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30.11.2005 Regional News

Equitable distribution of resources can reduce poverty - Edumadze

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Cape Coast, Nov. 30, GNA - Mr. Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister on Wednesday observed that the efficient and effective disbursement of credit facilities and provision of infrastructure could support the Government's efforts to create wealth among the poor and vulnerable in society.

He said the ultimate goal was to bring about changes in the lives of such people to improve on their standard of living. Mr. Edumadze made the observation in an address read for him at a day's sensitization workshop organised by the Management of Social Investment Fund (SIF) on the 'Urban Poverty Reduction Strategy' (UPRS) at Cape Coast.

Three towns in the region, Apam, Agona Swedru and Kasoa have been selected among others together with three regional capitals, Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi and Kumasi, to benefit from the project. The African Development Fund (ADF) is financing the project with a loan of 37.5 million dollars and a counterpart funding of 4.17 million dollars by the Government and beneficiary communities. Four components of the project included the provision of support to 600 small but dynamic and growth-oriented enterprises to upgrade them to Small-Scale Enterprise (SME)level.

Mr. Edumadze was happy that the region, benefited from 110 projects under the phase one of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Project, through funds from the ADB, OPEC and HIPC, and in addition received 3.850 billion cedis from the SIF, under the micro-credit scheme that benefited about 3,547 people.

However, he appealed to the management of SIF to ensure that the UPRS was made more gender and environmentally sensitive and target the physically challenged to step up socio-economic development.

Mr. Edumadze pointed out that it was time every available opportunity should be explored towards the country's socio-economic development efforts.

"There is no reason why Ghana should be poor since all that is required to move out of poverty exist in the country. In our own region, we have fishing, farming, tourism and licensed mining that should be developed for the benefit of the people," He added. He was optimistic that the workshop would enable the participants avail themselves of resources offered under the SIF to provide employment and create wealth in the region.

Ms Ama Serwaa Dapaah, Executive Director of SIF, said UPRP was geared towards financing activities in priority areas relating to urban and semi-urban poverty reduction within the context of GPRS decentralization strategies.

She said the project acknowledged that urban areas had significant pockets of poverty, and therefore, would address the differences in the spatial distribution of poverty, and the inclusion of the extreme poor through social protection initiatives.

Ms Dapaah said in this regard, the project would tackle areas of social infrastructure using demand-driven participatory approaches for sustainability, financial intermediation, with resource mobilization and capacity building for micro-finance and decentralized governance for stimulation of further economic development.

According to her, this would involve direct intervention at the community level through 'community development plans' that would channel direct support from the project to deprived communities in the selected cities and towns.

She commended the assemblies for the successful implementation of the project and called on Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC's) and other stakeholders to provide the assemblies with the necessary support for the implementation of the project. 30 Nov.05

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