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19.11.2005 Regional News

Workshop on urban poverty reduction held at Koforidua

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Koforidua, Nov. 19, GNA - The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, has said that the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) is the government's plan to tackle the hydra-headed problem of poverty, which account for the low level of production and backward technological base.

He was speaking at a workshop for key stakeholders of the Urban Poverty Reduction Project at Koforidua on Friday.

Mr Barimah said the five-year Project was the programme for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which called for a reduction of the proportion of the poor living on one dollar a day.

He said that the Social Investment Fund (SIF) would be in-charge of the implementation of the project in co-operation with the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council and its officials.

The Executive Director of SIF, Ms Ama Serwaa Dapaah, said the Fund established in 1998 through the combined efforts of Government of Ghana, the African Development Bank (ADB) and the UNDP, was a mechanism for the channelling of resources directly to the poor.

She said since its establishment, the SIF had mobilised 30 million dollars through the ADB, OPEC Fund for International Development and the Government of Ghana.

Ms Dapaah said 76 per cent of the amount had been used to finance 1,000 socio-economic sub-projects in 108 districts, adding that about 1.2 million poor people, 57 per cent of whom were women, benefited. She said the Fund was also implementing a micro credit programme under which 14.5 billion cedis had been disbursed to 12,262 clients out of which 80 per cent were women.

Ms Dapaah said out of the 97 sub-projects approved for the Eastern Region, 82 had been completed and handed over while 10 were over 90 per cent completed and were expected to be fully completed by the end of November, this year.

She said the Urban Poverty Reduction Project was to be funded through an ADF loan of 37.5 million dollars and the Government and beneficiary communities would be contributing a total of 4.17 million dollars.

Ms Dapaah said the amount was to finance activities in priority areas relating to urban and semi-urban poverty reduction within the context of the GPRS.

She said the project was to target three cities, Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi and nine Municipal and secondary towns like Agogo, Akim Oda, Apam, Ho, Kasoa, Koforidua, Swedru, Tema and Wenchi. Ms Dapaah said the Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs) were expected to play a significant oversight over Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, which would be playing the role of local implementing agencies for the Urban Poverty Reduction Project.

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