ENI in collaboration with the Government of Ghana have inaugurated a business and agricultural training project also known as Okuafo Pa Agri-business Center at Kyeremasu in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.
The center is a pilot initiative of the Africa Project which aims at supporting economic diversification in the agricultural sector through skill transfer and business support, in particular by means of self-sustaining agricultural consortia.
The initiative is aimed at achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) SDG 1 on no poverty; SDG 4 quality education; SDG 5: gender equality; SDG 6: clean water and sanitation; SDG 8: decent work and economic growth; SDG 12: responsible consumption and production and SDG 17 on private-public partnerships.
In his remarks, the Italian Prime Minister, H. E. Giuseppe Conte, asserted that the project is a very tangible result and successful evidence of the engagement of Italy and ENI in Ghana.
“This initiative also fully reflects the Italian government's vision towards Africa, based on a fair and equal partnership to promote sustainable development,” he said.
The Prime Minister also lauded ENI for the extraordinary role it has played and for making their continent proud, thus, contributing to the vision that is also well connected to President Addo's far-sighting political strategy “Ghana Beyond Aid.”
“Italy also believes that we need to go beyond the obsolete donor-recipient approach in favour of a mutually profitable and equal partnership, where our companies devote great efforts also to the progress of the local communities, and we are concretely working for this goal, ” he added.
The Italian Prime Minister said he wishes that in the near future his country will inaugurate more projects both by ENI and by other Italian companies that are keen to come to Ghana, invest, create business and ultimately promote development for the new generations.
He also assured Ghana of Italy's support saying “I can assure you that Italy will continue to stay at the side of Ghana and of the whole African Continent.”
The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, delivering an address on behalf of President Akufo-Addo said as part of government's drive to change the structure of the economy, government embarked on a modernization of the agricultural sector as one of the pillars to anchor the transformational agenda.
According to him the establishment of the training facility to train young students in the area of agribusiness and entrepreneurship could not have come at any better time.
“It is not a coincidence that you are here to open a project that embodies two of the most important flagships of government-Education and Agriculture. It is also not an accident that the project is located in this area which abounds in qualified youth who can benefit from technical education being provided by this new facility.”
Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo mentioned that it is a major booster to the government's efforts at revamping the TEVET sector.
He, however, appealed to other corporate entities operating in Ghana to emulate ENI Ghana's example as part of their responsibility to put up similar projects to help transform the TEVET sector in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer of ENI Ghana, Claudio Descalzi, said Eni intends to play an active role in defining virtuous paths for sustainable growth in the countries in which it operates, and the project is a concrete example of what they can do if they pool their resources and those of their partners.
“Today we celebrate the first seed of a very ambitious project that will impact over one million people across Africa. We start with 800 students here but we will replicate this project and our target in Ghana is to reach 150,000 people. We have to show that it is possible to invest, it is possible to work in Africa and for Africa and we can only do it if you take responsibility and if you believe in it, ” he said.A