number of areas over the last four years.

The Communiqu=E9 stressed the importance of jobs in linking economic growth to poverty reduction and noted that the GPRS should place more emphasis on employment and that the results matrix should identify outcomes in that area.

With regard to Ghana's natural resource base, participants agreed on the need to focus more attention on the sustainable management of forest and fisheries stock and to develop appropriate measures to track progress.

The Meeting agreed that more work was needed to strengthen the links between Government strategies and monitoring indicators used to measure progress.

"It was found that government strategies themselves had to be sharply defined with concrete suggestions for quantitative indicators for which data exist for baseline and targets," the Communiqu=E9 said. On good governance and civic responsibility, the meeting agreed that while pillars of the GPRS were broadly on track, the, public sector reform as a key underpinning it needed to be better reflected in the results matrix.

They noted the fragmentation within the pillar, especially in the area of decentralization and called for the establishment of a multi-donor framework to coordinate all partner support to decentralization.

It also called for clarity regarding relative funding gaps among sectors on further information regarding government plans to finance activities out of internally mobilized funds.

Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said he was happy that the meeting preceded the 2006 Budget, which would be presented on Thursday, saying that it indicated a high degree of predictability in the budget since the pledges were firm indicators of what should be expected.

Touching on corruption, the Minister noted; "corruption cannot be swept away at a go. Consequently, government is taking interest in reports on corruption and is working at it.

"We are also interested in ensuring that institutions such as the Serious Fraud Office, CHRAJ and the NCCE are strengthened to perform." Mr Mats Karlsson, WB Resident Country Director, said for the first time, the meeting made attempt to show the level and distribution of resources, grants and concessionary credits, that partners brought to the table.

"The picture that the Development Partners Support Overview gives will allow us to better plan the use of these resources. And the picture we see now is one major support to Ghana where actual disbursements have gone up by 30 per cent in the last two years."

He gave the assurance that there was no reason to assume that with strong and front-loaded implementation of the GPRS, "we should not be able to keep those levels up. The prospect for five billion dollars of support to the GPRS for 2006-2009 is there."