$20m Earmarked for domestic debt
The Minister for Economic Planning and Regional Integration, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, announced in a speech read on his behalf at a forum organized by the Ablekuma South Constituency executive of the NPP in Accra yesterday that Ghana is to spend $20 million from the HIPC fund to service domestic debt this year. This is part of the $100 million debt relief fund that has so far accrued to Ghana under the initiative since it was adopted last year. The remaining $80 million has been invested in poverty reduction programs. Between 2002 and 2004, Ghana is expected to receive $650 million in the HIPC debt relief. Dr Nduom said the HIPC initiative, which seeks to reduce the debt burden of beneficiary countries, also aims at making resources available to undertake poverty reduction programs. On the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr Nduom said it is an initiative by the African leaders to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of their people. He said although Ghana is already committed to democracy, the rule of law and poverty reduction, the advent of NEPAD has renewed its commitment to uphold these values that are the cornerstone of the initiative.
The Minister said NEPAD does not deliver direct development to any country but seeks to develop the capacity of African countries to establish stable democratic government for the advancement of countries on the continent. He said that in spite of its wealth, Africa commands just 1.7 per cent of international trade, and lags behind all the continents in agriculture, education and health, among other things.
Dr Nduom added that the continent is also marginalized in the globalization process. He noted that NEPAD was, therefore, initiated to give impetus to the continent’s development by bridging existing gaps between Africa and the developed world. He said through NEPAD, the continent’s problems have been made known to its development partners, which has resulted in the considerable interest shown in the progress of Africa by members of the G-8 countries. According to Dr Nduom, Africa needs about $64 billion to meet the targets outlined in NEPAD. It is to be raised from the continent's development partners.
The Deputy Director in charge of the Africa Unity Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Karimu, said the objectives of NEPAD are in tune with Ghana's foreign policy objectives, which is focused on forging closer ties with its neighbors and other countries on the continent. He said the government, therefore, views the goals outlined in NEPAD as laudable and are working to ensure their success.
Mr. Karimu disclosed that plans are far advanced to set up a secretariat to co-ordinate all the programs of NEPAD in Ghana.