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30.01.2006 Regional News

Ghana's abundant natural resources not enough-NGO

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Sunyani (B/A), Jan 30, GNA - Mr Raphael Ahenu, Chief Executive Officer of African Media Aid, an NGO, at the weekend expressed concern about the slow pace of the country's economic development. He noted that for decades, the country had exploited its abundant natural resources, including gold, diamond, timber and cocoa, "yet, the nation is among the least developed on the continent".

Speaking at a general meeting of the organization in Sunyani, Mr Ahenu said Ghana had enough resources to accelerate effective national development, but lack of technical expertise and knowledge to harness such resources had crippled the growth of the economy. "In this age of globalization and scientific advancement, the wealth and prosperity of a country do not depend on the quality of its resources but the quality of education that provides the technical expertise to apply science and technological measures to exploit the resources", he explained.

Mr Ahenu noted with regret that countries that had developed capacities would buy the resources cheaply, add value to them and sell them to the countries that provided the raw materials at a higher price".

"A country may have all the resources in the world, but if it does not have adequate knowledge and expertise to harness and process them to improve the living conditions of the poor, the resources would be considered valueless", he added.

This scenario, the CEO said, was currently widening the gap between developed and developing countries.

Mr Michael Boateng, Communications Manager of the NGO, explained that education was a cornerstone of a country's effective socio-economic development, saying, the availability and access to quality education would not only enhance skill development but would also offer people the most direct path to progress and self-sufficient.

He advised government to expedite action on the smooth implementation of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education programme.