Accra, 8 Dec, GNA- Mr. Augustine Collins Ntim, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has been elected the President of African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) for the triennium 2021- 2023 and the extended year of 2024.

By convention, the outgoing President, Mr. Sri Mahadzir bin Khalid, Minister of Rural Development, Government of Malaysia, will be the Vice President for the Organisation.

This was announced on Wednesday at the 20th Virtual and Hybrid General Session of the AARDO Conference underway in Accra.

The two days conference hosted by Ghana marks the 73rd and 74th sessions of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Ntim, in his remarks, said Ghana was resolute in pushing the objectives of AARDO with a unified front to promote new initiatives to strengthen local capacities, entrepreneurial skills and generate opportunities for AARDO as key ingredients to poverty reduction and sustainable rural development.

He said Ghana in the past four years had chartered a new path to ensure food security across the length and breadth of the country with five flagship programmes on agriculture and agribusiness.

“To ensure sustainable food production, Government of Ghana introduced “Planting for Food and Jobs” as an entrepreneurial drive to modernise agricultural and to position it as a tool for rural development.

“Government of Ghana has implemented this initiative through the distribution of inpu through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the District Assemblies to ensure that the distribution of inputs through the decentralisd structures can be verified and monitored,” he said.

Mr Ntim stated Ghana’s commitment to assisting member countries looking to invest in the value addition and agriculture in their respective countries, saying, “Ghana has opened her doors to neighboring countries, sharing the gains made and the challenges faced in the modernisation of agriculture as well as efforts to improve yields, the agriculture value chain and agribusiness as a whole.”

The president-elect lauded his predecessor for his leadership role that had championed deliberations on development of rural areas under the auspices of AARDO and called for support to continue the good work.

Nana Ato Arthur, Head of Local Government Service, said Ghana had demonstrated her commitment to the values and aspirations of AARDO and would continue to do so for collective good of all member countries.

He said Ghana’s vision for rural development was hinged on value addition to the raw produce and industrialisation towards the goal of “Ghana Beyond Aid.”

“With our strategic position as the centre of the world, Ghana is home to the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area and we look forward to serving the continent and beyond,” he said.

Mr. Sri Mahadzir bin Khalid, Minister of Rural Development, Government of Malaysia, the outgoing President, AARDO, said the new normal that had “coerced” members to a hybrid and physical conference was a testament to the full inclusion of technology in rural development to ensure holistic achievement of goals one, two, seven, nine, 13, 14 and 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ghana joined AARDO in 1965 after it was founded in 1962.

AARDO is a rural-centric organisation that subscribes to the spirit of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

It is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples of Africa and Asia.

The formation of the African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) earlier known as the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization in 1962 underscored the far-sightedness of the social and political leaders of Asia and Africa in recognising the need for cooperation among the countries in the field of agriculture and rural development.

AARDO, which is one of the earliest examples of South-South cooperation in rural development in the Afro-Asian region, is an autonomous inter-governmental Organisation comprising country governments of Africa and Asia.

The Organisation is to promote coordinated efforts, exchange of experiences and cooperative action for furthering the objectives of development of the rural areas.

AARDO, a non-political body, enjoys observer status with various United Nations and other international organisations like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), etc.

It also promotes collaboration with various international organisations for the economic and social welfare of the rural community.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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