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17.11.2005 General News

Minister urges NGO to help reduce poverty

By GNA
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Accra, Nov 17, GNA - Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, on Thursday launched new African 2000Plus Network, a pan African community and economic non-governmental organization (NGO) working with local communities to facilitate their development to become self-reliant and to participate in the decision-making process of public administration.

Africa 2000Plus Network was first launched in 1989 and supported and administered by the UNDP but was transformed in 2004 into an autonomous legally constituted organization both at the regional and national levels to ensure effective development planning and management. It operates in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Mr Poku-Adusei said the Network was a good initiative in that it enabled people to get involved in making decisions that affected their lives and their empowerment at the community level. He said many people in Sub-Saharan Africa faced food insecurity and as such they were unhealthy and could therefore not be productive. He said with decentralization, organizations such as Africa 2000Plus had critical role to play in ensuring good governance by guaranteeing human rights, checking corruption and promoting accountability.

The Deputy Minister urged member countries to make effort to ensure that participatory development management succeeded in all the countries where the Network operated, saying "we want to see a better Africa than we have now.

"We want to see all children of school-going-age in schools; we want to see child mortality reduced from current high levels; we want to see gross domestic product of all operating countries equal to that of the developed countries and live in prosperity."

He charged the Network to expand for more countries to join so that the whole of the African Continent in the next 10 years would be covered.

He urged the donor community to continue to support Africa 2000Plus given the important role it played in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Mr Alioune Sall, Executive Director of African Futures Institute, said Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's First President's plea for Africa's unity was still loud and every one could hear it.

He said the Africa 2000Plus initiative had chalked a lot of success in all its operating countries saying for example that in most member countries it helped to improve food security, storage and distribution systems and bettered income generating activities. He challenged member countries to create a new identity for the projects that would enhance the lives of the poor, adding that there should be unity of purpose and empowerment of the people.

He said the people were poor because they did not have the structural power to remove the barriers that prevented them from accessing the resources, Mrs Adisa Lansah, Director Africa 2000Plus Network, said since 1992 the organization had intensified literacy programme among women and had so far trained 15,000 women to read and write.

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