Germany, US join forces to support Ghana’s decentralisation

Accra, The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on have jointly propelled a move to facilitate Ghana’s decentralisation reforms.

The Support for Decentralisation Reforms (SfDR) programme has a focus on increasing the awareness on the opportunities and risks of decentralisation for the districts and developing expertise in financial management, service delivery and local development planning.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, launching the programme, said the country’s decentralisation was a work in progress, which focused on the development of the local economies.

Hajia Mahama admitted that although some successes had being chalked in the processes to decentralise the country’s institutions, there was still the need to put in more efforts in the areas of accountability and challenges confronted with resource mobilisation.

She said: the Government of Ghana sees decentralisation as a key tool for growth in democratic participation and for our economic growth.

The sector Minister showed appreciation to the two development partners for their support and assured that government was committed to ensuring the implementation of the programme for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Hajia Mahama called on the implementors to consider using local expertise to execute the agenda of the SfDR.

Dr Nana Ato Arthur, the Head of Service at the Local Government Services Secretariat said decentralisation had been recognised as an effective pathway towards national development.

Dr Arthur said: Ghana chose to decentralise the administrative, political and financial machinery of government to the District Assemblies in 1988.

He said decentralisation was the best way to create the opportunity for citizens at the local level to participate in the decision-making processes that affected and shaped their localities, adding that, the programme had come to symbolise a new era for Ghana’s socio-economic development.

In a welcome address, Dr Dadson Awunyo-Vitor, the Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies said the launch provided an opportunity for the implementation of priority activities under Ghana’s decentralisation programme.

Mr Christoph Retzlaff, the German Ambassador to Ghana said he was convinced that decentralisation was a key instrument to reduce poverty, reinforce good governance, and increase participation of civil society and improve service delivery at the local levels.

Mr Retzlaff said this conviction become a commonality for his country and the Americans, which informed the decision to collaborate to ensure the implementation of the SfDR for Ghana’s development.

He reiterated the continuous support of Germany’s commitment and assurance to supporting the growth of Ghana’s local economy.

Mr Robert P. Jackson, the United States Ambassador to Ghana said: By entering into this partnership, the government of America, Germany and Ghana are together taking steps to promote long term, sustainable development.

Mr Jackson said strengthening the local government was necessary as it would stimulate growth, ensure the welfare of Ghanaians and pave way for Ghana to become an established, independent middle-income country.

The SfDR is a three-year, $10 million joint programme implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the USAID, which began in April, last year.

The programme works with 60 selected District Assemblies to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in local revenue mobilisation and financial management.

Source: Ghana News Agency