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04.03.2006 General News

UK to give Ghana £120m over next three years

By GNA

Accra, March 4, GNA - The UK has welcomed Ghana's steady progress on development, with the Department for International Development (DFID) announcing it would provide up to 120 million pounds in Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) over the next three years.

UK assistance would be used to help to improve health, education, water and infrastructure in the country, a statement from the British High Commission in Accra said on Saturday.

It said Ghana would receive 35 million pounds from the UK in 2006 under a multi-donor programme.

"Subject to continued satisfactory performance, DFID will provide 40 million pounds in 2007 and 45 million pounds in 2008."

The statement quoted International Development Secretary Hilary Benn as saying: "Ghana's commitment to building the economic foundations for growth has seen it achieve one of the fastest rates of poverty reduction in Africa. 500,000 Ghanaians were lifted out of poverty between 2002 and 2005.

"Ghana has taken positive steps to get children into education by removing fees and levies in over a third of the most deprived areas, which has boosted enrolment rates by 14 per cent in those districts since September 2005.

"In addition, access to drinkable water has increased by around 10 per cent in rural areas, and a serious attempt is being made to improve healthcare."

PRBS is aid provided directly to a partner government's central exchequer in support of their programmes, to specifically assist with poverty reduction.

The UK is Ghana's largest bilateral donor, as well as the largest contributor to the work of the international development system in the country.

The statement said headcount poverty in Ghana is estimated to have fallen from 50 per cent in the early 1990s to around 35 per cent today. Government spending on poverty reduction, it said, had risen by 73 per cent between 2002 and 2004.

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