AGRICULTURE, BAIT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA – KOFI ANNAN

Kofi Annan, Former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General has said agriculture could be a powerful bait in the process of economic development in Africa.

He therefore urged private investors and governments to consider agriculture as a business and invest in it to achieve the desired socio-economic development and reduce poverty in Africa.

Annan said this when he visited the Rural Technology Facility (RTF) at Mankessim in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region to access progress of work under the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP).

The REP is a poverty alleviation scheme funded under a loan agreement between the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through capacity building and entrepreneurship drive for beneficiaries.

According to the Former UN Secretary General, agriculture should further be explored as it could create reliable jobs in every chain of production and advised the youth to see it as a life-long occupation.

Annan said in developed countries, real jobs were created by the small and medium scale enterprises and admonished governments to assist individuals to set up their own businesses.

Kwasi Attah-Antwi, National Director of REP, said the main focus of REP was to establish an institutional framework that ensured the sustainable delivery of services aimed at transforming and improving the livelihood of people in the rural areas.

He said the REP emphasised on skills training and provision of facilities for business enterprise development.

The REP operated on four main components of ensuring business development services, technology promotion in agribusiness activities to enhance access to finance through financial institutions and strengthening support system within the public and private sector.

Attah-Antwi said REP had created 34,402 new jobs, established 27,702 new businesses and had positively affected the lives of about 140,000 people since 2012.

He said REP was targeting tertiary unemployed graduates interested in agribusiness in selected agricultural value chains and supported them through the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment for Youth (ENABLE YOUTH) Programme.

The European Union(EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Mr William Hanna said the EU would continue to support the training of the youth in entrepreneurship.

He indicated that the EU was in discussion with the new Government for an increased support to small and medium scale enterprises in agribusiness.

Mrs Esther Kasalu-Coffin, IFAD country Director, admonished the facilitators of REP to educate the beneficiaries on how they could access funds to expand their businesses to employ more people.

She said the success of the REP was a clear demonstration of transforming and improving the livelihoods of people in the rural communities.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

ECOWAS MUST GRAB THIS HUGE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

The Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS) says the decision by Morocco – a North African economic giant, to join Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), could provide the sub- region with huge investment opportunities.

It would open the door to the countries in the economic bloc to effectively partner Morocco to undertake massive development projects to drive growth, create wealth and jobs.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by David Agbee, Executive Director of GIGS, a copy of which was made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

It hailed the move as “a bold and great commitment by Morocco to support the advancement of ECOWAS in the spirit of South-South cooperation”.

The North African Kingdom, has officially requested to join the regional bloc as a full member.

According its Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ministry, this is intended to deepen and strengthen political, human, historical, religious and economic ties at all levels with ECOWAS member countries.

The request followed state visits to the sub-region by King Mohammed VI, culminating in the signing of numerous agreements to give impetus to bilateral cooperation.

Morocco was recently admitted to the AU after decades of voluntary withdrawal from the continental body.

GIGS noted that, its involvement in ECOWAS would bring a new dynamism and rallied the sub-region to ready to explore the development and investment opportunities.

It called for the political leaders in the sub-region to move quickly to admit Morocco into the bloc, to tap into its huge resources for the benefit of their own peoples.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK