By Own Correspondent from Accra,Ghana for Shout-africa.com – The British government during week announced an increment in aid to Ghana over the next four years. From April this year to 2013,UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), will increase development assistance to Ghana to £85m annually, and then to £100m in 2014/15.This brings the total development assistance within the period to £375m.
The new UK strategy is expected to generate 144,000 jobs, of which 55,000 will be women by 2015, an increase in family planning methods by 2015, distribute 4.75 million bed nets to help prevent malaria by 2015 as well as provide cash grants to over 250,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Ghana, 75 percent of which will be for women. In all, UK made a commitment to provide 0.7 percent of its Gross National Income as aid to 27 countries
The rest are to make sure 160,000 ‘out-of-school’ children attend school for the next four years, ensure 60,000 girls are attending high school by providing incentives to encourage them to attend and increase the efficiency of government spending, leading to savings of around £50m ( GH¢115m) by 2015.
Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP, commenting, said over the last two decades Ghana had made significant economic, social and political progress and therefore there was enormous potential for significant growth in the coming years.
The advent of commercial oil and gas production clearly offers a valuable opportunity to underpin that growth with investment in the wider economy. However, significant challenges remain, such as the regional and gender inequalities and the six million Ghanaians still below the poverty line, he explained.“This is why the priorities outlined by the Government of Ghana are so important. It is imperative that Ghana maintains and further secures political and macroeconomic stability.
The support will be underpinned by two cross-cutting priorities: women and girls, and poverty reduction and growth in the north. It will also focus on supporting business ,enterprise, transparent and accountable governance, the quality of education and saving mothers’ lives.
Others are tackling the scourge of malaria and protecting the most vulnerable and poor people through small cash payments. Growth of the private sector, to increase revenues, jobs and investment must continue to be a priority. Oil production has the potential to drive forward Ghana’s growth, but there is a risk that oil revenue leads to the ‘resource curse’ that other African countries have experienced.”
Daniel Gray more, Acting Country Director, DFID, noted “We see this support as an investment in Ghana’s ongoing success, and as helping to lay the foundations for an aid free future in around ten years.” He commended Ghana for making progress in attaining some of the Millennium Development Goals but added that more work needed to be done.
Tom Crowards, Acting Deputy Country Director, also said “the British Government is committed to working with the Government of Ghana, Civil Society and business to tackle the ongoing challenges in Ghana.” He noted that the British government will work with government to expand the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to cover 200,000 people.